COLUMNS

Days Gone By

Cala Smoldt/Compiler

10 years ago

Jan. 13, 1999

*After a 1 a.m. fire last Thursday left 15 people homeless and without clothing food or any of the other necessities of life, area residents and businesses started coming to the aid of the three families almost immediately. Four fire departments fought the blaze for over six hours in the sub-zero weather but were unable to save the two-story home owned by Amancio Herrera. Herrera and the two other families who occupied the uninsured home are all part of the same extended family. According to a report from the Mercer County Sheriff's department it is suspected that a wood burning stove used to help keep that same family warm is the culprit. The Herreras and the rest of the family range in age from 4 to 43 years of age and have nothing left; but there are those who are changing that. Tracy Garmon works for Project NOW so is familiar with those in need so it seems natural that she would take up the reins to organize a relief effort. A bank account has been set up for the family at Farmer's State Bank and other non-monetary donations have been pouring in for the families.

25 years ago

Jan. 18, 1984

*Fire Chief George Askew reported Monday that the Keithsburg Volunteer Fire Department took delivery on the new modular type ambulance they have been dealing for for several weeks. City Marshal John W. Steward, Fire Chief Askew and available firemen began work on the change-over from the 1975 ambulance to the new one, at 9 a.m. Monday morning. Twelve of the City's Volunteer firemen have agreed to donate their annual phone reimbursement towards the ambulance fund until it is paid for. That would constitute about half of the estimated annual payment. Mayor Henry Swank and the city council resolved to obligate the city for up to $26,500 at the bank of Aledo at eight percent for the ambulance purchase. The city will not be responsible for the debt unless the fire department becomes unable to pay. The ambulance was purchased from Steve Foster of Sterling. It is a 1983 model and has been used as a demonstrator.

*The Westmer Board of Education Monday night heard Mary White, chemistry and physics instructor, discuss the need for more computers. Superintendent Dean Flanders will meet with the computer committee to discuss the cost of equipment and installation. This information will be brought to a school board meeting at a later date. The district currently has 11 computers.

*Generations United of Aledo High School captured the fourth place trophy at the ROVA Music Festival, Saturday, Jan. 14. Those apart of the group are Danette Morehead, Julie Metz, Paula Bieri, Michelle Ryan, and JoAnn Marshal, Carol Ehrenhart, Brenda Wildermuth, Lisa Schmidt, Valerie Lemon, Valerie Sheese, Stacey Hank, Jeff Doherty, Troy Stinson, Brian Hall, Mike Cooper, Rodney Hale and Thad Headley.

*The Yellow Banks Association of Western Illinois met Thursday evening at St. Mary's rectory in Keithsburg. Chairman Dale Brotherton presided at the business meeting. Paul Behan, publisher of the Aledo Times Record, was a visitor at the meeting. The membership drive will continue until June 30. As soon as the logo for the Association is completed, the brochure will be printed. This brochure will cover New Boston, Keithsburg and Oquawka and it will contain pictures and information on what people interested in historic sites would enjoy visiting.

50 years ago

Jan. 21, 1959

*Two Monmouth youths were sentenced to terms in the Mercer County Jail last Wednesday afternoon, when they appeared before Judge Charles H. Carlstrom on charges of petty larceny. The youths are Jack Dean Davis, 19, and Jack Hoopes, 18. Both pleaded guilty to stealing gasoline from locations in Keithsburg and Davis was sentenced to 60 days, with credit allowed for 19 days already served. Court costs were remitted in both cases.

*About 10 inches of snow drifted through the Mercer County area today and was banked into depths of several feet by a strong wind, clogging country roads and bringing traffic to a virtual standstill. Schools closed down, with busses unable to push through the heavy drifts on rural roads, and even in villages and cities of the country, some spots were impassible to motorists and pedestrians alike.

*Aledo nudged Seaton out of the winners circle in the Mercer County Grade School tournament Saturday night in the Aledo high school gym, shaving a 40-39 victory in one of the hardest fought grade championship games in years. From the moment the Seaton snappy five first tripped the scoreboard lights until the final shot of the night, it was anybody's game, and the runner-up netted a charity shot less than ten seconds before the whistle blew the finale. High individual honors for the game went to Dudley Clawson, who scored eight from the floor and two from the free-throw marker for an 18-point total. Trophies were presented to Aledo, Seaton, and to Joy and Winola, the third and fourth placers in the tourney, by E.A. Johnson, County Superintendent of Schools, immediately following the championship game.

75 years ago

Jan. 24, 1934

*A health check-up of students of the Keithsburg public schools was started this week by Misses Dorothy Swanson, of New Windsor and Florence Gilliland of Aledo, health nurses employed for work in Mercer County under the Civil Works Administration. Examinations are being given all school children after which notifications will be sent to the parents with a view to having any defects discovered remedied. The work will be extended over the entire county.

*International crooks are again attempting to work a confidence game so old that beside it, the "gold brick" swindle is a comparatively new idea. This was revealed this week with the receipt of a letter by Mrs. Lucy Cunningham, proprietor of the Cunningham hotel in Alexis. Addressed to "Mr. Hefflin Hotel, Alexis, Ill.," the letter was mailed from Barcelona, Spain, Jan. 3, 1934, the postmark shows. It reads as follows: "Dear Sir: Being myself into prison in this city owing to a bankruptcy, I should desire to know if you would be disposed to aid me in the recovery of 1,200,000 pesestas in banknotes that I have into a trunk who is deposited in a railway station in England. To end it would be necessary for you coming to Spain to pay the tribunal the expenses of my law suit in order that you may hold some paper of mine hidden in a secret pocket in a hand valise forming part of my baggage kept under seizure. Only with said papers can the aforesaid be recovered. Your reward would be one-third part of the amount. As I am into prison I cannot receive directly your reply but if you accept, you can send the following cablegram to a person of my confidence who immediately would hand same to me: Mario Calvet, Lista Correos 265 Alciva Valencia, Spain. Particulars- Heflin, Fearing this letter should not reach you I do not sign full name. In the next one, if you wire me as suggested, I would say you all particulars about the matter. In the meantime I only sing. A. The utmost reserve and discretion are required. Above all, please wire, do not send letter." How crude the attempted swindle really is does not appear until the letter has been studied. The copy appears to be written in long hand on cross ruled paper but a close examination shows that it is a clever printed representation of handwriting that only the cable address has been actually written in by hand, this writing has certain differences from the original plate. That the "circular letters" have been sent to many people is also shown by the fact that it is addressed to "Mr. Heflin Hotel." The name must have been secured from some old directory, for the hotel was formerly known as the Heflin Hotel. If any similar letters have been received in this county they have not been reported but should be ignored or turned over to the authorities. Similar confidence games have been worked for years by European criminals and have occasionally been successful.

150 years ago

Jan 18, 1884

*The Brown Homicide continued...

Verdict, "Not Guilty." Our notes closed in last week's paper in the Brown and Stuart Homicide with the close of the testimony. We had so much work on our hands that we could not wait to hear the arguments, which were opened at 9:30, by States' Attorney, J.C. Wharton, who spoke until near two o'clock, giving an entire resume of the case, stating the commission of the murder by defendant had been proven beyond a possible doubt. After showing that the defense were compelled to adopt the insanity plea, he proceeded to show the improbability of Brown making the exposure, on account of social and family relations. He also pointed out the contradictory statements of defendant, and asked the Jury to consider the desolation and misery of the family of deceased.

B.F.Brock next spoke, and did not finish until close of Court for the day. He made a strong logical argument, bringing up the various points in the case from the first, until it culminated in a fit of insanity and the murder, caused by the persecution of B. Until the defendant could retain her mental and reasoning faculties no longer.

Thursday morning Mr. Pepper commenced his argument for defense, which lasted until noon. This argument was pronounced by those who have heard Mr. P. frequently as the finest effort of his life. It would simply be impossible in our limited space to give a resume of it and do it justice. All could see its effect on the Jury, which the verdict proved.

Mr. Ira Noble, one of the Jurymen, was taken quite sick at noon, in consequence of which the Jury did not resume their seats until near three o'clock, when Mr. Bassett, for the people, opened with an arguement which lasted until near six o'clock. Mr. B's. argument was full and complete. From the first of the case, he in a careful and clear manner showed the inconsistency of defendant's testimony, and showed that by the expert testimony of the Physicians, she was not insane, and asked for the People a verdict of guilty.

After the close of Mr. Bassett's argument, the Court read the instructions to the Jury, who then adjourned to their room. They agreed upon a verdict about 3 o'clock Friday morning, and at 7 o'clock the Court convened, and received the verdict of NOT GUILTY.

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*Joe Abercrombie said the Methodists had better go to Ramsey's or Lemon's and get a new ring for their bell. It certainly needs to be looked after. If the rack is a large one there may be danger of a piece breaking off, and injuring someone on the side-walk below.

*Real Estate Transfers- Coal Valley Mining Co. to John Haddick, lot 66, Cable. $100.

*We regret to learn that Mrs. Robert Holloway, of Alexis, fell on the ice at the home residence some time since dislocating her shoulder. She has been confined to her bed most of the time since.

*Mr. H.  Noble, bridge builder, commenced work Monday, driving piling for the bridge across Pope north of town. The bridge will go up in a very short time. Mr. Noble has a faculty of putting work right through when he commences a job. - Keithsburg News

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