History
Through the centuries leap year creates quirky traditions

Leap Year has unusual traditions

Thursday, Feb. 29, is Leap Year, a day that comes every four years and is an oddity on the calendar. Its traditions are equally unusual. Ostensibly, an extra day is stuck at the end of February …
Business executive and philanthropist left a legacy

Spencer Werner: ‘Tell me…’

He was “deliberate” and “no-nonsense,” a chain-smoking steam engine who once told his receptionist, “I guess I’m not the vacation type.” Yet, to all who knew …

Madison among influential President wives

More than 170 years after her death, Dolley Madison is recognized as one of the most popular, and influential, Presidential wives of all time. She is not just known for serving cupcakes and ice cream …
The world was growing and changing quickly in 1913

A day in the life of a newspaper

When Jacob Lewis discovered an Oct. 28, 1913 edition of Edgar County’s The Daily News in his Chrisman home, in the attic eaves under the roofline, he and his kids were excited at the find. …

Brooks was a pioneer in American Literature

February is nationally recognized and celebrated as Black History Month. It is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. …

The birth of the Rangers of Paris

In the early 1950s, it seemed the young boys of Paris were getting out of hand and something had to be done. Illinois State Patrolman Henry Cooley knew something had to change. He put a plan in …
A holocaust survivor began to change the world 78 years ago

Eva Kor made changes for good

Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she spotted Soviet Scouts progressing toward the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland where she had been held since May 1944. The group of scouts …
A beloves park feature found its way back home to Paris

Chief comes home

This is a story about “Chief” a carousel pony who got to come home to his old stomping ground in Paris.    Allen Herschell was a well-known builder of carousels. He …

King led civil rights demonstrations in Illinois in 1966

During the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, many of the largest – and bloodiest – demonstrations were in the South. A series of violent clashes in Illinois in 1966, however, surprised …

Illinois man announced for Bing Crosby

Most of those honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earned their star on their acting or singing ability. In the case of central Illinois native Ken Carpenter, his recognition came on his speaking …
George and Martha Washington revolutionized marriage

The First Couple

On Jan. 6, 1759, George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis at The White House. No, it was not the white house we have become so familiar with in our modern times. The white house the …
The 1903 Iroquois Theater fire is a tragic story of cut corners and desperate escapes

Disaster takes the stage

On a chilly winter day in 1903, Chicago’s brand-new Iroquois Theater was filled with adults and children enjoying their holiday break. The crowd gathered to see Mr. Bluebeard, a musical comedy …

Resolutions, Celebrations and Proclamations

During much of Abraham Lincoln’s lifetime, the New Year’s holiday was a bigger deal than Christmas. His celebrations of Jan. 1 evolved with his rise to fame. As a young backwoodsman, …

An old-time way of doing things

Let’s go back to the early 1940s when I was starting school, that was before school buses were the norm around here. A lot of our neighboring boys were leaving for the Army or Navy and a …

A tree-mendous symbol of the holiday

There is a legend buried deep in history, of a group of German bakers who decorated an evergreen on Dec. 24, 1419, with baked treats, tinsel and apples. That decorated tree is the first recorded …

Classic Christmas poem has disputed authorship

Reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” has become a ritual for millions. Who actually wrote the poem, however, is the question. Saturday (Dece. 23) marks 200 years since the beloved poem …

A delightful, defensive and dedicated woman

Sandra Day O’Connor, an unwavering voice of moderate conservatism and the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, died Friday, Dec. 1. The retired Supreme Court Justice was …

The tale of "Gentleman" Jack

Edgar County's Gentleman Jack Washburn changed the early days of wrestling.

Musician still remembered today by local residents

Moke Collins Owens was a well-rounded musician who wore many hats, including church pianist, solo accompanist, Mayo band director and friend to all. Owens was born April 18, 1922, in Paris, to …

Remembering First Lady Rosalynn Carter: influential career woman and supportive spouse

Rosalynn Carter, born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith, the beloved wife of President Jimmy Carter, died on Sunday, Nov. 19, in Plains, Ga. The Carter Center in Atlanta announced the death of the former first …

Dog N Suds founder taught music at Robinson, Champaign

Dog N Suds was a popular choice for fast food in the 1960s and 1970s, and remains a recognized root beer brand today. A co-founder of the chain formerly was a high school music teacher in the area. …

Gettysburg Address still resonates

Seldom have two minutes meant so much. Nov.19 marks the 160th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, a two-minute oration that is considered among the greatest speeches in American history. …

Local resident broke down barriers in the Army, dedicating his life to the United States

When Walter Bruce Williams enlisted in the United States Army, he did not know his career would lead him to become one of the first African Americans commissioned as an officer in the United States …

Cornhusking contest drew 85,000 people

Most consider football to be the most popular spectator sport in the United States, but in the 1930s, cornhusking provided some stiff competition. Cornhusking events drew legions of fans in …

Daniel Webster toured Illinois in 1837

Noted American author Stephen Vincent Benet published one of his many famous works of fiction, “The Devil and Daniel Webster” in 1937.  A century before, the better half of that …

The Medal of Honor is for the greatest valor, greatest sacrifice

The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the highest award for military valor in action, and three Edgar County soldiers have had the honor bestowed on them since the Army’s 1862 MOH inception. The …

Remodeling project reveals local lore to be surprising find

Walking into the cabin owned by Jim and Julie Tucker on the West Lake is like walking into a childhood fairytale. “When we bought it (in 2006), we had no idea,” said Jim Tucker. …

It’s Dia De Los Muertos not Halloween

Mexicans celebrate the dead through a holiday known as Día de los Muertos, but it’s not a Halloween celebration. Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, dates to the …

“War of the Worlds” rocked radio listeners

Fake news is a claim made by certain politicians seeking to discredit the unfavorable, true stories reported about them. Years before that term was coined, a seemingly innocent fictional radio …

Saturday Night Massacre was Watergate landmark

The 1972 Watergate break-in sparked a two-year string of events, but few were as dramatic as the Saturday Night Massacre. Friday, Oct. 20, was the 50th anniversary of the event dubbed a …