E-Mail County Coordinator
This website provides space for those who live or have lived in Williamson County to share their memories with others. If you would like to contribute your memories to this site, please send an e-mail to Susan.
I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My grandfather was Charles Smothers; he married Laura Jane Greenwalt. Laura was married before to a Varner. My father Harvey Smothers lived in Marion and I guess he came to Missouri to marry my mother Martha Janette Conger. They lived in Missouri for years and Martha died in 1965 from burns she received in a house fire. She left behind 4 children all girls and all put into homes> Harvey then went on to marry Rebecca Calhoun; they had several children and lost all to family services. Harvey and Rebecca went on with their lives. When I was younger I remember visiting my Aunt Lacine McGuire and Uncle Audie McGuire in Creal Springs on their small farm. I loved it, it was so quiet and peaceful and we would go to Marion to see Harvey & Rebecca. We used to buy the milk in glass jugs, boy that was so good. This was in the late 60's and early 70's and I remember the outhouse, I just had to put that in there, they had an indoor one put in about mid 70's I think. My memories of that were a noisy cow and snakes, yuck. The family have passed on now and I have lost contact with cousins. If anyone knew them or has pictures of them, please contact me.
George (Ed) Warren
I was born in Energy and at that time there were no street names -- they didn't come along until much later. I remember:
* Energy Grade School (all four classrooms for all eight grades.) --Go Eagles --- Playing on the motorcycle frame given by Mr. Schim who owned the Harley dealership
* Attending church at the Methodist Church
* Picking strawberries at Mrs. Elders
* Claude Hocks' barber shop
* Swimming in the strip mine pits not just at Creshaw Crossing but anywhere we could get to them
* Fishing at Herrin Lake
* Movies at the Egyptian Drive-in
* The Dog and Suds
* Waving to Mr. Baker every day when he came home from work and him waving back -- even though I was a little boy
* My Grandfather's blacksmith shop just off the main drag -- long since gone.
We left when I was in 6th grade but I was back recently and seeing the school and Baptist church across the street brought back memories long dormant. Amazing how we never lose our sense of home no matter how much it changes.
My name is Joe Lyell, raised in Johnston City, living in Franklin County. As a person gets older and looks back on their life, it's easy to step into a once-lived life of naivete where nothing matters except running and playing and chasing girls, in no particular order. I was in Washington Junior High school not long before it wasdecommissioned due to subsidence. I remember the JC dumpgrounds and BB guns shooting rats, playing army and such. Used to walk the creek from there by the trestle deep into the woods, it was always a big adventure, and swimming in flood water. I'd help load dogfood now and again from the trains to Coopers Feed Store and also get a free soda on hot days. Bo Bo's pool hall was still around. Swimming at Cemetery Lake and the mine pond was happening. Fishing at JC lake. Picking strawberries after school was out for the summer (boy was that a hot job). Lost my best friend in a car wreck then joined the military and decided to come back home. Eventually re-focused, and made a career. There's no place like home.
My brothers and I lived with our grandparents, Floyd and Vernell Heck, in Creal Springs, IL after we were abandoned by our parents. I have such good memories of living there. We were free to run through the fields, exploring the mysteries of nature. Throwing books down the well, wondering and imagining of all the places they might be going, as only a small child can. My grandfather would take us to the gas station sometimes, and we would get an orange soda and a little bag of peanuts! I can remember evenings when a group of men would come over, sings songs or just talk in deep, low voices, so comforting to me as I hid under a chair, ever so quiet. They seemed so happy to just be in each other's presence. And oh, the church services I can remember--like the time my brother was ill and they held him up front and prayed for him and sang. "When the Saints go Marchin in." Looking back now, almost 50 years later, I can still remember the closeness between my grandmother and grandfather in Creal Springs. One sad day, we moved away with our grandparents, off to Queens, NY. For many years, I longed to be back in Creal Springs. I always felt like I had lost something and desperately needed to find it. What, I couldn't remember. But I so needed to find it. Then, one day, I realized what I had left in Creal Springs--ME!
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My name is Patrick O'Key. My father (Clifford) and mother (Helen), my five sisters and I lived in Paulton/Pittsburg for 5 years (1965-1970). Our family lived on a forty acre farm across the (gravel) road from John Browning. Mr. Browning, years ago, owned the local telephone company servicing that small area. The property joining the west side of our property was owned by the Tanners. Across from the Tanners lived the Beasleys (I may have spelled their name wrong). For a couple of years I hung around with their son Carl. About two miles (give or take a mile) east of our home was Jones' store - complete with rocking chairs on the front porch and a gas pump or two. While in my junior year at Crab Orchard High School I was very fond of a talented (pianist) and lovely Kitty Jenkins. Leo Fry delivered drinking water to our house and often let me fish his pond. My Aunt Ruth Ray and her daughter Susan lived in Paulton also. She had several acres of apple trees and lived next door to the Anderson's. Life in Paulton was quiet and simple compared to the hectic pace of Southern California that I had moved from in 1965. In 1970 our family moved to Connecticut. I still reside in Connecticut. I'd love to hear from anyone who might remember me or my family.
Ron & Beth Riley
Here are a few of the neat things that I remember about Williamson Co. when I was growing up in Crab Orchard:
1. The old county courthouse on the Marion square.
2. The Burger Chef restaraunt that used to be on 37 South next to the Food Town grocery store.
3. The old Arnold View Grade School, which is now a part of Arnold View Freewill Baptist CHurch south of Crab Orchard.
4. Sherman's & P N Hirsch stores on the Marion square
5. THe Sonic Drive-In on West Main in Marion
6. All of the small country churches in the Crab Orchard area
Mary Ann Hubbell
I don't live in IL. I do have some favourite places and things.
My tiptop favourite WC this has to be my family. Even though they don't live in WC any longer (Zeigler and Coulterville). Downtown Marion. I love to stand in that center and imagine what it must have been like. The Williamson County Historical Society - the friendly fellowship that goes on with the volunteers and patrons is downright fun. I love the numerous family cemeteries that dot the landscape - especially Hurricane Cemetery - thanks for all the loving restoration the people have given to this place. Stotlar/Herrin Cemetery (which I think should be known as the Herrin/Stotlar cemetery since the Herrin/g family owned the land first and has more descendants buried there - picky picky). My absolute favourite place - the McAlpin cemetery - it symbolizes years of family reunions and cooperation. Civilization is slowly creeping up to its' borders and it's not as peaceful as it has been in the past but so special.
Greatest places to evoke memories in Williamson Co. should always include "Shake Rag" Cemetery east of Johnston City, Johnston City Lake and the Freeman United guys who helped to restore the lake in 1984, Lake Creek Church, The town of Corinth, German Church just north and east of Johnston City and one that is actually in Franklin Co. but, for many of us whose families straddle the county lines... just north of Johnston City and a stones throw from the county line...Boners cemetery used to be the location of an Ice Cream Social and barbeque every year that paid for it's upkeep. My grandpa John King and his brother Perry always helped out back in the 1950's All grandpa Roberts family are buried there....I now have six generations buried at Boners....
1. Chuck's BBQ on the north side of Herrin.
2. the Herrin/Marion shortcut through the strip pits (Crenshaw, etc).
3. the old Chamness schoolhouse in the Refuge & the nature trail there.
4. the big slag heap that used to be out by Hafer but is now gone (when I was a kid, it fascinated me, who knows why?)
5. the fact that there's a town called "Corinth" and that my dad could convince me that that's where Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians in the Bible (yep, I'm gullible).
6. the old Girl Scout Cabin in Herrin.
7. the Promenade at midnight after Marion HS's prom.
8. the German cemetery near Creal Springs (can't remember the name).
9. Energy, the only town of its size with a "College Street."
10. the coolest mascot in the county: the Herrin Tiger!
My list of favorite things would include the following (not in any particular order):
1. Swimming in the strip pits at Crenshaw as a youngster
2. Eating chili mac at the Illinos Cafe on Monroe St. in Herrin
3. Attending midnight mass at OLMC Church-the church is beautiful
4. Dancing at Herrin Teen Town when it was located upstairs in the Gladson Bldg.
5. Growing up in Energy watching ballgames at the diamond across from Sam Ritchey's grocery store & watching George Swim's motorcycle events at the same location
6. Pidgeon Creek & McAlpin Cemetaries
7. The "hot spots" around Herrin in the 1950s-Junior Hatchett's, Skinheads, & The Ranch
8. Walking with my Dad to the Williamson County Fair in Marion-we walked through Scottsboro & the back roads to Crenshaw-man was it ever dark & still
9. Rollerskating at a rink (tent) located at the south end of Herrin in the 50s
10. Staying overnite at Crab Orchard Lake on a church camping-swimming trip & listening to scary ghost stories about differnt plces in Williamson County
My list of favorite things would include the following (not in any particular order):
Charla Schroeder Murphy
I was raised in Pittsburg and live only a mile north of there now on my Grandparent Lee's farm. Most of my favorite Williamson County Memories revolve around that small spot in the road. My favorite memories are: The hardroad from Pittsburg to Marion. Getting to go to "town" on Saturday. The Pittsburg School, the smell of sawdust to clean the floors, fresh popped corn Buck Otey made before a "home" game, the sandstone seats surrounding the fish pond, Mrs. Mary my kindergarten teacher, Mr. Smith my 5th and 6th grade teacher, the auditorium's big feeling, radiators hissing steam and paned windows covered with sweat, the warm lunch room, Spring choir Festivals, friends all grown now but still children in my memories. The smell of the asphalt after a hard summer rain, the steam slowly rising in a misty dance. Fresh cut hay, stacked neatly in my grandpa's hayloft. Making forts and playing hide 'n seek among the bales and watching the dust float through the bright sunlight shafts streaming through the cracks in the boards. Going "uptown" to Mildred and Bruce's store and getting to pick out candy. Ten cents bought you almost anything you would want. Going to the post office and finally being big enough to open the box on my own, Jim Williams didn't have to open it for me anymore. Sitting on my neighbors porch swings with them and listening to their stories (wish I had wrote them down). Skating parties at Emery's Skating Rink. Going with my dad to work in Herrin, Claunch Motors, and going next door to Rebans for hamburgers. Playing in the garage while my dad did inventory, the smell of grease and oil still a pleasant memory. Getting to sit in all the new cars. Going with my grandparents on 30th of May and decorating the graves. Quail singing "bob white, bob white". Riding my bicycle to meet my friend Susan and having to ride by Union Grove Cemetery by myself. When Pittsburg had it's water lines put in. We had all the dirt piles in the world to play in. I could go on and on but will stop here and say Williamson County is still my favorite place to be. How lucky I am to stay planted here.
I left Herrin when I was about 8/9 years old....I am now 60 and have only been back a couple of times. The latest being about 2 years ago to visit my Aunt Pearl Hancock. I have been trying to do a family tree on the Baxter Family but have had no luck at all. The things I remember about Herrin were:
1. Herrin High School burning....I can still see myself standing with my sister watching the fire.
2. Going to a store on the main street and buying bubble gum for a penny and having to go up these high stairs to get to the store, maybe they were high because I was so small.
3. Visiting a family by the name of White, who had about 6-7 children. They lived in a big house on the road to what I believe was Crab Orchard. Mrs. White was married to a coal miner and he was a part time preacher. I believe it was the Nazarene Church. I know we went to the Nazarene church and it is still there, or it was when I was there two years ago. Mrs. White had a daughter named Barbara, she was my very best friend. Mrs. White could also make a chocolate cake that was heaven. It was wonderful. Wish I knew where they were. (You have to remember these are memories that are about 52 years old.)
4. Visiting my Aunt Sarah & Uncle Dick Baxter after Brownies and having dinner.
5. Leaving Herrin and going to Detroit and taking the bus. What a long ride that was.
Debbie Wilson Fehr
I have only visited johnston city once in my life. the very special memory of climibing the steps of the big baptist church where my great grandparents were members has stayed with me since i was 8 yrs old. grandpa jesse was a deacon at that church and took great pride in introducing me and my brother and sisters to his friends. the pride that he took in showing us where he worshiped has always been special to me. I am the great-granddaughter of Jesse and Sophie Jackson.
Walter Burnell Fly
WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE: Elusive Memories Of My Favorite Things
I lived in Marion during my school years,and gone for 34 years, in 1986, when i retired my wife and I moved back to Marion. My wife was born in Benton, when young her parents moved to northern Illinois, I could not wait to show her where i grew up and tell her of my favorite places and the things i did. Number one, would be the Orphem Theatre, every Saturday my brother and i would walk from the corner of North State and DeYoung St. uptown to see a matinee always hoping there was a cowboy movie showing the tickets were 15 cents and 10 cents for popcorn. A very sad day for me when it burned. Number two, was of my early teen years, when you were 13 you could go to Teen Town, it was below where the old Police Station was, you could go there and see all of your friends and dance after school and again at night, it was the only place you had to go, it was a great time. Number three, was of my junior and senior at MHS, i had my own car and still went to Teen Town to meet all the gang, pile in my car and just cruise around, later go to Cline Vicks durg store and have a cherry Coke. Number four, going to the Ranch on Sunday afternoon and dancing to the jukebox, only 5 cents per play. Number five, now when i drive around the square in Marion i miss seeing all the old stores and the Courthouse. There is no prize for this but who can remember these business and their locations: Van Motors, Dotty Shop, Cox's Hardware, Woolworth 5 and 10, Johnson-Drone Motor CO., Hayton Motor Sales, Wohlwend Motor CO., Waddie's Sandwich Car, Kendall's, Mayor Bulter, was not the first to call Marion the "HUB Of Little Egypt" the Marion Baking CO. was. Sherman Dept. Store, Dairy Master, Elliotts Cafe, Gem Cafe, Sneddon's, Wohlwend Sundries, Parks Drugs, J.B.Heyde, i could go on but i think you get the idea, "Where have all the flowers gone." They call it progress.
My family moved from Herrin when I was 2 months old, but it was always home.
---My Aunt Mid's house on South 11th Street
---Hal Trovillion's house & the rock fence meant we were nearly there
---the big ceiling fans at the First Baptist Church on 14th Street
---the staircase Uncle Herman Parsons built in VanNatta's Funeral Home
---Memorial Day--picking every peony we could find to take to all the cemetaries
---the mess Hurrican Cemetary used to be in---Thank you to all the people who keep it up!!!
But most of all the memory of taking my children back. As we walked down the street the people we met said "Hello." My son asked, "Who is that?" When I said I didn't know, he asked, "Why did they say hello?" That, my friends, is Southern Illinois.
I have enjoyed reading everyone's favorite memories, so I'll add a few of my own...
Chuck's BBQ, north of Herrin for one. Lawwill's neighborhood groceries, one by West Side School and one by Lincoln School. Mom always liked their fresh meats, but I was only interested in the candy and ice cream bars. The snow cone man! My mother was a waitress at several Herrin restaurants. I remember walking barefoot from the north end by Herrin St. all the way to Big Daddy's (where Kew Gardens is now). I loved when she worked at the Illinois Cafe, too. Their Italian food was simply the best! Christmas shopping was so much more fun then...I remember walking through the snow and ice to downtown where I could buy a lot with just a little money at places like Ben Franklin, Woolworth's etc. When I became a teenager I got to shop at Zwick's new Concept Two store & thought it was real uptown! I worked to buy my own wedding gown at Elle's... Playing tag in a thunderstorm or hide and seek in the old cemeteries between Herrin and the strip mines... I too remember being fascinated by the slag heap by Hafer...I always heard you could fall in and burn to death... I loved spending the night with my uncle and grandma at their old house on Stotlar St. in the west end...they still had outdoor plumbing and a well as late as the 1980's. I remember being baptized in the big 1st Baptist when it was the beautiful brick building downtown...they don't build churches like that anymore. Going to the Egyptian Drive In on a Saturday night was just the greatest! I have a lot of precious memories of living here in Southern Illinois...no matter where I go, my heart will always be here.
I was born at Herrin Hospital on December 7th, 1951 under my mother's maiden surname GLENN. Shortly after my birth my mother married James Williford Rains, and I became thereafter known as Terry Wayne Rains (GLENN). My memories are vague ones from the late 1950's to early 1960's. I spent my early childhood days on the West End of Herrin. My grandfather (John) Lloyd Glenn was a disabled coalminer who was receiving monthly checks for black lung. He owned at least three pieces of property on the West End, including the house my family lived in on Tyler St. and 32nd. Grandpa's was just a half block away to the north on 32nd St., and he also owned a house adjacent to the East of his. He always had a lot of visitors because he was the caretaker of a private dumping area, we all referred to as "Norge" dump, where the washing machine manufacturer of the same name disposed of it's waste. Grandpa collected all kinds of parts, paint, and copper wiring, the latter of which he burned off the insulation and took to a scrap metal yard near Dowell, for extra money.
Just across the lot on the other side of 33rd St was the Howard's farm where I was always taken for my haircuts as "Oldman" HOWARD had a barbershop in his barn and cut hair in his spare time. I always thought that there was a family tie in there, but it has yet to materialize. There were some Howard Boys, but they were older than I so we were pretty much just acquaintances. Homelife was simple, coal stove for heat, outhouse for toilets, and a single outside faucet for water which was hand carried in and often froze solid in the winter. I can't recall ever thinking of myself as poor, though. I had a very active imagination, a field full of washing machine tubs, 55 gallon barrels, and skeletons of old cars, including an old Hudson that I travelled far and wide in.
Not far up Tyler St., near 29th, was a very small neighborhood grocer, wish I could recall the name. That place was a second home to me as I would make almost daily trips there. My favorite pastime was pulling my little red wagon up route 11 and collecting pop bottles in it to take back to the corner market and collect my 2 cents each for candy money. Peanut butter logs, root beer barrels, and on good days, sometimes even wax lips, candy necklaces, or "chocolate" babies which were the more expensive candies. Later on when I was a little older, I got a "job" distributing the "GRIT" newspaper. I thought that I had struck it rich!
Like others have recalled, I remember the slag heaps that just had to be played upon. I also remembered the warnings about the fires rumored to burn underneath them. I attended Sunnyside Elementary school at some point in time. I had relatives out there that are hard to trace as Grandpa Solie LEEHY was evidently a self employed truck driver and not much is on record for him.
Downtown, on South Park Ave, I remember a big supermarket, pretty sure it was an IGA store. I once saw Gene Autry, his sidekick "Froggy" and Gene's horse (Trigger?)"In-person" there in the parking lot. Not far from the IGA, across the street was a Lumber Yard, perhaps known as "Southside Lumber". Farther North on Park Ave., I recall a car dealership that was next door to my favorite Hamburger stand where we could get a whole bag of these tiny hamburgers for a buck, I'm not positive but I believe it was a White Castle Hamburger stand. I also remember an Ice Cream Stand, and as someone else brought up, the name, Bowen's seems awfully familiar. There was a market that I believe was on North Park Ave. that had one of my favorite memories. It had an animated statue of a cow for Borden's Dairy products, called "Elsie". Now what was so neat about Elsie was that if you stepped upon a mat that was on the floor in front of her, she would actually speak to you. Didn't take much to impress me back then, eh?
There was the statue of the doughboy in the center of it all. It was rumored that at some point in time, my father James RAINS, got drunk and while riding in circles around the statue on his motorcycle, ran into it and was arrested. I recall living in one or two other houses in Herrin before Dad uprooted us and we moved south to Florida around 1962.
I apologize for rambling on, but have in the hopes that perhaps some of this will ring a bell and bring back some of the memories that have faded away. I encourage everyone to add their thoughts which I look forward to relating to as Herrin always seemed to me to be a small community. Anyone remember an Icehouse near the railroad tracks??
I remember steam locomotives on the C&EI thru Johnston City, less than 50 years ago. Diesels were still rare. There was a Diesel-powered passenger train, the Meadowlark, that went north in the morning. Anyone know where it came from and went? At least one Hollowe'en, we school kids were turned loose with poster paint on the downtown windows. Supervised grafitti, sort of. Would seem to be good advertising, but I don't hear much about it these days. And I thought I remembered Washington School. But I can't check, because it was undermined, I'm told, and it's now that dirty 4-letter word you never say underground: L-O-S-T. The first radio person I remember is Hank Wright of Herrin. WJPF, I believe? I liked him better than Arthur Godfrey (he sang better), but I was too young to understand that Godfrey was a Big Star.
Oh the memories of Williamson County..... mine revolve around the late 50s through the 60s in Marion. Things like Miss Nichols Grocery Store on West Main Street..... her penny candy counter and her little charge books for the neighborhood families. Jack's Standard Station on West Main and Bentley Street.... who used to have gas wars with the Conaco (sp) station across the street. Neighborhood boxcar derbies down the hill on North Bentley Street.... The Cox Hardware Store Fire on the square in Marion..... Of course the court house on the Square in Marion. Who doesn't remember Lincoln School on N. Vicksburg Street... and the fire drills when you got to slide down the big tube from the 3rd floor! Being a Patrol Guard at the corner after school. Minton's Store across the street from school and all his wax candies. The grown up feeling of riding your bike to school for the first time! Sneddons, Elliot's Dairy and the twin ladies that worked there. Kendel's Cafe and their great cheeseburgers! Shooting the loop from Dairy Queen to A&W and looping the square at least two times. Police officers Diz Carlton and Gobby Edwards and how they handled the kids looping the town square! Bowen's Ice Cream out by the Fairgrounds..... the Williamson County Fair and Malone's Taffy! Dollar a car-load night at the Marion Drive Inn. The big old house that sat in front of the new Marion Memorial Hospital, and watching them move it up behind the Kroeger Store. The Butternut Bread sign at the "Four-way" stop at Rt 37 and West Main Street... the little girl on the swing. Wolwend's Drug Store and their Marshmello Pepsi..... Walking to Church and seeing all the other people who walked back then. Midnight Madness on the town square.... stores staying open til 9PM on Fridays! The five and ten on the square. Illinois Brokerage Company. Fishing at the "little lake" on DeYoung Street near the new teen town. Nate and Pat Kaplain's West Side Drug Store..... and Nate's 57 Cadillac ElDorado convertable in all the town parades, ususally carrying the prom queen and her court. The roar of the crowd at a Herrin-Marion football game at the old high school, and Fuer's IGA Store. The memories could go on and on..... those are all the things that made and keep Marion as home in our hearts; no matter where we live now.
Carol A. Johnson
My mother, Martha E. CLENDENIN b. 1904, was a Yankee transplant. She marr. my father in 1925 and came to Wisconsin. I am the tail end of a large family. I was born in 1940. By that time my mother had been "Northerenized" to the point that she had only a few words that gave away her southern Illinoisan heritage. Coming out of a basic Bible background (she spoke often of tent meetings) into a stiff German Lutheran family, she found the going pretty rough. She couldn't sing our stuffy slow hymns very well, but look out, when a gospel song was occasionally played in a church service. Then, Mama would belt out "Amazing Grace" or some other gospel hymn. Her voice would follow her heart, leaping joyfully up and down the scale. Not really hitting any notes but sliding gently over each one. I suspect that she drew many frowns from the good church ladies who had the knowledge of music but not the "spirit." Mama, with her calm demenor would smile and say "Honey, it says in the Good Book that we should make a 'joyful noise . . .' don't say anything about hitting each note." She attended church and joined the different church groups. When I felt she had been "snubbed" by one of the other members I would, to use her words "throw a fit!" To which she would calmly reply " Those church ladies are so busy being good that they just don't have time to be kind!" Mama passed away in 1981 leaving only a few stories (she did love a good story) and a few old faded photo's of her home and family in So.IL. Since her death, my husband and I have spent the last 19 years trying to claim my So.IL roots. We have haunted court houses in Williamson,Union,Johnson,Pope, Jackson counties. We have prowled cemeteries in those areas and have met tons of "cousins." As I walked the streets in Marion and Herrin that she walked as a young girl, I felt that I had "come home!"
This has been so wonderful reading about the great memories of growing up in Southern Illinois. I left Southern Illinois in 1976 for Houston Texas, and discovered I was a "Yankee" about 30 minutes upon arrival in Texas! I was also surprised to discover they called our local Southern Illinois food "Soul Food" here in Houston, and am I ever grateful to the African-American community here in Houston for giving me a chance to "taste" the food of my childhood! Ha! I have fond memories of the little town Crab Orchard and the BIG town of Marion in the 50's, 60's, and 70's of:
1. The blacksmith shop owned by my Great Uncle, Lee Doughty. As a child Uncle Lee would pay my brother and I (Dan Doughty, now of Benton Illinois, my baby brother Brad Doughty didn't arrive until 1970)a whole dollar each to sweep up his shop! My Grandfather Andrew "Earl" Doughty would sit and have wonderful conversations with his big brother Lee, while Dan and I swept up a storm! Watching my Uncle forge a horse shoe was a treat! I loved the sights and smell of that place!
2. My mothers parents J.E. & Jenny Currey lived in Pittsburg and they had a "trash" hauling business. My grandparents would allow me to sit in the middle as they drove that old trash truck around the various areas picking up garbage. Their clients were always nice and polite to visit with, and Grandpa let me "crank the rope" that lifted the barrels of trash. He always paid me a couple of coins, and told me wonderful stories (which none were true)about the various ghosts,headless horsemen, and witches to watch for on those old country roads. I believed every word of it and loved it. My Grandmother taught me to love animals and respect their right to a humane life.
3. My Grandmother, Evelyn Duty-Doughty was a talented pianist, and shared her rich Duty family history with me as a child. Her Grandmother was Sophrinia Parks who married Hiram Duty. My Grandmother would proudly tell me stories of her Uncle Delos Duty, and of the large farm they lived on as a child. My Grandmother always had on a crisp starched dress, white gloves (which most of the time were carried draped over her "pocket book", and her beautiful red hair was which braided and "wound" several times around her head. I did see her hair down once, it touched the floor, and it scared me to death! I remember just staring at her long hair and wondering where it came from! She was an elegant woman and a kind person. I will never forget driving out to their home in the "Angelville-Poordo-Possum Valley" area and hear her playing a Chopin Nocturne as we entered her driveway. Dad and Mom would stop the car, we would roll down our windows and be ever so still as we listened to her talented fingers make beautiful sounds that thrilled our souls!
4. My father, Jimmie Lee Doughty passed away December 5th, 1998, and I miss him so much. Dad taught me to drive on the old Paulton blacktop, showed me the Old Doughty Log Cabin and Farm place around Corinth, and one year before his death, showed me the family land in a small area known as "New Africa". Dad was the one who got me hooked on family research. I remember going to the Marion Carnegie Libray with my father, and staring with large eyes at all of the beautiful books! The childrens section was like Heaven! Dad taught me how to use the library system to look up a book, and I got to check out 3 books a week to take home! I also fondly remember my father taking my eldest brother and I to see "the show" every saturday at the Marion Orpheum. First Dad would take us to the Dime Store to purchase the candy we would "smuggle" under our jackets into the theatre. Sorry dad for busting you here! Ha! The Candy Counter was great! I have never seen so much candy in all my life! And the aromas of those roasted cashews...they had a section where you could buy a hard bound childs classic for only 50 cents...and a wonderful tank of goldfish that I could watch for hours! Dad, you did a good job!
5. My mother Peggy Doughty still lives in Crab Orchard Illinois, and would take me with her as a child to "decorate the graves" around Southern Illinois. She gave me the spirit to never be afraid of "high weeds", yet she would scream like a wild woman upon sight (or the thought of seeing one) of a snake. We kids would howl watching her jump higher than a kite! She taught me to always be polite and "help little old ladies", which has got me far in life!
6. Crab Orchard had 2 small stores, CURTNERS and SMITHS. I remember Alice Curtner would always watch out the window to see who was taking their "trae" across the street. I visited both stores daily, and always got a blast on Alice asking a TON of questions. She was a nice lady. Shannon Smiths Parents were so kind and gracious to their customers. I loved mowing Adhele Smiths lawn, I got three whole dollars, and enough cold lemonade to sink a ship. Adhele would always make me stop for about an hour and "visit" with her halfway through mowing her yeard. Her husband had a beautiful rose garden and he would identify the different plants, and show me how to raise them. I loved working for them. Mood Smothers was another client of mine, and I got five dollars for mowins his MAMMOTH lawn. He was the funniest man, and would also make me stop and visit with him. I learned how to have friends of all ages from growing up in Crab Orchard.
I hope each of you find as much pleasure on these small town memories as I have had! I miss you Southern Illinois!
I spent most of my summers at my Grams house on Park Ave in Herrin. My favorite things about Williamson County: the yacht regatta at Crab Orchard Lake, Giant City State Park, the brick road behind my Gram's house, my grandfather's Phillips 66 station on Park Ave. Lake of Egypt, Ice Cream socials at the Clubhouse at Crab Orchard Yacht Club. The park in Carterville where the family reunions were held. The train ride down from Chicago on the old Illinois Central, with the full dining cars. I can still here the conductors calling out the stops.... Centralia, Effingham, Rantoul, Mt Vernon... each word was said in it's own cadence and lilt, by all the conductors. Little Toot! The kids train car ride out on Route 13. Going out to the viewing platforms at Thanksgiving and watching millions and millions of wild fowl... geese, ducks,....???? and the sound they made. The drive in, and my great uncles cab co.... Herrin Cab. Thanks, that was fun, remembering...
Marlene Stearns Robinson Koerner
I moved to Williamson county in 1948 but my dad's family (Stearns, Henderson, Stotlar) have been here a long time. My memories include: Listening to my Dad tell of seeing S. Glen Young walk the streets of Herrin armed and with armed body guards. Going to the Catholic High School in Herrin (lots of folks are unaware that there was such a high school for three years which closed in 1950 and we graduated from Herrin High School). Listening to Tony Venegoni tell of being in the class-room at St. Mary's when the gun battle across the street (during the gang wars in Herrin) broke out and having to lie on the floor and bullets actually whizzing through the room. Eating hot doughnuts from Comerio's bakery on Sunday night. Eating ice cream at Vincent's (catty-cornered from the Catholic church). Drinking cherry coke at New Era Dairy (Bob Brewer's place). Hunting for craw-dads in the 17th Street ditch under the railroad bridge (at least that is what we said we were doing, got one of my first kisses there!). Living in Colp and finding a ride into Herrin or Carterville for movies and buying hot tamales from a street vendor in Herrin. Riding a bike to Carterville and Cambria for some 'big city' action. Riding a bike to Clifford 8 and climbing on the slag heap (sliding in the winter if there was snow, wonder why kids want to do dangerous things?). Riding out to the bridge ruins over the Big Muddy near North Bend and shooting a 22 rifle at bottles lined up on stumps (I was good!). Stealing (er, liberating) Buick rings (it will date you if you know what they were)and then being afraid to wear them. Watching a state police raid at the tavern across from my grandmother's house after seeing the gambling equipment being carried out an hour earlier and being carried back in after the state police left. Living dangerously by riding a bike by Ma Hatchetts and trying to 'see' something (the danger was if I was caught by my Grandmother). Watching all the boys (black and white) in Colp play basketball on Sunday afternoon in the 'colored gym' (that was before integration and the kids from '9' went to Herrin). Riding out to No 12 lake with two girls who were already tanned and getting so sunburned I could only wear a racy strapless slip under my high school graduation robe, way ahead of my time, twenty years later as a high school teacher I saw some girls( in the '70') who wore nothing but panties under their robes. Seeing Harry Truman speak at the Doughboy when he came to Herrin. Eating burgers and chili from Neslors (before they moved to Energy). Going to the old Elks (Bank of Herrin property now) all dressed up and receiving the Voice of Democracy essay award and $25. Going to the old courthouse in Marion (why in the world could we have not saved it for a historical site?). Going by Glenn Young's mausoleum on Decoration (Memorial) Day and seeing fresh flowers in a mason jar.