The last twenty years have brought a remarkable change in the county in many ways. In 1913 there were so few automobiles in the county that they affected it to a small degree. The trucks, hardroads, bridges, high schools, and the World War were still to come. The Calhoun of 1913 differed very little from the Calhoun of 1903 or 1893. Some of the events or improvements that caused the great change in the twenty years will be discussed.
A glance at the tables given in the chapter on population will show one that there were more people in the county who were of German descent than all of the other nationalities combined. But when the United States entered the World War, no more patriotic group of men and women were to be found in any part of the nation. All worked together regardless of nationality, religion, wealth, or position to encourage enlistments, aid in the sale of bonds and stamps, and to get funds for the different relief organizations. Calhoun has a record to which her citizens can point with pride.
April 29, 1917 — The first Hardin men to leave to join the army were: Paul Aderton, Curtis Dixon, Herbert Rice, Daniel Athy, and Elmer DeLaney. Athy and DeLaney failed to pass the physical examination, and returned to Hardin. Homer Hunt left Hardin on the same day and enlisted in the navy.
May 10, 1917 — The following men leave Kampsville to enlist in the army: Arthur Kamp, Claude Armstrong, Clyde Walstor, Frank Vetter, John Ritter, Harry Schumann, Obie Powell, and A. D. Kaufman.
June 5 — First Registration Day. All Calhoun men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one years register in their home election precincts.
June 7 — Results of the registration show a total of 702 men. Point leads with 153 persons registering, Hamburg is second with 116, and Hardin third with 107.
June 14 — Victor Miller and Charles Pregaldin leave Hardin to enlist.
July 19 — Fred Laird, W. T. Jones, and Lee Emerick leave Hamburg to join the army.
July 26 — Draft begins. Ninety-seven Calhoun men drawn into the army and were accepted by the County Board.
August 9 — Dr. Z. D. Lumley offered his services to the army and was accepted. Myrtle Dierking, a trained nurse, offered her services to the Red Cross and was accepted.
September 13 — Three men, representing 5% of Calhoun's quota under the selective draft, left for the army. They were: Andy McDonald of Hardin, Glenn Nevius of Kampsville, and Henry C. Smith of Hamburg. They were sent to Camp Taylor, Kentucky.
September 21 — Twenty-eight men leave for camp.
October 6 — Fifteen more men leave for training camp.
January 24, 1918 — Registration day for Alien enemies.
January 24 — Carl Gordon appointed Food Administrator for the county.
Febiuary 28 — Twenty-seven men leave for Camp Taylor.
April 29 — Nineteen men leave for Camp Dix, N. J.
May 23 — Forty men leave for Camp Gordon, Georgia.
June 20 — Forty-three leave for camp during the entire month.
August 1 — Forty-one men leave.
September 5 — Calhoun's quota of 100 men leave for Camp Grant.
According to the list given in the county papers, 323 drafted men left the county for the camps. This list is not accurate as some might not have been listed, and then there were men who failed to pass the physical examination and returned to their homes. On September 12, all men between the ages of 18 and 45 registered.
There are no official records in the county that will show the names of the men who lost their lives. The list below was made after talking to ex-service men from different parts of the county and after reading copies of the Calhoun Herald and the Calhoun News that were published in the period of the war.
Frank Pohlman, Brussels, (killed in action).
Oscar Haug, Brussels, (killed in action).
Orville Sidwell, Belleview, (killed in action).
Henry Schneider, Michael, (died from illness contracted in camp).
Frank Zipprick, Michael, (died in camp).
Joseph Topmeyer, Deer Plain, (died in camp).
Ray Mager, Batchtown (died in camp).
Strawther Harrel, Batchtown, (died in camp).
M. Shopper, Brussels, (died in camp).
Gerherd Hendricks, Brussels, (died in camp).
Clarence Richey, Belleview, (died in camp).
Jos. S. Moses, Brussels, (died in camp).
John Meyer, Kampsville.
This list will be even more incomplete because of the fact that so many of the Calhoun men failed to have their discharge papers recorded at the office of the Circuit Clerk. The county papers and the memory of some of the soldiers must be depended upon in making a list of the wounded.
Aderton, Paul (wounded).
Bellm, William (wounded).
Brannon, Walter (wounded).
Crader, Slocum (wounded).
Dixon, J. L. (crippled).
Emerick, Lee (gassed).
Eschback, Charles (wounded).
Hagen, Charles M. (wounded).
Holmes, Harry (wounded). '
Ingersol, Ralph (wounded).
Johnson, J. A. (wounded).
Kelley, Edmund (wounded).
Klass, W. (wounded).
Klemme, George (wounded).
Kreid, Charles (wounded).
Miller, Peter (wounded).
Osborne, Clifford (crippled).
Presley, George M. (wounded).
Snider, George (wounded).
The first Liberty Loan drive was in June 1917. Calhoun's quota was $25,000 and the entire amount was subscribed by the banks of the county.
The Second Liberty Loan drive was in November of the same year. This time the quota of Calhoun was placed at $76,000. The drive was oversubscribed by $66,550.
It was in the Third Liberty Loan drive that Calhoun made the best showing. Although the citizens and the banks were asked to buy only $150,000 worth of the bonds, they bought more than twice the amount. The total of the sale was $304,000.
In October of 1918 the county took part in a drive to raise $313,000. Again the county oversubscribed her quota.
The Victory Loan drive was held in the spring of 1919, a number of months after the signing of the Armistice. Calhoun's quota was $168,000 and the people responded by buying bonds to the amount of $227,850.
Calhoun's record in these drives is remarkable, when we consider the fact that there were counties in this state and all other states that failed to get the amount that was asked for in the different drives.
On May 30, 1918 the different precincts of the county were asked to raise amounts that ranged from $600 in the smaller precincts to $1,000 in the larger ones.
Red Cross sales were held in each of the precincts. Most of the people of the precinct would donate articles or produce that would be sold at a public auction. At Batchtown over $2,000 was taken in at the sale, and on July 4th, there were about three thousand people at the sale held at Brussels. Over $6,000 was made and turned over to the Red Cross.
Besides aiding the Red Cross, the people of the county contributed in a liberal manner to the Salvation Army, Y. M. C. A., Knights of Columbus, and other organizations that were doing relief work among the soldiers.
In the twenty-year period, 1913 to 1933, there were many changes in the means of transportation. In the first half of the period, the steamboats were carrying most of the freight to and from the county. But the building of the hard road, the bridge, the C. and A. Railroad to East Hardin, and the introduction of the trucks meant the downfall of the steamboats.
In 1924, the Chicago and Alton Railroad completed the branch line to East Hardin. Daily service was started between East Hardin and Carlinville. But the freight department was more important to Calhoun people as it gave the apple growers of the central part of the county, access to Chicago and eastern markets. The passenger service was discontinued in 1931.
The Hardin-Kampsville and the Hardin-Jerseyville hard roads were each completed in 1927.
The people of Calhoun had been talking about a bridge for many years. As early as January 21, 1919 an article appeared in the Calhoun News telling of the advantages of a bridge. It was not until the completion of the hard road to Jerseyville, that most of the citizens gave serious attention to the matter. It was through the untiring efforts of the business men of Hardin and some other communities that the legislators became interested in the matter, and finally appropriated sufficient sums for its construction.
The bridge was completed and dedicated on Thursday, July 23, 1931. The Governor of Illinois, Louis L. Emmerson, together with many prominent officials, attended the dedication ceremony. The bridge was named the "Joe Page Bridge", in honor of Joseph M. Page, editor of the Jersey County Democrat for the past fifty years.
The bridge is the longest in the state, being 1,728 feet in length. The lift span is 308 feet and nine inches, the largest lift span of this type in the world. It is operated by two motors of fifty horsepower each, and is equipped with a gasoline engine to use in case of emergency. Approximately five million pounds of steel were used in the construction of the bridge, and the concrete work contains about 9,000 cubic yards.
Before the end of the present year, the hard road from Kampsville to Milton, Pike County, will be completed. Other roads and bridges are being planned. The day of isolation and slow, uncertain travel seems to be a thing of the past.
Extracted 20 May 2017 by Norma Hass from History of Calhoun Countyu>, pages 83-85.
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