A Window to the Past, part 1

Historical background

Adams County, Illinois, is situated in far western Illinois and is bounded by the Mississippi River on the west.  It was organized in 1825 and named after John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States.  Its county seat, Quincy, was also named in his honor.  Founded in 1822, Quincy soon became a major port for the river trade north of St. Louis.  It subsequently also became the point of convergence of several major railroads.  The topography of the county is diverse, with timbered hills along the rivers, and level, fertile prairie lands throughout much of the county.

East Frisians (northwest Germany immigrants) in Adams County, Illinois

Golden is located in northeastern Adams County near the four adjoining corners of Northeast, Clayton, Camp Point, and Houston townships.  The land surrounding Golden (originally named Keokuk Junction) is level and the soil is dark and rich.  In the 1840s, the Golden area was often described as a “vast swamp,” which was avoided by the early settler.  For that reason, the area was still sparsely settled in the late 1840s.  Golden was destined to become one of the major East Frisian settlements in Illinois and the “mother colony” of a number of East Frisian communities in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.  (We Will go to a New Land by Robert H. Behrens)

The Golden area with its rich history offers an open window into both my husband’s and my ancestral past.  This link into our deep East Frisian roots has been recorded many times in the village newspaper.  Since its initial 1891 publication, the Golden New Era, continues to be one of Golden’s enduring institutions for the 624 residents.

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As a way to gain insight into Golden’s life, times, and history, I read microfilmed publications of Golden New Era from 2003-2004.  Day after day searching for those elusive relatives in print.  In A Window to the Past, part 1, let’s take a look at some of those write-ups.

Now get something to drink, let your mind travel across time to an area wedged between Illinois cornfields and enjoy the brief escape.  (Installment one of four highlights a variety of subjects, ending with Pioneers Were Hardy People.)


Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, March 4, 1920
W. J. Wible, Publisher


Saturday, March 6, 1920
Gladys Brockwell in

“The Call of the Soul”

“The Call of the Soul” tells of Barbara Deming, who was taken advantage of by Dr. Clayton at a moment when neither of the two were aware of what they were doing.  The doctor offers to marry her but a revulsion of feeling causes her to hate the very sight of him.  A son is born to her, and she keeps him a secret.  Later she marries an arctic explorer, an intimate friend of Dr. Clayton’s.

It may be seen from this mere outline of the beginning of the picture that it promises a denouement of unusual force.  And this promise is well fulfilled.  To relate the climax here, however, would be to spoil one of the best pieces offered at the Princess Theater.

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, November 8, 1923
Volume 34  Number 8
W. J. Wible, Publisher


Wm. S. Hart in “Travel’ On” will be the feature at the Princess Saturday night, November 10, 1923.

He had neither name nor friends.  His only name was the cattle brand J. B.  His only reputation—BAD.

He knew no law but his big black guns, so he kept “Travelin’ On.” till he hit the worst town in the west and saw some folks and goings on that heeded fixin—then.

Come and see the greatest fighting love picture Hart ever made.  A story filled with the clatter of guns, shots, and hoof beats.  Beating fast with a heart as big as all outdoors.

Because of the higher price on Hart pictures, you and all your friends come to help make it pay out at 10 and 20 cents.

The Princess has been showing some of the best Paramounts on Wednesday nights at 10 cents as Booster nights.  A few more shows will be shown at that price, so Boost and come out.  Always a good show on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, March 4, 1920
W. J. Wible, Publisher

Prohibition Questions

Will a storm be allowed to brew?
Will the moon be allowed to get full?
Will a ship be allowed to anchor over a bar?
Will cocktails be allowed on the farmers’ roosters?
Will it be allowed to name children, Tom and Jerry?
Will a man be punished for getting half shot in battle?
Will hops be allowed in a dance hall?
Will the mourners be allowed to pass the bier at a funeral?
Will a batter be allowed to knock a highball  during the baseball game?
Will an auto driver be allowed to use a starter?
Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, November 8, 1923
Volume 34   Number 8
W. J. Wible, Publisher


Before telling our tale of woe, we want to make a brief explanation of the above heading out of consideration for the male species of the human family.  Our heading lays the deed at the door of a man, but in justice to the “abused man,” we inserted a question mark.


The editor and his family recently inherited a nice bunch of hens, etc., and were anticipating fresh eggs the winter through, and had laid in a big supply of sawdust to that when spring opened up we might have a good supply of croquet balls.  But as usual, we counted our croquet balls before they made their appearance.

For some reason or reasons, the inherited hens did not seem to cleave to their new owners but gradually drifted into other skillets, from which no chicken has ever been known to return intact.  They always seemed to leave home under cover of darkness, but we can’t see why they found it necessary to do this as they were well clothed and of fine appearance.  We wouldn’t have minded their being out at night if they had not forgotten to come back and report for duty the next morning.  The way it was, fresh eggs becoming a luxury and the whole bunch of egg peddlers was becoming demoralized and seemed to forget just what their duty to their landlord was.

Finally, in order to get at least an even split with the low down “geek” which was enticing our chickens from us, it was decided to sell the remaining ones.  But two of the best “lookers” of the crowing species were kept for friends and were put in a coop, while the rest wended their way to the poultryman.

Well, by gosh, do you know what happened that night.  Some dirty son of a gun copped those two sporty birds and then we had none.  What hurt the most was that we took the trouble to pen them up for him or (?) as we said in the beginning.

No, we don’t know who got ‘em, but we have an orful strong “suspenders” of who did, but we hain’t got no “pants” to hang on to them “suspenders” to cover our bare evidence.

Golden New Era
Thursday, January 26, 1928
Groves and Mockmore Publishers


Graves of Martyrs Found at Nauvoo by Civil Engineer

Nauvoo, Ill  Jan 25—One of the biggest discoveries made in Nauvoo for many years, or it might be said, the biggest discovery ever made here, came to light last Monday, while a surveyor and workman were digging, preparatory to making an excavation for the base which is to sustain a monument in memory of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saints sect, and in memory also of his brother, Hyrum Smith, who in company with his brother, the prophet went to death at the hands of a mob in Carthage, Ill, on June 25, 1844.

The discovery was the finding of the graves and remains of the two martyrs.  W. O. Hand, a civil engineer, was here for some time last summer, surveying the properties of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, and establishing the boundaries with proper markers or memorials.  He was here at the annual reunion in August.  For some years, the executive council of the Saint’s church has had in mind the creation of a monument to the memory of the two Smith martyrs and work for this purpose was commenced last Monday.  The surveyor, who himself is a member of the Reorganized church, was of course extremely anxious to place the monument in near proximity to where the bodies were buried after the assassination on June 27, 1844.

Mr. Hand sought information from the prominent Saints here, also from citizens who might know, concerning the spot where the remains of the martyrs are supposed to be interred.  There was a difference of opinion and from one seemed to know positively where the exact spot is, that holds the mortal remains of the prophet and his brother, the patriarch.  Several places on the “Old Homestead” grounds were suspected as the real place of burial.  It was known that when the bodies were brought to Nauvoo from Carthage during the night of June 27, 1844, after they had been viewed by thousands of faithful adherents, they were given over to the widows and that they disposed of the bodies by burial, but the question from that day, about eighty-three and a half years ago last Monday, has never been definitely answered as to where the remains were buried.

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, May 10, 1928
Volume 38  Number 29


For a local paper to deal in village gossip would be to assume the function of a yellow sheet.  Many things occur, the relation of which would make interesting reading, no doubt, but such incidents hardly deserve the light of publicity.

But when a case reaches the circuit court or other court of record, the hour of secrecy has passed.  All then appears in black and white.  Stenographers take down every word and city papers blazon it forth.

The little weekly which refuses to publish the details under the impression that it is suppressing unwelcome news is as foolish as the ostrich that buries its head in the sand.  Friends may hope for secrecy, but here is no secrecy.

The best that the accused can hope for is a plain statement of the facts.  Even this is more favorable to him often than the distorted tales of gossip.

The New Era can think of nothing that would give a greater impulse to crime than the assurance that the papers would say nothing about it.  Crime likes darkness and hates white light of publicity.  Crime is no friends of printer’s ink, and so also printer’s ink is no friend of crime.


There is a general belief that electricity generated by water power is much cheaper than that produced by steam plants  and power sites, regardless of their distance from a market for electricity, are most important factors in social and industrial development.

It costs money to transmit electricity—several times as much as to generate it at the power site.  This cost increases as the distance lengthens over territory which uses no electricity.  As some 72 percent of the total water power resources of the nation lie west of the Mississippi River, while 79 percent of the requirements for power are east of the river, it is not difficult to understand the problems that are facing us in the profitable transmission of electricity from some of our greatest water power resources to users of electricity.

The real question is—What is electricity going to cost at the end of the wire farthest removed from the water power site?  Modern coal burning plants are daily making this a more serious question.

It is one thing to excite the people about developing their unused water powers and getting electricity at cost.  It takes a great deal more skill and intelligence to actually furnish them electricity at cost at a price to compete with more centrally located fuel burning plants.

The cost of electricity is now 15 percent below pre-war levels in actual money and 40 percent below when figured on a cost of living basis.  The electric industry is making constant engineering improvements and providing electric service at progressively lower rates.  Resulting savings are being passed on to the consumer.


Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, February 16, 1928
Groves and Mockmore, Publishers


They had but little cash, but they worked and won.  It is not customary for a country editor to use the front page of his paper for editorial purposes, but there is no law against it.  It was not customary in the day of Columbus for people to say the world was round.  If all held to conventional ideas, America would still be a howling wilderness.

A few words in regard to the pioneers who laid the foundation of our present civilization, redeeming it from the wilderness and enabling posterity to make it a land of tooting autos and mortgages.

Why did the original settlers locate in the timber?  Because the tree was necessary to his existence.  He needed it to build a home, he needed it for fuel, and he needed it for fences and other building material.  Then many of our settlers were Pennsylvania Germans, and the best land back in the country which they left was wooded land.

The Golden vicinity was thought to be a swamp, and therefore worthless.  The first purchasers obtained it for a song.  In its natural state it was covered with prairie grass and this grass held the water, so that it drained away gradually and not as a rushing torrent, like it does at the present time.  This steady and constant flow of water enabled individuals to build and maintain water-driven mills on the smaller creeks which drained the uplands.

What a paradise it was!  Good land at a dollar an acre.  The settler with his rifle could obtain his meat supply without going far from home.  Wild turkey, deer and prairie chicken were plentiful.  Why, the writer can remember when wild ducks were everywhere in the spring.

The newcomer had his choice.  He could build his own home and chop his own wood and make his own clothes, or he could freeze, so he was glad to work.  He could raise grain for his own flour or starve, so he concluded to farm.  Necessity did wonders for these hardy people.

He cleared the land, fenced it, built a fine home, built a picket fence in front of the house and painted it white.  Contentment settled upon him.  What more could the heart desire.  What a snap for his children who inherited the land cleared of trees and well improved!  Alas, for some reason or other either percent of the second and third generations could not hold the land when it was given them.

Living has become a serious and expensive business.  It costs granddaughter more to paint her face than it cost grandfather to build his house.  His cabin was built perhaps without the expanding of as much as a dime necessarily so, because he did not have a dime.

08060902 (2)-blogNext installment in two weeks.


About corinthrose

Born again Christian, helpmate of 42 years, domestic engineer of two children, GRANDmother of six darlings, professional volunteer, fanatic photographer, and a wanna be writer. Occasionally, infatuated with family history, flower photography, and traveling with my hiking buddy.
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5 Responses to A Window to the Past, part 1

  1. Sheryl says:

    Old small town newspapers are so much fun to read. From the fun (prohibition questions) to the very serious (murders) the Golden New Era covered the gamut. it’s amazing that it is still being published. (Did I read that right?)

    • corinthrose says:

      Yes, Golden’s village newspaper is still being published weekly.

      Elliott Publishing produces the following weekly newspapers:
      •Liberty Bee-Times
      •Camp Point Journal
      •Golden-Clayton New Era
      •Mendon Dispatch-Times
      Circulation of 3,600. Approximately 1,500 of this total is from the Liberty Bee-Times; the rest is from the combined readership of the three other papers.

  2. I love history and looking through old microfilm. It’s amazing what you find. Thanks for a peek into the 1920s in Illinois.

  3. Diana says:

    I thought the story about gravesite of the Mormon founders was very interesting, good work.

  4. Pingback: Miracle of Children | Corinth Rose

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