A series of articles written by :
Wilbert "Bucky" McCoy for :
( Ashley, Illinois )
DuQuoin, IL 62832
April 9, 2008
This assumption is very true. I think the main reason so much has been accomplished is because I never hear any one say, "Why did you need that."
We have received many cash donations and with that we were able to buy things we would never have had. A few of we people that are
really concerned about buying a need, you may hear, "Don"t worry. I will buy it." A few days goes buy and sure enough it appears.
I say , "Where did that come from?" Many times I hear this answer. "Don't worry about it, you got it." There is a plaque on the wall with names of people who gave cash donations. Come in and read the list. Some you have never heard about. Another surprise would be how much they gave. That will be difficult for you to find out.
I am trying to think of a single item that wasn't donated in a round about way.
I am proud of the old the School House Clock that graced the grade school hall of good old Ashley school. It was cast aside and it was repaired and now it tick-tocks day in and day out. (That is unless Bill fails to wind it once a week.) While on the School thing there is a banister top from High School to Grade School floor that you may have helped wear it down. Just to touch it after all these years will give you a thrill. I wish I had got a radiator regulator that popped and cracked on coal winter days.
People have given their year books with all the lovely notes to the owner. We found a 1936 year book, which lets us have all but 1951 and RN is contemplating giving us hers. !936 was made by June Gurney Potters father. That book surely had a lot of sentimental value to her.
All the Ashley High Pictures are on the wall. I hesitate to say how much money and time to get them repaired. They are all there except 1923. The class picture is gone. There must be a hundred pictures in frames on the wall. We have more that needs reworking and just waiting for a donation check from some place.
I like to be pleasantly surprised with pictures and a check from some one who had almost forgotten they were once a student at the Ashley School.
I thought about a news paper saying, "Go to the Ashley Library. There may be a picture your trying to find." They could have some
History. Genealogy? Could have. If you have anything of interest, bring it, but if you live too far away send it to the
Ashley Library Historical
70 Nth E 2nd
Ashley, IL 62808.
If you can write or call a friend and tell them what you read. You could order this Paper as a gift to them.
I hope some people get interested in a Museum for Ashley. I can tell you where a building will be donated . Lets get the jail re-done. The price is so cheap it cannot be turned down. We really need to start promoting and supporting. Try it. It gets in your blood.
Speaking about clean and a safe place to work, we were ranked towards the top with the best in the world. I thought about this because there is much sickness due to not being clean. Ashley people washed their hands so many times a day that few germs stayed on their hands. Why? These employees always put their washed hands in water to iodine solution. The hands were air-dried. Examination gloves we worn wherever raw ingredients were handled. Hairnets were required and this was for both male and female. All raw ingredients were handled under the strictest conditions. Bags were black lighted. The outside of paper bags was removed and seams were brushed and checked. Never were they put on the floor, but on clean pallets covered with clean sheets of paper.
Years went by and we always got peanuts in burlap bags. Later they were in plastic bags inside burlap and each bag was brushed down before they were emptied. The receiving department did an outstanding job on all arriving ingredients. There were occasions when an entire truck of material was refused because the company standards had not been met. Joe Kasbah, Curtis White and R. Frisch ran the kitchen with an iron hand. It was noised around, "You can't pull anything over on those Supers."
Two fine Superintendents headed the finished goods department. Nothing changed from day to day that is worth mentioning. Same excellent product! This finished goods department needed little supervision. The same thing was, day after day with the machine operators, wanting to set production records daily. I was always amazed at how most of the workers were willing to help each other. I just can remember hearing, "That's not my job!" Everyone was important to some one else.
Each individual kept the work places clean to a great extent. Designated people cleaned things on the floor for the purpose. So, at closing time, the facility looked good. It was waiting for Keith and his crew. He was the Sanitation Superintendent. His bunch, a sturdy group who loved to work the third shift, went to work. He did pots, pans, kettles, floors, bathrooms and it was readied for another day, spotless and clean. How do we say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness"? I don't know about that, but keep the hands washed, and things you know about, and you might not have flu symptoms so often. I "heared" it that way and it might be right. Worth a try!
Many pictures, Many paper clippings and more of Buckys stories and few people take advantage of all this. We talk about an exercise class one day a week. We mentioned reading a book to interested readers. What about a penmanship class to improve my scribbling? Ashley is more fortunate than many towns. We have a new Library and Historical room. Newer Computers are available. Check with Karen, The Librarian in charge and she can give you information. We need a larger Library district so all area people can have semi-free access.
There are a half dozen books about Southern Illinois and they are on the reading table to read and enjoy. Many good books to be checked out and many History books for your in Library reading. I guess what I am trying to say is visit the Library. I think of people say about the Ashley News paper. There isn't any thing in it. There may not be much in it, but with your help it could have news. There are numbers in the paper of which news could be reported.
There are still a few people that remember Ashley as it once was.
I have composition books available for your stories. Clarence Schuback wrote some for me. He remembered well and he was 92 at his passing. I like to write history about people like he that remembered so well. A lady furnishes me with true stories any time I ask. I like for people to come to the Library and ask, "Do you remember?" There are times when we are surprised with pictures. Some that are good quality paper are put in frames and they are hung on the wall. Many are put in albums and many pictures are waiting their turn. Some times for the lack of time. Others are due to the lack of funds. The Historical Department is for the most part operated on donations. Most every thing in the room was done through donations.
I can tell you where all material items came from. Most all Ashley school people have looked at the clock on the wall of Ashley Grade School Hall for (loosely speaking) a hundred years. The half worn away banister top is available for you to touch again. It is well worn and it is partly your fault.
I just can't figure out why more people doesn't let their curiosity insist they show up at the Library. If you don't like me should not keep you from wanting to view what is at the Library.
There is a little known organization called the friends of the library. These few people contribute, but you never see them. May be you should inquire abut them. I am sure it isn't too difficult to join. Check it out. I believe you will be glad you did.
This News Paper needs more customers to help pass the word around. Think about ordering it for some one for a year.. The how to do
can be found on the bottom of this page. Eighteen dollars for fifty two issues. Man, That's less expensive than 4 packs of smokes.
I can say, "Not many people remember when." I could write some good quality stuff if people would let me know. They could write to me, call me or come to the Ashley Library Historical Department and talk with me. You could see that I get pictures and stories about the area. People that have not been to the Library are missing a lot. The Librarian in Charge has a good supply of new material. The Historical department has a chance of being something to write home about. Some can't read about happenings because the fail to support the Ashley News with eighteen dollar a year subscription. I find it easy to complain, but we don't do what we need to do. The History room was built mainly with cash donations.
We should have a bigger library district. We have to have a desire for something better. We have computers for the needs of qualified users. I can't talk enough about several books about Southern Illinois. They are read in books, but you need to be out of the house once in a while. You could spend hours viewing what has been accumulated in the History Department. We have on display the Ashley School house clock. All the year books except 1951. An interesting year book 1936 was provided by June Gurney Potter. It was more or less hand made by her father. We have all the original High School Class Pictures except 1923. A half worn away banister top that all Ashley High students have touched hundreds of times. If I tell you every thing we have accumulated you will say, "Where did you get all that stuff?" To give you a true answer is, "People like you have carried it to the Library." They did not wait until, well the time you will not be here. Much will be destroyed that is important to Ashley History.
. I think of what we had while the very energetic Band and Music teacher did. Mr. Paul Daniels always had something happening. Students had to make two of them selves to keep up. This brings to mind the "Band Stand". The Library Historical room doesn't have a picture of it. We talk about a museum. We have access to a building at no cost...This needs our attention and soon.
I know many people have a great memory and could write many pages in a composition book about them.. The Carnivals set up on the west end of Madison Street in Ashley. I know you didn't know that. Not many can say, "I've been to the Apple Drying establishments. A Cooper Shop. Three Flour Mills. A Hatchery, a harness shop, Black Smith Shops, Five Church Buildings." Ashley had two Methodist Church Buildings, and the oldest still stands. It is on East Third Street. Shanks Garage owned dealer plates #3.
You don't believe it! Ashley, Radom and Du Bois had 800 Black residents. There is a Black Cemetery east of Du Bois. Ashley had fifteen places to buy gasoline. Many can remember seventeen cent gasoline and Service station sold Camels, Old Golds, Phillip Morse, Chesterfields and Lucky Strike Cigarettes for fifteen cents. Lucky Strikes were in a green package. Until Green Went To War.
House hold furniture was a long way down on the list of wants and needs. The kitchen being the most important room of the house the best furniture was there. What was moms most prized piece of furniture? You probably guessed wrong. The correct answer is The Kitchen Range. It may have burned wood. It may have burned coal. The stove in performing its duties in the kitchen was always hot, but we did not know any other way of life. The kitchen was the place to hang out and listen to mothers famous words. Get from under my feet if you don't want something hot spilled on you.
The kitchen was very small and with a large table and eight chairs along with a cooking table and the huge cooking stove left little room for children. Two crawlers, one toddler, a new born and one almost school age and one in the third grade. Most of us can remember how proud mom was of the Kitchen Range. I"ll describe it as I remember.
The stove was large and a shiny black. Some chrome pieces were in different places to keep you from bumping into the hot places. It set on a platform with four legs to keep it off the floor. Some times it was set on a stove board purchased for that purpose. This kept the floor from catching on fire. Too old dog Don laid claim to it during colder weather. I never knew if he growled in his sleep as a warning or if he was snoring. We kind of left Old Don alone and to his way of life. Under the stove.
Mom spent a large amount of time with the range. Was it love? She and old Don always had words during her cleaning the soot. He growled rather freely and she would talk back. When old Don seemed to be winning she heated the stove poker in the fire, She touched his tail with the weapon and there wasn't any way to keep him in the house for the rest of the day. Yipe, Yipe and he could not get to the pond quick enough. Children cried because Mom hurt Don. Moms only answer was, "Old Don will learn not to fuss at me." I think we children knew Mother was in charge. We knew when to stop. Poor old Don never learned who was the kitchen boss. Sending us a message. We knew when to keep quiet.
I never saw any cool heat. The stove was always in use. Near the middle of the top was a gallon size blue granite coffee pot. You could always hear it boiling. Coffee was a standard drink, but there wasn't any standard way to make it. All I knew about coffee making was add water and or some coffee. What was the difference between weak and strong coffee no one knew. Uncle Bert drank his fair share and saying to mom, "Fern, you make the best coffee. What kind is it?" Uncle loved Coffee.
This stove cooked the best white beans. Half way to the back was a two gallon iron kettle full of simmering beans flavored with pig knuckles, fat back or piece of bacon rind. The water used was soft water. We had a rain barrel to catch water off the roof. It was used to wash hair and cook beans. Some times the wiggle tails (mosquito Larvae) did not get strained from the bean water. Dad would say, "Wiggle tails add flavor."
All girls looked forward to being married. We have all read at the early age of some marriages. Was fifteen uncommon? Was the boy living in the block? She had often said, "I hate him." Probably many times afterwards she told him the same words in the same tone of voice. Did she sit in Church with him?
She had saved a small amount of money and the groom had done also and together a Kitchen Range was purchased. They rented a house close to their parents for four dollars a month. They moved into a house with a table and two chairs, a coal oil lamp, two plates,cups, glasses and silver ware. An ancient bed stead with a straw mattress, a sheet, pillows and bed covering. This was called setting up house keeping. She brought her dolls that she had spent most of her life learning how to care for a baby. They had purchased a Kitchen Range from the hard ware stove for a dollar down and a dollar a month. The city dray man with his team of horses attached to the delivery wagon was bringing the stove. Well, just as soon as he could find people to load and unload. Not too long the married couple became excited when they saw the wagon with the stove nearing the house. Up on arriving it took some time to get the unruly team to back the wagon to the porch. (All houses had two or three porches.) Every thing became under control. Time to unload the stove.
The stove board was carried in and properly placed. The stove rack set up and the pipe that had been pre-cut by the Tinner was carried in and then the five hundred pound cast iron stove. Of all the moaning and groaning the stove was put in place. The stove pipe in the right place including the damper. Some boxes of other things were unloaded. The man with the delivery wagon was paid a dime and the other men received a thanks.
The grates were put in place( What fire rested on in fire box} The plates were put in place. Doors hung. The fire protection guards in place and are we ready. An arm load of kindling was readied and laid on paper in the fire box. Some pieces of coal put and it was ready to light. Ready to cook a meal.
Why build a fire? No food in the house, nor was their any cooking utensils. They went to moms for supper and stayed all night. The other moms for breakfast and a bucket of drinking water and a galvanized pail. (Loaner)
Some of the day was spent wiping and trying to polish the stove. Neighbors began bringing in things of need, Cooking utensils, food, clothing of all kinds and even to diapers.(not the disposable kind}. They soon learned there was more to being married than carry a red face. No worry about running water, Television, Radio, Washing Machines, Telephones, Post office box rent, electricity and kitchen gadgets. Did you ask why? The answer is, "There wasn't any." About all that was left was making a garden. You had to save seed from the previous year. A hoe, Rake and a spade were the garden tools and borrowed from a neighbor. In fact every neighbor helped. Those were the Days. Or were they?
I remember him asking two men and a lady about their catch. The lady said, "We rent a boat. When we haul in a nice bunch of fish we mark an X in the bottom of the boat. When we return for another fishing trip we get the same boat. It always works." Uncle stuttered a bit and said, "I know it works. I used to do the same thing, but this youngun hyar is scairt of a boat."
Uncle Bert not to be out done talked with them a few minutes. During his story he said, "Two weeks ago the boy here fell out of that boat. It had an X marked with lips stick."
The lady smiled at Uncle and said, "that is the boat we use. I used my lip stick to X the boats bottom. It is such a lucky boat."
Uncle answered and said. "You could not pay me to use that boat. So many fish swim close to the boat. We would reach over he boats side and each fish seemed wanted to be lifted out. Little Billy here tried to lift one out and fell into the lake. Almost drowned."
Every one looked at each other and we parted. We were left in our own world of reality. The lake smelled fishy. Time to start slapping at the pesty gnats. Was foggy around the edges of the lake. A school of Shad swimming off shore several hundred feet and occasionally a big Bass would erupt into the school and probably caught breakfast.
We always fished in the same place. It was close to the Rip-Rap. It was on the South corner. I was always a bit frightened due to small splashing waves it was slippery. There was an ever present small water snake in the area. We always fed him a small fish. Some times we used worms for Blue Gill. This day we were using small shrimp. We baited our hooks with shrimp and we were catching too many too take home. These Crappie were much larger today. Uncle said, "Son, we are getting some two pound fish."
Our supply of bait shrimp was all too soon exhausted. In the corner of my small fishing box I had put a small can of earth worms. Uncle was happy about my being so thoughtful. This compliment was what I needed.
We used these Earth worms and the Blue Gill were hungry and large. Many of them were purple. Blue Gill fisherman know what I am talking about.
We got back to the car with our catch. We stayed around so we could show them off. Uncle used the X in the boat story for people that were anxious to catch. We headed for home. Aunty was the fish dresser. She commented on how many and how nice they were. We went by where I lived and uncle convinced mother we needed some one to help to eat the fish. Unusual, but mother decided to eat fish.
Mother asked, "Who caught the largest fish?"
Uncle said, "I let the big one get away."
Mother asked me, "Is uncle telling the truth?"
I surprised her by saying, "No he didn't. I did."
Not many small cities have to offer so much for so little. Most of the petty cash is me. I get so many querys and when by mail it is seldom any stamps come with the mail. I can venture to say I know from memory more than any one left alive. I try to get some not quite as old (old timers ) to furnish a composition book full of memories. I beg, borrow or steal old pictures that need be preserved, not tossed in garbage a few years hence. When you hear me hollering "Help Me" I don't have to have it. Sometime in the future it will be noised around that, "I am glad that old man did all that.", I am only preserving it for the future. Not my future and probably not yours either. I try every day to get people to join the Mouse Club. "Wee, Wee, Wee, Wee" and it ought to give a good feeling down in your heart that you are a part of such worthy cause as future children benefits. The pay for services are great. I have had my salary doubled many times. When Zero is doubled, what do you come up with? That is me.
There are many Ashley News papers for you to view. These papers are on the Archives at Springfield and Carbondale Illinois also, We have them on reels, but we are with out a machine with which to run them.
Paul and Wanda have been working on obituary clippings and pasting them in a book. If you have clippings and want to glue them in a book, come to see us. We have plenty of Elmers Glue.
I keep on looking in wish book saying, "I wish", but you can't find them in a mail order catalogue. When you stop at Ashley Library and browse a bit, you will get the History Bug. What ever that is. You could spend hours looking at only some of our accumulations. A large table is provided for you to sit and look. At this table are six books on our part of Illinois to for your viewing. We have several things on innernet Look under this In part go to Google and type in Bucky McCoy Ashley, Illinois.
People who don't spend $18 dollars a year for this paper have missed many a truth. I want to do a piece on good Old Ashley Illinois then until now. Of course we have a way of going out backwards. I have written about population 2200, fifteen gas stations with buying 7 gallons for a dollar. This included every thing. "Butch" even swept the car, washed windows, head lights, looked at water level, in radiator and gave the kids in the car a candy sucker, and the air pressure in the tires didn't go unchecked He always checked oil and fan belts all for a dollar and he gave a free thank you.
You won't find too many stories around. I remember when Harry Cammack sold glasses from his coat pocket. I think his wife was a Benton. McCormiks, Benton Store, "Bud" Welch, Shanks Garage, Barrett, the Undertaker. Hoover Hotel, Boswell Hotel, Teal Hotel, Three doctors, Three dentist, Why I remember the drilling of an oil well in Woodrome woods and Wood grave markers. This is true reading. If you have doubts stop at the Ashley Library and gaze on an honest face. Mine. Under this story is address as to where to send for this paper
You have always been told the best things in life are free. That being true, it would be well worth your time to visit your library. Living out side the district you can have almost the same privileges for a nominal fee. Bucky spends many hours in the Historical department. He too has a degree in Ashley area History and story telling. People say he has a BS degree as story telling. . . He has a picture of George Washington that hung in the Ashley Grade School Principal's office. You that remember know how the features in the picture seem to follow you around the room. I remember that George Washington said, "I cannot tell a lie". He watchs that picture as he talks. That's good enough for me to believe his every word.
Bucky sits at his computer and stares at some pictures on the wall. He can tell you about the Ashley Baptist Church when it had two front entrance ways. Pews were divided. Men sat on one side. Women and children sat on the other. This was the era when men were in full charge of their family, or they thought they were. I just as well tell about this Old Church. Been there a long time and many changes has taken as different people come and went. Church Building has been there for years. The fire was in 1890 and of all places to burn was the Baptistery. The picture at the library displays two chimneys. One stove on either side of the auditorium. Many times the building and grounds have been changed. The hitching racks still show where horses were tied. Clarence Schubach was a major post in the Church for years. He was the person that was young and he along with Trevor Setzekorn put a basement under the building. The steps are seven and it was a great change, We get older and don't use the basement too much. A few years ago a wheel chair ramp became important. Steps to the basement were re-arranged and the changed ones don't fit many very well.
There was a time when the Ashley Baptist was needed. I think of the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared". It was the Church with the most attendance, but four other Church buildings were in Ashley. Bucky doesn't remember when the Population exceeded two thousand for a few days.
One of his desires is to get area people to write history, give him pictures that grand kids won't want. Most of all stop by the address and see what's happening now.
Grandpa taught me many things. One was a chaw of tobacco was just like medicine. A good chaw hurts no body. .You gotta learn to handle it. Time passed and me and gramps never removed the cud when we drank water. I was really proud of my grand dad. Every day I was warned Don't let your ma ketcha. One day the inevitable happened. Was mother angry. She got grampa and me together. Dad, "I want you to give Bucky a big chew. Make him chew it. When he is so nauseous that he falls on his face. Let him lay. I will watch through the window." Of course nothing happened. I got a fresh chew from gramps and it didn't make me sick.
Mother came to where we were sitting and whittling to see why I wasn't sick. "Dad," mom said "why isn't he sick?" This is what he said, "Sis, Just think about his roots. You married a McCoy. Your mother cried because you are getting a McCoy from my line as a husband."
She left our presence with tears in her eyes kind of muttering, "Why,why,why?"
You know that really touched. Us. AHEM! Gramps and me decided it wasn't in our best interest to use tobacco. He said he would keep me supplied with licorice candy. I was to act like I was chewing tobacco. Later, when I changed clothes I left licorice sticks in my pocket. I knew she would think he was eating this all the time. Every thing worked out well. Gramps gave me chewing tobacco. Once in a while a licorice stick. I chewed in front of mother. . All she ever said, "When you going to give up tobacco?" I would answer "I aint." She would say, "Don't get sick on it." Every one was happy for years. We told her the truth. Yet today it is a touchy subject..
Ashley Base Ball had enough players to field three teams and have some left over. Our team was called the Frog Prairie bunch. We used eight regular players and Old King. A mighty fine dog. He was part German Shepherd and part some thing else. He kind of reminded me of the big brown dog who is called Car knocker who spends part of his time in Ashley and part in Richview. He liked every body. When his bed time came around, no matter where he was, he curled up and went to sleep and no way to wake him up. He just seemed to be in another world. You could do anything to him and there was no response. Well he did have a response. Just yell 'Play Ball' and that was the magic word.
Every one knew that King was the regular Center fielder for the Frog Prairie team. One of the best I ever saw. We had to bend the rules a bit Some body had to be the designated hitter for King, but that was fine. He could catch a fly ball that would put any center fielder to shame. I don't think he ever lost a tooth while catching a ball. Many balls that were hit on the ground being a sure double was chased down an dropped at the feet of the right fielder or left fielder and he made no mistakes. Many a player was thrown out long before he made it to second base. He could play his position very well. He had the uncanny knowledge as to where the ball might fall. While a batter was at the plate it seemed like King was in a nervous rage. Hair stood up on his neck and he weaved from side to side. He always seemed over anxious. I have seen him carry the ball to who ever was covering second base and give the ball to him.
Car Knocker had his faults and other fine points that could not go un-noticed. If he wanted to ride in an auto he would get in the front seat and there wasn't any way to move him. He acted like he was a sleep and it seemed like there was no place to get a hold on him. Boys would go to the old swimming hole and he would play life guard. Always watching for any sign of trouble. If you wanted a very young child watched, just set the child in the center of a blanket and say, "Watch this kid and don't let any one around it." That's about the only time I ever heard him growl is when some one tried to pick up the baby. He growled and meant business. He always acted like he did not want any responsibility. When he was caught unawares there was never a refusal.
This dog was made for hunting. He would do rabbits, squirrels, quail and fur bearing. Once he under stood what was hunted, nothing else was bothered. Dad always carried a rabbit foot in his pocket for good luck. Let him smell the foot then you had a rabbit dog. When you needed a squirrel dog you show him the squirrel tail on the car antenna. When you needed a pointer, just before going you whistled "Bob White." When dad wanted to night hunt for fur bearing animals, all he had to do was pick up the cat and rub his nose. The dog was trained for every thing, well he trained him self. Some times he would not go hunting. If he was tired and wanted to sleep, no matter what you did King would not move. That's when dad gave him another name. "Mule Head." That was an insult and he would move to another house for a day or two.
I have seen many good dogs in my time, but none was around or ever will be to take the place of King. No one seen him for a few days and just thought he had gone to Richview to visit. People in Richview thought he was spending time in Ashley. That is another mystery of the Ashley-Richview area that may never be solved. What happened to King? I thought I saw him a few weeks ago, but it could not have been. Too fat. He had a sad look on his face. He tried to cover his face with his paws. Can't blame him. Could you? I bet it was him who 'snuck' out on me.
People knew them by faces for several years. Some had a medicine show. Plenty of medicines they got from their native lands. The main speaker at the free show was always called doctor. We old timers remember the make shift stage and the curtain for a back drop. These people gave a talk on what musical school they attended. They sang and danced and told stories. When medicine selling time the good doctor would make an appearance. He was a super salesman. Each item had special benefits. He would try to sell more than one bottle to a customer and he personally guaranteed each bottle. He sold boxes of taffy with a prize inside. I am sure kids got their moneys worth. The show was over by ten and they left promising to be back next year. Many times they would leave early the next day. The camp site was left in perfect condition. Nothing left to show people had camped there.
Another group came to town on occasion. These people dressed differently. Men wore strange colored clothing. Girls wore a lot of make up, brilliant clothing. They would set up a table and it was piled with costume jewelry. Another small table had a crystal ball and you could have your future told for a nominal fee. There was a lady who would hold your hand and read your palm. Some men liked what they heard and would have it read the second time. It seemed like this group of Nomads worked on a tight schedule. They had a system. Ladies sold their wares. Men did shopping. Children were home Schooled daily.
When time came to leave, the leader must have given a sign and they were leaving town in a very short time. They waved to every one. No children were missing, every thing they purchased was paid for and no one had any complaint. These strangers seemed like a happy lot.