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The birth of a child creates a new, unwritten adventure book. Certainly Clyde and Viola Samford of Chrisman were unable to predict the future of their son Alan G. Samford, born May 1, 1951. The … more
Joe Davidson was a man of many talents and jobs until he opened his own barbershop on East Washington in Paris. He was born in Paris in 1928 and started to school at Tanner School on the south … more
Many men came out of the Civil War broke and not knowing what they were going to do with the rest of their lives. Some lost all they had in the war and had to start all over. Others attempted to … more
An effort to get a statue of Abraham Lincoln on the Edgar County Courthouse lawn took a step forward Wednesday, Aug. 14. Vick Bowyer, of the local Looking for Lincoln committee, addressed the full … more
The first settlers in Edgar County may have come across the Wabash River from Indiana and made their way west on the Durkee Ferry Road. There was another more important road the North Arm area settlers used extensively to go either to Paris or travel eastward to Clinton, Ind. A major advantage to this road was they did not have to cross the Wabash to visit the town named after Dewitt Clinton that was founded in 1829. Pioneer settlers that came starting in 1817 and into the early 1820s are still remembered through their families and the naming of the townships and schools. There is Hunter Township and Stratton Township named after John Hunter and John Stratton, men of note and early settlers. Edgar County’s first school was on Whitley ground, just a little north of the Clinton Road, and was named North Arm School. The name of the North Arm community arose because the north arm of Coal Creek ran through that area, and the branch also crossed the Clinton Road. Hunter School was on the road and Lane’s Branch, just to the south, was named after Daniel Lane, who brought apple trees to the area. John Curtis was on the north side of the road after going around the first grand turn and was also an arborist known for his fruit trees and strawberries in competition with Lane. Leaving the outskirts of Paris in the early 1900s one crossed the old iron bridge over Sugar Creek. This device served passage for almost 80 years. Before Paris was established the Indians used that same crossing, only they waded the creek. Now there is a modern concrete bridge, lacking a superstructure and rattling, that drivers hardly notice. As long ago travelers headed east up the hill, an old wooden bridge crossed the railroad and it was considered both a blessing and a curse. It enabled the people on the road to not be impeded by rail traffic, but some horses were deathly scared of it. Many times the horses were blindfolded and led across and if a driver let the horse have his lead, many buggy riders worried about the horse going over the side. Today, going northeast is Boland livestock farm, which came into existence in 1818 as Augustine Boland, the singing teacher, was one of the first settlers along the Clinton Road. As we continue east we come on the Dickenson farms that were started in 1839. A new house on the east side of the curve was built by Phil Dickenson’s daughter and Mark Allanson her husband. At the north end of the first curve there used to be two buildings of some importance. A Methodist Church was there and now there is only a memorial marker. Across the road was a two-story frame house built by James and Mary Ann Nevil. This location was known as Calico Corner before the big curve was put in. Many of the neighbors helped build the Nevil house in 1835. There is a story that Abraham Lincoln stopped at the well on the farm and got a drink of water as he was headed to speak at the Cambridge City site. The Lloyd Lewis family acquired the old house and restored it to its old glory, and it still stands today as a hallmark to the perseverance and hard work the Lewis family provided. Continuing east is where the Joe Keys family lives and is probably the site of the old Joe Curtis orchard. A few miles farther east on the edge of the Hunter locale, the Ashland Chapel once sat on the north side of the road. It was built on land donated by William Hunter in 1880. It was also known as the Little Brick church and served the Methodist congregation until 1946. The Hunter family saw fit to remember Henry Clay by naming the church for Clay’s Kentucky home called Ashland. Next, there was a settlement called Hunter in the area where John Hunter and his brother bought most of Henry Clay’s ground that was known as Clay’s Prairie. Henry Clay’s lawyer did not want the improved road, but it did happen. The Joseph Hunter family lived in a fine two-story brick house that stands as a landmark on the north side after the second large curve is rounded heading toward Clinton. The home now belongs to the Steve Irish family. It dates back to the 1840s. Just a little south and west of that landmark was Huffmanville, which sported a store, a post office and a blacksmith shop. It was just a little off the main drag, but possibly a stop as people headed toward Clinton and the many coalmines in that area. Going on east and near the state line stands a fairly new Christian Church. The original church was built in 1870 and rebuilt when the Clinton Road was redone in the 1970s. Just before crossing into Indiana is the Watson farm that dates back into history and on the grain bins it states “State Line Farm.” The building of the road itself made its way into the history books by being the first road in our state laid out as a one-lane brick road set in concrete and called a monolithic contiguous road in 1914. Alan Parrish and Rodney Bell saw that it was laid out correctly and was probably similar to the other brick farm-to-market roads that led into Paris from all directions. The Cherry Point Road, Preston Road, Redmon Road and Springfield Road are other examples. The brick was on the right side as it headed to Paris to support the heavier loads. Although the brick road to Clinton only went for a few miles it was a big help to the farmers and travelers making their way down the previously graveled road. In 1930, the Alva Adams Company finished the road to the Indiana line with concrete. In 1975, with cooperation of the state, county and township entities, the road was repaved from Clinton to Paris. Now the road has been resurfaced again and is a quick and smooth road all the way to the state line. It is so much different than when Lloyd Lewis wrote about his mother taking down the freshly washed sheets and clothes when she heard a car barreling down the road and then hanging them back up after the vehicle passed. That was in the early days of cars, and I think she must have looked forward to a buggy sedately driving by and not creating so much dust. Either that or she prayed for a rain just before she washed. more
Many kids have big dreams. Some know exactly what they want to be when they grow up, but others have no idea. Those who live life and take it by the reigns often go down in the history books for … more
At one time in southern Symmes Township, South Union School had a bell tower and a special bell. A Sept. 13, 1908, headline in the Paris Beacon declared “Largest School Bell in Edgar … more
The restoration of three historical markers found on the Edgar County Courthouse lawn is complete and a re-dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 6 on the southeast corner of that lawn. … more
There are times when such an overwhelming desire to remember a group or a special occurrence defies logic for those who choose and dedicate their lives to one another. A reuniting of spirit occurs, a … more
So many times a man’s dream takes a few turns when he least expects it. The quest to spread one’s wings and leave the nest can result in serving others and his country. One young man, Wilmer … more
Whether it is the smell of burning rubber in the air, the anticipation of waiting as a cool car drives by or spending countless hours preparing a car for the show, most everyone has their own ideas … more
A large boulder with a bronze plaque placed on the Edgar County Courthouse lawn in 1921 is shining like it’s brand new. Workers from Adams Memorial removed the bronze plaques from the stone … more
Since the release of the first motion picture, children everywhere have dreamed about being the star up on the big screen. They bug their parents about going to see the latest, greatest release … more
The North Arm Section was the first area of Edgar County to be settled. In 1817, early settlers moved into the area and set up a little town, and little did any of them know that one of their … more
Throughout the existence of Paris many have been born here. Some move on and are forgotten, but others stamp their names into the history books. One such person started life in Paris and rode a … more
Within the lifetime of some older senior citizens is an era when one could step on an interurban rail car at Paris and travel as far as Cleveland, Ohio, in speed and relative comfort. Jeffrey … more
(Editor’s Note: much of the information for this story was gleaned from a 17-page pamphlet written by nurse Edythe Zimmerly Stephens. The pamphlet is titled “A History of Edgar County, Illinois … more
A man resembling “Honest Abe” Lincoln rode horseback into Paris Sept. 14, 1976, as part of the local celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. Richard Blake, a famous portrayer of Lincoln, … more
A large stone on the Edgar County Courthouse lawn has two markers that represent the Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Edgar County. One plaque was placed on the stone in 1921 and the other in … more
The old one-room schools that were so prevalent in Edgar County are almost lost to the memories of those who taught in them or were students. During the early 20th Century, there were 142 … more
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