In 1915 my Grandfather Walter C. Danforth, along with his wife, Ruth Elliot Danforth and 4 small children, Russell, Isabell, Sara and Julia bought property 4 miles north of West Liberty, Fox Township, Jasper County, Illinois on Highway 130. They moved via the Illinois Central Train from Buckley, Iroquois, Illinois. Walter came first on the train along with house he had purchased from the Montgomery Ward Catalog. He hired local help to build the 3 bedroom house with a large living room, dining room, wrap around porch, indoor privy, kitchen and a summer kitchen. He also built a "warm" house, dug 3 wells; one for each of the kitchens and one for the barn which was made of wood planks he cut from trees standing on the property.
Two more children were born to the Danforths, Roy and Donald C., before Walter developed diabetes in 1925 at the age of 40. He died of strep throat while on vacation with his family in 1929. By that time, the Danforths had rented out the farm and moved to Newton and lived on Fairground Street. Walter ran the men's habidashery store on the east side of the "square" in Newton. The Danforth's were stalwart members of the First Presbyterian Church in Newton.
Russell married Nell James of Wheeler. She lives (2011) in Bisbee, AZ. Russell is deceased.
Isabell married Delmar Richards and lived in the same house next to Richard's Firestone for over 50 years until her death in January 2000.
Sara married Roy Cailey and lived on the family farm near West Liberty where she and her husband developed a tree nursery and landscaping business and also sold roses. She was very active in many community clubs and the First Presbyterian Church in Newton. She died in 1964.
Julia Danforth graduated from Blackburn College and taught school in Onarga, Illinois until she married Harold Yenerich. In those days, married women could not teach school, so she took up her second career as a farm wife in Paw, Paw, Illinois until arthritis crippled her making a permanent move to Phoenix, Arizona necessary. The Yenerichs owned a real estate company there for many years and later in life, Julia worked for a bank until her retirement.
Roy married Frances Russel of Mattoon. Roy was the Assistant Manager of the REA Co-op and his wife, Frances Danforth, taught Latin and French at Newton Community High School for many years.
Donald C. joined the Navy during World War II along with his classmate, Melvin Chapman. They were aboard the USS Lexington when it was sunk after Pearl Harbor. They kept each other alive by taking turns pushing each other onto a piece of plywood that was blown off the ship. Donald retired to California after a long Naval career in communications.
The Danforth farm was eventually sold to the Fhroning family, the house was taken down and all that remains is a driveway and occasionally, in the spring, you will find asparagus spouting south of the area where the house was situated.
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