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December 15, 2021
25 years ago
December 18, 1996
Dear Santa Claus,
I want a computer for Christmas and I want an eld to do all my work. I’ve been good but I’ve been bad. So please try to get me these gifts.
Love, Amber Underwood
P.S. Leave the elf with me until next Christmas.
Dear Santa Claus,
I have been very good this year. I sure hope the elves and Mrs.Claus are doing fine. I would like a Super Soaker 2,000 and Richotechet binoculars.
From, Ross Hurley
I wish for a new cat cover, Space Jam, Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians- the real one, Space Jam the boxer shorts and the top and bottom too.
From, Julie Kronable
P.S. Write back.
P.P.S. Hope you and the reindeer don’t get sick while flying through the air and fall down, down and down.
Since we got a hamster last year, I don’t want a cat anymore, but I still want different things for Christmas, a red convertible, the Space Jam, Shopping Fun Barbie and Kelly and Sega.
By Kellee Moore
P.S. Write back.
P.P.S. I may want a cat.
I want a 410 shotgun and I want a four wheeler and I want a trampoline.
Thank you, Brent Sprong
I have been very good this year. I sure hope the elves and Mrs. Claus are doing fine. I would like a gameboy game, and a nintendo game. That’s it. Goodbye.
From, Ben Eilerman
50 years ago
December 16, 1971
Several miles north of Eldred, in Greene County, stands an old stone house about which is woven a bit of literary history concerning the English novelist, Charles Dickens.
The old house was built in 1828 by a contemporary writer, John Russell, who acquired international recognition as a result of his literary accomplishments and the friendship of Charles Dickens.
The hitherto unrecorded event in the life of the English novelist and American writer has been established as the result of research work done by certain officers of the Jersey County Historical Society.
The incident occurred during the visit of the English writer to the St. Louis area on his trip to the United States in 1842.
At that time, Dickens left St. Louis and went by steamboat up the Mississippi to the Illinois River, then up that stream to Columbiana Landing in Greene County to visit John Russell.
Russell had won recognition in America for his essays and fiction writings. His essay, “The Venomous Worm,” had made its way into the school books of both America and England.
“The Venomous Worm” is still the best temperance article ever written. It was translated into many languages with Russell personally writing the Greek, Latin, French, German and Italian versions.
Russell met Dickens at the landing. After mutual greetings, members of the group climbed into the family coach and were driven to the family homestead, three miles north of Eldred.
Following the ride from the landing, Dickens was ushered into the Russell home and seated before the great fireplace in the living room.
There, he and Russell engaged in conversation relative to topics of mutual interest.
The story of the evening was frequently related by the son of the writer, Spencer Russell, who at the time of Dickens’ visit, was fourteen years of age.
To the J.W.B. Smith of Jerseyville, Spencer Russell often told the story of the events of the English author’s visit.
The Reverend Smith was a close friend of members of the Spencer Russell family and visited in the home on numerous occasions.
“It was before the fireplace in this room,” stated Russell in relating the story to the Reverend Smith, “that my father entertained Charles Dickens. They discussed numerous topics of interest and one thing that was recalled was their talk about the slavery question.”
During the ride from Columbiana Landing to the Russell home, Dickens took a great interest in the scenery of that part of the lower Illinois valley.
The great bluffs, rising in almost systematic intervals to the east of the roadway as they traveled north brought much favorable comment from the English writer. Prior to that time, Dickens had expressed disappointment regarding much of the wild scenery of America that he had visited.
Until the time of his death, Spencer Russell retained a number of letters written to his father by Dickens and some of the most noted characters in early American history.
After the death of Spencer Russell, the letters passed to his heirs. Several fires occurring in the homes of descendants of Spencer Russell destroyed many of the historical letters, including numerous manuscripts of John Russell.
John Russell acquired widespread fame in the literary world after the publication of his article, “The Venomous Worm,” in the St. Charles Missourian when Russell was teaching in the Bonhomie Bottom.
The article went the rounds of the American press and then was published in European countries.
When Pierpont, the poet, compiled his “National Reader,” Russell’s article was incorporated in the text and then later in the “McGuffey” Reader.
Russell went to St. Louis, which at that time was a French town. They taught French in the public schools. From St. Louis, he went to Vandalia, Il., and later took up residence in Alton where he became president of what was called Shurtleff College, and for years he remained as the head of Shurtleff.
He then moved to Bluffdale, where he built the seven-room home with six fireplaces and served as Bluffdale’s first post office. This was the home in which he later was to entertain the English writer, Charles Dickens.
For eight years, Russell was principal of the Spring Hill Academy in the Parish of East Feliciana, Louisiana.
During the last 25 years of his life, he wrote continually for the press. He was the first editor “The Backwoodsman,” a paper established and printed at Grafton during 1838 and 1839.
In 1841-42, he edited “The Advertiser” at Louisville, Kentucky.
At the time of his death, he was writing several elaborate works. Among them being, “The Blackhawk War,” “Evidences of Christianity,” and “A History of Illinois.”
This landmark is still used as a dwelling by a descendant of the Russell family.
It is now more widely known as Hobson’s Bluffdale Vacation Farm, operated by Mr. and Mrs. William Hobson.
Tourists from all over the world come to spend weekends and holidays there. To mention a few, people have come from Michigan, New York, California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Kansas, and even as far away as Venezuela and Manila.
Written by Warren F. Howdeshell
75 years ago
December 12, 1946
“East Hardin News- By ‘Ma’” was supplied by a Mrs. Haworth of East Hardin throughout the middle of the twentieth century. She served as the news correspondent for the vicinity and was a well known figure by folks in the county back in the day.
Pa came from behind his Globe Democrat long enough to give me orders about the weather forecast.
“This thing of waxin’ poetical in regard to the weather situation has to cease,” he shouted. “You and your cumulus clouds, I haven’t seen nary one since summer before last.
“Now if you want to be a weather prognosticator get down to brass tacks. First thing you know, all our tourists will head the other way and even Santa Claus will be afraid to drive Comet and Vixen to E. Hardin.”
So here’s the weather in a nutshell folks: It’s rainin’.
Mrs. Irene Crabtree and son, Walter, spent Sunday in St. Louis.
Saturday’s mail brought us a fine fruitcake from our good friends, Tom and Clara Kelley, of Medora. Pa wanted to sample it pronto, and Bill yearned for a nibble, but Ma didn’t have the heart to remove the wrapper. It was too pretty.
Mrs. Delbert Roach took the three lads, Harold, Bill and Jimmy, for a spin in the auto Sunday P.M.
Miss Hester Korty was a guest of Miss Valeria Peterson over the Sabbath, Sunday P.M.
Valeria, Hester and Mrs. John Powell were among the callers at the Haworth mansion. Mrs. Powell reports the serious illness of her sister, Mrs. Clara Borman.
Clara has been under the care of Dr. Peisker for some time. She is staying with her daughter, Mrs. Paul Gilland, of Fieldon.
Valeria and Hester will be Christmas shopping in Peoria the latter part of this week. The girls promised Ma that by hook or crook they would obtain a firsthand interview with Santa Claus and report in full. Watch for it in next week’s paper.
Jerome Corbett, pat yosef on the bean. Ma was the eldest of three old hens unanimous in votin’ you one of the finest chaps in Hardin. May you always remain tops in the hearts of your customers.
Readers you really should see the wonderful combination book and magazine rack and lovely fruit bowls Pa is making. The fruit bowls rest on four fancy legs. Cute as can be. A fine Christmas gift.
Mrs. Doss Evans was an East Hardin early Monday morning caller. Mrs. Evans ordered one of the fruit bowls. She appreciates Pa’s originality in designing and his fine workmanship.
Joe Champlin spent a busy day with Pa Monday. In fact, the two were so busy they didn’t heed the dinner bell.
So, the old tray was brought into service and Ma toted their dinner out to the workshop.
John L. Lewis met up with a Portia when he thumbed his schnozzle at Uncle Sammy.
Pa writes a pleadin’ letter to Santa Claus:
Santa Claus, bewhiskered dear, please sort the gifts you’re leavin’ here, for since we’ve settled in the Sticks, Ma’s up to her old foolish tricks.
Last Xmas in my sock I found, in yards of ribbon neatly bound, a big square package wrapped so neat, I thought, “Now here’s my Xmas treat.”
I opened it, and if you please, I cannot down Limburger cheese.
P.S. I have no desire to be mean or grouchy Santa, but it sure riles me to clamp my nose on Xmas day, so please sort the present.
Do not put the dog’s biscuits with my sugar cookies, nor the cat’s ribbon with my Xmas ties, and if there’s a suspicious lookin’ package with a rank odor, toss it in the ash can.
Your’s for a swell Christmas,
Another P.S. Bring Ma a prune and be sure it’s a wormy one.
Heartiest congratulations to the newlyweds and to the dear old darlins’ whom the Lord has blessed so wonderfully, giving them the courage to walk hand in hand together through fifty years of wedded life.
Our very best wishes to all of you from Pa, Ma, Bill and East Hardin folks.