Jasper County, Illinois
Jasper County Illinois and Community Programs Following the War.
A Study by the Jasper County Community Council
Assisted by College of Agriculture, University of Illinois and Bureau of Agricultural Economics U. S. Department of Agriculture
Jasper County, Illinois -- Wartime Influences And Community Programs Following The War
A - How Many People?
People in Jasper County
1865 -about - 10,000
1905 - about - 20,000
1945 - about - 10,000
1965 - How many ???
Abe Lincoln, as a young man moving into Illinois from Kentucky via southern Indiana in 1830, went across the Wabash River at Vincennes (now U. S. 50), but circled north and west to cross the Embarrass River forty miles above the pioneer settlement at Newton. However, many settlers coming by these southern gateways, looking for timbered lands rather than for the black prairies farther north, stopped off in Crawford County so that in 1831 the western end of that county was established as a separate county (Jasper) with a population of about 1,000. In 1834 a group of 50 families from Alsace-Lorraine settled around Ste. Marie, 10 miles down the river from Newton. As this territory was in the North-South border there was also a steady Yankee and Scotch-Irish migration via northern gateways like Terre Haute (now U. S. 40) so that by 1850 there were 3,799 people in Effingham County. 3,718 in Cumberland and 3,220 in Jasper. This territory was, however, still thinly settled as compared to the rest of Illinois. In 1850 Jasper was the ninety-fifth county in population, only 7 containing less people. By 1860 Jasper contained 8,364 to Effingham's 7,816, but directly after the Civil War there was a more rapid movement into Effingham so that in 1870 it contained 15,653 to Jasper's 11,234. Many of these were Germans via Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis who spilled over in the 1870's into the northwest township of Jasper.
A few Bavarians and Rhineland Germans came directly from the old country in the following decades, but in 1899 out of a total population of 18,188 only 354 had been born in Germany, although people with German and Alasatian names owned a considerable proportion of the land in 6 of the 11 townships.
The crossing of two railroads (now ICRR) at Newton stimulated its growth from a county seat village to a town of 1630 by 1900, while Wade township surrounding it had 4,283 or over one-fifth of the county population. Meantime the high pioneer birth rate and continued immigration had so filled up other townships that Crooked Creek had 2,756, Grandville 1,956, South Muddy 1,477, mostly living on small farms. The peak population ever reached by the county, 20,160, was in 1900, making it 62nd in size in the state, with 40 Illinois counties less thickly populated.
From this peak in population there has been a steady decline since 1900. People have moved out of Jasper County or have died in numbers so much in excess of the births and the in-movers that the county in 1945 contained only about half as many persons as in 1900. The proportion who were children and youth was much smaller than in 1900, while the proportion of aged was much larger.
Population of Townships and Villages, 1900 to 1940
Rose Hill Village
(St. Marie Village
Willow Hill Village
Jasper Population, Compared with That of Bordering Counties
Suggested Topics For Discussion, (For Groups or Organization Meetings)
1. Why did so many people move into Jasper and neighboring counties between 1850 and 1900?
2. Why have Jasper and Cumberland lost population since 1900, while the other three have gained in population?
3. Are the people in Jasper County, as a whole, now more prosperous and living more happily than did twice their number in 1900?
4. Can twenty thousand people live in the county in the future as prosperously and happily as about ten thousand do now.
5. Should Jasper strive for about the same population in the future as now, or more? Or less?
B- Who Are These People?
The People in Horse and Buggy Days
Jasper, being in the southern fringe of the corn belt, along the North-South border, is still in the process of bringing together into a common "culture" the descendants of the early Kentuckians and other southerners with the Yankees and Germans and others whose forebears came with northern sentiments.
It is interesting to note that prior to 1850 in spite of immigration from the north and east by way of the Great Lakes and the National Road the economic and political sympathies of the agricultural Midwest had been with the agricultural south. There were many differences between these two farming sections, especially over slavery, but they had been so bound together by the steamboats of the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash and had such common grievances against the money lenders in the east that they had stood together on major matters of politics through many campaigns.
The development of railroads changed things. By the time the Civil War between the states was begun, a third of the railroad mileage of the entire country was in the middle western states, tending to tie them up closely with the expanding commercial activities and markets of the north and east. There was a migration of boom proportions from the north and east from 1860 to 1900. A considerable eddy of this current reached Jasper without, however, shifting its political allegiance away from the Democratic party until very recent years and then only partially.
County Seat Community Influenced by the War
Facing north, standing in front of the court house in Newton, the white marble memorial "erected by Jaseper [sic] County in memory of veterans of all wars" is a striking feature in an otherwise typical Midwest county seat square. All the other public and private structures in the town and villages, as seen from the outside, fit without special distinction into the generally flat countryside. The good taste of the veterans' organizations responsible for this means of making "patriotic service forever remembered" may symbolize the inherent patriotism of the people of this county which sent its quota of youth into the armed services of World War I and World War II.
One hundred and one families outside of Newton, a five percent sample geographically selected to represent all townships and all classes of the population, were interviewed in the summer of 1944 by well qualified local school teachers (Miss Katherine Kerich and Miss Ruby Milner) under the supervision of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the University of Illinois. In the summer of 1945, 52 additional families were interviewed (by Mrs. Jane Smith) to "round out the sample."
Sixty-one percent were full-time farm owners, 19% full time farm tenants and 16% villagers and part-time farmers in both 1940 and '44 while only 4% reported any change in "tenure status." Nearly three-fourths of the families had not moved in 10 years and one-third of the movers had moved in from outside the county.
The 26 village jobs in 1944 were about the same as in 1940: -- mail carriers 3, truckers 3 (1 less than '40), teachers 2, storekeepers 4 (1 more than '40), factory workers 1 (2 less than '40), hatchery operators 2, miscellaneous 11. As to the number of crop acres farmed, 27% of the families had less than 50 acres, 13% had 50 to 99 acres and 60% farmed over 100 crop acres.
The Old American stock which came to the county from Kentucky and southern Indiana and from the northeast was represented by 270 grandparents (father and mothers of husbands and wives), 185 of the grandparents were reported as of Germanic stock, 55 Irish, 50 English, 19 Scotch, 14 French, 12 others.
Some comparisons between the families with different nationality backgrounds may be significant:--
The Germanic families were largest. Average size. Germanic, 4.6; Old American, 4.1; Others, 3.8.
Proportionately more Old American families had heads under 44 years Percentages. Old American, 49; Germanic, 41; Others, 32.
Proportionately more Old American families represented in high school. Percentages. Old American, 64; Others, 53; Germanic, 51.
Proportionately more Germanic families represented in the armed service. Percentages. Germanic, 23, Others, 19; Old American, 16.
Families with Germanic names tend more steadily to increase their holdings of the better farm lands than do the Old Americans or others.
Topics For Discussion:--
1. Are any families in Jasper County still living about as in the horse and buggy days? Is this good or bad? Why?
2. When is it better to own a farm and when to rent?
3. Is it better for Jasper County to be a "melting pot" of nationalities or a "mosaic" of culture living in neighborly harmony?
4. What more non-farm services (carpentering, nursing, etc.) does your neighborhood need? Who will be available for such services in the future?
5. What is happening to the veterans who joined the armed services? What jobs are they taking? How many are locating in Jasper County?
C - How They Live
Jasper County is one of eight corn belt counties statistically selected by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics as a composite sample of the rural culture of the corn belt. Together with 63 other counties in other regions, this national sample of 71 counties represents American Rural Culture as a whole.
The Embarrass River and tributaries, with their first bottoms, meander through more than a hundred miles of Jasper County. The lands, except where protected by levees, are frequently flooded in the spring but generally dry out for an annual corn crop. This accounts in part for the inclusion of this county in the corn belt, while it is also one of the Red Top Counties of southern Illinois. Agriculture has been the leading industry in Jasper County. Corn, as the most important crop, occupied about 60,000 acres a year before the war. Tame hay, largely red top, much of it threshed for seed, averaged about 34,000 acres. The soybean acreage had increased about 20,000 acres in 1940, over 5,000 of which were threshed. In the latter half of the nineteenth century livestock production showed a gradual increase that seemed to follow the growth in population. After 1900 the general increase ceased, and in some cases, as in swine production, dropped back materially. Poultry and poultry products are an important source of farm income. In 1940 there were more than 250,000 chickens over three months old and over 2 million dozen eggs were sold.
Tenure of farm families is usually stable averaging 22 years of residence in their respective communities. Thirty percent are tenants. Nearly half he farms are less than 100 acres, and only one-tenth are 260 and over. In 1939, one-seventh of the farms produced products valued at less than $250, and almost two-thirds at less than $1,000. Practically all farmers rely on family labor, with many of the womenfolk and children assisting in field work during the harvest seasons. Powered farm machinery is commonly used on the better farms, but many of the less productive and even smaller farms also use powered equipment, some of it second handed and uneconomical. Sawmills, a box factory, scattered oil wells and other private and public works afforded off-farm work over 100 days in 1939 to nearly one-eighth of the farm operators.
Agricultural census showed:
Jan. 1, 1945
April 1, 1940
Cattle & calves, No.
Hogs & pigs, No
Milk produced, gal.
Eggs produced, doz.
Soybeans harvested, bu.
Corn harvested, bu
Wartime Incomes, 1944 Compared With 1940
Full-time farm owners, income, more 64 percent, same 35 percent, 2 percent less.
Full-time farm tenants, income, more 50 percent, same 43 percent, 7 percent less.
Villagers and part-time farmers, income, more 50 percent, same 42 percent, 8 percent less.
Corn Belt Counties in the Embarrass-Wabash-Ohio Lower Valley
In unfavorable years discouraged farmers have at times use a phrase, borrowed from the county historians, "Blue Jasper," referring to the blue clay hard-pan under so much of the top soil, keeping it wet until late in the spring and making it generally less productive per acre than the black land farther north. The muddy Embarrass River wanders diagonally across the county with flood plains that are often covered with dismal looking water for a part of each year. There is, however, a time during some years when Jasper is definitely not blue. In early summer the landscape is especially colorful-thousands of acres of fields which earlier have looked thin and unproductive suddenly bloom into soft brick colored red-top meadows. This uniquely colorful hay crop is a feature of about a dozen counties in south central Illinois. In Jasper the red top is generally allowed to ripen for the seed. In an unusually good red-top year the sale of this seed may bring a quarter million dollars into the county.
Rural Level of Living Indexes-B. A. E., October 1943
Jasper 110 104 108 Crawford 108 105 106 Cumberland 112 100 107 Effingham 111 110 111 Richland 107 86 102 Average 8 corn belt sample counties 124 113 121
Housing - 1940 Census
Needing major repairs
No electric lighting
Jasper Co. ILL 2,513 987 2,214 Crooked Creek 320 67 272 Fox 142 88 121 Grandville 172 147 159 Grove 226 108 163 Hunt City 186 114 163 North Muddy 246 92 216 Ste. Marie 190 26 171 Smallwood 200 9 206 South Muddy 203 103 199 Wade 387 143 333
Topics For Discussion:--
1. Are the farm lands of your neighborhood getting less productive? If so, what specifically can be done about it?
2. How big should a farm be in your neighborhood? Who will be the operators of the "big enough" farms in your neighborhood ten years from now?
3. How many farmers work part time off their farms? Do they live as well as full-time farmers?
4. Why do elderly farmers like to retire to a village? Is this tendency good or bad for them, for the younger people left on the farm, for the other people in the village?
5. Does Jasper County generally make you feel "blue" or do you think it is a pretty good county? Why?
D-The Newton Trade Area
The political community of Newton, as the county seat, coincides with the boundaries of Jasper County. The Newton High School community, and the trade territory that looks to Newton for most of its services include most of the county, but there are scallops of territory around the edges where the children go to grade schools in adjoining counties and parents tend to trade in other centers than Newton. The more important of these are shown on the map. Several are larger than Newton. Within the Jasper County community are about two dozen neighborhoods and rural parishes, some village centered and some entirely in the open country.
Community Services and Utilities
Ten Villages and Hamlets
1935 1945 1935 1945 Telegraph Office 1 1 2 2 Telephone Exchange 1 1 5 5 Post Office, stamp sales $25,000 $50,000
*Insurance company at Willow Hill large purchaser of stamps later moved away.
$15,464 Passenger trains daily 0 0
Freight trains daily 10 10
Stop at 5 villages
Busses daily stop 3 10
Stop at 5 villages
Freight trucks daily 6 10
Stop at 8 villages
1949 1945 Library book circulation 1,150 1,350 0 0 Hospital 0 0 0 0 Doctors 8 5 0 0 Dentists 5 4 0 0 Registered nurses 6 3 0 0
Newspapers Most Often Read, 1940-5
In Newton: Mentor-Democrat, Newton Press, Terre Haute Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun, Decatur Herald.
In the Villages: Mentor-Democrat, Newton Press, Chicago Tribune, Terre Haute Tribune, Chicago Sun, Decatur Herald.
Commercial Services-Factories, Stores, Banks, Etc.
Newton, the county seat, has grown in population and services since 1900 although the population of the county has decreased. The peak in kinds and number of services in the county was reached in 1940 although there were more establishments in 1910. The drop in services between 1940 and 1945 is due principally to rationing. This is more noticeable in the reduction of some clothing, shoe stores and filling stations than in the food stores and other auto services.
An indication of trade carried on in towns outside the county is given by the banking towns by Dun and Bradstreet for some of the places in the county. In 1945 the following were listed: Willow Hill, banking town Newton or Oblong (Crawford County); Hidalgo, banking town Newton or Greenup (Cumberland County); Yale, banking town Casey (Clark County); Gila, banking town Montrose (Effingham County). All other places, except Ste. Marie, gave Newton as the banking town. Reflecting the financial depression, 1930-1935, the banks in six smaller towns, went out of business and did not reopen. The National Bank and the State Bank in Newton and the State Bank in Ste. Marie, the three banks in the county which weathered the depression of the 30's, have steadily increased their deposits especially since 1940. Their combined deposits at the end of 1945 exceed $6,000,000.
Places Grouped According To Their Population
Group 1. Newton - a city with a wide variety of services.-population 2,347, is centrally located at the intersection of paved roads and railroads and accessible to all parts of the county. In 1940, there were only 10 kinds of services listed in the county which were not found in Newton.
Kinds of services - 77 commercial enterprises.
Number of services - 167 groceries, dry goods, gas and oil, etc.
Number of establishments - 107 stores, garages, warehouses, etc.
Group 2. Seven towns and communities with the most essential services and a few specialty services: Willow Hille, Ste. Marie, Hidalgo, Yale, West Liberty, Wheeler, and Rose Hill.
Group 3. Nine places with very limited services: Hunt, Bogota, Falmouth, Gila, Boos, Lis, Shamrock, Advarce, and Point Pleasant.
Between 1935 and 1945 the following new services are listed for one or more periods indicating growth in manufactures and farming enterprises. The manufacture of beverages, butter and cheese; dairy products, hatcheries, florist, greenhouse; the manufacture of boxes and baskets, sheet metal works, machine shops, dyeing, furniture repair, sewing machines, trucking and some other auto services. Farm machinery is listed for the first time in 1945 but the numerous listings of hardware and implements reflect extensive farming operations throughout the periods studied. The manufacture of hardwood lumber is an important industry in this county.
What Are The Local Resources?
Land to produce farm products, a certain amount of timber and petroleum, and most important of all, people. In 1940 manufacturing industries were meager. The chief ones were related to wood and the possibilities of expanding these are being considered. The timber base is to be explored and steps taken to get good timber growing on land best adapted to forestry. The processing of food and kindred products is a very minor enterprise. Local products are chiefly live animals which are marketed outside of the area, milk and cream which largely go to plants outside the county, and poultry and eggs. Any opportunities for food processing are chiefly in connection with these products. But food industries based on using the raw products of the county would not employ many people.
How Jasper County People Earn Their Living
In 1940 the labor forces in the county according to the census consisted of 4,852 people, 4,302 male and 559 female. These were 81 percent and 11 prcent (sic) respectively of the males and females 14 years and over in age in the county. This is how these 4,852 people were divided by occupations:
Agriculture - No. 2,765 / % 57.00
Retailing: - No. 416 / % 8.57
Food (including restaurants) - No. (147) / % (3.03)
Motor vehicles & gasoline (including storage & service) - No. (107) / % (2.21)
Other retailing - No. (162) / % (3.34)
On Public emergency work - No. 375 / % 7.73
In professions - No. 219 / % 4.51
Manufacturing and related work: - No. 215 / % 4.43
Wood (including logging and sawmills) - No. (109) / % (2.25)
Leather textiles - No. ( 30) / % ( .62)
Mineral & metal products (including petroleum - No. ( 25) / % ( .52)
Food and kindred products - No. ( 19) / % ( .39)
Painting and publishing - No. ( 9) / % ( 19)
Other - No. ( 23) / % ( .47)
Domestic service and hotels - No. 151 / % 3.11
Construction - No. 138 / % 2.84
Transportation, communication and utilities - No. 134 / % 2.76
Government - No. 99 / % 2.04
Seeking work - No. 93 / % 1.92
Miscellaneous services - No. 83 / % 1.71
Wholesale trade - No. 45 / % .92
Finance, insurance and real estate - No. 44 / % .91
Amusements - No. 15 / % .31
Other work - No. 60 / % 1.24
Total = No. 4,852 / % 100.00
With 2,980 primary producers in farming, drilling, logging and manufacturing we find 1,414 in supporting jobs and 468 in public emergency work or unemployed. Thus for each 100 primary jobs about 50 are in supporting work and about 15 unemployed or on emergency public work. To develop the economic base of the county more productive primary work must be found. More primary jobs would mean increased jobs in other lines. With more goods to haul more people will be employed in transportation; with more people employed more merchants will have opportunities to furnish them with goods and services.
If employment is found for the people within the county, it must lie in manufacturing of some products using outside sources of raw material. It should be in industries which utilize considerable labor, such as textile, leather, wood, or metal products. Two branches of the Illinois Central railroad cross the county. These and hard roads provide transportation; a river is available for a water supply; power is available; the county is close to the geographic center of the United States, so markets are not far away; finally, there is a surplus of workers-the best resource of the county. Either jobs must be provided; the people will leave as population trends indicate they have done in the past; or large numbers will go on relief.
Community and Neighboring Relationships
The consensus of opinions and desires of the people relative to their neighborhood and community relationships as expressed at the informal meetings called by the School Survey Committee during the fall and winter of 1945-6 are shown by the map on the preceding page. This will be the basis for recommendations as to school district reorganization to be submitted to a referendum by the voters.
Village and Parish Communities
At Island Grove, Ste. Marie, the Bend and Wendelin strong rural church parishes help determine the boundaries. Around Gila, Wheeler, West Liberty, Yale, Rose Hill and Hidalgo the boundaries are also influenced by the area within which the village trade and services are considered "local". The immediate territories served by Newton and Willow Hill are partly determined by the high school attendance at the respective schools. County meetings of civic, educational, religious and social organization and movements are almost always held in Newton. In the county outside of Newton, local meetings have not however generally been successful if held in the village centers. Certain open-country school houses have been the neighborhood centers to which the local people would come for education and recreation. The proposed reorganization of the county school system will reorganize the changing community and neighborhood relations throughout the county, being brought about by improved roads, population shifts and other factors.
Topics For Discussions
1. Are these more friendly ties between Newton and the rural people than there are conflicts and antagonisms?
2. Where antagonisms exists, what seems to be at fault, and what can be done to remedy the situation?
3. Will the number of people who work in Newton but live on small farms increase or decrease? A good trend or bad?
4. What are the prospects of continued growth of Newton, with more and more job opportunities.
5. What has the postwar future in store for the little villages?
E - Education -How Long They Have Attended School
Years of School Completed - Census 1940
Rural Farm Population
Persons 25 years old and over 5,048 4,286 4,542 6,137 Completed grade school, 7 or 8 years 3,738 2,362 2,330 2,843 High School -- 1 to 3 years 289 507 624 729 High School -- 4 years 184 449 524 910 College -- 1 to 3 years 122 123 180 235 College -- 4 years or more 26 31 55 97 Median years completed 8 8.1 8.3 8.4 Attended high school--farm population 12.30% 25.90% 30.80% 27.70% Attended high school--non-farm population 32.60% 39.50% 39.30% 43.30%
High School Experience, Based On 153 Families Interviewed, 1944-5
Full-time farm families - 125; Number with Member in High School in 1945 or Previous Year - 71; Percent of Families - 57%
Village or part-time families - 28; Number with Member in High School in 1945 or Previous Year - 15; Percent of Families - 54%
Jasper County Schools
In the horse and buggy days there were established in Jasper county 124 school districts. As the population decreased, 12 of these disappeared by absorption into other districts so that in 1945 there were 112 districts.
1 Non-High School District
2 High Schools
Newton, with an enrollment of 450 pupils.
Willow Hill, with an enrollment of less than 50 pupils.
1 City Elementary School.
1 Three-room Elementary School (This school is in Non-High Territory and two years of high school work is given at this school.)
3 Two-room Schools.
104 One-room Schools.
Trend in Pupil Enrollment in the Schools of Jasper County for 1920 and each 5-year Period thereafter including 1945-45.
1 453 450 372 329 288 183 2 383 379 293 245 302 205 3 359 388 314 334 277 189 4 526 369 365 265 260 226 5 168 521 227 391 240 172 6 681 164 453 187 331 181 7 957 710 157 574 139 186 8 735 91 450 100 359 242 9 93 180 155 191 138 154 10 75 99 108 66 156 127 11 39 108 67 138 102 97 12 32 61 61 59 133 113
4501 3520 3022 2879 2725 2075
During the 1945-1946 School Year Jasper County Has 128 Active Teachers
3 Teachers have Life Supervisory Certificates
3 Teachers have Limited Supervisory Certificates.
1 Teacher has a Life High School Certificate.
17 Teachers have Limited High School Certificates.
65 Teachers have Limited Elementary Certificates.
1 Teacher has an Emergency Certificates (High School)
1 Elementary Teacher has an Emergency Certificate.
37 Rural Teachers have Emergency Certificates.
Training of Teachers:
22 Teachers have four or more years of College Training.
5 Teachers have between three and four yars (sic) of College Training.
22 Teachers have between two and three years of College training.
26 Teachers have between one and two years of College Training.
53 Teachers have less than one year of College Training.
A Survey of the 1945-1946 School Enrollment in Jasper County Shows The Following:
28 districts have only one pupil in the First Grade.
21 districts have only one pupil in the Second Grade.
24 districts have only one pupil in the Third Grade.
22 districts have only one pupil in the Fourth Grade.
21 districts have only one pupil in the Fifth Grade.
15 districts have only one pupil in the Sixth Grade.
13 districts have only one pupil in the Seventh Grade.
18 districts have only one pupil in the Eighth Grade.
By adding we find the sum of 162 which means that there are 162 pupils in the schools of Jasper County who are alone in their classes and so have no classmates to offer them competition, either in their classroom studies or play activities.
The Date Listed Below is Figured on the 1944-1945 School Year:
There were 31 schools in Jasper County that had an average daily attendance of less than 7.
There were 56 schools in Jasper County that had an average daily attendance of less than 10.
In the 31 schools that had an average daily attendance of less than 7, the cost for educating 166 children with an average daily attendance of 143.53, was $28,027.17. Based on the average daily attendance, this makes a cost of $195.27 per capita or per pupil.
In the 56 schools that had an average daily attendance of less than 10, the cost of educating 410 children with an average daily attendance of 351.09, was $56,721.42. Based on average daily attendance, this makes a cost of $161.55 per capita or per pupil.
Newton Community High School
The one educational institution which influences nearly all parts of the county is the Newton High School with 25 teachers and over 500 students. The Vocational Agriculture Department has developed a group of 96 Future Farmers of America who put their information into practice in all parts of the county. In 1943-4, the Vocational Agriculture Department sponsored a series of Farm Folks Night Schools at 22 neighborhood centers distributed through the various townships. Fifty of the 153 farm and village families interviewed in 1944-5 reported that some members attended one of the Farm Folks Night Schools. Fifty seven percent of the full-time farm families also reported that in 1943-4, or in past years, at least one member of the family had attended a high school. In the village and part-time families the percentage was 54. Among the families who said they were at least three-fourths Old American stock 64 percent had had a member in high school, while 51 percent of the families who were at least three-fourths Germanic stock reported any member with high school experience.
The Influence of the Newton High School Has Steadily Expanded
In 1920 the high school district included 89 sections of land
In 1945 the high school district included 315 sections of land.
In 1929-30 the high school attendance was 242 pupils.
In 1945-46 the high school attendance was 457 pupils.
In 1928-29 the high school faculty included 11 teachers.
In 1933-4 the high school faculty included 12 teachers.
In 1945-6 the high school faculty included 18 teachers.
In 1929 the graduating class numbered 37 graduates.
In 1939 the graduating class numbered 77 graduates.
In 1940 the graduating class numbered 110 (the largest class).
In 1945 the graduating class numbered 57 graduates.
These graduates came from: Newton 22, villages 4, farms 31.
In 1945-6 seven bus routes were operated. Three buses were owned and operated by the school, two were owned privately and contracted by district. One bus makes two routes daily. One bus is for the Dundas High School District and Non-High District around Ste. Marie.
Newton High School Adult Education
An Adult Education Program has been carried on very extensively for the past five years, 1940 to 1944. More than 50 adult evening schools have been conducted in centers throughout the county with some 800 to 1,000 adults in attendance. More recently programs have been held at the high school as a center. At present there are three such classes:
1. Dairy farmers and wives.
2. Young married farm folks and
3. Unmarried farm boys and girls who are out of school and generally graduates of the school.
The men and boys are under an agricultural instructor, Paul Walker. The women and girls are under a home economic instructor, Mrs. Mary L. Miller. To meet the demands made by an enrollment of seventy-five veterans, Kenneth Jones became agricultural instructor to devote full time to the Veterans Program.
Willow Hill High School District
Established In 1915, Now Includes 30 Sections Of Land
High School 1945-6 Attendance-36 Pupils.
High School 1945-6 Faculty - 3 Teachers.
High School 1945 Graduates - 7 Graduates.
F-Religion-Where They Worship
The Churches of Jasper County
In 1940 most of the ministers in Jasper County, Protestant and Catholic, cooperated in a county-wide Campaign for Christ. In preparation for this campaign 2,928 families were interviewed in the towns and open country. The approximately 600 families which were missed, according to the 1940 census, were allocated proportionally in accordance with the answers received from those interviewed. This census indicated that about 55 percent of the people were affiliated with some church but that 24 percent attended church with any regularity. Even after adjustment to the total population it showed only 5,584 persons as active in the churches, out of a population given by the 1940 census as 13,341.
The challenge to the local ministers and congregations and to the district, state and national leadership of the various denominations was discussed in several denominational and interdenominational conferences held in the county following this campaign. Several high officials of some of the denominations visited Jasper County, studied the local situation and participated in these local conferences.
These efforts culminated in the organization January 29, 1945 of a church committee under the sponsorship of the Jasper County Community Council, with Rev. Clifford Smith, Pastor of the Newton Grace Methodist Church, chairman and Rev. George Nell, Pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Island Grove, Secretary.
The Church Committee voted to undertake[sic] two definite jobs: (1) To take another Religious Census of the families in Jasper County in 1945; (2) to cooperate with the University of Illinois and Bureau of Agricultural Economics in a survey of all the churches in the county.
The Religious Census - 1945
In 1945, under the auspices of the Church Committee of the Jasper County Council, active and locally well acquainted laymen in each township secured information from nearly all families in the county, in both town and country. The questions asked were not identical with those asked in 1940 so that comparisons must be considered as approximate only.
In 1945 about 63 percent of the families reported church membership or affiliation. About 33 percent of all the families in the county were considered to be active in church attendance.
Jasper County Church Survey-1945
Under the auspices of the church Committee of the County Council, field staff members of the University of Illinois and the U. S. Department of Agriculture gathered information to supplement the church census.
In the summer of 1945 the church buildings located in the county totaled 668 but 15 of them were not being used. Seven of the 53 in use were in Newton and ten in villages. Thirty-six were in the open country. By denominations 14 were Methodists, 12 Congregational-Christian, 7 Church of Christ, 7 Baptist, 4 Catholic, 3 United Brethren, 3 Presbyterian, 1 Lutheran. The Newton and village churches had seating capacity of 3,770, but reported only 2,667 members and only 3 felt that church attendance was excellent. The seating capacity in the 35 open-county churches was 6,260, with 2,126 members and 5 with excellent attendance. Eleven had services every Sunday, 16 twice a month, and 20 once a month. The church reports for 1944 did not significantly differ from those of 1940. Based on information obtained from 153 farm and village families interviewed in 1944-5 for every 100 families who attended a local neighborhood church, 23 went to one outside, probably to a town or village church; whereas in 1940 for every 100 who attended locally, 18 went outside. The proportion of owners, farm and non-farm, who were church members was nearly two-thirds as against a little over half of the tenants being members.
The estimated value of all the church properties in use except one small one was reported in 1945 as $293,800. Thirty-two of the congregations contributed less than $300.00 per year to pastor's salary, 12 contributed $300 to $1,100 and 6 contributed $1,200 or more, 4 being Catholic, 2 Protestant. The total church budgets for all the 50 churches in the county reporting totaled in 1944 something under $50,000. The budgets for the four Catholic parishes totaled $23,350; for the forty-six Protestant churches, $26,650.
Information Secured In Summer Of 1945 By Rev. Hudson McNair
Number of Churches operating - 53
Number of churches not operating - 15
Churches reporting - 50
Village: 15 Churches
Grace Methodist, Newton
First Christian, Newton
First Baptist of Newton
Church of Christ, Newton
First Presbyterian, Newton
St. Thomas, Newton
Salem Baptist, Willow Hill
North Fork Primitive Baptist, Willow Hill
Willow Hill Methodist
First Bogota Baptist
Rose Hill Methodist
Crooked Creek Congregational-Christian, Hidalgo
St. Mary Catholic, Ste. Marie
Wheeler Church of Christ
West Liberty Methodist
Open Country-35 Churches
Cummins United Brethern
Plainfield U. B., Rose Hill
Hidalgo Baptist Church, Hidalgo
Blair Methodist Church, Blair
Asbury Methodist Church, Asbury
Bogota Christian Church, Bogota
South Muddy Baptist, South Muddy township
Headyville Church of Christ, South Muddy township
Oak Hill Methodist, Oak Hill
Falmouth Methodist, Falmouth
Chapel Church of Christ, Chapel
Kedron Methodist Church, Kedron
Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Yale
St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Island Grove
St. Valentine's Catholic Church, Bend (Oblong.)
Pleasant Valley Congregational Christian
Sand Creek, Congregational Christian, Kedron
Hopewell, Congregational Christian Long Swamp
Shiloh, Congregational Christian
South Bend, Congregational Christian
Bethany, Congregational Christian, The Mound
Conner Chapel Church of Christ
Fairview Congregational Christian, Newton, (Fairview).
Harmon Chapel Methodist, Harmon
Hunt City Congregational Christian, Hunt
Wheeler Methodist Church, Wheeler
Latona Christian (Church of Christ), Latona
New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian, Hickory
United Lutheran, Gila
Hays Methodist Church
Kerns U. B.
Yale Methodist Church
Yale Church of Christ
Bethany Baptist, Advance
Churches Not Reporting Three
The Cong.-Christian Brockville;
Pilgrim Holiness, Ste. Marie
Free Methodist Newton
Village Centered Churches-15
1935 - Total membership - 2,555; Total seat. capacity - 3,770
1940 - Total membership - 2,543; Total seat. capacity - 3,770
1944 - '45 - Total membership - 2,667; Total seat. capacity - 3,770
A. Village Member, 1,167 1,126 1,2?9
Excellent 3 3 3
Good 9 11 11
Poor 3 1 1
Attendance - Churches Reporting:
Membership - 1,388 1,417 1,458
Excellent 2 2 2
Good 9 10 10
Poor 4 3 3
Open-County Churches - 35
Total Membership - 2,129 -2,110 - 2,126
Total Seat. Capacity - 6,260 - 6,260 - 6,260
Attendance -Churches Reporting
Excellent :4 - 4 - 5
Good : 29 - 28 - 26
Poor :2 - 3 - 4
Number of Churches by Denominations (1944-5)
Methodist - 14
Congregational-Christian (one not reporting) - 12
Church of Christ - 7
Baptist - 7
Catholic - 4
United Brethren - 3
Presbyterian - 3
(Cumberland Presbyterian at Bethel Methodist)
Lutheran - 1
Total - 51
Number with resident pastor - 14 15 14
Worship Services Held:
4 Sundays per mo.: 1 - 0 - 3
Number of Churches
4 Sundays per mo.: 11 - 10 -11
2 Sundays per mo.: 18 - 19 - 16
1 Sunday per mo.: 20 -21 -20
0 Sundays per mo.: 0 -0 -0
Value of Church Property:
Total, 50 Churches: 282,525 -284,925 -293,800
Under $2000: 26 -25 -25
$2,000 to $10,000: 18 -19 -19
$10,000 and over: 6 -6 -6
Amounts Contributed Yearly To Pastor's Salary
Under $300, number of churches - 1935 = 37; 1940 = 36; 1944-5= 32
$300 to $1,100, number of churches - 1935 = 7; 1940 = 8; 1944-5 = 12
$1,200 or over, number of churches - 1935 = 6; 1940 = 6; 1944-5 = 6
Church budgets, total for 1944-5, 50 churches - $48,285.
Sunday School Attendance, '44-5 Compared to '40
More in '44-5 than in '40-18
Less in '44-5 than in '40-11
Same in '44-5 than in '40-11
Number not reporting Sunday School-10
Number of churches reporting special participation in youth religious organizations and activities, 1944-5-17.
Number of churches sponsoring activities or events which were for the entire community, 1944-'5 (13 revivals only)-36.
Topics For Discussion:--
1. America is called a Christian nation. Do you think that Jasper County is a Christian County? If yes, what facts support such answer? If no, on what do you base such an opinion?
2. Why are not more people active in church attendance and work?
3. Would the churches be stronger and influence more people if,--small congregations would join forces to make larger congregations? More recognition and responsibilities were given to youth? Better salaries were paid to pastors? Pastors were full-time residents in the church community?
4. Why do church people not make large contributions for the support of their churches?
5. Would the financial contributions be larger if, -- Several small congregations should combine into a few larger ones? All pastors were full-time residents in the church neighborhoods? The church buildings and ground were more beautiful and better equipped? Church debts, voted by the congregations after full discussion, needed to be paid off?
To better cooperate in tackling problems growing out of conditions described or suggested in the preceding pages, the people of Jasper County have from time to time in the past voluntarily banded themselves together in many different membership organizations. Some of these are strictly local, and some are affiliated with similar organizations in other communities, or are units in state, national or international movements. In addition to the Sunday Schools, Sodalities and other organizations closely identified with the several churches, the lodges of Masons, Knights of Columbus and Odd Fellows, there are several dynamic youth organizations sponsored by the schools, churches and Extension Service which are important factors in the community. The 24 voluntary organizations in the Jasper County Community Council, April 1946, are listed below, with the date when organized and the present chief officers.
1895 - Jasper County Medical Society-Dr. C. O. Absher, Secretary
1955 - Jasper County Bar Association-Albert E. Isley, President
1915 - Newton Boy Scouts-Earl Dufrain, Scout Master
1917 - Jasper County Red Cross - Earl Reese, President
1917 - Newton Women's Federated Club-Mrs. J. C. Thormahlen, President
1917 - Newton Junior Woman's Club-Norma Huddleston, President
1919 - Jasper Post American Legion-Ray Everly, Adjutant
1925 - Newton Rotary Club-M. B. Platz, President
1925 - Newton Ministerial Association-Rev. R. R. Finlayson, President
1925 - Newton Thursday Book Club-Mrs. Ollie Arnold, President
1928 - Co-op Parish Activities Service-Fr. George Nell, Director
1930 - Newton Civic Club-Dale Wilson, President
1933 - Production Credit Association-Emerson Raines, Secy's., Treas.
1934 - Parent Teachers' Association-Mrs. Lawrence Jourdan, President
1936 - Jasper County Farm Bureau-Geo. Reigle, President
1936 - Four-H Clubs-R. E. Apple, Marion Simon, Advisors
1937 - Norris Electric Cooperative-Merle D. Yost, Manager
1939 - Jasper County Tuberculosis Association-Mrs. C. O. Absher, Pres.
1939 - Jasper County Sportsman's Club-Ernest Benefiel, President
1940 - Future Farmers of America-Paul Walker, Voc.-Agr. Teacher
1943 - Business and Professional Women's Club-Mrs. Norma Eaton, President
1944 - Newton Girl Scouts-Mrs. Catherine Dufrain, Scout Mistress
1945 - Agricultural-Industrial Committee-Merritt Clark, Chairman
1945 - Jasper County Home Bureau-Mrs. Earl Heady, President
Topics For Discussion:--
1. Why have voluntary organizations, why not let the government do it?
2. Are voluntary organizations and government agencies most often in conflict or teaming up together?
3. Does your neighborhood have adequate membership in the active voluntary organizations in the county? If not, why not?
4. Does the county need things done by voluntary organization in addition to what is being done?
5. What things to be done by what organization?
The principal government officials and agencies with responsibilities for public programs in Jasper County are listed below with their current local responsible heads.
Agricultural Production and Marketing Administration (AAA) -Jasper County Committee-Howard L. Newlin., Chairman; G. F. Kinsel; O. P. Turnipseed.
Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics-R. E. Apple, Farm Advisor; Marion Simon, Home Advisor.
Farms Home Administration-W. E. Joseph, Supervisor.
Newton Soil Experiment Field-F. C. Bauer, P. E. Johnson.
Illinois Veterans' Commission-E. R. Warren, County Service Officer.
State Road Commission-John A. Hardwick, County Superintendent; Highways.
Public Aid Commission-Warford E. Baker, Superintendent; Marie Kissinger.
Jasper County Commissioners-Roy Shull, E. J. Kepley, Dewey Grove, Ralph Cunningham, A. B. Isley, Ernest Short, C. E. Lewis, Alfred Griffith, Alden Leggett, Floyd B. Biggs, Leo B. Bergbower, Burton Acklin.
County School Superintendent-Rolla B. Cramer.
County Health Council-Rolla B. Cramer, President; C. O. Absher, Vice President; Mrs. Earl Heady, Secretary; D. L. Sims, Treasurer.
Newton Mayor and Council-C. G. Batman, Mayor.
Newton Public Library-Mrs. Hallie Hubbard, Librarian.
County School Districts Survey Committee-C. E. Urfer, Chairman; Lewis Reis, E. D. Dalton, R. P. Matheny, C. C. Fuson, A. B. Isley, G. D. Reigle, Everett Price, Orran Keach.
Topics For Discussion:--
1. State five problems that are worrying many of the people of your neighborhood as they face the future.
2. What specific things might any one or all of the above agencies do to help you folks solve some of these problems?
3. If they are not making any plans to help, why not?
4. Whose business is it to present your needs to agencies that might give you the desired services?
5. How sure can the neighborhood spokeman be that the neighbors will all back him up and do their part in any constructive program that might be started.
I. Production And Marketing Postwar Programs
Going programs of organizations and agencies that will help to determine the number of people that can be supported by Jasper County and how they will live in the post-war period are summarized below.
The 2,230 farms in Jasper County, 129 fewer than in 1940, have been steadily increasing in size and will probably continue to do so, if they are to yield satisfactory incomes to the operators under such postwar conditions as are being generally forecasted. To stimulate and guide this development and to encourage the expenditure of reasonable amounts from such incomes in better rural living, several organizations and agencies have very definite programs.
The AAA goals and plans for 1946 to assist farmers in restoring and improving soil fertility and in growing crops suited to the capacity of the land aim to reduce corn somewhat but increase soybeans considerable and oats a little, to reduce tame hay but increase pastures, to hold the milk supply but increase chickens.
The Extension Service, cooperatively supported by the U. S. Departments of Agriculture, the University of Illinois and the Jasper County Farm and Home Bureaus will continue its comprehensive program of advice to farmers and farm women based on the latest research and on successful local practices, with special emphasis in 1946 on soil fertility, improved methods in marketing livestock, rural youth and Four-H Club activities and clothing, food and room improvement projects, with a party-a-month for home bureau local groups.
Newton Chapter Future Farmers of America includes a voluntary membership of all high school boys enrolled in vocational agriculture. In addition to their regular classroom work, these boys on their home farms carry on a program of improved farm practices. The high school vocational agriculture department also conducts adult evening schools in various community centers over the county. Out of these meetings has developed a method of monthly cow testing and record keeping wherein the dairymen mail in their samples and meet monthly in meetings to discuss their production problems.
A major challenge to all farmers and their organizations and the agencies that work with them is restore and maintain soil fertility. In Soil Report No. 68, 1940, the Illinois Experiment Station names 19 soil types in Jasper County. Practically all these soils are acid and there is no local outcrops for making agriculture lime. Fourteen of them are low in available phosphorus, 17 low in organic matter.
In a productivity index where the most productive soils in the state are rated at 1 and the least productive at 10, five of the Jasper soils are rated 10, five at 9, two at 8 and seven at 4 to 7. Since 1912 the Department of Agronomy has maintained a Soil Experiment Field near Newton. Their experiments show not only how to increase yields on two of the major soil types but also how to make the treatment profitable.
The Farmers Home Administration, formed by the merger of the Farm Security Administration and the Emergency Crop and Feed Loan Division of the Farm Credit Administration, will continue to make loans for operating funds and equipment and to give guidance to qualified farmers and farm laborers to whom adequate credit from other sources is not available. Loans and guidance will also be available for the purchase and development of family size farms and for the enlargement of small farms to family size units where adequate credit is not available from other sources. Veterans of World War I and World War II are given preferential consideration.
Industry and Trade
The Agricultural-Industrial Committee of twelve farmers, one from each township and the farm advisor and of twelve businessmen will continue to meet from time to time to discuss their mutual problems and will endeavor to bring town and country closer together.
The Civic Club has permanent committees on finance, merchants, industry, membership. Its major emphasis in 1946 will be in support of the movement for a hospital.
With the Pure, Texas and Ohio Oil Companies already having about 300 producing wells in Jasper, 100 brought in since 1940, the field is expanding toward the northeast and the southwest townships of the county. The Pure Oil Company will likely maintain a force of 25-50 men in Jasper in 1946. The shoe factory, a branch of the International Shoe Company, will have 100 people on their roll, the box factory 40, the broom factory 40, the poultry packing plant 40 and some express the hope that the U. S. Department of Commerce, Office of Small Business of which L. F. Arnold of Newton is now director, may be able to assist other small enterprises to expand their payrolls. Several retail and service establishments closed during the war are reopening, as veterans and others return to former employment. There is however no aggressive program by any organization or agency to push industrialization in Jasper County.
While there are many competent, aggressive individual merchants and service establishments in the county, the cooperatives, sponsored by the Farm Bureau, appear to set the pace. The cooperatives active during 1946:
1. Rich-Law Service Co.-Petroleum, feed, fertilizer, farm supplies.
2. Dairy Marketing Comm.-Prairie farms, Olney creamery.
3. Jasper County Producers Supply Co.-Wool marketing.
4. Livestock Marketing Comm.-Illinois Livestock Marketing Association, Producers' Commission Association.
5. Co-op Credit-Wabash Production Credit Association, Casey National Farm Loan Association.
6. Illinois Agricultural Association Insurance Service-Life, auto, fire, wind, crop, hail, farmers' liability, truck, tractor, cargo, accident.
Roads and Electricity
The bus lines that pass through the county are improving their services and promise still further improvements. Pressure, legal as well as moral, is being brought on the Illinois Central Railroad to restore passenger trains through the county.
The State Road Commission plans considerable road and bridge construction in Jasper County in 1946. The funds allocated by the Commission to Jasper County exceed 1945 figures. How rapidly this can be used to advantage will depend on available materials and men as well as weather, but the plans being developed for reorganizing the school districts are predicted on confidence in the continuing construction and maintenance of all-weather roads throughout the county.
The Norris Electric Cooperative, an REA cooperative, was named after the late Senator George W. Norris, who championed the cause of rural electrification, Act of 1936. The first lines of 256 miles were energized in December 1939. Today it has 997 miles and a proposed construction of an additional 1,100 miles. Counties served are Jasper, Clark, Effingham, Cumberland, Crawford, Lawrence, Wabash, and Richland. The Cooperative is yet in the development stage with 3,028 members served and 3,498 applicants to be served. The ultimate system will approximate 2,500 miles of line with over 7,500 consumers.
The Power Corporations are also making active plans for extension of their rural lines, and the Bell Telephone Company is especially anxious for larger coverage in villages and on farms. Jasper may see results along these lines in the postwar period.
II. Education, Recreation and Civic Affairs
In October 1945 Jasper School Board members, 222 of them, met and adopted the Illinois School Survey Plan. The committee of 9 was appointed as provided in the law. Meetings are being held in all parts of the county to secure local viewpoints relative to readjustments in school district lines. Based on the information secured a county map indicating the concensus of judgments is to be shown at official hearings throughout the county, after which the committee's final recommendations are subjected to a referendum of the voters.
Some facts relating to the schools, which are influencing the people in their consideration of school district reorganization, seem to be:
1. Jasper County's population is about half of what it was in 1900. The greatest decreases are in the open-country areas.
2. The population on the best land areas and in towns and villages is not reproducing itself.
3. The number of school-age children has decreased and probably will continue to decrease, especially in the good land areas and in the towns. This is reflected in a decrease in the sizes of households. Tenant households are larger than owner.
4. Farms in the county are increasing in size and decreasing in numbers; this trend will doubtless continue in the postwar period.
5. Two-thirds of the one-room schools are too small if to have a good school there must be at least 15 pupils per teacher; only 6 percent of the country schools have 25 or more pupils per teacher.
6. Though most children finish grade or elementary school, less than one-twentieth finish high school. Among the adults less than one-sixth attended high school, according to the 1940 census.
7. Assessed valuations and tax rates vary widely. Valuations are low and tax rates high on poor land.
8. The people should consider (1) the organization of larger administrative districts to spread the tax load over a wider territory or (2) the organization of a county finance unit to provide one tax levy for all school purposes.
9. When reorganization plans are considered the elementary and high school situation must be studied together. There could be one administrative district in the county with one senior high school, several junior high schools and as many elementary school attendance units as necessary to have good schools. The senior high school could be the one at Newton, junior high schools could be located at the larger village centers; and each larger neighborhood, county and town, could have its elementary attendance unit.
Adult Education and Civic Affairs
The meetings and discussions in connection with the School Survey are providing some very worthwhile education for the adults who participate. The numerous meetings for instruction and discussion sponsored by the Farm and Home Bureaus, Newton High School, Civic Club and other organizations and agencies provide adults with many opportunities for education along useful lines.
There are some organizations that make a regular practice of providing educational materials to their members on selected topics with speakers especially chosen. The Newton-Parent-Teachers Association, with a membership of 84, has as its theme for 1946 "Security for Every Child." The Newton Woman's Club, which is the oldest civic organization in continuous operation in Jasper County, has as its object the intellectual and civic improvement, social enjoyment and united effort for the welfare of the community.
The Newton Junior Woman's Club donates time, help and money to several definite projects for intellectual improvement, social enjoyment and philanthropy, including not only civic project in Jasper County but will give aid in 1946 to eight projects outside the county. The Thursday Book Club, limited to 25 members, meets two Thursday each month, September to June, for book reviews, study of poetry, biography, drama, or history. Books have also been given to the library.
The Business and Professional Women's Club of Newton, with 48 members, seeks to become more articulate on social, economic and political questions in line with the objective "We seek to visualize the processes of democracy that all people may enjoy the basic satisfactions of life in a world at peace." It meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Newton Rotary Club with about 50 members dines together every Thursday evening for fellowship and education. Twenty-minute talks are made by selected members or frequently by outside speakers. The watchword of Rotary is "Service."
The Masonic lodges in Newton, Willow Hill, and Wheeler, the Knights of Columbus and Odd Fellows at Newton exert potent influences for good in civic affairs.
The American Legion Post No. 20 and the Legion Auxiliary are the headquarters in the county for educational and civic programs by and for veterans and the whole community. The Post has purchased a lot and will campaign in 1946 for the construction of a $20,000 Memorial Community Building.
Newspapers and Library
The Mentor-Democrat, M. C. Page, S. B. Page, Editors, in its 64th year, is published each Thursday.
The Newton Press, Lawrence E. Shup, Editor and Publisher, in its 84th year, is published every Tuesday and Friday.
Both papers circulate to all parts of the county, are well edited to inform the people about international and national as well as local matters and neither are violently partisan. All advertising seems to be carefully checked against obnoxious matter.
The Newton Public Library, located over the city hall and fire station, with a somewhat limited stock of books, is opened part time only.
Sociability and recreation are important elements in the programs of many of the men's and women's organizations, as well as of the schools and of the church youth groups, but some groups seem to stress recreation more than others.
The Legion Post makes features of its annual fish fry bazaars and birthday parties.
Boy Scout Troop 56, sponsored by the Rotary Club, has 35 members, aims to teach boys to be better citizens, to build character and especially to learn to take care of themselves in the open. Their weekly meetings are held in a log cabin. They go on hikes and have a summer camp every year.
Newton Girl Scouts, sponsored by the Woman's Club, meet weekly in the grade school basement. The program of the Girl Scout Movement is planned on broad educational lines to give girls an experience and love of the outdoor life, and a practical knowledge of health, homemaking and arts and crafts. There are 23 registered girls in the Lone Troop, an intermediate troop contains girls from ten to fourteen years of age. A Brownie Scout Troop for girls from seven through nine years was organized in January 1946, with sponsorship by the Business and Professional Women's Club.
Jasper County Sportsman's Club, with over 300 members, both townsmen and farmers, holds dinner meetings in the winter and stresses the conservation of wild life, feeds and distributes quail, promotes a Coon Hunters' Association. The Sportsman's Club is in process of incorporation. It will hold an interest in Lake Jasper, Incorporated, the organization that owns the site of Lake Jasper. A club house will be built, or the farm house on the site will be remodeled for use as a club house.
Recreation, both winter and summer, is an important element in the programs of the several active youth groups. The Christian Youth Council is composed of young people from all the Protestant youth groups. The Catholic Youth Organization and the CYC carry on many joint programs. Recreation also enters into the programs of the Rural Youth, sponsored by the Extension Service and of the Future Farmers of America, identified with the Vocational Agriculture Department of the Newton Community High School.
III. Religious Education And The Church
The Religious Census
The thirty ministers, constituting the Jasper County Church Committee under Rev. Clifford Smith, Pastor of the Newton Grace Methodist Church, Chairman, and Father George Nell, Pastor, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Island Grove, Secretary, were primarily responsible for the religious census taken in all townships in 1945. The data collected have been compiled and interpreted, and much of it placed by the Secretary on charts and on film strips to be used by local groups and by families who are concerned about how to strengthen the religious life of the county.
The Newton Ministerial Association, an interdenominational organization of the pastors of the Protestant churches, meets regularly, and are giving consideration to the conditions highlighted by the census and what may be done individually and jointly by the denominations and the churches to strengthen the religious forces of the county.
Field representatives of the Methodist, the Congregational-Christian, the United Lutheran and the Presbyterian denominations have been in the county to counsel with local church people on plans and procedures.
The pastor of the four Catholic parishes have held joint conferences to study and interpret the data and discuss methods of using it most effectively. Small projectors in the hands of many families in these parishes make possible the widespread use not only of the film strips on the Religious Census but religious education film strips to help the people meet the challenges shown by the census.
To follow up the 1940 and 1945 religious censuses so as to keep informed as to trends and in the hope that the information secured proves a challenge to increasing numbers of people, the County Church Committee is asking some qualified and well acquainted layman in each school district to be prepared to recheck all the families in his district at such time in the future as may be decided upon after full consideration.
Co-op Parish Activities Service
Co-op Parish Activities Service (P. O. address Effingham, Illinois), located since 1922 in Jasper County, Illinois, under the direction of Rev. George Nell, is an organization supplying parishes throughout the United States and foreign countries with information and material to aid in their job of promoting the spiritual and temporal welfare of their members.
Co-op Parish Activities Service is not a commercial venture. It is a non-profit cooperative, composed of Sisters, Priests and laymen with common interests, organized to enable parishes to cooperate for mutual benefit in conducting parochial schools, vacation schools, convert classes, society meetings, study clubs, home study, lectures, parish publicity, organization, parochial management, good will building, recreation and leisure time activities under parochial auspices.
Some of the services and material offered its members are: Free Rental Services: Play, Slidefilms, Koda-chrome Slides, 3 ¼ x 4 in. Glass Slides, Printer's Cuts.
Information supplied through books, bulletins and personal letters.
Cooperative Buying of Slidefilm Projectors, Slidefilms, Kodachromes, Projection Screens, Plays, Printer's Mats, etc.
Religious Instruction Material in the form of Printed Colored Pictures, Home Study Courses, Black and White pictures, Bible Card Games, etc.
Co-op Parish Activities Service facilities and equipment for carrying on the above program have frequently been used in carrying on community, county, state and national projects promoting the general well being and advancement of all the people, including farm organizations, cooperatives, youth work, recreation, adult education, home study, rural and urban life improvement, and religious education, especially religious vacation schools.
IV. Health And Welfare
Public Health Service
The Jasper County Public Health Committee was organized in 1940 as a result of the interest of civic leaders, school board members and the physicians of the county. Public health work is chiefly concerned with preventive measures and so the above group felt that it was much better to immunize against communicable diseases such as diphtheria, smallpox, and typhoid rather than to wait until the individual had contracted the disease and then attempt to cure them. Most of the work of the council has been carried on through the schools of the county. The council has been instrumental in assisting in raising funds for the support of a nursing program in the county as soon as suitable nurses are available.
Public Aid is concerned primarily with giving financial assistance and social services to needy persons and social services to needy person and families in their own homes, thus enabling these persons, through aid in meeting costs of food, shelter, clothing, medical care and other necessities, to live normal lives until such time as they become self-supporting. The amount of aid given varies with the need presented, taking into consideration all other income or support the person or family may have.
Aid to Dependent Children, Blind Assistance and Old Age Pension are administered locally on a county-unit basis. General relief is administered by local township units. The townships requiring state fund supplementation and having made the required levy to become eligible for state funds are supervised by the Illinois Public Aid Commission with certain rules and regulations.
Service to Veterans
The Jasper County Service Officer of the Illinois Veterans' Commission endeavor to counsel, advise and give practical assistance to all returning veterans in all matters that will aid in his rehabilitation and reestablishment in a position of security in the community.
Claims service for any and all benefits arising from his service is given the veteran and dependents of those who died in service by the county service officer, with the benefit of more specialized advice where needed by the staff at the Springfield and Chicago offices.
Service usually covers: Disability pensions; death benefits to widows, orphans, dependent parents; hospitalization and outpatient treatment, orthopedic and other appliances; procuring counseling in training and education under the G. I. Bill, employment, home and business loans.
The American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary, the Red Cross, churches and other voluntary organization supplement the rehabilitation responsibilities placed officially on Selective Service, Veterans' Administration, Illinois Veterans' Commission, Extension Service, Farm Security Administration and State Department of Education. The Newton Community High School is providing supervised agricultural training for about 75 veterans on farms.
A committee to look into the possibilities of a hospital in Jasper County under the chairmanship of R. L. Worcester is seeking information and advice from communities that have successful hospitals and from hospital managers and technicians recommended by the County Medical Society and others. This committee grew out of a meeting of the Agricultural-Industrial Committee. Its activities are endorsed by the Civic Club the Business and Professional Woman's Club and others. An educational campaign on hospitals and hospital services to the community will be carried forward through the cooperation of many local organizations and agencies.
Jasper County Community Council
Merle D. Yost, Chairman
W. E. Joseph, Secretary
On invitation of the Jasper County Community Council extended early in 1944, field representatives of the College of Agriculture of the University of Illinois and of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the U. S. D. A. cooperated in 1944-45 with local organizations, agencies and committees in a cultural survey of the county.
From the data secured an editorial committee of the Jasper County Council, Merle D. Yost, (REA), Walter Joseph (FSA), Rolla B. Cramer (County Superintendent of Schools), Carl Kibler (FB), and Mrs. Mildred Jansen (HB), with the assistance of Dr. L. J. Norton and Dr. D. E. Lindstrom, Department of Agricultural Economics and Sociology of the University, and Messrs. Nat T. Frame and Paul J. Jehlik, Division of Farm Population and Rural Welfare of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, have prepared this document.
Data used came from the U. S. Census Bulletins of the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, County Histories, Newton Newspapers and other sources. Specific data were also collected by personal interviews with families and individuals selected to represent all sections of the county and to sample many viewpoints. The field work done in 1944 by Miss Katherine Kerich for BAE and Miss Ruby Milner for the University of Illinois and in 1945 by Mrs. Jane Smith for BAE and Mr. Hudson McNair for the University of Illinois was supplemented by numerous interviews and conferences of the authors names above with well informed persons of diverse interests and acquaintance in the community. Representatives of the University and of the Department also gave some assistance to the Church Committee which conducted the religious census.
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