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Destination: Alexander County, Illinois USA

The Legacy of Nathan Lundy

Born Nathan London on March 14, 1830 in Ripley, Tennessee. He was an ex-slave. A war hero, who left quite a legacy. Known as Nathan Lundy and Civil War Veteran in Southern Illinois, most say he got his education by serving as Masters Houseboy.

Not too much is known about him from childhood days. He was self educated, and very smart in so many ways. He joined the Union Armys Company D, 5th Regiment U. S. Colored Troops as they were passing by his cabin, at the time of his youth.

His unit won many battles, the most memorable Milikins Bend. The bullets fell like rain but this is not where the story ends. Being a strong leader earned him an eventual Sergeants stripe before mustering out at Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1866 which ended his Army life.

So he settled in Southern Illinois, the small town of Miller City and distinguished himself not feeling ashamed, sorry or pity. A big break though came for him in 1879 that truly was grand. Thus, Nathan, now with a family, was able to purchase a small piece of land.

As a family man, farmer, and minister which enhances his legacy, he founded and built two churches in Alexander County. His great influence established the erection of London School, a public place for colored children to learn the golden rule.

Neighbors, friends, and family held him in the highest esteem, and for 100 plus years, Nathan celebrated birthdays on the scene. His 108th year celebration is the most memorable one to me, because my elementary school had a chance to witness it you see.

Nathan Lundys name appears on the list in Washington, DC even today, among 209,000 other U.S. Colored Troops on AACWM which is on display. This great war memorial was dedicated July 18th in 1998 along with 7,000 white officers listed names also appear on this slate.

This historical marker bearing his name being erected stands on the *Ole London Farm where he lived, owned and protected, brings to closure this heros distinguished life long legacy. His contributions to our Nation will stay forever in our memory.

Three dates that are significant which stand out in my mind, and they involve some of our present family living this present time. Like on today, March 14th is when he was born. It is the same day in 1952 that I was military enlisted. Yet on that same date in 1993, my father passed, except for his own still living legacy is now nonexistent.

This poem which is in honor of Ruth Burris Chambers, was written by Sgt. (Ret. USAF) Hayward Bethel, an Author, Poet, and paternal first cousin.

September 4th, 2006 a special Commemorative Program was held on the site marking Nathan Londons farm. Donna Reynolds, CEO of SIDEZ was the Mistress of Ceremony. Louise Ogg welcomed family and friends.

Statement of the Occasion was given by Lt. Col. (Ret. USAR) Venard K. Chambers, Member of Son of Union Veterans of the Civil War, David Porter Camp #116, Valparaiso, IN (SUVCW) and Nathan Lundys oldest great-grandson

Keynote Presentation was given by Gregg Zelinske, Commander SUVCW, Col. Frederick Heckler, Camp #443, Belleville, Illinois.

Notes: *The Old London School Site and the Church site is located on property owned by Donnie and Lucille Masterson. Now, the Southernnaire Motel, the site is 1 ¾ miles south of Olive Branch on the Miller City road.

Luana Lewis, Gloria Patton, Venita Roberts are great-great granddaughters, Thomas Burris, Jr. is a great-grandson,. Rev. Patrick Lewis is Nathan Lundys great great grandson.

More about Thebes

The original patent for the village of Thebes was issued by the United State Government to Franklin J. Hughes and Joseph Chandler for the east quarter section of Township 15, Range 3 on October 15, 1835. Joseph C. Chandler conveyed to Franklin J. Hughes, December 30, 1835 and Franklin J. Hughes conveyed to George W. Sparhawk and George P. Frazier, August 19, 1836. George P. Frazier conveyed to George W. Sparhawk, Sr. and Jr. to the County Commissioner of Alexander County, Illinois, on February 16, 1845 a strip of land 390 feet wide of south of said South East quarter, which was the original plat for the town of Thebes and was laid out on March 9, 1846.

The Thebes precinct is located on the Mississippi River south of Clear Creek and East Cape. It is small, having fifteen sections in it. It is mostly high land and in places hilly with but little bottoms subject to inundation from the river. For boundaries, it has Clear Creek on the north, Unity on the east, Santa Fe on the south and the Mississippi River on the west. Thebes has been the scene of much of the history of Alexander County, having been the county seat.

Mr. George W. Sparhawk first owned the town of Thebes, then Jonathan Freeman and J. L. Brown brought it. It was laid out in two additions. The south part was the Jonathan Freeman addition and the north part was the J. L. Brown addition. The original plat of the town of Thebes was filed March 2, 1836 with Circuit Clerk, Levi L. Lightner. Thebes was laid out as a village in 1846 and occupies a fine site on the banks of the Mississippi River.

The first court held in Thebes was in 1845 under the shade of a big elm tree. It stood west of the brick hotel. The Court House was built under the supervision of H. A. Barkhauser of Unity. The first house built in Thebes was a two story frame house owned by Jonathan Freeman. It was built several years before the Court House. It stood on the south part of the town and was used for offices.

Among the early settlers of the Village were Judge L. L. Lightner, John H. Oberly and Jonathan Freeman who laid out the town. The first store and hotel were owned by Mrs. John H. Oberly. Judge L. L. Lightner was a very prominent man and came to this county very early, being a native of Pennsylvania. He came to Cape Girardeau, Missouri and then came to this county, coming to Clear Creek. When Thebes became the county seat, he came here. He was County Judge and held other offices.

In the early times when court was held in Thebes, there were a number of lawyers practicing before the bar. The old settlers yet recall the forensic battles of oratory that were waged in their contest for supremacy when the lawyers followed the Circuit Court as it was then called. Among the number were Judge Breese, Judge Duff and Judge W. Allen, R. G. Ingersoll, Judge W. H. Green and Judge Monroe C. Crawford. President Abraham Lincoln and John A. Logan were also here. John A. Logan making his maiden speech in this Court House. (No proof has been found to prove that President Lincoln practiced law in the Courthouse. John A. Logan did practice at the Courthouse. The junior college at Carterville is named after John A. Logan. Logan was also well known during the Civil War.)

The Court House building was built under the supervision of H. A. Barkhauser of Unity, planning the building with a front porch in the style of the deep south. The walls are of unhewed sandstone laid in mortar. The timbers are all of local timber hewed for the floors, the roof, and the shingles were split from native timbers. The walls were plastered from local products, lime burned from local limestone and mixed with sand binding. The County Seat was here for fourteen years. The building has been used as a Baptist church back in 1879 and then as a school, thus passing from one extreme to the other, from law to religion.

In 1898, the first railroad made its way to Thebes, the Chicago and Eastern Illinois. The first train came into town, November 17, 1899. Mr. McCracken was the engineer of this train and C. E. Lockhart was

conductor. Thebes as a shipping point was very busy for a number of years for live stock and merchandise. The boats coming here were the *Golden Eagle, Cape Girardeau, Stacker Lee and the Idlewild.

The town incorporated in December, 1899, and one of the most prominent physicians of this area, Dr. C. P. Spann was elected the first mayor. There have been eighteen mayors elected in the town of Thebes. On the 26 of January, 1901, and act was passed by Congress authorizing the construction of the bridge across the Mississippi River and the first train passed over it on April 18, 1905. The bridge was dedicated by the famous architect, Ralph Myeski, a son of the famous opera singer. The bridge is a steel, double tracked structure of cantilever type of five spans. The cantilever or channel span being 671 feet long, each of the other spans being 521 feet long. The approaches to the bridge are of concrete. The western approach consists of six 65 feet arches. The entire length of bridge including the concrete approaches on either side is 3,910 feet. Nine hundred and forth five thousand cubic feet of concrete were used in the construction of the approaches and twenty seven million pounds of steel were required for the superstructure. The spans are sixty five feet in the clear above high water, one hundred and eight feet above low water. The distance from extreme bottom of the channel piers which rest on bed rock to the top of the cord is two hundred and thirty one feet. Twenty eight engines tested the bridge on May 25, 1905, and it did not give an inch. The railroads running over the bridge are the Cotton Belt, Missouri Pacific and Chicago & Eastern Illinois.

A disastrous fire swept Thebes, December 14, 1906 destroying about $25,000 worth of property. It was replaced with store buildings. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois build a $7500.00 depot which was opened November 25, 1900 and closed October 1, 1938 and was sold to Olive Branch High School. There were six houses on the hill and then Mr. Albert Brown laid out the town and now there are sixty houses. There have been several bad fires. (Ms. Brawn gathered these fact from many sources, some of them which have conflicted. She was proud of her little village.)

Thebes has a modern water works system consisting of a water plant, pumping station and stand pipe and reservoir. The water works was installed in 1927. Concrete sidewalks were constructed in 1905. The highway down to the river was paved by the State Highway Department on August 25, 1935. The Thebes Wye Park was constructed in 1935 and 1936 by the State Highway Department and W. P. A. It is (was) the largest Wye Park in Illinois and is (was) a scenic spot for tourists. (Today, it no longer exists because of the newly built section of Highway Three.) Highway No. 3 formerly State Highway No. 150 comes into Thebes from East St. Louis and goes to Cairo. The concrete steps which go (went) down the hill is a scenic spot, there being 89 steps in the tiers from railing on each side.

The first school building in Thebes was erected in 1867. In 1875, the first school in the old school house in the north end of town was taught by Miss Maggie Butler. There were four churches in Thebes, The First Methodist, The First Baptist Church, The Trinity Church and the Unity Church. The town board purchased a new cemetery site north of the village in 1936 and improved it.

The Womens Club was organized February 5, 1917 and there were thirty two members.

Written by Miss Florence L. Brawn 1952-54-56-57

Roger Miller remembers his parents shipping large cans of milk from the depot under the hill. You could leave several cans at the depot in Thebes. The cans went to Chicago, came back the next day. The farmers were paid about seven dollars for each can. Spring houses were used to keep milk cool, as well as butter, eggs, etc during the summer months. The spring house still stands on the Caldwell home place.

*Items from the Golden Eagle, the last packet (passenger boat) to ply the Mississippi River from St. Louis, are on display at the Golden Eagle River museum in St. Louis. The museum is located in Bee Tree County Park on Finestown Road near its intersection with Becker Road, St. Louis, Missouri. On its maiden voyage after being refurbished in 1947, the Golden Eagle sank at Grand Tower Island near Memphis during a club excursion. The Golden Eagle River Museum is a small museum dedicated to documenting and preserving the history of river transportation. The museum also features steamboat artifacts, memorabilia, paintings and early photographs of steamboats.

Retrace the Line of the original survey for the Cairo and Thebes Road in the County. 1906.

October 10.

Engineers getting details ready preparatory to asking for bids on construction--rain delays work on line. Chief Engineer J. L. Armstrong of the Cairo and Thebes railroad, and a corps of assistants are working in the upper part of the county, retracing the line of the original survey, made several months ago. The work now being done consists of laying of the line to be followed by the railroad and getting the details ready preparatory to asking for bids on that part of the construction.

The road will follow the hills parallel to the Mississippi River from Thebes to Santa Fe on a grade of 15 feet to the mile. Below Santa Fe, a short distance, the road will cross the Chicago and Eastern Illinois tracks at grade.

While in Santa Fe, Monday, Mr. Armstrong discovered that the Aetna Powder Company was preparing to erect a powder house in the middle of what will soon be the Cairo and Thebes right-of-way. Some mistake had been made in the location of the Powder companys ground. The building will be erected several hundred feet away from the line of the new railroad.

The heavy rains of the past few weeks have seriously impeded the construction work and the work on the passenger and freight depots of the new road. The contractors however, expect a large streak of good weather for the next several weeks, which will be a great help to them in getting a good part of their work completed. (Cairo Bulletin)

October, 1906...Powder Mill Explosion at Santa Fe, Alexander County

One man fatally hurt--loss of property light--Nail passed through roller caused a spark.

An explosion occurred at 3:30 Friday afternoon which destroyed the corning mill of the Miami Powder Company, at Santa Fe, several miles south of Thebes. One man, Fred Miller, was fatally injured, dying at 7:45 that same evening. The force of the explosion went upward taking the roof off the building, but leaving the sides intact. Miller was blown some distance, yet he was conscious when found and was able to tell how the accident happened.

The corning mill is but one of the several buildings of the Powder plant. The principal part of the machinery here consists of two big brass rollers, each weighing a ton or more, between which the powder previously pressed into cakes, is crushed. Miller was attending this machine and he says he saw what seemed to be a nail pass between the rollers, which must have caused a spark to ignite the powder. Nearly 2,000 pounds of powder exploded, yet, the noise was not heard except by those within a few hundred yards of the mill and the money damage will not exceed three hundred dollars.

Miller was a young man unmarried. He had

Thebes History -GAR

Some of those names involved in the GAR from the Elco and Thebes area are W.W. White, Rev. Long, Salmon Hazelwood, William Davis, Paul Miller, John Thompson, George Thompson, Croft Braddy, Alexander Jordan, John Heater, Valentine Crite, and Jerry Wilson. From the Thebes are, Henry Holshouer,

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The successor organization is the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson on April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, the organization was based partly on the traditions of Freemasonry, and partly on military tradition, being divided in Department at the state level and Posts at the community level; military-style uniforms were worn by its members. It reached its largest size in 1890, with 49,000 members. There were posts in every state in the U.S., and several posts overseas.

The GAR was active in pension legislation, establishing retirement homes for soldiers, and many other areas which concerned Union veterans. Their influence led to the creation of the Old Soldiers Homes of the late 19th century which evolved into the current United State Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 1868, Commander-in-Chief John A. Logan issued General Order #11 of the GAR calling for all Departments and Post to set aside the 30th of May as a day for remembering the sacrifices of fallen comrades, thereby beginning the celebration of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, this later evolved into the U.S. National Memorial Day holiday.

The GAR also generated several auxiliary organizations (National Womans Relief Corps, Ladies of the GAR,) some of which are still extant. A comparable organization for Confederate veterans was the United Confederate Veterans.

The organization held an annual National Encampment every year from 1866 to 1949.

Notes: Illinois 18th Infantry Volunteers from the Thebes area were Henry Holshouser, Marsh Buster, Wiley Clutts, John Wallace, Lee Bedwell, and Dick Brown. Each year, this group of Civil War veterans would spend a week together in the Thebes area.

Grand Army of the Republic soldiers meeting at the Thebes High School were B. F. Brown, Ben and Dexter Bedwell, Mr. Jordan, Horace Lee Caldwell, Wiley Clutts, Civil War Veteran, and Marshall Buster.

There was also a Grand Army of the Republic meeting in Elco, Illinois in 1905. Attending that meeting were W. W. White, Rev. Long, Salmon Hazelwood, William Davis, Paul Miller, John Thompson, George Thompson, Croft Braddy, Alexander Jordan, John Heater, Valentine Crite, and Jerry Wilson.

Paul Miller is the grandson of Christian Miller. Alexander Jordan was the grandson of John Jordan.

Other posts in Alexander County were Brown Culley in Thebes. The post at Villa Ridge was called Huhner (William Hugner) and there were two posts at Cairo, Warren Stewart and Jas. P. Foster.

Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War is an American fraternal organization, the legal successor to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). It is a Congressionally Chartered Corporation with headquarters in the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The GAR created SUVCW in 1881 to ensure the preservation of its own mission following the death of the last Union Civil War veterans. It is based on the principles of the GAR--Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.

Full membership of SUVCW is open to any man who can prove ancestry to a member of the GAR or to a veteran eligible for membership in the GAR. Associate membership is available to men who do not have the ancestry to qualify for hereditary membership, but who demonstrate a genuine interest in the Civil War and agree to support the purpose and objectives of the SUVCW.

Local camps are responsible for decorating graves on Memorial Day in addition to continuing to preserve history.

In the 79 National Civil War cemeteries, 54 percent of the graves are those of unknown soldiers. The largest civil War cemetery is at Vicksburg, where 16,00 soldiers rest; only 3,896 are known. At the Confederate prison site in Salisbury, North Carolina, where 12,126 Union soldiers are buried, 99 per cent are unknown. More next time.

was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The successor organization is the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson on April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, the organization was based partly on the traditions of Freemasonry, and partly on military tradition, being divided in Department at the state level and Posts at the community level; military-style uniforms were worn by its members. It reached its largest size in 1890, with 49,000 members. There were posts in every state in the U.S., and several posts overseas.

The GAR was active in pension legislation, establishing retirement homes for soldiers, and many other areas which concerned Union veterans. Their influence led to the creation of the Old Soldiers Homes of the late 19th century which evolved into the current United State Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 1868, Commander-in-Chief John A. Logan issued General Order #11 of the GAR calling for all Departments and Post to set aside the 30th of May as a day for remembering the sacrifices of fallen comrades, thereby beginning the celebration of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, this later evolved into the U.S. National Memorial Day holiday.

The GAR also generated several auxiliary organizations (National Womans Relief Corps, Ladies of the GAR,) some of which are still extant. A comparable organization for Confederate veterans was the United Confederate Veterans.

The organization held an annual National Encampment every year from 1866 to 1949.

Notes: Illinois 18th Infantry Volunteers from the Thebes area were Henry Holshouser, Marsh Buster, Wiley Clutts, John Wallace, Lee Bedwell, and Dick Brown. Each year, this group of Civil War veterans would spend a week together in the Thebes area.

Grand Army of the Republic soldiers meeting at the Thebes High School were B. F. Brown, Ben and Dexter Bedwell, Mr. Jordan, Horace Lee Caldwell, Wiley Clutts, Civil War Veteran, and Marshall Buster.

There was also a Grand Army of the Republic meeting in Elco, Illinois in 1905. Attending that meeting were W. W. White, Rev. Long, Salmon Hazelwood, William Davis, Paul Miller, John Thompson, George Thompson, Croft Braddy, Alexander Jordan, John Heater, Valentine Crite, and Jerry Wilson.

Paul Miller is the grandson of Christian Miller. Alexander Jordan was the grandson of John Jordan.

Other posts in Alexander County were Brown Culley in Thebes. The post at Villa Ridge was called Huhner (William Hugner) and there were two posts at Cairo, Warren Stewart and Jas. P. Foster.

Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War is an American fraternal organization, the legal successor to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). It is a Congressionally Chartered Corporation with headquarters in the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The GAR created SUVCW in 1881 to ensure the preservation of its own mission following the death of the last Union Civil War veterans. It is based on the principles of the GAR--Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.

Full membership of SUVCW is open to any man who can prove ancestry to a member of the GAR or to a veteran eligible for membership in the GAR. Associate membership is available to men who do not have the ancestry to qualify for hereditary membership, but who demonstrate a genuine interest in the Civil War and agree to support the purpose and objectives of the SUVCW.

Local camps are responsible for decorating graves on Memorial Day in addition to continuing to preserve history.

In the 79 National Civil War cemeteries, 54 percent of the graves are those of unknown soldiers. The largest civil War cemetery is at Vicksburg, where 16,00 soldiers rest; only 3,896 are known. At the Confederate prison site in

Salisbury, North Carolina, where 12,126 Union soldiers are buried, 99 per cent are unknown.

Some of those names involved in the GAR from the Elco and Thebes area are W.W. White, Rev. Long, Salmon Hazelwood, William Davis, Paul Miller, John Thompson, George Thompson, Croft Braddy, Alexander Jordan, John Heater, Valentine Crite, and Jerry Wilson. From the Thebes are, Henry Holshouer,

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The successor organization is the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). Founded by Benjamin F. Stephenson on April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, the organization was based partly on the traditions of Freemasonry, and partly on military tradition, being divided in Department at the state level and Posts at the community level; military-style uniforms were worn by its members. It reached its largest size in 1890, with 49,000 members. There were posts in every state in the U.S., and several posts overseas.

The GAR was active in pension legislation, establishing retirement homes for soldiers, and many other areas which concerned Union veterans. Their influence led to the creation of the Old Soldiers Homes of the late 19th century which evolved into the current United State Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 1868, Commander-in-Chief John A. Logan issued General Order #11 of the GAR calling for all Departments and Post to set aside the 30th of May as a day for remembering the sacrifices of fallen comrades, thereby beginning the celebration of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, this later evolved into the U.S. National Memorial Day holiday.

The GAR also generated several auxiliary organizations (National Womans Relief Corps, Ladies of the GAR,) some of which are still extant. A comparable organization for Confederate veterans was the United Confederate Veterans.

The organization held an annual National Encampment every year from 1866 to 1949.

Notes: Illinois 18th Infantry Volunteers from the Thebes area were Henry Holshouser, Marsh Buster, Wiley Clutts, John Wallace, Lee Bedwell, and Dick Brown. Each year, this group of Civil War veterans would spend a week together in the Thebes area.

Grand Army of the Republic soldiers meeting at the Thebes High School were B. F. Brown, Ben and Dexter Bedwell, Mr. Jordan, Horace Lee Caldwell, Wiley Clutts, Civil War Veteran, and Marshall Buster.

There was also a Grand Army of the Republic meeting in Elco, Illinois in 1905. Attending that meeting were W. W. White, Rev. Long, Salmon Hazelwood, William Davis, Paul Miller, John Thompson, George Thompson, Croft Braddy, Alexander Jordan, John Heater, Valentine Crite, and Jerry Wilson.

Paul Miller is the grandson of Christian Miller. Alexander Jordan was the grandson of John Jordan.

Other posts in Alexander County were Brown Culley in Thebes. The post at Villa Ridge was called Huhner (William Hugner) and there were two posts at Cairo, Warren Stewart and Jas. P. Foster.

Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War is an American fraternal organization, the legal successor to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). It is a Congressionally Chartered Corporation with headquarters in the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The GAR created SUVCW in 1881 to ensure the preservation of its own mission following the death of the last Union Civil War veterans. It is based on the principles of the GAR--Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.

Full membership of SUVCW is open to any man who can prove ancestry to a member of the GAR or to a veteran eligible for membership in the GAR. Associate membership is available to men who do not have the ancestry to qualify for hereditary membership, but who demonstrate a genuine interest in the Civil War and agree to support the purpose and objectives of the SUVCW.

Local camps are responsible for decorating graves on Memorial Day in addition to continuing to preserve history.

In the 79 National Civil War cemeteries, 54 percent of the graves are those of unknown soldiers. The largest civil War cemetery is at Vicksburg, where 16,00 soldiers rest; only 3,896 are known. At the Confederate prison site in Salisbury, North Carolina, where 12,126 Union soldiers are buried, 99 per cent are unknown. More next time.

ELCO- Silica Mill

January 23, 1915...Chicago Firm Builds Silica Mill at Elco

Village of Elco Secures New Industry Which Will Employ 30 or 40 Men

The Charles P. Brevoost Company of Chicago is building a silica plant at Elco for grinding silica rock into powder.

The company has purchased several acres of ground along the railroad near the depot from Louis Hartline and already work of constructing the plant has been started. Two large boilers, each weighing 25 tons have arrived at the site of the new plant in readiness for installation. The two boilers will attain sufficient steam to generate 500 horse power which will be the rating of the new plant. The silica rock which will be ground in the mill will be hauled from the mines some little distance from Elco. With the completion of this plant, there will be two silica plants in Alexander County, the other one being located at Thebes.

The plant will employ 35 or 40 men. Silica is a white rock which is mined and later ground for commercial use. It is utilized as a filler for paints, cleaning powders and in some cases forming the white substance of candles. It is tasteless. (The Evening Citizen, 1915)

Note: I have no information that the plant existed at Thebes, only the location of several test mines. There was a test mine located on the Lyle Lambert property. Pete Shaver told the story: they had just brought six or eight new wheel barrels, and the mine caved in during the night. The hill slide is still visible today. The mine was never re-opened. Small amounts of silica were once mined from the Bailey formation near Thebes, but little else is known about the silica possibilities of the formation.

First production of silica from southern Illinois was reported in 1906 when three processing mills were in operation. Two companies that operated mills in the district during this time were Ozark Minerals Company at Elco, Tamms Industries, Inc. at Tamms, (now known as Unimin Minerals), and Olive Branch Minerals Company at Olive Branch. Most of the silica produced in southern Illinois has come from the Clear Creek formation. At one time, all of the mines produced tripoli from the Clear Creek formation west of Elco and Mill Creek. The silica of southern Illinois occurs in deposits an inch or less to about 30 feet thick. The tops or bottoms of some of the commercial deposits are iron-stained.

The Olive Branch Minerals Companys silica mill was located just outside of the village along the Olive Branch-Tamms road. This silica was produced from the Grassy Knob formation. The silica was mined near the plant; signs of the mines and foundation exist today. Inside the mill, large vats of silica were boiling. The Olive Branch mill used a wet-grinding process. My dad worked in the boiler room along with Ammel Pettit. There were large vats of boiling silica that resembled mud.

Thebes, Illinois by

C. C. King

One of the Many Interesting Towns on the C&EI Railroad from the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Employees Magazine (Written in 1946)

March 2nd of this year (1946) marked the hundredth anniversary of the founding of Thebes, in Alexander County, Illinois. Eighteen forth-six (1846) goes way back when boats were plying the Mississippi River to give transportation service to this community. Steamboats then used wood as fuel. This was in the era before the construction of railroads in that locality were ever given any thought. When Thebes was laid out on March 2nd, 1846, it was named Sparhawk Landing.

The accessibility of Sparhawk Landing and a plentiful supply of timber resulted in it becoming an important fueling station for steamboats moving up and down the river.

In the early days Thebes was the county seat of Alexander County and the old courthouse, which still stands, is one of its oldest landmarks. In 1859, the county seat was moved from Thebes to Cairo, Illinois, where it still remains. In the same year, Mr. C. A. Marchildon opened a general store at Thebes, which was later by H. C. Marchildon, son of the founder.

With respect to industrial development, several sizeable industries were once located in the Thebes area. Foremost was the Actna Powder Company which at that time was the largest dynamite plant in the world, located 4 miles south of Thebes. Due to changed conditions, this plant was abandoned after World War I.

With the completion of the C&CI Railroad, in December, 1899, Thebes became an important gateway for rail traffic to and from the southwest.

The St. Louis S. W. Railroad terminated at Grays Point, Mo., opposite Thebes on the Mississippi River. The St. Louis, Memphis & Southeastern Railroad (later purchased by the Frisco, and finally abandoned between Illmo and a point south of Commerce, MO.) constructed a river incline at Mannings Landing, as did the Cotton Belt at Grays Point MO., connecting the C&EI at Thebes, Illinois. Two large steamboats--the Davis and the Fordyce--were used to ferry cars across the river between Thebes and Grays Point, also Mannings Landing. Ferry service was operated 24 hours a day.

The C&EI then maintained a local station force of some 25 men at Thebes. The largest volume of traffic was northbound and the principal commodities were forest product, cotton, fruits and vegetables. During the watermelon season, it was not unusual to receive a solid train load of melons from the Cotton Belt.

In 1901, the C&EI constructed and operated a large modern hotel at an original cost of some $50,000.00. There was real sentiment connected with this building by the train crews and other employees who have had an occasion to lay-over at Thebes. It was particularly prominent when the C&EI operated the hotel. People went out of their way to take advantage of the food and other facilities of the hotel. The hotel was well patronized until the completion of the Thebes Bridge and finally outlived its usefulness. The hotel was sold and torn down. The furnace room was used as the depot. The brick from the hotel was used in the construction of a school building at Olive Branch, Illinois. And eventually, the school at Olive Branch as well as the depot at Thebes were torn down.

Most of the material for the popular book Show Boat, was gathered in the vicinity of Thebes and Cairo. Edna Ferber, the author, spent some time at Thebes, securing data, but very few people knew her or what her mission was in the community. Adaptation of the book to both screen and stage has long since been made.

The Thebes Bridge, at the time of its construction, was said to be the largest steel cantilever bridge in the world. One look at this structure and you are convinced that his bridge is among the best that spans the Father of Waters. The Southern Illinois and Missouri Bridge Company was incorporated in December, 1900 to construct the bridge.

Note: Included in this news article was a photo of the Steamer Fordyce, one of the C&EI car ferries operating between Thebes, and Grays Point and Mannings Landing. The boat sank in the river near Grays Point. Also a photo of the section force at Thebes included Fred Williams, Justin Williams, Jesse Phillips, Lester Dillow, Clay Myers, Virgil Pritchett, acting foreman, and B. D. Jordan

GALE, ILLINOIS

Gale, Illinois is named for the Gale Brothers who owned many acres in the area in 1899. The town was located alongside the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Sexton Creek. A post office was established on August 1, 1902, where a rural delivery from there served North Junction.

The Beanery was located in the North Junction area.. It was established for the railroad crews as a place to eat meals and stay overnight in the early years. Local residents could also eat at the Beanery. It was a very popular place. The steam engines took on water at these locations. The next one north was at Dupo. Henry Patrick Adams was a pumper for the railroad. He pumped water out of Sexton Creek into tanks, later to be transferred into the steam engines. The small town had at one time a school. Fred Weymeyer had a sawmill located outside the town.

One of the major businesses located in the small town, in 1900s, was C.E. Stouts general store. He had keen cutter tools in high tall wooden cabinets with Keen Cutter written on the cabinets. He sold logging tools, inserts for circle saws, gasoline and anything that was needed for the home or the farm.

Even in later years, he still had high top shoes, etc. He had all sorts of canned goods, clothing, all styles of shoes, anything you needed. It was a great place for the kids to buy candy and soda pop. People came from all around to buy this merchandise in later years because the merchandise had became collectible. Mr. Stout sold many times to people on credit. Payments were made once a month. He was known to everyone as a kind gentleman.

He had a huge pot bellied store, he heated the store with coal or wood. Mr. Stouts dad was known to everyone as Grandpa Stout. He would set sleeping on boxes of canned goods along side the pot bellied stove with numerous cats.

There was a spit and whittlers bench in front of the store. It was a two by twelve inch rough oak eight foot plank. It was worn smooth by all of the whittlers that used to come and congregate there to gossip, chew tobacco, spit and whittle. Notches and initials were carved in the bench. Steve Jackson, Bad-eye Pruitt, Roy Simmons, Pink Callens, Scrappy Haskenknoff and Cleve Knight were just a few of those that set on the bench. Bob Prater and Sid Phillips would come by occasionally.

One day, the whittlers bench was gone. When questioned about the board, Mr. Stout replied, that tourists had stopped to look at the store. They ask if the bench was for sale, and Mr. Stout sold the whittlers bench to them. Of course, Mr. Stout replaced the bench with another rough sawmill board from Fred Wehmeyers sawmill.

Mr. Stout was a Veteran of World War One. We have a faded picture of him in his uniform. He was a very conservative person, living in quarters above the store. His wife was a Lorberg from Cape Girardeau.

Very little of the town remains today, only a few of the houses remain at the location on Sextons Creek. The old Stout General Merchandise store stands as a reminder of the old days.

GALE, ILLINOIS

Gale, Illinois is named for the Gale Brothers who owned many acres in the area in 1899. The town was located alongside the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Sexton Creek. A post office was established on August 1, 1902, where a rural delivery from there served North Junction.

The Beanery was located in the North Junction area.. It was established for the railroad crews as a place to eat meals and stay overnight in the early years. Local residents could also eat at the Beanery. It was a very popular place. The steam engines took on water at these locations. The next one north was at Dupo. Henry Patrick Adams was a pumper for the railroad. He pumped water out of Sexton Creek into tanks, later to be transferred into the steam engines. The small town had at one time a school. Fred Weymeyer had a sawmill located outside the town.

One of the major businesses located in the small town, in 1900s, was C.E. Stouts general store. He had keen cutter tools in high tall wooden cabinets with Keen Cutter written on the cabinets. He sold logging tools, inserts for circle saws, gasoline and anything that was needed for the home or the farm.

Even in later years, he still had high top shoes, etc. He had all sorts of canned goods, clothing, all styles of shoes, anything you needed. It was a great place for the kids to buy candy and soda pop. People came from all around to buy this merchandise in later years because the merchandise had became collectible. Mr. Stout sold many times to people on credit. Payments were made once a month. He was known to everyone as a kind gentleman.

He had a huge pot bellied store, he heated the store with coal or wood. Mr. Stouts dad was known to everyone as Grandpa Stout. He would set sleeping on boxes of canned goods along side the pot bellied stove with numerous cats.

There was a spit and whittlers bench in front of the store. It was a two by twelve inch rough oak eight foot plank. It was worn smooth by all of the whittlers that used to come and congregate there to gossip, chew tobacco, spit and whittle. Notches and initials were carved in the bench. Steve Jackson, Bad-eye Pruitt, Roy Simmons, Pink Callens, Scrappy Haskenknoff and Cleve Knight were just a few of those that set on the bench. Bob Prater and Sid Phillips would come by occasionally.

One day, the whittlers bench was gone. When questioned about the board, Mr. Stout replied, that tourists had stopped to look at the store. They ask if the bench was for sale, and Mr. Stout sold the whittlers bench to them. Of course, Mr. Stout replaced the bench with another rough sawmill board from Fred Wehmeyers sawmill.

Mr. Stout was a Veteran of World War One. We have a faded picture of him in his uniform. He was a very conservative person, living in quarters above the store. His wife was a Lorberg from Cape Girardeau.

Very little of the town remains today, only a few of the houses remain at the location on Sextons Creek. The old Stout General Merchandise store stands as a reminder of the old days.

Thebes Baptist Church

Was first organized as Sexton Creek Baptist Church. The following information was copied from the Historical Resume of the Churches prepared by the church clerks in August of 1900 for the Clear Creek Baptist Associations annual book.

Sextons Creek located at Thebes, Illinois, is recorded in the minute of 1841, but the clerk, Sister Amy A. Corzine, writes that the records of the early days of the church are misplaced or destroyed, and all the older members are dead. However, a notable event in the history of the church was the entertainment of the association in 1861. At that time, General Sterling Prices command was shelling the woods across the Mississippi River at Thebes, and Jeff Thompsons band was everywhere and nowhere in particular; hence the association was very fearful of being took in,.

It is said that they met, organized, appointed committees, heard their reports without discussion, and a majority of them started home before supper!

As the association in those days held an all-day session, without stopping for dinner, it is probable that the membership had less burdens of hospitality than for any session before or since. The association also met with this church in 1843.

In 1869, the church was reorganized and changed its name to the Union Baptist Church of Thebes, Illinois.

The first service was held in the Liberty School just two miles east of Thebes.

Union Baptist Church remained the name of the church until 1879 when it changed back to Sexton Creek. In 1906, the name of the church was changed to the First Baptist Church of Thebes.

I researched the two officers mentioned above, and they were confederate officers. In 1852, General Sterling Price became governor of Missouri.

General Grant occupied Cape Girardeau as temporary headquarters in a campaign directed toward the capture of Jeff Thompson.

The Cape Girardeau area including Jackson, formed the landing point where troops and supplies could be sent from Cairo to Central Missouri.

According to General Grants memoirs published in 1885, General Grant received special instructions assigning him to the command of the district of southeast Missouri, embracing all the territory south of St. Louis, in Missouri, as well as all of southern Illinois. Jeff Thompson was later captured.

History of Alexander County

The Clear Creek Precinct lies west of Elco, and originally embraced the county to the Mississippi River. The western portion was cut off and a new precinct formed, called Cape Girardeau (possibly East Cape today) Clear Creek Precinct contains much good land, and its surface features are very similar to Elco Precinct. A part of it overflows, but in the lower part the land rises to an elevation above high water mark, and so continues until below Santa Fe, where bottoms again appear. It is a fine agricultural region, outside of the bottoms subject to overflow, and many excellent farms are observable. The precinct is without railroads, but has a steamboat landing at Clear Creek Post Office, in the northern part. It became a regular landing place for river boats where regular stops were made to take on cargoes of wheat which was the principal crop at that time. Because of the amount of wheat produced and loaded on river vessels it was later called Wheatland.

The settlement of Clear Creek dates back to an early period. Will Walker, it is claimed, came to the county previous to that great chronological period, the earthquake of 1811-12. He settled on the river, near the mouth of Clear Creek, but afterward moved up under the bluff, near Rifle Creek. He camped there for awhile, and then opened a farm some four miles east of the river, where he died. During the Black Hawk war, he belonged to a company of rangers that went from this county. Samuel Philips lived on Sexton Creek; Moses Philips lived in the bottoms; William Brocker was an early settler. There were a number of other settlers who came in early, but their names are forgotten. Moses Philips was an early Justice of the Peace.

Among the churches were a Baptist Church at the Minton farm. There was an early Methodist organization, which met, mostly, at the peoples houses. There were several schoolhouses in the precinct. One of the pioneer schools was taught near where Jesse Minton lived. At this time, there were no villages in Clear Creek, nor manufacturing establishments; it was wholly an agricultural region.

Notes: When the Illinois Central Railroad was built the station was called McClure after one of the early families of this area. Later, the name of the post office was changed to McClure. Of the early family names only a few are familiar to most of the present day residents. Some of those early families who have descendants living in this area are the McClures, Bunches, Lightners and McRavens. (More on McClure later.) Taken from Perrins History of Alexander and Pulaski Counties).1883

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