Since early October of this year, we have been working feverishly to complete the restoration of Anderson Cemetery, southwest of St. Jacob. This cemetery in a pasture has been in existence since 1817, even before Illinois was a state.
We have found the broken tombstone of Gilmore Anderson, who came to this area in 1816, established his farm and a log cabin for his large family. Gilmore Anderson died Sept. 25, 1817 and was probably the first person buried at Anderson Cemetery. We need your help to continue this restoration — your donations and your time. (Your donations are tax-deductible, if you itemize through Highland Area Community Foundation for Anderson Cemetery Association.)
The great work crew has increased, with many of the faithful still coming. Russ Marti, Danny Gross, Marvin Sackett and his wife Marie, Tim Korte, Randy Weiss, Andy Jankowski, Sandy Miles Nissen and yours truly.
Our three chefs have been Richard Schmidt, Wayne Miles and my wife, Lorna.
Never miss a local story.
Our newer helpers have been Dr. Robert Hellige, Phil Coffey and Aaron D. Worthen, who owns ADW Construction of Highland. These three men have been a real additions, and what a job Aaron did Saturday, directing and installing the east chainlink fence and getting the top railing on the south fence, where the steel posts have been installed.
He then had time before lunch to drill the 1 1/8 -inch holes in the Maj. James G. Anderson and his son William’s stones, so that the stainless steel pins can be inserted and the obelisks set upright on their bases.
Danny Gross, the great-great-great-grandson of Maj. Anderson, was delighted that his dream of getting these two tombstones repaired was going to be a reality. We sure could use other area workers and Anderson descendants, to help us.
A BIG THANKS to all our workers.
Our next workday is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. Call me at 654-5005 if you are available.
Now, back to talking about Highland around 1900, which is where we left off last week with my column on C.J Hug.
It is always good to have a column with a chuckle. This Oct. 1, 1900 column in the Highland Leader, which was established on Sept. 1, 1900 by Roland Kurz, who also owned the Highland Union, did just that for me. Hope you enjoy the story about the fictitious “Monken’s National Park” in St. Morgan and the “Komikal Kornet Band” of Highland: “The Republican Party Rally at Monken’s National Park in St. Morgan, took place last Thursday night. It was well attended, and the speeches of the Honorable F. Gilham, Thomas Springer of Edwardsville, plus others, were listened to with great interest. A good crowd from St. Morgan and Highland were present. The ‘Komikal Kornet Band’ of Highland, furnished fine music, a general and jolly time was enjoyed by all present.”
(What can you tell me about the “Komikal Kornet Band” of Highland? Do you know of anyone who was in that band? Do you have a picture?)
“John Leu (1842-1933) was mayor of Highland from 1897 to1901. He had arrived at the age of 2, and his family lived west of Jamestown in 1844.
“Leu enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 and was assigned to the Regimental Band of the First Division. Later, he was transferred to the 19th Army Corps and was given his honorable discharge on Aug. 25, 1865.
“He returned to farming, which he continued until 1881, when he moved into Highland and was hardware clerk for nine years. He then purchased the East End Hardware Store in 1890. He was one of the successful merchants and continued to operate until late 1906.
“In 1908, Leu was instrumental in starting the East End Bank and was vice president. They continued to grow. The bank was reorganized in 1920 and renamed Farmers & Merchants Bank, at Broadway & Cypress. (Today, Meridith Funeral Home is at that location and the Regions Bank is at the new location of 12515 State Route 143. Reread my column of Dec. 11, 2014 for more Leu and East End Bank information.)
“Fred Stocker had engaged in farming until 1899, when he moved into Highland, becoming a well driller, which he followed until 1904, when his gravel business, east of our present Silver Lake Park, plus his concrete business, became his life’s work. (Reread my column from earlier this year)
(Quotes form the History of Madison County of 1912, the Highland Sesquicentennial book, and my columns of Aug. 5, 2004 and Dec. 11, 2014.)