Saturday, September 26, 2009

Unidentified Photos - Maybe Lucases

Do you know this couple? How about the child below?

These are some of the unidentified pictures at the Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society in Lincoln, Illinois. Someone said they thought these and several more were Lucases. Abraham and Marcy Kelsey Lucas were prolific and their children took after them so there are thousands of Lucas descendants. I don't know these. If you have a clue let me know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Charles Harper, Choctaw Indian, in Logan County

Several years ago I received this story from Valerie Anlage of Maryland. It is about her ancestor Charles Harper, a Choctaw Indian who settled in Logan County. The narrative includes John Andrew and Esther Jane Scroggin Buckles, my ancestors.

"In 1903 many of my ancestors applied to the Dawes Commission for identification as Missisippi Choctaws with the hopes of obtaining land in Oklahoma. They all claimed to be descendants of Charles HARPER, a full-blooded Choctaw Indian. One of the applicants requested that the Commission secure testimonies from Esther Jane (SCROGGIN) and John BUCKELS, aged 75 and 80 years respectively, of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois in support of his application.

"That the testimony of the said witnesses is material to affiants claim; that each of said witnesses if present would testify that he and she knew Charles Harper, through whom petitioner...claim(s) (his) Indian blood; that they also knew the wife of Charles Harper, and the children of Charles Harper and his wife, and many of their grand children and great grand children; that Charles Harper and his wife lived together as man and wife and were known and respected as such in the community in which they lived; that Charles Harper was a full-blood Choctaw Indian..."

Other witnesses named include Leonard K Scroggins, aged 83 of Mt. Pulaski, Polly Ridgeway and Robert Cass, each over 80, both of Buffalo Hart Grove, and Lydia Burke, also over 80 and living in Cornland.

As far as I know, Charles HARPER arrived in what would become Logan County in 1828.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A New Vaccine

We are thinking about swine flu vaccine. In the early 1950s polio was the deadly threat. In Logan County there was a woman who had worked tirelessly for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis - you know it as the March of Dimes - since its founding in 1938. When the Salk vaccine was made available in 1953 and shots were to begin they chose Ethel Ryan Downing to select the first first or second grader in Logan County to receive the shot. Before she could chose it was discovered one of her many grandchildren was in fact a first grader at Mt. Pulaski. She didn't want to chose him, feeling it was selfish, but the organization insisted.

Thus it was that on his mother's birthday in 1953, Ethel Downing's grandson Terry, dressed in his cowboy shirt, got the first polio vaccine in Logan County, followed closely by all the other first and second graders in the county.

No one knew why she was so devoted to that particular cause. Her husband Ellis said she volunteered for so many organizations but that one had a real hold on her. He didn't know why either. The organization was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt but Ethel was a staunch Republican. She knew no one with polio. She continued to work for the organization until polio was conquered. They didn't forget her. When she died in 1975 one of the biggest wreaths came from the March of Dimes.