Because of the loved ones who have found their last resting place there, the Enfield Cemetery has become a sacred spot to the people of Enfield. The first grave was that of a man named Morgan who was killed by an Indian, March 9, 1815. A substantial sum of money was willed to the Enfield Cemetery about 20 years ago by Mr. Allen Kinsall and it is the income from this money together with generous donations from others that has made the perpetual care of the cemetery possible. The road to the cemetery and the lanes within were graveled under the sponsorship of the Opportunity Club. The column at the entrance were erected from money remaining in the treasury of the old Civic League.
Not until 1860 were there enough people in Enfield to warrant the building of a school. The children attended the nearest country schools until then. The building was a one story frame located in the present Grade School yard. It was 22 ft. by 36 ft. and the first teacher was Reverend John Millage Miller, pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Other teachers were G. N. Johnson, George Robinson, Milton Brockett, Rev. Crow and Mrs. Crow, Mr. Hammell, Dr. Asher, Martin W. Fields, J. Odell and Mr. Locke. The school was graded in 1866 with Dr. D. C. Asher as principal. Average salaries at that time were $30 and $35 for men. Women teachers were considered not worth so much. The new Grade School was built in 1882 at a cost of $5000. It was of red brick with white stone arches over windows and doors and stone window ledges. Mr. John Dartt, who will be 96 years old next March is the only one of whom I know, who helped in the construction. He hauled brick from a kiln north of town. Mr. Ira Howarth was the first principal, and his assistants were Miss Jane Emerson, Mr. John King and Mr. Henry Sneed. Some of the succeeding principals were-Robert S. McCullough, Bindley Gowdy, C. H. Wilson, James Mathew Biggerstaff, Rev. Hodgson, Mr. Eagleton, Snowdon Garrison, M. J. White, Leander F. Gowdy and D. A. Campbell. Then there was Mr. James Bolerjack who served as principal for 25 years. Former teachers were Miss Mary B. Campbell, Malcolm Fairchild, Mrs. Pauline Stocke, Miss Maude McNabb, Miss Margaret Fowler and Mrs. Cora Johns. I'm sorry that I cannot name them all. The old school bell that hung high in the belfry to summon the scholars to "books" was given to Bethel Chapel Church when the belfry was torn down. The new school of 1882 had become the old school in 1952 and was razed after serving for 70 years-it's 3 score and 10. We are looking forward to the building of a new school--the school that Walter Booth envisioned when he bequeathed his estate to the Enfield Grade School.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS COLLEGE
The old College building that was once a proud temple of learning still stands at the top of the hill overlooking College street and is now an apartment house. The spacious campus with its wide lawn and old shade trees was sacrificed when U. S. Highway 45 cut across it at an angle.
The school was chartered in 1873 by Ewing Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The people of Enfield pledged themselves to build and support it.
Finished in 1878, at a cost of $6000, it was called the Enfield High School and Prof. J. Turrentine was the head of it. There was some difficulty and it was sold under a mechanic's lien. Repurchased by the Presbytery it was opened in September 1880 as the Southern Illinois College with Professor Mark Montgomery and five assistants in charge. In 1882, there were 120 students enrolled. Many of the graduates of Southern Illinois College became important in county and state. Walter Booth was one of the leading educators of his day and became assistant superintendent of Public Instruction in Illinois. Two of the graduates became national celebrities. William Borah went to Idaho and as a fiery young advocate of justice was elected to the U. S. Senate where he was called by his colleagues, "The Lion of Idaho." He served as senator for 33 years. His wife, known as one of the most gracious hostesses in Washington, was the daughter of one of Idaho's governors. Wesley L. Jones was a student at Southern Illinois College and later a teacher there. While earning the money for his education, he taught a term at Modoc school and stayed with the William Wilson family. Uncle George Wilson told me, "Wesley was so determined to save that he wore his heavy work shoes to Modoc that winter without any socks." He, too, became a lawyer and went west to seek his fortune in Washington State, which he represented in the United States Senate for many years. Senator Jones found romance as well as learning at Southern Illinois College for he married Mints Nelson who came to Enfield to seek work so she could go to college. Her sister, Milda, who came with her, married Chal Gowdy.
The college had no dormitories and the students boarded in the homes. Many amusing stories are told of their escapades. At one house, where either from Scotch thrift or the belief that "Early to bed" was the best policy, the girls were allowed to burn only a certain number of sticks of stove wood on the evenings when they had callers. Not to be outdone, the young swains, besides the usual sack of candy from Orr Brothers, brought along an armful of wood to replenish the fire. Late in the nineties, the college encountered financial difficulties and ceased to function as a Presbyterian school. However the building continued to serve as a school for many years. Rev. John Newman and C. H. Wilson organized a High School there. Then Prof. David Evans had the Enfield Academy. In the Norris City Record for February 18, 1909 appears an advertisement of a Summer Normal to be held at the Enfield Academy--an 8 weeks term with D. A. Evans, Marion B. Coker and W. A. Hinkle in charge-Tuition for the term-$8.00 in advance.
Sessions of the Grade School were held there with a Telegraphy School on the upper floor. Once again it became the High School and this continued until the new High School was finished in 1935. Early High School principals were S. L. DeBoard, W. A. Hinkle, Mr. Gersbacher, John Knight, Roye Bryant and John Krug. W. A. Miller is now superintendent in charge of a greatly expanded High School and Grade School.
"The miles of side walks" that the White County History mentions were the old fashioned board walks to be replaced soon after by the brick walks. The streets of the village were pleasant in those days, arched high overhead with trees. But in winter they were often hub deep with mud and it took a two horse team to pull a buggy through them; and in summer the dust lay thick under the sun. However it was stirred up only occasionally by a wagon, a buggy or a surrey load of country folk coming to town to trade and visit. There were no street lights in 1883, but a post lamp stood in front of the C. P. Church to light the way to "meeting."
The construction of the railroads was an important mile post in the history of Enfield. The Springfield and Illinois Southeastern extending from Beardstown to Shawneetown was built through the township in 1870-1871. Later it was bought by the Baltimore and Ohio and was a busy route of travel for many years, with passenger or freight trains. When we wanted to make ourselves a pair of "scissors" with a couple of crossed pins, (and Mamma wasn't watching us) we didn't have long to wait for a B. & O. train to come thundering by.
The St. Louis and Southeastern--later the L. & N.--was finished about 1880. Then the old wooden bridge was built to span the tracks. Located at the Junction of the two railroads, Enfield became a busy center of trade. A large hotel was built near the Junction and was owned at one time by Jake Walters. Back and forth from the L. & N. Station to the B. & O. plied the bus driven by Jim Woods and later by Oscar Joy. Drays were kept busy hauling freight from one station to the other. Dray drivers were Sam Castillar, Jim Gunter and Logan Merritt. The imposing three story brick hotel on Main Street was built to house the transients and the drummers who stopped over between trains or to stay overnight bringing their sample cases. James Waller owned it for many years.
Stinson Brothers had their first store in 1886 in a small frame building. Later it was expanded and the brick building on the Northeast corner of Main and College was built. The Willis Brothers constructed a large brick store on the northwest corner where Hazelip's is now located. I remember this store when it was owned by Thomas S. Willis. J. E. Willis erected the building and started a Bank where the Enfield Garment Factory is now located. The present Bank Building was erected early in this century, and became the First National. It was here that Lute Gowdy was cashier for so long. Mr. James Jordan was another long time employee in the bank.
Morlan and Odell had a furniture and undertaking establishment and were succeeded by Samuel A. Orr in the same building. Remember the old horse drawn hearse with its glass sides and high seat in front for the driver?
Fifty years ago, when Enfield was only a half century old, 'Squire Goudy, in compliance with a request from the White County Democrat wrote his recollections of the early days. Through the courtesy of his daughter, Miss Allie Goudy, I am permitted to quote from it-
"I was born 1 mile west of Enfield the 11th day of September, 1830, just about the time the old "Bar shear" plow was giving way to the Carey plow which was a new improvement with a wooden mold board and the reap hook as a harvester was giving way to that great improved harvester known as the scythe and cradle. The first of these is unknown today and the second is passing away as fast as the stumps are rolling out of the fields. The oldest person I knew when I was a small boy was Mrs. Mary Nelson, whose husband was Robert Nelson, who died soon after the Revolutionary War in which he served. She drew a pension and Daniel Hay was pension agent in this county. Her daughter, Mrs. Jane Roberts, also drew a pension. Her husband, Pleasant Maurice Roberts, was killed at the Battle of Raisin River in the War of 1812. I also remember Joel Harrell who was a Revolutionary soldier. Next to these in age was my grandfather, John C. Goudy and Robert Orr, and my great uncle, Robert Gowdy, who came from Nashville, Tennessee, about 1820, and James and Peter Miller who came from Kentucky at an earlier date.... I should mention John Upton whose descendants populate the country from here to Mill Shoals and also the northeast part of Hamilton County. Then there was Isaac Veatch whose descendants are scattered from here to the Pacific.
Among the early settlers I should mention Mathew Wilson, Robert and Joseph Hawthorne and Joshua Fields who had a son, Jeremiah.... The highest political honor conferred upon by grandfather was to be elected to the State Legislature that met in Vandalia in 1833. With a pair of old fashioned saddle bags thrown across his saddle and his overcoat and umbrella buckled on the sweat pad, he rode horseback to the capital. . I have often heard it said that these old pioneers enjoyed life more than we do. Is that true? Do the comforts and conveniences of this life bring trouble? If they do, it is because of their misuse. Perhaps If we had the correct view of the matter, we would say, "I love to think of the good old days of the past; I love to think of the better days of the present, and I love to think of the best days that are coming."-The pioneer preachers received but little of the world's goods in return for their labor of love. Some of the old mothers would knit a pair of socks out of yarn carded and spun by their own hands and give them to the preacher. I remember they united and made a full suit of mixed jeans clothes and gave them to Uncle Richard Harris. At another time, the fathers gathered up a small bunch of calves, I suppose worth $1.50 apiece, and drove them to Roland and gave them to Uncle John Porter. When I was 8 years old, Uncle Harvey Goudy's old brindle dog, named Jim, treed a wild black bear near our home. I remember well eating some of that wild bear meat. When I was 9 or 10, I went with my father to Shawneetown with an ox wagon loaded with venison hams.... We had no public schools and I attended a subscription school ...When I got to cube root, I went to the patch and got the largest turnip I could find and cut it into blocks to illustrate each part of the process. When I got to Geography, I found a large pumpkin in the field and made a globe of it.... R. S. Graham wrote me a certificate to teach the seven branches. . . . James Harvey Goudy.
I wonder if 50 years from now our children will smile when they read a letter boasting of the "modern conveniences" we have today.
ENFIELD GETS ELECTRICITY
As I look back there do not seem to have been many changes between 1905 and 1917 in Enfield. The streets were still unimproved, and we lighted our homes with kerosene lamps, except for a few who used a home gas plant. A few homes had the "new fangled" bathrooms, but not many. Then the electric light plant was built and we had current from dusk until dawn and on Wednesday morning. But it was not until the Illinois Light and Power Company took over that electrical appliances came into wide use. The old sad irons were discarded; the Home Comfort Range was moved to the wood shed (and what a comfort it was on a cold winter morning!) and we threw away the wash board; and electric refrigerators took the place of the old ice boxes or the expedient of hanging the butter in the well. It is well that back in the old days when the work of the housewife was so difficult that it was so easy to get help. I ran across an interesting item in some early papers (1860).
To Sarah Ashbrook for working 11 weeks and 3 days at the price customary for girl's work--$11.50. Can't you see Sarah--up before dawn, helping with the milking, frying ham, potatoes and eggs and making biscuits for breakfast--working up a batch of light bread, washing, ironing, and perhaps picking a gallon of blackberries or working in the garden in her leisure moments--and when supper was over and the dishes done, Sarah probably had the churning to do, and no doubt as she thumped the churn dasher up and down in the old cedar churn, she sang the old song, "Come butter come, Peter is at the gate waiting for butter cake."
The years of 1927,'28 and '29 were epochal in the history of Enfield. The hard road was built from McLeansboro, and through town to the northern city limits in 1927. The next year Main Street was graveled and the hard road extended from Carmi to the intersection. No longer need we close the garage doors when the Autumn rains came and let the Overland, Ford or Studebaker rest until spring. Better cars were made and we didn't spend so much time on Sunday afternoon seated by some distant road side soothing the baby and assuring little Johnny that we would go home for supper as soon as Daddy fixed the car.
ENFIELD AT THE HALF A CENTURY MARK
It is not possible to name all the stores once in Enfield, but we have nostalgic memories of Ras and Geordie Orr's grocery store on West Main Street where Papa and Mamma let us spend our pennies for candy corn and peppermint sticks on Saturday night; of Mr. Flick's candy shop; of Willard Kirk's and Joe Odell's and of Zeke and Dugan at the "Honest Corner." Dr. Latham's Drug Store was taken over by William Welsh and Arthur E. Welsh owned it for many years. Mr. Welsh was largely responsible for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station east of town, that has fostered so many improvements in farming.
Until recent years, there have always been millinery shops in Enfield. Following the very early ones were those of the Trousdale Sisters, Miss Ethel Miller, Miss Frances Land and Mrs. Will Hayes. Perhaps you remember buying an Easter bonnet at one of these shops. Photography was an important business and as we look at the old pictures, we find the names of Cora Hastings, G. M. Bone, and E. W. Bays as early photographers. Having group pictures made was a fad among the young people--fortunately, for we now prize them highly.
The apple evaporator run by Palmer and McClain some forty years ago was a flourishing business. Mr. William Wallace had a flour mill down by the junction. Oscar Murphy had a jewelry store with a watch and clock repairing department, and Harry Orr's barber shop was an interesting place with its collection of stuffed birds.
The new Christian Church was built in 1932, and mention must be made of the Reverend Bart Kello, who was the pastor for so many years.
Fire devastated Main Street in the spring of 1933. Starting in the Drug Store of A. E. Welsh, the flames gained such headway that they could not be checked by a bucket brigade. Not only the drug store was burned to the ground, but also the barber shops of Harry Orr and Carson Hatcher and two other business places. A few years later another fire destroyed the Town House and two adjoining buildings. How unimportant these fires might have been had we then owned our present fire fighting apparatus!
ENFIELD--ONE HUNDRED YEARS
The Kiwanis Club, of which Stanley Orr is president, though its life span is short, has a notable list of achievements. The Miller woods has been converted into a beautiful park with lights, a children's playground, a ball diamond and picnic facilities called the Uncle Newt Miller Park. The Kiwanis sponsored the purchase of the fire engine, and now when we hear the fire bell from the old calaboose, it is soon followed by the siren, and we know that the fire department will take care of the blaze.
The first black top was put on Main Street when John Quindry was Mayor, and John Rush, the present incumbent had it re-surfaced in 1952.
Enfield is proud indeed of the new water works. High above the town, the water town gleams silver in the sunlight with its Mule's head symbolic of Enfield's annual Mule Day. This improvement that makes Enfield a pleasanter and safer place to live was accomplished when Samuel Storey was Mayor.
The Opportunity Club, with Mrs. E. R. Elliott as president, and the Spirit of Progress Club headed by Mrs. James Anderson, are both active in a social way and in the promotion of the civic affairs of the town.
Mr. Clifford Edwards is Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge and Mrs. Carson Hatcher is Worthy Matron of the O.E.S. Mrs. J. W. Davis, formerly Ella (Gowdy) Robinson, is the only charter member of the O.E.S. who is living.
Enfield now has a thriving, young newspaper with a wide circulation. It is edited and published by Alden S. Baker. Mrs. Charles W. Land is his assistant. Mrs. Land, as Miss Marie Davis, gained her skill as a type setter in the office of the old Enfield Express that was published for so many years by Mr. E. M. Young.
The Reverend Vernon Brown is pastor of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Kermit Prince, of the First Presbyterian Church, the Reverend Harry Randolph, of the Christian Church and the Reverend Darnell Casey of the General Baptist Church. The Missionary Baptists are building a new church on the lots west of Bartley Wilson's home under the leadership of Rev. Elvin Tolley.
Father Brumleve has charge of the beautiful St. Patrick's Church west of town.
The lumber yard that William Baird owned in 1882, was taken over by the Willis Brothers and owned by them for many years--the old Southern Illinois Lumber Company had several managers, and is now under the capable control of E. R. Elliott. A new and modern plant has been built.
The French Elevator has been built recently near the Junction. The Enfield Garment Factory is of great importance to the people of Enfield, with its substantial payroll. Maurice Black and son, Bill, are the Marathon dealers. William South is the Sinclair dealer.
Six stores, Marlin's, Funkhouser's, Niccum's, Hazelip's, Palmiter's, and Newman's supply all the necessities in the way of groceries and general merchandise.
The First National Bank is a sound institution with H. E. McCurdy as Cashier. Thomas Dunn is President. Chris Wageneck continues to manage the hardware store in his father's old place, and Victor Artin has the Appliance Shop. Willie McKnight has opened a Floor Shop on West Main, and Stanley Orr has a Jewelry Store. Otto Voyles has the restaurant at the Shell Filling Station, and Freddie James has a restaurant on Main Street. Ray Ruemmler owns the Drug Store. Earl Blakemore is the poultry dealer. W. R. Smith's laundry on Jeanette Street is convenient for all.
The Champion Cleaners, Martin's Feed Store and the Williams' Amusement Company are other business houses. Wm. Walters has a Soil Building Service. Oscar Joy is the ice dealer.
There are five filling stations and garages in town--the Jordan Service Station, Chelsea York's, Fromm's, Dixon's and Williams'. George Endicott is Secretary for the White County Farmers Mutual Insurance. Harry Campbell is Enfield's Constable.
The first Postmaster at Enfield was Doctor Martin Johnson. He was appointed by President Franklin Pierce in 1853 when the Post Office was moved from Seven Mile Prairie. Doctor Martin Johnson died in 1858 and according to the White County History, he was succeeded in office by Felix H. Willis. Following Mr. Willis were John N. Wilson, and David M. Orr. J. B. Odell was Postmaster in 1883. After that date Theodore Tromley, Will Long, Arch G, Foster, Leander F. Gowdy, who received his appointment from President Theodore Roosevelt, Joe Connery, Chalon T. Land and Ben Bramlett filled the office. Claude Jordan is the present incumbent with Bartley Wilson acting as clerk.
Mr. and Mrs. Grover Simpson are the efficient operators of the General Telephone Company of Illinois. They have served us faithfully for almost thirty four years.
W. A. Miller is Superintendent of the expanded school unit and has a large corps of teachers. Jesse McMurtry with Ernest Fechtig, John Chalpell, Kenneth Cole, Karl Bramsteadt, Miss Wreathe Nicholson, Miss Emma Bradley, Miss Mary McCabe, Mrs. Verla Laffoon and Miss Elizabeth Rest as teachers. In the Grade School, Bruce Hardesty is principal and the teachers are James Rankin, Miss Helen Dixon, Mrs. Ellen Brown, Mrs. Naomi Wageneck, Mrs. Helen Noble, Miss Flora Dartt and Mrs. Esther Frances Jordan.
Bernard T. Williams is the President of the Board of Education.
Phil Huffaker has been the efficient custodian at the High School for many years, while Joe Winemiller has charge of the Grade School.
MRS. JENNIE FIELDS
Enfield has a rich background of tradition and folk lore and tales that should be preserved. Several years ago, Mrs. Jennie Fields wrote an article about the early history of Enfield, and she told of a "groggery" that was located on the corner where Hazelip's now stands. It was a small frame building standing high on posts with no underpinning. Such potent drinks as corn whiskey, peach brandy and cherry bounce, were sold across the bar, and the people of Enfield were greatly incensed about it. One dark night a group of irate citizens crawled under the Groggery and with brace and bit they bored holes through the floor and the bottoms of the barrels. The next morning some hogs that made a practice of sleeping under the building, came staggering out showing their human counterparts how they looked when drunk.
It would take a volume larger than this to tell of Enfield's part in all the Wars. Joseph and Robert Hawthorne, Elias Veatch and Joel Harrell are old "Revolutioneers" buried in the Enfield Cemetery. James Richardson and Ezra Bostick, who also served in the Revolutionary War, lived in the Seven Mile Prairie Community before going on to Montgomery County.
Records of the War of 1812 are difficult to find. Thomas Fields and Robert Hawthorne served in the War from Tennessee, and William Rutledge from Kentucky just prior to coming to the Illinois Territory. Joel Berry and William Jordan were Rangers against the Indians. The story is told that the wife of William Jordan would bank the fire in the cabin and take her small son to sleep in the shelter of a log in the forest. Thomas Cameron built a blockhouse north east of town for defense against the Indians.
The Black Hawk War in 1832 was of brief duration and some of the men who volunteered so bravely failed to sight an Indian. Among them were Captain William Thomas, Joel Rice, John M. Wilson, Peter Miller, William Null, Lt. John Haynes, Lt. Thomas Fields, the same Thomas who served in the War of 1812, Henry P. Anderson and Pliney H. Gowdy.
James Fields is the only one of whom I know who served in the Mexican War. There may have been others.
White County sent, in proportion to its population, more soldiers than any other county in the United States. I thought that I might give the names of all the men on the Civil War "Honor Roll" but the list is too long for this book. Captain James Fields, who fought in the Mexican War, was wounded, his brother, Joshua M. Fields was killed at Missionary Ridge and Robert Fields lost his life at Vicksburg. For the people of White County one of the most tragic events of the War was the sinking of the General Lyon. The War was over and the boys who had lived through four years of conflict were coming home. They had survived the long march through Georgia on starvation rations of a cup of meal a day, ground cob and all, and what little they could forage from the country side. Now, after boarding the General Lyon at Wilmington, North Carolina, they were homeward bound. Laughter and singing resounded from the decks and the favorite melody was "Home, Sweet Home." But a storm overtook the ship, a cask of kerosene on the top deck was broken open, and when the oil reached the furnace, the whole ship burst into flames. Of the 404 men on board only three escaped. One of these was Michael Brockett, father of Willard Brockett, Sr. John W. Fields, Jesse H. Veatch, Cyrus L. Gowdy and four of the sons of Theron Gowdy, William, Milton, John and Henry, were lost on the ill-fated steamer.
Draper, Gentry, Duckworth, Hood, Harrell, Land, Hargett, Newman and many other names familiar in Enfield were on that Civil War Honor Roll.
After the sinking of the Battleship Maine, the young men responded eagerly to the call for volunteers in the Spanish-American War.
Charles F. Rice, Charles E. Harmon, Joseph Beckwith, Sherman Clark, Samuel G. Cochran, Clarence B. Edens, Benj. F. Emerson, Wesley A. Finney, Loyd Mayo, Joseph P. Newman, Elisha Pullem, James A. Raney, David Wilson, Ernest E. Engle, Charles J. Goddard, George A. Lumm, James I. Miller and Loren F. Orr were all enrolled in the 9th Regiment. E. H. Orr, Charles Stephens, Charles McCurdy and Lowell Miller, who died in the army were in the army. As far as I could learn, John Powers, Lawrence Gott, Charles Stallings and Clarence Clark are the only veterans living in Enfield Township.
In World War I, Delbert Jordan, Howard Stevens, John Connery, and John Kannady made the supreme sacrifice.
World War II took a heavy toll of Enfield's finest young men. Not all of the following lived in Enfield, but they attended school here and we count them as our own.
Willard Fairchild, Doyle Miller, Ralph Kirk, Vernon Crouch, Kenneth Miller, Harold Fields, Hugh Dolan, Merle Porter, Robert Williams, John White, and the two brothers, Charles and Edward Healy.
Charles Miller and John Garrison were in a construction unit on Wake Island, and were captured by the Japanese and taken prisoner to China where they died.
In the Korean conflict, Carl Carter of Springerton, and a former student at the Enfield High School lost his life.
A CENTENNIAL WITH MEMORIES
And now we are celebrating Enfield's Centennial with pride and joy in the many improvements but with a feeling of sadness for the ones who were with us in the yesteryears that are here no more. I look across the street at the big white house where Aunt Nancy and Uncle John Millage Gowdy had such a happy home; at the Chal Willis house, once a proud mansion, but now deserted; at the old home of Dr. and Mrs. Felix Long, and the Uncle Ed Willis place. There have been so many fine citizens in Enfield whose names should be remembered--Mr. and Mrs. John Mathis, Uncle Ben and Aunt Sally Willis, Uncle Joe and Aunt Sally Davis, my Grandfather and Grandmother Mitchell, Mrs. Zeke Jordan, Mr. and Mrs. John Land, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Land, Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Gowdy and Lute Gowdy, Charles McCurdy, Mr. and Mrs. Al Martin, Rev. and Mrs. John Newman, Miss Carrie Gowdy. Ras, Ella and Johnnie Orr and Wilbur McClain whose rhythmic baton evoked so much gay music on Mule Day-the ones within my memory who made Enfield a happier place in which to live.
Then there was Millage Miller who originated Mule Day--quoting Mr. E.M. Young, "Mr. Miller, a valiant friend of this useful long eared animal, was inspired to set in motion an annual observance of him."
And now that we are started on our second hundred years, let us remember the advice of 'Squire Goudy, "Think of the good old days of the past, think of the better days of the present, and think of the days that are coming."
REMINISCENCES OF JOHN PATRICK DARTT--AS TOLD TO HIS GRANDDAUGHTER, FLORA DARTT
I was born March 22, 1858, one and one-half miles east of Enfield in a log cabin. Later we built a two story frame house. Harry Myers lives in this house now.
My Grandfather and Grandmother Harrell came from Kentucky in wagons drawn by oxen. They came before 1817 because it was in that year Joel Harrell took up a quarter section of land from the government. Illinois was still a territory and there was no law against slavery. My Grandfather brought a Negro family with him from Kentucky as slaves. The head of the family was called Negro Bush. When Illinois became a state and slavery was forbidden by the Constitution, they still lived on the farm and may have been indentured servants. Grandfather built a cabin for them 2 miles northeast of their house and let them have 40 acres to farm. Later they moved to Carmi.
As a little boy chasing the wild deer and turkey, fording the streams, listening to the tales Grandmother told of my Revolutionary Grandfather, and their experiences as pioneers, I did not think I would live to see Enfield celebrate its centennial. I suppose you would call me the "Last Leaf on the Tree."
I have spent most of my life farming and building roads in Enfield Township. An old wagon road had been cleared to Carmi, but you had to ford Seven Mile Creek. The first bridge built here was called an "Arch Bridge."
All of Enfield was in heavy timber when I was a boy.
My brother, Gus, and I walked to Spring Hill (Springerton) and rode back on the first B. & O. train to come through Enfield. People came from miles to see the train. They brought basket dinners and sat by big bonfires until the train came in. It was a great day!
We had sixty trees of sweet black cherries on the farm and my brothers and I picked and sold them to the men who built the L.& N. Railroad for 15c a gallon.
My first trip away from Enfield was to Fairfield. Mother worked several days preparing for the journey. We took a load of wool to exchange for jean and linsey to make our winter clothes. We camped south of Fairfield the first night. It took three days for the trip.
Mother knitted, and also spun and wove to make the cloth for our clothing. She had two spinning wheels and raised the cotton and flax and had sheep for the wool. She kept her loom busy weaving the cloth. Some of the children were grown before a sewing machine ever came into the house. Father made our shoes and he was a good gunsmith too.
We had lots to eat--there was always "Hog meat," venison, wild turkey and other game. Mother made the best hominy in the community. Father made an ash hopper to leach the lye for making hominy. We used only the best white ears of corn and the old black "Allie pot" was always full. The "Allie pot" was so named for an old lady of that name in Kentucky. Mother used the lye to make soap, too, and she always made her own candles.
If we didn't want hominy, we could slice off a big piece of dried venison. My brothers and I liked this as well as candy, and mother often had as many as a dozen venison hams hanging in the smoke-house.
We traded with Uncle Patrick Dolan, Doctor McClain and Mark Miller. I was named for Patrick Dolan and he gave me the material to make my first suit of clothes. It was linsey-woolsey.
All my brothers and sisters went to Modoc School, attended singing school, and Father taught us the "Fiddle." My first teacher was Capt. Sam Foster.
I have heard the cannon at Shawneetown during the Civil War. Mother fed the soldiers as they came by our house on furlough. Many times they stayed all night. No one was refused bed or food at our house.
One day as I was coming to town, I counted twenty two deer crossing the old wagon road in front of me. This was within the present city limits where the high school now stands.
Yes, I have seen many changes in this land of ours since I was a child. Enfield is dear to me because we have grown old together.
Mr. Charlie Bannon is well versed in the early history of Enfield. His parents were born in Ireland and when they first came to America, made their home in New York City. They came to this part of the country in 1865 after a sojourn to Hamilton County. Mr. Bannon was born in 1868 and is in his 85th year. The family lived in town when Mr. Bannon was a boy in the house at the foot of the hill, on the south side of West Main Street. He recalls many interesting happenings of his early school days in Enfield. He now makes his home with a niece, Miss Mary Able, on a farm west of town.
Mrs. Lawrence Taylor is another person who has a vivid memory of early events in Enfield. Her father was Major H. F. Stephenson, a veteran of the Civil War when the family came to Enfield in 1881 soon after the L. & N. Railroad was built through town. As Mrs. Taylor remembers it, Arch G. Foster was the mayor of Enfield at that time. Major Stephenson had a general store in a frame building where the addition to Marlin's store now stands. The family lived in the old house that was recently razed on the corner directly across the street south of the new Southern Illinois Lumber Company. Mrs. Stephenson had a millinery store in a part of the house. Mrs. Taylor's first husband was John Joy and his mother was a Harrell. According to tradition, "Grandma Joy" was related to the man named Morgan who was killed by an Indian. The last reunion of the "Old Soldiers" was held in the Old School Presbyterian Church that once stood on the lot adjoining the Taylor residence, and Mrs. Taylor played the organ for that last meeting of the veterans of the Civil War. Mr. Taylor was a Hoosier, but has spend many years of his life in Enfield. He was an engineer for Orr Brothers Mill and for the early Light Plant.
(About the year 1930 four "Old Soldiers" attended a service in the Presbyterian Church. Uncle Boyce Mayberry came in from Hamilton County in an old hack and wearing a bell crowned gray hat to greet his old comrades in arms).
Mrs. Ella Robinson-Davis who was Ella Gowdy before her first marriage to Edward C. Robinson, has spent all of her 88 years in Enfield Township and has a keen memory for all the years that have passed. Her mother, Mrs. James E. (Mary J. Draper) Gowdy attained the age of 94 and as "Grandma Gowdy" was loved by the whole community. But let Mrs. Davis tell her story-"I was born November 21, 1865, and my first recollection is of the little log house which was built about four years before I was born on a farm a mile west of Enfield that was known for years as the Frank Veatch farm. My father, James E. Gowdy, said he cut the logs to build this house and then the neighbors came and they had a house raising. My mother white washed the inside and soon they were ready to go to house keeping in their cozy and happy home.
The first bed I remember is the one my sister, Martha, and I slept in. It was a trundle bed, and in the daytime was pushed away under a big four poster bed.
I started to school in Enfield when five years old. My first teacher was Mrs. Crow. Her husband, Rev. Crow, was the principal. The school house was the old frame school that preceded the brick building that was erected when I was about 17.
I have many fond memories of the old Southern Illinois College under such wonderful teachers as Prof. Mark Montgomery, Rev. George Montgomery, Wesley Jones, Miss Lillian Zimmerman, Miss Emma Ragan, Miss Prince and Jacob Chance. Wesley Jones became a Senator from the state of Washington, and William Borah, a classmate, was Senator from Idaho.
When the Southern Illinois College was started my father bought an organ so that I could major in music. Father and Mother both loved music and always attended the Old Southern Harmony Singing.
Doctor Alfred Baker had a big two story house about where the hotel stands now and his wife took in student hoarders. Mary Land, my sister, Martha, and I had a room together. We did not live far from town as distance is counted today, but the roads were so bad in winter that we stayed in town from Monday until Friday.
My cousin, Nettie Gowdy, who later married Samuel Montgomery, Rev. E. T. Powers and Wesley Jones were the first graduates, and then Nettle and Wesley both became teachers. Nettie is the only one that still lives--and she is in California.
The old Cumberland Presbyterian Church was always close to my heart. It stood on the hill where the First Presbyterian Church now stands. That is where I went to Sunday School and at the age of ten, I was converted and joined the church. Rev. John Millage Miller was the Pastor and Uncle Mark Miller was my Sunday School teacher. So many of my old friends have passed on that some times my memories of them seem to be an illusion. I often remember the yesteryears and the citizens who lived here then. The list included such names as Willis, Fields, Kirk, Jordan, Gowdy, Miller, Anderson, Land, Orr, Welsh, Kuykendall, Long, Trousdale, Brockett and many others who have been laid to rest in our beautiful cemetery.
I was married to Edward C. Robinson in 1888 and we went to housekeeping in the house where Tom Fields lives now. The house in which my son, Edward, and I now live was built in 1892, while my husband was teaching school at $30 a month and working in vacation for 50c a day. My daughter, Mrs. Clyde Latimer, lives in Frankfort, Kentucky, and I am a proud grandmother and great grandmother. My marriage to Joseph W. Davis occurred in 1922.
The Centennial of Enfield means much to me for I have witnessed the growth of our village through so many years.
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Last updated 9/21/99