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Emails for May

World War II memories

I discovered your websight a couple weeks ago and really enjoy it. I especially enjoyed the old pictures of Minonk.

I thought your editorial about Memorial Day was very interesting, and I was happy that you printed the names of the Minonk men who gave their lives or our country. My uncle, Charles Tarmen, was one of the twenty-two men who lost their lives. He was killed on August 24, 1944 near Fontableaux, France. He was a siter for a 60 mortar gun. He was killed by a German 88 shell that landed nearby. His outfit had crossed the Seine River the previous night. He was buried in a cemetery near Villeneuve Sur Auvers, France until 1948 when his body was returned to Minonk. A military funeral was held at St Paul's Church in September 1948 and he is buried in the Minonk Cemetery. I still remember the day that our family was notified of his death.

Surviving nieces and nephews living in the area are Marjorie Goliwas Obery of Metamora, Paul Janssen of Rutland, Donald (Tony) Janssen of Minonk.

Four young men from the Rutland community lost their lives in World War II. Herbert Harms, brother of Ralph Harms of Rutland, Eugene Tucker, brother of Wayne Tucker of Minonk, Eugene Schmillen (I think that was his first name, brother of James Schmillen of Minonk, and a son of Gerald Copp of Rutland. I do not recall his first name.

We also remember on Memorial Day that my aunt, Tena Tarman served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She served with the 97th Evacuation Hospital crossing the English Channel in a LCI and landing on Sugar Beach in France ten days after D Day. She was involved in five campaigns,Normandy, Northern France, the Ardennes,Rhineland, and Central Europe and was awarded the bronze star in January 1945. Her unit was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, moving back on Christmas Eve 1944. She spoke of crossing the Rhine River on what was then the longest pontoon bridge in the world. She also was able to visit her brother's grave in France several times. Tena is a graduate of Minonk High School and Brokaw School of Nursing, Milikin University, and the University of Illinois. She spent 24 years as a school nurse for the Decatur Illinois Public Schools and is now retired and lives in Decatur.

My mother saved all the letters that Tena wrote to our family during world War II, and after rereading them again last year I worte a paper about her war experiences, talking with Tena and using the letters. I also read Stephen Ambrose's book, "Citizen Soldiers" which was about the war in Europe as background information.

I recommend reading Ambrose's book to understand the foot soldier's role in World War II. It will make you very proud of what these young men did. I asked Aunt Tena is she ever was afraid, and she said,"No, we never thought of being afraid." Several times she said that she so wanted her brother to be there when she came home. She is still a very patriotic lady!!

I really hope that you will read "Citizen Soldiers". Keep up the good work!

Sherry Janssen Lindeman
Ocala, Florida

Mother's Day editorial brings back memories

Hi Dave, This was so sweet the things you wrote about your mother. I help out the O'Brien's as you might have remembered---they are elderly. I was just talking to them today about when I was a young kid 12-13 in the late 50's how different it was and that I thought if we could only go back to living simple like that again how much better the World would be. A time when you knew mom was home if you got sick at school or just needed her...you came through the door to usually smelling dinner cooking. That you didn't watch TV till after dark, you went outside and messed around in the yard or walked over to your friends house. The small kids played house or store in the back yards. In the mornings the mother got together for a cup of coffee. The teenagers all chipped in a quarter towards gas for one of them who had an old beater ( which we thought was to die for) nothing fancy or new, and we would all go cruising around the town.

So this really hit home as we were just talking about the very same things today.

Wanda Patterson

Remembers pool hall in Minonk

Hi Dave, The pool hall I remember from the 50's was owned by a man named John Meils(sp?) ansd his wife. They lived in the rear of the store. I think people named Shirley took over from them. The building is placed rightly in the letter from Ed Elliot. Near the bus station and Gardner Hatchery. I do believe there was an earlier pool hall operated by Harm Fortman in a building that later became Eden's tavern that was located at the nothern portion of the same block.

Bob Schmitz

Looking for info on Pickard family

I am looking for proof of the deaths of ; Sophia Pickard, Alfred Pickard and William Vilven. Does anyone have an obit or picture of tombstones? Thanks.

Contact me at jow@peaknet.net

J. Wakeman

Touting the lowly sparrow

Dave, I just looked your site this evening, saw the pics of the buntings and the "lowly sparrow." Certainly the indigo buntings are an exciting sighting. But you dismissed the "lowly sparrow" without any reference to its name. I'm not certain, but checking your pic against the depictions of various sparrows in the new "Guide to Birds" by David Sibley, this is probably a chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina). Peterson's Guide agrees, pointing out two similar species, the clay colored sparrow (S. pallida) and the field sparrow (S. pusilla). You might want to check these out in your bird guides.

The two indigo buntings on your feeder must both be males, as the females have dull brown plumage, not nearly as exotic as the bright blue males.

The Sibley Guide to Birds, published by National Audubon Society last year just in time for Christmas giving, is a fine book and a must-have for any serious birder.

Dean Uphoff

Wants to know more about Rutland coalmine

While surfing the net for information regarding the Rutland coal mine I happened upon Minonk's web site. I began reading, with great interest, the many articles about not only the coal mines but of also the people of that era (1900-19--).

I seem to recall some of the names mentioned in the articles as those who my father would talk about when he lived in Rutland back in the 20's and 30's.Timmerman was one of the names as well as Uphoff. I believe he mentioned a Harry Uphoff.

I don't know why but when I read, or hear these names, I begin to remember my father telling me about how life was back in those times.

As I was reading about the two coal mines of Minonk I wondered if the mine which was on the north side of town could have actually been the "Rutland" mine in reality? My instinct wants to say no because the mine the Rutland was so close to the town. It was literally only blocks away. Did Sutton own this mine also? Why did it close? Like the Minonk mine did it become financially unsound?

Any information regarding not only the mine in Rutland but also about the town I would appreciate.

My name is Thomas Ketchmark. My father's name was Stanley and so was his father.

Thanks again.

Another comment on mystery building

Dear Dave,

I'm not much of an "old timer" but I do remember a pool hall being uptown when i was a little girl (back when you'd buy those wax "pop bottles" filled with colored liquid--remember those?). Anyway, we used to go to a carnival uptown and I remember going into that pool hall. This would've been in the late 60's. A lady owned (or managed) it. I can't think of her name...I called my dad, he says it was Elsie Eden. He also says that he can't remember a brick sidewalk anywhere in the downtown area, so Mr. Elliot may be right about the reflection coming from the windows. The business that was operating there before the pool hall was a cafe, and the Eden's also had a lunch counter in the pool hall, so it's feasible to think there would be an "EAT" sign on the building, too. So, perhaps Mr Elliot is correct in his analysis.

Sincerely, Denise (Lindley) Robinson

Editor's note: Minonktalk showed the unknown building picture to some oldtimers downtown Minonk on Thursday and their feeling was that this picture is looking south on the east side of the 400 block of Oak Street. The buildings in the front are where the Minonk Theatre was later built. The first building was the OK saloon run by Otto Klatt. The building at the end appears to be the old Leiken garage. This means that the picture was probably taken in the early 20's. Anyone else care to comment?

Knows identity of mystery building?

I was informed about your website by a classmate, Jon Johnson, a few months ago and I now log on to check the news in Minonk. I think you have done an excellent job on this website and I enjoy it very much, it also brings back many good memories. -- Thank you and keep up the good work.

Now to the unknown building 1950's and location. I'm almost sure that the larger building is the old chicken hatchery and the small building with the Eat sign on it is the old pool hall which were located on Chestnut St. I walked by those buildings on my way to town and also played pool in the pool hall. The bus station (the old Ford garage) was just south of these buildings and people waiting for a bus or a bus trip rest break would walk up to the pool hall and eat. I also remember the empty space between the buildings to the North. What confused me was it looks as if there is a brick sidewalk in front of the buildings but the more I looked at it I think it's the reflection of the sun off the windows and it's not bricks but concrete. I do not remember when the pool hall opened or closed but I do remember the hatchery was there when I was in grade school -- do not know when it closed. Check with some of the "old timers" and see if anyone agrees with all this "I'm almost sure stuff".

Ed Elliott (Duke)


Found relatives thru Minonktalk

I think you have an absolutely great site. This is so easy to get around and full of wonderful information about your town. We visited there yesterday and your citizens are so wonderfully kind and friendly and this is a place you should be proud of. Because of your site I found a long lost relative. Everyone was so helpful in finding where she was buried and making sure I could find the grave in your Township cemetery (which has 5,000 graves and we have walked the entire cemetery.)

Since I do geneology I am looking for families related....here is our line

Catherine Shirey Born June 16,1848 married a Bishop.
Next Catherine Shirey married a Jess Green and these are the children I know about.
Frank Green, John Green, Ted Green, Dan Green.
Nancy Green born Sept 1866 married Bill Uden from Flanagan Illinois
Bill Uden Born 1864 died 1938, both buried in Center Cemetery Flanagan - children are Fawn Saxon Uden and Goldie Uden,
Fawn Uden married Paul Mulliken
Goldie married Charlie Knox buried in Center Cemetery
Jenny Green who married a Vandergrift

Catherine Shirey's parents are Jesse and Jane Shirey. Jesse Shirey was born February 17, 1799 and died October 2, 1887. Jane Shirey was born 1802-1818 and died February 11, 1907 and both are buried in Center Cemetery. The last census I found him on was 1870 in New Rutland.

Next Catherine Shirey married Daniel Nellinger the note in the family Bible says June 26, 1904 and I do not know if that is a marriage or death date... I will grovel for any information anyone would like to share about this family. Since Catherine Shirey Bishup Green Nellinger is buried in the Minonk Cemetery I assume that they lived either in Minonk or in this area.

Thank you to each of you who has been so kind to us and I hope someone there will either be related or know about this family.

Sue Halbmaier

Looking for Sarah Vaughn?

Hi there!!! great site!!!

I'm looking for someone called sara vaughn!!! she's from minonk i met her in Florida!! she is roughly 20 years old! im from the uk and am very keen to get back in touch!!

i can be e-mailed on Brad367_2000@yahoo.co.uk Or Raver2000@another.com

Memories of Minonk

Hi Dave,

I came across your website,while surfing the web... what a great way to inform the public about Minonk. Having lived there from 1958 to 1995.. it was my home for many years. I was involved in working to recreate the Sutton's Gardens years ago... unfortunately, we were advised not to continue working as the ground could not/would not be released to the city by the railroad. I have 2 nice size pieces of the green glass that was a part of the gardens, that I found on the property.. I will keep them for now, but hopefully someday, there will be a place in Minonk where persons can donate our "memories" of those old days, and I can donate them back to the city.

I also worked on the Bi-centennial committee in 1976, we had tried to secure the old railroad station that was left, however, the railroad refused to allow us to lease it, or buy it, and they tore it down.. we were going to restore it, for a museum to put all our "history" on display..by the way, its the same railroad that refused to lease or sell us the Sutton's garden ground.. Eileen Schneider even made trips to Chicago to talk to them, to no avail.

Even though I am not a native of Minonk, I spent many years there and still have some family there. I enjoyed researching Minonk's history during the bi-centennial and learning about the 4 elevators in town all at the same time , the brick yard, coal mine's, and more.. such a busy town years ago.. I am told the population was around 4000 when the mine's were running..there were miner's shacks out on the north edge of town, lots of church's , street fair's etc. Isnt it sad when a town has accomplished so much, and then slowly time's change and so does the town.

I enjoyed your article on Youngs garage, my father worked for Gene Young when he was a young man, it was sad to see an end come to that family business.

Keep up the great job with this website.. I have read things that I didn't know about. I would like to buy a copy of Eileens book about Minonk, I am not sure if the library has copies to sell or if any can be found for sale.. I know you can check one out at the library.

Judith Reeser
Hudson, IL

Searching for data on Eilts family

I am searching for the parents of a Martha (Eilts) Garrels who is buried at Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois. Her approximate date of birth is 1850 in Germany and died March 24, 1896. She was married to George Henry Garrels. There are many Eilts on your cemetery list, can you advise me where to find more information on these burials.

Thank You,
June Falatka

Looking for information on Stupek family

Your website came highly recommended, and I'm very impressed. The reason I'm writing is because I have a relative that indicates on the birth records of her children that she was born in Minonk, IL. Her name is either Helen Nellie or Nellie Helen STUPEK. She was born about 1888. I don't know who her parents are and I'm also trying to find out where she got married. She married my grandfather's brother, Albert TWARDOS. They lived in Lincoln, IL and had five children before Albert died in Johnston City, IL in 1922. I have communicated with a distant relative that currently lives in the Decatur area. I'm told that Helen had three brothers - Stephen, Martin and Jacob. Does anyone recall the STUPEK family?

If anyone can help me, please contact me at Elder48@aol.com

Thank you,
Carol Twardos Elder
So. California