Posts Tagged ‘history’

(Links for the first four parts are at the end of this blog post.)

My grandson and I got an early start on Wednesday, July 13, and headed to get breakfast. By the way, did I mention that beginning the very first night we checked in to our hotel, we had flushing issues with the toilet? They left a plunger with us but it was still not flushing correctly so when we left the hotel to begin our day on Wednesday, I more or less gave the hotel an ultimatum – fix it or move us. (The maintenance man finally fixed it during the day while we were out!)

There were many things I had wanted to cram in to our day, and the first item on the agenda was finding and taking photos of the houses my ancestors had lived. Luckily, with a borrowed GPS, it made my job easier to find the homes. I had five addresses – one home looked pretty trashed (a lot of junk piled around outside) and another one had been torn down.


This was the home my grandparents, Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore lived in during the 1930s and 40s. In fact my Uncle Bervil Amore’s son, Bill, was born upstairs.


I believe the house above is the last home my grandfather, Lloyd, resided before his death in 1955. This is the house my sister remembers visiting him.


This house was the home of my great-grandparents – James and Frances (Ogan) House – in the early 1900s. After Lloyd and Ella moved to the farm owned by her parents, James and Frances bought the new home in 1915 just prior to Frances’ death. The 1,228 square foot home has three bedrooms and one bath. The total lot size is 6,300 square feet (home details from Trulia.com). James and youngest son, Lester, continued to live in the home until James went to the Sandusky Soldier’s and Sailor’s home in the early 1920s – where he lived on and off until his death on October 1, 1924. This was the home where Lester’s second wife, Pearl Davidson, took her own life on the morning of April 5, 1945 via a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.


I took this photo of the Church of the Nazarene after I drove by and remembered my cousins telling me that my grandmother Ella had attended this church. I turned around and parked across the street to take this shot.

Following our morning criss-crossing Coshocton, we headed toward Historic Roscoe Village. We wanted to visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. The name comes from the union of Mary Susan Humrickhouse and Joseph Johnson. Their sons – John and David Johnson – collected many items and artifacts from their many trips around the world. They left all the items to the village of Roscoe. (Sources: Wikipedia: Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum and J-H Museum brochure)


Outside the museum is the cut-out (shown above in photo) so I had to take a photo of it with my grandson! The other photos (above) were taken in the Historic Ohio gallery and consist of the village shoemakers tools (which I had to get a picture because my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather were both shoemakers and one was located in Roscoe Village!), furnishings from a log house, and 18th & 19th century firearms.


The American Indian gallery exhibits included the Zuni Turquoise and Squash bracelet and necklace and Coral Squash necklace (top right), the Chippewa cradleboard (center right), Native American coiled baskets. and the Sioux Elk Hide Dress (left).


Other items displayed included the early Ohio typewriter (top right), Italian accordian decorated with mother-of-pearl (center right), early Ohio spinning wheel (bottom right), a walrus tusk with Inuit Scrimshaw artwork (bottom left), and the Newark Holy Stones (top left). The stones were reported to be found in 1860 among the ancient Indian burial mounds in Newark, Ohio. For more information, you can read about the stones here.


Along with the Newark Holy Stones exhibit on the second floor, is also the Golden Gallery. Items in the “Victorian Nook” include a 1930s silk wedding dress and 19th century men’s suit (left), a white lawn dress, and a studio camera.


Sharing space in the Golden Gallery, are many printers tools and objects. A separate room on the second floor is used for Special Exhibits. During the time of our visit, the exhibit was “Grafted to the Past” – art that was inspired by objects in the museum to commemorate its 85th anniversary. The photo on the above left is Rounce mixed media artwork done by Curt Derby. Besides printers blocks, quoins, and tools on the right hand side above, there is a Washington press and a model of the Gutenberg press. These exhibits appealed to the graphic artist side of me! I absolutely adored them.


Two exhibits included in the Asian Gallery were the Japanese Samurai and Buddha. Located in the Historic Ohio Gallery was the Stock tray (center bottom) first made in Coshocton. The 1850s square grand piano at the top right was used in the first Roscoe Hotel during the Civil War. Below that is a photo of a page from a 1570 Bible. The Boston Parlor Organ was manufactured in Coshocton in the 19th century. Lastly, on the bottom right corner, is Lord Baltimore’s prayer book dated 1632.

I recommend a visit to this museum if you are ever in the Coshocton area. It won’t take up all of your day but it is well worth the small admission cost. There is also a gift shop on the first floor. I made a purchase of a book about Ohio’s Canals and my grandson – after seeing many, many arrowheads in the American Indian Gallery, bought some arrowheads!

After we left the museum, we headed to the Coshocton Public Library. I wanted to do some in-depth research in their genealogy room. Had I realized that most everything I thought I would be able to find was already digitized or my cousin had sent it to me, I would not have spent as many hours (6+) there. I also would have urged my grandson to find a nice cozy chair in the main part of the library – where there was an electrical outlet for his phone and hand held gaming system – so he wouldn’t have been as bored as he was. Lesson learned.

I pored over many books and items from the vertical files. Unfortunately, the very limited amount of microfilm readers were being used most of the time I was there – at least the one with the copier attached. Finally, the user left and I was able to delve in to the wills and probates microfilm. Bingo! I found my great-grandparents’ (James and Frances House) wills. That is something I need if I ever decide to apply for the Daughters of Union Veterans Lineage Society as it proves that my grandmother is James’ daughter.

Next – Historic Roscoe Village Tour

Links to the first few parts:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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As broadcast legend Walter Cronkite would say: “You are there.” Perhaps, you aren’t or weren’t there, but were any of your ancestors?

In 1787, delegates from seven of the newly created states traveled to Philadelphia to begin deliberation for revising the Articles of Confederation. The result was historic – The Constitution of the United States.

Were any of my known ancestors living in the area in 1787? My four times great-grandfather, Adam Goul (1761-1845), had arrived in Pennsylvania around 1773 and in the first census of the United States, 1790, he was living in a small area called Kingsessing in Philadelphia. It is quite possible that he witnessed some of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention out and about in the Philadelphia area during the four months they were hashing out our government structure. Adam may have spoken with some of the men there and saw General George Washington from a distance. My newly found Lewis ancestors were living in Delaware county, Pennsylvania putting them right next door to Philadelphia. Perhaps at some point, one of them came across one or more delegates.

What would have been the feeling of the residents of Philadelphia besides being war weary from the Revolutionary War? Were they aware something so important was taking place just down the street? What were the newspapers reporting? And given what our country has seen at many political conventions, were there protesters outside the building that would come to be known as Independence Hall? And just what would today’s media sound like if all the technology of today was around back then?


Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia twice – once when I was a child and another the summer before my senior year of high school. At each visit, I stood in Independence Hall gazing at the area where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. That whole city is full of history and through my ancestors, a bit of mystery as I wonder if Adam realized that he was in the middle of the most important events in our country’s narrative.

Top Image: Wikimedia commons – public domain.
Two bottom images: Original and digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.

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I’ve had several people subscribe to my blog lately so I want to show them some love by publicizing their blogs!  I’m also including those who have left comments or “liked” some of my articles.  Most of these are “new to me” blogs, and I bet some of them are new to you also!  Please go check them out!

Porters and Grays and Halls Oh My written by Edith Heilman. I am looking forward to reading this blog because I immediately noticed that her sister was born in Yokohama, Japan – close to where my folks were stationed in the 50s.

Digging Up the Ancients written by Lynda Crackett.  Some of the surnames she’s researching include Crackett, Webb and Henderson. Her most recent posts include History through the Alphabet and things that happened in her family on that day. Please go check out her blog if it is also new to you!

La Mia Familia by Michelle Ann Kratts. Her blog appears to be rather new – begun in May 2012 – and she writes about her Borgatti and Fortuna ancestors.

The Turning of Generations by Michelle Goodrum. Currently, she is organizing all that “stuff” in the Family Home! She provides tips and technical information.

Hidden Genealogy Nuggets written by Jim Sanders. His recent posts include information about Connecticut libraries and military genealogy.

KJN Genealogy – Dead Reckoning written by Kathy Judge Nemaric. Her most recent articles are a series of posts about her Judge ancestors coming to America from Ireland.

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Since this post was published, I’ve located more information – see below for the update!

A wealthy man and a postmaster
An argument over a ditch
A revolver came out and several shots fired
Some of them never hit
A shed to hide
A suicide

The story of the attempted murder of John James Johnson by Coleman Hawkins in a nutshell.  Just who were these men?  Were they more than just neighbors?

John James Johnson
John J. Johnson, oldest son and third child of Jacob and Ann (Shields) Johnson, was born on October 8, 1821 in Byrd Township, Brown County, Ohio.  He moved with his parents and siblings to Rush County, Indiana by 1840 and married Dolly Mullis on March 4, 1848 in Union Township of that county.  Dolly was the sister of Amanda Mullis, wife of John’s brother, James Wilson Johnson. 

The couple were enumerated in the 1850 US Census living in Marion Twp in Rush County with their one year old daughter, Ann M. Johnson.  John, 27, listed his occupation as a Farmer.  They aren’t easily found in the 1860 Census but they had moved to Stoney Creek, Madison County, Indiana by 1870.  Two children are living with them – Rosa, age 12, and John, age 7.  Dolly’s siblings, Sophia (age 55) and Thomas (age 42) are also residing in their household.  By 1880 Rosa had married and was widowed.  She and her son, Edward Milburn, age 3, were living with John and Dolly as well as brother, John. 

Elizabeth Blazer
Elizabeth was born to John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer in the mid-1840s.  She was enumerated with her parents on the 1850 Census living in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  For a long time she was “missing”.  She would have been more than 20 in the 1860 Census and probably married, yet the name of her husband was unknown.  Unbeknownst to me – I had found her in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses – I just didn’t know it yet!

Coleman Hawkins
This man was born about 1832 in Virginia.  I only knew about him through newspaper articles and biographical data from “The History of Madison County”.  He is living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Ohio in the 1870 Census.  His residence was adjacent to the John James Johnson family.  He had a wife and eight children.  In the 1880 Census, Mr. Hawkins and his family are living in the same spot.  Seven of the older children are still living there along with two that had been born since the 1870 Census.  Coleman Hawkins would not see another census.

The Incident
Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana (John L. Forkner, Byron H. Dyson; Publisher: Forkner; 1897; pages 965-968) recounts that Coleman Hawkins, a very wealthy man, had been a resident of Stoney Creek township for a number of years and lived close to the postmaster, John J. Johnson.  The Midland Railway – near Johnson’s Crossing, was in the vicinity of their homes.  Hawkins and Johnson had maintained a good relationship for many years until 1888.  At that time a ditch had been constructed that ran through the neighborhood.  On December 5, 1888 Johnson took a mail pouch to the train and saw Mr. Hawkins there.  Once the train had left the station, Hawkins inquired whether his neighbor could stop the construction of the ditch.  Apparently similar conversations had occurred prior for Johnson told him that he’d already answered that question.  Hawkins obviously wasn’t happy with that answer and pulled a revolver on Johnson, who turned and walked away – possibly not believing that the other man would really fire at him.  Yet Coleman Hawkins did just that.  

“. . .  the shot taking effect in the back just left of the spinal column and below the shoulder blade. Johnson ran into the stationhouse and closed the door after him. As he shut the door another pistol shot was fired, the ball just passing the door. Hawkins then rushed to the window, about six feet from the door, broke out a pane of glass, and fired four or five additional shots, two of which took effect in Mr. Johnson’s body, one on the left side of the face and the other in the forearm. One shot passed through the stove pipe in the room and another through the ceiling. Johnson now opened the door and ran out past Hawkins into a field that led to his residence. Hawkins, having emptied the chambers of the revolver, drew a second one and resumed pursuit of his victim. He fired four additional shots, one of which lodged in Johnson’s right shoulder. Four bullet holes were found in his coat in different places where his body had escaped injury. Johnson ran until his strength was fast failing, when he turned upon his pursuer and clinched him, forcing him to the earth.”

At that time Rosa Johnson, John’s daughter, ran toward the two farmers after she had heard the gunshots.  Without thought to her own safety, she wrangled the gun out of the hands of Coleman Hawkins.  Another neighborhood resident had heard the commotion and came to the two men.  Both men agreed to let each other go.

What should have been the end of the violence – was not.  Apparently Hawkins was either still enraged or looking toward the future of being tried for attempted murder, that he entered a barn on his farm and shot himself.  His wife and son, Rufus, had tried to follow him when they saw him go toward the barn but they didn’t reach him in time.

The ditch that seemed to lay at the center of the quarrel had been awarded by the court so that Johnson could drain his land.  He had requested Hawkins give him an outlet for three to four years but had been refused.  So Johnson had turned to the court and the court had forced the construction of the ditch through Hawkins’ land.

It was also discovered that the pistols that Hawkins had used to fire upon Johnson and to commit suicide had been purchased the day prior to the incident at the railway station.

The conclusion of the story read,  “The remains of Coleman Hawkins were interred in the Anderson cemetery, over which was erected a handsome granite shaft that can be plainly seen from the Alexandria road as the traveler turns to the right after passing out of the iron bridge crossing White river.  The widow of Coleman Hawkins yet resides on the old farm, and has earned for herself the reputation of being one of the best farm managers in the county, having carefully preserved the fortune left her by her husband.”

George Hawkins
The son of Coleman Hawkins born about 1860 ended up marrying the niece of John J. and Dolly (Mullis) Johnson on July 30, 1881.  Olive Belle Johnson was born in August 1865 to James Wilson and Amanda (Mullis) Johnson.  The couple had three children – Urmine, Vesta and Lucy.  It is believed that George died between 1884 and 1887 since Olive married again.

John Lafayette Johnson and Katie Blazer
My maternal great-grandparents resided in and married in Madison County, Indiana.  Katie’s father, Franklin Blazer, had died when she was a small girl.  I found her uncles, John and George Blazer but her aunts – Mary Jane and Elizabeth still remained elusive.  Or were they? 

I re-read a letter my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson (son of John and Katie), had sent to my cousin’s mother.


“My uncle on my mother side Uncle Cole Hawkins shot Uncle John Johnson and then killed himself.  My mother was a young girl at the time this happened and she worked for Aunt Lib Hawkins and Uncle Cole.  Uncle John Johnson did not die from being shot but he carried the bullet in his body until he died several years later.”

Somehow Coleman Hawkins and his wife, “Lib” (Elizabeth), were related to my grandfather through his mother.  Could Elizabeth Hawkins be Franklin Blazer’s sister, Elizabeth?  I didn’t have enough documentation to say for sure but I was going on the assumption that she was.  I couldn’t find any other relationship other than through the Johnson side and the marriage of my grandfather’s aunt to the Hawkins’ son, George.

I had spent some time earlier in my research to dig up information on the children of Coleman and Elizabeth in case I could verify any other relationships.

Mary Jane Blazer
Then I ran across a listing in the 1870 US Census for an “MJ Webb” living next door to Franklin’s brother’s family.  “MJ” and her husband, Marion, were enumerated with four children.  The only reason this jumped out at me is because in the George and Amanda Blazer household is “Jas Webb, blacksmith”.  Going back to the Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana, I located an entry about Jasper Webb as a blacksmith.  The Blazer family obviously had close ties with the Webb family.  Could “MJ” Webb actually be Mary Jane Blazer?  The 1880 Census for the Webb family lists Marion Webb, age 40, living with his wife, Mary J. Webb, age 38, and children, Tena, Rufus, Lydia, Wilson, and Horace.  By the 1900 Census, Mary J. Webb is widowed and lists herself as a mother of 6 children – all living.  Living with her is her son, Horace, and daughter, Maud.  Mary J. Webb is also found in the 1910 Census and living with her is her daughter, Maud, with husband and small daughter.  The last census she is found is the 1920 Census living with her widowed son, Rufus.  The Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library shows that Mary J. Webb’s obituary was published in the June 7, 1929 edition of the local newspaper.

Tena Stanley
I’ve had a photograph in my possession for quite sometime of Elizabeth Hawkins and Tena Stanley.  Trying to figure out how Tena Stanley fit into my family tree, I’d contacted the Indiana Room for Tena’s obituary.  They emailed me four news accounts.  I went back over each one.  The one published in the Anderson Herald on April 8, 1942 listed her survivors as one brother, Horace Webb, and a sister, Maud Peterson. BINGO! 


That was more documentation that Tena Stanley had once been Tena Webb.  And with the picture I had of Tena and Elizabeth – that led me to believe that Tena and Elizabeth were related – which it appeared that Elizabeth was Tena’s aunt – sister of Tena’s mother, Mary Jane Blazer Webb.  


So the tangled family tree looks like this:
Katie J. Blazer: My maternal great-grandmother’s uncle by marriage, Coleman Hawkins, who was married to her father’s sister, Elizabeth Blazer, shot her husband’s (John Lafayette Johnson) uncle, John James Johnson.  My great-grandfather’s aunt, Olive Belle Johnson, married Coleman and Elizabeth’s son, George HawkinsTena Webb married for the last time to Nelson Stanley, and was the niece of Elizabeth Blazer Hawkins and Franklin Blazer and first cousin to my great-grandmother, Katie J. Blazer.

So what happened to John James Johnson?  He lived four more years after being shot by Coleman Hawkins, dying from heart disease in an instant. 

UPDATE: Not only did Olive B. Johnson marry into the Hawkins family, but so did her cousin, John Marshall Johnson, son of John James Johnson – the man Coleman Hawkins shot!  Marshall – as he was known – married Hawkins’ daughter, Rosa Jane.  There was probably quite a bit of tension in the Marshall and Rosa Johnson household after the shooting incident – yet the couple, who married on December 17, 1881, remained married until Marshall’s death in 1921.  Their union produced seven children – Walter, Roy, Grover, Alta, James Leroy, Georgia and Arris. 

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Born on March 5th:

  1. Mercy WEBSTER – 1781 – Connecticut. Daughter of John Webster and Elizabeth House.  3rd Cousin 5 times removed.
  2. Susannah ROUDEBUSH – 1793 – York, Pennsylvania.  Daughter of Jacob Roudebush and Anna Rickstacker.  4th Gr-Grandmother.
  3. Peter B. BUSHONG – 1836 – Logan County, Ohio.  Son of John Bushong Jr. and Rachel Van Vooris.  3rd Cousin 5 times removed.  Samuel Colt manufactures the 1st pistol, a 34 Caliber “Texas” model.
  4. Cyrus Nathan NICHOLSON – 1862.  Son of Perry Nicholson and Dinah Coddington.  5th Cousin 3 times removed.  Union troops under the command of Brig. General Wright occupy Fernandida, Florida.
  5. William Lloyd AMORE – 1882 – Coshocton County, Ohio.  Son of William Henry Amore and Mary Angelina Werts.  Paternal Grandfather.
  6. Henry PETERSON – 1886 – Henry County, Ohio.  Son of Elias Peterson and Harriett Mary House.  4th Cousin once removed.
  7. Viola WILSON – 1887 – Thomas County, Kansas.  Daughter of Charles Bennet Wilson and Clarissa Nicholson.  6th Cousin twice removed.
  8. Marjorie Alice SOWERS – 1922 – Hamilton County, Indiana.  Daughter of Frank Sowers and Effie Wiles.  Wife of 4th Cousin once removed.  Berlin shows the premiere of “Nosferatu”.

Died on March 5th:

  1. John Flavel HOUSE – 1869 – Hartford County, Connecticut. Born May 1798.  Son of Matthew House and Lois Hubbard.  1st cousin 5 times removed.
  2. John S. RUEBUSH – 1914.  Born Oct. 1844. Son of George Ruebush and Mary Catherine Moyers. 3rd Cousin 4 times removed.
  3. Mary Jane WERTS – 1917 – Lucas County, Iowa.  Born Mar. 1835.  Daughter of George Peter Werts and Margaret Maple. 2nd Great-grandaunt.  Victor Records released first jazz recording on that label.
  4. Virginia “Jennie” MAPHIS – 1933 – Shenandoah County, Virginia. Born June 1845.  Daughter of  Joseph and Mariah Maphis. Wife of 2nd Cousin 5 times removed.   The Nazi party in Germany wins the majority in Parliament.
  5. Frances Elaine HUFFMAN – 1943.  Born Aug. 1909.  Daughter of William Emmet Huffman and Elizabeth Catherine Link.  5th Cousin twice removed.  Royal Air Force bombs Essen, Germany and there are anti-fascist strikes in Italy.
  6. George Harold STERN – 1950 – Washington.  Born Nov. 1911.  Son of George Earl Stern and Susie Irene Woodworth.  2nd Cousin once removed.
  7. Anna Elizabeth BUSHONG – 1966.  Born Apr. 1880.  Daughter of Andrew Jackson Bushong and Amanda Fultz.  4th Cousin 3 times removed.  The United States performs a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.

Married on March 5th:

  1. Zenus NICHOLSON and Mary FISHER – 1838.  Zenus – son of Jonathan Loveland Nicholson and Elizabeth Swingle.  4th Cousin 4 times removed.
  2. Samuel W. FELLER and Martha Ann BUSHONG – 1857.  Martha – daughter of Henry M. Bushong and Mary Ann Wendel.  2nd Cousin 5 times removed.

**Historic events from Scope Systems Anyday in History.

Boston Massacre: In 1770 British sentries who were guarding the Boston Customs House shot into a crowd and killed three people and injured eight. 
(Source: Library of Congress – Today in History)

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Yes – THAT James Madison. Fourth President of the United States. He would be my 2nd cousin, 7 times removed. Alright, so that’s a bit of a stretch!


And no, I haven’t been holding out waiting to spring that on everyone. I didn’t know! Just found out yesterday. As I’ve mentioned before, when I bump (or crash head long) into a brick wall, I turn around and go in another direction. It eases the stress level that those walls can create and keeps me from getting too bored. It had been awhile since I looked for the ancestors of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Blazer, so yesterday as I went about my research, lo & behold, I was blessed to finally find out his wife’s (my 3rd great-grandmother’s) maiden name!

John Blazer married Mary Ann Nelson, daughter of John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle, around 1834.

Mary Dickenson Arbuckle was the daughter of William Arbuckle and Catherine Madison (daughter of Humphrey Madison and Mary Dickenson). Catherine’s grandfather (James Madison III) and President James Madison’s grandfather (Ambrose Madison) were brothers – making Catheirne and the President 2nd cousins.

President Madison, according to Wikipedia, was considered the “Father of the Constitution”, one of the founding fathers of our great nation, and the “Father of the Bill of Rights”.

I think it’s fitting that John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer lived most of their married life and died in Madison County, Indiana – named in honor of President James Madison – a cousin of Mary Ann’s and mine. I wonder if Mary Ann realized that she was related to a President of her parents’ generation and if she did, what did she think about it?

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Today is the 190th birthday of the state of Illinois.  The “Land of Lincoln” entered the Union on December 3, 1818 and in ten years will celebrate it’s Bicentennial!  The state took its name from an Algonquin word meaning “tribe of superior men”. (Source: Library of Congress)

From Illinois came our 16th President – Abraham Lincoln – and our President-elect, Barack Obama (though neither were born there, they both settled in Illnois as adults and became Illinois statesmen).  Both gave important speeches on the steps of the Old State Capital.  Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech, and Obama kicked off his presidential candidacy there.

I have spent quite a bit of time traveling through Illinois in the last twenty years when we take our normal summer vacation to Missouri and then through Illinois to Ohio.  I also spent time outside Chicago as a child when we went to my Uncle Norman’s house for the annual Amore Sibling reunion.  The summer before my sophomore year in high school our church’s youth group spent a week in Chicago visiting Deaconess hospital, staying at a UCC church (our denomination), and visiting the Museum of Science and History, among other activities.  This summer as we traveled through Illinois we attempted to visit historical sites related to Abraham Lincoln.

Illinois has a very rich and extensive history and I urge to you learn what you can about the 21st state of our Union as well as your own state – especially if you had ancestors that lived there at one time or another.

For more information please go to here (today!) or Google: “Illinois History” to find out more!

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