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Watseka Republican 10 Oct. 1934


KIRKWOOD, 76, of Loda, is not the oldest man in Iroquois county , but he is Loda's oldest native and he is one of the oldest natives in the county. There are not many living residents of this county today who were also born in this county, older than Mr. Kirkwood, and it is doubtful if any of them can equal his record for staying in the same place for such a long time.
The son of Robert and Katherine
Kirkwood, James Kirkwood was born May 28, 1858, on the same lot where he now lives. He lives in a different house now but it is on the same lot, in the heart of Loda, where he conducts a barber shop. He is not married.
Kirkwood is one of a family of Five children. He had three sisters all older than he, the only one now living being Mrs. Sarah Wade, 81 of Rantoul. A younger brother died seven years ago.
He has been out of the state only twice, when he made short visits to Indiana. The rest of his life was spent in Loda, the last 55 years in barbering business.

(The Illinois Central Railroad reached the site for Loda in May 1854, and a depot was constructed at the milepost that summer. Loda celebrates 150 years as a village on Aug. 7-8.)


(When the railroad came along, Loda began to grow at once. Along with a mill and houses was the hotel, site of early organizational meetings for the township and the village.)

Loda 150th to fete special citizens

LODA- One of the very first citizens of Loda was Adam Smith. He boarded a train in Chicago in 1854 on the new railroad called the Illinois Central.

When the train stopped at the third station, 100 miles south of Chicago he decided to get off. All he could see was a depot, freight house and a lonely shack. But in his mind he saw a thriving city.

He promptly bought 16,000 acres and began to develop it. He built churches, schools, stores, and shops, even a three-story hotel. Then he built a very large stately house. Now he had a place to call home. This is 150-year-old home still stands proud today.

In 1855, Addison Goodell arrived in Loda. He also quickly became a leading businessman in this growing community. His first business adventure was a lumber mill.

In the late 1850s the town was booming. Many people found jobs at the distillery, which was located on the southwest side of town. At the height of production it employed 100 men and produced 75 barrels of wine, selling at 12 to 14 cents a gallon..

Bought Smith House

In 1872 Goodell bought the stately Smith home. In 1954, when Loda celebrated its 100th birthday, the mayor was Addison Goodell, great-great grandson of its founder. On Aug. 7, at the 150th birthday celebration, Warren Goodell, another descendent of Addison, will be grand marshall of the 11 a.m. parade. He will also tell some special memories during the opening ceremonies.

Also at that time Loda will pay tribute to three of its oldest citizens who were born, raised and still make Loda their homes. So on Aug. 7, residents can bring their lawn chairs, take in the 11 a.m. parade and opening ceremonies and spend some time in the park playing games and visiting with old and new friends.

Following is a short history of the three oldest residents born, raised, and still residing in Loda.

One of the floats entered in the 1954 Loda centennial parade featured some of those who were the oldest born, raised and still living in Loda. From left are Vincent, Annette, Barbara and Josephine David, plus and unidentified staff member from the office of U.S. Sen. Paul Douglas.

Josephine "Jo" Marie (Streff) Davis was born on a farm northwest of Loda in April 1918. Her parents were William and Elizabeth (Endres) Streff.

She was the youngest of six children, all being girls. Because she had no brothers, she helped with many farm chores such as milking the cows, gathering eggs, shocking oats and husking corn. She attended the Streff one-room county school for grades one to eight. Then she attended Loda High School.

After graduation she began working for Loda Poultry Co. In 1940 her family moved to town. Their home was located on Washington Street, west of the elevator.

The Davis union

In March of 1943, Jo married Vincent Davis while he was home on leave from the Army. They immediately moved to California, but by December they were back in Loda, living in a home on South Locust Street. In 1954 they moved one block south to the home Jo still lives in.

Jo became a stay-at-home mom, taking care of her two sons and three daughters. In 1950 she became a part-time rural mail carrier, later becoming the full time carrier. She retired in 1983.

Today she enjoys her garden and volunteering for her church and a Paxton nursing home.

She has many friends and memories from her years in Loda. One of her favorites happen in winter. There was so much snow that her family used a sled and two horses to travel into town to attend church. When her dad made a quick turn to park the sled and horses, the sled turned over and dumped all six girls into the snow.

Donald Glen Rasmus was born in December of 1920. His family lived on Mockingbird Hill, which is now Lake Iroquois. His parents were Willie and Christine (Dale) Rasmus.

Don was the 12th of 14 children, eight boys and girls. In 1928, he moved with his family to a home on West Lincoln Street. Today, G & D Salvage is located there. He attended the old three-story brick school. Rasmus joined the Army in September 1942. During World War II he was stationed in the Philippines, where he worked as a cook.

Back in Loda

In April 1946, after four years of Army life, he returned to Loda and married Cleda Williamson. Their first home was on South Elm Street.

Rasmus later moved to North Poplar Street, where he lived until the spring. He is now a resident at the Illinois Knights Templar Home in Paxton. Rasmus has two sons and two daughters. He retired from Chanute Air Force Base in 1979.

Rasmus remembers a lot of fun times and has many good friends. But most of all he remembers riding his horse named Star all over town. When he grew tired of his horse he would ride his Harley.

Charles Gaylord Healey was born in January 1925. His parents were Charles and Faye (Robbins) Healy. He had one sister and one brother.

His family home was located on North Chesnut Street, north of where Weber's is located. He attended grade school in the old brick public school and the Loda High School.

In May 1943, he joined the U.S. Army Corps, where he was in pilot training. But because of asthma he was never allowed to become a pilot, but instead became a gunner and radio man on a B-17. He worked seven days a week, eight hours a day instructing others.

In February 1946 he returned to Loda and begun working at WKIO radio station in Urbana. Healey met his wife, Betty Jeanne Herath, in 1946, when Betty moved into the apartment in the upper level of his mother's home on East Washington Street in Loda. Betty was teaching school at the time.

They were married in February 1947. They had seven children, three boys and four girls. Chuck and Betty still ive in the home. Charles also worked for the family business, LoPoCo, and in 1970 began working for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He retired in 1990.

As a young boy he enjoyed horsing around in the old train station. He also enjoyed playing pick-up games of basketball with his friends. In fact, on his wedding day he had a black eye which he got from an elbow during a rough game of basketball.

Today Healey enjoys volunteering at the community theater in Paxton, where he is in charge of lights and sound. But most of all he really enjoys irritating his wife.

(this is from the Paxton Daily Record-Paxton, Ford County, Illinois- Monday, August 2, 2004 volume 108, number 14 page 1 and page 4; submitted by Ruth Jones from Paxton, Illinois)

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