Sunday, March 27, 2016

Along the old Chicago road

On a recent outing Lil Nick and I took a ride along the Old Chicago road which is just past LaMoille. We came across a couple interesting sites which I'd like to share with you today. First up was the site of the old Knox Grove Evangelical church. Founded in 1864 and disbanded in 1907, all that remains of the place is a fading marker by the side of the road. The land itself is now a cattle lot.

Further down the road is the site of St. Paul's Evangelical church. The church building itself is gone but the cemetery is still there as is a small building whose original purpose we could only guess at. The cemetery sits in a quiet, well maintained lot surrounded by a wrought iron fence with about two dozen headstones in neat, orderly rows.

If you're ever out that way be sure to stop for a moment and reflect on the trials and accomplishments of our fore bearers. Special thanks to Mary Lee Twidell for the vintage photographs.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Resting in peace part 2

Last week I wrote about Corss cemetery, nestled in amongst the woods and tranquil and quiet.  Today let me tell you about Heaton's Point.  Located at the intersection of county roads 2100N and 1840E it is a little patch of greenery surrounded by acres and acres of fields.

It's on the site of the former North Prairie Baptist church which was organized in 1859 with about twenty members. They met in school houses and private homes until 1865 when they erected the church building at a cost of $1200.00. The church flourished in its early years having 120 members by 1870.

There are many interesting headstones in this one as well as a stack of them leaning up against a tree on the property. Scott and I surmised that they had fallen down at some point and were stacked there to avoid further damage.  One of the notable headstones we saw was that of Pvt. Michael Corl who served in the Maryland militia during the war of 1812 !  Next to his marker is a round, cannonball looking piece of stone with two metal eye hooks embedded in it. Placed there to display a flag perhaps?

Finally I made mention on my last post that someone should go out and trace over these stones so their names and inscriptions should not be lost. The Bureau county Genealogical Society can be contacted for more information on the local cemeteries.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Resting in Peace

A few months ago I wrote about Dad Joe Smith who operated an inn along the Galena trail and boasted such visitors as Abraham Lincoln. Recently I visited his final resting place. Together with Scott Mecum of Sleek Images photography we found the Corss cemetery and walked amongst the markers. It's off a country road sitting amongst quiet trees and gentle breezes, just what one might imagine a small cemetery to be.

As I walked amongst the headstones I felt as if I had passed back into an earlier generation. There were dates from the mid 1800's, and earlier. Some had no dates at all but merely an image, a pair of holding hands, one marker was divided into two with the words "Infant. Son, Daughter and the date 1875". Some of them had words you might guess at but were so worn by time and the elements that you could only guess at what they used to say.

I had a friend once whose hobby was tracing over headstones so the inscription would not be lost. This is one such place that needs to be visited and these inscriptions saved before they fade into illegible gibberish.

Surprisingly it's only about 20 minutes outside of Princeton. To get there follow west Backbone rd. until it becomes county road 1900 N.  Keep on that for several miles until you come to county road 1540 E. It will be a left hand turn, the cemetery is about 1000 feet after you make the turn.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The trains waiting at the station

In Amboy is the former headquarters building for the Illinois Central railroad. Built in 1876 by famed railroad architect James Nocquet it functioned as both Headquarters and train station for the city. Alas it was only in operation for 18 years before the railroad downgraded Amboy's importance to the Illinois Central and its Headquarters were relocated.

The train station continued until 1939 when passenger service was shifted to Dixon. The building went thru several transformations, serving as living quarters for employee's of the nearby Green River Ordinance plant during World War 2 and served as a transfer point for ammunition thru the Korean war. Finally the rail line thru Amboy was decommissioned with initial plans to demolish the station. But a citizens group saved the structure and in 1992 it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Now serving as a Railroad museum it has the distinction of having the Last steam locomotive that ran in operation parked outside the building. Acquired from Northwestern Steel and Wire it now occupies a place of honor next to the museum.  If you're ever Wanting a place to go and haven't been there yet then it's worth a short trip right here in Illinois. Enjoy!