Washington County, Illinois

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  A series of articles written by :
Wilbert "Bucky" McCoy for :
Ashley News
( Ashley, Illinois )
Box 0184
Duquoin, IL 62832

See also :
Bucky's Ode to His Son
Jim McCoy 1946 - 1991

By Bucky McCoy ©

Memorial day is just about here. It means much to some and so little to others. My Mother, Ferne loved that old Cemetery. Her body was placed in spot where you pass her grave to enter. She convinced Dorothy there was no place like home and I gave it little thought as its forever and forever.

I have been with mom and she explained many times about the person buried in a certain spot. The Woodrome Cemetery was grown up in brush and weeds and many of the wood tomb stones went in the fire pile. I have searched diligently for a platte of the Woodrum Cemetery and no one knows of any. I am going to list each person that I hear about, and at least we will know some that were buried at the location. What mother told me a about burriel plots, I remember some. The cemetery seems to have had a half dozen sections. I talk to people quite often at the Ashley I. O. O. F. Cemetery and they comment on how nice it looks. Little do they know that each year the money supply gets less. I encourage visitors to send a donation to The Ashley Cemetery Assoc. Ashley Illinois 62808. I tell them Paul Setzekorn. President of the Cemetery association spends much time keeping it neat but is running short on funds. So to keep it in tip top shape some funding will be required.

I have the Cemetery on innernet and it keeps people from walking from grave to grave looking for the final resting place of their relation. I thought this was a great idea since many people are sending querries asking to search a relative. When inquiring by letter we seldom see a postage stamp to return an answer. A lot of this goes through the Ashley Library Historical room. A typical case is we were looking for some relatives. We went to another Cemetery and found their needs. Stamps and gasoline is soon becoming a hindrance to helping some one. As you see the Historical Room at the Library isn't having a great time searching.

We at the Historical room are searching diligently for pictures. We have so much going for it but much is needed. One of the needs is people to visit the Library. The Historical room has all the High School class pictures displayed on the wall. No, not quite. We do not have 1922. On a shelf is all the year books, but a few are in bad disrepair. We have them. There is so much to see or hear about.

There are some buildings that have been around as long as Ashley. I am not going to name them. Some flowers show up every year and been there as long as time itself.

The house still stands on the corner of Jefferson and fifth. This place had a bout a full block of Daffodils. They were picked and put in bunches of 12 and shipped to the Chicago Market. People were hired to cut flowers for several days. May White told me about the operation. I remembered it, but not in such detail as she. I am sure she can relate the story in great detail. Voelkels raised flowers and Harold Seibert sold many of them at the service station. Memorial day in this area had many fresh flowers including Roses. I can tell the story of how many flowers the Barretts and Berry families put on graves at the cemetery.

Decoration Day was a big event at Ashley I. O. O. F. Many times band music, some time speakers and people stayed at the cemetery all day visiting friends with all who chose to return for this occasion. Support the Cemetery association. Send a gift.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I go to the Ashley Illinois Cemetery with the Woodrome attached. I could write many items on some of the "dry bones" I once knew. I visit my wifes buriel site quite often and since the grave site is only a few feet from a road I stop and if the weather is just right I take a short nap and enjoy it. Some months ago a lady woke me up by tugging on my arm. "Are you all right," she asked and I answered with a "Yes mamm, jus taking a nap." Seems like this isn't an inappropriate place to nap. Why did you choose this place. She seemed very surprise when I gave her this answer. "Lady, my wife is buried right there and I was sleeping to see if I was going to like it. I expect to be buried there." She just turned and walked away. Later I wondered if my answer frightened her.

The cemetery looks nice if a cemetery can look nice. It is well kept. Paul Setzekorn is the board president and is concerned because funds are running low and the time between mowings will have to be extended if he doesn't receive some envelopes with an offering. More grave sights need be sold. The prices on those will be increased also, probably.

I well remember the Woodrome cemetery being over grown with trees, weeds and brush. I too remember that Harry Crane worked hard to get them cleaned off and labor was fifty cents an hour. I am not forgetting Elmer Newcomb and his effort for twenty years. Jim Summers used to use a sickle and a reel type push mower to clean it up for Memorial Day. People who came would give him some pocket change for his work.

That was the years there were celebrations going on at grave yards all over the County. Speakers, Talking. Many times they were politicians. Many times there were more people above the ground than under. Now the "Unders" are fast gaining and I believe the interred ones long ago gain ahead each year.

Many of the happenings of 100 years ago has to be left to memories. Not many people can remember too many things, yet some things should be done in an orderly manner the way me and a friend sees it and mentionsit. "Let sleeping dogs lie." I think it such an excellent idea. We say, "It's easier to let the cat out of the bag than put him back in." Did people learn just as much. Over the back yard fence on Mondays, Washdays? While hoeing in the garden. Some times they stood in groups trying to wish up a thunder shower. So few automobiles at the Cemetery. People walked. Women tried to carried a basket for a dinner on the grounds, carry a child and their Sun bonnet tied down and wearing long every day dresses. I can't remember seeing too many men. Harry C. was the optometrist and this was a big day for him. He carried about a hundred pairs of glasses in the coats pocket and he would sell and trade. You tried on glassed until you could see better and then paid him a dollar. He allowed a 25 cent piece on trade. He had spectacles too. They just set on the nose as temporary while you viewed an item. Without 'ear' pieces.

Edith has said on T. V., "Those were the days." Well, men who ran a business wore a three piece business suit. Smoked cigars and kept the gadget on their watch chain to nip the end of the cigar.(Cuban Cigars), got a shave daily and had their personal lather mug and brush at the shop. While waiting for their morning shave they received a nickel shoe shine. Most of the shine boys were warned, "Don't get no polish on them sox." I know all this to be a fact. "I was there."

By Bucky McCoy ©

Methodist Episcopal Church South. For years two Methodist church's co-existed in Ashley Illinois. Not so sure about the dates. Where you find any thing about the dates are from 1865 to 1870. There was a building erected on two lots. Lots 3 and four of block 4 in the Original Town of Ashley, Illinois. The date was September 16 1879 is when the Church trustees purchased lots 5 & 6 in block 3 of the Dickermans Addition of the City of Ashley and it was used for a parsonage. These lots were purchased from Samuel and Anna Watson. In 1904 on the 16th of September it was sold to Annie B. Foehr and occupied by she and Husband John Foehr.

The M. E. Church South had a large membership and too many to list. This Church held its prayer Service on Thursday nites. As Membership continually grew smaller it became increasingly difficult to keep the doors open. The year was about 1910 or 1911 it was time to disband.

Records show that the building was sold to Mrs. Charolotte M Hagebush.

The date being April 22 1911. Later years the building was used for various things and finally E. J. Wierather bought it and made it into a residence fir his family. The building today stands and is still strong and sturdy appearing. This item states that the bell is now on the Ashley school. I am to the opinion it was used on the school that was built in the 1916 or 1917 era. Donad Peeck told me that he, Hogan, Donalds two sons and a few more took the bell to the Little Grassy Methodist camp near Carbondale. This for some younger to remember what happened to the Bell. Now some say no, but the fact is its at the Grassy M. E. camp.

I want to add just a few words about the now present location buildings area and what it reveals.. The parsonage was built just north of the Church and in the year 2006 a parsonage is still there and occupied.

This "Messenger" as I have mentioned is full of mi-nute details of what has been done up to 1955. It mentions a new Communion table and a new organ. It has some snap shots of people, places and things about the Church building. I saw where Ronald Seibert, Pete Weisss and Wilbert Cannon became preachers out of the church congregation

This booklet contains a lot of information for people who have that interest. There is a page picture of Wayne Burkey from 1950. Pictures of Piano and organ players.

Names of members of both of the Methodist Church's. It talks about W. C. T. U. and other organizations of the church. How they wee organized and when and who were the officers. Its just interesting reading and looking.

About this time and later Ashley was blessed with five Church congregations. I can't remember or find where the universilest were located.

I am always in need of Historical items at the Library. What are we now saving what will be of interest to people a hundred years from now. Of course, Ashley may be one of the Ghost towns of Southern Illinois. So: what you have that will be thrown away some time, offer it to Ashley Illinois Library Historical.

Don't just say I ought to take this to the Historical room..DO-IT.

By Bucky McCoy ©

The year was 1925 and we lived near the L & N Rail road tracks in Ashley, Illinois. In fact it was on fifth and Washington Street. The house was near the tracks and it seemed like each train was going to run right through house. This kitchen had two doors and mom kept the one near the tracks closed and locked. She would say, "I don't want an Old Bum to walk in on me." Those were the days of houses having few rooms, but the kitchen was usually larger for it was the hub of family activity.

The South door had all the traffic. We knew all about the South door area, but very little about the north door area. The well was under the porch, so when getting water from the well, seldom did bad weather bother. My first memory of moms teaching was "GO SAVING". We were always told almost daily, "Don't waste water." With out too much detail we only took what was needed and any left was poured back into the well. In this kitchen on a table was a pail called drinking water and it was never cooled. Drink it hot or don't drink. On the side of the pail was a dipper and every one used the same dipper. Dip it in the water, fill dipper about a third. Did not want any leftover.

I wondered how much water was saved when all took a bath in the same tub of water. This part of living with a water problem was the rain barrel. Always setting in the corner and when it rained the barrel was covered until some one determined the house top was clean, then fill the barrel.

Let me tell you a bit about this barrel. Ours was a fifty gallon capacity used barrel that had once contained pickles. In those times pickles came to the store and a purchaser could buy pickles one to any amount desired. This barrel was rather ancient and had seen many summers, but was still serviceable. This water was used to wash hair, sometimes to bathe. The very finest water in which to cook Great Northern Beans. This water had to be strained before using to cook beans. Always full of mosquito Larvae. Wiggle tales. Lots of them, but that Cheese cloth material got them.( You while reading have said, "YUK." More than likely you said, "I remember helping strain out so we could use the water."

We lived in a house with a well and a cistern. We never used the Cistern, but dad put a fish in to keep wiggle tails eaten up. This cistern was about fifteen feet deep and ten feet across, but wells were very narrow. An underlying stream kept water in the well, but the cisterns water had to be drained off the house top during a rain. This cistern water was great to do washings, take baths and to water the garden in dry weather. The Cistern only had water that was captured during he rainy season.

I mentioned earlier about saving water. There were times during summer months that the wells stream must have dried. Well got so low on water there was scarcely enough for a family to have drinking water. Can you imagine in a country as great as ours that we had drinking water problems. During this time I thought I was thirsty all of the time.

There are times now when water is more or less rationed. Don't water lawns, don't wash cars and save water where ere you can. May be we better look for a water barrel to catch rain water to use in emergencies. Have we heard, "This summer is going to be a dry one." We are fortunate in these parts. We don't fight over water rights." Have you been by the Library?

By Bucky McCoy ©

It's getting to be that time of the year! Eighty years ago I remember all about storms. Seems like with out them there would not have been much excitement. Night storms were worse. After going to bed, nothing could wake me except the afar off rumble of thunder. It seemed like hours before the thunder got louder and Dad had it timed just right when he would call out, "You kids get up. There is a bad storm brewing." We would gather in the living room and he would say, "Have you got on all your clothing on, I think we might get blown away." Uncle Bert and Aunt Cele visited us much of the time so when it thundered a little they would be at our house. Uncle always carried a coffee cup and asked if we had any coffee left. I believed my parents made a gallon. They drank it all the time.

The back door rattled and we all jumped with fear, but dad would say, "That's Bert and Lucille. Don't be afraid." Dad had to remove a chair he had placed under the door knob and let them in. Uncle would say, "Going to a bad one, John. Looks like we might get blown away this time." You never seen Uncle without a cup and he would go to he stove and pour himself a cup of left over coffee. He attempted to drink all of it.

Soon the wind started blowing harder and dad would yell, "Under the bed." All children were experts at diving under the bed. After a few blasts of strong wind we got the 'all clear sign'. We came out and headed for our beds and uncle and aunt decided they would stay in case the storm came back. They slept on the floor and when day arrived they would have breakfast with us. This was not was not any thing unusual.

Day storms were different and the way to survive was taken over by the women. They got the storm on its way early. They would talk in small groups and say, "This day is sure stuffy. This wind is going to blow up a storm. It was hazy when we got up and that's another good sign." They would agree. Next some one would say the old laying hens are staying close to the chicken house. That's a good sign. Another would chip in, "look at the cows. They are grazing with heads to the South east. That's a sure sign." One might say, "I looked at the Old Farmers Almanac. It said storms for a day." After all the didja hears and didja knows they separated for the kids would be home for lunch.

Some time after lunch it seems as if storm clouds were gathering and that was reason for the ladies to walk around and wait for thunder. After a bit some one thought they heard thunder afar off and there was a darker cloud in the west. They visited some more and one would say, "Didja see that? I think I saw a flash of lightening." Mrs. Shanks red chickens headed for the hen house. Another storm sign.

The situation was carefully observed. The clouds were getting darker and they had a green streak. The storm was getting closer. Oh! I hope it doesn't hail. My garden will be ruined. My tomatoes are just now setting on the vines. My green beans are blooming. I have small cucumbers, but it won't matter. The beetles will kill them. That wind is picking up so some one would say "I wish my kids were home. If we get blowed away, we could go together." The storm came a bit closer and the ladies hurried home to let the windows down. The winds came, the rains came, the hail didn't fall and very little damage to any thing. Little left to do, but wait for another storm.

By Bucky McCoy ©

Grand kids always looked forward to seeing grandma on any holiday. Fun time and a lot of exploring. Grandma always met us with a hug and a kiss and I am so glad to see you again. Grandpa acted like it was going to be a miserable day. He greeted us with, "You kids stay out of the barn. The mare just had a colt and you might make her nervous." Grandpa had rules to go by, but grandma made the rules as you go so to speak.

We determined the barn needed exploring. When grand pa was busy we took advantage and hurried into the barn. We were not too interested in the mare having to watch over the colt. The barn had a musty, oily, dusty and the smell of horse. A ladder was nailed to a center post leading directly into the loft. We were much surprised. Bales of hay, but grandpa saved every thing. Wood pegs were driven into parts of the frame-work. We were not too well aquainted with most of the things. I recognized a well-worn saddle, pieces of harness, bridles that had not been used in so long of a time. They appeared be petrified. Two buckets of used horses shoes, nails still in place just like when they were removed from the horses hooves. Boxes and buckets of things we didn't know.

We climbed down into the main part of the barn and we found what looked like a buggy. We had never seen a real one, but just pictures. Wheels were off and leaning against the walls. We decided we would reconstruct it. The main part was setting on saw horses. We put on the wheels and an adjustable wrench laid on a box and it just the fit for the axles nuts to hold on the wheel. We got the wheels on and then saw what was the part that fit the horse. Called the shafts I believe. We got the buggy in usable condition.

The barn door opened slowly and grandpa yelled, "What are you kids up to?" Lacking a place to run, no place to hide. We knew we were in trouble. Waiting for the tongue lashing and what a surprise. Grand dad said, " see what you are up to and it looks like a good job. Get some rags and clean it up and we might go for a ride."

We started to clean it up while gramps said, "I will look for some harness." He found the harness and gave us a bar of soap used to soften and clean leather. We were so happy again and granddad said, "Right after dinner I will put the harness on the mare and we will hook up and go for a ride". "Now don't tell anybody." I answered, "mums the word."

Grand ma yelled, "Lets eat." We hurried into the house and she asked, "How did you kids get so dirty?" We ate a wonderful dinner and she said that she had never seen people so quiet on a joyous holiday. We excused ourselves and as we left granny commented, "You guys are up to no good."

Grandpa separated the colt from the mare. He put on the harness and backed the mare between the shafts and soon we were ready. He warned us not to spook the horse and just ride and enjoy it. All loaded and we stopped by the kitchen door and said. "Mom". She came to the door and was quite excited too. "My goodness. Wait until I get the camera," said Grandma.

We had much fun. By Dawkins peach orchards, by P. J. Nortons and I was lost, but it was so exciting. Waiting was Mom and Grandma. We want to ride too. I don't know where they went, but they came back laughing and the colt was looking for his mama. What a day to remember.

By Bucky McCoy ©

Dwellings in Ashley had a large front porch and one on the back and some times on the side of the house. One I remember was a porch that was the full width of the house and just the right distance from the ground. Feet fit on the ground when you sat on the porch. Nettie Martin had ten antique rocking chairs and a porch swing, so there was room for a lot of people. House was only ten feet from the brick walk. I would ask her about the old chairs. She would say, "Bucky, my mother gave these to me and Fred when we was married. She was a Bright you know." These chairs served the community well. Each evening the chairs were filled after supper. One going by Nettie would say, "Neighbor, come in and set a spell." Wednesday night and Sunday night was an exception until she came back from Church or Prayer meeting. Porch gossip and a Church meeting must have been great for the soul. She was well over a hundred when she passed away. She told me how she had rocked Emery and Willie and the girls. My, what stories she has told me. She had told me how long they had lived on Martin Street. Fred was a Paper Hanger and Painter. Few know what a Paper Hanger did for a lively hood

Preacher Howard W. Sweetin was a Nazarine preacher. He lived on the corner of Fifth and Madison Street. He lived in a rather large yellow house trimmed in kind of yellowish brown. His house had a large porch. The full length of the west side of the house. I always liked the porch and played on it when I was six years old. I like to climb on the banisters, and was always warned about falling off. Some times Mrs. Sweetin ( Rena) got tired of me and she would say, "Jimmy I think your mother is calling you." This porch was never known to have a friendly chair on it. Reverend Sweeten was gone just about all the time. He would take two weeks off in mid summer to work in his garden, He was a 'Big time Preacher', if you know what I mean.. He wrote books and I have one he wrote and published. He was highly rated as a preacher. He told me that he seldom preached to congregations less than 25,000 people. That is a lot of people.

Rena had a mother living on Fifth Street. In fact the house still stands in the year 2003 a nd is occupied by Clara Vaughn. Mrs. Livesay lived alone when Reverend Sweeten was at home, other wise she lived with her daughter Rena. She was a small thin woman and I never knew very much about her. I don't think either of them attended a Church too much. There wasn't any Nazarene Churches around here. The Library has a picture of all Methodist men in 1930.

I can't remember very many houses with out some sort of a porch. Now days you don't s ee many new ones with a porch. Not very large ones any ways. Will Seibert owned the house south of the M. E. Church and it had a porch and still has. That house was built in 1898. Mr. Siebert was the Druggist. We don't have druggist today or do we? He would get up at all hours of a night and go to he drug store to make a prescription for ailing people. Automobile was a scarce item and most people walked. This house and some others had a little porch on the house top. These porches had a banister around them. I never was on top of a house with a veranda. It was to be the coolest spot in town.

I am thinking the smallest business place in Ashley was the Sugar Bowl Café. I don't think it had a big business. It was so small that the counter had four stools and that was all. Frank Martin was the owner. It was south of the Bank Building. I need a picture of this business venture. I have the stove he used.

By Bucky McCoy ©

I have said I know every thing about every thing and a few persons have answered by saying, "You can say that again." We had a picture taking photographer namely key and I well remember his putting a black cloth over his head and igniting some powder that made a flash and presto; A picture. May be not that easy but I have three pictures of whom, only God knows who they are. Each is on a square of tin. I reckon that's why they are called tintype. I am too young to have a picture of me on tin.

In the later 1800s pictures were made rather quickly and were called tintypes. If you think you have this type of picture, check it out with a magnet. The main attraction of this picture in 1855 was it took such little time and effort to have your portrait made. It wasn't the thing to take out side snaps also, but may be so.

They better showed the life in America. The tintype used some sort of a gelatin emulsion on thin tin sheets that processed almost immediately after the exposure while still wet. These must have been called positives. There was for a while, work done only in a studio. I suppose because there wasn't any negative created. Soon it was such a valued way of photography that traveling tintypist took to the road. We have to remember the mode of traveling on the road was done by horses and wagons. There must have been little work to setting up a lab.

Tin types were called by other names too. Eventually all this was replaced with dry plates which is something like what is used in the 2000s. they used rolls of celluloid film.

Many tintypes are cherished by families today to be reminded of the appearance of their long gone family members.

I remember the Studio was on Wentworth Street in Ashley and inner workings of that building still stands. It was built with twin sections and when I was young I remember being inside. I have asked to see some pictures that depicts Ashley and I wonder why people did not write who what and where on the back. Not only then, but people fail to identify the pictures they took last week. We are so fortunate to have pictures at The Library historical room of Ashley. We have all the High School graduating classes, save 1922. All the year books too. I am proud to have been able to put the clock that hung in the school house hallway. I call it an old school house clock in two ways. Its' called and came from the School Building.

Area people need to view whats happening now with pictures and other things at the Historical room. Many people have given items of value to the memory as well as cash donations. These people want to be a part of 'This olden times to future projects.' When entering the Library you see names of people who have a given cash donations to the cause. With out them we would not be in such great shape.

I like this question. What ever happened 'to' as they view the Class pictures. We know where many of them are. I like when these class reunions view these pictures of yester-years. My, my, what can this Historical room reveal? What memories?

Is there any place you know of to spend a half day for free and enjoy every minute. Get interested and come see us at 70 N. E. Second St.

By Bucky McCoy ©

There was a time when Ashley had barbers with a license and the family barber. I don't know if they got any pay for it. Some families were rather large and were boys. Some had good haircuts and some did not. My dad did a right credible job with mothers sewing scissors. I talk about my uncle Bert who was too heavy for light work and to light for heavy work. This forced him to live of the fat of the land. He cut hair for a nickel. He had little time for barbering. He and auntie drank coffee at our house, so he was there so much he turned family barber for free. He must have been the right weight for that as well as fishing and hunting. He knew all the good fishing holes with-in walking distance and he was an avid squirrel hunter. The squirrels knew him by sight and smell, so when they saw him coming they found a hiding place until he moved on. He had a twenty two caliber rifle and shells were fifteen cents for a box of fifty at Fred Browns Hardware. I could always expect him to get wild game with every shot. When and if he missed a shot he gave him self a tongue lashing for being such a poor shot. I have held the hind legs of many a squirrel as he removed the hide. Squirrel meat wasn't my favorite, but he said they were delicious.

Rabbit hunting was my favorite and uncle could find rabbits setting under a bush and wipe them out with a perfect single shot. Most of the time he would examine his prize and say, "That's a nice fat one." We would return home after a hunt and the pouch on his hunting coat would be swelled out with fat rabbits. I learned to help dress them and aunt Cele always had a pan of cold water laden with salt . She soaked them a while and to this day I think wild rabbit was the most delicious food. It was addicted to the milk gravy she made. The pan scrapings of flour with fresh lard cooked together with flour added until brown. It was time to add the milk and stir until it was thick. I liked black pepper and sugar on my gravy. I'm talking kind of plain, but I like that home made bread, take a piece and sop it in the gravy. You can become ill for a while if you eat until you can't hold any more.

We fished many days during the summer. We caught 'Yellow bellies' Cat fish, Perch and once in a while a bass or a crappie. Many times uncle would say, "You watch the lines. I am going to step out here and see if I can get a squirrel or two". Just about all the time he shot his squirrel or two. At the first trips fishing I was alarmed when I saw a snake. I got to where I did not pay any attention. Uncle said, "They won't bother you", so he never killed a snake. He convinced me they were here for a purpose.

Aunt Cele always made the fish pan ready and managed to make hush puppies to go with them. Talk about good. I had to watch for bones. Some times uncle would dig out a half gallon fruit jar and head for the tavern to get fifteen cents worth of 'Peva', but I would no taste the stuff. He always claimed the drink made in the spring from vat scrapings was the beast. It was dark in color. It was great for the innards.

I had in my mind that was this life is for me. A one roomed shack with a stove and a well on the premises and a few pots and pans. A rifle, fishing lines, A was tub full of bait I had gathered in early spring. Also needed was a small dog with which to hunt squirrels, Uncle taught me it did not take much to feed a small dog. They usually made good watch dogs. Not much for him to watch. Watch for a good woman to work out to buy flour, dog food, shells for the gun, Fishing license as well as hunting. I found out in later years. This is not for me. Life did not work that way. Not for me, but I have the memories. Remember to come by the Library and view the Historical room.

By Bucky McCoy ©

Many one people jobs and it was being self-employed was a way of livelihood. We still see some of the one man businesses. I buy on occasion a snow ball and it's from a young man trying to make a dollar. I like that slivered or ground ice with a dab of grape flavoring spilled on its top and then a plastic spoon on
Which to dip out the treat.

In the late 1930 era I showed sheep for A. A. Simms of Albion, one of the finest men I ever knew. We made all the County fairs and I saw many jobs that were self made. I liked the ice cream cut into squares, a sucker stick inserted smathered in peanuts. A good delicious treat operated by one person. Nothing beat what was called a lemonade shake up. A half lemon mashed in the bottom of a container, sugar and ice added and it was lidded and shook vigorously and what a glass of lemon ade.

Thirst was hard for fair goers to over come. No water to be found so an energetic man fixed up a tank of water, sold you a cup and drink all you wanted. It was such cold water you just could not drink but a few ounces. This water was so cold it seldom did much on quenching the thirst. The business seemed to do great. Not too much over head either.

I am thinking of H. T. Peeck, who in later years had a route, so to speak. He visited mostly farmers. He either had what you desired or he could bring it on the next trip. He sold every thing a farmer needed including Life Insurance. You who can remember, was it Metropolitan? He sold every thing he could make a few coins on.

These are some one man jobs, we called them Peddlers. Four times a year a man drove an old boarded up wagon, pulled by two ancient 'Nags' up and down the alley ways of the City of Ashley. You could hear him a block away exclaiming, "Rag man, Rag man." This was his main cry, but he would purchase bottles any thing else of value. He had a small scale that swung on the side and he always pretended he was weighing and may be he was, but rags were two cents a pound. That was for good and clean rags.

The Scissors grinder had a cart of sorts and he went by every ones house. He drove the one horse pulling the cart with tools and he would say ,"Get your scissors sharpened. Won't be back for four months." He did not cover much territory for there were always women standing waiting and brandishing several pairs of scissors. If a friend, he would sharpen a knife, but his business was scissors. When he finished, they were sharp.

The knife sharpener made his rounds too, kind of regularly scheduled. He wore a big coat and carried all his sharpening gadgets in his coat pockets. This one I knew told lots of sharpening stories. He could make a knife very sharp and if not satisfied, or as he said, "If they don't hold up I'll make it right the next time." His work was guaranteed, but if the knife was of poor quality he would not guarantee his work. He could hone a razor with which a man shaved. Excellent work. Those were the days men shaved with a straight razor.

The chimney sweep came every years and his job was to clean out the soot that had gathered in the chimney. People were concerned about the chimney catching on fire and demolishing their home. We see to day that some wore a top hat and tails. I think this was the token of their trade. Their job was important.

I could talk about these jobs more, but space eludes me. If you stop by the Ashley Library Historical room and ask for Bucky. Ask him to tell you a story.

By Bucky McCoy ©

There are some people donating a lot of time to the Historical Room at the Ashley Library. A lady, whose name I shall not reveal because there are some people who do excellent work, but don't care about the public knowing who is contributing. We cannot have errors in dates, or the item fails to serve their intended use. Many people tell the date of Ashleys getting its name and by whom. The correct time is close to 1855 by a construction engineer working on the I. C. RR. Namely Ashley. It's noted many times by some one saying that this area had a lot of Ash trees. If this be true, much of what I have located is in error.

I take snap shots of different places that look like a vacant lot and many times they are bare. The South end of West Rail Road Street and Martin Street was the place where the horse and mule barn set while animals were working on the Rail Road. By careful observance you may see rock that must have been the base of the building.

The oldest Cedar tree in the entire State set in the Ashley Cemetery. I don't know if its still there. There are a few old trees there now. One I figure is about three hundred years old. Here is the way I determined its age and there are better ways, I am sure. I multiplied the circumference by 3.81, divided by two and multiply by ten. If it doesn't work tell me the correct way. One tree has an "ouchy" about the size of a bushel basket. People ask, "Wonder what that is.?"

With a straight face I say, "An Indian stuck his tomahawk there and the tree grew over it." I Think about what answer I will use when I am asked, "How do you Know?" I expect that Indians have stood under this trees protective limbs.

What I am thinking is correct information about the History of Ashley that should be documented correctly. I try to get pictures from people who don't know what or who they are about. Some don't respond.

The School building burned in 1913 and the new school was occupied in 1916. We have a picture of the old school burning. I don't know who the janitors were. I remember Emery Hall, George Foehr, John McCoy, Clive Curtis and others who escapes my old mind. This is important to know who was what. Right? Right.

The Old School went the way of the wrecking ball in 1972. Last graduating class of twenty two. May have been 22 the year of 1971. Every one living to day that was graduated from good old A. T. H. S. has many memories. Can't tell them because they are on us. We can't even say, "Remember When."

Ashley has many memories that need to be preserved. There are some buildings that are a hundred fifty years old. Seldom are we concerned about preservation. I am proud of the Historical room and it had to have been started some where and it has cost some one. Now it is almost self supporting by gifts from people who have viewed at "What's happening Now." The question is raised, "Where did you get all this stuff?" We have every thing pretty well filed on computer and file cabinets. I hesitate to name people, but this room is about as neat an orderly as you can find. There is a problem, well not right now, but it's getting too large or too small, however you look at it. Ashley needs a museum. In fact Washington County has much to offer of historic value. Every one has an item of importance to Ashley. I have the School House Clock hanging in the Historical room in Ashley, Illinois. You can support us in many ways. Stop by the Librarians Desk. Karen can give you the correct directions. You can at least put in an appearance. Lets give more thought to supporting Ashley. We just gave final rights to the Fraternal Hall. Sad. We salvaged burnt bricks, a piece of ceiling and a part of an initiation piece..

By Bucky McCoy ©

I talk about going on a diet, but when I was young I think I was on one all of the time. My Mother cooked all the time. The kitchen had a big kitchen range as they were called and always a fire in the fire box. Some times the fire was kind of put on hold. It was called laid by or banked. Always something was cooking on slow. A cast iron kettle of white beans and they had to be "Great Northern Beans". Most of the time they were flavored with a piece of bacon. Bacon rind was the best. Plenty of flavor and very little fat. I was thinking a few days ago that beans were most delicious if cooked in water from a big rain. This water was called soft water. The meal courses consisted of one main dish. Few dishes were on the table. The big bowls were filled from the kettle on the stove.

My mom baked many loaves of bread. She used a lot of flour and penny yeast cakes. Seems like the stove was fired up rather hot. Her temperature gage was sticking her hand in he oven and see how long she cold keep it there. That was the temperature gage. There was one in the middle of the door, but she didn't trust it. I wonder how we ate twelve loaves of bread three times a week. Some times neighbor kids ate with us. She always took a little piece of cloth and wiped 'grease' on the loaves so the crust would be tender. This oven furnished lots of pies. Not many cakes. Left over food was not put in an ice box, but was put in a space over the stove called a warming oven. I wonder why food never spoiled. Most of the time cleaning off the table amounted to taking off the dirty plates and silver ware and cover it up with a Table Cloth.. Under this was jelly, Sorghum, Oleo (white) and most of the time was peanut butter. Milk was hung in the well in an empty ten pound syrup pail. No refrigeration. For snacks we were allowed to eat sandwiches of peanut butter and jelly or (lasses). When we carried the sandwich out side the flies ate as much as we.

On the back of this stove was a water tank that held five gallons of water so we always got hot water from this kitchen Range. My sisters usually kept it full of water. Many houses had a pitcher pump in the kitchen. Many houses were built over a well for this purpose. It sure was better than getting a bucket of water from an out side well.

This stove had a spot for the granite coffee pot that simmered most of the time. Eventually the coffee got weaker. She solved this by putting a cup of fresh ground coffee in and more water. Coffee cost two pounds for thirty nine cents. Brewed, it was good to the last drop.

This stove could make the best meals. I always enjoyed the home made fresh sausage. Dad was real particular about the spices. Mom had a huge iron skillet. She made sausage cakes as they were called and cooked more than we could eat. We had our own chickens, so we had more eggs than we could use. Mother broke them in this skillet of hot fat and kept tops covered with hot grease. She put them on a serving plate and you were welcomed to eat all you could hold. Some mornings she made biscuits as big as your fist and they were so tender and good. She knew just how many to prepare for because it was seldom when any more than three or four left.

This stove was the most important piece in the entire household. The care it got showed it.. It was wiped clean every day. Once a month is was covered with stove polish. Was it called Blacking? New stove piping about once a year. I did not like to carry wood in and ashes out, but those were the days

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© 2006 Wayne Hinton

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