Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mom's Info Board

Marilyn Rose always posts the cards and letters Mom receives. After a month or so she packs them up and I bring them home to add to a scrapbook.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Uncle Weltie's flowers

Mom liked the spray I picked out for her brother Welty. He is in Limestone cemetery not far from Dad's grandparents.

Aunt Edith's flowers

Her kids added the urn just last week. She lays a few rows west of Berle.

Uncle Berle's Flag

We wanted a flag for her brother. He is buried in Memorial Gardens along with Aunt Edith. Mom and Aunt Dora, Dorothy and Mardene will be there too.

Aunt Tevis was the first stop today.

Mom always placed flowers on family graves for Decoration Day. I told her I would do it for her this year. She was happy to hear that. The one on the right is from her. I placed the same kind on Aunt Ediths' grave. This is in the Martinton cemetery.

Morning with Mom

Spent a great morning with Mom yesterday. Her mind is still doing well but her body muscles are getting weaker and weaker. She enjoys conversation and her cards and letters!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mckinley Arnold

McKinley Arnold is one of two brothers (Ernst was the other) to Grandpa George Arnold. He was a "high sherrif" in Kentucky. This picture is from Oct 1973, in Mt Vernon, KY where he was the local cop. He never drove a car. This was a dry town and he was very dry himself, once arrested his daughter for drinking.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rulo School (Arthur kids)

 Rulo School, not sure of the date. Back row: Teacher Janie Hansford, Tilo McDonald, Bea McCalister, Liz Arthur, Nola Whitaker, Dice Arthur (Hargis), Frances Arthur; Middle row: Ted Arthur, Lina Whitaker, Cora Whitaker, Virge McCalister (Taylor), Rose McDonald, Burta McDonald; Front row: Earn Whitaker, Willie Arthur, Dave McCalister, Virgil Adkins, Henry Adkins, Jess Whitaker, Ida Adkins (Hash), Anna Arthur (Turner); and Rendy McCalister. -- Doyle Speaks

Lina married Tom Arthur and  they lived near Kankakee farming, he moved there in 1919. Lina B: 1903-D: 1993
Tom was a brother to my Grandma Maryetta Arthur Arnold.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Arnold Sisters (5)

Edith, Tevis, Lucille, Dorothy, Dora.

Mike McVey in Peoria

Mike visiting
 with Everette and Gertie.      

About 1965 A bunch of us guys who worked together at the Roper Stove plant in Kankakee decided to ride our motorcycles to Peoria to watch the motorcycle races. Grand Nationals as I remember. I split off from the group in Peoria to check in with Everette and Gertie while the others were planning on sleeping at the track in bedrolls. I was supposed to meet up with them at a bar in an hour or so then return to Everetts for some rest after tipping a few beers. The bar wasn't hard to find so I parked  my 1959 Indian Chief (made in the UK) by the other bikes and entered the huge building. I was the only white person there! I was confused because their bikes were out front. I continued to walk around the big room until I saw a white guy and then noticed that another bar area was beyond the wall. It was segregated by a wall and by race! First time I've ever been in a place like that! I went over to "my" side for a while and then went back to Everette's to sleep.

Audrey Reynolds

This is the daughter of Aunt Lola Arthur Reynolds. 1966 and 1958.

Dora Arnold Whitaker Hargis and Andrew 1962

Grandpa's sister and her second husband. Her first husband (Lum Whitaker)
was murdered.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dale and Larry Arnold, youngest sons of Uncle Welty.
Uncle Welty Arnold and Opal Pope.
Dora, Dorothy, Velma Arnold. 3 of 10 Arnold kids.

Four Arnold Sisters

Left rear is Aunt Dorothy, Dora
Left front is Velma, Tevis.

Vickie Arnold

 Aunt Dorothy's baby before Babe her puppy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tornado of 1912


I have the Kankakee newspaper this story was based on. Luther Miller, my grandfather, was living in the house that was destroyed. His father, Louis (paper spelled it "Lewis") was the farm owner. Grandpa wouldn't rebuild the house on a farm he didn't own so he bought it from his father. That caused some problems between them per Aunt Nelda. The problems must have ended because the funeral services for Louis (d. 1918) and his wife Mary (d. 1926) were held in the parlor of that house. Another tornado hit the place in either '53 or '54 taking down the silo. Gramma Miller was watching the storm arriving from the west out of the SE barn door and she fell backwards into the barn when the silo went over. She had real bad arthritis in her knees and moved slowly, hence the fall. Yet another tornado destroyed the Luther Foltz farm house a few miles NW of the Millers in 1964 (the same one that went on to hit Olivet college killing one lady holding her baby in her arms). Mom was living at the Taylor place ( 1/2 mile north of the Foltz farm)with her parents in the 1930's when she met, then later married Dad. Dad's cousin Herbert Luther Foltz (d. 2004) owned that farm and it's now for sale. I remember hearing the story about the bible in the Grant Park Church from Mom and Aunt Gladys (who lived on a farm not far from the church) and it was finally confirmed, to me anyway, when I bought a weekly magazine from that time period that had pictures and a story about it. I bought the Ridings book this came from too. I enjoyed all 300+ pages! Rich Miller Sr

Kankakee County's worst tornado -- a century ago
May 01, 2012, 10:16 am
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By Jim Ridings
Historian and author

Published in The Daily Journal April 21, 2012

It was 100 years ago when Kankakee County saw the worst tornado that ever hit this area.

The tornado blew through April 21, 1912, and it took 35 lives in Illinois and Indiana.

The tornado came just five months after what is now the second-worst tornado to hit the area. On Nov. 11, 1911, warm and windy weather turned violent. The storm came from the southwest, destroying several Cabery-area farms and killing 17-year-old Frank Kersch. Hundreds of buildings were blown over between Cabery and Kankakee. A few buildings in downtown Kankakee were damaged.

The 1912 tornado first formed in Kansas, where three people died. It leveled several towns in southern Illinois; in Willisville, five people were killed, and in Bush, 18 were killed and 100 were injured.

The tornado destroyed the town of Wauponsee near Coal City, and then went on to Dwight. The storm blew down farmhouses, windmills, barns and killed livestock in great numbers. Dooley School near Dwight was blown down. The tornado moved on to hit Reddick, Bonfield and Limestone. Then it hit Momence and St. Anne hard, and it really devastated Grant Park.


An account at the time told of "terrific winds and low-hanging black clouds, which rose and lowered at intervals until they settled west of Reddick." Olive Goldtrap, of Clifton, told the Kankakee Daily Republican, "It looked like a big black mass, floating through the air, with a black string attached, reaching nearly to the ground."

The tornado hit the farm of Fred Mulford, just west of Reddick, where Nelson Hulse was the tenant farmer. Four members of the Hulse family were killed. Nelson and his wife Phoebe and their 1-year-old daughter Bessie were crushed in the collapse of their house. Another child, 9-year-old Irene, was taken to a doctor's office in Reddick, where she died. The four Hulse family members, along with son Lloyd, who died in 1906, are buried in the same plot with a single marker in Round Grove Cemetery, north of Campus, in Livingston County.

Before leaving Reddick, the tornado destroyed the Dan Murphy house, and family members were found injured in the rubble. Reddick's train depot was demolished, and the Bartlett Frazier elevator was severely damaged. On the Patchett farm near Reddick, every farm building was destroyed, and the family escaped injury by clinging to trees.

After the storm, a special train of railroad workers came to Reddick and worked through the night to clear the wreckage.

Limestone Township

Every building on Luther Miller's farm in Limestone Township was destroyed, and much livestock was killed. The family barely escaped by getting into the cellar in time.

A group of nine people were driving home to Limestone from Kankakee in a carriage when the storm arrived. They took shelter by parking their carriage in an old stone barn on the James Powell farm. The tornado raised the roof and sent it and the walls crashing on the people. Finnette Anna Hawkins, 82, and her daughter, Nettie Jay, were killed.

In Rockville Township, the Schultz and Magruder farms had many buildings destroyed. In the Chebanse and Clifton area, the tornado demolished buildings on the John Hiller, Charles Bowen, Robert Donovan and Fred Strahl farms.

Near Chebanse and Clifton, the tornado split when it got to the pig pen on Fred Strahl's farm; one funnel cloud went north and the other went south, picking up pigs and depositing their bodies miles away. Strahl was picked up by the wind and escaped death only by clinging to a basement wall. Strahl later moved to Kankakee, where he opened a speakeasy at 260 S. East Ave. during Prohibition. He was gunned down by rival gangsters in 1929 in the alley behind his establishment.

At St. George, Will LeBeau's farmhouse and other buildings were destroyed. Octave Longtin's house was severely damaged and his barn was carried away by the wind.

Grant Park

Grant Park was devastated. Homes, businesses and churches were destroyed, and at least two dozen people were injured, with dozens more left homeless. It was a miracle that no one was killed there.

Cass Hayden saw the storm coming from the west. He didn't realize how strong it was until he saw the amphitheater at the ballpark lifted into the air. Then Hayden ran for cover.

The new Methodist Episcopal Church, which had just been completed at a cost of $5,000, was demolished. The German Evangelical Church also was destroyed, along with its school and parsonage.

The Curtis Brick factory in Grant Park was devastated. Walter Rodenbaugh, the foreman, ran outside and was buried when a wall fell on him. Rodenbaugh, and employees Napolean St. Aubin and George Meyer, were seriously injured.

More than 30 houses in Grant Park were wrecked.

Five members of the Vanderburg family had to be rescued from the rubble of their house. Carl Rasher's new house was destroyed and his wife was seriously hurt. Charles Hasken's family was blown under a table and then tossed into the basement as their house blew away. George Love's house on the east side of Grant Park was blown over, and actually rolled over twice. George noticed his wife's feet sticking out from the rubble and he pulled her out.

The tornado blew away August Blanke's house and sent a splinter into the head of his 19-year-old son Henry, fracturing his skull. All five members of the Blanke family were injured. More than 28 years later, in August 1940, the Rev. G.A. Hess, who owned the Blanke property at that time, was working in his yard when he found Mr. Blanke's wedding ring, which had been lost in the destruction in 1912. He returned the ring to Mrs. Blanke.

The wind blew through the first floor of the Dewey Streeter auto garage, sending the upper story crashing down on a number of cars. The Gleaners coal and lumber yard was hit, scattering lumber everywhere. The Momence Power Company equipment was wrecked, cutting off electricity to Grant Park. Central Union Telephone Company equipment also was badly damaged.

How strong was the wind at Grant Park? Twelve boxcars loaded with bricks were blown off a railroad sidetrack.

When it was over, at least 25 people were injured, 17 houses were blown away, 50 more were damaged, and 21 barns were lost at Grant Park.

Kankakee's newspaper noted several strange aspects of the tornado. "One of the peculiar freaks of the tornado occurred at Grant Park, where a cook stove in the residence of George Ferris, containing live coals, was picked up and hurled through the window of that house and through the bay window of the house adjoining, occupied by the Lawrence family, where it was placed as though by hand in the center of the room."

And it noted that Grant Park's German Evangelical Church was picked up and demolished, everything ruined except for the pulpit, which contained a Bible opened to a chapter of Genesis as it had been for the previous Sunday's sermon. The church's school and parsonage, as well as the church building, were gone.

As the terrible tornado of 1912 moved on, 10 people were killed and 50 were injured as it passed through Morocco, Indiana. The tornado blew down 20 houses at Morocco. Another 40 homes in Newton County were destroyed.

This account is adapted from a chapter on tornadoes in the newly published "Wild Kankakee" book, the 20th book of local history by Jim Ridings.