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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory
Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon,
Mrs. Ida Hughey Reporting
Joseph A. Zahn was born October 17, 1847. He came to Illinois from Indiana, and most of his life was spent in Jefferson County, Illinois.
conducted a shoe shop in Belle Rive for some time, but retired from that
business to enter general farming and stock raising, in which he was
very successful. He dealt
largely in stock as a buyer and shipper, and farmed extensively in
Moores Prairie Township. He
was very energetic and industrious and a man of excellent business
judgment. His farm was one
of the best in Jefferson County and thoroughly cultivated and always
kept in the best of order.
ten years held a position of great responsibility at the Chester
Penitentiary, where he was in charge of the farming interests of that
institution. He also had
charge of the purchase of cattle and other stock of the institution, and
saved the State of Illinois much money with his knowledge of the
department with which he was connected.
Zahn was Supervisor of Moores Prairie Township, and held other offices
of importance in the township.
was married to Miss McPherson, and they were the parents of the
following children: Van A., Fred R., Dene W. and Goldie.
His son, Van A. Zahn, served his country during the Spanish
American War and for many years worked for the Federal Government in
Washington, D. C.
Zahn died of blood poisoning on March 24, 1921, and was buried at
Richardson Hill Cemetery.
John Dale was born on December 16, 1866, at Hoodville, Illinois, a community south of McLeansboro, which is located not far from the village of Dale, Illinois. His family had the honor of furnishing Dale the official name that it was to carry.
of his ancestors operated a sawmill in this vicinity, and no doubt sawed
much of the lumber that was used to construct many of the early
buildings in this community. It
is reported that the engineer of the sawmill on one occasion got
careless and let the boiler get dry of water, then did some hammering on
an injector, thus allowing fresh water to enter the boiler.
The result was an explosion causing one fatality.
Dales parents moved to McLeansboro when he was quite young.
John decided to take up flour milling as an occupation years
before he had reached manhood. He began his milling career with the McLeansboro Milling
Company in the twentieth year of its existence.
He was fourteen years of age when he started with the company.
He was employed by Billy Coker.
and Elizabeth Grace Dale were married on April 27, 1891.
To this union were born the following children:
Frank R., John C., Grace, Genevieve, Bernardine, and Anne.
mill where John Dale began his vocation was a landmark in that
community. This enterprise
operated continuously for a period of ninety years, beginning operations
in 1860 and remaining in business until 1950.
If this old mill could only speak it could tell some interesting
experiences. It saw the beginning of and the closing of the Civil War.
It saw the reconstruction period following the close of the War
Between the States. It
later saw the United States enforce the Monroe Doctrine when we
became engaged in the war with Spain.
After the close of this conflict, this milling company saw the
turn of the century. Seventeen
years after the coming of the Twentieth Century, this Hamilton County
industry witnessed the coming of World War One; then in about a quarter
of a century later it aw the beginning and ending of World War Two.
The industry with which John Dale began earning his livelihood
served the milling needs of countless hundreds of families during the
ninety-year period that it operated in McLeansboro.
Dale spent thirty-three years of his life with the McLeansboro Milling
Company. Much of the
success of this industry can be attributed to the skill and interest
that John Dale put into it during the years that he spent in this
particular business. He was
superintendent of the mill for General Coker.
the Dahlgren Milling Company was doing a thriving business during the
early years of the Twentieth Century, and as John Dale had thirty-three
years of milling experience behind him, he decided to expand in this
field of activity; so he moved to Dahlgren and purchased an interest in
that mill. He and his
family moved to Dahlgren in August 1913.
the vast amount of experience in the milling vocation, it was natural
for the management to request him to accept the position of
superintendent of this companys business.
He assumed the responsibility of the operation of this plant, and
it became one of the most profitable milling enterprises for many miles
around. He remained in Dahlgren until 1924.
member of the personnel of this Bureau can recall going with his father
to the mill at Dahlgren to purchase flour in its heyday and listening to
Mr. Dale and the customer carry on one of their jolly conversations as
they both delighted in doing. They
were very close friends for many years.
John Dale is remembered for his keen interest in people and the
skill that he exhibited in making the old mill the service that it
rendered of so much value to the Dahlgren community.
1924, Mr. Dale moved his family to Mt. Vernon, and was a partner in the
Dale Motor Sales Company in that community until his retirement in 1930.
Dale died January 28, 1949, at the age of eight-two in Mt. Vernon.
He was an active member of St. Marys Catholic Church of Mt.
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