My Childhood Memories-Page 6
Chapter 9-The Old Country Church
When I was a child we attended several country churches in the area. They were non-denominational churches. They were of the Full Gospel or Pentecostal faith, but were not affiliated with any organized church. Some of my fondest memories were of attending church with my parents. One of the churches we attended called the Union Church was in the small town of Nutwood, IL and the other church we sometimes attended was a true country church in a rural area called the Union Forest Church near Otterville, IL.
Sometimes during the week we would have prayer meetings at a house of one of the families who attended the church, and afterward we would enjoy a meal prepared by the church members. My parents sometimes hosted the prayer meeting. I can remember listening to the old hymns being sung, and still recall the faces of the dear members of the congregation, most of whom are passed away now. My mother loved to go to church and enjoyed singing the hymns. She had a beautful singing voice. My mother also taught Sunday School to the little children, and my father was a deacon of the church.
Nutwood Union Church
Some of the families I can remember who attended the Nutwood Union Church with us there in the 1950's and 1960's were the Talley Family of Nutwood, IL, George and Gertrude Talley. Three of the Talley daughters married members of my family-Frances Talley married Jasper Westfall Jr. my Uncle Jasper Westfall's son, Deloris Talley married Donald Westfall, my Uncle Lonnie Westfall's son, and Wilma Talley married Harold Griffin, my Aunt Anna (Westfall) Griffin's son.
Alfred Taylor and his wife Lula (Tucker) Taylor also attended the Nutwood Church and lived in Nutwood, IL at the time, and Asher and Clara Bull and their family, and their son Floyd Bull and his family also attended the Nutwood Church and lived in the Nutwood area at that time. The Raymond Miles family of Jerseyville, IL also attended the Nutwood Church at that time. James Galore and his wife Mildred and their family also attended the Nutwood Church. He was a fisherman and lived along the Illinois River. My father often bought fish from him. The Miller family also attended the Nutwood Church. They lived near Nutwood, IL and Mr. Miller worked at the rock quarry south of Fieldon, IL and was a brother to Bob Miller who married one of the Reynolds daughters. Justus Russell and his wife Olivia also attended and she was the pastor of the Nutwood Church at the time. He lived and farmed in the Nutwood area.
Archie Cain and his wife Lorene and family also attended the Nutwood Church at the time. He worked at the rock quarry south of Fieldon, IL and lived in Rosedale Township near the Pleasent Cove School that I once attended. Also attending the Nutwood church at the time were the Cummings family of the Rosedale area, and Mrs. Nettie Peterson of East Hardin, and Mrs. Gertrude Wieneke, and Mrs. Lawson of the Hardin, IL area. My Uncle Jasper Westfall and his wife, my Aunt Ruth (McNish) Westfall also attended the church. They lived on a farm in the Otter Creek Township area near my parents farm at that time. Other occasional visitors to the church were the Turpin family, and Huff sisters, Vileta (Huff) Turpin and Hazel (Huff) Springman from the Fidelity, IL area. One of the Huff sisters, Hazel Huff, married Roger Springman the son of John and Gladys (Henson) Springman of the Union Forest area. Other visiting families were the Rose family from Pleasant Hill.
Visiting pastors at the church for fellowship meetings were Rev. Harry Fosha of the Jerseyville and Meredosia, IL area. I remember in the 1950's when I was about 13 years old, just a few weeks before I had surgery for a reoccurring tumor on my ankle, my parents and I visited Rev. Fosha's church near Meredosia and Rev. Fosha and the members of his church had a special prayer for me. Rev. Fosha is buried in White Cemetery in th Union Forest vicinity of Jersey County, IL. Another visiting pastor was Rev. Harry W. Frazer (10-23-1901 to 11-9-1094) pastor of the Gospel Assembly Church in Jerseyville, IL for many years was born in Jersey County, IL, died in Greene County, Carrollton, IL, the son of Fred and Maggie (Dabbs) Frazer. Rev. Frazer is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Jerseyville, IL.
Other visiting pastors I remember was a Rev. Shaw from Carrollton, IL, Rev. Summers from the Fidelity/Medora IL area, and Rev. Estell Bettis (7-11-1907 to 2-26-1999) pastor of the Gospel Mission for many years in Kampsville, IL was born in Palmyra, IL, died in Decatur, IL, the son of Clarence and Stella (Crawford) Bettis. Rev. Bettis was married to Geneva O. (Angelo) Bettis who preceded him in death in 1998. Rev. Bettis is buried in Summit Grove Cemetery in Kampsville, IL. Another visiting pastor was Rev. Howard S. Bushnell (6-9-1899 to 12-26-1963) the son of Reuben Bushnell (10-17-1874 to 1957) who was a pastor in the Jersey and Greene Counties of Illinois, and also in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Rev. Bushnell is buried in Bushnell Cemetery, Bluffdale Township, Greene County, IL, which is located several miles north of Eldred, IL.
Union Forest Church
Families that I remember attended the Union Forest Church in the Union Forest area of Otter Creek Township in the 1950's and 1960's were Lesley and Amelia Stamps. He lived and farmed in the Union Forest area. Also attending the Union Forest church at the time were Roy White and his wife who lived nearby in the Union Forest area. The White Cemetery was near their home. Also attending the Union Forest Church at the time were John Springman and his wife Gladys (Henson) Springman. He and his wife Gladys lived and farmed in the area.
Also attending the church at the time was William "Bill" Osburn and his wife Iva (Richey) Osburn and son Larry. His wife was a sister to Alice (Richey) Parton who was a well known Christian missionary in India. The Osburns had a farm in the area. Also attending the Union Forest Church at the time were Joe Daves and his family of Jerseyville, Woodrow Carstens and his wife Eva May of Jerseyville, and Louis and Gertrude Walker who had a farm in the area. Tommy Deffer also attended the church. He owned a farm nearby. He was unmarried and was related to Hewitts I believe my parents said. His parents lived with him and had attended the Uninon Forest Church also before they passed away. Rev. Louis Kappler of Jerseyville was a pastor at the Union Forest Church for a time I remember, and I also recall Rev. Walter Schultz was a pastor there for a few years in the 1960's.
(Note: A recent article about the Union Forest Chuch from the Alton Telegraph Newspaper -- Historic church dedicated at Apple Fest, October 01, 2011 8:07 PM - By DANETTE M. WATT
JERSEYVILLE - A one-room church where services were held as recently as 1979 was dedicated at the Jersey County Historical Society's 21st annual Apple Fest Saturday afternoon. Union Forest Church was built in 1920 on Pumping Station Road northwest of Otterville. It was moved to its current site at 601 N. State St. in October 2010. "We just went in and completely dismantled it," said the society's past president, Bob Hartman. The church has its original pews, windows, lights, pulpit and attendance board. Hartman said it cost $20,000 to move the church, which was donated to the society by Walter Ernst in memory of his wife, the former Edith Stamps. "He's 103 years old and was going to come down for the dedication, but he was dealing with some kidney stones," Hartman said. Ernst lives in New Hope Minn., and donated $40,000 to the society to help maintain the church. "This church will be here for future generations to see how it all started," Hartman said. But the church isn't just for the past. "We already have three weddings planned," he said. A former Jerseyville resident donated $35,000 for the church and $150,000 was bequeathed to the society through an estate. The annual Apple Fest gives residents and visitors an opportunity to tour the society's historical buildings. Besides the church, the property is the site of the McAdams log cabin, the Lone Star one-room schoolhouse, the Cheney Mansion and the Les Flautt Museum. Vendors were on hand to sell their wares such as pottery, blankets, baskets and food. Activities and games for children included throwing darts at balloons and painting miniature pumpkins. Grace Bechtold, 4, gave her cousin, Morgan Steckel, 2, a big hug as the two girls smiled for a picture. "We come here every year," said Marsha Steckel, the girls' grandmother. "We come for the crafts, listen to the music. They have great food here.)
Chapter 10:Hunting and fishing were a big part of my life when I was a child. My father liked to hunt and fish and from an early age I enjoyed hunting and fishing with him. I went hunting with my father at an early age, but I didn't actually carry a gun or participate in the hunting until I was a bit older, perhaps eleven or twelve years old or so. Most of the time we hunted squirrels and rabbits. We always ate what game we killed, or fish we caught, and my mother cooked and prepared it for the table so that it tasted very good. Although it was enjoyable as a pastime or sport as some people called it, the wild game and fish served as valuable source of food supply for us. I haven't been hunting or fishing for many years. I don't think I have the heart to kill the little animals anymore.
My father also had fox and raccoon hounds and I enjoyed going with him on fox and raccoon hunting trips. My father loved to listen to the fox hounds chasing a fox. His father before him was a fox hunter. In the old days there used to be a lot of fox hunting, but there doesn't seem to be much fox hunting anymore. The object of a fox hunt wasn't so much to kill the fox, for my father rarely shot a fox, but to listen the hounds and enjoy the chase. He used to say, "listen to that beautiful music, that's old Blue or that's old Red howling. They are getting close on that old fox's tail now." He could tell each of the hounds by the sound of their baying. Sometimes the hounds would chase the fox out of hearing, 2 or 3 miles away, and then they would circle back hot on his trail. The fox was wily though and often fooled the dogs by backtracking and other tricks that caused them to lose his scent and trail.
We also went raccoon hunting. That was done at night. Fox hunting was often done in the daytime. The raccoon hounds were a different breed from the fox hounds. Our fox hounds were mostly Walker or Black and Tans which were specifically bred for fox hunting, while the raccoon hounds were Blue Tick or Red Bone which were bred for raccoon hunting, but my father had some dogs that hunted both, and which hunted rabbits also. Our hounds weren't necessarily pure breeds, but kind of mixed breeds, but they were wonderful hunting dogs anyway who loved to hunt. I never seen anybody as happy as those dogs when they would see we was going on a hunt, for they would bark and jump up and down and run all around and carry on like they were going to a party or dance or something. Some of their names were Red, Blue, Goldie, Tip, Sooner, Suzie, Drum, Trip, Belle, Yeller, Flip, Lady, Trey, and Peg-leg (My father named her Peg-leg after she lost her foot in a steel trap). My father didn't like steel traps much, because they often trapped dogs and caused them to lose their foot, or sometimes their life if they couldn't get out of the trap.
It was a lot of fun going on the raccoon hunts at night going out with lanterns and flashlights into the woods and listening to the hounds chase and eventually tree the raccoon. Once the raccoon was treed we would go follow the sound of the hounds to the tree and shoot it out, if it wasn't a hollow tree in which the raccoon could holeup and hide, or the raccoon hadn't fooled the hounds and wasn't actually in the tree. The hounds made a different barking sound when they were treed from when they were chasing. I had a little white Fox Terrier dog named Shorty that my Aunt Laura gave me when I was 3 years old. He was a good little squirrel dog. He would bark and chase and tree squirrels up a tree much like the raccoon hounds treed raccoons. All I had to do was watch where Shorty was looking and that's where the squirrel would be in the tree. We also once had a Beagle hound who was a good rabbit hunting dog.
I also enjoyed going on fishing trips with my parents. Sometimes just my father and I would go fishing, and other times my mother would go with us and we would have kind of picnic and roast hot dogs over a fire along the creek bank for dinner. When I was a small boy we usually went to a nearby creek called Otter Creek which was only about a mile or two from our farm house.
Occasionally we went farther away to another somewhat larger creek called Macoupin Creek which ran north of Fieldon. IL about 8 or 10 miles away, and also ran about 30 miles away near my Uncle Floyd Westfall's farm in the Medora, IL area. We would go to visit Uncle Floyd and Aunt Bertha and sometimes they would go fishing with us on Macoupin Creek which ran near their farm.
We fished with just an old pole cut from a sapling with a line tied to it with a hook on the end and a cork that bobbed in the water to tell us when a fish was biting. We mostly caught catfish, and small sunfish or bluegill and crappie. Sometimes we would catch a smallmouth bass or once in a while a carp.
Sometimes my father used to also catch fish by hand in the creek (logging it was called). He said his father taught him how to do it, and that he and his father and brothers often used to catch fish that way when he was a boy. I have many fond memories of spendings time fishing with my parents. It was a very pleasant and relaxing way to spend the day. I haven't been fishing in years, not since my father passed away. Maybe I will go fishing again someday.
Names of Hills and Hollows
Every hollow, hill, spring, and little creek had a name. My parents had grown up in the area and knew all the names. Many of the hollows were named for families who once lived there. One hollow near our farmhouse was named Schaaf hollow even though the Schaafs hadn't lived there for years and their old house was long gone. Another hollow north of Fieldon, IL was named Haushalter Hollow after my Haushalter ancestors who once lived there. There was Dabbs Hill, Dug Hill, Powers Hill, The Democrat Spring, Wildcat Spring, The John Dunham Spring, Otter Creek, Sugar Creek, Haushalter Creek, Fieldon Hollow, Richey Hollow, Simpson Hollow, Graham Hollow, Goat Ranch Hollow, Zahn Hollow and many others whose names I have forgotten. Maybe somebody will name a hollow after me someday after I'm gone. Who knows? Many new people move into an area and many of the old names for the hollows, hills, and creeks are long forgotten, though some of the names may live on, but the origin and history of the name is often lost.
The Democrat Spring was the name of the large spring on our farm near our house about a hundred yards away across the barnlot. The spring was named the Democrat Spring long before my grandfather bought the property in 1899. My father said that my grandfather, who was a lifelong Democrat, used to say that if a Republican drank water from the spring he would get sick. My father bought the farm after his parents died and I was born there, and often drank water from the Democrat Spring growing up on the farm there. The water from the spring was always ice cold even on the hottest day of summer. When I was a little boy I used to hold my hand in the spring water and my hand would soon turn numb from the icy cold water. There was a dipper that hung on a post at the spring that we drank water from. In the summertime when I was a kid water moccasin snakes were usually lying on the rocks above the spring, and when I would dip the dipper in the spring water to get a drink a snake or two would jump into the water and scare the dickens out of me. I used to creep up to the spring when I was going to get a drink looking all around for the snakes, but I often didn't see them until they dove into the water.
There were some poisonous snakes in the area of our farm, copperhead snakes and rattlesnakes. My father said when he was a boy he and his father killed a poisonous cottonmouth snake over at the Democrat Spring. He said one day he went to get a drink at the spring and he saw this big brown stripped snake that looked somewhat like the water moccasins, but when it opened it's mouth the inside of the snake's mouth was white like cotton, and my father had never seen a snake like that before. My father said he went to the house and told his father and he and his father came back to the spring and the snake was still there, and his father said that it was cottonmouth snake, and they killed the snake. At first when he told his father, my father said his father doubted him. His father had seen cottonmouths before when he lived in Kansas and Oklahoma, but his father said he had never seen one that far north in Illinois before. The cottonmouth snakes are more prevalent in the southern states. My father once killed a copperhead snake on the hill above our farmhouse when I was a boy, and one time a visiting hunter Eddie Oiler brought a copperhead snake back to the house that he had killed out in the woods when he was hunting. Also when I was boy my father and my father's brother, my Uncle Jasper Westfall, ran over a big rattlesnake with a car down on the gravel road near Otter Creek a mile or so south of our farm. I was riding with them in the car at the time. They got out of the car and finished killing the rattlesnake. My father cut the rattles off and gave them to me. There were 10 rattles. I still have the rattles to this day.
There was one hollow on our farm named Capes Hollow. An old man had once lived there in a little cabin. He died in the cabin I was told. I used to play among some of the cabin logs that were still there when I was a boy. He had worked for my grandfather. His name was Riley Capes. I don't know if he had any family. My father said he remembered when he was a small boy that Mr. Capes ate supper with the family, and the next day they found him dead in his cabin.
Another favorite pastime in my childhood was mushroom hunting in the spring. Usually sometime in April, depending on the weather, the sponge type or morel mushrooms would pop out of the ground somewhere in the woods or along a field, but one never knew just where and that was the fun of hunting them. Often they would come back in pretty much the same place year after year.
I remember once my father asked me to go look for some cows that hadn't come home for a few days, and while searching for the cows I came upon this huge patch of mushrooms. It was the mother lode of mushrooms. There were mushrooms everywhere, along the field, up along the hillside in the woods, little mushrooms and huge mushrooms all over the place. I didn't have a bag or anything so I took my shirt off and filled it with mushrooms, but I still didn't pick half of them. I went back home and told my father I didn't find the cows, but I found a lot of mushrooms, and he came back with me with some paper bags and we picked the rest of the mushrooms. That was the most mushrooms I have ever found. I'll never forget that day. It was like finding a treasure-trove.
Working At Olin Corperation
When I was in my 20's I worked at Olin Corperation, a manufacturing plant in Alton, IL for several years. The plant manufactured shells for shotguns and rifles among other things. I worked shift work in the Brass Mill in the Slitter Department, and later worked straight evenings in the Shipping Department. I remember my supervisor in the Shipping Department was a Mr. Tolliver. The Olin Corp. plant was about 35 to 40 miles from our farm near Fieldon, IL. I rode a bus to the plant that Jacob (Jake) Bailey owned and operated out of Kampsville, IL. Jake Bailey provided the bus service and drove the bus from Kampsville to the manufaturing plants in Alton, IL several times a day taking workers to work and bringing them home. I caught the bus in Fieldon, IL at the Bob Martin Grocery Store. Mr. Martin let me park my car in front of his store. Occasionally I drove my car to the plant in Alton, IL.
Some of the men I worked with and remember who were employed at the Olin Corperation in Alton, IL at that time in the 1960's were Raymond L. Haeffner of Highland, IL, Henry (Hank) Kirchner of Grafton, IL, Loren (Mike) Oberjohann of Kampsville, IL, Valentine Klunk of Michael, IL, and Bud Willis of Jerseyville, IL, and Gary Gerson of Alton, IL who was the son of Raymond Gerson of Fieldon, IL who once owned a feed store in Fieldon, and whom my father knew well. My Uncle Joseph Coleman who was married to my Aunt Laura (Westfall) Coleman was also working at the Olin Corp. in the Brass Mill at that time. He and my Aunt Laura lived in Alton, IL.