DeWitt County Genealogy Trails

Dorothy Kellems' History of Waynesville
Speech presented to the DeWitt County Genealogy Society
Vespasian Warner Public Library
Clinton, Illinois
14 October 2014

Rebecca Barr and Prettyman Marvel married May 15, 1823. At a Methodist Camp meeting that summer, Prettyman Marvel, Jr. joined the church and Rebecca transferred her membership from Cumberland Presbyterian church. Prettyman and Rebecca named their first son John Shrader in honor of a Methodist Circuit rider. Although all were happy living in Indiana, near family, Prettyman, an ambitious man, the decision was made to come to Illinois together with brother-in-law John Barr. Preparations were made and in Sept. 1824 the journey began. It was a hard journey with a 7 month old child, winter beginning and streams to be forded, but finally on New Year's Day in 1825 they crossed the Sangamon, 15 miles north of Springfield, and raised a crop that summer. After a visit to Indiana in the fall of 1825, a second child James was born. Not satisfied with their location near the Sangamon, the men started searching for a higher location and chose a spot near the Big Grove. Prettyman and his family arrived at their new home about 10 PM in February, 1826. Clearing away the snow, they built a fire. Mrs. Marvel prepared the first meal ever cooked in Waynesville Township by a white woman. After supper they made a bed for all and lay down to rest. The next day shelters were built by driving 4 forked sticks in the ground and covered them with poles and slabs, one end open. About a week later John and Comfort Barr with daughter Nancy arrived. The 4 adults and 3 children lived in this crude domicile until sometime that spring when the Barrs moved to their own location about a mile to the west. Prettyman erected a cabin 12x16 in size with a fireplace and mud floor. Other settlers came in the spring and settled near the Marvels. At the time Indians roamed the area, Kickapoos near the creek which took its name from the tribe and further north there were three large Indiana villages merged into one, the Kickapoos, Potawattamies and the Delawares. After the Blackhawk war, the Indians were removed to lands west of the Mississippi River.

Waynesville was named after Mad Anthony Wayne, an early military leader. Only two other towns were in existence between Springfield and the Illinois River which were Mackinaw, founded in 1829 and Bloomington in 1831. As soon as the cabin was finished, the Marvels began assembling church services. At the time Peter Cartwright was the presiding elder of the Illinois district and he sent Wm. See to the Big Grove settlement. He came to the Marvel home on a week-day and settlers quit their tasks to hear the Gospel. In 1827 or 1828, Mr. Marvel prepared a camp ground on the slope of the hill east of his cabin and open air meetings and camp meetings were held for many years. In 1834 in what was then the Village of Waynesville a Methodist Church was organized.

At one time Prettyman owned about 1000 acres of land, a frame dwelling, a school for his children, a profitable business venture of stock buying providing a market for other settlers. He drove hogs to Chicago, a journey taking 4 weeks. In later years he shipped stock to New Orleans by boat for a better market. It was there in the summer of 1842 that he contracted yellow fever and passed away that summer.

From this beginning the Village of Waynesville was born with the traits of Prettyman Marvel, Rebecca, John and Comfort Barr. An article in the 1874 Clinton Public newspaper stated pioneers of Waynesville were dreamers. Dreamers do not travel by horse and foot in mid-February in freezing weather with 2 small children to provide a better life for their families. These pioneers were devoted people with a love of God, adventure & country.

Waynesville was the first town in DeWitt County to institute divine worship. Methodism came with the Marvels in 1826. The first church building was built in 1834 by Rev. John Sinclair and Zodak Hall. It served as a church until 1849 when a new 2 story building was erected on the same site as the church stands today. The first floor was used for many years as a grade school, free of cost to the community.

The third church was a frame building, same site as the 2 previous buildings. As the community grew, a new brick building was erected in 1916 at a cost of $15,519.98 for building and furnishings. It was completely paid for on the day of dedication on August 17, 1916. The present church was patterned after the Harmony church near Beason.

One of the first revivals in Waynesville was conducted in 1847 when J.A. Brittenham was pastor. The visiting evangelist was none other than Peter Cartwright, who stopped overnight in Waynesville on his way to Quarterly Conference in Bloomington. When Brother Brittenham informed the Circuit rider that he was a week early for conference, Brother Cartwright decided to stay a week in Waynesville to hold a protracted meeting. Cartwright stated in his book "Peter Cartwright, Backwoods Preacher," that Waynesville was a "wicked little village and sadly in need of a revival".

The village has two cemeteries, Union on the west side of town and Evergreen on the east. Land for Union was donated by Prettyman Marvel. Some think it was 2 separate cemeteries, others say it is divided into the Methodist section and the Presbyterian section. The Marvels and Barrs are buried in this cemetery and it lies west of land settled by Prettyman Marvel. Land for Evergreen Cemetery was donated by George Isham. George Isham was quite prominent in the settling of the village. In the 1850's Isham donated land to support the growth of the town he had founded. Evergreen cemetery also housed a Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

While the ground surrounding Waynesville is good black ground, the land immediately north of the village proper evidently has the exact formula for building bricks. There have been 4 brick yards in the village dating from 1852 to 1914. In 1852, I. Davenport owned a brick and tile yard manufacturing 200,000 feet of tile annually with a brick kiln able to produce 300,000 bricks a year. Mr. Davenport patented the "down and up draft" kiln which was a business success. In 1877, Atchison Tile works situated in the north part of town at the foot of Maltby St. produced 350,000 feet of tile a season. Tile from 2 ½ to 8 inches was produced. Mr. Atchison also had a sawmill on the premises and during certain seasons did a thriving lumber trade. In 1879, A. L. Yocum owned and operated a brick yard located between Isham and Maltby Streets in the north part of town. This yard manufactured 200,000 bricks annually. He also had a portable saw mill hauling logs from the Kickapoo and Salt Creek timbers. The Atchison Tile works and the Yocum brick yard were each located in approximately the same area. In 1888 Douglas, James & Samuel Thomas Yeakel had a brick yard in the northern part of town, moving in 1893 to a sight in the SW part of town near the Vandalia RR line for shipping. Yeakels had a capacity of 1.5 million bricks a summer. All the bricks were made by hand, which was an art in that day. One of the expert molders who worked for the Yeakel Brothers was Evan Richards who later opened a shoe repair shop in the village. In 1913, J. E. Yeakel owned a carpenters shop and one the items produced was ironing boards - which on the label states it was made by S. O. Yeakel Ironing Board Company, Waynesville, IL.

The 2 story brick building located uptown in Waynesville was built in the 1880's. The bank building in 1891 or 1892 and the Odd Fellows building in 1914. Until now, I had never thought how many brick buildings there were in Waynesville. In addition to those mentioned, the grade school, academy, library, jail and Whites shop. However I only remember two brick dwelling.

Waynesville Township sent more men born in the state of Ohio (87) than Illinois (63) to the civil war. Men were of all ages between 18 & 45 years of which Waynesville Twp. had 4 men over 45 years of age. Most civil war soldiers were of rural backgrounds and had never traveled further than 30 miles from their home. Waynesville Twp. was an exception to this as most had migrated from Eastern states.

In 1883, the Frank Sampson Post #298 was organized with 56 original members. Only three were survivors of the Grand Army of the Republic; E. K. Ginnings, Wm. Sampson & Daniel Ellington.

Ginnings served 2 years, was born at Old Postville, moved to Waynesville in 1850. He enlisted in 1863 and was assigned to C. K, 26th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He fought in Rebecca, Ga., New Hope Church, Kennesaw, Jonesboro and the start of Shermans march to the sea. His last fight was at Bentonville, n. C. where he was wounded. His leg was amputated.

William M. Sampson was first rejected as a volunteer because of his size and age but entered in January, 1864 at age 16. He marched to the sea with General Sherman. Returning home he served 8 years as postmaster and in 1874 was 1st station agent for Illinois Midland railroad.

Daniel Ellington was in the siege of Fort Henry. At Shiloh, he was badly wounded. Several Waynesville men were in the same battles, but Mr. Ellington was the only survivor.

Mossie Edwards a Waynesville poet wrote in memory of Mr. Ginnings, the last of the remaining three to pass:

He has hearkened to the blare of the bugle,
A "muster" by Gabrielle blown,
and he's shouldered the Old flag, "Old Glory"--
and marched off to realms unknown.

With a deafened ear and a halted tread,
He has buried his comrades--each one,
And he's now gone to join his soldier dead,
But his limp, and his deafness are gone.

I can see him--marching--head held high
His white locks flying in the air.
Holding "old glory" up, high and dry--
As he crosses the river--and up the stair.

With a gay salute, and wave of the hand,
To the ones he leaves below--
Then clasps the hand of Mort and Dan,
All those he used to know.

What a grand encampment, that will be--
All gathered around Jesus Throne,
As He clasps each comrade's hand to say
"Enter in, faithful servant--well done."

The Waynesville American Legion was first chartered on November 1, 1919. Post #293 had 16 charter members. The post functioned for several years and then was disbanded. In July, 1948, Post #1189 was issued a temporary charter with 18 charter members. The first Memorial Day service was held in May, 1950, a traditional annual, well attended ceremony. They now perform the ceremony at Evergreen, Union, Rock Creek and Fairview. In 1952, the Bishop Bldg. was purchased with donations and contributions. The legion occupied the top floor and rented the street floor to the postal department. In 1999, a new building was built on Second St. The legion today is generous, sharing their building with the community, and many activities.

Ten percent or 72 men from Waynesville served in WW II, 62 in WWI. One hundred veterans of the civil war are buried in Evergreen, Union, Rock Creek and Fairview cemeteries:

- John Wade McDonald, private, Co (6) 20th Illinois infantry was severely injured at Petersburg Landing, Tennessee on April 6, 1862. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by the President of the United States on Aug. 27, 1900, William McKinley.

- Walter P. Holt was the first Waynesville man to enlist of November 30, 1939 at Chanute Field, Rantoul.

- William L. Price was killed in action while serving on the U.S. Enterprise on September, 24, 1942

- Sgt. William Fisher was killed in action in the Solomon Island on January 7, 1943.

- On June 10, 1943, Fred Price on the USS Gettysburg was killed when ship was torpedoed about 100 miles off the Georgia coast.

- On November 17, 1943, Capt. James Pederson, pilot of a flying fortress reported MIA when making a raid over Poland on October 8, 1943.

- July 5, 1944 - Pvt. Jack Gelsthorpe was killed in action in France.

- PFC William R. Rich became DeWitt County's first Korean War casualty.

- 1944 - Frederick and Billie Price were both awarded purple hearts.

- 1969 - Roy B. Lane received the Bronze star medal for heroism in action against enemy forces in Vietnam.

- Capt. Stormy Dayne Garr was killed in Korea on July 2, 1970 by a deserter.

- Sgt. Allen B. White was awarded the Purple Heart, The Presidential Union citation and the Vietnamese campaign metal while in Vietnam.

In 1945 the Methodist church hosted a welcome home potluck supper for discharged military personnel. 34 invitations were issued and 300 people crowded into the church for a sermon, prayer of Thanksgiving and tables loaded with food.

In 1946 the Tokyo Associated Press announced that Myyaraker Okadd, former commander of Nariemi prison, Company 2-B was charged specifically with condoning brutalities against TSgt. Walter P. Holt, Waynesville.

Major Kenneth Shaffer, USAF flew a C135 plane and while on active duty flew for and worked directly under General Schwarzkopf during the Persian Gulf War.

George Isham filed the town plat for the first town established in McLean County as DeWitt County had not yet been established. Waynesville is the oldest town in DeWitt County and one of the oldest in the state. In 1844 a meeting to incorporate was held with 2 votes cast against. For some reason the matter was not put through and it was not until the fall of 1868 that incorporation took place. Waynesville was always a progressive village dating back to 1895 when the waterworks were erected at a cost of $5,000. The tower held 30,000 gallons of water which was supplied by two wells - one 149 foot deep and the other 160 ft. In 1895 the village owned their own lighting plant but shortly thereafter The Public Utility Company of Lincoln provided electric service. Fire hydrants were installed, sidewalks built, street lights came in 1942 and the streets were blacktopped in 1945. At one time a steam heating plant owned by the Village provided steam heat to the high school and Methodist church for their boilers.

The Dragstrem Inn took its name from it owner and builder Daniel Dragstrem. He came to Waynesville in 1837 and built the inn in 1840. It is built of oak lumber which was hauled from Pekin in horse drawn wagons. The house is similar in style to the Lincoln home in Springfield.

Folks then did not know Lincoln's greatness and he partook of the plain but wholesome fare the same as any other guest at the inn. He was at that time an attorney at law making the rest of the county seats of the 14 counties comprising the old 8th judicial circuit. He was accompanied on these journeys by Judge David Davis of Bloomington. They traveled by horseback but in later years used a horse and buggy. He was called to act as attorney at law in 2 civil suits in Waynesville. The cases were tried before Squire Junius Sampson whose small son Mortimer often sat in. Later young Mortimer at age 16 served as drummer boy in the Civil War when Lincoln as President was commander in chief of the armed forces.

Another hotel built by Eliza Tenney in the 1850 period is on Maltby St., 2 doors south of the Dragstrem Inn. It featured a carved walnut stairway and crystal chandeliers. Torn down in the 1940's by Lucian Chaudoin for a one family dwelling to be built. A boarding house was owned by Melba Booth in the 1940's - room and board.

In the Sunday, June 25, 1939 edition of the Pantagraph, the headline above a picture of Frank and Bertha Marvel, holding a flag and in front of them was Waynesville's infamous cannon read: "Waynesville Cannon Never Went to War but Has Been Pawn in 75 year old Battle between rival political factions seeing it for Rallies and Celebrations". The cannon was a pawn for more than three quarters of a century between 2 major political parties in Waynesville. Then in 1939 after an interlude of almost 40 years the cannon again came out of hiding. This time parts were found in different spots on the Marvel farm. The Republican Party in August, 1860 had the cannon molded in Bloomington for use in the campaign preceding the election of Abraham Lincoln as president. A collection was taken and $17.00 was raised, which was the cost of the cannon. The only problem was when the hat was passed, Democrats contributed and now they considered the cannon a partnership.

Prior to the Civil War when the union was threatened, patriotic fever ran high and the 250 lb cannon, christened "America" boomed for both parties. When peace was restored, the ring leaders in each party sought to seize the cannon and keep it hidden in some secret place, dragging it out for rallies, elections, Memorial Day and Independence Day. After such appearances "America" was dragged into hiding with the opposition continually searching. Many stories were told of the cannon's location, in a well on the block of J.M. Jones, until 1884 when it was removed, Evans blacksmith shop, buried in yard of Charles Williamson home, Dr. Graham's home to the farm of William Martin south of town where it was mounted on wheels and taken to the Old Soldiers reunion at Weldon Springs. Afterwards it was brought to F. D. Hull farm where it was dismantled with parts hidden in cellar and barn. After Mr. Hull's death the farm was purchased by Frank Marvel, a staunch Democrat. Mr. & Mrs Marvel found and reassembled the cannon. In 1939, the years had taken their toll on America by spending so much of her life in the dampness of wells and soil. But in her youth she lifted that strong voice in our country's need, in a rallying call for the Great Emancipator and a toast to America - Waynesville's historic cannon.

Now we have another story, written by William Sampson referring to the controversy that was going on regarding the Waynesville cannon. I am asked to give my version as to its history, of its inception into our midst (newly born) and history. And I think what I say may can be deemed authentic.

At the nomination of Lincoln, or soon thereafter, my father organized a Wide Awake Company, uniformed with oil cloth caps, and capes with oil burning tin lamps on 4 foot posts. The Democratic Company was using an anvil from the smith shop of C. W. Slinker, to fire off to enthuse their party. The Republican Party had no anvil, so a meeting was called and actions taken to purchase a cannon to outdo our opponents. A committee of three was appointed to solicit funds to purchase a cannon. Dr. B. F. Gardner, J. W. Sampson and John Booth were the committee and Dr. Gardner was chosen to go to Bloomington to the Foundry and have the cannon cast hurriedly. I cannot say at this time how we got it home, whether via C. & A railroad to Atlanta or over land in wagon, think the latter. My father being a mechanic, made a strong carriage of two heavy wheels and frame work and mounted it and owning a span of small mules and my brother, Frank, was delegated as driver, ongoing to neighboring towns, to political rallies. We always had large delegations on those occasions, always being headed by the cannon, flag flying following by the fife and drum corps of 12 to 15 pieces, most of whom I remember as Dunham, Rigdon, myself, Billy Booth, Frank Hull, two of the Ike Wren boys, four Bayless boys and Theodore Hull. The Band was followed next in line by floats of ladies garbed white, with red and blue sashes, followed by a long delegation of vehicles. Everybody turned out those days. Now referring to the cannon and as to who owns it, we have been playing hide and seek with it for many years. At one time it was buried in Charles Williamson's wood pile and covered with wood. At another time it was stored in the garret over the kitchen of Miss Sadie McCrary and many other places. I have kept in touch with it most of the time.

As regards to its ownership there are a few uniformed who are trying to set up the claim that it was purchased jointly by the two major parties. I have stated above who purchased the cannon and in addition I can say positively that the Democratic Party did not fire it off any one time during the whole 1860 campaign. They continued to use the anvil.

There were but two accidents caused by the cannon during its life that I recall, that of L. B. Read while in pouring a charge of powder into it loading the powder ignited blowing the charger into his face, cutting a gash in his forehead that required a number of stitches to close, and that of George Ginnings, when the ram rod was blown out of the cannon when he was loading it. Anyone answering this for or against its accuracy will not do so personally, but through the press. Comrade Ginnings will doubtless remember much of this episode and of what this cannon has passed through. William Sampson The cannon was not been seen in over 75 years and no one can remember, only speculation remains, but those in the know say, "she was melted down for the war effort".

The Wide Awake Company, a local militia company and supporters of Abraham Lincoln, established in the 1840's comprising of about 150 young men and boys in their teens. Their Capt. was J. W. Sampson. After the ratification of Lincoln, the Wide Awakes marched up and down every street and visited every house, Republican and Democrat, not overlooking the preacher's flags flying, drums beating, all dressed in their oil cloth capes and caps. Afterward a large bonfire was built and in the excitement they burned their caps and capes and everything else available. A wild night, to say the least. Wiley Marvel made a slurring remark about old Abe Lincoln and Harold Leighner rushed out and knocked him down. Sampson described the event "there was no whiskey in the crowd to enthuse them - only simply "loyalty to the new government."


The first school house in the village was a log structure built in 1836 by George Isham with Linus Graves as teacher. Some private schools existed from 1852 - 1855 and in 1858 a frame 2 story schoolhouse was built. By 1882, Waynesville Township had 6 school districts and in 1947 all merged into Waynesville Community Consolidated Grade School.

Waynesville Academy - In 1891 the Presbyterian Church started a subscription for a building to house the academy and raised $3300. This would ensure continued education past the 8th grade. The academy was first opened in the Waynesville Opera House. Sessions continued in the Opera House until 1892 when the new building was completed and ready for occupancy. With the subscriptions a 3 story 34x46 building was built on the north edge of Waynesville. The top floor of the building was never finished until 1911. The curriculum taught had college recognition. Salaries paid were small as the academy was supported by subscriptions and tuition fees and attendance was small. The academy closed after 20 years and in 1911 Illinois passed a law making it possible to have a Township High School. W. H. Smith, principal of the academy and William T. Marvel petitioned the County Supt. of Schools Thomas Wampler to hold an election turning the academy into a township high school and in the spring of 1911 the academy became Waynesville Township High School. Immediately work was begun on finishing the upper floor and opened in the fall of 1911 with W. H. Smith as principal and Ralph Robb, assistant. There were no graduating classes until 1913.

Prior to merging with McLean in 1955, merger discussions were held with Clinton and Wapella. The vote for the Clinton merger was overwhelmingly defeated, also with Wapella. In 1955, approval was given to establish McLean-Waynesville district and that fall approximately 27 high school kids rode the bus for our first day at McLean-Waynesville. In 1959, talks were held to merge Heyworth into the district and build a new centrally high school. The talks never got to a vote. In 1968, Armington did join the M-W schools. Then in 1972 the communities of Atlanta, McLean, Stanford, Armington, Danvers, Hopedale, Minier and Waynesville all joined to form the Olympia School District with a 5 million dollar price tag and became the largest rural district in Illinois.


In addition to the Methodist Church, Waynesville has been home to The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The Presbyterian Church, Christian Church, Church of Christ and Full Gospel Church. At the present there are only two, the Methodist and The Christian.

Hill Chapel

The chapel in the Evergreen Cemetery was built in memory of John W. Hill by his wife Eliza Jane Hill to be used by families seeking shelter while attending services at Evergreen Cemetery. Mr. Hill was born in England in 1836, a wagon maker by trade. Mrs. Hill was proud to have the distinction of being the oldest person not only in Waynesville, but also in DeWitt County for several years - having shared her 2/12/1844 birth anniversary with Abraham Lincoln. For 7 years she was depot agent at Hallsville and lived for 60 years in Waynesville. She acted as deputy postmaster at Cuba, Ill. two years during Lincoln's administration. The chapel previously used as a tool shed, was rededicated in 2007 for the intended purpose for which it was built. The interior was cleaned and painted by volunteers. The crown molding is original to the building. A small rocker in the chapel belonged to Eliza Jane Hill. The late Edith Cisco did housework for Mrs. Hill who paid her with the rocker. Mrs. Cisco gave the rocker to her daughter Mavis Shipley, who gave it to be displayed in the chapel.

The chapel is now open for grave side services, burials and Memorial Day services.

Waynesville Library

On March 25, 1940, Mrs. Ivanella Dunham Ball gave to the village of Waynesville the Dunham store building and lot in memory of her father William Williams Dunham II on the 15th anniversary of his death and it was to be used for and known as The William Williams Dunbar Memorial Library and Community Center.

In 1938, Clara Furman organized the first library in the hallway of the Community Hall. When school started it moved to the State Bank and in 1939 the building was sold and the library moved to the old Johnston Garage. In 1940 it moved again to the donated building. In 1968, it was destroyed by a Tornado. A new library was built by Tazewell Builders Supply of Tremont for $18,749 on the same site. In 2000, a new room was built with money donated by Gaylord Wikle in his parents honor. At that time updating was done along with landscaping. Katherine Bristow, Helen Chaudoin, Margie Rich have all served as librarians with Margie retiring 10/1/14 after serving 50 years as head librarian and assistant. The present librarian is Holly Murphy.

Two authors from Waynesville have published books in the library, Marion Pederson Teal and Dick Furman. Waynesville has also had poets dating from 1911 when Ella Yeakel penned Pilot Grove for the Barr-Marvel reunion on 1911. Among the other poets are Opal Steiling, Mossie Edwards, Joyce Steiling Shaffer, Vince Sampson, Juli Crum and William W. Dunham.

Some statements from various newspapers about Waynesville are:

"For there is not a more hospitable lot of people in DeWitt County than is to be found in that neighborhood (Waynesville) from the Clinton Public - August 18.

"It has an excellent public school system, churches sufficient to care for the spiritual needs of the people in the town and business houses with stocks of goods which supply the material wants of the residents".

From April, 1922 Pantagraph, "While Waynesville has never shown as great growth, it is the home of a sturdy class of people, many of whom are descended from the hardy pioneers who were identified with the place in its childhood, and last and true, today, Waynesville remains just that, a small country town with characters.

Undoubtedly the main thing that did contribute to the decline of the village was the loss of the county seat. An article taken from the Clinton Public Newspaper on August 20, 1974 tells of Russel Post, one of the village's original owners, buying all of the eligible lots, going to New York and selling them to speculators who believed that Illinois was then the Eldorado of the West. In those days, all that was necessary to sell town lots was to get a highly colored plat, dot it here and there with factories, school houses, churches, etc. then go east and catch gudgeons. Well this is the way Waynesville was pictured. He made lots of money. Post was a character and took more delight in a horse race than in anything else. He was determined to have Waynesville designated as the county seat and to accomplish his purpose spent the winter of 1842 in Springfield lobbying with the legislature. Jimmy Scott was the representative from this county and living just east of Clinton, his interest naturally inclined him to Clinton. Russel, however, had the inside track and would have won the day had it not been for his love of the turf. One day there was a big race near Springfield, in which was entered some of the fastest horses in the state. Russel left his post at the capital and went to the races. Jimmy Scott took advantage of his absence and that day by a trick in changing the boundaries of the county threw Waynesville into that extreme end and bringing Clinton nearer that geographical center. The dodge won and Clinton was designated the county seat. When Russel got back from the races that evening he heard of the ruse and he left that night for home thoroughly disgusted with the lack of intelligence exhibited by the members of the legislature. The pious souls in Waynesville ever since that day groan in spirit at the mere mention of a horse race, for if it had not been for one of these devices of Satan, that town today might have been the official seat of DeWitt County.

The second thing that definitely hurt Waynesville was the by passing of the railroad from Springfield to Chicago. Waynesville at this time was on a stage coach line and state road to Bloomington. It was thought to be a probably station. Unfortunately, no government money was forth coming to finance that railroad until a private company in 1852 - the Alton & Sangamon RR, proceeded to build the railroad passing through new stations where they could lay out the town by purchasing land to sell at large profits and Waynesville was bypassed for Lincoln, Springfield, Bloomington & Joliet.

The third setback was the cholera epidemic of 1855. Some articles reported 50 deaths, others 22, but many residents packed up and left during the epidemic, never to return. The dead were buried in unmarked graves, in rough boxes and some in the bed clothes in which they died. A cemetery was started north of the high school site but no stones were put up and all traces of the burial grounds were lost.

Today, we have only 2 businesses left in Waynesville but we do have something that politicians and big business could not take away, a wonderful sense of community spirit. The Methodist church sponsors coffee each Wednesday, senior lunches each month, bible studies, quilting, not only reaching into the community but also military Quilts of Valor, Operation Santa, making stockings for our military at Christmas, school book bags and supplies for Haiti, preemie hats for hospitals, & baby sweaters. We have a well-equipped library that is a wonderful asset to the community, the American Legion have meals, sponsor a fall festival in August for 3 days with food, entertainment, games, programs, parades, a great time and a lot of community spirit, the women's club bake and sell 9,000 cookies at Apple & Pork and some of this money goes back to the community in Christmas decorations, this year revamping and opening up the outdoor pavilion, and building a playground. We have a volunteer fire department that has gone from a hand drawn hose cart to several fire trucks, ambulance, EMT's and upgraded fire protection. Not many towns our size can lay claim to the number of citizens who served their country, many giving all - a Medal of Honor recipient, a chemist receiving the country's highest award with the development of a new kind of synthetic fiber used in flame repellant spacesuits, authors, artists, poets, and doctors. Today's graduates are just as impressive, lawyers, teachers, principals and for the most part - great citizens.

Today when we come into Waynesville, I'm still excited to see Waynesville's water tower - for that is home.