Death certificate, William J. “Bay” Logan, Washington County, Illinois, 1927

This is thought to be the death certificate of William John “Bay” Logan, son of William Logan and Matilda Thaxton or Thackston Logan.

There are some uncertainties. Although we know — from Naomi Logan Bass, daughter of William Logan’s brother, Enoch F. Logan — that “Uncle Bay” … came to our house before my dad died and stayed a while. He was almost blind. Since Enoch Logan died in March of 1924, it could help explain why Naomi lost track of “Uncle Bay” until his death in 1927. Another uncertainty is that we can’t seem to find William J. Logan in a couple of censuses. He had been living in Cherokee County, Kansas, but his mother died there in 1897 and his father in 1905 at the Cherokee County Farm. We lose him for a time afterward.

Since William Logan was “almost blind” and had “muscular heart disease” for a year-and-a-half, it makes sense that he would have lived at the County Farm, the only “safety net” other than family prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s.

William Logan died in 1927 and is buried at the Washington County Poor Farm Cemetery in Beaucoup Township, Washington County, Illinois. A large stone marker adjacent to a farmer’s field lists the occupants of the cemetery, including William; however, there are no individual markers and nothing to mark even the cemetery’s boundary.

(William J. Logan was called “Bay.” His brother, Drury Logan, was called “Boy.”)

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Obituary: George B. McClellan Chorpenning, Washington County, Illinois, 1861-1919

George B. McClellan Chorpenning married Cora Belle Logan, daughter of Reuben Logan and Anna “Annie” Guthrie Logan. George Chorpenning is buried at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Pilot Knob Township, Washington County, Illinois. There is no extant grave marker, although there was one, according to Elsie Campbell Giacomo, who attended George Chorpenning’s funeral and visited the cemetery.

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Newspaper article, “Nashville Journal,” Nashville, Washington County, Illinois, 1939

The Nashville Journal runs a wonderful “It Happened Here” feature. In the March 26, 2014 edition of “It Happened Here” — 75 years ago, 1939:

Discovery of oil at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Pilot Knob Township and a successful test in DuBois caused talk of an oil boom in Washington County.

Oil pumps are still visible — some working — “behind” Oak Grove (Presbyterian) Cemetery today. Many years ago, Reuben Chorpenning and Helen Buhrman(n) Chorpenning filed suit to try and recover some funding from the oil company because both Reuben and Helen had relatives buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. In Rube’s case, there are several Chorpennings buried at Oak Grove, including his father, George B. McClellan Chorpenning (no stone extant). In Helen’s, her mother, father, and sister — Nancy “Nannie” Kerr Buhrman, Theodore Buhrman, and Georgie Buhrman — are buried at Oak Grove as is George Henderson, her g-grandfather, and her grandmother, Sarah Smith Henderson (assumed; no stone).


Some Logan and affiliated families’ land entries prior to 1851 in Washington County, Illinois

Pilot Knob Township: James Guthrie: 1840-8-27; 1845-12-16

Oakdale Township: Solomon Maxwell: 1838-2-1; 1838-5-14

Oakdale Township: Reuben Logan: 1848-7-11

Oakdale Township: Drury Logan: 1849-11-5

Lively Grove Township: Archibald Coulter: 1833-12-20; 1839-8-1

Source: Original Land Holders in Washington County, Nashville Public Library, Nashville, Washington County, Illinois



Photograph: Helen Buhrman(n) Chorpenning, Washington County, Iowa, 1898-1980

Helen Buhrman(n), daughter of Theodore Buhrman(n) and Nancy “Nannie” J. Kerr Buhrman(n), was born 4 April 1898 in Pilot Knob Township, Washington County, Illinois. She married Reuben John Chorpenning, son of George B. McClellan Chorpenning and Cora Belle Logan Chorpenning, 28 March 1918 in Washington County, Iowa. Reuben “Rube” Chorpenning died 2 February 1973 in Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa. Helen died there 6 January 1980. They are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Washington, Washington County, Iowa.

Helen Buhrman

Photograph: Lena Rohlfing Chorpenning, DeIna Buhrman(n) Logan, and Theresia Stern(s) Chorpenning, Washington County, Iowa, 1920s?

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Lena Charlotte Rohlfing was born 3 August 1899 in Oakdale, Washington County, Illinois. She married Ralph Chorpenning in 1920. Ralph was the son of George B. McClellan Chorpenning and Cora Belle Logan Chorpenning. Ralph and Lena moved to Washington County, Iowa, and managed the Cannon Ranch. Lena Rohlfing Chorpenning died 14 July 1966 in Washington County, Iowa.

DeIna Ruth Buhrman(n), daughter of Theodore Buhrman(n) and Nancy “Nannie” J. Kerr Buhrman(n), was born 5 January 1896 in Washington County, Illinois. She married Allen “Al” Logan, youngest child of Andrew Jackson “Jack” Logan and Catherine Charlotte Guthrie Logan, 21 May 1915 in Chester, Randolph County, Illinois. They moved to Washington County, Iowa, that same year. DeIna Buhrman(n) Logan died 27 September 1989 in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa.

(DeIna’s sister, Helen Buhrman(n), married Reuben Chorpenning, Ralph’s brother and Al’s cousin. They, too, had moved to Washington County, Iowa, from southern Illinois. Lena Rohlfing’s sister, Lottie Rohlfing, married Fred Buhrman, a cousin of DeIna’s. Fred and Lottie farmed for 40 years in Pilot Knob Township, Washington County, Illinois, later moving to Nashville, Illinois.)

Theresia (pronounced “Trace”) Stern(s), daughter of John Stern and Elizabeth Faust Stern, was born 6 January 1890 in Perry County, Illinois. She married James W. Chorpenning, brother of Ralph and Reuben Chorpenning, 2 April 1913 in Perry County, Illinois. They moved to Washington County, Iowa, about 1923. Theresia Stern(s) Chorpenning died 7 June 1951 in Washington, Washington County, Iowa.


The past is a foreign country… (part 3): Schools

“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” (L.P. Hartley)

… In the South, fewer than half of all children attended a school as late as 1890.”

“While urban students typically began their education at the age of seven, attended school nine months a year, and completed a year of high school, rural children went to school six months a year for less than five years.”

In 1910, “a fourth of the schools in Montana held classes for no more than four months a year; in rural Arizona the school term averaged…105 days.”

Source: Huck’s Raft  A History of American Childhood, Steven Mintz, 2004

The first kindergarten in America began in 1856 in Watertown, Wisconsin. Instruction was in German. The first English language kindergarten in the U.S. began in Boston in 1860.

Source: Wikipedia

My grandmother, DeIna Ruth Buhrman, who married Al Logan, attended Kerr School, District 56, in rural Pilot Knob Township, Washington County, Illinois. Here are some statistics from the Kerr School’s “Teachers’ Annual Report — 1916-1917:” (This was several years after my grandmother attended school there — by this time, she was married and living in Washington County, Iowa — but the one report I could find.)

  • Kerr School had a 7-month school year: 141 days in session.
  • There were 22 boys and 21 girls between ages 6 and 21: a total of 43.
  • Two boys and two girls — 4 students — graduated 8th grade.
  • There was one male teacher/principal; in other words, a student-teacher ratio of 43 to 1. (And this was for all grade/age levels.)
  • There were 58 volumes in the Kerr School library (for all grades, reading levels, subjects, and ability/achievement levels).
  • The school property was valued at $1,000; school equipment at $250.

Illiteracy was a major issue in 1907. The Washington County, Illinois, “Township Trustees’ Report” contained these standard “causes” for illiteracy. Individual schools would report on illiteracy based on these categories/supposed “reasons”:

  • Idiotic and insane
  • Foreign birth
  • Blind or partially blind
  • Mute
  • Negligence of parents
  • Inaccessibility of school
  • Mental weakness
  • Ill-health
  • Indigence

Source: Regional Office of Education #13, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion & Washington Counties, Carlyle, Illinois