Thursday, April 30, 2020

Local Ham Radio Operator W9FE Helps with Covid-19 Wellness Nets

Pictured: Bunker Hill Ham Radio Operator Carlos Arzuagas, W9FE, assisting with daily COVID-19 Wellness Net Radio Communications.


From the Gazette-News April 30, 2020

Support Illinois Emergency Management Agency

    Illinois ARES members are supporting the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's (IEMA) COVID-19 response activities as AuxComm Radio Operator volunteers.  Illinois ARES will coordinate the number and location of volunteer amateur communicators with IEMA on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future.


Pictured: Illinois ARES District Map
(ARES-Amateur Radio Emergency Services)

    In a separate activity, the daily Illinois ARES Wellness Net has been established to allow Illinois amateurs to stay connected and comment on their status.  The net is informal and uses HF, EchoLink, digital nodes, and linked VHF/UHF nets.  The Wellness net has seen check-ins from more than 40 Illinois counties.  Other local and regional wellness VHF/UHF nets have been activated throughout Illinois as well.

    Thanks to Illinois Section Emergency Coordinator Robert Littler, W9DSR, Illinois Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Pitchford, N9LQF, and Illinois State EOC Liason Roger Whitaker, K9LJB.  

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story:  Bunker Hill Gazette-News, April 30, 2020.

The Fires of Bunker Hill



Pictured: Washington St., as viewed from the Opera House corner.  Sanford's south wall on right.

Reprint of similar Bunker Hill News article on Jan. 10, 2013 blog posting at 

From the Gazette News, September 20, 1893

    On Friday evening, for the third time, fire held a fierce carnival on the west side of Washington Street.  The alarm was given about 6:20 p.m. and within two hours $75,000 worth of the business property in the city had been wiped out.

    The fire originated in the immense barn in the rear of the Johnston block.  It was probably due to the pipe of a tramp or bum, or a cigar of card-playing youngsters.  The facts will never be known.  Almost simultaneously, all buildings south of the Johnston block were ablaze so fiercely that little could be done in the way of saving contents.

    The local fire company did noble work with the fire engine, chemical, and new extinguishers and were nobly seconded by many of our people.  To such effort is due the arrest of the fire at the Johnston block and the saving of the business property on the east side of Washington Street.

Pictured: Warren St. as seen from Klinefelter's store.  Sessel's west wall on right.

Previous Fires

    This recent fire is the third that has devastated the same side of the street, the last two, practically covering the same ground.  All occurred on a Friday.    

    The fire January 23, 1880, originated in Sanford's Grocery Store on the same ground.  The damage on the fire proper footed up $12,000.  The insurance was fair.[1]

    December 1, 1882, the ground from Bumann's three story building to Sessel's corner and on Warren Street west to the alley, was burned.  The loss totaled $37,000, nearly equally divided between buildings and stock.[1],[2]

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 10, 2013, April 30, 2020.

[1]Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1893." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Three, 1892-1900, p. 62. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2000. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

[2]Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1882." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Two, 1882-1891, pp. 44-46. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1999. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

[3]Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1893." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Three, 1892-1900, p. 60-64. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2003. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

[4]Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1880." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume One, 1866-1881, pp. 209-210. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1997. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Wood Cemetery

Pictured: Wood Cemetery Grave Marker

Reprint from our November 22, 2012 blog posting at

The cemetery is located two and three quarters miles south of Woodburn.  Land was acquired in 1832 during President Jackson's administration.  First burials were possibly members of a wagon train of which cholera claimed many lives.  Several generations of Wood and Davis families are interred in the oldest section.  There are approximately two and a half acres in this 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 Susanna Renfro Wood, who were early settlers of Illinois Territory and Bunker Hill Township.

In the year 1842, David B. Wood purchase 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 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 who he had inherited the 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.

The cemetery was cared for by member of some of the families buried there in 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 War, and World War I.

Some of the marker 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.

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, April 23, 2020, November 22, 2012

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, p. 125. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coal Mines of Bunker Hill

Pictured: Map of Bunker Hill Coal Mines

Reprint of our blog posting at:    

    On Monday afternoon, October 31, 1870, Mr. John Naylor and Mr. John McPherson secured the services of the Band, which preceded 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. Dorsey, $10; David Morris, $5; Joe Lee, $10; Thomas Sanders, $5; and Mr. Frederickson, $6.  Each purchaser then turned baek 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 employed 12 men and the production for 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 & Company broke ground for a shaft near the railroad track in the north 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, 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 to 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-Tursdale [sic] 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 electri-fied [sic] 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; W. Lansford and Company, 1903-1904; Fritz Jarden, 1904-1911; and Abbott Jarden, 1911-1913.  It was abandoned in 1914.

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, November 14, 2012, April 16, 2020.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Royal Lakes


Pictured: Hilyard Township Map about 1875

    The area known as Royal Lakes was land once owned by two farming brothers.  When they retired, they turned it over to a real estate agency in Chicago so that they could divide the land and sell the lots.  In 1956, the Royal Lakes Resort Properties were plotted and laid out in Sections 26 and 27 of Hilyard Township.  

    Royal Lakes was founded in 1961 by a small group of people from St. Louis who wanted some peaceful country living.  The first people to settle there were Mr. Chetam, Mr. Stoddard, Ike Lovings, and Miss Butler.  In 1973, this community was incorporated and took the name of Royal Lakes.  Part of this area is within the Bunker Hill School District.

    Three lakes have been constructed in this community, Shad, Shadrack, and Meshack.  Shadrack supposedly had been formed from a strip mine once located there.  A creek, Crooked Creek, running thought the property connects with Coop's Creek, which was the location of the earliest settlers in Macoupin County.

    The land on which Royal Lakes is located is said to have been a part of Centerville at one time.  It is told that Abraham Lincoln, while traveling the Old State Road, stopped at the Bullman property (on Section 27) north of the church and drank from the well -- a well much used by the travelers in those days.

    The First Baptist Church of Royal Lakes was organized and built by seven members.  Some of those helping in this project were Miss Butler, Miss Rossetta Gel, Miss Bruce, and Mr. Halloway, a carpenter from Shipman.  In 1965, Mrs. Jackson let the church people use her chicken shed to hold services until the church building was completed.  Under the leadership of Reverend Wallace, this was completed in 1968.  The first services, led by Reverend Wallace, were held in the new church on May 24, 1968.  The name was then changed to First Community Baptist Church.

    The fist store was opened by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Keitz in 1970.  It closed a few years later.  A second store, owned by Mr. Miller opened in 1977.  Sherman Clay had a service station from about 1970 to 1975.

    The first mayor of Royal lakes, and the first politician was John Stoddard.  Electricity was brought in about 1965.  The water project  and tower brought water to the community in 1978 through the efforts of ex-mayor, Ed Dorsey.

From Macoupin County, Illinois History & Families

    During 1956 property in sections 27 and 28 in Hilyard Township was purchased by an investment group in Chicago as developers and they platted the property laying out lots to sell in what they claimed to be a resort.  Along with the lots the property also include three small lakes named Shad, Shadrack and Messhack.  Although the lots only measured 50 ft. in width, lots were purchased mostly by people living in St. Louis and East St. Louis.  Some weekend homes and a few permanent houses were built soon after by the lot purchasers.  In following years the population gradually increased.

Pictured: Royal Lakes Church

    In 1973 the village was incorporated and took the name of Royal Lakes.  At one time the village had a small grocery store that no longer is in operation.  The village now consists of a church organized as the First Baptist Church of Royal Lakes, of which the first membership met in a converted chicken house standing on the property until a church building was erected in 1968 and at that time membership took the name, "First Community Baptist Church of Royal Lakes".  The village also has a fire house, a small retirement nursing home and a playground park for children.  Over a period of years a few more permanent residences have been built by owners.

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, April 9, 2020.

"Francis, Charles, "Macoupin County Illinois, History & Families", 1829-2016, In Histories of the Towns of Macoupin County, p. 44. Acclaim Press, 2016. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

1918 Spanish Flu in Bunker Hill

From the Gazette-News: October 18, 1918

Uncle Sam's Advice on the Flu
U.S. Public Health Service Issues Official Health Bulletin on (Spanish) Influenza

Latest Word on Subject
Epidemic probably not Spanish in Origin --Germ still unknown --People should guard against "Droplet Infection" --Surgeon General Blue make authoritative Statement.

From the Gazette-News: October 25, 1918

     County Superintendent George W. Solomon says on account of the influenza, he was compelled to call off the County Teacher's Institute.  "Owing to so many cases of the Spanish Influenza and also wishing to help stop the dreaded disease, I  have decided to call off the Teachers' Institute, Spelling Bee Contest, and the School Officers' Meeting until future date."

Woodburn: The school closed here Monday for indefinite time, according to State Law, on account of influenza.

Mrs. Bessie Raymond received worked from her son, Olan, that he is very sick at Camp Sherman, Ohio with influenza.

Mrs. M. J. Morrison, of Pleasant Grove received word that her son, James, was very ill at Camp Taylor, Kentucky with Spanish Influenza.

Route 17: Mr. and Mrs. James H. Smith received word of the death of their son, Charles, at Camp Taylor, Kentucky.

Dorchester:  Our schools were closed Friday for an indefinite period.

Edgar Wohlers, Henry Suhling, Jr., and Frank Eggers, have been ill with Spanish Influenza at Camp Taylor, Kentucky.  they are reported as getting well.

Sterling (west of Woodburn): Our school is closed on account of influenza

Delta County Historical Society Archives photo Above, the Health Board order from 1918 is shown. The order limited business activity and required all residents, including children, to wear masks when outside their homes.

From the Gazette-News, November 1, 1918

     Mrs. Henry Miller, of Woodburn, came home from Camp Taylor, Kentucky after a visit since August.  She says trainloads leave every day for the front, 4,000 leaving Tuesday and Wednesday for New York and New Jersey.  She says truckloads would pass by loaded with caskets, often 100 dying a night.  Two barracks are quarantined for Spanish Meningitis, including Mr. Miller's, else he would have gone with the rest this week.

     Certainly, if ever, there was a life of sacrifice and duty, Miss Maria Louise Nivin exemplified it, dying in the Red Cross service on a hospital train at Cumberland, MD, after having been on it but a week from influenza.

Route 17: The schools at Smalleytown has been closed on account of influenza.

From the Gazette-News, November 22, 1918

     The flu has increased to such an extent, the Board of Health has deemed it wise to forbid gatherings of any nature until further notice.  Some call it the La Grippe and it does not appear to be more that catarrhal fever. At least, results have not been fatal as compared to Benld and other paces nearby, but it is bad enough and there may be a couple hundred cases in Bunker Hill. 

From the Gazette-News, November 29, 1918

 Woodburn: Miss Hattie Partridge opened her school on the 18, being closed on account of the "flu".  Meantime she was very sick with it herself.

Miss Edith Elliot opened her school on the 25th, she also having been sick with the flu.

Ridgley: Henry Kastien's and Wm. Wieseman's have been sick with influenza, but are able to be around again.

Dorchester: Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Maxeiner, who have been sick the past week, are both able to be up.

Our schools and churches have not opened up yet on account of the flue.

     Henry Suhling is able to come to town again after a siege of sickness.  And Mrs. Windsor, who have been sick with the flue are better.  Mr. Windsor spent part of last week at the station but is not strong enough yet to take up the work.  Dave Thompson has been doing what work he could do, the trains being reported from Bunker Hill and Gillespie.  The Big Four did not send an agent, presumable because of shortage of help..

Mrs. Lewis Fuess and daughter Josie, who have been sick with the flue, are well again.

From the Gazette-News, December 6, 1918

The flue epidemic (in Illinois) has reached a total of 22,566 and this is estimated to be about 3 percent of number of cases.

From the Gazette-News, December 13, 1918

Everybody should gather in the churches in a spirit of thankfulness, now that the ban is lifted.

The public school will open as soon as Prof. Heyer is able to resume work.

Dorchester: Our public schools expect to open up after the holidays, providing there are no cases of influenza.

From the Gazette-News, December 20, 1918

District 51: Burton School opened Monday December 16, having been closed for some time on account of the influenza ban.

Route 17: W. F. Lancaster is able to be out after a long siege of flu.

Dorsey: John E. Johnson, the mail carrier and his family have been ill with the flue.  Wm. Bertels has been on the route for the past few days

From the Gazette-News, January 3, 1919

School Notes: Most of the pupils that have been absent on account of the flu are back at school now.

On Thursday morning of last week, during the opening exercise, Miss Edith Pyle entertained the High School with a vocal solo entitled, "Please Touch My Daddy's Star Again and Change it Back to Blue".  The solo was rendered well and was greatly enjoyed by all.

From the Gazette-News, January 10, 1919

Dorchester: Our school opened up Monday, January 6 after being closed several weeks on account of the flu.  The Bayless town school opened last week.  The churches are holding services again having been closed also.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories here at

---Cite this story: Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1918." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Five, 1911-1920, pp. 271. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2004. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.