Sullivan Democrat articles

Transcribed by Barbara Dix.

Many of articles are from clippings and so the exact dates are unknown. However, it is believed that some readers will will find them interesting and may want to search for the original.

Snow of 1867
The Union a few days ago in speaking of the "Big Snow" stated that it fell in 1866. A citizen of Sullivan has been recalling the event and states that the big snow began to fall on Friday, Jan. 20, 1867, and snowed continuously until Sunday, the 22nd, the snow reaching a depth of 22 inches. People were almost completely snowed in, it being very dificult to get about. The G. A. R. of this city gave a big festival on the evening of the 27th. at the old M. E. church in this city, and among those in attendance were a number of people from Hutsonville who came over in sleighs. The snow began to melt the evening of the festival, and the Hutsonville people were compelled to go home in the mud the next day, Jan. 28.

Uncle Jim McKee
Uncle Jim McKee, of Staffordshire, can hardly be called one of us loafers, but he got to town early the other morning in company with his good wife, and dropped in to see how the Union was prospering and of course to order it for another year for about the 36th time. "I was born in Merom," said he, "over 70 years ago, and lived there untilI was 2 1/2 years old. My father Alexander McKee, was a hatter, and followed the business till it ceased to be profitable on account of the cheaper woolen hats and scarcity of fur. Hats cost money in those days. He made the wedding hat that the late Uncle Billy Osborn wore, and got $10 for it. I think that hat is still in the Osborn family. Afterwards we moved to Turman township, and later I moved to Fairbanks township. I bought the farm where the famous Orcutt mill used to stand. It was a steam grist and was built some 50 years ago. No trace of it is now left. The spot where it once stood is now in cultivation.Don Orcutt, who used to live at Mermon, and who died recently at York Illinois, and who himself was a well known miller, was a son of the proprietor of Orcutt's mill. In the earlier days of flour making we had to bolt it ourselves. We used a hand bolting machine which we turned with one hand, and fed with the other. People wouldn't use such flour these days, but we had that kind but once a week which was on Sunday morning. Yes, I remember the days of flat boating. There were lots of those built on the bayou in those days for the New Orleans trade. Those boats were built bottom side up, tightly corked and than turned over. I remember once in an early day that Alfred Johnson was killed by a man called Bob White. Alfred was at work turning a boat over after it had been completed and making ready to launch it into the bayou, and White came up with a gun and shot him from the other side. They had quarreled over something. White went to the penitentiary and afterwards lived on the Orcutt farm that I now own. Johnson, was the father of Cal Johnson, who lives west of Sullivan.

The Shooting Of Marshall And Elizabeth Maxwell In November, 1864.

"Do you see that little window up there?" said Joe Highsmith to the writer one day last summer on the occasion of a call on Joe while he was plowing his tobacco patch southeast of his residence in Honey Creek township, Crawford county. "That Window," said he, "is the one that was fired into in November, 1864, by a mob, when Lizzie Maxwell, a good, harmless young woman, received her death wound." This circumstance was one of the many events of the Civil war occurring not only in Southern Illinois, but in other parts of the country, resulting not alone from a sympathy with the cause of secession, but from an ignorant political hatred as well. The name "abolitionist," as singular as it may seem at this time, proclaimed often by persons ignorant of the word's meaning, was an epithet of derision and surpreme contempt before the war, and it lost none of its animosity during that sanguinary conflict and period of terrible strife and bloodshed. It was but natural that such things should be resented, and that the young men who have taken their lives in their hands and gone forth to battle for the preservation of the Union and the defense of the old flag, should be quick to resent any aspersions upon their character, or the cause for which they were periling their lives. In September, 1864, Marshall Maxwell, a soldier of the 62nd regiment, being at home on furlough, went some other parties of the neighborhood to Vincennes to hear General John A. Logan speak. As they were returning home they met some Lawrence county parties who knew where they had been, and as they passed, one of them called out, "Hurrah for Jeff Davis!" Marshall Maxwell, as a soldier, for the Union, wearing the uniform as such, at once took the challenge in the spirit it was intended, an insult to his uniform, and that he would be proclaimed a coward by the party giving it if he failed to resent it. He jumped from the wagon in which he was riding and began firing on the crowd, wounding one of them slightly. Upon reaching home he left on his return to his regiment, which was then at Mattoon. The home of Marshall's father, John Maxwell, was in the midst of persons whose sympathies were with the South in the conflict of arms, men who sincerely hated abolitionists, while Mr. Maxwell was a man religiously and conscientiously opposed to human bondage, and was a strong and fearless friend of the Union and the vigorois prosecution of the war. Consequently he was anxious for the re-election of Lincoln on the platform of the Union party. His two sons, Archibald and Marshall, who were soldiers, came home to vote. On the Wednesday morning preceding the election, just at dawn of day, the attention of the family was attracted by the barking of the dog, and Mr.Maxwell, who had arisen, went to see the cause of the disturbance. He saw the house surrounded by a posse of men, one of whom said to him, "Old man I'll be d-----d if I don't burn your house," Mr. MaxWell replied, "I reckon not." and turned to go into the house, when some one out, "Halt!" Not obeying the command, he was fired upon just as he stepped on the porch, the ball striking the wall close proximity to his head. His two sons and another man were in bed upstairs. On hearing the shooting Marshall got up and went to the window, firing twice. Those without were at the same time shooting at and within the house. At this exciting moment the daughter, Elizabeth and her mother were standing beside a bed upstairs, where they thought they were out of danger, but a ball fired through a window struck the girl, passing through the bowels, inflicting a fatal wound. She cried out that she was shot, and on hearing this Marshall dashed down-stairs, threw open the door, and commenced firing at the crowd, one shot hitting a man named Wm. Parker, inflicting a severe but not dangerous wound. The young man was himself shot in the leg, making a wound so severe that he never fully recovered, dying inside a year. The surrender of Marshall Maxwell was demanded by the mob, claiming they had come to arrest him for shooting the Lawrence county man. Although frequently demanded, no authority for such arrest was shown, and no officer of the law was present. A story in palliation of the serious wounding of the girl was put afloat to the effect that she had appeared at the door, did the shooting and was wounded by so doing. This was disproved by the inmates of the house. The young woman, who was of a modest and retiring disposition, lingered about seven weeks, enduring intense suffering before death came to her relief. If there ever was any legal investigation of the affair, or any attempt to do so, the writer is not aware of it.


Mesha Hamilton, of rural route No. 1, has in his possession a copy of a Mattoon, (Ill.) Gazette extra, of April 13th, 1861. The first article is dated Charleston, April 12th, and is as follows: "The ball has opened; war is inaugurated. The batteries of Sullivan's Island and Morris Island, and other points were opened on Fort Sumpter at 4 O'Clock this morning. Fort Sumpter has returned the fire and a brisk cannonading has been kept up. No information has been recieved from the seaboard yet. The military are under arms, and the whole of our population are on the streets, and every space overlooking the harbor is filled with anxious spectators. "Later--Firing has continued all day without intermission. Two of Fort Sumpter's guns have been silenced and it is reported that a breach has been made in the southeast wall. Major Anderson's answer to Beauregard's demand, was that he would surrender when his supplies were exhausted, that is, if he was not reinforced. "Not a causualty has yet happened to any of the 19 batteries in position. Only seven have opened fire on Fort Sumpter, the remainder are held in reserve for the expected fleet. 2000 men reached this city this morning, and embarked for Morris Island and the neighborhood." New York, April 12.- The Herald' special dispatches say Fort Moultrie began the bombardment with two guns to which Anderson replied with his barbet guns, after which the batteries of Mt. Pleasant coming first, and the floating battery opened a brisk fire of shot and shell. Anderson replied only at long intervals, until between 7 and 8 o'clock, when he opened from two tiers of guns looking towards Moultrie and Steven's battery, but up to three o'clock failed to produce any serious injury. Bombardment has been recommenced with mortars and will be kept up all night. It is supposed Anderson is resting his men for the night. Vessels cannot get in--the storm is raging and the sea rough--making it impossible to reinforce tonight. Two men are wounded on Sullivan Island. A number were struck by spent projectiles. Three ships of war are visible on the offing and it is believed an attempt will be made tonight to reinforce Sumpter. From the regularity of the firing it is thought Anderson has a larger force than has been supposed.


This page last updated on February 05, 2015.