Jasper County, Illinois
1837 -- QUASQUICENTENNIAL-- 1962
ILLINOIS HISTORICAL SURVEY
Sainte Marie, Saint Mary's Church
Precincts 1 and 2
JASPER COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Celebrating Sept. 1, 2, 3, 1962
DEAR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS:
This summer of 1862 over Labor Day week-end, Sept. 1, 2, and 3, Sainte Marie, Sainte Mary's Church and Sainte Marie Township will proudly celebrate their 125th birthday. In this historical booklet we will try to recount the beginning of the little colony, and the dedication of the town and Church to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We shall try, too, to give credit to all the good and fine people whose families have lived here for generations.
Several hundred people are working generously and feverishly to made this Quasqui-centennial of our community a milestone in our history. Some have ridiculed the idea of writing our history, but history is important. Had not our pioneer fore-fathers written down the happenings of their days, we would have no United States history today. Had not Matthew, Mark, Luke and John written down the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, we would not have the greatest history of all, the Holy Bible.
Since the celebration plans have begun, enthusiasm has mounted with each meeting, more plans are included until we are getting a little excited! Will everything go off all right? We tell ourselves and each other "we will weather the storm" and have a lot of fun, too.
The Dedication of Our Lady's Colony
ADELA STEVENS CODY
The prairies gleam like burnished gold; the swamplands are ablaze
With the gorgeous splendor of the rich October days,
The hazel bushes rustle as a fox goes swiftly by
When from the river's cottonwoods he hears the panther cry.
The tawny deer pause at the stream, their scarlet nostrils wide
As, slowly o'er the swelling ridge, they see gay horsemen ride.
The stealthy Indian drops his bow and looks with wondering eyes
At these strange people come to dwell beneath his native skies.
He sees them pause upon the ridge, and then, dismounting, stand,
His horse's rein thrown o'er each arm, each trusty gun in hand.
He sees their brave apparel gleam, each buckle burnished bright,
Perchance a medal here and there, reflecting heaven's light.
What draws this band of young men here? The Indian does not know
The speech that tells of home, of love, and friends left long ago.
They speak of scenes now far away; of Mass and feast and dance.
And homesick longings draw their hearts back to their sunny France.
Yea--home and friends are far away but she, their Queen, is here!
This unknown land to loyal knights but makes her seem more dear,
"Salve Regina"! Strong and clear their blended voices sing.
"Regina Coeli"! With what zest their favorite hymn they sing.
No fear have they of lurking foes as, kneeling on that sod,
They offer up, through Mary's hands, their hopes and fears to God.
"The truce of God" surrounds them there and wild things shrink away
As, trustingly, at Mary's feet their lives and souls they lay.
This Book, "History of Sainte Marie, Village and Township,"
is Sincerely dedicated to:
All the good and fine people who at any time belonged to the Parish of Saint Mary of Assumption, to St. Valentine, and to all whomever called Sainte Marie township their home.
How This All Began
Along in June of 1957, while looking through my scrapbooks for a picture of the house where Christopher Columbus was born, I came across a clipping from The Newton Press. The story was one I had written and sent to The Press when Sainte Marie was 100 years old. Looking at the date and making some swift calculations, I came up with the astounding fact, that on Oct. 28, 1957, Sainte Marie and Saint Mary's Church would both be 120 years old.
That afternoon I had an appointment at the LaVogue Beauty Shop. The operator, Blanche Chapman was a protégé of a daughter of the Picquets, settlers of Sainte Marie, and I told her about finding the clipping, and how our town and Church were coming into their 125th birthday. I remarked something should be written up and sent in to the county paper. "You're just the woman to do it, Mrs. Hartrich," said Blanche.
Well, I thought I could, my mind on a column perhaps six or eight inches long. That evening, her week's work finished, Blanche packed a bag, got into her car, drove to Evansville, Ind., to see Mrs. Charlotte Rude and her family, sole survivors of the pioneer Joseph Picquet.
When Blanche told Mrs. Rudd why she had come, Mrs. Rudd remarked: "Well, Blanche, we will just go up into the garret and see what we can find on Sainte Marie's History." Their search was fruitful indeed!
On Monday morning Blanche came into my house carrying a huge shopping bag, crammed to the top with old books, newspapers, bits of written history and old pictures, no less than a million words. I was to read all of it, sort out what was good, pass over the non-essentials and write up a really good history of Sainte Marie.
I started looking through the material and it wasn't long before I was really intrigued with it. I wrote several pages, then I thought: "I could crack my brain on it, but what good would it do if it was never printed". I called Mr. Jim Wells of The Newton Press and told him about it. "I tell you what you do Mrs. Hartrich, send in what you have written and I'll let you know what I think of it," he said.
Six pages were sent in the next afternoon and I received an excited telephone call, "This is wonderful, go into more detail about the history. If there is enough we will make a special edition of it to print it in: but don't make too much noise about it, we don't want that Decatur Herald getting on this."
For seven weeks, every hour I could spare was spent looking into County Court House records; into the records at the Church, school and town hall here in Sainte Marie; talking to people who didn't want to be bothered, scraping moss from old tombstones in the cemetery, wading through old musty books and newspapers, getting black looks from my husband who thought there should be roast chicken and custard pies on the table, instead of old books, papers, scrap paper and worn down pencils.
But at last it was finished. It did make a fine story when it was put into a special edition in The Newton Press. All the tired days, all the digging, all the headaches and black looks were forgotten when Ye editor said to me "Mrs. Hartrich this history will never be forgotten."
Mrs. Ferdinand Hartrich,
nee Mary Clotilde Huber.
The following was taken from a book, entitled "History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties", which is kept at the Newton Library:
In 1838 Joseph Picquet of Sainte Marie started the first store, bringing the goods from Philadelphia via Evansville, and thence by wagon. Goods were purchased at Evansville or Louisville, then wagoned across the country save when the stage of water and plying of steamboats allowed a shipment by river to Vincennes. The cost of freighting goods was one cent per one-hundred weight, amounting to about $1.25 for land transportation. The early trade was principally barter, skins and honey being the principal articles the farmer had for exchange. Game was abundant and the timber swarmed with the honeybee. The latter was systematically hunted, and the honey brought into the store by the wagon-load.
In 1839 Mr. Picquet put up the first steam sawmill in the county, buying the machinery second-hand but little-used near Vincennes. A grist mill was added. The Hartrichs' were millers, (that is grinders of grain in their home-land in France) and they knew all about making flour and meal. This machinery was purchased at Pittsburgh, Pa. This was the first steam grist mill in all this region and attracted patronage from an area of 40 miles away. People came from as far away as Teutopolis to have their grain ground into flour and meal.
For years Sainte Marie was the commercial metropolis of Jasper County and in its early years bid fair to hold this position for all time. The founders were wealthy, and natural advantages good, and their early enterprise kept pace with the development of the County.
Its most striking buildings are a Catholic Church of brick, built in 1850 with parsonage and an establishment of Sisters of Charity, who devote their time to the nursing of the sick, raising of orphans and taking care of old people.
The school house, one of the first if not the very first free school building erected in Jasper County, has been for the last 10 years under the able direction of Prof. George Hubert of Evansville, a noted teacher of our county.
The Church and school are well attended. The principal businesses of the place are a sawmill, a stave factory, which furnishes employment of 25 to 30 hands, two general stores, two grocery stores, one hardware store, a tin shop, one seed store, two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, three carpenters, three shoe-makers, one copper and one vintner.
An excerpt from The Newton Press, issue dated March 27, 1957, reads as follows:
"Jasper, Newton Named for Heroes of Revolution"
Jasper county was originally in 1816 a part of Crawford county, which at that time comprised all territory between the Wabash and Kaskaskia rivers, and from its present southern boundary to "the northern limit of the United States".
But in 1831 the State Legislature, which had been dividing the giant Crawford County area into smaller counties, formed what is now Jasper County, calling it by that name and also declaring that its county seat, whenever selected by Commissioners Nathan Moss, William Magill and Asahel Heath, would be called Newton. These names were selected in honor of two South Carolinian heroes of the revolutionary War under General Marion.
An early Jasper settler, Michael Grove, who settled there in 1836, has chronicled that the first settler in what is now Jasper County was a man named Lewis who settled on Evermound Mound. He added, "The next settler was a man by the name of Sulzer, who settled in what was later called Mattingly Point below Sainte Marie", what is now known as Valbert Bros'., homestead.
Soon after, others came, some in the Dark Bend, the Enlows, Crabtree, Wilkens, Bayards, Jobs, Jordans, Garwoods, Lambs, Richards and the Wades, founded in 1826 when James Jordan and his family settled and built the first cabin (near the north side of the present court house). Among others who came early were John V. Barnes, Benjamin Reynolds and L. W. Jordan, who entered the land in 1831 where the village was originally laid out, Lawrence Hollenbeck, Thomas Garwood and Benjamin Harris, who opened the first store in Newton.
Newton existed as a non-incorporated village until 1865 when it received its state incorporation charter.
Sainte Marie was settled originally by Joseph Picquet, coming as an immigrant from Alsace, picked the spot for his homestead in 1836, returned home and came back in 1837 to Sainte Marie with four families and 12 young people, a total of 25 people, after purchasing 12,000 acres in Jasper County. The group, a Catholic colony, a condition which remains today, placed their tabernacle on the site of Sainte Marie.
A number of communities have been started in Jasper County but many of them, like in all areas, have gone out of existence. How many can be recalled? Mount Sidney, Grandville (now Yale), Brockville, Buena Vista, Centerville, Plainfield, Harrisburg, Queenstown, Franklin, Constantinople, New Liberty, Pleasant Hill, Point Pleasant, Hayville, Embarrasville, Langdon, Hunt City, Hildalgo, Falmouth, Latona, Mason (now Wheeler), Lis, Boos, Bogota, Advance, Willow Hill, Rose Hill and West Liberty, which was laid out in 1954 and later moved to the railroad line in 1877 where it is now a fine little community.
The early Jasper pioneers, mostly from Kentucky and southern states, used a path called the Palestine-Vandalia road in the earliest days, but the county grew very little until the completion of the railroad, now the Illinois Central (planned and fought for since the mid-50's but not completed through the county until 1876). Since then, it has developed into an outstanding agricultural and oil-producing area and a progressive and highly successful community with fine institutions, homes and citizens rivaling any county in the Midwest.
SAINTE MARIE TOWNSHIP
Sainte Marie Township in the southeast portion of Jasper County, formerly Crawford County, was a part of the western portion of Crawford County. Early in the 1830's it was taken off from Crawford to prevent the removal of the county seat from Palestine, but this did not prevent it from happening, because on Aug. 14, 1855, the County Seat was moved from Palestine to Robinson, Ill. Sainte Marie Township was now large enough to be divided into two precincts. Precinct one was where the Village of Sainte Marie was, and was named for it, Sainte Marie precinct one is west of both the Embarras and Northfork Rivers; precinct two, east of both these rivers and is called the Bend.
We will first tell the story of the Village of Sainte Marie and Saint Mary's Church, and farther on, the story of Precinct two, the community known as the Bend. So many interesting things have happened in our township and Village, I feel the History of Sainte Marie should be re-written. Using the past history written in 1957 as the back-bone of the story. I'll try to write an addition.
Sainte Marie Village and Precinct One
To me history is important. At the time of the Palestine Sesqui-Centennial, several ladies came to see me. They had heard Sainte Marie was planning to celebrate their 125th anniversary this year. In talking of their celebration, they told me "they had so little to go on". So few of the happenings of their town had been written down. One remarked, "She believed Catholics kept better records than other denominations". It would seem so here in Sainte Marie. Not only at the Church, but the people themselves wrote down things, so we have quite a story for a background.
In their book on Palestine was one sentence, "Just when does a town have a beginning? When can you start keeping dates?" Well, we here in Sainte Marie can definitely say when our town began. When those 10 old French gentlemen came to the United States from France they came with certainty they were going to start a village, or colony as it was then called. First they built a cabin as shelter for themselves. On Oct. 28, 1837, dressed in their best, the colonists mounted their horses and with guns in hand rode to the highest knoll. Here they gathered about their leader, fired a salute, and chanted the Salve Regina, "Hail Queen," and with all the ceremony of an 18th Century Lafayette, took formal possession of their land, placed it under the protection of the Virgin Mary and named it "Colonie des Fres", Colony of Brothers. So many other colonists came in who were not brothers, it was changed to Saint Mary's. Down through the years it became Sainte Marie.
The history of Sainte Marie is colorful and interesting. Sainte Marie is an industrious, prosperous, thrifty and progressive village in the southeast part of Jasper County. Histories, at best, are often considered dry reading, but so many people have been born and reared in or near Sainte Marie, then have gone out into the world to make their way that we hope many of them will see and read this, and will feel a small sense of pride in having belonged at some time to the parish of Sainte Marie. To tell the story of Sainte Marie Township is to tell the story of its Church because then, as now, the Church was the center and heart of the community.
On Oct. 28, 1962, Sainte Marie will become 125 years old. Already in 1835 oppression and unrest were going on in Europe. A group of people in Hagunem, Alsace Lorraine, France, who believed in being free and equal and the right to worship as they please, held a family counsel and decided to send someone to that fine new country across the sea, America. These people were well-to-do, upper middle class, most of them farmers, most of them relatives and all of the Roman Catholic faith.
Joseph Picquet First
Joseph Picquet, age 19, was the one chosen to go. Small of stature but great of determination, he set sail. He was accompanied by a young Jesuit priest, Rev. Michael Guth, for at the age of 19 years, he was considered too young to travel alone. No more mention was made of his tutor once they had landed in New York. Mr. Picquet then came west to Pittsburgh, where he worked for awhile in a land office to study the language and habits of this new country. Stretching westward was a thousand miles of territory which he must investigate. He was particularly interested in the country north and west of the Ohio river and east of the Mississippi river. St. Louis was the extreme western boundary in which he was interested.
Arriving in Fort Dearborn, which is now Chicago, he decided it was too swampy there so he procured a riding horse and rode downstate. He spent a year collecting material which he incorporated into a report. In October, 1836, he returned to France and another family counsel was held. His family, on hearing the report, was jubilant. He told of virgin timber, a river, rich, rolling country, much like the home place in France, and they were ready to go. In July, 1837, he returned to America with the nucleus of the new colony, made up of 4 families and 12 young people, 25 adventurous souls.
Other Early Names
Besides Joseph Picquet were the names of Ferdinand Hartrich, Charles Guthneck, Jean Baptiste Bernard, Xavier Kapp, John Weiss and wife, Xavier Hipp, Henry Hoffman, M. Lemmel, Etienne Laver, Barbara and Frances Orr. They went to Vincennes, Ind., and from there to St. Francisville, where they purchased a small farm to be used as a temporary shelter until they could select a permanent place.
On Sept. 33, 1837, Joseph Picquet, Ferdinand Hartrich and Etienne Laver went to Palestine, Ill., where they entered 12,000 acres of land. This land lay south and east of Newton, Ill., which was two years old, with two cabins. This land met their requirements and they returned to St. Francisville.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Brute of Vincennes, accompanied by Father Corbe, pastor at St. Francisville, came to visit the colonists at their farm. In front of one of the log houses they erected an altar so that the Bishop could celebrate Mass. The crucifix, candle sticks and vestments used were brought from France and are still in use in the Church in Sainte Marie.
Arrived Oct. 1, 1837
On Oct. 1, 1837, the little colony came to Sainte Marie to settle. The set to work building a cabin which was to be the center of the village. All being farmers and not woodsmen, instead of using their horses or oxen to drag the logs, they carried them. The first Mass said in the village was in this cabin. It was blessed by Father Stephen Theodore Badin, a Frenchman, the first priest ordained in the United States.
A Mr. William Price had a cabin on a few acres of land near here and the men boarded with him. The French traders would come each fall from Vincennes to barter with the Indians for their peltry. The Indians were from the Fort Wayne, Ind., reservation. They came each fall to hunt for the abundance of game in the Embarras River bottoms. On one such expedition the Embarras rose so suddenly the Indians were trapped in the back water and had to take refuge for three days in the trees, an incident which amused the colonists greatly. Another story of the river's name was that there was so much driftwood stumps and tree tops in the river that the French called it Embarras - meaning obstructions.
Story of River's Name
A story says that the unusual name of Embarras was given the river when a young French guide, proud of his appointment, was asked the name of the river running through the territory for which he was acting as a guide. He did not know it, became so embarrassed his superior officer leaned over and laughingly wrote on the map "Embarras River". The Indians, unable to say Embarras, called it the Ambraw.
(Editor's Note: All such legends are interesting, but the truth about the river's name is simply that Embarras, correctly spelled with only one "s" on the end, means "obstruction" in French. Research on the word was done a couple of years ago by Mr. Omer M. Tobias of Newton, Ill., retired teacher and principal of Newton Community High School, at the request of The Newton Press-Mentor and local leaders of the Wabash Valley Association. Mr. Tobias' studies also led to the correct way to pronounce the river's name. Embarras should be pronounced as if it were spelled Ahmberah).
During the winter of 1839, Fr. Corbe of Vincennes came to visit the little colony and to care for their spiritual needs. The distance was covered by horse-back, so he was asked to stay for the night. The guest room was nothing more than a lean-to built of poles with prairie hay stuffed into the cracks. The good father awakened in the morning with the bitter cold blowing over him. During the night the cows had eaten the hay out of the cracks.
Others Arrive in 1839
In 1839 new members came to join the colony. We find the names of Theodore Hartrich, Joseph Litzelman, Joseph Boos, Cyrise Kaufmann, Nicholas Kessler, Faller Bros. and Ignatius Moshenrose. Among those in the neighborhood were William Price, Israile Fithian, Job Catt, Freeman Bros., Mattingly Bros., E. Inlow, Daniel Doty and I. Allison. This Theodore Hartrich is the ancestor of all the Hartrichs' now living in Sainte Marie.
In 1842, Jacques Picquet, father of Joseph Picquet, came to the United States, bringing with him a nephew, Joseph Schefferstine. He was delighted with the progress the young colonist had made, so in 1844 Joseph Picquet went again to France, bringing with him on his return his mother and two young brothers, James and Xavier, who later became Dr. James Picquet and Lieutenant Xavier Picquet of the Civil War.
The Sisters of Providence, Rennes, France, were engaged by Mr. Picquet to come to Sainte Marie to teach school but instead of coming to this backwoods, they settled in what is now St. Mary's of the Woods, Vigo County, Indiana. When the Sisters of Providence of Rennes, France, arrived in Vincennes, Ind., Bishop De La Hollandier decided they should locate in what is now St. Mary of the Woods in Indiana. When the diocese was divided by the state line, they were in Indiana.
Jacques Picquet Brick House In 1844
In 1844 a brick house that could be rightly called a mansion was built in Sainte Marie by Jacques or James Picquet Sr. The bricks were moulded and burned in a brick kiln on the premises. The huge doors and windows were sent from France to the Sisters of Providence, who were supposedly located in Sainte Marie but located instead in what is now St. Mary's of the Woods. They were then used in the Picquet mansion. The interior woodwork and paneling were of native walnut. It was considered at that time to be the finest house all the way from Chicago to St. Louis. At this time the whole Picquet family lived there.
About five years ago the two top stories were taken down by the present owners, Albert and Harold Hartrich, great grand nephews of the builder, Jacques Picquet. The first floor of the old mansion is still in use. The village grew and prospered. Forests were cleared away, farms came into being. The people were proud of the fine livestock they could raise, the grain and gardens they could grow.
Water and Wagon Route
A general store was started by Joseph Picquet. The goods were brought all the way from Pittsburgh, Pa., by steamboat to Evansville, Ind., then by wagon to Sainte Marie. A grist mill was in operation, farmers coming from as far as Teutopolis to have their grain ground, their wheat into flour and their corn into meal.
Pete Faller, assisted by two sons, Clem and Pete, had a tannery yard located on the river east of Sainte Marie. The tannic acid found in the bark of the oak trees was used as a processing agent to separate the hair from the hides.
The original house of the Fallers is still occupied. Mr. and Mrs. Loren Bricker own and live in it. The Dr. James Picquet house was taken down two years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Coelestin Nix, who have since built a lovely home on that site. Only three names of the founding fathers remain in Sainte Marie, James Picquet, grandson of Jacques Picquet, James Hipp, grandson of Xavier Hipp, and seven Hartrich families, all descendants of Theodore Hartrich.
Men of Area Built Railroad; Loss Was Severe Blow, But Not Fatal
At the time Jasper County was surveyed and county lines were established it was planned for Sainte Marie to be the county seat, but the laying of the railroad through Newton made that the most important village. In 1870 a railroad was aid through Sainte Marie, the C., H. & D. The men of the village and surrounding community worked long hours placing the ties and laying the heavy rails, all without pay just to get the railroad through their village. Huge shipments of logs, lumber, livestock and grain justified their efforts. There were two passenger trains and two freight trains daily.
The passenger train came from Olney at 8:20 A. M. and went south at 4:20 P. M. As in most small towns and villages it became a favorite pastime to go to the depot to see the trains come in. The railroad ran north and south, just west of where the Parish hall now stands. Of course, with all the shipping of livestock, corn, wheat, and hay, there was always a string of box cars on the track waiting to be used. Here was an ideal place for the boys in school to settle their disputes. They didn't dare fight on the school grounds so "I'll meet you down behind the box cars" became a familiar phrase. More than one grade school boy went home with a black eye or a bloody nose. Remembering about it now makes one whoop with laughter, but at that time it was deadly serious business.
The depot, too, was an intriguing place, so many interesting packages and boxes. This was before R.F.D., Rural Free Delivery, so almost everything too large for a mail box had to come by express. The "Wish Books" like those of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward did a thriving business. The waiting room had a huge iron pot-bellied stove, and on a cold day it usually glowed red with all the hickory chunks poked into it. We kids stood fascinated as the express agent tapped a few little keys, then told us the message they sent. We thought him one of the most learned people in the world, to be able to work a Morse Code Telegraph machine.
Years passed, World War I was raging, many of the young men were away in the armed forces, not much shipping was done along the line, steel was badly needed and the railroad which their ancestors had worked so hard to help build was taken up.
The people of the community mourned the passing of the railroad. Depression was over the whole country, and Sainte Marie, like so many other small towns, sort of went to seed.
Again years passed and a second World War came. More young men than ever were in the armed forces. Those left behind worked twice as hard to do their share and that of those away.
Veterans Add Life
When the war was over and the young men returned, it seemed that the whole community took a new lease on life. The young soldiers, weary of far-away places, took over farms, built new homes or made over old ones, fertilized the fields, grew better crops and livestock than their ancestors dreamed of. Others built homes in town, found work or went into business for themselves. No longer did they mourn the railroad. They took pride in a paved road running west to join State Route 130 and a blacktop road north to Route 49 where trucks could roll at a moment's notice.
Alblinger and Kirts built a new garage, then a hardware store. Both are outstanding in their lines. Tractors, plows, discs, corn pickers and combines were in demand. The Hamer Stone Implement Co., was established and began doing a thriving business, now known as the Kocher Implement Co.
The old Spitzer blacksmith shop, where the farmers liked to gather on cold or rainy days to talk crops or livestock, while thousands of plow shears were sharpened and hundreds of horses were shod is no more. Hartrich Bros., elevator and feed mill has taken over the corner.
At the north end of town Gowin's feed mill is doing a thriving business, and Bob Swisher's new filling station is a delight to the eye.
The new school is still very modern, a new parish house came next and the parish hall was completely done over.
First Priest Ordained in U. S.
Sometime ago while talking about our 125th celebration of Sainte Marie and Sainte Mary's Church, someone remarked "I don't see how you can get so steamed up about little old dinky Sainte Marie". Suppose we stop for a moment, and take a good look at "how dinky Sainte Marie is".
When once those old French gentlemen had a little cabin built for a Church, they invited a missionary from Vincennes to come and bless it and read the first Mass there. Father Stephen Theodore Badin was the one who came. Father Badin was the first priest ordained in the United States. Archbishop Carroll of Baltimore, Md., ordained him. Bishop Carroll's cousin, Charles Carroll, signed the Declaration of Independence.
Sainte Marie had the first Church and first free school for miles around. People came from five counties around to have their children baptized. Sainte Marie had the first store, first post office and the first grist mill. People came from as far away as Teutopolis to have their wheat ground into flour, and corn into meal. The first sawmill was also here.
When those three old gentlemen, Joseph Picquet, Ferdinand Hartrich and Etienne Laver, went to Palestine to by their 12,000 acres, after trying to describe just where this land lay, the recorder told them "Everything is open, you can buy land all the way to the Canadian border". Sainte Marie is part of the early history of the State of Illinois.
Father Stephen Badin came a number of times to Sainte Marie to care for the spiritual needs of the little colony. He blessed many little log churches up and down the Wabash Valley. His tomb is made of stone, fashioned to look like a log cabin. It even has wild vines growing over it as no doubt many of the little log cabin churches did. It is on the grounds of the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame or South Bend, Ind. There is also a mosaic on the east porch of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C. It depicts two men in a canoe. The one in the bow of the boat, is a rugged individual, wears a coon-skin cap and holds a rifle, while the other, pushing off from shore, wears a long dark garb and round low hat of the early missionary. The vegetation in the background could be found along the banks of the Wabash or Embarras anywhere.
Sainte Marie Township Precinct 2
Sainte Marie Township itself is larger than most townships. It takes in possibly seven miles north and south and six miles east and west and 26,359 acres. The Embarras River cuts across it diagonally, and the North Fork River flows into the Embarras in Sec. 32, Town 6, Range 14, and the land is owned by J. L (Jackie) Wade. The older residents will recognize this land as the "Hoffman Bend".
It's just possible this is the "Bend" that is responsible for the original name of "Dark Bend" for without question this must have been a very dark bend indeed with its towering trees and thick underbrush. This is outside of the river levee, and overflows very quickly when the Embarras and the North Fork are on the rampage. Here is where the levee broke in several places in 1957, causing almost irreparable damage.
Almost all little communities have a story behind them and the story of how "Dark Bend" came to be is as follows:
"The bend of the river was so dark, and the underbrush so thick it made a good hiding place for horse thieves and robbers. Once they had gained this hiding pace they were safe from the law, for no sheriff was brave enough to go in after them. Years went by. The forests were cut down, the lumber used to build fine homes, the land cleared of stumps, was tilled and made into good farm land, and the word "Dark" has been dropped from the "Bend".
Here many fine folk live. Driving along their well-kept roads and seeing their crops and fine livestock, no one would believe this little community had such a grim beginning. Some of the names that have been in the community since its very beginning were Yager, Kraus, Michl, Beasler, Geiger, Rennier, Lobmire, Mennacher, Ochs, Kerner, Boehl, Helford and Fisher.
St. Valentine's Parish
Almost every story of a little community begins with a church, and so it was with the "Bend". For years the people of the "Bend" belonged to the congregation in Sainte Marie. They would drive or walk the distance, sometimes cutting across Grandfather Huber's farm, opening and closing the heavy gates, because, of course, the farm was fenced. When they walked they would cross the Embarras in a boat. This went on for a number of years. Then in 1891 Valentine Kraus and his wife, Magdalen, donated three acres of ground on which to build a Church. They also gave $4,000, in those days a large sum of money, to help buy the necessary materials.
The whole community worked with a will, and before long, a neat little white country church was built. When it was dedicated it was named St. Valentine's. Holy Mass was read once a month by priests from Sainte Marie. St. Valentine's was now a mission church of Sainte Mary's in Sainte Marie. In 1910 St. Valentine's parish was established and a rectory was built for a resident pastor.
The first resident pastor was Rev. Henry H. B. Prost, who had been assistant to Rev. Father Virnich at Saint Mary's in Sainte Marie. Fr. Prost changed the name of St. Valentine to "Most Holy Redeemer". He was in charge of the little congregation for three years. After he was transferred, Fr. Gormly of the Teutopolis Franciscan Novitiate came to hold services for the little congregation once each Sunday.
Father Ladinski was also an assistant to Rev. P. J. Virnich and took care of the St. Valentine's parish. It had now been changed back to its original name, St. Valentine, by Rev. Charles Flori.
Rev. Flori was resident pastor for several years, then followed Rev. Paul Reinfels, Rev. Francis Meyers, Rev. Bernard Wubbe, Rev. Fredrick Neneling, Rev. Oscar Schubert, who was with the little parish the longest (11 years). Rev. Francis Corrigan (five years), Rev. John Bertman (two years), Rev. Walter Deppish (seven years), and Rev. Anthony J. Cepanio, one year. With so few priests to care for them the small parish suffered and again the little parish of St. Valentine's is a mission of St. Mary's in Sainte Marie.
It is regrettable, too, for in 1953 St. Valentine's Parish built a Parish Hall complete with dining room and kitchen. Here the little community held their church picnics on the beautifully kept grounds surrounding the church and hall. Here, too, they serve delicious chicken and beef dinners that people come for miles around to enjoy. We sincerely hope the day soon comes when St. Valentine's has a resident pastor again.
The first school was on land donated by Henry Johnson in 1878, where the present brick school is. It was called Newlin school, nicknamed "Wild Cat". When school quit, the land was to go to the owners, Leonard Johnson owns it now. Teachers were Bill Bartram, Florence Fithian, Mrs. Jess Wright, Lulu Carbon, George J. Wise, Hiram G. Miller, Ervin L. Graham, Minnie Curry, Lela Sloan, Bessie Jackson, Mable Catt and Josephine Dart. I am indebted to J. N. Yost for names and dates of church and school in bend community. Since then I've learned why the Newlin school got the name "Wild Cat".
Back in the 1870's and 80's boys were needed at home on farms until the crops were gathered and a huge pile of fire wood was cut, so it was always about the first of December before they were free to go to school. Again in the spring they left school about the last of February to help fix fences and otherwise get ready for the farming season, so, of course, they lost out in their education, but they made up for it by going several extra winter terms. Most of them were 17 or 18 years old and all bigger than their teacher.
It was customary for the teacher to treat the scholars before the holidays to bags of peanuts and candy. One teacher at the Newlin School refused to do this so the big boys took him out, held him under the pump and pumped water on his head until they almost drowned him. When the older folks heard of the escapade someone remarked, "What else could you expect of those "Wild Cats"? From then on the Newlin School was nicknamed "Wild Cat" School. Little did they know such youngsters a few generations later would be called "cool cats" and have a "pad"!
In September, 1876, Xavier Michl and his wife Theresa Michl donated one-half acre of land for school purposes. When the school quit the land was to revert to the owner. August Michl owns it now. Michl School was built in 1877. In 1921 a new and more modern school was built.
First teacher in 1877 was S. F. Laugel. Other teachers in the Michl School were Anna Mae Murphy, Ellen Pictor, Celia Osthimer, James Kaufmann, E. J. Gangloff, Alex Gangloff, Henry Worland, John J. Alblinger, Bert Mattingly, Paul McCullough, Mary Kraus, Henry Kirts, Leona Geiger and Katherine Kerick.
In 1892 land was bought from Joe Ward for this school. The first school was built in 1893. In 1936 a new and modern school was built. First teacher in 1893 was Nannie Trainor. Others were Lulu Carbon, E. J. Gangloff, Bertha Cummins, Rosie Matson, Dora Morgan, Clyde Catt, John J. Alblinger, Nora Phillips, Mary Krause and Carl Stanley. John J. Fisher now owns the land.
South Bend School
In 1885 land was bought by the school district from Charles and Hannah Legg to build a school. It must have been built in 1896 and was the only school built in this section. The first teacher in 1896 was Bud Dalton. Others were Grace Ames, Bill Adams, Hiram Miller, Dollie Brown, Herman McCormick, Clyde Catt, Roy Linder, Henry Kirts and Katherine Kerick. The land is now owned by Hamer Stone.
Mr. J. N. Yost continues:
From what I can find, some school districts were large with many children. The school on land now owned by Hamer Stone served a large district. There were too many children for the school building, so that district was divided. That was when Scott school started. Some of the Michl District was added to Scott, also from South Bend. Thus Scott and South Bend School.
"All four schools, Newlin, Michl, Scott and South Bend in the Bend community were consolidated in 1919 to form District 210 with Crawford County, Martin Township, Section 1, Town 5, Range 14. The school building was started in 1949 and completed in 1950. School was held in the new building at the start of the fall term in September 1950."
The first South Bend Congregational Christian Church was built in 1885. The present building was erected in 1895. The present building was erected in 1895. Land was donated by Joseph Reigle. They have a pastor who comes twice a month - second and fourth Sundays. They have Sunday School every Sunday at 9:30 A. M., and on the second and fourth Sundays they have preaching after Sunday School, and also at 7:00 o'clock on those Sunday evenings.
Their regular attendance is not large, around 20 to 30. Many of the congregation have died, others moved away. The South Bend is not so thickly settled as it used to be. Being a farming community, one farmer with modern machinery can farm so many more acres, thus small farms where big families used to work and live are now made into large farms and the people left to find their fortunes elsewhere. This, too, is a pity for a fine little community like South bend people should have continued to live here and prosper.
History of Sainte Marie Schools
Joseph Picquet tried continually to get a religious order to come to Sainte Marie. In 1861 the St. Joseph Sisters of Corondolet, Mo., came to take charge of the school. They were recalled in 1871 and Geo. Hubert of Evansville, Ind., took charge of the school.
In the mansion vacated by the St. Joseph Sisters, an infirmary was established in 1880 by the Sisters of Charity who cared for a number of aged patients as well as going about in the community helping care for the sick.
By 1893 there were so many children of grade school age in the congregation that the whole building was made into a Parochial School and the Ursuline Nuns of Alton, Ill., were engaged to teach the school. They continued to teach until the school was consolidated in 1947. The new school was built in 1938, using much of the funds left to the school by Joseph Kaufmann, the first child baptized in Sainte Marie.
A square or block almost in the center of the town is where you will find the Church, School, Parish House and Parish Hall surrounded by a park. Here is where the Labor Day picnic is held on the first Monday in September every year. Hundreds of former residents come hundreds of miles to see the old home town and visit with their relatives and friends.
Across the street south is the village park given by Joseph Picquet when the village was laid out in 1847. Shaded by fine old maple trees on four sides, a baseball diamond is the center of attraction. Sainte Marie has always had a baseball team. The Saints have always given a good account of themselves, each year winning more games than they lost.
Sainte Marie Consolidated School
School District No. 10
Changes come to all things, so it was with the school system in Sainte Marie. For more than 100 years the school was Parochial, taught by Nuns from different orders, then a new order of affairs swept the country. The little red school house was obsolete, schools were consolidated.
A new brick school was built in Sainte Marie. Parish owned, but rented to the state, it was to be state supervised, but nuns continued to teach.
In September, 1947, the following districts were consolidated, the students being brought in each day by bus: Districts 105, Raeftown; 104, North Bend; 91, Pond Grove; 90, Assumption; 77, Ochs; 73, Dallmier; 74, Kessler; 79, Greenwood; and in 1948 and 1949 parts of 106, South Bend, and 78 Richards, were added.
The new brick school has four classrooms, office and library with kitchen and lunchroom in the basement. The Public School building in the same block is also used. Here fifth, sixth and seventh grades are taught in the two large classrooms. A music room for band, and a shop where youngsters are taught to use tools are in the basement. A fine playground and park surround and connect the two schools, making it all a fine arrangement for the 181 pupils who attend Sainte Marie Consolidated School.
Directors for the Sainte Marie Consolidated School District are: President, Lawrence Huber; secretary, Norbert Sheridan; Richard Hunzinger, Theodore Kocher, Dan Ochs, Francis Wagner and Marion Kapper.
Members of the faculty are: Sister Mary Valeria Early, principal, grade 8, Sainte Marie; Sister Marie Grant, grades 1 and 2, Sainte Marie; Sister Ruthanne Huss, grade 3, Sainte Marie; Mrs. Helen Baker, grade 4, Newton; Vincent Keller, grades 5 and 6, West Liberty; Henry J. Kirts, assistant principal, grade 7, Sainte Marie; Mrs. Genevieve Wilson, music, Thursday and Friday mornings, Newton; school nurse, Mrs. Maxine Hartrich, Sainte Marie; secretary, Mrs. Melba Rose Sheridan, West Liberty.
In 1936 a Mothers' Club was organized in the school by Mrs. Ferdinand Hartrich. The primary motives were: First to hold meetings where the parents could talk to the teachers, who then were the Ursuline Nuns of Alton, concerning any problem that might come up in the school; and secondly, a long range plan to have at some time a hot lunch program for the students of the school. The club has continued to operate, and all this and much more has been accomplished. A kitchen and dining room have been outfitted in the basement of the school, and the students have a nutritious lunch at a nominal cost.
Sainte Marie Public Schools 1916-1946
During World War I there was an increasing interest in high school education and the State Legislature passed high school district laws to meet the demands. Along with this there was developed the two-year, one-room high school concept. Following this there was a wave of high school district elections formulating districts. Willow Hill interests formed a district which included territory south to Sainte Marie. Following this Sainte Marie interests formed a four year High School District east and south to the county line and west to beyond West Liberty.
The Sainte Marie High School opened its first year in the fall of 1916 in the old two-room Weber Hardware Store building. The elementary school building was becoming unsafe and four years later they moved the grades to the north room of this old store building. Local interest in the High School grew rapidly and had a strong local support. However, the District area was off-center for Sainte Marie and it was seen that the area would not justify the construction of a four year high school building. As the result of a petition the high school district was voted out in 1921 and the area reverted to non-high school territory.
Immediately the Public School directors proceeded to move on the construction of a two room building. One room was for a two-year high school and the other for a public grade school. This building was occupied in late fall of 1922 with Merle D. Yost teaching the 9th and 10th grades in the high school and Miss Christine Alblinger teaching the eight grades in the elementary school.
This organization continued until 1946 when the Non-High School District was incorporated into the Newton Community High School District.
During the above period the following teachers served in the system.
Year-- High SchoolElementary School
1916-17-- J. P. Whitsel-- George Hubert
1917-18-- Chester Prior-- George Hubert
1918-19-- Charles Maples-- George Hubert
1919-20-- Merle D. Yost-- George Hubert
1920-21-- Merle D. Yost-- Bert Mattingly
1921-22-- J. G. Pugh-- Bert Mattingly
1922-23-- Merle D. Yost-- Christine Alblinger
1923-24-- Merle D. Yost-- Christine Alblinger
1924-25-- Rolla Allison-- Christine Alblinger
1925-26-- Merle D. Yost-- Arthur Reis
1926-27-- Merle D. Yost-- Arthur Reis
1927-28-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1928-29-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1929-30-- Rolla Allison-- Henry Kirts
1930-31-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1931-32-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1932-33-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1933-34-- Christine Alblinger-- Eugenia Pictor
1934-35-- Christine Alblinger-- Eugenia Pictor
1935-36-- Christine Alblinger-- Julia Danforth
1936-37-- Christine Alblinger-- Julia Danforth
1937-38-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
1938-1946-- Christine Alblinger-- Henry Kirts
Sainte Mary's Parish
Sainte Marie, Illinois
Pastor: Rev. George Windsor.
Trustees: Frank Z. Zuber and H. T. Kirts.
Chairman: Celeste Keller.
Assistant Chairman: Geraldine Gowin.
Secretary-Treasurer: Mildred Alblinger.
No. 1 --- Olivia Sheridan.
No. 2 --- Helen Radke.
No. 3 --- Catherine Kocher.
No. 4 --- Serena Kaufmann.
No. 5 --- Bernie Zuber
No. 6 --- Ursula Huff.
No. 7 --- Romona Hunzinger.
No. 8 --- Mary Kessler
No. 9 --- Letha Zuber
No. 10 -- Mary Lamkin
No. 11 -- Gladys Reis.
No. 12 -- Lucille Dallmier.
Mrs. Christine Hartrich
Mrs. Louise Keller
St. Mary of the Assumption Parish 1934-1962
Father Peter J. Virnich served this parish and community faithfully and energetically from Oct. 27, 1881, until the summer of 1934. From December, 1934, to February, 1937, the Rev. Lawrence G. Villing was pastor. In June, 1937, Rev. Francis C. Schlepphorst became pastor, and he immediately made plans for a new school to supplant the old Assumption School. By September 1938, the new school was completed at a cost of $14,365.
In 1940 a nine-room modern brick rectory was built at a cost of $10,292. On July 5, 1945, Father Schlepphorst exchanged pastorates with Father Anthony J. Stengel of St. John's Quincy, Ill. In 1946 new stained glass windows were installed in the church at a cost of $6,000. Just before Father Stengel's death on Aug. 5, 1947, the church interior was completely decorated at a cost of $8,150. New lighting fixtures for the church were installed at a cost of $1,575 for furnishing only.
For the remainder of 1947 the Very Rev. Joseph DePalma, S.C.J., Superior of the Sacred Heart Mission House, was in charge of the parish as Administrator. On Jan. 2, 1948, the Rev. George Windsor, the present pastor, was appointed in charge of the parish by the late Most Rev. James A. Griffin, D.D., Bishop of Springfield-in-Illinois, and installed as pastor by the Very Rev. Daniel Daly of Mattoon, Dean of the Effingham deanery on Sunday, Jan. 25, 1948.
On April 10, 1949--Palm Sunday--the Most Rev. William A. O'Connor, D.D., newly-appointed Bishop of the diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois, administered the Sacrament of Confirmation for the first time in his life here and Larry Kirts was the first person the Bishop ever confirmed.
In May, 1952, the Ursuline Nuns left Sainte Marie after 58 years of faithful service to the community. Mother Leonie, O.S.U., Mother Margaret Mary, O.S.U., and Mother Geraldine, O.S.U., were the last of the Ursulines to teach in the Assumption School at Sainte Marie.
In August, 1952, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., arrived to assume charge of the teaching in the Assumption School. The three Dominicans from the Sacred Heart Convent at Springfield were Sister Rosemary, O.P., as Principal and Superior, Sister Mary Denice, O.P., and Sister Mary Rita, O.P.
As long ago as 1866 there was an Altar Society in Saint Mary's Church congregation. At that time there were 12 members, and a Mrs. Mary Hartrich was the president. Part of the record reads:
"A church dinner will be held the first week in October. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Picquet promised to donate two brace of wild ducks, Mr. and Mrs. Xavier Picquet 12 roast prairie chicken. The rest of the parish were to furnish vegetables, pickles, jams and jellies, homemade bread and pies".
This is a far cry from the annual church picnic now held on Labor Day where hundreds come hundreds of miles to see their relatives and friends and get that fine chicken and beef dinner served by the ladies of Saint Mary's Church.
Sainte Marie Girls Who Joined Sisterhood
Order -- Name of Order -- Family Name
St. Joseph -- Mother M. Severine -- Louis Miller
St. Francis -- Sr. Archangela -- Josephine Osheimer
St. Francis -- Sr. Ceceliana -- Genevieve Kaufmann
Providence -- Sr. Anna Josephine -- Anna Kaufmann
Providence -- Sr. Philomene Marie -- Minnie Kaufmann
Ursuline -- Sr. Julia -- Magdalen Schneider
Ursuline -- Sr. Cecilia -- Ellen Pictor
Ursuline -- Sr. Angela -- Mary Pictor
Ursuline -- Sr. Marie -- Alice Pictor
Ursuline -- Sr. Flavia -- Magdalen Althans
St. Francis -- Sr. Charlotte -- Zita LaMotte
C. Doctrine -- Sr. Marie Amelia -- Amelia Merceret
St. Francis -- Sr. Petra -- Mary Frichtl
St. Francis -- Sr. Gabriel -- Philipine Bolander
Providence -- Sr. Perreline -- Mary Guthneck
Providence -- Sr. Charles -- Emma Guthneck
St. Joseph -- Sr. Elenore -- Julia Kaiser
St. Joseph -- Sr. John Berchmanus -- Marie Hartrich
St. Francis -- Sr. Adelheid -- Louise Kessler
St. Francis -- Sr. M. Angelita -- Colletta Kaufmann
St. Dominic -- Sr. Mary Stella -- Stella Zuber
St. Francis -- Sr. M. Angelita -- Teresa Ochs
St. Francis -- Sr. M. Carol -- Ruth Kaufmann
St. Francis -- Sr. M. Francella -- Rosetta Schmidt
Ursuline -- Sr. Carmen -- Carmen Huff
Ursuline -- Sr. M. Eileen -- Agnes Pictor
Ursuline -- Sr. Francis Xavier -- Eugenia Pictor
St. Francis -- Sr. Marilyn -- Angela Zuber
St. Francis -- Sr. Theresa Clare -- Mary Zeigler
Precious Blood -- Sr. M. Emeliaua -- Clara Zeigler
History of S. C. J. Mission in Sainte Marie
Father Henry Hogebach and Father Charles Keilmann of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart arrived in Sainte Marie in January, 1925. For some years they and a few of their comrades had been working among the Sioux Indians in South Dakota, but now was entrusted to them the task of founding an American Province of the Congregation and opening a seminary to train American boys for the priesthood and brotherhood. The small, unoccupied buildings on the property of Miss Marie Picquet, daughter of Joseph Picquet, founder of Sainte Marie, were not the most ideal, but with the permission of His Excellency, Bishop James Griffin of Springfield, and the help of many benefactors, they were acquired and construction and renovation were begun in 1926.
This same year saw the arrival of the first student at the young Sacred Heart Mission House, Joseph Frichtl from Newton.
By 1927, with 12 students for the priesthood, the preparatory seminary was officially opened and the Rev. Bernard Rotermann, S.C.J., who had recently arrived from Germany, was appointed first superior. These first years were memorable for their many hardships. The desks were planks thrown across sawhorses, and as sleeping quarters could be arranged for only 8 or the 12 boys, the remaining four were accommodated by Miss Picquet in here home next door.
In 1934, the novitiate, which had been established in Hales Corners, Wis., was transferred to Sainte Marie, and for one year the Mission House functioned as a combined novitiate and minor seminary. The following year, 1935, saw the opening of a house in Donaldson, Ind., to care for the preparatory seminary students. Since that time, the Mission House has carried on as a novitiate, or basic training camp for the spiritual life.
In 1945, under the direction of Father Frichtl, the first student at the Mission House, work was begun on the imposing Sacred Heart Chapel. The chapel was completed in 1947 under the direction of Father Joseph DePalma, S.C.J. After his term as superior at the Mission House, Father Joseph went on to become provincial of the North American Province, and is presently Superior General of the Congregation, residing in Rome, Italy.
In the Fall of 1961, with Father Rotermann again Superior, the new west wing, containing class and conference rooms, library, recreation rooms, quarters for the Fathers and Brothers and administrative offices was dedicated by the Most Reverend William A. O'Connor, D. D., Bishop of Springfield.
The present community of the Mission house comprises 4 priests, 5 professed brothers, 27 cleric novices, 2 brother novices, 31 cleric postulants and 6 brother postulants. Even larger groups are expected in the future from the 200 students in three minor seminaries throughout the country.
Sainte Marie Village Government
Members of the Town Board of Sainte Marie in this year of 1962 are:
Mayor or Village President, Lawrence Hartrich; clerk, Richard Hunzinger; finance chairman, Paul Faltemier; Andrew Sheridan, Robert Swisher, Edward Stone, Peter V. Burgund, Leonard Sheridan and Clarence W. Wade.
The General Telephone Company of Illinois, which has the telephone franchise in the village and nearby area, completed the cut-over from magneto to dial service in Sainte Marie in mid-March, 1961.
The Fire Alarm number for Sainte Marie is Willow Hill 3011, with telephones in the Sacred Heart Novitiate and the Alblinger & Kirts garage, giving 224 hour service.
City Water Works
For years the people of Sainte Marie talked of water works for the village--not only a rally good supply of water for the people, but water for sanitation, as well as for fire fighting. In September, 1953, the Village Board with B. L. Huff as Mayor, put on an intensive drive for a city water works. A well 54 feet deep, located north of town across the Embarras River was drilled. It came in flowing such an amount of fresh water that the engineers told the town board that the supply would never run out. The city water system was then constructed in 1954 at a cost of $83,000. It was put in by Wendell Stokes of Decatur, Ill. To cover the cost $10,000 was paid in general obligation bonds and $73,000 in revenue bonds. All the revenue bonds were sold locally.
A 30,000-gallon water tower which reaches a height only slightly less than 100 feet is located in the center of Sainte Marie, giving good service to all parts of the town. The bonds are being retired regularly.
City water is used in nearly every home and business in the village. It has added much to the lives of the people, not only in a general well-being, but there are more beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, and greener lawns. The city water works are paying out in more ways than one.
Sainte Marie was almost 100 years old before it had a fire of any consequence. Lightning struck Sainte Marie's Church on the night of March 18, 1933, during a spring thunderstorm and burned it to the ground. It was a terrible loss.
A few years later Ed. Barthelme's Grocery Store caught fire and it, too, burned to the ground because of the lack of fire-fighting equipment. This really woke the people up. A used fire truck was tried with the idea of purchasing it if found effective. It was an old fashioned type fire truck, and soon became obsolete.
On Oct. 1, 1959, the first fire department in the Village of Sainte Marie was organized. It began with 17 men, working as volunteer firemen. They were: Richard Hunzinger, fire chief; I. D. Kocher, assistant chief; Paul Faltemier, secretary; B. D. Huff, treasurer.
The other volunteer firemen were Merece Gowin, Eugene Hartrich, Harold Hartrich, Lawrence Hartrich, Paul Hartrich, Paul Hunzinger, Lawrence Kirts, Ronald Kirts, Ephrem Rennier, Leonard Sheridan, Edward Stone and Clarence Wade.
The fire truck, used, was purchased from the Oblong Fire District.
Electric Power in Sainte Marie
In August, 1921, a special election was called to vote on electricity for the Village of Sainte Marie. The election was passed by a vote of two to one.
In the fall of 1922 the plant was installed in a brick building now occupied by Hartrich's grocery.
It was a D. C. plant with motor-charged batteries. Power was limited. Homemakers were told to use their electric washing machine only on Mondays. Tuesday was ironing day. The motors were run continuously on those days to provide power. Sam Barker was plant engineer. Mr. Barker took his job so seriously there were nights when he slept at the plant.
Street lights were only on until 11 P. M., at which time all good citizens were supposed to be off the streets and at home for the night.
Ireneus Barthelme was mayor at the time. This sort of electric power went on for seven years. Then Central Illinois Public Service Co., power service came into the county.
Again the village voted on electric power for the village. Again it passed by a good margin.
C. I. P. S., was contracted to build power lines to furnish electric power for the village. Power lines, like the city water works, added much to the lives of the people.
Hallick Shryock was mayor at this time and E. J. Gangloff village clerk. Of all the fine work Mr. Gangloff did on the Village Board, this was his last contract written.
Civil War Veterans
Along with many of their other good qualities the people of Sainte Marie have always been very patriotic. This history of Sainte Marie village and township would not be complete without the names of our War Veterans. After long weeks and months of searching, I've come up with a list of our Civil War Veterans; I hope it is complete.
Pvt. Milton Allison, Co. C, 43 Ind. Inf.
Pvt. Francis Althaus, Co. E, 6 Ill. Cav.
Pvt. William Bixler.
Pvt. Mathew Casey, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Joseph Collins, Co. K, Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Joseph Schwager, Co. E, Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Joseph Shedlebower, Co. K, 38th Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Michael C. Shedlebower, Co. E, 54th Ill. Inf.
Pvt. George W. Shelly, Dat. H. 4, U. S. Art.
Cpl. George Spitzer, Co. E, 54th Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Louis Spitzer, Co. E, 54th Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Steven Stark, C.
Pvt. Xavier Wimmer, C.
Henry Kirts, Co. F, 5th Reg., Vol. Ill. Cav.
Spanish American War
Arthur Hunzinger, John Ready, Walter Shoffstall, Charles Wilson
World War I
August F. Alblinger, Sylvester Schwager, John J. Alblinger,Louis Spannagel, Clemence Burgund,Everette Jacquet, Timothy Huff,Howard Fehrenbacher
Noah Bahl, U. S. MCIA ALLA
P. A. Derler,Sylvester Kolb, lL U. S. Army
Severine Raef, Killed in action
John E. Michl, Alex Ochs
Mrs. G. C. Brown has the sword which her father, Cpl. George Spitzer, used during the Civil War. He was discharged at Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 31, 1861. Mrs. Brown also has two land grants issued to her grandfather, Mathias Miller, in 1850. One was signed by President Zachary Taylor and the other by President Millard Fillmore.
World War II
Joseph Barthelme, Ralph Huber, Eugene Barthelme, John Huss, Marion Bahl, Chester Huss, Capt. Grover Cleveland Brown M.D., John C. Jackson, Paul Bogard, Arthur Keller, Norman Copper, Herman Keller, James Cunningham, I. D. Kocher, Leo Curtright, Maynard Kocher, Edmund Fowler, Chester Menacher, Delbert Geltz, Eugene Menke, Francis Geltz, Eugene Michl, Norbert Geltz, Paul Mullinax, Gerald Geltz, Pat Moran, James Geltz, Norman Neeley, Gerald Goss, Earl Ochs, James Hahn, Maynard Ochs, Lawrence Hartrich, Clarence Ochs, Harold Hartrich, Elmer Ray Ochs, Henry Hartrich, Melburn Ritz, Jerold Hartrich, Victor Ritz, Albert Helregel, Walter Spitzer, Vincent Helregel, Darrel Yager, Fred Hoecherl, Stanley Yager, Peter Hoffman Jr., Victor Yost, Edward Huber, Samuel Zuber, Francis Huber, Eugene Zuber, Charles Wright.
4-H leader names not on record at the Home Bureau office: Mrs. Bernadette Reis, leader 1950 and 1951; Miss Patricia Reis, 1952, Club, Mothers Helpers.
The Mother's Helpers 4-H club is led by Mrs. Leona Kocher.
Officers for 1962 are: President, Linda Kocher; vice-president, Cathy Helregel; secretary, Sheryl Kocher; recreation leaders, Peggy Helregel and Brenda Kocher; song leader, Janet Kocher, and County Federation delegates, Mary Ellen Kocher and Sheryl Kocher.
Over the past years the club members have consistently scored high in the county achievement activities.
In addition, we wish to express appreciation to Hartrich Bros. Grocery and Meat Processing Plant and Ed Stone Heavy Equipment of Sainte Marie and Harmon's Rexall Drug Store of Oblong, whose advertisements were inadvertently omitted.
Past Trustees of Saint Mary's Church: David Ochs, Francis Guthnick, Andrew Sheridan, Anthony Reis, James Spitzer, James Keller, Daniel Kocher, Frank Zuber, Harley Kirts.
[NOTE: There's no heading to this section, but these may be soldiers buried in St. Mary's Cemetery]
Pvt. Louis Dashler, Co. E, 54, Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Henry Edwards, Co. E.
Pvt. Thomas Fitzsimmons, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Joseph Fare, Co. E, 54, Ill. Inf.
Captain Sebastian Shedlebower.
Rhoda Fore, Nurse, A. N. C. Fucho;
Cpl. Henry Grieves, Co. E, 54 Ill. Cav.
Pvt. Patrick Hynes, Co. E, 54 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Nicholas Miller, Co. K, 54 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Adam New, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Cpl. Cornelius O'Donnell, Co. K, 32, Ill. Inf.
Sgt. Daniel O'Donnell, Co. B, 155 Ill. Inf.
2 Lt. Xavier Picquet, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Francis Plassiard, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Robert Polyys, Co. C, 63 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Peter Raef, Co. B, 155 Ill. Inf.
Lt. Col. John J. Rider, Co. K, 32 Ill. Inf.
Pvt. Andrew Rohr, Co. 1, 9 Ohio Inf.
Pvt. Jacob Schwager, 23 N. F., 21 Inf. Div.
Theo. E. Piper, German Lutheran Cemetery.
George J. Wagner, Haven Hill Cemetery, Olney. (George J. Wagner was with Gen. Sherman, on that historic march "From Atlanta to the sea.")
Names and Records in South Bend Cemetery
Michael Miller, C. Pvt., Co. C, 155 Ill. Inf.
Addison Fulton, C. Sgt., V G Ohio Inf.
W. M. Trobaugh, C., Co. B, 98 Ill. Inf.
Thomas J. Underhill, C. 1810-1892.
Jo Anderson Baily, C. March1, 1892.
Thomas Brownfield, C. Co. 63 Ill. Inf.
William Brownfield, June 1844-Jan. 1920.
Victor Wright, C. Ill., Corp., 20 Inf., Oct. 2, 1863
Arnold Wright, C. Cpl., Co. M, Ill. 20 Inf.
William E. Hardig, Milt. Police, Bn., June 6, 1927-July 22, 1958.
I have Mr. Dorthan Reigle, R. R. Oblong, Ill. (South Bend) to thank for the above names of War Veterans. Mr. Reigle added: "There are only a few that have government head stones with their Army record on their head stones."
Civil War Veterans in Yager Cemetery, Bend.
Johnson C. Yager, C., Co. E, 54 Ill. Inf.
Peter Yager, Pvt., C., 36 Ill. Inf.
Q. T. Miller, C.
World War II Veteran in Yager Cemetery
On April 9, 1865, the Army of Virginia laid down its arms near Appomattox Court House, and then turned homeward, no longer Confederate soldiers but American citizens. The Civil War was over.
These officers and men were allowed to go home on their paroles not to take up arms against the United States until exchanged, and the former were to retain their private baggage and horses.
After the surrender had been concluded General Lee said he had forgotten to mention that many of his soldiers rode their own horses.
General grant at once replied that such should keep their horses to aid them in their future work at home.
Several of these horses came back to Sainte Marie. Lt. Co., J. J. Rider brought back his horse.
Paul Rider of Berea, Ohio, sent this: "He was a dark chestnut, with white blaze face and four white legs, from top of hoof to knee. He was exceptionally intelligent, very spirited and was addicted to the sound of band music. His name was "General." He would begin to prance at the first sound of band music and was not content until he could follow the band around town. The horse would eat only so much grain, would never founder himself and would rather drink water out of the rain barrel then to drink the cleaner spring or pump water out of the trough.
First, from my father's recitation, his father's last title was that of Colonel. I know of two battles he fought in and have read some of the history of these battles, as recorded in several volumes in the Historical Building located at the Civil War Memorial Park at Chattanooga-Chickamauga battlefield.
"In one of the volumes, it refers to Captain J. J. Rider. It relates the situation as to where, because of a set of circumstances, Captain Rider had to give commands which were contrary to the line of strategy intended. He did this entirely on his own judgment and in the light of the situation prevailing. He was called before a court-martial and after the hearing was held and the facts brought to light, he was highly commended for his action and cited for his brilliant judgment. This led to his promotion to a colonelship. That is a brief synopsis of the historical recording."
World War I Veterans
Frank Antey, John A. Michl, Lester Barthelme, Paul McCullough, Alexander Bolander, Walter Eugene Picquet, Frank Beasler, George Rennier, Charles Curtright, Jos. Strutner, Guss Deckard, Aloysius J. Spitzer, Otto Graham, Martine Shedlebower, Joseph Geltz, Frank Zuber, Maurice Gangloff, Charles Bolander, John Hoffman, Andrew Bolander, Jim Hipp, Harry Curtright, Raymond Hines, George Derler, Eugene Hines, George Geiger, George Hoecherl, George W. Fowler, Aloysius Helregel, Urban Hines, John Helregel, Harley Kirts, Frank Kidwell, Alex Leinhart, Charles Kerner, George Menacher, Louis F. Kirts, Joseph Murry, Justine Litzelman, Dan Ochs, Leo Litzelman, Merle D. Yost, William Michl, William Aiken, Leonard Mankl, Don Aiken, Bert Mattingly, Joseph Barthelme, Harlen Miller, Raymond Burgund, Daral Miller, Oscar Charles Barthelme, Millard Miller
World War II Veterans
Ralph Curtright, Norse W. Weiscope, Charles Frauli, James R. Ziegler, Albert F. Fisher, Frederick A. Zuber, Edward W. Faltemier, Henry J. Zuber, Paul E. Faltemier, Leo Herbert Zuber, George Goss, Vincent F. Huber, Robert G. Geltz, Vernon C. Schwager, Charles Edward Geltz, Theodore A. Kocker, John J. Hoecherl, Ralph R. Ochs, Albert C. Helregel, Dorris A. Hetgen, Edward L. Huber, Ferdinand L. Shedlebower, Clifford F. Huss, Wilmer Goss, Clifford James Huff, Harold H. Hann, Earl F. Huff, Donald L. Hartrich, Eugene H. Hartrich, Leonard G. Sheridan, Carl A. Hipp, Ralph E. Kidinell, Stanley R. Hynes, Sylvan M. Kocher, Paul George Hunzinger, Kenneth J. Yost, Harry Elden C. Hunzinger, Eugene N. Ederer, Richard A. Hunzinger, Vincent Boehl, Leroy Huss, Robert M. Swisher, Ralph Harold Huber, Lawrence C. Huber, Paul Joseph Hartrich, Donald G. Spitzer, Gerald M. Huff, George W. Moran, George M. Keller, Thomas B. Ochs, George M. Keller, Julius Reis, John M. Miller, Jerome A. Ochs, Darrel E. Miller, Odilo J. Bolander, Jerome C. Ochs, Ralph G. Kidwell, Augustine W. Ochs, Bernard J. Kaufmann, Robert C. Ochs, First Lt. Maxine J. Cunningham, Philip G. Ochs, Donald J. Boehl, Wilmer A. Ochs, Ireneaus Edward Ochs, Urban J. Ochs, Louis Lawrence Huss, Ralph T. Rennier, Oscar James Boehl, James Anthony Reis, Eugene Joseph Dallmier, Francis J. Rennier, Harry Joseph Maginn, Oscar G. Strutner, Herman Wayne Burgener, Raymond L. Shryock, Harold Eugene Shryock, Clarence Shryock, Philip Bernard Burgund, Louis W. Valbert, Peter Victor Burgund, Charles Herchel Valbert, George Andrew Dallmier, Clarence W. Wade, Clyde E. Wade,
World War II War Veterans
St. Valentines Cemetery
George Geiger, Pvt., Hq., 8 Army Corps.
Edward W. Klueg, Pvt., Co. l, 1 Bn., 160 D. B.
Paul J. McCullough, 1st Lt., C. B, 130 Inf., 33 Div.
Eugene F. Michl, Sgt., Co. A, 311 Signal B. N.
As in all wars prison camps are bad. Andersonville Prison, Andersonville, Georgia, during the Civil War came into existence in February, 1864, under conditions which made it inevitable that it would become the worst of the lot. Lieutenant Xavier Picquet and Joseph Shedlebower of Sainte Marie were two of the prisoners there. There was little food and less water. The men were actually starving for water. They started digging on a hill side in the hope of finding water. Without question many were praying.
A bolt of lightning struck the hill side and water gushed forth and to this day is fresh spring water gushing forth.
The prisoners cry rang up to heaven.
God heard and His thunder cleft the earth
And poured His sweetest water gushing here.
The above historical data taken from American Heritage, August 1959, and Leaflet from Andersonville, Prison Park, Andersonville, Ga.
In trying to find the names of the Korean War veterans, we found it utterly impossible to get them correctly. Many young men who were in uniform and in the armed forces for some time were not considered a Korean War veteran. So we gave it up. However, any young man who has been in the armed forces has our sincerest admiration.
American Legion and Post Home
When World War I was over and the American Legion was formed in 1919, the war veterans from Sainte Marie joined Post 20 in Newton. There were possibly 12 of them.
After the World War II veterans came home, it became evident the veterans of Sainte Marie and surrounding territory needed a Post Home of their own.
An American Legion post for Sainte Marie was discussed in December of 1945 with the first organizational meeting being held in the Sainte Marie School. The first membership cards were issued under date of Dec. 17, 1945, and were for the year 1946.
H. T. Kirts was elected the first post commander. A post charter was applied for Dec. 13, 1945, with Howard Fehrenbacher, Dan Ochs, Leonard Menke, Louis Kirts, Noah Bahl, Andrew Bolander, Charles Curtright, Ralph Curtright, Robert O'Brien, Joseph P. Strutner, Oscar Strutner, Charles A. Frauli, Edward W. Faltemier, George Derler, and Joseph E. Barthelme as charter members.
The post was incorporated Nov. 17, 1949, under the "General, not for profit" corporation act of the State of Illinois, with M. R. Brackett, Harry Hunzinger, Leonard Menke, Louis Kirts and Howard Fehrenbacher as the first board of directors.
In the fall of 1949 the members hit upon the idea of building and owning their own post home. Up to now, they had been meeting in a room above the Alblinger & Kirts hardware store. Donations for the building cost were taken up among the members and other interested persons and lot No. 14 in block "C" was donated by J. J. Alblinger, H. T. Kirts and L. C. Kirts.
After construction was completed more funds were needed to pay outstanding bills, and a mortgage was given to the Sainte Marie Bank for the amount borrowed, for a period of five years payable in installments.
In 19 months on Aug. 29, 1951, or 41 months ahead of the due date, this mortgage was paid in full. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1951, the post held a mortgage-burning ceremony with Auxiliary members and their husbands, the Town board, and a bank representative as guests. The mortgage was burned in the old tin hat Louis Spannagel wore in combat during World War I. A real party was held with free food and drinks, and a dance in the evening.
The post continued to grow in membership, as also did the Legion Auxiliary unit, making the building on occasions too small to accommodate the crowd. At the first meeting in January, 1954, a motion was brought before the post to build an addition to the building. The motion was voted on, and carried by a vote of 38 to 4.
At this time, Lawrence Hartrich was commander. A building committee was appointed. Paul Hartrich was chairman, and Joe Strutner, Joe Barthelme, Leonard Menke and Paul Bogard were selected as the other members. The new addition added 30 feet to the Legion Home.
The basement also was extended equally, making room for a fully equipped kitchen, which the Legion Auxiliary furnished.
Orville Collings donated the digging of the basement and post members gave their labor, working whenever they could. The American Legion Home of Post 932 in Sainte Marie was made into a building any small town would be proud to have.
The Legion this year has reached a new high in membership, 151 members, and that figure in a town of 400 inhabitants is something to be proud of. Donald C. Spitzer was the 1961-62 commander with Patrick J. Moran installed July 2, 1962.
The above historical facts were taken from the minutes of American Legion Post 932, Sainte Marie, Illinois, Jasper County. The two men from our community who died while in service during World War II were: William Ochs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Ochs, and Virgil Ederer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Ederer.
Francis Schwager lost his life in the Korean conflict, and Charles Rodgers overseas.
Commanders of Post 932
1945-46 H. T. Kirts, W. W. 2, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1946-47 Edward Faltemier, W. W. 2, Livingston, Ill.
1947-49 Paul Hartrich, W. W. 2, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1949-50 Otis Maxwell, W. W. 2, Brookane, Ill.
1950-51 Harold Hartrich, W. W. 2, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1951-52 Louis Spannagel, W. W. 2, Willow Hill, Ill.
1952-53 Maynard R. Brackett, W. W. 2, Newton, Ill.
1953-54 Lawrence Hartrich, W. W. 2, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1954-55 Riley Chapman, W. W. 2, Willow Hill, Ill.
1955-56 James A. Geitz, Korean, West Liberty, Ill.
1956-57 Leonard Menke, W. W. 1, West Liberty, Ill.
1957-58 Irenaeus D. Kocher, Korean, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1958-59 L. D. Robins, W. W. 2, West Liberty, Ill.
1959-60 George W. Moran, W. W. 2, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1960-61 James J. Cunningham, Korean, Sainte Marie, Ill.
1961-62 Donald C. Spitzer, W. W. 2.
1962-63 Patrick J. Moran, Korean, Sainte Marie, Ill.
Installed July 2, 1962.
American Legion Auxiliary Post 382
With the full-fledged and flourishing American Legion Post in town, it was soon evident that a Legion Auxiliary would be a great asset. A meeting was held in the Alblinger and Kirts Hall in January, 1949, and on Feb. 2, 1949, an application for a charter was made. There were 14 charter members: Mrs. Georgiana Brown, Marjorie Barthelme, Marie Curtright, Elizabeth Geitz, Lucie Hartrich, Clara Hartrich, Romona Hunzinger, Viola Keller, Martha Kocher, Frances Menke, Geneva Shedlebower, Marcella Strutner, Agnes Strutner and Olivia Sheridan.
The new Unit adopted the name, Sainte Marie Unit Post 932. Mrs. Christine Rockemeyer, district director, Mt. Vernon, installed the following officers for the first year of the new American Legion Auxiliary: President, Mrs. Clara Hartrich; vice-president, Mrs. Frances Menke; secretary, Mrs. Geneva Shedlebower; treasurer, Mrs. Agnes Strutner; chaplain, Mrs. Martha Kocher; sergeant-at-arms, Mrs. Lucie Hartrich; historian, Mrs. Olivia Sheridan.
Miss Joan Kirts, daughter of H. T. and Lena Kirts, was the first junior sent to Girls' State at Jacksonville, Ill.
At the close of 1950 there were 63 members in the Auxiliary. Mrs. Dorothy Huber, past president as delegate attended the American Legion Auxiliary convention in Chicago, Aug. 6-9.
Sainte Marie Auxiliary has been 100% and quota every year since its beginning, averaging 36 members per meeting. The unit now has grown to 111, a grand example of what a small town with determination to grow, can do. Through the years Sainte Marie Auxiliary has entertained guests from Newton, Olney, Robinson, Effingham, Breese, Carlyle, Mt. Vernon, Mt. Carmel, Annapolis and Lawrenceville. One of the members, Mrs. Louis Spannagel has attended every meeting of the past 12 years.
Past Auxiliary presidents are: Mrs. Clara Hartrich, 1949; Mrs. Dorothy Huber, 1949-50; Mrs. Olivia Sheridan, 1950-51; Mrs. Agnes Strutner, 1951-52; Mrs. Maxine Hartrich, 1952-53; Mrs. Martha Kocher, 1953-54; Mrs. Mabel Grove, 1954-55; Mrs. Lucy Hartrich, 1955-56; Mrs. Verma Elder, 1956-57; Mrs. Grace Ochs, 1957-58; Mrs. Regina Faltemier, 1958-59; Mrs. Johnnie Moran, 1959-60; Mrs. Renee Spitzer, 1960-61; Mrs. Lenore Spannagel, 1961-62.
Girls who were sent to Girls State at Jacksonville, Ill., by the Auxiliary were Joan Kirts, Sylvia Ann Geltz, Joan McCormack, Joyce Alblinger, Patsy Reis, Marilyn Beaver, Nancy Hartrich, Shirley Stone, Marjorie Keller, Mary Ruth Hartrich, Ann Moran and Celeste Schmidt.
Besides sending a girl to Girls State each year to learn, the Auxiliary sponsors many worthwhile projects. They decorate the war veterans' graves on Memorial Day. They are active in child welfare, care for a boy at Dewey Cottages, have a clothing drive each year for the under privileged children and disaster areas of the United States. They do many things for war veterans and sell veterans' crafts each year. They also take part in cancer programs in the county and have many interesting and informative speakers through the year.
The Auxiliary is not all work and business. They have fun as well with Halloween dances, Christmas parties, gift exchange, Legion birthday supper and dance, potluck supper with entertainment, sings and auctions.
Our membership includes members from West Liberty, Dundas, Willow Hill and the Bend as well as Sainte Marie.
Sainte Marie has always had the name of being a most friendly place and co-operative, too. May the Auxiliary help to keep it so.
On June 11, 1962, at the regular American Legion Auxiliary meeting the following officers were elected, for 1962-1963; President, Evelyn Kocher; vice-president, Betty Ochs; secretary, Renee Spitzer; treasurer, Mary Hartrich; chaplain Regina Faltemier; historian, Lenore Spannagel; sergeant-at-arms, Hilda Dallmier.
Sainte Marie Tribune 1906
(Sainte Marie Market Corrected Every Thursday)
Wheat per bushel$ .80
Hay per ton 8.00
Corn per bushel--new .34
Oats per bushel .26
Flour per cwt 2.50
Corn Meal per bushel .60
Potatoes per bushel .80
Onions per bushel .75
Eggs per dozen .13
Breakfast Bacon per lb. .13
Country Lard per lb. .10
Hams, country cured, per lb. .15
Country Bacon per lb. .08
Shoulder per lb. .08
Butter, country, per lb. .16
Butter, creamery, per lb. .30
Chickens - Hens per lb. .09
Turkeys per lb. .13
Turkey Gobblers per lb. .13
Ducks per lb. .07
Rye per bushel .60
Land Worth 200 Times Cost
Sainte Marie is essentially a farming community. Many of the land owners can trace back for four or five generations the land belonging to the same family.
Much of this land has increased in value more than 200 times its original price of $1.25 per acre paid by the founding fathers. With one son or daughter taking over the farm, the others would have to look for work or business ventures elsewhere. That is one reason why Sainte Marie hasn't grown in size and so many fine young people have been lost to the community.
With the older generations continually taking crops off the land and never putting anything back, yields were getting to a dangerous low. Then the younger generation, with their knowledge of limestone, phosphate and fertilizers, again brought the land back to its original fertility. Once again, the farming area looks like, as the early history books described it, "the fertile prairies of Illinois".
River Bottom Farm Land Development
The early settlers chose the low bluff along the River, Embarras (English, one "s") with broad river bottom land above and below for a settlement of Sainte Marie. A wise section, but times changed in the course of 90 years. The clearing and drainage of land throughout the river drainage basin brought increased flooding and made much of the land worthless.
In 1919 interested citizens got together on the problem of flooding which resulted in the formation of two drainage and levee districts above and below the Sainte Marie. The Captain Pond District was developed under Commissions Anthony Reis, Ferd Hartrich and Frank Kraus and the Sainte Marie District under Alex Ritz, Leas Litzelman and James Kaufmann. The levees served their purpose for about 40 years, but additional upland drainage brought more frequent and higher floods.
The program of the Wabash Valley Association on flood control became popular. This was a plan by the Army Engineers to construct reservoirs upstream to impound flood waters. In 1959 the Jasper County chapter of the Wabash Valley Association was formed. The following year brought increasing membership with Eugene Hartrich as president of the chapter and Merle D. Yost as director from the county in the Association.
In the course of less than three years the membership of the chapter grew to over 150 and recognition was secured in Congress on flood control. The Army Engineers, in co-operation with the State Department of Waterways, have completed a total water resource survey of the basin.
So little has been written in this history about the rine (sic) Protestant people who lived here and helped to make our community grow, that I am most happy to add this material.
In January of 1961 I received a letter from Mrs. LeRoy Harris of Wakeman, O. She had learned through the grapevine system of the history of Sainte Marie being written. Mrs. Harris was interested in genetics, had in fact traced her family back to 1635 when they first came to America. She was looking for something about her grandfather, Zenas Bradish, "good or bad". This much she knew:
In 1861 a family by the name of Zenas Bradish came by covered wagon from Wakeman, O., to Illinois, crossed the Wabash River at Vincennes, Ind., then came on to Sainte Marie. Mr. Bradish was a carpenter, a shingle and shake maker. He also was a preacher. The Bradish family bought land south of Sainte Marie and when the railroad went through it was west of the railroad track.
Zenas Bradish also preached at the little church called Bethel Church, which was one-half mile west of the Eberhardt Hatchery corner. Mrs. Bradish's sister and her husband came with them. They were Dr. William Nickerson, his wife and family. Dr. Nickerson practiced medicine in and around Sainte Marie. He also was one of our Civil War veterans.
Bethel Church is no more, but the little cemetery is still there. A few head stones still tell you of the burial place of Zenas Bradish, his wife and two sons, Dr. Nickerson, his wife and two sons resting in peace there surrounded by green pasture-land.
Mrs. Elmore Buss of Dundas, Ill., is also a granddaughter of Zenas Bradish. Edward Buss, father of Elmore Buss of Dundas, also was a carpenter. He helped to build the Catholic Church in Sainte Marie in 1891, and many other houses and churches in the county. We are happy to include this bit of history in the History of Sainte Marie.
One of the oldest buildings in town was the Geltz Hotel. It was across the street from the old post office. It stood squarely in the street corner not wasting a bit of ground either north and south or east and west. Who built it is not known, but Mr. and Mrs. Frank Geltz remodeled it into a hotel. Everyone who came to town for a few days or overnight stayed at the Geltz Hotel. Mr. Geltz also kept a livery stable here and the drummers (salesmen) would put up their horses there. On a trip to Mexico City one evening we stopped at a little mountain inn. After dinner, a band of little Mexican boys entertained us, singing and playing their guitars and we talked with a businessman and his wife from St. Louis. He was delighted to hear we were from Sainte Marie, Ill. As a young man he used to make this town to take orders from the stores, and he always stopped at the Geltz Hotel.
What a character "mine host" was!
His good wife had sent him to the store to get something. Arriving there he had forgotten what it was. "Here, Frank, have a cigar," the storekeeper said to him. "It will help you to remember."
"Oh, yes, I know what my old lady wanted, it was cabbage," he recalled.
The businessman went on to say "Never have I eaten such cooking. Those chicken and dumplings, and that apple pie that Mrs. Geltz used to make, I'll never forget".
Just lately we learned Mrs. Geltz was presented with an aluminum teakettle, an unheard of utensil at that time, for being the best cook in Jasper County.
In the year 1906 an oil company came into Sainte Marie Township and drilled three prospecting or wildcat wells; one was on the S. F. Laugel farm south of town, one on the David Spitzer farm north of town, and one on the Peter Yager farm in the Bend, just above the Yager Bridge. None of these wells showed oil prospects, and all were plugged.
Down through the years at different times oil companies came in, drilled a few wells then left; but in the fall of 1941, there came into the township an oil prospector, William Krone. He got together a plot of leases in the Embarras River bottoms. These had originally been under lease to the "Denver Producing and Refining Co.", but they had given them up.
Bill Krone being something of a gambler, or perhaps he had some inside information, put down a wildcat well on the Clarence Wade Farm. As a general rule where there is so much on top of the ground there is little below, but here was fine farm ground where a man could grow 100 bushels of corn per acre, if he farmed it properly. One farmer, in fact, had such a fine field of clover that he refused to let the oil company in to drill a well, even after the oil field's presence had been proved.
Luck was with Bill Krone, for in November, 1941, the discovery well, Wade No. 1, came in with a bang, producing 800 barrels of oil the first day. "Joy was in the Duggan household" that night, as the Irish would say. Those closely connected with the well stayed up all night, talking, playing cards, telling stories.
About midnight the crowd got hungry and Clarence routed Mrs. Wade out of bed (she didn't believe in such goings-on) asked her to get a couple of fat pullets from the hen house and make chicken and dumplings. Being the good soul she was, Mrs. Wade went to work. The feasting went on until morning. The discovery well, Wade No. 1 leveled off to 500 barrels per day and it is still a producing well.
Of course, this set off a feverish activity in the Embarras bottoms. Offsets were immediately demanded, and for some time oil was the main topic of conversation. There were 21 producing wells drilled in this field in a very short time. On Wade there were 2, on Kraus 5, Reis 3, Burton 3, Derler 1, John Ochs 2, Zuber 1, Shryock 1, A. C. Bolander 1, Benefiel 1, Yost 1.
After 21 years several of the wells are still producing, but the oil fever moved a few miles west into Pong Grove.
Zenitas drilled one on Harding, one on J. Reis, one on J. Barthelme, two on Zuber, one on Noah Bahl, two on Weiscope and one on Ederer.
Mansfield drilled two on Menke, one on Valbert, one on B. Ochs, one on Hahn, one on Copper and one on Boehl.
After reading the History of Sainte Marie of 1957, a young teacher, Sister Francis Xavier, Saint Theresa's Academy, Decatur, Ill., formerly Eugenia Pictor, wrote me: "All the little humorous stories intrigued me. I teach history to a class of seventh graders and all amusing incidents help to make history more interesting." So we will add a few here.
Our mother often talked to us of her youth, on days when the old "Ambraw" was on the rampage and we couldn't get from the old brick house to town and school. One story we laughed over many times was:
Our mother, her older brother, and two younger sisters were invited by the grapevine system to a dance in Pond Grove. They lived on the Prairie and it was five miles to the dance, so they walked to it, knowing full well they would dance all night, walk home, then follow the reaper, shocking wheat all the next day. But they went anyway! Now in those days, when you gave a dance, you simply cleared the furniture out of one room, not a big job because there wasn't much, got yourself a fiddler, and you were in business. At midnight they paused for refreshments, which in this case was a jug of hard cider and Schnitz (dried apple) pie.
Al, one of the hosts, cosied up to one of the girls and confided "Me and Jake sure need a woman around here; we tried and tried but our Schnitz pies are a total failure."
Dancing in the home back in the 1875 or 80's was a favorite pastime. One young girl making a new print dress which was wonderful, considering most of their dresses were woolsey linsey, a heavy thick material, but not getting it finished in time, simply basted the sleeves in. At the dance the boys swung her with such vigor they pulled the sleeves out of her dress.
Her granddaughter, telling the story, remarked "What would happen to me if I came home with my sleeves pulled out of my dress?
Another incident that tells a silent story of pioneer endurance was: Grandfather Valbert had a pair of huge oxen which he called Buck and Berry. They were faithful, plodding beasts, but when the heat and flies got too much for them they would head for the deep slough or Captain Pond, whichever they happened to be near, plunge in, plow and all. There was no moving them until they were cooled off and ready to come out. Aggravating as this was, they never got a thrashing; somehow grandfather always understood.
The younger generations of those old French pioneers are as energetic as their ancestors. In 1928 J. J. Hartrich purchased the S. F. Laugel farm. It had formerly been part of the Jacques Picquet estate. Here they grew fine cattle hogs.
With several boys growing up, this was not enough, they needed more to do. So on Nov. 17, 1952, they purchased the Robards grocery in Sainte Marie. This turned into a flourishing business, and to have fresh pork and beef for their customers, they did their own butchering. This gradually expanded to custom work, then to processing.
Their hickory smoked hams and bacon are famous for miles around. Hartrich's grocery co-operated with the Swine Herd Improvement Association and on Nov. 3, 1957, they helped sponsor a lean pork demonstration. Mrs. Hazel Taylor of Effingham, Ill., was the demonstrator. This attracted visitors to the Parish Hall from as far as 50 miles away.
Each summer, the Jasper County Swine Herd Improvement Association has part of its field day at the Hartrich Processing Plant to demonstrate different types of hogs.
The Association's lean type pork is world-renowned. Each year Hartrich's Processing Plant purchasers some of the Jasper County 4-H clubs' prize-winning beef to process for that famous Saint Mary's Church Picnic dinner held each Labor Day; together this attracts visitors from hundreds of miles away.
On March 28, 1962, Hartrich Grocery purchased the Ed Rohr Grocery Store in Newton. Here, too, is an outlet for their processed beef and pork, may it continue to flourish!
The older generation did not only get together for threshing, wood sawing and silo filling, but the fall butchering was an annual affair. At this time several neighborhood families got together for this work. Daylight saw a huge fire under an iron kettle heating water in preparation for the day's work. By evening there were baskets of link sausages, fine hams and bacon cooling in the smoke house. The next day was a very busy day for the homemaker too. Liver sausage; blood sausage, the Germans called it, the French blood pudding, head cheese, scrapple and pickled pig's feet to make. The blood sausage was a little like limburger cheese, you had to learn to eat and like it. Here, too, the people made light work of it and by an extra good dinner with maybe a jug of cider or wine on the side.
Sometimes the crowd would stay for supper and work late, finishing the day by playing cards and doing a lot of visiting.
More old time happenings: July saw the ripening of wild blackberries. It was customary for folks to pick and can gallons of the berries. With a rich pie crust, plenty of sugar, a bit of fresh churned butter, and no where will you find a finer dessert than fresh berry pie. Apples too were dried for "Schnits" pies in the winter, peaches from the orchard were canned by the baskets. Plum, grapes, watermelons and gooseberries were worked up into jams and jellies. Even the wild plums did not go to waste.
Soap making too was in order. Some of the older grandmothers could make fine white soap from off-falls of the fatty part of the meat. Some scented it with wintergreen, some with mint or lavender, but all of it could put as fine a white wash on the line as any modern product.
Sainte Marie was also a great place for large families. Being a farming community there was so little for the young people to do with the exception of the ones who inherited the land, that many young people had to go out into the world to make their way and of course were lost to the population of their home town.
But they love to come back, especially over Labor Day week-end when the annual church picnic is held.
We must mention two large families in passing. The Joseph and Magadaline Spitzer family came here in 1848 and they had 12 children. The Ochs family, John and Mary Ann Weiler, had 12 children. Both families number more than 500 members.
Sainte Marie has also been a quite peaceful place to live and grow old in. A number have lived more than 90 years and a great many more than 85. Mrs. Rhode Fore, Civil War nurse, was 102, Joseph Picquet 96, Mrs. Josephine Bolander 98, Mrs. Matilda Dunham 96, Mrs. Mary Huber 97, Miss Mary Bolander 94, Theodore Hahn 97, Mrs. Monica Hartrich 94, Jacob Bolander 91, Michael Bolander 93, Theodore Hahn 97, and Victoria Hahn 92. Mrs. Josephine Zuber is 90, and Mrs. Louise Reis, a former resident, is 92.
Three Couples Married Over 60 Years
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Menke---60.
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bolander---62.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Foley---65.
Ole Swimming Hole
One of the joys of youths in summer time in Sainte Marie was going swimming in the river. After long hot days in June, July and August the gang of boys in town would hike over to the river.
In later years they would get together in someone's old truck and hie themselves away to the old swimming hole north and east of town. This favorite spot was called "leven foot", meaning it was 11 feet deep. More than one youngster proved to the gang he wasn't "chicken" or too young to run with the pack by diving off the spring board into "leven foot". With the new inventions of bath tubs and swimming pools, no more do gangs of youngsters have the joyous fun of swimming in the river in the raw.
Many people have wondered these many years what ever happened to the two Orr girls, Barbara and Francis, who came with the first pioneering group to Sainte Marie. They were seamstresses and were supposed to do all the sewing for the little colony, even tailoring the men's clothing. Once they had arrived, no more mention was made of them in the history at any time.
Several years ago, which would make the time 120 years later, I attended a meeting of the Jasper County Garden Club. The roll call was an "Antique Possession."
Mrs. Mildred Jansen of Newton stunned us all when she held up a pair of gold hoop earrings, worn so fine, she wore them on a chain like a necklace. Mrs. Jansen was saying they had been given to her by her grandmother, Mrs. Henry Raef, and she had received them from one of the Orr girls, who had come to the United States of America with the Picquet Colonists.
A hundred and twenty years later, another young woman proudly worn the good hoop earrings.
Saint Marie township being primarily a farming community, threshing time was an extra busy time.
Much wheat and oats were grown here. Before farming was mechanized, horses were used to pull the reaper that cut and bound the grain. It was then put into shocks of 12 to 15 bundles. Horse drawn wagons were used to gather up the shocked bundles and hauled to the homestead where they were stacked into ricks. There was an art to this. Few men could make a good looking rick that would stand staunchly, not taking in rain, until the threshing machine was in the neighborhood.
Wheat straw, as well as oat straw, is hard and smooth when ripe and a man had to know just how to stack the bundles to keep the rick from sliding in all directions. Here it was left to sweat or cure for several weeks.
The farmers were usually formed into threshing rings, perhaps 12 to 15 men, then with a few visiting relatives they had their crew.
If a farmer had a good threshing of, say 800 or 900 bushels of wheat, and as much of oats, he was supposed to treat the crew to a keg of cold beer.
This was, of course, when the work was all done. Much fun went on with all this. There was a lot of good natured teasing and joshing.
The women folk were counted in on all this fun. Each tried to outdo the other in putting the best fried chicken or apple pie on the table.
The men, smarties that they were, bragged on each homemaker's food. That was always good for a second or third helping of chicken and dumplings and his iced tea glass being filled oftener. It was a lot of hard work. The men not only took dinner with you, but many stayed for supper.
But all of this is now a thing of the past. Combines cut and thresh the grain in one operation pouring the grain into waiting trucks and in a matter of minutes, the crop is on its way to the elevators and in a matter of hours into railroad cars and on its way to the city, where it is made into flour.
No more are there bulging granaries, where a man and his family can run their hands through the golden grain which they all had a part in growing.
At the end of a harvest season there is only a check, sometimes a small one at that, after the cost of limestone, phosphate and fertilizer has been taken out, to show for a whole year's work. It would seem much of the old time joy of farming is missing in this modern day and age.
Corn, too, is an important crop in Sainte Marie Township. The greater part of the land around Sainte Marie is some of those 12,000 acres the founding fathers bought for $1.25 per acre.
Some of this land, especially in the Embarras River bottoms, had increased 100 to 250 times its original price. Of course, the timber has had to be cleared and removed. Levee tax as well as state and local taxes paid for more than 100 years, it needed to raise that much in price.
To farm "new ground", as land was called that still had many of the stumps in it, took the patience of Job. New ground was no place for any kind of farming machinery, except an old style walking plow, and a patient old team. But it paid off once the obstructions were removed for the land is rich river bottom soil. A farmer farming this land right can grow anything that grows out of doors.
Around the turn of the Century, soybeans were little known in this part of the state. Then scientists discovered new uses for soybeans and almost immediately they became a quick cash crop.
Soybeans are planted around corn plantings time, perhaps a little late, and by the middle of September beans are ready to be harvested. Long lines of trucks, trailers and wagons patiently wait their turn to unload at Hartrich's elevators. When railroad cars are unavailable on the I. C. R. R. at Boos, some wait all night to get unloaded.
Harvesting soybeans is almost a whole family project. Even the women are called on to drive loaded trucks to the elevators while the farmer himself continues to operate the combine. If left too long in the field, the bean pods tend to dry out, causing the beans to pop out and become lost to the harvest. Soybeans are a good rotation crop when grown on rich river bottom land. They grow a huge bean stalk, while the poorer soil they set on more beans, making them an ideal crop for prairie soil. Soybeans in Sainte Marie Township have helped to build finer homesteads and make life a lot easier and more pleasurable for folks for living here.
Another old time feature that our younger generation know nothing about was the pack peddler. The stores that kept fine things were few and far between, and these old Pack Peddlers would carry in their packs, silks, linen and laces, and likes of which country-folks had never seen. The silk was cut in what they called one dress pattern and never will I ever forget one green and orchid changeable silk one old peddler had. His name was MackIntyre and he usually made his rounds in the spring. Our folks were always glad to see him. He was company from the outside, (meaning cites which we had never seen, only read about).
The dictionary says a huckster is a vender of small articles but the huckster we knew had a lot of things besides small articles. He had a huckster wagon, usually drawn by two good horses. The bed of the wagon was boxed in and made into compartments. Here were kept everything from peppermint stick candy to huge sacks of sugar, beans, coffee, salt and rice. The lower 18 inches of the wagon-box were slatted to hold the poultry which the farm wives traded for supplies. On top of all were several egg cases, where the eggs were kept after they were counted. It was said that one huckster, who shall be nameless because he has been gathered to his fathers, having imbibed too much, simply poured the eggs from the basket into the case. "So much easier," he said.
The end gate of the wagon let down and made a sort of shelf and here the huckster did a thriving business in the bolts of calico, muslin and gingham, buttons and thread which he could pull out to show and sell.
Hucksters had regular runs on regular days, and always had a certain place to stop, feed and rest their horses, and get dinner, the meal now called lunch. The home-maker always had an extra good dinner that day, for she always took out 50c worth in trade for it. I remember as a very small child, there was one who came to the old brick house from Willow Hill. Friday was the day he came and mother always had home-made egg noodles with sour-cream sauce, home-made bread, fresh churned butter, supplemented with fresh garden vegetables, all topped off with either baked apple dumplings or rough and ready peach pie. How that old bachelor huckster did enjoy his noon-time meal; no wonder they called it "dinner".
Hop Vines and Yeast
That home-made bread was made from hop-yeast. Grandfather always kept a few hop poles where the vines climbed in the orchard, alongside a few strands of bees. When the hops were dried, they were picked. Little round fluffy seed balls, they were stored in a sack, hung up in the kitchen until needed. To make the yeast, two cups full were put into a bowl, scalding hot water was poured over it, then the greenish juice was left to cool. It was then mixed with corn meal, rolled out, cut into squares, and put into a warm place to dry. When dry, it was stored in a box. Mother always made a whole winter's supply each fall. It was as much a ritual as making soap and preparing the winter's supply of meat; almost every neighbor who came to call carried off a couple square cakes of yeast wrapped in brown paper, in her pocket.
This yeast made the most fragrant bread. We children coming home from school in cold weather would slice up a whole loaf still warm from the oven, lather it with fresh churned butter, top it off with currant jelly. Food for the gods, no less!
Young people reading this must wonder "How old is the author of this history anyway to remember these old-time happenings". Well, first I have a good memory, second I'm old enough to be the mother of the "mayor of the town".
So you know I'm not from yesterday.
Fishing and Hunting
The fishing is still good around Sainte Marie, but the hunting has fallen off to a marked degree. Once, almost every man owned a gun and could go out in the hunting season and get a bag of game: prairie chickens, quail, rabbits or squirrels. In our grandparents' days, deer and wild turkey were plentiful. Wild fowl are still with us occasionally as in this story set The Newton Press in October, 1946:
"We have been having some visitors from the fly-ways these last few days. The Hamilton Marsh northeast of Sainte Marie of perhaps 200 acres, has been flooded by the recent rise of the Embarras River, and thousands of wild geese and ducks have stopped over on their way to the southland, are having a picnic there these last 10 days or so.
Sitting on the hill and looking out over the Marsh, with its weeds, willows and rushes, and except for the murmur of the feeding wild fowl, you can scarcely believe there are thousands of wild geese and ducks out there, and the water is alive with fishes. The whole south end is taken over by the ducks, pintail, mallards, shovellers and blue wing-tail. The center belongs undisputedly to the snow geese, while the whole north end has been taken over by the black Canadian honkers.
All is quiet. Suddenly, some hoarse voiced old gander sends out a ringing call, and the geese begin to rise. Fifty, a hundred, five hundred, a thousand, and through the deafening clamor you can hear the high shrill cry of the Brants, the quack, quack, quack of the disturbed ducks, the deeper honk of the Black Canadians and as the sun glints on the shimmering white feathers of the snow geese, they sail majestically out of sight, into some farmer's corn, wheat or bean field.
Perhaps in an hour they are back, sailing and circling aloft, each time a little lower, until they are reasonably sure it's safe to come down. Then down they come, some with orange feet leading, and with a splash and a few crackles settle on the water, others sliding down, first one wing leading, then the other, as though they are 'slap-happy' to have so much food to eat and water to swim and splash in.
On Nov. 4 the game law opens. With the first firing of the hunter's guns, they will be off, seeking a new refuge, perhaps Reelfoot, or Horseshoe Lake in the southern part of our state.
"We hope they live through many hunting seasons and come to visit us again. It's been thrilling having them with us !"
Brick Houses Landmarks
Besides many old frame houses there were in Sainte Marie Township three brick houses that were outstanding, each in its own way. The first to be built was the Jacques Picquet home in Sainte Marie Village, erected in 1844 and colonial in design. Built by French people, it followed the design of the homesteads in the French quarter of New Orleans. It has now been taken down by the owners, Albert and Harold Hartrich, to the first floor and is being used as a garage and workshop.
The second brick house was that of Joseph Petar Huber. This house was not as old as the Picquet mansion, but never-the-less six generations of the family slept beneath its roof. This homestead was built on the sand hills east of Sainte Marie, known as the Ridge. At one time, the road from the Bend led straight west from the Rennier Bridge, across the Huber farm. There was talk of building a bridge to cross the Embarras River here, but it was changed and the bridge was built farther south and is now known as the Yager bridge.
This house too is being dismantled by the owner. Frank Keller, a great grandson of the man who built it, and it will soon be but a memory.
Never will the younger generations appreciate what work these old pioneers did to make our country the fine place to live in that it is! At each of these homesteads the clay was hauled in, mixed in a hand-power mixer, moulded into bricks, then burned in a home-made brick kiln. The wood-work, doors, window frames and floors were trees of walnut, white and red oak, cut down on forest land they owned, hauled to a sawmill, seasoned, then planed down to a beautiful finish. How long it took the others to get their bricks burned and other material ready is not known, but the Huber house took three and a half years to make and burn the bricks alone.
Hearth Fire Dies in Old Huber Home After Burning Almost 90 Years
The story of the second brick house began as long ago and far away as 1823 when in Bavaria, Germany, on the 25th of January, Joseph Petar Huber was born. As he grew to manhood and was drawn into the military training which that country has always maintained to settle its disputes and fight wars, Joseph Petar Huber vowed, "Once I can get out of the country, I will shake the dust of the fatherland from my feet, go to that fine new country called America, across the sea and never return".
He came to America in 1853, stayed for awhile with friends in Philadelphia, Pa., then moved to Cincinnati, O. There he was married and lived for 10 years. Still feeling the urge to come farther west, he and his wife, Cresence, and their four small sons, Herman, 2, John, 4, Joseph, 6, and George 8, they loaded their few possessions into a covered wagon and started west. Crossing Illinois on a snowy Dec. 7 they came to a little village called Sainte Mary's.
Joseph Petar Huber was a Roman Catholic and had great devotion to the Virgin Mary. To him it was prophetic to come into a village named Sainte Mary's on the eve of the Immaculate Conception Feast Dec. 7, so here they would try to locate. The few settlers welcomed them. They were always glad to have new people come in, especially men with families. A man named Fore offered them free use of a cabin in a wooded area above the river on the sand hills east of Sainte Mary's' called the "Ridge". They could have it free for the winter if they would stay, so they accepted Mr. Fore's generosity, moved into the cabin, lighted a hearth fire that was to burn brightly for almost 90 years.
The next morning another settler named Shedlebower came over the hill carrying a sack of provisions on his shoulder. True, the sack contained only turnips, potatoes and parsnips, which he had dug from his outdoor pits, but to the little Huber family they were fresh vegetables. Such generosity Joseph Petar Huber never forgot. In all the years he lived, no one ever asked him for help in vain. The motto by which he lived and taught his sons was "Give generously, it will return".
By spring, Mr. Huber had taken stock of his surroundings. Here he found great white and red oak timber to build a house, barns and granaries, rich river bottom-land to grow corn, rolling hills to grow wheat, wood pastures to fatten cattle and hogs, and never failing springs flowing from out the sand hills. True, trees had to be cut and stumps cleared away before the land could be turned with a plough, but Joseph Petar Huber had great strength and faith, a fine family to work for and a lifetime in which to do the work.
When that little boy of two was four, the cabin was bursting at the seams with so much little-boy energy inside, so the family decided to build a log house. It was to be a real house, 15 feet wide and 25 feet long, two rooms below and one above, a huge fireplace at one end, and broad walnut stairway leading to the upper room.
Now they were all set for happiness, but their happiness was short lived for the first winter in the new log house the mother in the home died, leaving the father with four small ones to care for, a living to make and in a country where he hadn't as yet mastered the language. It was a sad time for him, but his great faith and kind neighbors saw him through. When that little boy of 2 was 14, they decided to build a brick house. Some of the neighbors laughed when they heard Mr. Huber and his boys planned to make and burn the bricks themselves, but they did make them, digging the clay from the river bank, mixing it in a hand-powered mixer.
They moulded the bricks painstakingly and burned them in a kiln which may still be found on the hill today. Many crooked and twisted bricks yet to be found there give mute evidence of how many bricks were spoiled before they finally had enough to do the job. It took three and one-half years before they had enough bricks to build their house. Their house was of two "L" shaped sections, 55 feet long and 40 feet wide, two and a half stories high, with a huge chimney at each end. The walls were 18 inches thick and some of the rooms 18-20 feet square with 10-1/2 foot ceilings.
Two huge halls ran through the house, and the curved stair-rail that led from the lower to the upper rooms still bears the axe marks showing how crude were the tools they had to work with. The beautiful stairway is now worn to a satin smoothness by the many hands which have grasped it. Window sills, like the door steps and the arch above each door and window, were made of sandstone dug from the river bed and shaped to fit. They are in as good condition today as when they were put in place.
The huge wine cellar, too, was a work of art with its arched ceiling of brick and no visible supports whatever. There were no fireplaces in the new home. Franklin stoves were just coming into the country. These stoves, made of cast iron and burning huge sticks of hickory wood, were installed.
About this time a railroad was being built through Sainte Marie. Joseph Petar Huber, like so many of his neighbors was ever willing to further the good of the community, put aside his own work, and helped for days to set ties and lay the heavy rails, all without pay. A new brick Church was planned and built in Sainte Mary's. He had little to give, but he could work, and this he did, until the Church was finished.
Years passed, George and John left home to seek their fortunes elsewhere. That little boy of two was now a grown man. In 1883, he married Mary Josephine Valbert. Now the third generation was growing up, and the old house rang with childish laughter. There were 11 people around the dining table, and the farm grew larger each year. In 1910, Joseph Petar Huber became ill and as his "boys" stood anxiously around his bed, on a cold Dec. 7 evening, he told them it was time to "Go forth". His dreams had all come true, he could die happy in the knowledge that what started out with a loaned cabin was now a well-stocked farm of several hundred acres which his sons could take over.
Years passed, that little boy of two was now a grandfather. He, too, grow old and tired. In 1916 he passed away and handed the old homestead to the third generation, and the fourth was growing up. It was like old times. Again there were 11 people around the dining table. Another gang of youngsters looked for wild flowers and mushrooms in the wood pastures, picked berries, gathered nuts in the fall and rowed the boats on the river.
More years passed. Now the fourth generation took over and the fifth was growing up. The sixth visited at the old homestead one summer. As the fifth generation grew toward high school it became increasingly difficult to get them to school.
A modern home on a gravel road with a school bus stopping in front of the door was to be had, so the fourth and fifth generations moved away, leaving the old homestead alone and desolate. Now the wind whistles through the empty barns and granaries, sighs mournfully through age-loosened door and window casements, across empty rooms where so many happy people have lived. The old brick house looks with bare un-curtained windows out across the river, the hearth fire started in a cabin almost 90 years ago has died out. As the snow drifts down on it this next cold Dec. 7 evening, laying a mantle of white on the buildings, the old Huber homestead will seem to know. Its days of usefulness are done.
Mound Builders and Indians
The first people who inhabited this part of Illinois were the mound builders. Just what their tribal name was is not known. In the extreme southwest part of Sainte Marie Township is a huge mound. Longer than wide, many say it is a formation of nature rather than a mound built by people.
In the Book "Plains, Indiana" published by National Geographic Magazine, I found a paragraph where it describes Indian Mounds as some being larger than wide or around.
Many years ago, some of the early settlers built a tower on the mound and placed a telescope in it. Here you could climb up possibly 50 feet, then looking about one could see for miles in all directions. Many broken bits of pottery, arrow heads and other Indian relics have been found on and about the Mound by farmers clearing the land and otherwise farming it.
There were many Indians in this part of Illinois, the Illini, Miami, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Sauk and Fox after the white man came. They were friendly Indians too that came each fall to hunt for the abundance of game in the Embarras bottoms and to trap furs. At a set time, fur traders from Vincennes would come to buy their peltry from the Indians. The Trading Post was on Dedication Hill and the early settlers were always interested spectators. Being farmers and interested in building homesteads they did not trap fur-bearing animals, no matter what the price paid for them. They hunted for food, and unless it was a predatory animal, for all they cared, the wild things could run free. Some of the Indian relics found around Sainte Marie Township have been put together on a bulletin board by E. C. Alblinger and can be seen at the Sainte Marie State Bank.
Axe heads, drills, skinning knives, pounding stones or grinding stones used to grind their grain, round balls no doubt used in playing games, arrow heads large and small have been found. Some are large ones used with bow and arrow to shoot wild turkey, geese and ducks, others are smaller for some like rabbit, quail and prairie chicken, all beautifully made and very sharp.
Indian Burial Grounds
Here, too, in Sainte Marie Township, Indian burial grounds came to light many years after the Indians were disbanded and gone. Some went farther west, others took up residence in reservations like Fork Wayne, in Indiana. One such burial ground was found on Grandfather Huber's farm. We children were born and grew up on this farm in a huge old red brick house. It was east of Sainte Marie across the Embarras River on a series of sand hills that began a few miles below Willow Hill and ended a few miles below Sainte Marie on the bend of the river.
Here on these sand hills beneath the huge forest trees, their tepees had some protection. With an abundance of game, and the river full of fishes, it was an Indian paradise indeed. Here Grandfather, father and my brother Lawrence were putting in a line fence, so that the older cattle could drink at the river and the younger stock water at the barns, and all could run in the woods pasture. In digging a post-hole with a post digger, they brought up a hard object. After scraping away the sand and dirt, they found it to be a human jaw-bone. The bone was large and coarse, the teeth worn down as though the owner had done some hard, tough chewing. Grandfather feared a murder had been committed on his farm, but our brother, being young and more venturesome, said, "Let's see what more is down there Grandpa".
The second digger-full brought to light part of a skull with reddish hair still clinging to it. This did not solve the mystery so they dug again, and this time several Indian beads were in the sand. Then they knew they had accidentally dug into an Indian burial ground. Looking about them they could see they were on a sandy, high knoll and a series of mounds circled about the top of each of the mounds, no doubt a burial place. Of course the story got out and on Sunday following the authorities came from Sainte Marie.
"Didn't Mr. Huber know it was against the law to dig into burial grounds without a permit?" Grandfather explained it had been an accident. "Just where are these Indian relics?" That gave one the idea it was curiosity that brought them, rather than the wish to uphold the law.
Again Grandfather explained how, after the family had looked at the object and the children wondered and talked about the people who roved these hills before them, he had returned the objects to where he had found them, covered them over, and left the Indian dead rest in peace.
Old Justice of Peace Books 1867
In an old Justice of the Peace book, found at the town hall, there were many interesting cases with names no longer in Sainte Marie. Under the date of July 25, 1875, was this entry:
Now comes Addison Fulton -- files complaint for one sheep damaged by dogs unknown. Randsom Graham and Haddock Graham, after hearing evidence, it was allowed Addison Fulton was entitled to $3.00 for loss of said sheep. --Michael Kratzmeyer J. P.
June 11, 1881:
Now comes Minnie Love and complains that Danville, Olney and Ohio River Railroad Company failed to pay her a certain demand, being a board bill, of a man employed by said company and expressly agreed to pay said board bill. The bill was $150.00, paid. -- Francis Althouse J. P.
May 3, 1893: Now comes Mary Lowisa Gass, makes and files her complaint under oath, charging William Donham with making threat to do her bodily harm with a deadly weapon. The defendant, failing to pay his fine, was committed to the Village Calaboose, to work out his fine on the village street under the supervision of the street commissioner. --Eugene Hartrich J. P.
Oct. 1, 1891: Now comes Minnie Leggett--Makes and files a complaint under oath that her neighbor Noah Deffendefer stole one hive of bees, worth $1.00. -- Wm. Pictor J. P.
Chattel Mortgages contained in the old books intrigue one too.
Dec. 30, 1893: Chattel Mortgage made by Mrs. Lily Russel in favor of Edward Latson, to secure the payment of one promisary note of even date, for $125.00 with 7 per cent interest from date until paid. One gray mare, 12 years old, called Kate, one bay horse, 10 years old, called Prince, one yearling colt, called Frank, one muley cow, one Studebaker wagon, one Deering mowing machine. The Mortgagor to retain possession of said property mortgaged until payment be made. Acknowledged before me by Mrs. Russel and entered this 30th day of Dec., 1893. --Eugene Hartrich J. P.
May 3, 1891: Now comes William Wenz, makes and files affidavit for writ in attachment against Noah Fairfield, the following goods and chattel worth $19.65: One team of mules, soon to be 8 years old. This trial to be held 8th day of May, 1891 at 9:00 o'clock A. M. Neither party appearing, it is considered by this court as case dismissed. --Francis Althaus, J. P.
In so many of the chattel mortgages, the people lost their belongings. In reading over these records, I often wondered how they could make a living after their horses, mules, cows and machinery were taken away from them. In looking through these old Justice of the Peace books, I marvelled at the fine hand-writing, page after page, as many as 75 to 100 pages without one blot, mistake, or misspelled word. Some of it was written so long ago no doubt they used quill pens. The finest was written by Francis Althaus, William Pictor and E. J. Gangloff.
From Sainte Marie Tribune Jan. 13, 1905
Pond Grove News
Who thought Pond Grove was dead?
Plenty of snow and ice. Tuesday morning the thermometer said it was the coldest weather we've had this winter.
Sammy Sterchi has built a new addition to his mill-shed. Sammy has a big new engine, 21 horse power, and a good set of hands. He will now make the business pay.
Bits and Pieces
D. L. Stewart advertises he pays the highest prices for poultry, eggs, butter, hides, beeswax and tallow.
Walter and Henry Picquet have the thanks of the community for cleaning off the streets with their new snow plough during the last snow storm.
In the Jan. 13 issue of Sainte Marie Tribune we find this choice item:
"If the gentleman who stole my small-pox vest out of my coal-shed will please return same, I will vaccinate him free of charge in order to protect the community." ---Dr. W. A. Wenz.
"Mrs. W. A. Wenz purchased the three white Wyandotte chickens which drew the first prize, at the Richland County Fair".
Xavier Picquet Mansion
(Written at the Time the Old Mansion Was Taken Down)
There is always a sadness in seeing an old landmark being torn down, especially when it is an old home.
Such is the case of the Xavier Picquet home in Sainte Marie, where the present owners, Jerome Hartrich and sons Albert and Harold, are tearing down the old Picquet home. Built in 1839 by Jacques Picquet, father of Joseph Xavier and James Jr., the old mansion is of French Colonial design. Many homes similar to it may still be seen in the old French quarters of New Orleans, La.
Beams Still Solid
The three story house measured 50x60 ft. with ceilings 12 ft. high. Huge beams 12 in. square run the full length of the house and are pinned at the crosses with wooden pegs, all of what oak for which Sainte Marie Township is justly famous, and all hewed by hand.
Despite their age of 111 years the beams and pegs are as solid today as the day they were put in place.
Oak lathes, too, were hewed by hand, and the plaster in between is a mixture of clay and straw.
Bricks used in building the home were fashioned by hand and burned in a kiln not far from the homestead.
Great fireplaces in every room gave one an idea of the manner in which the house was heated.
After seeing the blackened fireplace in the kitchen one can envision the many tasty roasts that found their way to the table.
Three stairways: The one in the front, a beautiful curved stairway, one in the rear, and one outside which led to the upper floors. A hall way 10 ft. wide ran the full length of the house, ran through the center of the dwelling opening into a balcony with huge pillars of sandstone topped with walnut columns 24 inches thick. Although weather beaten, they are as solid as the day they were put in place.
In the library on the second floor, doors and shelves are of solid native walnut, and the walls and cupboards 24 inches deep all made of walnut and reaching from floor to ceiling. The walnut paneled doors leading from the hall way into the living room and library are 6x9 feet in size.
They were made in France for the convent of Saint Mary's of the Woods in Indiana, but came by mistake to Sainte Marie. The task of getting them to their destination by ox teams was so great, the Picquets' purchased them and installed them in the mansion.
For several years the entire Picquet family lived in this house. In 1850 Joseph Picquet left for France to marry Rosine Muller. When he returned with his bride he built a beautiful home of his own just two blocks north of the old family home. Many years later this home was given to the Sisters of Charity, Springfield, Ill. When they gave it up, it went to the S. C. J. Priests of the Sacred Heart Missionaries.
Returning from the Civil War with the rank of lieutenant, Xavier Picquet married Elizabeth Hartrich. In 1867 he fell heir to the old homestead. It was he who raised his family. In 1933 Jerome Hartrich purchased the mansion and restored much if its old glamour. The problem of making a modern home of it was too great, however, and after a few years, the days of the old mansion were numbered: Jerome Hartrich built a new home near the mansion. After surviving 111 years of gracious living the old French colonial mansion was reduced to dust and rubble. Harold Hartrich and his family now live in the new house built to replace the old Picquet Mansion.
Sainte Marie Bank Serves Wide Area
The late Severine F. Laugel started a financial movement in Sainte Marie more than 57 years ago that led to what is now the Sainte Marie State Bank, an institution which serves an area far wider than its immediate local.
On April 26, 1905, Louis Huss, D. P. Ochs, Frank L. Merceret, Severine Laugel, Arthur Pictor, Joseph Picquet, A. J. Litzelman, Anselm Spitzer, J. M. Miller, William Reis, F. E. Kraus, Charles Litzelman, C. P. Harmon, P. C. Berns, Joseph Kaufmann, F. W. Kuechler, W. A. Wenz, William F. Mason, S. P. Berns, Jacob Rennier and Charles Barthelme formed a partnership to conduct a general banking business under the name of the Bank of Sainte Marie.
The business commenced on June 12, 1905, in the two-room, metal clad building north of Hartrich's Grocery with Frank L. Merceret as cashier.
Total resources on June 30, 1905, were $17,024.29.
The quarters now occupied by the bank were built in 1911.
On Dec. 14, 1920, the Bank of Sainte Marie was granted a charter by the State of Illinois to operate as a state bank, and the name was changed to Sainte Marie State Bank.
Total assets on June 30, 1962, were $2,383.084.69.
Early day advertisements of the bank carried the slogan: "If you have money, we want it; if you want money, we have it."
This was designed to show the two-fold purpose of the bank: 1, to provide a safe place for people to deposit their funds, and, 2, to furnish a place where they could borrow money for worthwhile purposes.
Today's slogan is, "The bank where a depositor never lost a dollar."
Ed Barthelme, who served the bank as president for many years, died in 1957. Present officers are: President, E. C. Alblinger; vice-president, Merle D. Yost; cashier, Mary Jean Ping; assistant cashier, James S. Geltz, and teller, Mrs. Geneva Swortfiger.
Directors beside Mr. Alblinger and Mr. Yost are Mrs. Mildred Alblinger and Mrs. Edna Laugel Peters.
Robbed in 1920
One of the highlights in the history of the bank came at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 21, 1920, when three men held up Cashier Irenis C. Barthelme and Gus Richards, the latter a customer who entered while the robbery was in progress.
The bandits took all the cash and paper resources of the bank except 78c. The loot amounted to $39,982.98, and all but 6c of the total was recovered.
All three bandits and their accomplices were captured.
The late J. A. Eaton Sr., was sheriff at the time, and Paul Girhard was his deputy. Deputy U. S. Marshal William Pippin and City Marshal Dan Miller also were given special mention for their work on the case. W. E. Isley was state's attorney. A large number of private citizens were used in the formation of a posse to capture the final bandit.
Germans Join French; Remember Band?
As the years passed in the history of Sainte Marie more settlers came in, many of them Germans.
It was odd how French and German people could not get along as neighbors in the Old World, but in the U. S. they could live side by side, work together for community, church and school without friction. It seemed that the very air was charged with peace and good will.
As a rule, where you could find a dozen or more Germans you will find a little German band. Such a band was organized in Sainte Marie. They played music for church picnics, socials and suppers and wedding parties. As a member grew older and winded, a younger man would step into his place. So it went for years.
As a very small child I remember Grandfather Huber would invite the Little Band over to the old Brick house for a Sunday afternoon concert. They would play out in the yard under the shade trees. Grandpa kept time with his foot, a far away look in his eyes as though he was remembering some happy time in his youth, back in the Father land.
After a few numbers like the Blue Danube and Viennese Waltz, Grandpa would pass a pitcher of homemade wine or cider for refreshments. Then the band would play again. It always seemed that the second half of the concert had more "oompah" than the first.
Toward evening the band boys would gather up their instruments and music, go trooping down the hill, cross the Embarras River in the skiff and go marching up the river road, keeping time to the big bass drum beaten by Drum Major Richard Pictor.
Industries and Fishing in Area
In about the year 1910, there were so many herds of fine dairy cattle around the community that farmers decided to build a creamery in Sainte Marie. This they did, hired Val C. Weurth of Sauk City, Wis., as butter maker with S. O. Alblinger as assistant. This went on for years, bringing thousands of dollars to the people around town. The creamery burned to the ground in 1915 and was not rebuilt.
In 1937 the Libby Canning Co., put a tomato station in town. This, too, was on the Xavier Picquet estate. J. J. Hartrich was manager. Although the plant only operated for a few years, the tomatoes grown were as fine as could be found anywhere and brought thousands of dollars into the community.
In 1922 the people in and around Sainte Marie, growing tired of the embarrassing way the river had of rising so fast and furiously, decided to levee the river bottoms and save their precious crops. This, of course, was a tremendous undertaking. Crawford and Callihan, dragline contractors, were contracted.
Above Sainte Marie it was the Sainte Marie Drainage District. James Kaufmann, Joseph Clark and Alex Ritz were district commissioners.
Below Sainte Marie it was the Captain Pond District, with Anthony Reis, William Houser and A. C. Bolander as commissioners.
The levees have been broken by floods, The break in June, 1957, was the worst of all.
Sainte Marie Once Had Hospital
In 1911 and 1912 Joseph Picquet and his daughter, Miss Marie, built a new brick house just east of the old one. The Sisters of St. Francis, a nursing order from Springfield, Ill., were looking for a place in the country.
Mr. Picquet donated his old home and a plot of ground to this order. They proceeded to build a two-story, 15 room addition to it.
Ran Four Years
The sisters cared for patients in the hospital and also did some home nursing. The hospital was known as "Home of Holy Name of Mary."
Sister Sabastina was the superior, and Sister Urbana was head nurse. The hospital began operations in 1913 but because of poor roads, making it hard to get patients to and from the hospital, the sisters gave it up in 1917. The house was vacant for awhile, but not for long.
The Sacred Heart Missionaries from Germany were seeking a place for the novitiate in the North American province. Through a long and devious correspondence, Father P. J. Virnich, then pastor of St. Mary's church, heard about it. He cordially invited them to come to Sainte Marie, went with them to Springfield to see Bishop Griffin and ask his permission to enter this diocese.
It was graciously given and on March 19, 1925, Father Fohromann took possession of the house which had been the home of the founder of Sainte Marie, Joseph Picquet. Soon afterward the Sisters of St. Francis deeded the property to the Sacred Heart Missions.
Now they had the first foundation of their order in the North American province. In 1925 Father Fohromann, the pioneer of the province, came to Sainte Marie to stay. They continued to clean, clear and to build till now it is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the state of Illinois. The highlight of their foundation here in Sainte Marie is the building of a beautiful new chapel. At the blessing of the chapel Bishop Griffin called it, "An unique temple, a gem, in our province." Mr. Picquet, who lived only a few months in his beautiful new home, has long since passed away. Mrs. Charlotte Rudd, a granddaughter, gave the lovely home to the Sacred Heart Mission.
Dr. Leon J. Willien
Joseph Picquet made eight trips back to France and on his third trip back to the United States, there accompanied him a young widow, Mrs. Leon Willien, and her four-year-old son Leon. Mrs. Willien was a sister of the first Ferdinand and Theodore Hartrich in Sainte Marie. They settled in Sainte Marie, Jasper County, Ill.
Leon J. Willien was born Oct. 8, 1840, in Alsace-Lorraine, France, son of a noted physician and professor in the University of Strassburg. His early education was under the instructions of a French tutor. He married Mary Fleming. Their children were: Dr. W. F. Willien, Leon, Mrs. Helen O'Mara, Mrs. Gertrude Reiman and Hermine.
Dr. Willien studied at St. Louis Medical College in St. Louis, Mo., then spent three years at the University of Strassburg, graduating from that famous school of surgery in 1864. He practiced in Jasper county and Effingham, Illinois, until he went to Terre Haute in 1872. He was a founder of St. Anthony Hospital Medical Staff in 1882 in Terre Haute and a pioneer abdominal surgeon of the Wabash Valley. His office was at Seventh and Chestnut streets in Terre Haute. He died June 17, 1919, after a year's illness.
He was a member of the Vigo County Medical Society in 1874; was president of the Indiana State Medical Society in 1881; was a member of the American Medical Association, the Aesculapian Society, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1913. He was physician to St. Mary of the Woods College for 35 years, a Catholic and a Democrat.
Dr. Willien published six books on medicine. One was the earliest ever published by a Vigo County, Indiana, doctor. His income was large but he was so generous with his family that in his old age he was forced to continue in general practice to make a livelihood, not that he desired otherwise, for he was untiring in his devotion to the practice of medicine. In stature he was short and of a quick, nervous temperament. He discussed medical subjects ably, fluently and in perfect English but with a pronounced Alsatian accent. He was noted for his devotion to professional ethics. In December, 1887, he reported to the Vigo County Medical Society concerning his extensive visits to hospitals in Europe.
Like all busy people Dr. Willien needed an occasional vacation. He dearly loved to come back to Sainte Marie to tramp the woods and prairie fields hunting for deer, wild turkey, grouse, quail and prairie chickens. He was after heard to remark that he didn't know which he enjoyed the most, tramping the woods and fields in the fresh air, or sitting down to a table loaded with good country food and fruits of the hunt, in the homes of his relatives and friends in Sainte Marie.
Dr. Willien's mother returned to Sainte Marie in her old age and made her home with the Sisters of St. Joseph, who kept aged patients as well as orphan children, in the building that was later used as a school.
History of Sainte Marie Paper
A newspaper was established in Sainte Marie by Otis Stanley of Newton in 1900. Called the Sainte Marie Tribune, it was published Friday of each week and the subscription price was $1 per year.
In the Jan. 9, 1903, issue, we noticed an advertisement of Charles Barthelme, general merchandise, offering boy's no-rip shoes for $1.25 per pair, also A. A. Strutner's ad: "Cool beer. Your jug trade solicited."
S. F. Stanley advised you "Don't Go Hungry. While in Newton Stop at Stanley's restaurant for a good hot meal, including soup, price 20c, north of Cox's saloon."
In the Nov. 11, 1904, Tribune was an advertisement of the C. H. and D. railroad, "Two through trains to St. Louis World's Fair, landing you and your baggage at the gate."
Spitzer and Litzelman, implement dealers, advised the public they had a new shipment of Flint wagons and scoop boards. In a December, 1910, issue, the Sainte Marie Dramatic club announced it was putting on a show, "Pennsylvania Kid," Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, admission 25c.
In November, 1911, M. L. Keavin of Newton advertised a sale of Amoskeag gingham at 4 ½ c per yard and hope muslin, 10c and 12c values, at 6 ¾ c per yard. Men's odd pants, peg top, were offered at $1.90 per pair.
In 1904 A. F. Alblinger, age 17, who had been typesetter for Otis Stanley took over the Tribune with J. J. Rider as typesetter and continued to publish the little newspaper, recording the births, deaths, goings and comings, good news and bad news of the little community.
In 1905 the paper was moved to the building where the old post office was, and the Bell telephone company put in their switchboard in one room while the paper was printed in the other. This continued for several years.
In 1917 when World War I was raging, August F. Alblinger was one of the first young men from Jasper county called to the Army. The Tribune was discontinued and is now only history.
Sainte Marie has been served for years by The Newton Press, a twice-a-week newspaper published in the county seat, and since Dec. 23, 1959, by The Newton Press-Mentor, the county's only newspaper.
Swine Testing Station Spreads Fame
Sainte Marie's latest claim to fame is an institution which actually has brought fame to all of Jasper county.
This is the feed and carcass swine testing station operated for the past eight years by the Jasper County Swine Herd Improvement Association on the Andrew Sheridan farm at the west edge of the village along Route 130-A.
Mr. Sheridan serves as herdsman for the association and has won the confidence and respect of all concerned with the station.
The station operates under all the strict rules and regulations of the Illinois Swine Improvement Association, and the facts and figures compiled and thoroughly checked each year provide the irrefutable evidence which put Jasper county at the top of the modern pork production world.
A field day is held each year at the close of the testing station period. Part of this field day is held at the station itself. The group of interested persons also goes to the Hartrich meat processing plant to check the carcasses of hogs which have been slaughtered.
Low Grade Hogs Scarce
It is interesting to note that leaders of the association always have found plenty of home-grown Jasper county hogs to grade No. 1, but to get a low grade hog to use for comparisons they have frequently had to go all the way to another county!
(Editor's Note: The name of the other county is omitted to avoid embarrassment to those farmers who haven't had tender-lean pork production preached to them by The Newton Press-Mentor for 10 to 12 years).
Stores' Role in Life of Sainte Marie
At one time there were four general merchandise stores on the square in Sainte Marie, those of Joseph Leinhart, Pictor Bros., Charles Barthelme and I. Kolb. This Barthelme store was first operated by Francis Schneider, then was taken over by Charles Barthelme in 1895. Nowhere else could you get such a bag of candy for 5c as at Barthelme's store.
Retires in 1914
Mr. Barthelme retired in 1914 and his younger brother Ed, took over the business. For 42 years Ed Barthelme was busy waiting on customers and making friends. In 1946 the store burned to the ground. Before the ashes were cold, another building across the street, owned by Mr. Barthelme, was open, a new stock installed, and again he was in business. It is now known as "Ed Barthelme's Sons." Gilbert and Francis (Gil and Bud) Barthelme took over the Barthelme store in February, 1947.
The other three stores have long been gone.
A number of new stores were started, flourished for awhile, then went out of business.
Meat Processing Plant
Hartrich Brothers, Albert and Harold, bought out the Robards Bros., grocery store and started a meat processing plant. Their hickory smoked hams and sausages are known for miles around. Their meat processing plant is also on the Xavier Picquet place.
Albert and Harold Hartrich are great grandsons of one of the first pioneers, Theodore Hartrich.
There are still taverns in town where you can get a cool beer, but a jug trade is obsolete.
There is a barber shop where you can get a good hair cut, as well as two beauty parlors.
Interesting Bits of History
The church at Sainte Marie was named Assumption at first, later changed to St. Mary's.
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In about 1907 C. E. Lamoth built a grain elevator near the C. H. & D., railroad. Cars could be loaded right from the elevator. It was an important business in its day. In about 1912 it burned to the ground and was not replaced.
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Miss Georgiana Spitzer, now Mrs. G. C. Brown, was organist at the church for almost 40 years.
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Mrs. Bernadette Zuber was president of the Mother's Club when the hot lunch program was started in the school in Sainte Marie in 1947.
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Many small businesses, such as drug stores, restaurants, meat markets and cream stations, dress and millinery shops were started through the years, flourished for awhile, then went out of business.
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A new steel bridge was built across the river in 1919.
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H. T. Kirts was the first commander of Legion Post 932 in Sainte Marie.
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Mrs. Clare Hartrich was the first president of American Legion Auxiliary in Sainte Marie.
Our Fine Modern Post Office
Sainte Marie's fine modern post office was formally dedicated Sunday, Oct. 15, 1961. The U. S. Postal Department has given mail service to Sainte Marie for over 124 years, with an established Post Office for 123 years. Since the establishment of the first Post Office here in 1839, the location has been changed five times, but this is the first time new quarters have been furnished. Records show that the first mail to be delivered in Sainte Marie was contracted Oct. 17, 1837, to William Barrick. According to the contract, mail was carried from Lawrenceville, Ill., (via Stringtown) Sainte Marie, Newton, Greenup and Campbell to Coles court house, a distance of 73 miles and back, once a week; the salary $365 per year. The mode of transportation, at first, as were other mail contracts, at that time in Illinois, was by horseback, later by stage and wagon, also by boat up the Embarras River. The first official Post Office in Sainte Marie was established Nov. 23, 1838, with Joseph Picquet as postmaster. He served for 16 years.
From Nov. 23, 1838, the name of Saint Marie was official, but on June 20, 1892, the spelling of the name was changed to Sainte Marie, the French settlers requesting it have the French spelling.
Since the establishment of the Post Office in Sainte Marie in 1838, there have been 11 postmasters, four having served at different intervals by reappointment. Following is the list of the postmasters and the date of appointment:
Joseph Picquet--Nov. 23. 1838; Joseph Schifferstein--April 18, 1854; Cornelius Crowley--Jan. 27, 1864; Joseph Schneider--Oct. 19, 1866; Cornelius Crowley--Jan. 25, 1871; Joseph Schneider--Feb. 7, 1871; Cornelius Crowley--May 7, 1872; Mary Crowley--March 10, 1874; Mathias Laugel--Nov. 13, 1874; Joseph Schneider--Nov. 13, 1876; John J. Rider--Sept. 23, 1885; Xavier Picquet--May 26, 1889; John J. Rider--May 3, 1893; Xavier Picquet--May 8, 1897; Ruth Picquet--March 15, 1898; Josephine LaMotte--July 20, 1914, and Lena (Alblinger) Kirts--July 5, 1918, to date.
The office was 4th class from 1838 to July 1, 1930, when it was changed to Presidential classification, later relegated to 4th. In 1944, because of the increased volume of mail, it was raised to third class, which is its present status.
Since C. H & D., railroad was discontinued in 1919, the mail service has been through Star Route Carriers.
Clerks who have served in the Post Office are:
Eloise Barthelme from Sept. 12, 1932 to Jan. 31, 1946.
Eugenia Kirts, March 1, 1946 to Aug. 16, 1947.
Geneva Shedlebower, Aug. 21 to Oct. 18, 1949.
Mary Moran, Nov. 10, 1947 to Oct. 1, 1949.
Averil Keller, Nov. 1, 1949 to date.
The new building is 25 x 41 ft. with a rear loading ramp of concrete 21 x 17 ft., some 10 inches high. A crushed rock driveway leads to the rear. The exterior of the building is of Norman brick.
Large panels of glass enhance the front as does the planter filled with colorful flowers. A two-tone color scheme is intensified by 12 double tube fluorescent lights. Temperature control is available with an automatic gas furnace and a 2-1/2 ton air-conditioner. Ample hot water is available. The floor covering is vinyl floor tile.
Building contractors were Albert Russell, George Russell and T. V. Michl. The building is owned by John Alblinger and leased to the Post Office Department.
Personnel of the Post Office moved into the new building Oct. 1, 1961. Few were the pieces of equipment moved from the old quarters to the new as the Post Office Department has installed all new and modern equipment.
Beloved Sainte Marie Doctor
This is the Late Dr. G. C. Brown, a beloved Sainte Marie physician for many years. Dr. Brown also became widely known through his work as superintendent and physician in state hospitals. His widow yet resides in Sainte Marie.
Home Bureau was first organized in Jasper county in 1945. The home adviser came from Effingham to hold meetings in Jasper.
Two years later Jasper hired a home adviser of its own, and a number of new units were formed. At present there are 20 units, each sponsoring a 4-H Club.
There are three Home Bureau units in Sainte Marie Township: Home Sainte Marie Day, Sainte Marie night, and Bend unit. Home Bureau has added much to the lives of the homemakers in Sainte Marie Township.
History of Our 4-H Clubs
4-H Clubs for Girls
The first 4-H Club in Sainte Marie was organized by the late Mrs. Merle D. Yost in 1929, at the time she and her family lived here. The leaders were Mrs. G. C. Brown and Miss Elizabeth Picquet, (now Mrs. A. C. Bolander).
There were 10 members, and now they are grandmothers with grandchildren in 4-H. Down through the years there have been many clubs and leaders. Leaders that are and were outstanding are Mrs. Elmer Kocher, 11 years as leader, Mrs. Winifred Michl, 9 years, and Miss Christine Alblinger, 7 years. Miss Alblinger is a teacher at Newton Community High School.
Other leaders of the 4-H clubs are Mrs. Frank Zuber, Miss Agnes Pictor, Miss Frances Hann, Miss Eugenia Kirts, Mrs. Mayme Hartrich, Mrs. Frances Barthelme, Mrs. Marcella Menke, Mrs. Eufala Bigard, Mrs. Dorothy Huger, Miss Sylvia Geltz, Miss Joyce Alblinger, Mrs. Martha Stone, Mrs. Geraldine Gowin, Mrs. Emma Cameron, Mrs. Celeste Keller, Mrs. Mildred Schmidt, Mrs. Renee Spitzer, Mrs. Ada Mae Moran, Mrs. Maxine Hartrich, Mrs. Marcella Menke, Miss Shirley Stone, Mrs. Melba Rose Sheridan and Mrs. Marcella Strutner.
Officers of the Helpful Little Hands 4-H Club in 1962 are as follow: President, Judy Litzelman; vice-president, Carol Swisher; secretary, Kay Barthelme; treasurer, Bonnie Hunzinger.
Requirements of the Helpful Little Hands 4-H Clubs are, to be 10 years of age by July 1, completing a record book and turning it in to the local leader, giving a talk or demonstration at some meeting of the local club, and making an exhibit of the project at a local or county exhibition.
The 4-H girls' projects are cooking, baking, room improvement, sewing, outdoor cooking, and photography for 1962. Achievement programs included picnics, parties, special programs where two or more clubs get together and invite the whole community, barbecues and meals cooked and served by the 4-H club to their parents and leaders.
There are 33 girls in the Helpful Little Hands 4-H Club for 1962. Twenty-three of them are taking a sewing project. The first year sewing project is called "You Learn to Sew", in which they make a simple gathered skirt. The main object is to learn to use the sewing machine. The following years their project is titled "You Make Your Own Clothes". If the girls stay in 4-H three to four years they may go from simple sewing to tailoring.
Cooking classes are made up of the following projects: "You Learn to Bake", "It's Fun to Cook", "Meat in Your Meals", "Adventures in Cooking", "Pastry in You Meals", "Yeast Breads" and "A B C's of Cooking".
Other projects in our club consist of "Flower Arranging" and "Candle Making". There are 10 girls in these two projects. Under usual circumstances the girls are allowed to take as many projects as they can properly handle. Due to the great number of girls in this club (the largest club in Jasper county) the girls were restricted to as many projects as they had years in club work. For instance girls who had four years in club work were allowed four projects, etc.
The Helpful Little Hands have Mrs. Melba Rose Sheridan as their leader and assisting in sewing classes are Mrs. Benita Barthelme and Mrs. Marcella Strutner.
Miss Carolyn Swope, our Jasper county home adviser, remarked to the author just recently while talking about 4-H, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get together the 4-H Alumni of Jasper County?" And indeed it would.
Boys' 4-H Clubs
The boys' 4-H Clubs in Sainte Marie don't date back as far as the girls', nevertheless they have been doing some very good work and their leaders, past and present, are to be commended for the time and patience they have expended to the 4-H Clubs.
Officers of the Chore Boys are: President, Anthony Reis; vice-president, Ed Kaufmann; secretary-treasurer, Florent Ochs; assistant secretary, Eddie Faltemier; reporter, Eddie Reis. Projects covered this year are: Crops, Swine, Photography and Dog Care. Through the generosity of Sainte Marie Legion Post 932, the 4-H Chore Boys have always held their meetings there.
This year's 4-H leaders are Theodore Kocher, Lawrence Helregel and Vic Ochs. Past Sainte Marie Chore Boys 4-H Club leaders have been Kenneth Stone, Louis Ochs, Norbert Ochs, Robert Helregel, Norton Reis, Richard Ochs, Ted Kocher, Victor Ochs and Harold Harris.
4-Leaf Clover Girls 4-H Club
This year leaders of the 4-Leaf Clover Girls are Audrey Ikemire, leader for two years, and Mrs. Winifred Michl, leader for 11 years.
Officers are: President, Mary Ellen Kraus; vice-president, Mickey Tracy; secretary, Tamra Ikemire; treasurer, Brenda Schoffstall; and the other girls are Brenda Michl, Sandra Seaney, Diana Tracy, Rose Marie Boehl, Marlene Boehl and Kay Seaney.
Projects are handicraft, table covers for beginners, you make your own clothes, yeast breads, freezing, flower arrangement, you learn to bake, adventure in cooking, you learn to sew and ABC's of foods.
Past leaders have been Mrs., Winifred Michl, Mrs. John Fisher, Mrs. Shirley Kraus and Mrs. Audrey Ikemire.
The Bend 4-H Club
The adult leaders of The Bend 4-H Club are Noel Ikemire, John R. Michl and Hamer Stone. The club officers are: President, John C. Michl, vice-president, Gregory Ikemire; secretary, Pat Stone; treasurer, Ralph E. Michl; reporter, Jerry A. Michl; recreation leaders, Pat Stone and Gregory Ikemire.
Projects in the club are Swine, Gardening, Crops, Entomology and Photography.
Old Homes Represented Happy Families
In writing the history of Sainte Marie township, Precincts one and two, I've come across some unusual stories. There are a number of frame houses around here that are more than 100 years old, but there were three brick houses, each outstanding in its own way. They were the Jacques Picquet house in Sainte Marie the Joseph Petar Huber house on the sand hills east of town called the ridge, and the Rennier homestead above the Rennier bridge in the Bend.
All three of these houses were built of what is slightingly called, "soft brick". That is, they were made of native clay and burned in a kiln on the homestead grounds. But these old houses weathered many storms and with care could have sheltered several generations more. But modern home-makers took a dim view of 18x22 feet rooms, with 10 to 12 foot ceilings. They were hard to clean and heat, so the old homesteads went the way of so many of our pioneer possessions.
The Rennier homestead was begun by Valentine Krause in about 1870, but before the old gentleman could complete his fine house he died. It is fashioned along the lines of the huge square brick houses in that very German city, Cincinnati, O.
It is three stories, and the basement comes out on the ground level on the south side. One can still faintly smell the fragrance of the old wine cellar. There are five sunny rooms on the first floor, all 15 or 18 feet square with 10 foot ceilings, the same number of rooms above, and then a huge attic. Along the full length of the east side of the house was a veranda overlooking the garden.
Around 1875 a young German farmer, Jacob Rennier, came into the Bend. He married Gertrude Krause, foster daughter and niece of Valentine Krause, and together they finished building the brick house Valentine Krause had begun.
At first they lived in a log house, but when their third child, Matilda, was born they moved into the new brick home. Five generations of one family have slept beneath this roof. A story was told to me the day of the sale of the household goods.
When the eldest daughter was married there were so many wedding guests, the beds piled high with coats, caps and sleeping babies. The two little Rennier boys, finding no bed to sleep in, climbed into a huge old walnut wardrobe and made a bed of quilts they found there.
Morning came and the dance over, the frantic parents searched everywhere for the missing pair. They were stunned to see them come strolling out, Sunday suits all rumpled, wanting to know what the fuss was all about.
The homestead was a place where whole hams were put to boil in the wash boiler, mounds of chicken were fried, great loaves of bread were baked, crocks of butter were home-churned and sweet cream and great pitchers of milk came fresh from the spring house.
No need of a super market here for fresh fruit or vegetables, either.
The vegetable garden was a thing of beauty, with long rows of sweet corn, new peas, potatoes, lettuce and radishes, an asparagus and strawberry bed of long standing, pyramids of pole beans hanging thick with wax and lima beans, a sea of cucumber and melon vines, raspberry canes and grape arbor all bordered about with sweet summer flowers.
Here, too, you found the hop vines and bee hives. The orchard, too, was a picture. The apple, cherry and peach trees were well cared for, for a whole season of fruit was to be had here. Nut trees, too, were here, walnut, hickory, shell barks and pecans.
With their beeves, porkers, sheep and poultry, these were the independent and self-sufficient people who helped to make our country great.
A sale of the Rennier household goods was held. Standing back in the spring sunshine one could watch antique buyers with a gleam in their eyes bid in old walnut bedsteads, chests of drawers, spinning wheels, cobbler's tools that were used to make wooden shoes, wool carders, looms for carpet and material poke jars and wine jugs. You knew this was the passing of a way of life that is no more.
Here, to, the wind whistles through the empty barns and granaries, sighs mournfully through casements across empty rooms where so many happy people have lived. It is to be hoped some energetic young farmer with his family take over the old Rennier homestead and bring it back to life again.
Saint Mary's Cemetery
Saint Mary's cemetery is an interesting and historical place.
Laid out by the founding fathers, it covers possibly two acres of ground on a gentle rise at the south end of Sainte Marie.
Fine old pine trees shade the well-kept graves. Here we find tombstones marked Jacques Picquet, born 1791, and Theodore Hartrich, 1793. On many stone markers the birth dates are in the early 1800's.
Paul Bogard, flag committeeman of American Legion Post 932, Sainte Marie, told us in 1957 that there are 24 known Civil War veterans buried there, including such well known names as those of Col. J. J. Rider, Lieut. Xavier Picquet and First Sergt. Dan O'Donnel. There are graves of veterans of the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict.
Within a space of possibly 100 square feet there are graves of soldiers of five wars.
In the town cemetery there are bodies of two Civil War veterans.
In Saint Mary's cemetery, there are the graves two priests, Father Laughran, who was assistant to Father Sandrock, died in 1860, and Father Virnich, who came to Sainte Marie in 1881 and was the parish priest for more than 52 years. Both of these priests asked to be buried with their parishioners.
Letter From White House
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 16, 1962
Dear Mrs. Hartrich:
Many thanks for your letter to the President concerning the joint observance of the 125th Anniversary of your town of Sainte Marie and Saint Mary's Church.
May I, on the President's behalf, extend warm greetings and best wishes to all who will be gathering for this notable event. Through the years your town and church have contributed to the strength and vitality of both the community and the Nation, and the President is confident that you will continue to grow in service to God and man.
Ralph A. Dungan,
Special Assistant to the President
Mrs. Ferdinand Hartrich
Post Office Box 121
Sainte Marie, Illinois
Friendly letters of congratulations also were received from Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois and the office of Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago.
Letter from Father De Palma
Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia
July 1, 1961
Dear Mrs. Hartrich:
I am pleased to learn that next year Sainte Marie shall celebrate its 125th birthday and that for the special anniversary a history of the town shall be published. Please accept our heartiest congratulations and sincere wishes for a truly joyful commemoration.
I am particularly pleased to share in your joy because of the happy relationship which has existed between the residents of Sainte Marie and vicinity, especially the members of the Assumption Parish, and our religious community for over 35 years. Moreover, as local superior of the Sacred Heart Novitiate I became acquainted with various members of the Sainte Marie community and, above all, was privileged to take a small part in the religious service of the members of the Assumption parish. Believe me, we have very fond memories of those years between 1945 and 1952.
I should add that during the above-mentioned years I came into closer contact with the mending club--generous and kind women of the Sainte Marie Parish. It is certainly good to hear that the Ladies of the Altar Society have again formed a mending club and continue to meet at the Sacred Heart Novitiate. We are ever grateful to them and all others who have been and still are so kind to our Fathers, brothers, Novices and Postulants. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus reward all of you in His unique way.
With cordial greetings to all and an assurance of my humble prayers for continued success and prosperity in the Lord, I remain
Very respectfully in Christ,
Joseph De Palma, S.C.J., Sup. Gen.
The very Rev. Joseph De Palma, S.C.J., who is Superior General over 22 countries, was on a regular visitation to the North American Continent these past three months. Father De Palma studied as a novitiate at the Mission in Sainte Marie in about 1925. On June 19 the ladies of the mending club, who go each week to do the mending for the 60 or more students and priests, were invited to a Mass read especially for them by Father De Palma. In visiting with the club later, Father De Palma told them "Of all the countries and cities I've seen, I still like the S.C.J., home here the best. I hope to end my days in peaceful Sainte Marie." The mending club was organized by Miss Marie Picquet, daughter of Pioneer Joseph Picquet, about 33 years ago. One member, Miss Mary Bolander, attended every mending day for 25 years without being absent once.
Wabash Valley Association
One of the newer and very important organizations in this area is the Jasper County Chapter of the Wabash Valley Association.
The organization, formed about four years ago, is dedicated to work for the total development of the water resources of the Wabash River Basin, with specific emphasis locally on the Embarras River Valley, of which our area is a vital part.
The Jasper County Chapter is one of the most active of all the chapters in both Illinois and Indiana. There are approximately 150 members.
Officers of the chapter are: President, Eugene Hartrich; vice-president, Burton Acklin; and secretary, Clete Jansen. Other directors are Lowell Diel, Glenn Dappert, Charles Graham, Noel Ikemire, Sheldon Kocher and Louis Valbert.
Merle D. Yost and R. E. Apple are directors from the Jasper County Chapter to the Wabash Valley Association. Mr. Yost also is a member of the Executive Committee of the W. V. A.
The Author's Thanks
We come now to the closing chapter of this history of Sainte Mary's Church, Sainte Marie and Sainte Marie Township. To you who have read it we hope you have learned some historical facts you did not know before, hope you enjoyed our little jokes and stories, hope, too, the younger generation has a better understanding of the trials and tribulations of our Pioneer forefathers.
Never will we appreciate all the hardships they endured to clear away the forests, build tillable fields free of stumps, build fine highways and pleasant homes. There are discrepancies, of course. Going back over 125 years, it is not humanly possible to do otherwise.
Our thanks go to Rev. George Windsor for the story of the priests since Father Peter Virnich, History of the Saint Mary's Church down to the present day; to J. N. Yost and Dorthan Reigle of the Bend vicinity for their invaluable help in tracing names and dates in their churches, schools and cemeteries.
To all the advertisers, whose financial help made this book possible.
To Mrs. Kathryn Hobgood of Evansville, Ind., who came to my home to type the script I'd written; to Mrs. Mary Ready for her hours of talk on "olden" times from which I caught many names and dates; to Kathy Gowin for typing for me; to Mrs. Charlene Bolander, good friend, for her help in getting together the names of all our religious nuns from Sainte Marie, names too, of all our citizens who lived to be more than 90 years, and the names of those who weathered the storms of married life for more than 60 years.
My thanks to everyone who helped with this history in the smallest way.
It is my sincerest wish that everyone continue to plant trees, flowers and shrubs around their homes and farmsteads, and I'll feel amply paid. By doing this we not only beautify our homes, we beautify our Community, State and Nation.
"We are part of the early history of the State of Illinois"
Very Sincerely Yours,
Mrs. Ferdinand Hartrich, Historian,
Sainte Marie, Illinois
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