Q. I recently found an embossing machine like the ones notaries public use, but this one was used by a group called the White Rose Hunting and Fishing Club. What can you tell me about the group, and, most important, can you tell me about any members so I could return this to someone who would appreciate it?
— S.R., of Belleville
A. A century ago, you didn’t have to hunt hard to find a gun and fishing club.
Just going through the Belleville Public Library’s WPA file, which lists all articles in Belleville papers to about 1940, you’ll find no less than 28 such sportsmen’s groups angling for publicity in the area. There were the Bull Moose, the Savage Lake, the Cider, the Paragon and the Liberty hunting and fishing clubs — and those were just a few of the more interesting names.
I’m sure this was great for the many outdoorsmen who wanted to join a few buddies for an occasional weekend of getting back to nature and away from the honey-do jar. But with so many coming and going all the time, it makes it nigh impossible to track any one club’s history.
That is the case with the White Rose Hunting and Fishing Club. According to the Belleville Daily Advocate, it officially incorporated on Aug. 10, 1917, with the following directors: Conrad Scharschmidt, Joseph Mueller and George Gray.
But the only other recorded mention was on Jan. 26, 1920, when members elected the following slate of officers for the year: Martin Oesterle, president; Phillip Scharschmidt, vice president, William McCorrick (McCormick?), recording secretary; and Joseph Hasenstab, treasurer.
At that time, the story said, the 22-member club owned 105 acres of land about 2 miles north of New Athens. After that, the trail goes cold, so if the folks I listed are anyone’s ancestors and you’d like this heirloom back in the family, please contact me.
By the way, White Rose was an oft-used name in the area probably because the old Imbs Milling Co. produced White Rose Flour, according to Belleville Historical Society President Larry Betz. In September 1934, for example, Belleville Township High School voted to start playing night football at the new White Rose Softball Park at West Main and 46th streets.
Both it and the old Belleville Stags Athletic Field at South Illinois and West Cleveland had opened that year, but the BTHS board said White Rose had offered a better deal. Then, in July 1940, midget racecars zipped around the White Rose Speedway there on a couple of Saturday nights, but internal bickering by the promoters quickly killed the engines.
In addition, there was a Belleville White Rose baseball club, which regularly played teams that featured up-and-coming and former Major Leaguers. On April 22, 1923, each spectator received a 2-pound bag of White Rose flour to celebrate the season opener against the Beloit, Wis., Fairies.
Q. My son asked me a fascinating question I had never thought about. I, of course, couldn’t answer it but hope you can for him: Astronauts stay aboard the space station for weeks or months on end. They don’t wear their spacesuits all the time, so what do they do for clothes? Surely, they can’t wear the same outfit that long, so do they have some kind of washer-dryer or what do they do?
— Helen Weber, of Troy
A. Can’t you imagine Procter & Gamble vying for the right to be the official NASA detergent? I can hear the commercials now: “For an out-of-this-world clean, use Launch detergent with powerful boosters that will lift off stains in a jif. You’ll get whites as bright as the sun and sparkling colors that will put you in orbit.”
But astronauts enjoy a life that would make mothers with a passel of young kids green with envy. Water is dense and heavy and takes up lots of space, making it too uneconomical to keep sending gallons of it into space every time the astronauts wanted to do a few loads. So, once clothes start to get a little ripe, they’re simply thrown away, according to Robert Frost, a NASA instructor and flight controller.
If you’re interested, here’s a standard wardrobe for each man aboard the station: one pair of shoes for the treadmill and another for the bike; one pair of exercise shorts and one T-shirt for every three days of exercise; one work shirt, T-shirt and work pants/shorts for every 10 days; one pair of socks and underwear for every two days; and two sweaters.
New clothes are brought aboard the Progress resupply ships and are unloaded after docking. Old clothes are then loaded into the Progress, which is jettisoned to meet a fiery death in the atmosphere.
Sure beats ironing and folding.
Big hit: If you have yet to see it or want to record it, KETC Channel 9 will rebroadcast its loving tribute to St. Louis Cardinal great Stan Musial at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Which is colder: the North Pole or the South Pole? Why?
Answer to Saturday’s trivia: When Belgian inventor John Joseph Merlin showed off the first patented pair of roller skates in 1760, they created an immediate smash — literally. According to the National Museum of Roller Skating, Merlin was at a London masquerade party when he donned his latest idea and promptly crashed into a mirror. He was seriously hurt, which, not surprisingly, discouraged others from trying what perhaps looked like the premiere of roller derby. No wonder — his skates were more like ice skates with wheels instead of blades. Thus, they were similar to the modern inline variety, but were hard to steer and had no brakes. He may have set back the idea decades, because it wasn’t until 1863 when James Plimpton, of Massachusetts, finally put together the “rocking” skate with four wheels for stability and independently turning axles. Soon, “rinkomania” swept the country in the 1860s and ’70s before spreading around the world. Plimpton’s design is still popular today.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-239-2465.