Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Wood Cemetery


Gazette News: August 1, 1957:
The Wood Cemetery is one of the oldest places in Bunker Hill Township.  The man who gave the land was David Bush Wood, who was born in 1813, the son of James E. Wood, Sr. and Susannah Renfro Wood, early settlers of Illinois Territory and Bunker Hill Township.

In the year 1842, David B. Wood purchased the farmland of Aksiah Tompkins.  On this land were a number of graves, including David's sisters' grave who was buried in 1823.  Mr. Wood had in transfer of land two deeds made, one for one (1) acre where the graves were, to Bunker Hill Township as a burial ground.  In 1905 or 1906, Alfred C. Wood, on leaving Illinois, deeded one-half acre to this cemetery and it was named in honor of his family and the Wood families he had inherited land from.  

He migrated to South Dakota, then to Nebraska.  He died there at the age of 91 years and nine months.  His remains were brought back here and buried on the land of his childhood.  The two deeds of this land are recorded in the courthouse in Carlinville.

Some of the pioneer families buried there are :Wood, Davis, Coffee, Scott, Heyde, Hook, Kneadeline, Gregg, Thomae, Hill, Hilyard, Ridgley, Saltznear, Schuetz, Johnson, Jacobi, Pyatt, and many others.

This cemetery was cared for by members of some of the families buried there since 1842.  Many of these people were prominent in early Macoupin County history.  Prior to 1955, Dr. Walter Hilyard donated enough to build a new fence and others donated to put the cemetery in nice order.

Some of the people buried there are veterans from early Indian, Revolutionary, French and Indian, Civil and World War I.

Some of the markers are made by hand of sandstone and the markings on some are completely obliterated.  We are endeavoring to place all war veterans on the honor roll of this cemetery and their country. 

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, November 21, 2012.


Coal Mines of Bunker Hill


On Monday afternoon October 31, 1870, Mr. John Naylor and Mr. John McPherson secured the services of the Band which proceeded the first wagon loaded with 30 bushels of coal mined.  The gun squad shot the cannon.  They stopped at the corner of Washington and Warren streets.  Mr. Yancy and Mr. Hayes gave talks.  Mr. Jencks then sold the coal realizing $89.  The coal was purchased in turn by Mr. S. Hale, $20; Joseph Meyers, $10; Mr. W. Cross, $10; Bartels and Brother, $7; Thomas Sanders, $6; W. Dorey, $10; David Morris, $5; Joe Lee, $10; Thomas Sanders, $5; and Mr. Frederickson, $6.  Each purchaser then turned back the coal to be sold again until $89 was realized.

A grand banquet was given underground in the coal mine to which all the prominent people were invited.  Mr. Naylor retired in 1875 and two years later Mr. McPherson retired.  The mine was abandoned in October 1880.  It empoyed 12 men and the production for the nine months of 1880 was 61,029 bushels.  The mine was located along Paddock Creek, east of town and south of the bridge.

William Neil & Co., broke ground for a shaft near the railroad track in the northeast part of town in may 1879, and in September, reached a vein of coal at a depth of 250 feet.  They were producing 600 bushels a day.  The members of this firm were Mr. William Peter, Mr. John Neil and James Monoghan.  This mine burned in 1907 and was rebuilt and worked until 1912 when it was discontinued.

The Wood River Coal Mine, also known as Crow Hollow Mine, west of town, close by the old reservoir, was owned by Judge Huggins and operated by Matt Carroll.  It had an annual output of 45,000 bushels in 1881 and $1800 was paid out in wages.  There was another mine located in that area by the name of Raynor and Lock.  It operated from 1881-1889. 

The Bauser-Truesdale Mine was sunk on the Bauser place.  This was located along Paddock Creek, east of town and north of the bridge.  In 1906 Mr. Ed Bauser took charge until October 1934 when it was leased by the former employees, who ran it as a co-operative.  The first four years the coal was mined by hand.  Some years later, it was electrified and was cut with machines.  This mine operated until 1940.

The Jarden Coal Mine was located off Catholic Springs Road, before the bridge over Paddock Creek.  This mine was operated by Jarden and Lansford in 1903, E. Lansford and Co. 1903-1904, Fritz Jarden 1904-1911 and Abbott Jarden 1911-1913.  It was abandoned in 1914.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, November 14, 2012.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Memorial Flagpole


Gazette News: February 10, 1955
The Legion committee in charge of erecting a memorial flagpole on the main street announced this week they are short of the required amount to complete the job by $261.91.

The bids for the job are all in and a contract for the erection of it was awarded to Joe Briskovich on a bid of $349.  Further cost will include $15 for an 8x12 flag, $597 for the flagpole, $75 for a bronze plaque and $60 for freight.  Total contributions to date are $879.09.

The flagpole itself will be a 35-foot tapered aluminum job with equipoise tilting unit, and 24-inch wingspan gold leaf eagle atop the pole and a copper weathervane.  There will be an aluminum ball bearing a revolving truck for the flag.

This is a final appeal for funds by the committee.  Anyone who has not donated and wishes to may still do so; anyone who cares to donate more than he already has may still do so.  The memorial will be one the city can be proud of.  It will be dedicated to those who served their country in all wars and to those who gave the supreme sacrifice.  Bunker Hill has its full share of both and can be well proud of both.

Gazette News: June 2, 1955
Workman finished the job of installing the memorial flagpole last Thursday afternoon and the flag was flying from the pole on Friday.  Bill Wise, chairman of the committee, informs us that donations are still needed in spite of a total of $1003.09 received.
The bronze plaque reads:
IN MEMORY
OF
THOSE WHO
SERVED OUR
COUNTRY
ERECTED IN 1955

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, November 8, 2012.

The Monument House Hotel

The Monument House
 was located in the northwest block of Fayette and Clinton Streets.


An expanded story about the Monument Hotel is on my latest March 12, 2020 posting which can be read at:  https://bunkerhillhistory.blogspot.com/2020/03/monument-house-bunker-hills-grand-hotel.html

The Monument House was built by Mr. William H. Carroll in 1856, soon after the completion of what was then known as the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad.  Mr. Carroll's original plans were to erect a railroad eating house.  Before the work was completed, he decided to build more extensively and he erected the third story front to which the billiard room was afterward added, Mr. Carroll doing much of the work himself.

The Monument House was opened to the public in September of 1856 and Dr. Delano was the first to inscribe his name upon the register as the first guest.  Dr. Delano named the hotel for Mr. Carroll.





Until 1866 or 1867, the Terre Haute and Alton was the only direct route east out of St. Louis.  Travel was simply enormous, especially during the Civil War and most trains stopped at the Monument House for meals.  Mr. Carroll and his wife were unrivaled caterers and under their management, the Monument House was as famous throughout the country as the famed eating house at Altoona, Pennsylvania on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

After Mr. Carroll's death, the hotel was leased by several parties in succession and was finally purchased in 1871 by Mr. Ben Johnson.

Monument House Burns
Mr. Ben Johnson, owner of Monument House, thought the fire must have caught from the dining room chimney.  He said the building was worth $5,000, and the stock and fixtures worth $300.  The fire which completely destroyed this old landmark was discovered by an engineer on a freight train Sunday morning, December 31, 1884.  Conductors Jackson and Kreppes, with their train crew, did good service at the fire.

Gazette News: January 9, 1884
The Fire company made a brave effort. With the mercury at 15 degrees below zero, the men suffered severely, and then were unable to accomplish what could have been done in more favorable weather.  

The Monument House was located in the northwest block of Fayette and Clinton Streets.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, November 1, 2012.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rigby Horse RaceTrack


Mr. Thomas S. Rigsby came to Bunker Hill after he served in the Civil War.  He began his business as a dealer in and trainer of horses.  On the outskirts of the city were large barns and a half mile race track.  This track was supposed to be one of the best in the State of Illinois.

From all over Illinois, he received horses which he trained to race.  Many of these horses won premiums at fairs in Illinois and Missouri.

Gazette News June 25, 1885: A trotting match is to take place on the Davis Track next Saturday for a purse of $50.  The entries are: Jencks' "Pacer Boy" and Rigsby's "Jesse James."

Gazette News July 10, 1889: Among the horses entered in the Fourth of July trot at Alton was "Billy Logan" entered and driven by its trainer, Tom Rigby, of Bunker Hill.

Gazette News January 8, 1890: Thomas Rigby has bought from D. E. Pettingill the 20-acre tract west of the Nutter place, and will convert it into one of the best speeding tracks of its size which can be found in the state.

Gazette News August 6, 1890: Encouraged by the success of a fort-night age, our local horsemen have announced a series of trotting and running races on the really excellent Rigsby track west of town on Saturday next.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, October 11, 2012.

Bunker Hill Military Academy


Among the institutions which Bunker Hill once boasted was the Military Academy (in the very early days called the Seminary) and stood on grounds, which is today the American Legion Park.  It opened in 1859.

Its history dates back to December 22, 1857.  On that date, a meeting was held "to take measures looking forward to the establishment of an academic school."  E. Harlan was chairman and W. Hutchinson was secretary.  The following committee was appointed: A. Ellet, P. Huggins, J. Weller, T. Van Dorn.  On the building committee was E. Howell, G. Mack, G. Parmenter, J. Delano, and E. Davis.  Later, Dr. Delano withdrew and H. Hopper was substituted.  On January 26, a constitution was adopted.  The amount of capital stock was fixed at $25,000.  P. Huggins offered to donate a four-acre lot for the building.

The building was brick, three stories high, and considered substantial in every way.  In its original state, it had three rooms on the first floor, five on the second, and the third floor was a large hall.  It was said to have cost about $19,000.

At the first call for volunteers in the Civil War, Professor Smith and 39 of the pupils entered the army.  Others soon followed and it became necessary to close the school.  The building was then loaned to the school district and used a public school for several years, or until the new public school was opened in 1869.


Samuel Stiver became the owner and proprietor of the academy in 1887.  Under his guidance, the institution attracted many young men from other states as well as several foreign countries, who for the most part, lived on the grounds.  Many Bunker Hill young men and women also attended the school.  Much of the success was attributed to a well-organized advertising program.




Cadets at the academy also engaged in the popular sports of the time including baseball, football, gymnastics, tennis and track.  They also had drills and competition in handling of firearms.

Mr. Stiver passed away in 1910 and the academy was taken over by Mr. Marburger.  After failure to operate the school successfully as far as finances were concerned, it was decided to close the school in 1913.

After being threatened with foreclosure, the association decided to sell the property at auction.  James Jencks purchased the academy grounds, the H. Meyer property, T. Mulligan's, and the ballpark ground on October 18, 1916.  He sold some of the buildings and finally tore down the main building.

Jencks later sold the grounds to the Civic League of Bunker Hill and they built a park there, which they maintained until 1948, when all the buildings were destroyed by the tornado.  The grounds were then taken over they the American Legion and they maintain a park there.



...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, October 24, 2012.

Jacoby Brothers



On October 23, 1883, Casper J. Jacoby moved to Bunker Hill and embarked in the furniture and undertaking business, several years later adding carpets, wallpaper, pianos, organs, and sewing machines, a business which was destined to grow until it established for him a reputation known and respected throughout the surrounding country.  Starting with little capital and practically a stranger, young Jacoby, by that honesty and fair dealing which has always characterized the business methods of the firm, soon established himself as a successful businessman.


In March of 1891, Casper, in order to get suitable employment for the two younger brothers, William C. and Louis C., founded a corporation name of Jacoby Brothers.  The corporation consisted of Phillip W., Henry C., Casper J., and William C. Jacoby.  Rev. Phillip W. Jacoby, the oldest brother, died in St. Louis in 1899.

On April 10, 1899, Casper J. purchased the furniture and undertaking business of Bauer & Co., and August Miller, located in Alton.  Business then conducted in Alton was carried on under the name of C. J. Jacoby & Co.   On Casper J.'s removal to Alton, he sold the Bunker Hill store to Jacoby Bros., Jerseyville, as a branch of same and William C. was made manager of the Bunker Hill store and Louis C., the manager of the Jerseyville store.


The Bunker Hill store was erected in 1893, and was destroyed by fire March 15, 1899, but was rebuilt at once.  The building was 30x100 feet, two story, and basement, with a total floor space of 9,000 feet.  The store was located on the east side of Washington Street.

 ...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, October 18, 2012.