1940 Stories from Illinois History


Domestic science was taught in a public school in Knox County as early as seventy-five years ago. According to accounts of the time, a Mrs. Minard, the mother of four children, gave a course in this subject at the "Old Salem School" near Victoria, where she also instructed her pupils in the "three R's."

Girls in the school, according to their ability to spell, took turns rocking and feeding her snail baby, who was regularly brought to the schoolhouse along with the other children in the Minard family.


An early Illinois physician's interest in the medicinal qualities of herbs is believed to have led directly to the first serious effort to make a comprehensive catalogue of the State's plants. In 1833, Dr. Samuel B. Mead of Augusta, Hancock County, began to collect specimens for his herbarium, which he hoped would eventually include examples of every plant growing within the state. He eagerly sought correspondents to send him good specimens, in return for which he agreed to give other plants growing in the vicinity of his home.

Under the title, "Catalogue of Plants, growing spontaneously in the State of Illinois, the principal part near Augusta, Hancock County," the Prairie Farmer in its issues from January to April, 1846, printed Mead' s findings. The first part of the record included detailed explanations of the abbreviations and typographical devices used throughout the catalogue.

In 1880, Knox College at Galesburg secured Dr. Mead's collections and writings, which he had prepared during nearly fifty years of study. They are considered to be invaluable records of plant life in the early period of the state's history.


Among newspaper editors who have found disarming ways to present delinquent subscribers with warnings is one early Illinois editor who set forth his message in a news item, in 1878!

"The Mattoon Journal gets down near the truth when it says that 'the farmers lose nearly as much money every year from hog cholera as newspapermen do by delinquent subscribers.'"

In 1880, an item in the Chicago Times, pointed out that the editor of the Galesburg Free Press, finding a number of readers neglected to pay for their subscriptions, "concluded that they had been misled by the word free." Accordingly, the article went on to state, he changed the name to the Galesburg Press.

"He says with delightful naivete," the article continued, "that he does not see that the change has had much effect upon his list."

Extracted 21 Oct 2019 by Norma Hass from Stories from Illinois History, compiled by the Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Illinois, published in 1940, pages 10, 59, and 75.

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