Madison County ILGenWeb

index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind


Godfrey, Illinois, Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser


EARLY HISTORY OF GODFREY    |    BETHANY NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS (area at Bethany Lane and Humbert Road)

(NOTE: Godfrey was originally named Scarritt's Prairie, then Monticello, then Godfrey.)


Source: Unknown New York newspaper on Ebay, November 16, 1840
A fire broke out in the Monticello Prairie, a few miles back of Alton, Illinois, on Thursday, which destroyed many buildings and a considerable amount of personal property. The citizens of Alton turned out en masse, to render assistance in saving property and arresting the progress of the fire, which is said to have raged with great fury. Several bodies have been found, and among them a father with his son in his arms, burned to death.


Source: Alton Telegraph and Review, May 29, 1841
On Sunday last, we witnessed at Monticello, five miles from this city, the most violent hail storm since our existence. It commenced about three o'clock, and lasted from twenty to thirty minutes, many of the hail stones being as large, some larger, than a hen's egg. It was succeeded by a tremendous gust of wind, accompanied by a severe rain, which lasted for upwards of an hour. The damage to the foliage of ornamental trees, small shrubbery, currant bushes, and fruit trees, occasioned by the hail, was extensive; and the glass of the various dwellings within the range of the storm must have suffered materially. In this city, but little if any hail was seen, though the wind must have been as high, if not higher, than where we were. One house was unroofed, and several sky lights blown off the roofs of stores in this city; beyond that we have heard of no other damage. We also learn that Smooth Prairie, in this county, on the same day was visited with a hail storm as severe as the one we witnessed, and that the damage to dwellings was far greater than at Monticello.


Source: Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, July 31, 1841
The Monticello settlement [Godfrey] is the right arm of our strength in this end of the county; and to them we look for a general turn out on Monday. Among them are a few whose bosoms were bared to the bayonet of the enemy in that conflict which gave birth to our nation's independence. Though their frames are bent with years, the fire of their zeal in their country's cause burns in their bosoms as brightly and fervently as ever. At our last election, they were the foremost in exercising the inestimable right of Freemen, and voting against the enemies of our country. That they will be so on Monday next, we entertain no doubt; and we urge upon every young and middle-aged man in the settlement to emulate their noble example and follow them to the polls. It may be the last time you will be marshaled by these veterans of the Revolution.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 11, 1841
We are gratified to learn that a Post Office by the name of Godfrey has been established near the Female Seminary at Monticello, four miles from this city, of which Timothy Turner, Esq. is the Postmaster. This will be of great benefit to the inhabitants of that thriving settlement, who have heretofore sustained considerable inconvenience in being compelled to travel several miles in order to get their letters and papers.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1842
Monticello is now a precinct, and will hold an election among themselves. No truer set of Whigs ever lived, than is to be found in that excellent settlement. Her report on the evening of Monday next will be a loud one, and we hope not a single r vote will be lost in that precinct. There are no splitting tickets among them. They are as true as the polar star, and will give nearly a unanimous vote for the whole Whig ticket. Success to Monticello and her citizens!


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844
We understand that the post office at Godfrey, four miles north from this city, which was established about three years since, has been discontinued by order of the Postmaster General. The reason assigned is its proximity to Alton, but as the two places were nearly as close to each other at the period referred to, as they are now, we are unable to perceive any new motive for the discontinuance. Time will perhaps disclose the moving cause.

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 27, 1844
Last week we noticed the removal of this post office, and expressed our surprise at it. Since then some facts have come to our knowledge which we feel bound to lay before the public. Two reasons, we are informed, were urged by those engaged in this small business, for the discontinuance of this post office. One was its proximity to the Alton office; the other a charge that its estimable Postmaster had abused the franking privilege [franking is the act of putting on postage stamps or markings shown that a fee was paid for mail service - this includes a Postmaster writing "free" on the envelope for soldiers during wartime]. The first is fallacious in the extreme. The office is no nearer Alton now than it was when it was first established, and the distance was well known to the department at that time. As well, yes, even with fare more propriety, could they discontinue the Upper Alton office, which is only two miles from the one in this city, while the population accommodated at the Godfrey P. O. is equally as large as that at the Upper Alton office. And the inconvenience to which the Godfrey community is subjected is more than double, that which would be felt by the Upper Alton people, if the same injustice was done them by discontinuing their office. In regard to the Postmaster at Godfrey having abused his franking privilege, we know the charge to be false, and defy the remotest proof to sustain it. So scrupulously guarded has Mr. Turner been in this respect, that he has even refused to frank a letter written by his own wife, and we venture they assertion that there is not a Postmaster in the state of Illinois who has made less use of the franking privilege than Mr. Turner. This much we feel bound to say in defense of an unexceptionable officer, who has been grossly traduced.

The real cause, however, for the withdrawal of the office, was to increase the emoluments of the office in this city [Alton]. And how much, reader, do you think that would have been? Judge Martin has examined the books of the office carefully, and the most the Postmaster's commissions have ever come to in one year was forty-five dollars! And for the sake of this paltry sum, a large community have been deprived of the benefits of a post office, and that too, when the continuance of the office was without a dollar's expense to the government. The Jacksonville mail passed directly by the door of the Godfrey P. O., and was a watering place for the contractor. So that there was neither inconvenience nor expense attending its continuance. If pecuniary gain was the object of the very liberal and magnanimous persons who procured the discontinuance of the Godfrey P. O., we are assured that the community by subscription would have made up double the sum of the emoluments of the office, rather than have had it discontinued. And we cannot but believe that when the department know the facts, they will restore the office to the community from which it has been improperly and unjustly taken. There is a large female Seminary, numbering from 90 to 100 persons in the immediate neighborhood of the office, and the inconvenience to them is vast. If the department were subjected to a dollar's expense, either in carrying the mail to this office or in sustaining it, there might be a shadow of an excuse for the wrong inflicted. But when the contrary are the facts in regard to both, we feel as if it was right the public should know them, and endeavor to correct the injustice inflicted on their neighbors.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1847
The attention of gentlemen of fortune is invited to Captain Benjamin Godfrey's advertisement, offering for sale his splendid farm at Monticello [Godfrey], a few miles from this city. A more desirable property, in every respect, is not to be found in this state, perhaps not in the Union; and those wishing to invest funds in the purchase of well improved real estate could not ask for a better opportunity than is now afforded them to effect this object.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1850
We regret to state that a two-story frame building, situated in Monticello Precinct in this county, and occupied by Mr. James R. McReynolds and his family, was totally consumed by fire on Friday morning last, together with most of its contents – the occupants having barely time to escape without saving anything except a couple of beds and a few other articles of little value. It is not known how the fire originated, but it was doubtless accidental. The house belonged to Judge Martin of Alton, and was uninsured. The total loss is estimated at $1,000, of which the largest proportion falls upon the latter gentleman.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 4, 1861
We learn that two valuable horses were stolen from the stables of W. T. Melusum and Willian Glenn, Esqs., at Monticello [Godfrey] last night. The Runners of the Detecting Society of that place are in pursuit, and we hope, may catch the thieves. Horse stealing is getting to be too common in these parts, and we advise farmers to be on the lookout.

The horses that were stolen on Friday night from Monticello have been recovered, and the thief, or one of the thieves, captured with them. They were found at a house near Wood River, in the possession of a man named Joe Miller. He was arrested, brought to Monticello, and his examination was to take place at 9 o’clock this morning before Esquire Webster.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1861
Probably the greatest nuisance now extant is the Alton and Jerseyville Plank Road. Its name, like the thing itself, is an imposition, for it neither begins or ends at either of these towns. Plank roads generally, not to say always, are nuisances; the one under discussion is particularly so. Commenced some ten years ago, with the intention of connecting the two towns of Alton and Jerseyville, it was, after considerable delay, finished to a point about one mile beyond Monticello [Godfrey]. No attempt has ever been made to extend it, and it has conferred no benefit whatever upon those who, living beyond its present terminus, have most needed what good it was supposed to confer upon those traveling upon it. Two toll gates have been erected, through one of which every passing through one gate, is compelled to pay very nearly the same toll as is charged for the passage through both gates.

The ordinary age to which a plank road is capable of existing, without an entire renewal of the material used in its construction, is about three years. Infrequent use and extensive repairing may extend the time to four or five years. This one, which annoys and injures us, has been used nine years, and has been but partially renewed and then only by the substitution of oak for white pine planks. The repairs which it pretends to have received will not, in the whole period of its existence, equal the amount of labor which is ordinarily expended upon a common dirt road of the same length, every year. Its present state is beyond the power of language to describe. To be appreciated, it must be seen and felt. In its whole length, there are not sound plank enough to make a rod of decent road. In many places it is buried six inches beneath the mud, and these are always its best and safety portions. The planks of which it is composed are twisted and warped into every conceivable shape. As far as form goes, many of them would make excellent circular window-heads; not a few could easily be transformed into fellses(?) perfectly bent. Hundreds of them have long since seceded; the one end from the other, and not seldom one is found so decayed with rot, dry and wet, that a horse, possessed of the slightest life, need use but little exertion to literally put his foot into it. At times they are floating islands in a sea of mud; at times stranded wrecks on a barren shore; at times the debris of long-forgotten formations, raised from the vast deep by volcanic eruptions. Sometimes they slide to the one side, sometimes to the other, but to staying in proper position they have an unconquerable aversion. Holes of indefinite depth and immensurable capacity abound without number and the daring navigator escapes Seylia only to be drawn into Charybeis. The bridges are such in name only, often perilous, sometimes impassible.

The toll gates are the only things well tended, and the keeper never forgets to present himself with frightful punctuality. The coolness with which he demands the toll is equaled only by the impudence of the highway man. To sum up all, as near as may be in a single sentence, as a machine for the beating of eggs to a froth, as a patent churn, as a means of exercise for the cure of dyspepsia, an engine of destruction to vehicles and of danger to life, and as an unmitigated imposition upon the public, the Alton and Jerseyville Plank Road is a complete success; but for all the purposes of a thoroughfare for travel it is as complete a failure.

There are two things which will make plank roads nuisances, as they are endurable. Those are constant repairs and the liberty of going upon them or not, as we please. The particular road now in question, has neither of these alleviating circumstances in its favor. The planks are laid in the State Road, one of the gates is thrown across the State Road, and the public is compelled to go over the road and through the gate and pay the toll. There is no choice in the matter. It matters not if the wheel of your wagon or the foot of your horse does not once touch the plank, you must still pay the toll. The highway is no longer the possession of the public, but thanks to our County Court, is made the property of a soulless corporation. The charter which protects and guards this monopoly has yet twenty years to run, and unless some action be taken by the people, they must continue to be victimized that length of time. The corporation owning the road has an undoubted right to exist to the extent of its chartered life, but we protest, in the name of reason and of justice, against being compelled to support it longer by our involuntary contributions. Our forbearance is great, but there is a limit even to Job-like patience. The road should at once be abandoned or put into a passable condition, which can only be done by relaying it with new materials, and by the employment of more than one man, one day in a month, to shovel dirt upon the ends of aspiring planks. The County Court is made the custodian of the roads of the county, and it is their duty to see that one of these two measures to abate what has become an intolerable nuisance, is promptly taken.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 2, 1862
On last Friday afternoon, the house of George G. Pierce, situated in Monticello Township, was entirely consumed by fire, with its entire contents. The fire caught from a stovepipe which passed through the door of the second story and out of the roof. Before the fire was discovered, the entire upper portion of the building was in flames, and it was too late to save anything. This misfortune falls heavily upon Mr. Pierce, who is a worthy and industrious man, and has a large family depending on him for a livelihood. We regret to say that there was no insurance upon the building.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 24, 1862
We are informed that the house known as the Star Hotel, on the Jerseyville Road just beyond Monticello, was burned last night to the ground. A small child was consumed in the building. We understand that the proprietor lost all of his household goods. Our informant did not know the cause of the fire.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 1, 1865
Mr. A. M. Blackburn offers his large and conveniently located steam flouring mill for sale. It is known as the “Godfrey Mill,” situated in the beautiful village of Godfrey, four miles north of this city, near the Junction of the C. A. & St. Louis, and the Jacksonville & Alton Railroads. It is one of the best locations in this portion of Illinois, and has a good run of custom. Mr. Blackburn’s failing health induces him to sell.


75 Horsemen, 30 Hounds, 3 Wolves
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1877
The grand hunt for the extermination of the wolves infesting the wild section of country in the neighborhood of Rocky Fork, came off on Saturday last. The day was beautiful. At an early hour, the hunters gathered at the rendezvous at North Alton, to the number of about 75 horsemen and a large number of footmen. A pack of 30 hounds, under the charge of Dr. Guelich and a gentleman from Jersey County, also accompanied the arty. The tract of country over which the hunt took placed was bounded on the south by the Grafton Road [West Delmar], on the north and east by the Jerseyville Road [Godfrey Road], and west by the Jersey County line. The party was made up of hunters from Alton, North Alton, Godfrey, and Jersey County. The men were disposed to the best advantage, and the hunt began.

Soon the horsemen riding ahead of the hounds scared up a large wolf, and the chase began. Up hill and down, through brush and brake, through fields and over fences, away they went in wild pursuit. The wolf was smart as a fox, and often doubled on its pursuers, and although wounded by one of the party, managed to make its escape near Melville, after an exciting chase of over three hours. One of the horsemen, George Johnson of Alton, who was unseated, it is reported, ran directly over the wolf, throwing his horse down, and Harry Baker, who was riding hard behind, came down on the fallen horse. In the confusion, the wolf slid out. Mr. Johnson had a tooth knocked out by the fall.

After the morning chase, the horsemen returned to Mrs. Charless’ residence, which was headquarters, and arranged for the afternoon hunt, which was not as eventful, but was kept up vigorously until dark. It is stated by the participants that in all, three wolves were seen during the day, but some of them were brought back by the hunters. The hounds, not being used in the business, were reported afraid of the wolves, and not at all inclined to attack them at close quarters. We don’t know whether that “stuffed” wolf, hidden in the woods, is scored as one of the animals seen by the footmen. Altogether, this hunt was an exciting and enjoyable one to all participating, and will probably soon be repeated. Mrs. Charless has two nice wolves on her premises, one of which was purchased by a gentleman from Delhi, who proposes to let him loose next Saturday, and set the hounds in chase, in order to accustom them to the pursuit of such game.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1885
Whitmore & Disbrow, proprietors. The Godfrey Creamery is a fine, two-story building, 20x40, with an engine house 10x20 at the north end. On the south end is the ice house, 16x28, well filled. The milk is received in the milk room in the second story, 20x22 feet, into a large tank to warm it up to right temperature for separating, then is conveyed below in pipes and to a small tank, thence to the De Laval separator, which is supplied with small tubes, and the cream is thrown out into the top, while the milk flows out from the centre. The separation is done by the revolution of the separator, which makes about 7,000 revolutions per minute, and has a capacity of from 650 to 800 lbs. per hour. About 600 to 700 pounds of milk per hour are now worked; receipts of milk at present about 1,200 pounds per day, the receipts of cream about 150 gauges per day. The cream from the separator is sold in Alton and St. Louis, or made into butter as the demand requires. The gauge cream is all made into gilt-edge print butter and finds a ready sale; in fact, the demand is larger than the supply. A large cooling tank is stationed in the separating room, filled with ice water and supplied with one hundred feet of one-inch pipe which the milk passes through preparatory to shipping. It is cooled down from 70 degrees to 50 degrees, and is put in this cool state into wood-bound cans, and in this condition is delivered to customers, perfectly sweet and fresh.

The Churning Room
In this room is the churn, which is of a square form run by steam, and has a capacity of one hundred and fifty pounds of butter, the average make is about 100 pounds per churning. Also in this room is the butter worker run by steam power, a large revolving table with two fluted rollers, which the table on which the butter is placed passes under, and it does its work complete, requiring one man to attend to it. Two large tanks in the butter room are used for the reception and preparing cream for churning. The cream is collected from the farmers under the supervision of R. B. Disbrow, who is from Elgin and understands the business. It is brought in the afternoon, and the next day is made into golden butter.

The Butter Room
This room is 10x10, is the room of all rooms; it is made in the style of a refrigerator and kept at a temperature of 50 degrees. Here, the butter is placed, each churning by itself, after coming from the worker, when it is salted, each lot is reworked and weighed in pounds, then passed through the printing machine and comes out just "good enough to eat" without bread; or is packed in any shape required by customers. Of all the many lots in this room, each was equally good; for summer shipping of print butter, large boxes are used with shelving on the sides and a tin tank in the center filled with ice, and it is kept hard and nice, the neatest way known to ship butter. A five-beam scale is used, and any number of cans can be weighed. The water supply is taken from a well, large and capacious, 8 feet wide by 25 feet deep, kept clean and clear, and is pumped into the building by a four horsepower engine, which besides does all the work inside, heats water, runs the churn and butter worker. The building is pleasantly situated and everything is as finely arranged as any creamery in the country, with none to surpass it in neatness and order.

Individually, Mr. J. J. Whitmore has a farm of one hundred acres, all under cultivation, the creamery and a large barn being the only buildings on it. There is stable room for 37 cows; at present has 18 cows, the product of which goes to the creamery, and intends filling all his stalls in the fall. He has one silo with a capacity of 250 tons ensilage, and is looking forward to a good business in the future. All the gentlemen connected with the establishment are pleasant and agreeable, and would be happy to see friends and visitors at any time. That Dutch cheese was just awful nice.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 13, 1893
Wednesday night, John Meitner, an aged farmer living near Godfrey, had an opportunity to save human lives that rarely fails to a man. He went out of his house at about 9 o’clock, and saw a light on the Chicago and Alton railroad track. Upon investigation, he found that the Godfrey bridge was burned down. He quickly grabbed the lantern and started down the track toward Godfrey. He knew that the night express was due in a few minutes, and although nearly 70 years of age, he ran three miles to the depot and arrived there breathless, just as the night express was getting ready to leave. The Conductor saw him coming and waited until he reached the platform, and tried to ascertain the cause of his night visit. When the old gentleman had recovered from his excitement and regained his breath, he excitedly related the facts about the bridge burning. The trainmen were loth to believe him, but finally uncoupled the engine from the train and ran out to the bridge and found that his story was true. The bridge was located in such a manner that if the train had not been flagged, it would have inevitably resulted in a terrible disaster and much loss of life. Mr. Meitner is a hero, and deserves the thanks of the company for his presence of mind and the people, for their rescue from a terrible fate.


Gun Accidentally Discharges
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 11, 1897
Messrs. Charles Young of Alton, and Frank Godfrey of Godfrey, were severely injured early Sunday morning by the accidental discharge of a gun which Godfrey was lifting from a skiff. The young men, in company with another companion, had left Saturday night for a duck hunt. At about daybreak Sunday, they arrived at Eagle’s Nest Island. Godfrey had loaded his gun on the way, and when ready to land, caught it by the muzzle and pulled it towards him. The hammer of the gun caught on one of the ribs of the boat, and caused the load to explode. Godfrey received part of it in the right hand, tearing away some of the flesh, and causing a painful wound. Young, who was standing near Godfrey, received five of the shot in his right side, and it is feared some of them penetrated the liver. Their companion immediately rowed the injured men to Clifton, where assistance was secured and they were brought to Alton. Dr. Taphorn dressed Godfrey’s wounds, and Dr. Haskell, Young’s. The latter’s are the most serious, but he is resting easily today, and it is hoped no more serious results will ensue.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 12, 1899
The Chicago & Alton yards at Godfrey last night was the scene of a fatal shooting affray, in which the C. & A. watchman, Mr. H. H. Sattgast was shot in the leg by a stranger, and the officer in return put two bullets into the man's body, from the effects of which he died at 5 o'clock this morning. The affair happened at about 9:30 o'clock. The man was put off a freight train by the conductor. He was in an intoxicated condition, and the conductor asked Officer Sattgast to take care of him. His hat was lost and the officer had a hard time to keep him from falling under the train while searching for it. Sattgast pushed him away several times, when suddenly he started to run, and when about ten feet away, opened fire on the officer with a 38-caliber revolver. The bullet struck Sattgast in the left leg. Quickly drawing his revolver, he fired four shots at the form of his assailant. Two of them took effect, one passing through the side of the head, and the other striking him in the hip. Both men were rendered assistance. Officer Sattgast's wound was found not to be serious; the stranger's injuries were fatal, and he lingered unconscious until 5 o'clock this morning when he died. Not a scrap of paper nor anything else was found on his person to identify him. He was well dressed, looked like an Italian, had $21 in his pocket, and besides the revolver carried a dirk knife strapped to his body by a belt. The only reason given for his attack on the officer was because of his intoxicated condition. Coroner Bailey went to Godfrey this morning, empaneled a jury and held an inquest on the body. A verdict of justifiable homicide was rendered by the jury. Mr. Sattgast's wound is not a serious one, and it is hoped he will recover from the effects in a short time. He is a son-in-law of Mr. C. H. Warner, of this city, and has held the position of C. & A. watchman at Godfrey for several years. The place is a difficult one to fill, as much trouble has been experienced with tramps and other dangerous characters stealing goods from box cars. The body of the dead man was brought to Alton late this afternoon and will be buried here.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 10, 1900
Improvements on the C. & A. Railroad at Godfrey are going on. Besides the electric lights which the engines have for headlights, they are putting in an underground pipe from their pond to the end of the switch below Godfrey, so trains coming from the north will not have to stop twice. They will get water from a stand-pipe while passengers and baggage are being cared for. Passenger trains will not be coaled at Godfrey now, but elsewhere, as it will save time.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1911
A car load of mules was shipped from Godfrey yesterday by Amos Jones for J. B. Forward, a mule raiser there. This is not the first car of mules to be shipped from Godfrey or the last, there being a great demand for these Godfrey mules. A full car of mules - numbers about twenty-five, and they must be well fed and fat before they will be accepted on the market. They are taken to the East St. Louis stock yards, where there is always a ready sale for this Godfrey mule. For many years it has been an established idea that mules to be mules must come from Missouri and it was printed from one side of the world to the other that the Missouri mule made possible the good showing of the Boers, of Africa, before John Bull outwitted them. Hereafter, this fame of Missouri must give away to the Godfrey mule, he is just as big, as wise and promises to become just as famous as the Missouri mule.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 7, 1917
Seven or eight young men living on the Grafton road in the vicinity of Alton and in the immediate neighborhood in Godfrey township were scared into conniption fits last night between 9 and 10 o'clock while skating on the pond at Godfrey. That is all of them were scared stiff, except their legs. These were electrified as it were, and although the youths had skates on, they succeeded in beating down the running record of Godfrey township by many points. Just how rapidly they ran is a matter of conjecture, but according to one of the young men whose legs gave out, with the remainder of him all of the others were out of sight in less than three minutes, which means they went some. Leslie Kitzmiller is the one who remained on the pond after the others departed hurriedly, and he admits that he remained because his legs refused to do business for a few minutes after the fright froze him. "We were all skating merrily enough," he says, "when all at once a long streak of fire came tumbling down from somewhere and struck the ice with a sound that resembled the beating of a million big sticks on a drum head. Then the fire disappeared through the ice, and a lot of steam and water burst through the hole and flew all around. I was frightened worse than ever before in my life, and couldn't move for a few minutes, nor could I take my eyes off the spot where the streak of fire hit the ice. When I did look around to see if any of the other fellows were hurt, I found myself alone on the pond, and no one in sight in either direction. After a bit I skated towards that hole, but did not go too close to it. It is about as big around as a large candy bucket, and appeared to be clean cut through the ice. The ice all over the pond was cracked in a dozen places, and I skated for the shore. Later, I found all of the other fellows seated on a bank some distance from the pond, and they still had their skates on. We all struck out for the A. J. and got back from that country as soon as possible." The "streak of fire" was probably a meteor, and it must be resting in the mud at the bottom of the railroad pond at Godfrey, and could possibly be gotten out. All doubters are invited by Leslie to visit the pond and see the big hole made in the descent; also view the cracked ice on the pond.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 7, 1919
Homer C. Godfrey, a son of Captain Benjamin Godfrey, founder of Monticello Seminary, and a veteran of the Civil War, today petitioned the county court of Madison county to restore him to reason legally, and to his property. He was declared insane by the County Court in 1871, for many years has been in the soldiers' home at Quincy. He is 80 years old. When Godfrey was declared insane in 1871, he was sent to the institution at Jacksonville, and his mother, Lodemia C. Godfrey, was declared conservator of his estate. Six years later Godfrey was transferred to the Anna, Ill., institution for the insane, and later entered the soldiers' home in Quincy. In 1916 Godfrey's mother died and his brother-in-law, Charles E. Turner of Godfrey was appointed conservator of his estate. The last report of the aged man's estate showed a cash balance of $2637. The estate includes 22 acres of farmland in Godfrey township, which valued at $50 an acre would place the total value of the estate at $3737. Godfrey is also paid a monthly pension of $12, which goes to the conservator of his estate. After 48 years as a state ward, the aged man today again entered the same court which declared him insane and asked that he be legally declared sane, and restored to his property. He is described as a splendid looking, well preserved man. He is represented by the law firm of Williamson, Warnock and Burroughs of Edwardsville. His petition is being heard by Judge Hillskotter before a jury of six men and two doctors, Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Wahl of Edwardsville. Charles Turner, the conservator for Godfrey's estate, is represented by Judge Early. Godfrey was placed on the stand this morning and testified clearly as to his banking connections in Quincy. He has been doing odd jobs while at Soldiers' Home and has made some extra money. In 1871, when he was declared insane, he was in love with a girl, Godfrey testified. "And I was 'red hot' for her," he declared. "But I have cooled down, somewhat." He was asked if he is still "red hot" for the girls. "I'm 'red hot' for them all the time," he replied. "I'm 'red hot' for all of them, all of the time, whether they are young or old."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 17, 1919
Homer C. Godfrey, son of the founder of Monticello Seminary and a veteran of the Civil War, who was recently adjudged sane by a jury in the county court after more than 40 years as a state ward, today petitioned the Probate court at Edwardsville to order Charles Turner, conservator of his estate, to transfer all real estate and personal property of the estate to the owners. The estate consists of 2,300 in cash and 22 acres of farm land at Godfrey township. Godfrey also receives a monthly pension. He is 80 years old.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 19, 1919
Homer C. Godfrey, 80 years old, recently adjudged sane by a jury in the County Court, was today restored to his rights of citizenship and property by a jury in the Probate Court at Edwardsville. Godfrey, who is 80 years old, and a son of the founder of Monticello Seminary, appeared in court, and notwithstanding his age and more than 40 years' confinement to state institutions, was a picture of health. He will now come into his estate, valued at $3,000, and a monthly pension of $30, allowed him because of service in the Civil War. He declared he had not yet decided whether he will make his home in Edwardsville or Alton.

[NOTE: Godfrey died in 1920 at the Soldiers' Home in Quincy, IL and was buried in Godfrey, IL. He had never married. A suit was filed in April 1920 by the heirs of Godfrey, asking for a division of 24 acres of land in Godfrey township. The complainants were Cora E. Turner, Charles E. Turner and Augusta L. Strong. The defendants were Augustine Godfrey, George Godfrey, Fred Godfrey, Margaret Morse, Katherine Carter, and James R. Godfrey. In June 1920, there was a public sale of 20-acre tract of land, in closing the estate of Homer Godfrey. The land was located on the west side of the road, and adjoining on the north the home of Mrs. Charles Turner, and on the south the William Jackson property. William P. Boynton bought the property at the auction with a bid of $133 acre.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 28, 1920
Will Waters of Godfrey township has just completed installing a complete outfit of electrical apparatus and wiring in his house to illuminate the place. To do so he had to run the lines 2,000 feet at his own expense, to connect with the electric line that extends from Alton to Godfrey. The home Mr. Waters lives in was the old Godfrey home, and was built in 1832. In another year the house will be ninety years old, but in its youngest days it was not so comfortable nor so well equipped as now with its hot water heating plant and its electric lighting system installed by the present owner, Mr. Waters. It is one of the finest, if not the finest, country homes in Madison County, being built of stone and finished in fine style inside.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1921
Another coal mine - practically within the city limits - will be operated this winter by James Vermillion and his son, Arthur. They have sunk a shaft on some land known as the "Old Smith Farm" at the northern end of Humbert street, on what is commonly known as the Brighton road, and they found a three-foot-thick vein of coal of fine quality. They are now busy installing apparatus, erecting necessary buildings, putting in scales, and doing other work, and expect to begin getting out fuel for the public about December 1st. They have engaged six coal miners, and expect to get out 300 bushels or more of coal daily from the start. Three hundred bushels a day is the minimum and they expect to increase the output and their mining force steadily as room is made for more men. The owners of the coal mine say the probably prices for coal from the Vermillion mine will be 15 cents a bushel at the mine; 19 cents per bushel delivered. The Tom McNally mine on Rozier street, was opened a few months ago, is being worked steadily, seven miners being employed there at present. The output is being increased right along, and the quality of the coal is being praised by users. The McNally mine and the Vermillion mine combined should be able to supply 1,500 or 2,000 bushels of coal daily by the last of December, and possibly more than that.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 15, 1914
Henry Telgman, A. B. Davis, and F. R. Roberts, the picnic committeemen of the Bethany Horse Detective society, announced today that they had arranged to give a picnic this year in Tolle's Grove in the Afternoon and evening of July 29. The picnic was held in Tolle's Grove last year also, and the location gave great satisfaction to everybody. It is being arranged to make the picnic this year the biggest and best ever given by the society, and to do this the committees in charge will have to work unceasingly. The society is in a flourishing condition, has several hundreds of dollars in the treasury, and have scared horse thieves and horse tail clippers out of the township. They turned their attention last season to ____ thieves also, and succeeded in ______ a stop to some of the depred_____ least. The picnics of the society are usually attended by several hundred of people, and they must be satisfied with the pleasure received for they attend the affairs year after year.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 26, 1916
At a meeting of committees of the Bethany Horse Thief Detective Society, it was decided to give the annual picnic this year in Tolle's grove on August 16...John Ulrich, one of the wheel horses of the society, was in Alton today looking up some matters, and he told a Telegraph reporter that the intention is to make this the biggest and best picnic ever given by the society....The Bethany Horse Thief Detective Society in the days when it was first organized did a great deal of good work running down horse thieves and punishing them, and this vigilance and persistence resulted in complete immunity after a while. It has been a long time since a horse was stolen in that township, and even poultry thieves have been doing less work in that vicinity than ever before. The society is made up of leading farmers and citizens, and the treasury is becoming a very well filled one, such a one as Madison county ought to have.


Back to the Top