Playing in Water!

Today was a great day to run down and play in the river. We have lots of land on the river, so we chose a spot with a sandbank. There were minnows swimming in the water, old mussel shells under the water, and fishing lines hanging from the bridge. I walked both directions down the river. Walking in the river, I could see the bottom everywhere I walked. There was some trash, but also lots of really cool rocks and shells. For those that haven’t gotten in the river water, it can be a little cold. The water in little shallow pools that are cut off warms up in the sun. Out in the river where the water is flowing, the water is just the right temperature to cool down in the hot sun in my opinion .

Salt Fork River from Sandbank South of the Bridge

While down at the river we ran into a few groups that were treating the our field area like public property. I remember years ago my father meeting people that were playing in our lake and asking who gave them permission. They all would claim to have permission from the owners, not even realizing it was the owner they were talking to.

My father and his first cousin, Don, made a really nice family get together area around the pond we all still have. There was a drive around a field, and originally a house that was rented out. The house quickly was destroyed, but the pond was somewhere we all got together at for a lot of my childhood. It included a sandy beach, picnic tables, and a bridge across the pond. I remember celebrating my brother’s birthday there with my grandparents and lots of other family and friends. The part that stuck in my mind was playing string tricks with the cord on the new camera my grandma had given me and losing it off the bridge. A family friend, Butch, dived several times to the bottom trying to get the camera, finally giving up. The camera is still somewhere in the bottom of that pond.

My father after too many instances of running into trespassers at the pond, decided to destroy the drive back to the pond, tear out the bridge, and let the pond get taken by trees. Now no one uses the pond – not even our family… My parents explained to us many times that it was a question of liability, and what happens if someone gets hurt on our property. Then there was the mass destruction that large groups of people using an area will cause. Trash and more!

Growing up we also used to go canoeing and play in the river. Playing on the sandbank was fun. So taking the kids to the river was high on my list of things to do. The path we took down to the river wasn’t one we had made, it was one someone using our property to put canoes in to the river had cut through the weeds and trees. While walking down it, we saw everything from discarded aluminum cans to the sprayer for a garden hose. The kids built sand pyramids at the bottom of the path and want to go back to check on them…. I couldn’t tell them that they wouldn’t even last one day with the traffic that cuts through our property.

While there a car was parked at the top of the trail, pulled over on our property. It didn’t move, the people weren’t around. I assume they were canoeing down the river. It had a hangtag from the local high school in the front window. They obviously felt comfortable enough to leave their car parked on our property for hours with no one around it. What’s funny is my family has always been welcoming I think. So people asking if it’s ok, not leaving trash, would be all it would take to not be trespassing.

Our other area Bailey’s Bottom has so much trash being dumped at the entry, we have given up keeping up the road. When we want to go back to the field we walk back, which means we rarely go, since it’s a good distance back. It was another place growing up the family would have parties, swinging out into the river on tire swings, having bon fires, paying on the sand banks! It was where I learned to drive a truck on the road beside the field.

Road to Bailey’s Bottom
Kickapoo Park Property (at the end of our lane)
A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

Driving from Champaign to home past Muncie I decided to click some pictures. The road before Muncie is flat with fields – apparently a new hog farm (huge) is being discussed for the area North of Muncie.  Parks Livestock and another group are planning some hog farms. At the turn of the century Muncie was a mining town.  The mining dirt piles are all covered now, but the area is on the east side of town.    

The second picture shows a couple places I thought the train station may have sat, and then the main road in Muncie. Population 200 by the sign but 155 at the 2000 census…. According to the 2010 census, Muncie has a total area of 0.18 square miles.  Interestingly enough I remember the High School on the east side of Muncie has the address of Fithian Illinois – so is Muncie surrounded by Fithian?

Oakwood High School looks different from when I was a student but a lot more similar to when I was there than when my dad was there. During the years my father was a student the high school burnt and only the gym was left. (According to my aunt the high school exploded?) The high school I went to was built around the gym my father attended.  The drive that came in to the front door and went off in each direction is no longer there.  The drive now goes across the front and includes a parking lot, but the drive from the road is gone.  Seeing the new drive did make me question my memory a little. Even the name has changed a little.  The school was Oakwood Township High School, but has now dropped the Township. 

As I moved toward home and turned onto our road I passed the location my father went to grade school – one room school house at the time, and the house he grew up in. Finally I passed the location of my great grandparents house! Where the orange flowers grow.  Those flowers caused my allergies to act up every year!

The one room school house was turned into a residence many years ago and burnt one night.  It was named Lakeshore school for the area that the school was built in. A new house stands on it’s spot.  My grandfather’s house still stands in the same spot with a new family living in the house. 


Immigrated to family!

Immigrated to family!

When my great grandfather Moretto immigrated to the US he included on the ship manifest that he was coming to be near a cousin in Westville Illinois.  This was right between two censuses, making it hard to be sure that the family would be in the same place at the 1900 Census and the 1910 Census, but my next step should be to search for a person living in the area with a similar name around those times.

My mother remembers being told that my great grandfather was an orphan, but I remember hearing a story about him visiting an aunt that lived in Havre France….  So finding whether he knew his family would be interesting.  Great Grandfather passed away when my Grandmother was only about 3 in the flu of 1918.  He had worked as a coal miner his whole life in the US, and left 9 kids with my great grandmother.  My great grandmother scraped by, cleaning houses, raising a garden, and doing what little she could.  My grandmother was the only one of the kids to be able to go to high school.  Her mother thought she was too sickly to be able to work, according to my grandmother…. so the kids scraped together the money for her to go to school. My grandmother borrowed old school books and managed to finish high school.  I remember her getting to attend her 50th class reunion!  One of her jobs, and the one she was working when she married my grandfather, was as a kindergarten teacher.  -Teachers at the time couldn’t be married, so she had to hide her marriage until later.  My grandfather and grandmother got married in Indiana to hide their marriage.

My grandfather only lived a few years, and then my grandmother moved back with my great grandmother.  My great grandmother had left family behind in Italy, but my grandmother never mentioned family that was already here in the US.

Things that I will search include Census Records and Directories….


Guns in Family History…..

My great grandfather had guns that belonged to Wild Bill Hickok and to Buffalo Bill Cody (as well as a hundred others).    Elmer McArdle would perform shows until he died in a fire in 1951.  Elmer would ride in the Westville Illinois parade every year and my mother has stories about her childhood visiting him.

Elmer McArdle

Elmer McArdle

Elmer McArdle Article upon Death.

Elmer McArdle Article upon Death.

My uncles would tell stories about him trying to teach them to sharp shoot.  He would set up a bell with iron rings in front of it.  My grandfather and uncles would have to shoot through the ring and hit the bell.  My uncles being the pranksters they were, would set it up to hit the bell from the side making it look like they hit it – making  it impossible for my grandfather.  My grandfather and uncles were serious trouble makers.  Stories include them breaking out of jail, stealing a billy club from a police officer, and running off from a dentist without paying….  My uncles ended up burning down a barn and one was sent to the army (Frank) while the other went to jail (Ralph).  Ralph ended up dying of tuberculosis a short time later.

Elmer McArdle, April 15, 1916

Elmer McArdle, April 15, 1916

Stories also include my great grandfather having a collection of clocks throughout his house, my uncles and grandfather would sneak in and reset the clocks when he was out.



When Elmer passed away he was found in the ashes from the fire that destroyed his home and his gun collection.  At the time he was over 80 years old and still living on his own in Hawbuck.

There is so much talk about gun violence anymore, I am brought back to the memory of sometimes a gun is just a piece of history.

Lindsey Corbley – Edward Corbley’s Brother

I am including the Lindsey Corbley exert here from “A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois”.  I find it very interesting that Edward isn’t mentioned here, yet there is land in Vermilion County (Edward owned land with his brother) and Cannon is mentioned – Edward’s land sold when it was foreclosed on to Cannon.  I still keep thinking there is so much to the story!

Source: Full text of “A Standard history of Champaign County Illinois : an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, civic and social development : a chronicle of the people, with family lineage and memoirs





Supervising Editor


Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors


LINDSEY CORBLY. The activities of Lindsey Corbly go far back into the pioneer history of Champaign County. He was here over sixty years ago and he endured the ordeals of life on the frontier. The years have visited his efforts with abundant prosperity. Material possessions have been only part of the riches of his experience. He has lived a life of honor, peace and industry, and now in his declining years, in his home at Paxton, he enjoys the esteem of both old and young.

Mr. Corbly was born at Garrard’s Fort in Greene County, Pennsylvania, the third son of William and Rebecca (Stephens) Corbly, also natives of  Pennsylvania. The records of the Corbly family go far back into pioneer days of the Pennsylvania colony. His grandfather, Rev. John Corbly, was a pioneer Baptist minister along the frontier line of western Pennsylvania. He was a native of England, but had come to America before the Revolution and first settled in western Virginia and afterwards in Greene County, Pennsylvania. He was instrumental in building the first church at Garrard’s Fort. This was a log building and other edifices followed it, while in 1909 the congregation erected their fourth church home, a brick edifice dedicated that year and named the John Corbly Memorial Church. The name was fittingly bestowed to honor one of the most devoted churchmen of the West. The proposition had been long discussed as to some appropriate memorial to this good and worthy man, and it was finally decided to erect a church which would stand for years and recall his good deeds and unselfish labors.


Rev. John Corbly was three times married. His first wife was a cousin of President Tvler. The fate of his second wife will be mentioned presently. His third wife was a daughter of Colonel Andrew Lynn, who served with that rank in the Revolutionary War. It was his daughter Nancy Ann who married Rev. John Corbly, and she was the grandmother of Mr. Lindsey Corbly of Champaign County. Mr. Corbly in his home at Paxton has a book, entitled “Chronicles of Border Warfare,” published at Clarksburg, Virginia, in 1831. The pages of that work contain the record of a tragic incident in which Rev. John Corbly figured. It occurred on Muddy Creek, Pennsylvania, May 10, 1781. He and his wife and five children were on the way to church, the wife and children preceding, when a band of savages sprang up from the roadside and fell upon Mrs. Corbly and the children. The infant in the mother’s arms was the first victim. The mother was then struck several severe blows, and not falling, was shot through the body by a savage who had chased her husband. A little son six years old and two girls, two and four years of age, were also victims of the savage onslaught. The oldest daughter concealed herself in a fallen log and witnessed all that transpired. She came out before the Indians had retired, and was caught and slain. The only survivors of the massacre were the father and the two younger daughters, who by careful nursing were restored. Both of them grew up, though one died later as a result of the horrible treatment she had received. The other lived, married and reared a large family.


From this and other facts it is clear that the Corblys took a prominent part in the early days of western Pennsylvania. During the Centennial year a paper was published devoted to the prominent pioneer families of Pennsylvania and the Corblys were mentioned in the record.  Mr. Lindsey Corbly’s parents spent their lives in Pennsylvania and his father died in 1875 and his mother in 1855. Mr. Corbly acquired his education chiefly in the school of experience, and since the age of sixteen has made his own way in the world. For a time he worked for an uncle who had extensive interests as a live stock man in Ohio. While there he was paid wages of $7 a month. He soon became known as the “boss cattle driver” for his uncle. In those days live stock was never sent by railroad, but always driven overland. One of Mr. Corbly’s early experiences was taking a large herd of stock from Missouri to Philadelphia. Much of the country in the Middle West was then wild and infested with lawless people, and he not only experienced many difficulties in getting his stock safely over the natural difficulties of the road but also had to watch closely against highwaymen who sought his money and life.

Mr. Corbly came to Illinois in 1853. locating in Champaign County, but two years later going to Vermilion County as a farmer. In 1863 he located in Kerr Township of Champaign County and gradually built up a large enterprise as a farmer and stockman. At one time he owned over 1,700 acres of land and his business as a land holder and stockman made his name familiar all over central Illinois.

Mr. Corbly has always manifested a public spirited interest in local affairs. In Kerr Township he served twenty years as township trustee, and was one of the members of the first election board at Gibson City and also a member of the first grand jury of Ford County. He was on the first board of commissioners who divided Ford Countv into townships and was a member of the board of supervisors when the University of Illinois located at Champaign. Politically he began voting as a Whig and became an original Republican at the formation of that party over sixty years ago. He has always been staunchly aligned with this party and has been convinced that the best and most enduring principles of real democracy are expressed through the Republican party. Mr. Corbly has had many notable friendships with leading statesmen and many prominent Republicans, including Joe Cannon, have visited his home. He has always been a great admirer of Lincoln and has had personal acquaintance with Generals Sherman, Sheridan and Halleck. The spicy sayings of Lincoln have been treasured by him and have no doubt had their influence upon his life. One of these maxims which he has often quoted is “never trade horses while crossing the river.”

On moving to Kerr Township Mr. Corbly selected land which would be especially available for his stock interests. There he reared his family, built fine farm buildings, planted shade trees, and many improvements in that section stand as a monument to his labors and early enterprise.


Since December, 1875, Mr. Corbly has been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He entered church work through the influence of J. D. Bodkin, now secretary of the State of Kansas, and Eev. James Goodspeed.

On February 24, 1856, Mr. Corbly married for his first wife Sarah Wood. She was born and reared in Vermilion County, Illinois, a daughter of Henry and Nancy Wood. Six children were born to this union, three of whom died in infancy. Those living are Henry L., William Sherman and James L. Henry L. Corbly married Julia B. Webber. He is now a retired farmer living at Paxton and his children are Mrs. Fay Flagg, Lindsey R. and Gladys. Lindsey Ross Corbly lives in Haywood Township and married Fay Goodwin of Ford County. Gladys Corbly is a sophomore in the Woman’s College of Jacksonville, Illinois.


William Sherman Corbly married Mary A. Yule of Saybrook, McLean County, Illinois, and they reside at Paxton. Their children are : George Y. and Lynn S. George Y. is a farmer in Button Township of Ford County and by his marriage to Jessie Jenkinson has a daughter, Virginia. Lynn S. Corbly is a graduate of the University of Illinois, a successful practicing attorney in Champaign County, and married Marguerite Clark of Paxton.  James L. Corbly married Ellen Sheehan of Ludlow. Their children are Frank, Ralph, “Jimmie Lee,” Owen, Ray, Elmer, Marguerite and Pauline (twins), and Irene. Of these Frank married Belle Jackson and they reside on a farm adjoining his father. Owen Corbly married Vesta Wampler and is also a farmer living near his father.


The mother of these children and first wife of Mr. Corbly entered into rest January 17, 1866, after ten years of married life. She was a good woman, a kind neighbor and a loving wife and mother. For his second wife Mr. Corbly married Mary A. Scholl. She was born near Saegerstown, Pennsylvania, daughter of Dr. Peter Scholl and Elizabeth (Woodring) Scholl of Crawford County, Pennsylvania. By Mr. Corbly’s second marriage the children are Fred M., Laura F. and Evelyn. Evelyn is the wife of P. A. Kemp of Los Angeles, California, who is a state officer of the Court of Honor. They have one son, Lynn, twelve years old. The mother of these children passed away March 10, 1907. On June 24, 1909, Mr. Corbly married Mrs. Emily Wait. She was born and reared in Vermilion County, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Copeland, natives of Ohio.


The daughter Laura F. married Oscar H. Wylie, a prominent Ford County lawyer, at Paxton, Illinois, who has filled numerous important public offices and for eight years was prosecuting attorney of Ford County, proving to be a fearless, honest public official. For four years he was Circuit Court clerk and recorder, at the time being one of the youngest officials in the state. Mr. and Mrs. Wylie have the following children: Mac, Howard, Evelyn, Emily and Francis. Mac, Howard and . Evelvn are all graduates of the Paxton High School, and Mac is a student in flip law department of the Northwestern University and also spent three years in DePauw University, in which latter institution Howard is, a student, and in the fall of 1917 Miss Evelyn proposes to enter. The two younger daughters attend the grade schools.


Ever since Mr. Corbly’s eightieth birthday it has been made an occasion of great family interest, one feature being the presentation of an immense bouquet of roses and chrysanthemums, his favorite flower, a blossom for every year, and another being the reading of a birthday poem composed by Mrs. Wylie. On the occasion of his eighty-fourth birthday, this tribute was so beautifully expressed and tenderly conceived that it deserves the prominence of an insertion in this history. In the midst of the loving family circle and with other friends present, Mr. Corbly listened to the following :


“Dear old father, with your beaming face,

Your kindly heart and whole-souled grace,

Your sterling worth as pioneer

Facing hardships without fear,

Always honest and square with the world,

Your banner for good ever unfurled,

That’s a record worth while, I say,

For this, your eighty-fourth birthday.


“Also, dear father, sweet is to me

The memory of thy charity;

Thy childlike faith in God and man,

Surprised at evil where thou didst find;

Hating deceit with all thy heart

Because for you was the honest part,

That’s a record worth while, I say,

For this, your eighty-fourth birthday.


“Again, dear father, I’ll say to thee,

That when you face eternity,

I would thy mantle of Christian love

Of charity like that above,

Should descend on those you love the best,

That our lives with good deeds may be blest,

And that our children may also say

Our records were good on each birthday.”


The record of Mr. Corbly has been such that no history of Champaign

County would be complete without its incorporation. He has stood for

the sound and worthy things of life in every relationship. On every side

may be found witnesses to his unimpeachable integrity and financial

responsibility. Some years ago after a fire in Paxton a few scattered

leaves from the reports of the Dun and Bradstreet Mercantile Credit

Agency were picked up. These gave commercial ratings of different citizens with credit attached of so many thousands of dollars to each one,

and when the name of Mr. Corbly was mentioned the rating was fixed in

the following significant language: “Good for anything he asks for.”

That his word has always been as good as his bond is not only expressive

of his business integrity but to all those other qualities which are sum and

substance of human character.


Mr. and Mrs. Corbly now occupy a pleasant and comfortable home on West State Street in Paxton. There they enjoy the confidence and esteem of a host of friends, and in the setting sun of his life Mr. Corbly has his good wife by his side, also has the solace of his children and the memory of a just and worthy career. It is an unusual retrospect which he enjoys.

He has seen a great and magnificent country develop before his eyes and with a most creditable share in its making on his own part. He has prospered, and at the same time has solved the intricate problems of experience, has reared and educated his children and has given them his own example as a guide to true and loyal citizenship.