Cumberland County: This is Our Story, Part 5

Cumberland County: This is Our Story, Part 5


[music playing]
Carolyn:The first Cumberland County Fair was here in Greenup, and it was in 1858 that it
was organized, and it would be in the village of Greenup just north. And then it was there for two years, and they
always had the fair in October back then. And then they decided that they would move
the fair to Prairie City, which is the county seat, but now it is called Toledo. And it was just done about half a mile or
a mile out of town on about 10 acres. And it was there for approximately from 1860
to 1888 whenever they moved it back to Greenup, to the present location. It was noted back that Frank James did the
horse racing, and they paid him 100 dollars. And how they was able to locate this they
went back in the old secretary books and was able to see that that’s what he had got paid. Cumberland County Fair has always been noted
for good horse racing. And I was told by my dad in the early years
that when he was a kid that his mom and dad would load the kids in the wagon on early
Saturday morning, and his mom would fry chicken and fix stuff, and they would head for the
fair ground, and they would spend the day at the fair. And that’s when he really decided that he
really enjoyed the fair. And my dad was John Kemper, which served every
place on the ground that he possibly could serve, and he was president and vice president,
and he was honored for 43 years of service that he had spent on the fair ground. What really excited me when you came down
over the hill, and you could see all of the carnival rides, all the bright lights, and
everything, and it was just a thrill to think, “Oh, I just want to really enjoy this.” Because back then the fair started on Sunday,
and the carnival, everything was set and ready to go. I think the people just really enjoy it. Really enjoy it. And the businesses in town would close at
1:00 and attend, and even the courthouse in Toledo would close at noon so everybody could
attend the Cumberland County Fair. And it’s for kids. That’s the main thing of the fair is your
sheep, your cattle, your hogs. You have people bringing those in, and they’re
judged, and you have junior shows, and stuff, and horse shows. And, I mean, it’s for the kids. That’s what I’ve always felt like. The fair is for the kids to enjoy. [music playing]
Billie: Toledo was founded on June 10th 1854. So, three years later is when the Toledo Democrat
started. The Toledo Democrat is the oldest business
in Cumberland County, and it was founded in 1857. We purchased it on January first of 1999,
but I have worked there since 1987. When we bought it in ’99 we had one computer,
and now we have five, two commercial printers, a fax machine, we did not have fax, we did
not have internet. We had rotary phones. Everything is digital now, even our newspaper
is digital. I used to have to paste it up by hand, now
we do it all on computer, we e-mail it down, I pick it up. And before I had to paste it up we had a wax
machine, we had a dark room. And so, everything has totally changed. The Democrat we wanted to change the name,
and in our newspaper it says politically independent because of Democrat, but it’s in our contract
we can’t change the name because that’s what their father named it. We cover the whole county. We are the only newspaper that covers the
whole county. The most important thing is traffic, realty,
death, and they love the board meetings. We cover Jewett, Neoga, Greenup, the county. People appreciate the paper. I think even the younger generation they get
it. And every time we get a new postmaster, or
a new worker at Toledo it doesn’t take them very long. They realize when we get those papers down
there you best be putting them in the box because everybody in Toledo wants their newspaper. Our motto is: If you’re good to the community,
the community will give back. And the community has been great. So, when we bought it we had 600 subscribers,
now we have 1900. But now the younger generation likes it because
of the sports. And I have a lot of parents that when their
kids go to college they buy them a six month subscription for when they go to college. And, of course, these other kids are from
big cities, and they can’t believe that this stuffs in the local newspaper, because the
big cities cover the politics, and we don’t cover any of that. We just cover Cumberland County, hometown
news, what’s important to people in Cumberland County. [music playing]
John: Johnstown is the oldest community in Cumberland County. In fact, it’s older than the county itself. It was founded in 1827. At that time it was part of Clark County,
later it was part of Coles County, and finally in 1843 it was part of Cumberland County. Johnstown is located three and three quarters
miles due south of Lerna. John Tully placed a grist mill on Muddy Creek
in 1827. Later he built a horse powered grist mill
that could be used in low water times. He also had a still, and he made whiskey. Tully stayed there until 1837. He sold out to a Bob Dixon and a Walter Patterson,
who called the town Sheffield. Alfred Alexander purchased the land from Dickson
and Patterson in 1846, and with the assistance of his son John started to lay out the town. It’s named after John Alexander, and the name
has stuck since then. At that time Johnstown was a significant community. However, it did not get a railroad as Lerna,
Janesville, and Trilla did, and did not have a major highway constructed to it. It’s heyday was in the 1860s through the early
1880s. At that time the railroad started coming to
the other communities. In 1884 there was a store, several shops,
two to three members of the professions, which I would interpret to be doctors. Although, Johnstown is not incorporated and
does not have many businesses in recent years Johnstown had somewhat of a rebirth. There are a number of new houses all built
near Muddy Creek, and the wooded areas. Until about five years ago there was a Johnstown
celebration that happened each year around the first of June. It is the oldest community in Cumberland County. A lot of people, even in Cumberland County,
don’t know that Johnstown exists. [music playing]
Sarah: So, George Lewis Jr. Was my grandfather who hailed from Cumberland
County. Him and his wife raised their eight children
here in just north of Greenup in a little burb referred to as Timothy. Of one of four boys from the Lewis family
he was drafted at the young age of 22. From Scott Air Force base he was sent down
to Fort Blagg where he then joined the 101st Airborne, B Battalion, and he was a guider
pilot. From there they were sent overseas, which
was a 45 day boat ride. My grandfather was shot down in Holland in
the Battle of the Bulge, and he likes to tell people that it took longer to get out of the
army than it did to get into. He actually had the bullet, which he was shot
down with, inside of his body for about three months before they did surgery to remove it. He did receive a Purple Heart for this, and
he also received the bullet, which was in him. He had told the doctor whatever it was that
was in him he wanted when it was over. So, after the surgery he received the bullet,
he was sent back, discharged to Topeka, Kansas where he was awarded his Purple Heart. From there then he came back to Cumberland
County. George left us in February of 2012 after long
wonderful years, many of them here within Cumberland County. This story’s of US history and how it impacted
not only family, local history, but to be able to share that, I think, is more important
than anything you would ever learn from a history textbook. But we had somebody within our family who
had served our country, served proudly. He’s our hero. [music playing]
Gene: The man was extremely, extremely generous, a very humble man as you could be with that
amount of money. He didn’t flaunt it. He was always a true gentleman in every sense
of the word. May the 15th of 1922 Burnham was born to Edgar
and Lora Ann Neal. Burnham’s dad started the Toledo Oil Company
in 1925, and Burnham’s mother was a school teacher in Toledo. And Burnham then, in 1945, took over ownership
of Toledo Oil Company. He moved his service, or his office, to a
service station right there in town, and finally changed the name from Toledo Oil Company to
Neal Oil Company. At that time he kept going out and purchasing
more gas stations, and ended up with more than he could handle in that one little location,
so he moved his office across the street to a vacant Studebaker dealership, which had
been run by his dad earlier in ’45 through the ’50s. And it ended up he opened a tire shop there
in that office to have warehouses. At about the same time he started BEN Tire
as a wholesale business, started purchasing more stores. The first store he put under the Neal Tire
and Auto Service name was Mattoon, then the next one was Toledo, then Charleston, and
that would become known as his triangle store. He went ahead then and kept purchasing more
and more and more stores and locations until he ended up with the time that he had over
30 stores and operations, and had five warehouses that he had managed. And at the time was employing over 250 employees. Then he started his Neal Foundation. Burnham’s idea was to give back to the area,
and the community, and to the people that had supported him. He was very, very instrumental at the start
of Lake Land College, and he contributed on up. He kept on contributing to it. I think he has a room there named Neal Hall. And he went on to Sarah Bush, which are very,
very instrumental in donating to Sarah Bush. Then, of course, he went on to Eastern, and
you all know about Eastern. We had the welcome center that started to
come back into Toledo area with each giving. He and Rosemary donated the ground there to
where the Life Center is located. They also have his park there in Toledo named
Neal Park. We have, last but not least, there we have
the Y that was funded through personal and his foundation, and they’re still supporting
that. It was something that he had thought about
and wanted even before his passing it was a dream of his. Toledo is so much better off with all that
Burnham has done. He’s so proud. He’s so proud of his town. I saw on one of his little logos that said,
“Neal Tire we do it right.” I want to say one thing: Burnham I hope I
done this right for you. [music playing]
>>Yes. Wonderful stories. Those were some great stories of historical
value there. Absolutely. And Sarah. Don’t you just love her sweet little heartfelt
story talking about her sweet grandpa. I do. I tell you what, that was a great story. A little bit of a struggle getting through
it, but, you know what, I am glad we were able to honor your grandpa Sarah. You were a part of the Mattoon program with
us. And you wanted to be a aprt of this, because
you know this is a way to archive value and what a great way to honor your granpda. And you did the story so well Sarah. So I tell you what, I’m going to put a challenge
out there, for all the people that know Sarah, because Sarah, she works at the Y, and there’s
alot of people at the Y. If you know Sarah, respect her enough, to
call in and tell her thank you, by getting a copy of that DVD. I love that. Honor her grandpa and tell her thank you. There we are right there, thank you very much. We’ll give you a shout out very soon. We’ve got shout outs to give, right? We do. Well Bill, in Neoga, and Barb in Neoga, and
Kathy in, is it Sigel? Sigel. See, you can tell I ain’t from around here. Well, I tell can tell by listening to your
voice honey. [laughing] I’m having fun. Yes you are, and I’m having a great time with
you. That’s why I can joke with you. So, hey, I’ve got some thank you’s. Daniel from Toledo. Shurly from Toledo. And Sharon from Mattoon. And then I also have, an anonymous donor who
wants to donate in honor of all the law enforcement in Cumberland County, both past an present. So, thank you very much for that. I love that. Very nice. So, we heard about the fair. Yes. Lots of fun there. We heard about the Toledo Democrat. We want to say thank you to all the newspapers
in Cumberland County. The Toledo Democrat was a part of our show
tonight. We wnat to tahnk you Billie Chambers, for
being part of our champion group, being part of our champions, as well as a storyteller. And John Barger. And John Barger. Talking about Johnstown. he had so much information. It was just wonderful and he didn’t want to
leave anything out. That was great. The Burnham Neal story. Gene Nichols. What a story. You can feel his heart in that story. Wow. When he says, I hope I did you right. I thought, my goodness. Honey, you hit that ball out of the park. You did it perfect. So, there’s some more great stories, that
you can get. You can watch anytime. You can share with your family, your friends. The holidays are coming up. We mentioned that a little bit earlier. You’ll want to get a copy of the DVD to share. Two or more are $60, one is $75. Whay not get two or more. Why not get three or four and give them to
your friends and family. Yes absolutely. You could meet Marlene’s challenge, all the
farmers in Cumberland County. All the soar heads in Toledo. Larry put that challenge out. We got lots of people, we got challenges from. We have lots of operators standing by to take
your call. We need to get busy. They want to get busy. They want to talk to you. So please call, right now. The number’s on your screen. Don’t hesitate. Call, and talk to these wonderful storytellers. This is the time to call, because we’ve got
four more stories to share. And then we’re going to close up the show. Right now, we haven;t had a phone blitz yet. But we want one. We know its late. We have people hanging with us in the studio. We know your right there sitting there in
the chair, comfy and relaxed. Pick that cell phone up, just dial the number
on the bottom of the screen. We want to ring the bell and give you a shout
out on TV. Don’t hesitate, pick up the phone, call us,
get your DVD of this wonderful rich history of Cumberland County.>>We’ll put it on the screen. One copy is $75. Two or more are $60 each. So we want you to give us a call right now. You can go online and donate as well, if you
want to. So we would love to hear from you tonight
in the studio. I have one of story teller here, John barger,
he told the story Johnstown, you used to live in that area, right?>>A mile and a quarter away from downtown
Johnstown. That is why I was interested in it. It was quite a significant community at one
time. If you go through Johnstown today, you just
have to know where you’re at.>>Not as much today there, right?>>House, but no stores, no businesses. Two churches.>>But it is still important.>>It was a significant community. It is older than Cumberland County itself.>>Wow, that’s great history.>>1827.>>That’s amazing. That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you told that story tonight. I’m so glad you are here with us tonight.>>Thank you.>>Thanks for being part of the show. Wanda Kay, back to you.>>I love talking about all of the wonderful
memories that all of the story tellers have. You know, all of them mention in every little
town, there is a church or there is two or three churches. And I love that. In Hazel Dell, there is a church on each corner
so you can’t mess it. You can go to church� if I don’t want to
go on one side of the road, go to church on the other side of the road. I love that beautiful history of family and
churches in the Cumberland County area.>>Lots of history being told tonight by 31
story tellers, we have 30 stories that like I said, two in the radio show story earlier. But we have four more stories coming your
way. Something that I have noticed throughout this
is not only do the story tellers and champions in Cumberland County like to party with us
tonight, but they love festivals. They have fairs, tent parties, still carrying
on the tradition. It doesn’t matter what part of the county
you go to you can celebrate through music, rides food. We have lots of food here tonight. These people know how to put on a good show.>>They do.>>Call in now. Right now, you can see somebody is taking
an order for a DVD. We know it is late. We have four more stories coming your way. You can call, only one operator is on the
phone. The number is on the bottom of the screen. Go to WEIU.net. Go to Facebook. I have Everett Lyle over here, he’s the social
media guru.>>He’s a sweetheart.>>And you know what else? He won an Emmy. We won our 17th Emmy for news watch.>>That is amazing!>>This is what he what do. We allow opportunities for our students. Thank you for being here Everett, we appreciate
all you do. As well as all the students that are here
tonight. We appreciate the school of communication,
journalism and all of the WEIU staff tonight here as well. We’re here for you, working hard for Cumberland
County, they’re working hard for you. Sharing all kinds of stories on behalf of
where you live, work and play.>>It was the sweetest thing a few minutes
ago. Someone had my cornered, they said OK, we’re
working on a followup, we have more stories to tell.>>That is what bob said when I walked in. There are about four people�
>>They’re ready.>>You know, you get to be part of the show,
you know what we should have told that, and share this. We may come around, but tonight, this is what
is important.>>It is. So please call us right now. Get your DVD for $75. You know what, that’s a steal isn’t it? It is a good target.>>So much history and so many wonderful story
tellers, two or more DVDs are $60. Please pick up the phone. Call us, join in it the fun. Join in the party.>>There’s another phone, yay. Speaking of festivals we will hear from Larry
Stults about the Toledo fall and spring festival, Charlie McKinney, early Neoga railroad.>>Our sweet Charlie wasn’t feeling well. I’m sure he’s watching. He couldn’t be with us here tonight.>>And we worked with him on this project. Vivian Hallett talks about 4H and Jeanne Crews
talks about the military museum.>>She takes it home. She takes the beautiful stories home with
the military museum. A great story teller.>>All of the story tellers have done a great
job for Cumberland County. They’re still working tonight. We love doing this, love doing it for you. We love it when you call in, give us energy. We know your support matters because we wouldn’t
be able to do this without you.>>They’re calling.>>Membership manager for WEIU, I encourage
you, please pick up the phone and call. We want a phone blitz one last time tonight
before we leave this place. I love being the membership manager for WEIU. Because we are a family here at WEIU. And you know what, the greatest thing about
our family is? There’s always room for one more. So pick up the phone and join the family of
WEIU.>>We want you to be a part of us. We’re part of your local public broadcasting
station. Public broadcasting matters. We bring home local history like nobody else
can. We’re not a commercial station, we rely on
your funding by viewers like you. We thank you, we thank you as many times as
we can. It does matter. We couldn’t do this without your support. Please continue to call tonight and give us
your support. We will get back to the show here in a minute. We have four more stories to share with you
and then we’ll wrap up the show. Anything you want to share before we go.>>I love you, I’m so glad you got to watch
the wonderful stories tonight. Keep watching. It will air a few more times over the weekend. Be look for it to pop up again, pick up the
phone, order your DVD.>>That’s right. We’ll give you more details and four more
stories. See you in a bit. [Applause]

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