Washington County, Illinois

Return to : Washington County

Page 4

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

By Bucky McCoy

Picture Making

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. Maybe 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 late 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 outside snaps also, but maybe 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 tin typists 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.

Tintypes were called by other names too. Eventually, all this was replaced with dry plates, which was 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 the 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 depict 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, and all the year books too. I am proud to have been able to display the clock that hung in the Ashley school hallway. I call it an old school house clock in two ways. It's called, and came, from the school building.

Area people need to view what's 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 "the olden times for future projects." When entering the library, you see the names of people who have a given cash donations to the cause. Without 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 it when the 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 Street.

We have a great Library for a small city. Meet Karen, The Librarian in charge. She has 5 new books on Southern Illinois that are most interesting. Bucky or Paul or Wanda Setzekorn are there to tell you about the Historical Items that are on file.

By Bucky McCoy

When I start to dwell on people that I knew and remembered I ask my self, "How did I ever over look his or her contribution to what ever they worked at so diligently and so free." I write about the cemetery and I forget how Clarence Schuback did so much on the secretarial job at the Ashley cemetery. Seemed like he was always marking off something. I have seen some of the plots he has marked off on card board maps. Easy to locate lots. I think Myrle Poole did it before Clarence and Didn't Sylvia Moore to that. I believe she was a secretary. What's difficult is there isn't any platte of Woodrome Cemetery. I remember I use to walk in the Woodrome Cemetery and many head markers were made of wood and were burned each time the place caught fire.

I was on the high School board of education for 16 years and I think that during that time Clarence Schuback handled the money for the school. I can't remember if it was an elected position or whether he was hired for the job. Clarence was around as long as I can remember and he and wife lived on the Woodrome farm for several years. He was a farmer, but in those days all you needed was a few acres, some implements and a pair of good work horses. The horses would let you work from day light to dark and not much return for hard work. At the Library we have a picture of Clarence standing beside his 1926 automobile.

At the Library I try to get people to take a composition book and write about their early years and Clarence did this for me. Feeding horses on a farm required much hay, ten ears of corn each morning and each evening while they were working. Some farmers fed the work horses some oats and hay at noon break. They usually took and hour off at noon to rest the horses.

I wonder how farmers worked with a one twenty acre farm and what they got out of it. Lots of hard work. Farmers used to turn the ground every spring, harrow and disc the plot and plant the seed. The only fertilizer was furnished by the farm animals and lime stone was unheard of in this area. Many corn crops did not make 25 bushel to an acre. Live stock consumed much of the grain that was raised. The cows needed feed. Fowls needed feed or no eggs. Pigs ate much of the feed. Farm animals were fed two times daily. Rats got their share too. Many farm families made their own meal for corn bread. Many ate lots of corn bread. No wonder why boys made rabbit traps. A nice fat rabbit, especially hind legs fried in pure home made lard was delicious. I can still taste good rabbit gravy in my far away thoughts.

We say, "When I was a kid we did not have much to eat". I would like today to be on a diet of home raised pigs. Buy piglets in March and slaughter on Thanks giving and all the trimmings. Different taste from store bought pork. We kids would cut wash tubs full of plantinim and hogs enjoyed. These animal would eat a shovel of coal. Cows like green grass. Many times hours were taken from play time to hold a cow on a rope and let her graze. Chickens were naturally free range. Some chickens never heard of a pen.

We are getting to an era that some people have never heard of. Meat without antibiotics, trees with out fertilizer, gardens produce without insect repellant. Remember when insect repellent was dish washing water? People encouraged birds to live close by. This was after we were told how many insects martins ate daily. Humming birds and house wrens. Some birds have left our area. When did you last see a cat bird?

By Bucky McCoy

I am thinking that we people that are around ninety years must have been fed the correct foods. We ate lots of fresh vegetables in the summer time, but winter was from cans, the smoke house and things made with salt. An example is kraut. The salt was washed out of the kraut. The fat and salt was cooked from meat and milk was as it came from the cow. We ate butter like it was candy due to having excess milk with which to make Butter.

I had many favorite foods, but apple pie was hard to beat. Just about every house hold had an apple tree planted on the lot from which many knotty, wormy and misshaped apples were picked or the wind storm help get the larger apples from the top of the trees. I lived right next to the L & N Rail Road. It was on Fifth Street and on the east side of the road. Across the road was some kind of small apple orchard. One tree of different varieties. Grimes golden, Red Delicious, June apples, a stork and a Banonna. Some apples are extinct, but these trees were never cared for. The owners lived far away like St. Louis

I said that because I like Apple pies. The variety of trees provided apples from June to freezing weather. We had lots of pies. Mom surely watched all good ingredients that were good for us. The Pie crust was made from pure hog lard. Not purchased at the store, but from our very own pigs. To make fine pie crust use the secret ingredient. Flaky and delicious.

The only oven was a regular kitchen range and Saturday night was bake time due to Saturday night bathes. With oven hot and Mom made the crust. Most of the time the pies were kind of oblong. They were called cobblers. They had an excess of crispy brown crust. Mom would smear the inside crust with butter. Sliced apple were piled in to over filling. A dash of salt, teaspoon of cinniman and a full cup of sugar. Another crust covered this. Edges pinched together with a fork and a couple slits in top and oven ready. She made two and both baked at the same time. The crust became toasty brown, a little juice seeped out of the slits and they were done. Butter was brushed on top and they were ready for Sunday dinner.

Some times the Kentucky Wonder pole beans had been snapped and washed. These Green beans were put in a Dutch oven. Many times more than a gallon. Covered with water and a bid bacon rind and salt. We did not cook beans like today, but about three hours. Mom would put in a little onion and waited for green beans to "cook down." Some times bacon grease was added. The meals meat was usually fried. Portions were "all you could hold." Many times very small potatoes were cooked with green beans. We ate a lot of fried potatoes. Usually the fat in which meat was cooked was used for frying potatoes. We ate more than our fair share of corn bread. I preferred Moms. The corn bread was just throwed together. Two parts meal to one part flour. Baking powder, baking soda, salt, 3 small eggs and butter milk and stir. Add in a half cup of fat as an ingredient. She had a huge cast iron skillet with a half cup of fat. This was on a stove burner and heated to smoking hot. Final stirring received some sugar. She poured the mixture in the hot grease and when it quit sputtering it was to the oven. It baked to a crisp brown. You could tell when was cooked by its smell.

Remember the wilted lettuce. A big bowl full was covered with chopped green onions and a boiled egg. Heat in a skillet some bacon drippings with a mixture of water, sugar and vinegar. Let it cool a bit and pour over the greens. No place to buy a healthy meal as described. A bit of whipped cream over the apple pie did not hurt a thing.
Don't put off ordering this paper. No telling what you have been missing.

By Bucky McCoy

I can't hear too well. Is it from spending a life time listening to rail road engines whistle? Years ago the engineer used the whistle to talk by. He had a lot of helpers. Many times it took six people to run the train. The engineer could tell what the conductor wanted by train orders.

I liked the tone of the whistle on the head end of the train. The engineer could make the whistle talk. Each one could make the whistle sound so mournful. Others could make it sound happy. We learned by the whistle who was running the train. Cold winter nights and an I C R R freight train could blow the whistle in cold weather and make the cold air chill a persons bones. The coal drag was usually a slow runner and the engineman could make it sound like the poor engine was being overworked and so sad in its' feelings. I always liked to hear an engine trying to pull over a hill. Each chug seemed it would be the last, but most of the time it made it. A little sand drizzled under the drive wheels helped out tremendously. The wheels never skidded, but just kept moving along. On occasion the trains engine would put out the finished sound. Chug-chug-chug in fast order. The engine had done its best and failed. Not always was there a train close behind and no chance of borrowing its engine so the train was cut in half. The engineer pulled to level the first half. Went back for its other half. It made up the train again and was on its merry way.

Winter was a bad time. Snow seemed deeper around any rail road equipment. All work was done by hand and the sidings had switches and laborers kept the area clean and usable condition.

The rail road had passenger trains and the service was well used. There were always people getting on and of. Where the trains stopped were swept clean as it neared their time to come into Ashley. There was always mail and baggage to be transferred. Many of the faster trains had rail way mail clerks and they road and sorted mail. Quite a difficult job, so told me by Mr. C. L. Logan senior. His trip was Nashville Tenn. to St. Louis. That seemed like a long ways to stand on feet and sort mail.

I am told as years went by many of the services were eliminated. Mail bags were pushed off the train with out slowing and he would be picked up by rail roaders. There were times when a bag was pulled under a fast moving train and the mail bag was cut to pieces and mail scattered for miles. To prevent stopping to pick up mail a device was made that let the mail car extend and arm and get the mail bag at high speed.

Trains no longer have whistles and I believe the sounding device is a horn. They all have the same tune. Not much need for all of this equipment for there isn't any local trains. Most all are through freights for where could a car be set out?

I am searching for a picture of the Ashley stock pens. None seems to be available. I look for any kind of rail road pictures, but they must be scarce. I have some pictures at the Library Historical room. If you have none to offer, stop by and see what we have. The Library is open Monday nights 6 to 8. Tuesday from 1 to 4:30 and Friday 1 to 4:30 Saturday morning 9 to 12. You can see Karen about a library card.

By Bucky McCoy

I have parked around town and reminiscing. If I am slumped over the wheel I may have gone to sleep or become overwhelmed by what I think. Parked across from the fire station I thought about the inside of the Doctors office when Dr. C. J. Sanders was still around. The building was new when I first began using it. The waiting room was small and there wasn't any appointments. Ida, the secretary usually sat in a small room next to waiting. It was still used on the honor system. Some times doctor would walk to the door and say, "Whose next?" If Ida was working she would open the window by her desk and ask, "Who is next please?" Much of the time it would be a parent with several children. Once inside the doctor sat you on a chair, looked in your mouth and said, "Say ahhhhh."

Many times we had tonsilitus. He would say, "You got a sore throat." Just like we did not know it. Swollen so badly we could not drink water. He some times would say, "We might have to take out the tonsils." He would fix up a bottle of cough syrup and fever medicine. All take the same thing. Don't go to school, but stay in bed. This fever tablet on to lower the fever and you will fell better. Many times he would add, "In the morning when I am making house calls I will stop and see you."

Let me talk about the house call. No hospitalization so you stayed at home and the doctor came to the house. Mother said, "When Doctor stops making house call, what will we do?" I am thinking all we children were born at home. I am sure when I was born the delivery bill was seven dollars. I don't know what it cost now. I had a brother and sister older than I and those people lost their lives because no way to care for them. What now would be simple to fix could not be done ninety years ago.

How did doctors see so many people. Two doctors in town and a population of many more that a thousand people and not many antibiotics and few people had surgery. Any thing that happened not much could be done.

I can well remember when "Home" was the important part of every thing. Many funerals were had from the house or the church. People sat up with the body until it was buried. Not many years ago Barretts had a horse drawn Hearse. Older people was taken to the cemetery being pulled by a team of black horses and younger people were pulled by white horses. When weather was too bad the person was stored in the holding vault at the Ashley cemetery and it still stands in 2006. It's another piece of History.

How many of you have heard the Church bell being tolled. Is there a difference between tolling and ringing? Sure is. When the bell is rung it swings back and forth and the clapper hits the lip of the bell. When a bell is tolled it has a sad mournful sound. The bell stands still and a gadget is pulled and it hit the bell. Usually it is tolled for the number of years the person lived.

Those old time doctors finally became skilled and was able to help patients with tools provided. Prices became more expensive. A whole family could not see the doctor for two dollars. A doctor was paid with real money. Many times bills were paid with hams, milk, eggs and farm "stuff". Some bills were never paid. Doctors delivered many babies. Many families had eight children. Whole blocks of them. No more. Not that many in town?

By Bucky McCoy

Over the years many stories have appeared in this column. I never get a letter from any one with the exceptions from a lady who marked it with a question mark.. I know where it came from because I have a lot of signatures. I was hoping I would get a lot of stories from else where. I have received a few. One lady in town has given me stories about thing she did as a youngster. Her initials are lmw. Now she knows how much hose stories help the cause. I am always hoping I would get more from readers. May be there isn't that many readers. This is a good time to send fifteen dollars to the Ashley news and get a subscription started to a friend. Who knows that you may have been mentioned and you missed seeing your name in print. We have received many offerings for the Ashley Library Historical room. Had it not been for all the offerings we would have had little and now it's a place to be proud of. Now it is worth your looking to see what you have done.

Christmas comes and Christmas goes. I remember the bowls of hard candy and how the pieces glued together after a few days. Any ways long before you could eat them. Fruit wasn't so plentiful and many times a dozen oranges or a peck of apples were the greatest for us. What did you get in the sock that was hung by the chimney with care. I got a little bank to save my pennies. It was a fine gesture, but no pennies available. Most of the time we got one toy and one thing was sure no one else played with it. I got a ball glove one time and one of my friends stole it and it was two months before I had I returned. Many children received a pair of roller skates, but no suitable place to use them. Gloves and socks were an old standby. Three foot snows and fifteen below zero was not uncommon. Un-heard of where I spend the winter months. A lady at the beauty Shop said, "I have never seen snow." I had relation in Florida, a truck driver by trade, and he filled an ice cooler with snow. Brought it home to his children.

At Christmas time we are told it is more blessed to give than receive. I reckon that's correct. I like my motto: All small gifts kindly received. Larger ones in proportion. Money is a fine gift. It is the right color and the right size and for sure doesn't need exchanging. Seems like times changes. I always fret about giving gifts and get few. I say, "Bucky: you don't need gifts."

Our best gift is from Heaven. It is something every one can have just for the asking.

It is the gift of eternal life in Heaven. I am saddened when these Church buildings are vacant, so to speak and there is so much there for every one and it's free. I have to add this and it means much to many and nothing to some. Baptist have an offering at Christmas time and it is called a Lottie Moon Offering. My friend Erskine Vines by name runs a store on Hiway 31 and he sells just about anything. I noticed he has saddles and bridles and halters and hardware and boots and you name it. It is there. He sold on the thirteenth of December 7, 2006 every items in the store fifty percent off. Nice gift. Huh? Every dollar that day that went through his cash register he gave to Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Some of us give such a paltry offering in comparison to what Jesus gave. He gave us His life. We give nothing in comparison.

I have sent a copy from the Atmore News to several big News Papers and I plan on sending it to magazines. I think this would be great to air on the Oprah Winfrey Show and I plan on doing something about it. I have thought about any retail establishment would give two percent of their intake and how it would fill the coffers of these misson coffers

I think Erskines doing this should set off a nation wide way of thinking on how donations should work. Hooray for Mr. Vines.

By Bucky McCoy

Our family lived on Fifth Street in Ashley Illinois and it was the last street in this small town of a thousand people at that time. Dad called it the edge of town. He wanted to have chickens, pigs, a cow and the name of being a small town truck patch owner.

Dad always liked to brag about what a nice large garden he had. How hard he worked in it so not a weed could be found. The truth is very few times did Dad pull a weed or do any cultivating. The older children in the family did the gardening and Mother added her work when time was available. I have to admit it was a very beautiful and useful garden. I have to give my Father credit that he did the planning, planting and supervising and caring for thirty tobacco plants. He always said he knew how and what to plant together to eliminate garden parasites and pests. It seemed to work for we never used insecticide. The garden got very little fertilizer and we always had a bumper crop of every thing. Rain helped when it came at the correct time.

During the harvesting season is when Mother did the canning of approximately eleven hundred quarts of veggies and fruits. Tomatoes seemed to be the most quarts "put up" for winters use. Only the finest was used and later in the season we had ketchup, tomato juice and chili sauce. Beets was an early crop and still is my favorite of garden veggies. Home pickled beets. Delicious. I love the taste of green beans. People don't know how to cook green beans. Beans are best when stemmed and stringed, washed in cold water. Leave them set over night in cold water. Wash and drain the following morning and get out the old iron kettle. Pour the beans in it, about six pounds of them and cover with cold water and some pieces of fat bacon meat. Two pounds is about right amount and let those beans simmer for about five hours. We called it, "Cooking them down." This is the best you ever ate, unless you had new potatoes about the size of dime and a couple pounds added an hour before eating time. I like parsnips, but few people know how to get them started. Plant the seed in a row. Cover with a board for two weeks. Remove the board and they will grow. They taste better by leaving them in the garden through freezing weather.

Our free range Chickens was a wrecking crew for ripe tomatoes. Tomatoes were picked just before they were ripe. Chickens would not eat a slightly green tomato. I always said that a chicken tasted better in the frying pan if he had a filling of ripe tomatoes. We always had many chickens and they furnished us with meat and eggs. These eggs were always so flavorful. Mother fried so many we could not eat all of them. These eggs had a center of yellow orange and the white part was sanding high. It was important to use all eggs we could due to little sale value. Many times we sold them for ten cents a dozen. We had boiled eggs. At meal time they were soft boiled and for other times they were hard boiled. We carried them around during our school vacation playing time and ate them for snacks. We carried them several days and ate them. I can't remember of becoming ill due to spoilage or cleanliness as far as that goes. Now a days we are supposed to wash hands before eating. While in my early child hood, I thought water was to drink. I did not know it had any other uses except mom used it in cooking.

Some houses had was they called inside water. It was a Pitcher Pump that was over an open under house well. This pump had to be primed to get any water.

We had a barrel setting close to the house and when it rained it filled with Soft water. This barrel usually was infested by mosquito larvae. It could be used to cook white beans and wash hair. Strain out the larvae before using. We always thought the water was reasonably clean. We kept the barrel covered with screen wire. Many times the barrels contents became nearly empty between rains. I have not for got the pigs. Are you going to support your Library this year?
Are you going to support the Ashley News? Are You?

By Bucky McCoy

I remember my mother commenting on a young mother and her child. She will do well. She has helped raise all her brothers and sisters. I have seen her help with the children when she wasn't five years old. A blanket was spread out when it was warm weather and she would watch the little ones. Wipe their faces, stick a bottle in their mouth. When she started to school she had a full time job at home. There seemed to be little else to do other than raise children. When a girl was sixteen she was blessed with twelve years experience of home making.

How many girls today learned how to do clothing with a scrub board. Three tubs of water was carried to the back porch. Lye soap was shaved into the tub of hot water. The tub was set on a wash bench. Wash day was an all days job of back splitting work. Rub, rub, rub and many times knuckles were bleeding. Rinse the clothes in two tubs of water. After this procedure the piece was wrung dry as possible. Some people made starch from flour and dipped the pieces. They were ready for an out side clothes line. This fifty feet pieces line wiped clean of dirt. Hanging clothes was an art. It was called hanging a pretty wash. Like pieces had to be hung together. Like colors the same way. On a windy day the sheets snapped and popped. They dried quickly. The hot sun bleached the clothing. When the washing was removed from the line it was 'sprinkled down' and packed tightly in bushel baskets so that each piece ironed easier. Too, starched clothing gave up dirt much easier when washed and the piece looked nice on the wearer.

Tuesday was ironing day. A heavy fire was built early in the morning in the old kitchen stove, About twelve sad irons were placed on it to get hot. The ironing board was set in place. The basket set by the ironing board. The iron holder was founded and was used to hold the sad iron. A piece of clothing was un-rolled and sprinkled lightly with water. Ready to iron. Great care was exercised to control an irons temperature. Too hot would burn the piece of clothing and to cold, well wrinkles were still there. Ironing took all day as so did the washing. There were many rest stops to attend to some children. What a day of hard work.

Two days gone just to clean clothes. This day the hot stove was used for cooking white beans. Nothing was wasted. I liked those beans cooked in an iron kettle, water from the rain barrel and some fat pork as seasoning. The fat meat was delicious when smathered with mustard and with corn bread. Yum, Yum.( K.D since you taught school is smathered a word?) Anyways I think the wiggle tails from the rain barrel gave those great Northern Beans extra flavor. Those were one course meals. Seems like I enjoyed those beans as much as springtime wild greens. Sour Dock, Sweet Dock, Curly Dock, Lambs Quarter, Wild Beet, WildLlettuce. Dandelions that did not bloom and Polk. We used to look at every leaf for bugs, eggs and any other moving creature. Each leaf was carefully looked at and washed. The delicacy needed to be cooked in the bean pot with fat meat. A bushel of greens cooked down made a big bowl full. I liked them with vinegar sprinkled on 'em. Most remembered how they tasted, but they also worked on the innards of the body. Full of Iron.

This young girl that helped watch the children in the first part of this story soon became old enough to learn how to iron. Many can remember how people got burned ironing. These young girls learned how to be a house wife. On the job training. Some were allowed to go to High School and took Home Economics. They loved it getting ready for the future. Preparing for the future was important. Are those days gone forever. The large families for the most part are no more. Are girls ready to take on the duties of a house wife? Are men ready to be husbands.?

If anyone has some stories about Ashley area and Washington County send them to
The Ashley Library Historical Room
70 East Second Street
Ashley IL.

Better if you bring them. Support our Library.

By Bucky McCoy

Ashley needs to do something to preserve what we have. Ashley will soon be no more. No Church Buildings, No stores, no about every thing. We can still make it a historical city. We have a fine little Library and a fine Historical room with a lot of things in it. There are things we had better do to keep Ashley going, if some energetic

People take an interest. We need a project of building or finding a one room school.. Look for seats, slate boards, teachers paddle and what ever it takes. We have a retired teachers association around. Hoping some one would give it consideration. I never went to a one room school, but my wife said she went to country schools for eight years. They had transportation. Three of the family rode on the back of an old gray mine mule. He would walk to a stump and children got of and the mule went back home and was standing there when school was turned out. I was told about the ten pound syrup pails in which they carried their lunch. I saw, some time ago a picture of Dry Arm School and Kathryn and siblings in a picture. Of course the school has been gone for a while.

I have mentioned the old M. E. Church South still stands and it is a dwelling on Third Street in Ashley. It's two storied and painted, is it kind of green? Ashley had five Church buildings in operation at one time. Ashley had people attending the churchs. Most filled to capacity. Stopping by the Library historical room you will find proof by pictures and documentation. This Library needs your help to keep it going.

The old Jail House is in the Alley just north of the old Library building. Mr. Rowell will give this building for the purpose of restoring to what it was in 1940. I can tell you who were the last two Ashley men that were incarcerated. I was hoping I could find some pictures of Ashley policemen. I can still see Bertrand wearing the star and checking buildings and keep law and order as much as possible. Remember Nifty Fred. Jack, Charles, Fred Martin, Mr. Ray and others that slips my mind. We need those things badly. We need to care.

The old Library building still stands. Not very many remember when Foehr brothers did meat processing in the building. Out front was a small smoke house. The Brothers made the best liverwurst in the world and they brine cured hams and bacon. Hams for eight weeks and bacon for six weeks. Smoked for days with hickory wood. No finer cured meat in Washington County. I remember when I was ten years old I could by a dimes worth of bologna and Billy Foehr would give me half a Weiner. Soup bones were free. Those days are gone. It's nice to be told in story form.

The Baptist Church is the same building that was built in 1864. Several changes it has underwent. A few years ago all the roofing was taken of and down to the original wood shingles came off also. It once had two front doors. Men entered through one door, ladies through the other and sat opposite sides. It had oil lamps on both sides by the windows. Over the years some one has borrowed them. The building attached to the Post Office was once a telephone office. Phone rental was thirty five cents a month. Later it was a bakery.

The small building by the City Hall road entrance was once a gas station and a cafe. Sandwiches was about all you could buy or a bowl of soup and a handful of crackers was a nickel. I can't imagine three gallons of gasoline and a bowl of soup for fifty five cents.

The two storied house on the corner of Jefferson and Fifth Street was occupied and owned by Thom Benton and he ran a store just south of the fires station in this year 2007. The store building had an upstairs for offices. This floor had one of the three dentists offices in Ashley

The old Lumber yard-now a closed tavern corner of West R. R. St. and Jackson St. was a skating rink. So think about preserving things in Ashley. Take pictures to Library.

By Bucky McCoy

We hear people say, "It's later than you think." No one realizes it better than I. This is the reason I say send me pictures, Clippings, stories and any thing you know about Ashley and surrounding areas. I have put in a lot of time at the Library Historical Room and the address is 70 N. East Second Street. Ashley Illinois. 62808. I need your help. After I am gone and a very few others, who is left to do the History. Karen Walker, the Librarian in charge, Paul and Wanda Setzekorn and a some others do a lot of work toward the cause. It will make you feel better to know that you have contributed money, equipment and many pictures and things of Historical value. Too bad we don't see too many happy faces at the Library taking advantage of what we have. Always hoping the Library districts will grow. Richview is now in our library district. After saying all that I will try to remember things I have seen personally along with a few other "Later than you think people" I am sure many things that will be thrown away when the time has comes. Well?!/?. You know what I mean. So, take care of it now.

I can think back when I pulled the little red wagon to Kleinsmidts Poultry House. I would get a quarters worth of "Hen Scratch" to feed our laying hens. A mixture of cracked corn, wheat, rye and other grains. Part of the building still stands and this was where hundred pound bags of Cow feed, Horse feed and Pig feed and other things were kept. The office part of the building has long been gone. It was on the west side of East Second Street. About the middle with Washington Street on the North side and on the South was Madison Street.

This establishment bought eggs and chickens. Many house wives would sell three or so hens to get a bit of needed cash. There were three other places in town that bought chickens. Some times hens were traded for feed. This type of transactions was where the words came in, "We have to go to town to do our trading."

This operation was run by Walter Moore, Who lived in the North part of Ashley. A Small man in stature with a quick step and was very thin and business like. Like most men in business he wore a tie. His was a bow tie and on his head set a felt hat and wore a long sleeved shirt with bands above the elbow to keep sleeves out of the way. When no customers were available much time was spent sweeping and cleaning. Reminded me of Virgils' Gas station for being clean. I need pictures and all pictures are important.

I can't remember when to the south a hundred feet or so was the Ashley Post office. I am thinking Ashley had six or seven Post Office locations. I need pictures of the rural mail carriers wagons that visited the farmers six days a week. It was called R. F. D. The last of these was used by Luther Stephens. I think there were five carriers and I can think of George Hinckley, Frank Foehr, Luther Stephens. I can remember a few from the late eighteen hundreds. In 1890 here was a lady post master. I think her name was Lacy and that was when he Post Office was just to the south of the Doctor Sanders office. I can't think of Luther Stephens daughters name or address. If so I would write her for pictures. I think Elsie Peeck lived with her for years. Maybe Ohio. I tried to call George Creel in Arizona but he would not talk at that time. Remember George?

Many will find it hard to believe, but some days in bad weather it took the Carrier all day to take the mail and many times he used four horses to pull the mail wagon and compete against mud knee deep on the horses. I can well remember the once cent post card and I did have some envelopes that were hand stamped, instead of using a stamp. An example was the hand stamp said, "Paid five."

There are so many historical stories around and they need be on paper and filed for posterity. That is the reason you need to stop by the library and see what is happening and you will say, as many others, I can't believe what you have accumulated. It is worth your visit to look at the School House clock and the banister top of which many have touched over a thousand times. Lest I forget. Better to start attending Church services. It's later than you think. How long is eternity? I only know it's a long time.

By Bucky McCoy

Pan-American Candy Company, Ashley, ILL.

The year was 1938 when D. W. Dawkins, an Ashley man determined that Ashley needed a place of employment for some of his neighbors and friends. For years he owned and operated the Ashley Milk Company in Ashley. I will say a bit about the Ashley Milk Company. He used several people to run the operation. He bought milk from the farmers and processed it. We called it The Condensery. Several milk routes came into Ashley. Horse drawn wagons had picked up ten gallon cans of milk from various farmers along the route. Many times have I ridden with Milk Hauler Wilson. So I know abut the delivering. His wagon was full of milk cans and each had a farmers name or number. They were set on to a conveyor and by the time he drove the team of horses around the building his empty cans were coming back. They were really cleaned with steam and ready for tomorrows use.

The building was made of brick. And on the south end of the building was a very tall smoke stack that stood for years after the building was demolished. Two ponds were on the east side that furnished water. Water was re-used through a unit that set east of the building. Donald Peeck told me about the inside operation, but I never had that opportunity to view it.

Part of the employees pay was a lunch pail full of cold milk at their shifts ending. My father was an employee and he purchased a Miners lunch pail for it held at least a gallon of milk. On occasion he brought a pail of cream due to their being out of whole milk. Many times mother would churn this cream and we would have butter and butter milk. Both items furnished a treat.

I will touch a bit on the Candy Company. D. W. and two or three men from the Ashley area got together enough material to build a small building and in 1942 made some Gingham Girl and Forever Yours, I think. They were hand wrapped by employees and some could wrap 25 bars a minute. Delorse told me about the hand operation. I remember some of the people that were employed. Forrest Lloyd was office manager. Francis Dawkins came up with an idea and it was using a bus to bring people to work. At this time transportation was hard to come by. I can't remember how many people worked there at the beginning. The jobs were classified as a mans jobs and a ladies job. Ingredients for the products first came in barrels instead of tank trucks. Sugar was delivered in hundred pound bags and not always were ingredients available.

The building was made larger as time went by and after Pan-American no longer existed a man who had been an executive at Mars Candy. Harold Honen purchased the defunct operation.. He determined he would make a piece that consumers could not refuse to purchase. Time went by as usual and he found out this wasn't true. So as the story was told he lost all his investments in the Candy Making operation and closed the operation.

The building set empty and Hollywood brands purchased the run down building. Mr. Frank Marticcio was the sole owner and made the first piece of candy Augus15, 1955 or 56. It proved to be a very successful operation for the company and people of the Ashley area. Mr Marticcio eventually passed to meet his maker. See you in Church some where Sunday and Sara Lee purchased the operation. Mr. Marticcios operation was four candy plants. Ashley Illinois. Centralia Illinois, Montgomery Alabama and Sulphur Springs Texas.

For reasons not known each plant closed. Lack of sales was the culprit so I reckon it was for the lack of Salesman. The bar of Pay Day and Zero was two of the best sellers in the U. S. They can still be purchased. Time closed all the plants. I was Plant Manager of the Ashley facility when it closed in 1981 putting 400 good working people out of work. The building still stands in Ashley and it's not much to look at. Since I winter some few miles from the Montgomery plant, I have seen it and I think they did use for making glue. You Know about Centralia and their making cake mixes and I know not about Sulphur Springs Texas.

By Bucky McCoy

I hope readers do not tire of reading about things that I have been a part of eighty years ago. Is it boring? Now a days it would be boring to me to live when I held onto Mothers skirt tail while she and the neighbor ladies gossiped over he back yard fence. The things that were talked about were fiction or may be like an item Carmen wrote some time back about Gossip. ( Many of her devotional items are well written and worth while to clip and put in a scrap book so they can be referred later. Many have a worth while lesson.) Any way.

I remember some items my Mom talked about, but she started each conversation with, "Didja hear?" This was the era when we did not own a telephone. One electric light for the whole house, no radios and a time of "We aint gots" and didn't hear much.

Our intelligent children who were making straight 'A-s at school and what wonderful teachers they had. A student. especially a boy did not fare too well. WELL- This was a time when you got "Whuppins" for not getting good grades. Seventh and eighth grade was "tuff". You had better pass a test or it was a "Whuppin" at school and some times at home. Over the back yard fence were these happenings discussed. Old Timers that are left in Ashley was taught by Addie Woodrome. I believe she kept a man hired to make paddles and always trying to improve on them. Miss Addie used them so often I believe she was sadistic. Holes were drilled in them to allow her to hit harder and leave blisters. She always had a paddle or two lying on top of her desk near her right hand. She did not respect the word Gender. Some times as she sat and graded papers she would pick up a paddle just to be sure she hadn't for-gotten the right grip. Miss Addie had a full time job. I used to tell my 400 employees at the Candy Factory that you can't do two peoples work. I think that way, but I believe she could do it as near as any one. There was always a lot of punishment going around. Why, I have seen one person locked in the supply room, another standing in a corner, one standing in the hall out side the class room, one in the cloak room and all being warned to pay attention to the lesson. Another would be standing at the black board writing a word two hundred times because it was misspelled in a test. He was warned to keep his eyes on what he was doing. Some times a student was on his way to the principal office. I have been in a Palmer Method Writing class and as she taught and watched and with a surprise attack with a Pointer to your shoulders and saying, "You can do a better job."

The things that Mother talked about would bore a body to death today. Too, gone are the back yard fences, the educational discussion, the weather and the other neighbors. The just are not around any more. Schools are better, Many pupils or all of them used to walk to school and learned much.. At my age era we learned multiplication to fifteen. I can spell most of the words in a Dictionary. I read the Dictionary. Is it boring? Not to me. I have a grand daughter that teaches school in Australia. She teaches American English. She learned to do Arithmetic with a pocket adding machine and had a Thersarus with which to spell words. When I went to School an 'A' was 92-100. B was 85-92-C was 80-85. I have no qualms with the grading system, but I believe that my 80 C-s would have looked better on report card as a B. Children who see a grand parents report card reflect better grades than theirs of today. A teacher from Waverly Alabama told me some time ago a report card is a poor barometer. Students either learn and know and some don't learn. Today we can Build a better mouse trap, you know what I mean. The child spends hours in front of the T.V. Learning what? How many know what it means to go to Church? How many have to have an automobile and it has be a Tudor!!!

They learn much about their schooling from a Computer. Years ago many students learned from Home Schooling. Wasn't a School year as little as three months.? Much home schooling was learning to cook, follow a plow. Take care of younger children. Why have I said this? I 'dunno'. Any way you can support the Church. No? Why not?


2006, 2007 Wayne Hinton

Return to : Washington County