Peoria County, Illinois  Genealogy Trails



Ostrich Races

Why an ostrich? Thanks to Dorothy Gregg for sending in this information:  
"Ostrich races were popular in the early years of the century. Racetrack picture show jockeys mounted on their feathered steeds, or racing them hitched to sulkies or buggies. On the farms, visitors often had their pictures made on ostrich back or in buggies, carts or wagons drawn by the birds."

This picture was taken by, Jesse Sawyer between 1875-1898.

The ostrich race was part of an annual fund-raiser in the City of Peoria. 
It featured various "stunts" including various animals being harnessed & racing around the Peoria Stadium. Folks in general as well as the general population of Peoria seemed to be more of a true community at the turn of the century versus the indifferent population 100 years later. I've seen this same differentiation in my 60+ years. - Steve Slaughter - 2009


The man is thought to be Andrew Lyding.
Andrew's family was definitely found of ostriches attached to carts.

The family lived in Chillicothe, Peoria county and Minonk, Woodford county from about 1875 to about 1906. Andrew, his wife and four of his children are buried in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria. Andrew died about 1901 in Peoria. He was born in 1839 in Schenklengsfeld, Hessen, Germany. He immigrated to America in 1865. He married his wife Wilhelmina, also an imigrant from Germany, in Philadelphia about 1871. He worked as a farmer, fence maker and wire worker. He was the father of seven children, 3 girls and 4 boys. Their names were Bertha, Tilllie, Lulu, Alfred, John, Joseph and Harry. They were devout Baptists and were members of the German Baptist Church in Richwoods, Illinois. The family left Peoria County and moved to Chicago so that the youngest son, Harry, could attend the prestigeous Rush Medical College in Chicago. Harry died in Chicago in 1911 after treating a patient with Scarlett Fever and contracting the disease himself from her. His death was front page news in the Chicago newspaper as he was only 24 years old. None of the other doctors wanted to treat the woman. Two of Andrew's sons became dentists in Chicago. Andrew's son Alfred was an Evangelist in Chicago and Peoria. One of Andrew's daughters married and moved to Ontario, Canada, another became a successful accountant in Los Angeles California, but the oldest daughter stayed at home and cared for her mother. Andrew's widow with her daughters, Tillie and Bertha, and son Alfred, left Chicago after the tragic death of Dr. Harrison Andrew " Harry" Lyding and resided in Los Angeles California until they died.





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