December 15, 2007

Snowy Days are Coming..Brrrrr!

My sister, Helen, took this picture behind the folks house in 1997, following a big snow storm that had come through. Everyone made it safely for mom's Christmas dinner. I remember the pine branches touching the ground, so heavy laden they were with snow .We haven't had this much snow yet..but had a big ice storm go through this last week. Looking at this picture reminds me of my childhood of buidling snowmen, making snow angels in the snow and licking ice sickles! It also reminds me of the yearly snow blizzards that always seemed to arrive in time for my birthday slumber parties. Poor mom and dad , one year they had 6 teenage girls stranded at our house for almost a week! ( and was the ultimate birthday party for me!!!)On the day this picture was taken, I waded out in the snow drifts to hang a grapevine wreath on one of the 6 pane windows. Dad was no longer with us and I felt compelled to decorate the old garage he had once built. Ten years later, someone else owns our old home, but I see that wreath still is hanging.

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Built in 1837 by Dr Adams, this home was lived in by 4 generations of the Wellman family. It was built with two foot walls of rock from near by limestone quarry. When dad replaced the floor to the front rooms, he found two trap doors to the cellar. History tells of Dr Adams helping free slaves during the Underground Railroad and also treating the Black Hawk Indians during early years of his settlement there. This was a time of unrest amongst the settlers and Indians
,but a time when the Banditti of the prairie roamed the area . ( Inlet Creek, now known as Green River, was a gathering place for thieves, counterfeiters, fence men and even murderers.) One of the particular thief's house was used as a hiding place for all stolen goods. These banditti were not only located in Illinois or Lee Center but also extended from ohio and Kentucky to Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin - but their favorite and main meeting place was Inlet. This part of the country was hilly and rugged with ravines and dense forests which made it possible for giving better protection and hiding places. I own the book Banditti of the Prairie, which gives an interesting account of this era. A group of settlers in Inlet Grove, namely, Sherman Shaw, Charles Ingalls, Rev. Hitchcock, Dr. R.F. Adams, Moses Crombies, Louis Clapp, Benjamin Whittaker, and a Mr. Starks and his sons, resolved to rid Inlet Grove of these "banditti." Through their heroic efforts, these men freed Inlet of the banditti. Dr Adams was not only admirable in helping to free slaves treat Indians, and help rid the area of banditti,,, but brave.It is written how he would take his buggy out at night to transport the slaves to the next town, as most did not suspect a doctor being out on house calls at night. Mom said that the blueprints to this home are in the National Archives. Dr Adams later went on to be a statesman in Illinois and his gravesite is in the Lee Center Cemetary. My parents lived in this house 70 yrs.
Historical Notes about Lee Center
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