The Fairdale Train
The first week
of July, 1923 was hot and dry. Crops were showing the effect of the
weather and farmers worried about their fields and stock. July 4th
celebrations had been observed, and people were doing their best to
put up with the lack of badly needed rain. For a short time their
attention on the weather was replaced with the news of a serious train
derailment near Fairdale on July 5.
resulted in 27 cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad to
leave the track spilling cattle, hogs, corn and fresh produce. The
Genoa Republican reported, “the train, according to
witnesses, was going about 27 miles per hour when it is thought one of
the trucks on a heavy laden car broke and headed for the ditch. (A
"truck" in railroading is a locomotive or railroad car wheel assembly
usually having two or more axels.)
was the momentum it could not stop until some twenty-seven cars left
the tract and the complete demolition of sixteen had taken place”.
Within minutes doctors from Monroe Center and local volunteers arrived
to give assistance and first aid. A special train was sent from
Rockford to transport the seriously injured to local hospitals.
bound train had made stops at Savannah, Lanark, and Davis Junction.
It was reported that at these stops several men boarded the train to
hitch a ride in two gondola cars near the center of the train. Killed
outright were George Henton of Chicago; Clarence Livingston of Council
Bluffs, Iowa; Walter Reeves of Omaha, Nebraska and a Mr. Stevens. The
three who died later in a Rockford hospital were F.R (or E. R.) Hood
of Magna, Utah; John Houck of Iowa and a man listed by his initials S.
L. The seven men who recovered from their injuries were Jesse Clark,
Atkinson, KS; Fred Flan, Chicago; Walter Gorgola, Chicago; Albert
Jentry, Kansas City, MO; Herman Schroeder, Chicago; Jack Smith,
Havanna, Cuba; and Eugene Wisdom of Minneapolis, MN.
reports at the time called these men bums and tramps, at least one of
the men, John Orin Houck appears to be simply a man trying to support
his family. His obituary in the Adams County Union-Republican
(Corning, IA., 11 July 1923) told that Mr. Houck, of Corning,
came from a family of railroad men. His father, Henry, and uncle,
George, were also killed in a similar accident five years earlier at
Charlton, Iowa. Only 23 years old when he died he left a wife, a 16
month-old daughter, and extended family members. His body was
returned to Corning for burial.
Some of the
others killed in the crash were identified but buried in paupers
graves in the Cronktown cemetery. A recent query to the Joiner
History Room regarding these graves prompted volunteer Ann Marie
Babich and Cooky and Gary Ikeler to visit the cemetery with divining
rods to see if they could locate the graves. They found five square,
stone markers and the divining rods indicated more burials. We must
assume that some of the graves were for the crash victims.
Thanks to Jim Kline, Genoa, for helping to pinpoint
the date of the derailment and to Craig Pierce, Genoa Library, for a
copy of the Genoa Republican article.
Movie Has DeKalb County Connection
Chicago and North Western Depot
Letitia Westgate and the 1902
The Lincoln Statue
First Jury of Sycamore Women
Sycamore Electric Company
Sycamore Wagon Works
Obituary of Phyllis I. Horton Kelly
In Grandmother's Attic
The Own Your Own Home
Images of Sycamore
|In 1919, Sycamore contracted with the Butzow Brothers
Garage to provide fire protection for a $150 per month fee. The
Butzows stored and mintained the city's new pump and ladder truck and also
provided the city with manpower for fighting fires. This unique
arrangement captured so much attention it was written up in Popular
Mechanics magazine in 1921. Charles "Chick" Butzow served as
Sycamore's fire chief from 1919 until he retired in 1952. This
close-up of his truck with the "chief" designation on the door was taken
historical information used with permission of Sue Breese and the
Joiner Room Staff.
See More Like This In
Images of America-Sycamore
Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at Local Stores
The DeKalb County Clerk's
office has put online birth, marriage, death and naturalization
records that meet genealogical guidelines. Most exciting is that
you can print the document image at no cost. Their
CBS Television 48
Hours Films at
Joiner History Room
The Joiner History Room
participated in supplying background information and was used as a
filming site for production of 48 Hours.
The program is about what may be the country's longest unsolved murder
case. Seven-year-old, Maria Ridulph, was kidnapped in 1957 and
her body was later found. The case went unsolved for 55 years
until Jack McCullough, formerly John Tessier, was arrested and convicted
for the murder.
The program is available online.
New Malta Obituary
Scrapbook of Obituary Collections, People with a Connection to the
Community of Malta, IL” Compiled by Dorothy W. Stoddard, December
2012. 3,274 obits. These obits are not part of our online database.
If you are looking for an obit on someone from the Malta area contact
the Joiner History Room.
This collection is also for sale
in printed ($80) and CD ($20) formats. All proceeds go to the
Malta Historical Society.
Announcing a New
Publication From the DeKalb County Historical Genealogical Society
and Order Form
New Book Acquisitions
James Madison Hood, Lincoln's Consul to the Court of Siam
by George C. Kingston
The Misadventure of an Old Saddle Tramp
by Robert Schweiger
Joseph A. Faivre & Mary Ann Montavon
A Family History of Faith and Fortitude
by Roger Steimel
American Yeoman: A Wood Family History
By Julia W. Kramer
Sycamore City Council Minutes
Present Sycamore mayor Ken Mundy
is a history buff. He has compiled a brief description of each
meeting held by the city council during the years 1858-1949.
By reading his work, you get a historical sense of the important
issues for this growing city. It is an ongoing project. The manuscripts are available for review
at the Joiner History Room.
Passed By Illinois Legislature
Excerpts From the Chicago Tribune 10 June 2011
Since last year when the bill was signed, about 645
adoptees born in Illinois before 1946 have been issued their birth
certificates. Starting November 15, 2011, those born after
1946 will be able to do the same thing. The law also allows
birth parents to have their names redacted from any released birth
certificate by filling out a form by Nov. 1. For more
JHR Adoption and Juvenile Court
Records Database Updated
Sycamore True Republican, 1893
Database - Free Images
This database still under construction but is available
now by clicking on the icon above.
We are working on putting
approximately 40,000 obits into an online, searchable data base. When completed, you will be able to search by name, year of death and
cemetery name. Also available will be the ability to view all
the obits in order of name, and in order of death date. Each
obituary is being scanned and you will be able to print a copy of the
This is a major project for our small staff of volunteers and interns.
This is an ongoing project and no completion date has been
established. If you don't find the obit you are looking for,
contact the Joiner History Room.
We thank the Douglas C. Roberts
Family for making this possible.
Sycamore True Republican Newspaper Is Online and
The Joiner History Room, the DeKalb County
archive, announces the completion of a year long project to digitize the
Sycamore True Republican. The Joiner History Room along with the
University of Illinois and Shaw Media, parent company of the DeKalb
Chronicle, has worked to digitize the
Sycamore True Republican from 1868 through 1968. Funded by a grant from
the Douglas C.
Roberts Family, the newspaper is fully
searchable for those years and available online, free for everyone. The
Sycamore True Republican was one of DeKalb County’s longest published
newspapers, recording our early history. It is the hope of all involved
that this digitization will help preserve the rich history that was
reported in the newspaper and make it accessible for everyone who wishes
to use it for genealogy or historical research purposes. The newspapers
can be accessed from the website at the University of Illinois through
their Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection (IDNC) at
New Index Available
The Midweek, a current DeKalb County area
publication, has a column called "Looking Back" that has small snipits
of local news dating back to the late 1800's. Most items are one
or two lines long, just enough to give you a flavor of what was
happening at the time. This index covers publication dates from
the start of the column, mid-2010, through December 2012. If you
find an item of interest, e-mail the Joiner History Room with date of
publication and page number.
February 2013 Issue of the
Joiner Room Journal is Online
Can You Help?
Joiner History Room is seeking to add to its archives pre 1960 telephone
books and city directories for the cities of Dekalb and Sycamore. We are
also interested in historical documents pertaining to DeKalb County. You
don't have to send the original historical document, copies will be just
as good. If you have such an item to donate, please email the Joiner
History Room. In the subject line enter "Item to Donate." Thank you.
Joiner Room Honored To
Be Part Of The DeKalb County
Joiner History Room Endowment Fund was established in 2008 to honor Ralph
Joiner and the first appointed DeKalb County historian, Phyllis Kelley.
If you wish to donate to our Endowment Fund, click on the DCCF logo or
send a check directly to The Joiner Room at the address above.
$ .25/page......Photocopy by patron at JHR
.50/page......Photocopies by JHR staff
2.00/scan......By JHR researcher
2.00/each......Photo quality prints
Scans will be emailed. To keep your costs down, we will try
to get as much on one scan as possible. Photocopies by JHR
staff and photo quality prints are sent U.S. mail only.
Postage is also charged.