Dillinger’s Exploits Sent Scores to Illinois Hospital

John Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903 in the city of Indianapolis. Dillinger’s mother died when he was four years old; his father was one of the orthopedic doctors Chicago south suburbs, and was reputed to have been a very hard man. Dillinger was wild and very rebellious even as a youth. Running afoul of the law in his teens, he joined the U.S. Navy; but soon deserted and was dishonorably discharged and sent to Indiana State Prison. Inside prison he learned the criminal way from renowned bank robbers of the time. When he was released, Dillinger engineered the escape of his mentors and with them formed a criminal gang which later came to include Baby Face Nelson.

The Dillinger Gang was celebrated for its exploits, such as pretending to be sales representatives for a bank alarm system assessing banks’ security needs, in order to case banks for prospective jobs. On another occasion the Dillinger Gang pretended to be a movie company filming a “bank robbery” scene. The bank employees and bystanders stood and smiled when a real robbery took place, and the Dillinger Gang rode off into the sunset with the loot. The Dillingers robbed dozens of banks in Chicago, East Chicago, Racine, Sioux Falls, South Bend, and many other Midwestern towns in 1933-1934. John Dillinger was jailed in 1933, but his gang sprang him from prison, killing Sheriff Jesse Sarber and sending several wounded police to hospitals in Illinois in their escape. The majority of the gang’s members were captured in Tucson late in 1934. John Dillinger was sent to Lake County jail, Crown Point IN, to face trial for suspected murder of police officer William O’Malley in an East Chicago, IN bank shootout after his jailbreak. Held in a supposedly escape-proof jail in Crown Point, and guarded by National Guardsmen as well as state and local police, John Dillinger escaped from custody on March 3, 1934 using a fake gun carved of wood and blackened with shoe polish. He further embarrassed the Sheriff Lillian Holley by driving away in her brand-new Ford.

On escaping from prison, John Dillinger resumed his bank robbing career with his gang. In April the gang was betrayed to the FBI by their landlady. However, an FBI raid on the gang was so ineptly executed that it allowed the Dillinger Gang to escape; and one FBI agent was shot down by Baby Face Nelson in the process. John Dillinger then moved to Chicago where, unbeknownst to him, the FBI dragnet against the Dillinger Gang was centered. Finding a bloody getaway car abandoned on a side street in Chicago, the police knew that Dillinger was in the city.

On July 22, 1934, John Dillinger went to the Biograph Theater in Chicago’s Lincoln Park section to see the movie Manhattan Melodrama. With Dillinger were his sweetheart of the moment, and a brothel madam from Gary IN named Anna Sage. When the group exited the theater on that summer night, Anna Sage tipped off FBI agents who opened fire on Dillinger, killing him and removing him to an Illinois hospital.

How Long Can I Stay in My Home During a Residential Foreclosure In Illinois?

When either the County Sheriff or special process server appear at your home and serve you, your spouse or teenage child with a foreclosure complaint, perhaps the single most important question is “How long can I stay in the house”. The general rule under Illinois law is that a residential homeowner, who resides in the home as his primary residence, has, at a minimum, the longer of:

a) seven (7) months from the date of being served the complaint; or

b) 90 days after entry of judgment of foreclosure

Merely filing a foreclosure or being served with a foreclosure complaint alone does not mean you must immediately move from your home. However, being served with a complaint does trigger an important statutory deadline. Once service is made on all named defendants, Illinois’ right of redemption starts to run which permits a homeowner to pay the bank the entire loan balance, plus their interest, finance charges, court costs and attorneys’ fees, to keep or “redeem” their home. Until the redemption period has expired, no bank in an Illinois foreclosure can compel the judicial sale of your house which results in you losing title to your house.

The redemption period is the longer of: 7 months after all defendants are served or 90 days after entry of judgment of foreclosure. Without a judicial sale of your house first occurring, the Bank cannot legally force you out of your home. Certain exceptions exist that if the house’s value has significantly decreased due to it being vacant or abandoned, the Bank can speed up the judicial sale process. Generally, Illinois residential homeowners are entitled to the their redemption rights under Illinois law and as result, are not immediately evicted from their home.

Being served with a foreclosure complaint is a very stressful and shocking moment in one’s life. While your first inclination may be to panic- do not do so. As described above, Illinois’ residential homeowners have consumer-friendly statutory provisions that legally provide them time to formulate a plan, review their budget, discuss modification options with the bank or if those efforts fail, sufficient time to locate alternative housing. Consulting an experienced foreclosure attorney is proactive, smart decision to make when served with a foreclosure complaint as Illinois law dictates that certain important deadlines start to run against you in foreclosure case.

* This article does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

How to Buy a Bank Owned Property? A Few Pointers

Thinking of buying a bank-owned property and making a killing? Here’s some ways you can prepare for it:
REO or Real Estate Owned is property that goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. The majority of foreclosure auctions do not even reach the bid stage. If there was enough equity in the property to satisfy the loan, the owner could have sold the property and paid off the bank. This is why the property ends up at a foreclosure or trustee sale.

The process of foreclosure sales:

o Sales begin with a minimum bid that includes the loan balance, any accrued interest, plus attorney’s fees and any costs association with the foreclosure process.
o To bid at a foreclosure auction, one must have a cashier’s check for the full amount of your bid.
o If you are the successful with your bid, you obtain the property in “as is” condition, which could have someone still living in the property. There may also be other legal claims against the property.
o What is owed to the bank is almost always more than what the property is worth and therefore very few foreclosure auctions result in a successful sale.
o The property then goes back to the bank and becomes an REO, or Real Estate Owned property.
o Now the bank owns the property and the mortgage loan no longer exists.
o The bank handles any eviction, if necessary, and might do some repairs.
o The bank also negotiates with the IRS for removal of tax notices and pays off any dues.
o The purchaser of an REO property will receive a title insurance policy and the opportunity to inspect the property.

What to look out for:

o An REO property is often not a great bargain.
o It is better to do your homework before making an offer.
o If you are successful, you must ensure that the price you pay is at par with other homes in the neighborhood.
o The costs of renovation, including the time taken to complete them, should be considered.
o Beware of being caught up in a bidding war and paying more than the market value. It could be that the particular foreclosure you are looking at is not a bargain.

What banks look for:
o Banks want to get the highest price possible and have no intention of selling cheap.
o Once you make an offer the banks presents a counter-offer.
o You should be able to counter the counter-offer.
o Even if your offer is accepted, the bank might state that it is ‘subject to corporate approval’.
o Your offer or counter-offer will most likely be reviewed and have to be approved by individuals and companies.

The Property:

o Banks intend selling a property status quo – ‘as is’ as it is commonly known.
o Banks will provide pest certification, but it has to be included in your offer and negotiated.
o The Bank might not agree to do any repairs, but you can do all inspections at your expense.
o The offer you have made the bank should have an inspection contingency period that permits you to end the sale if inspections show unanticipated damages that the bank will not take care off.
o Though you have agreed to “as is”, you can talk to the bank to make repairs or give you credit after you’ve completed the inspection. They might re-negotiate to take the transaction ahead instead of placing the property back on the market.
o Banks are exempt from the California Sellers Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS-14). The real estate agents involved if any, representing you or the bank, are obligated to make available their disclosure statements.
o Banks mostly do not give financing on their REOs, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Particularly if the property has extensive damage.

Do check all papers, reports and forms BEFORE you make the offer and you could just make yourself the best deal ever!!!

Probate Profits Made Easy by Jim Banks

Probate Profits Made Easy is where Jim Banks 30 years experience qualifies him as an expert. Infomercials get us all hyped up especially when we’re looking for a way to make extra money. If you have an interest in the real estate arena, this could definitely be a feasible market for you.

My understanding of the probate process was learned while becoming a licensed real estate agent in the state of Illinois. This process happens when a person is deceased, leaving his/her heirs with assets. The assets are sold to pay any outstanding bills so that heirs can receive their portion of any remaining inheritance. I would personally hire a lawyer were I in this type of situation. Certainly lots of people like to educate themselves when faced with such circumstances and maybe save some money as well.

Your investment into Jim Banks program starts with $9.95 plus $14.95 shipping and handling. You must return this before 30 days are up or you will continue in his programs with a $49.95 charge to your credit card, for an additional 6 months. He also has seminars you can attend going as high as $6,000.

With this program, Probate Profits Made Easy, you receive 6 months of coaching, where Jim is also on the phone 2 times per month, giving his personal insights. This is not a personal one on one call. You receive with your purchase six books, a DVD and nine audio CD’s.

I found that with this type of investing the legal mumbo jumbo and red tape you have to go through insurmountable. Of course, I know that research of this nature is extremely tedious and boring just by its nature but also causes many people to give up on the Jim Banks system.

In my personal opinion I believe anyone can gain from Jim’s course with this method of investing, if they so choose. You could produce mucho profits on one deal. You must also remember, you will need to have available cash on these deals. This review of Jim Banks is absolutely favorable with the caveat “buyer beware”. Make sure and do your own investigating before purchasing programs or investing your money.

Bank Foreclosures, Inventories On The Rise Into 2007

Foreclosures filings continue at recent record levels in States already recording the highest levels in years. Nationally, the foreclosure rate at the end of April 2007, of one for every 783 households was slightly down on March 2007 (one for every 775) and 38% ahead of April 2006 at 1 for every 1268 households as reported this week by ForeclosureDatabank.com an online foreclosures listing service.

In previous years investors have noted a trend toward lower filings in the second quarter. Any dip noted in the coming month will hardly obscure the rate of increase year to date nationwide over the same period in 2006, around.62%. Foreclosure filings in most States remain well above last year’s levels and are expected to do so for much of 2007.

The indicator rate per household in foreclosure activity is used to highlight the trend in a market which is of increasing interest to both investors, hoping to maximise ROI without inefficient use of capital, and home buyers continuing searching in their neighbourhood of choice or near by for extra value for their available funds.

Before we all get hooked on the hyperbole which flows in the media following the publishing of such robust percentages, lets remind ourselves that foreclosures filings absolute numbers in states other than the top ten are actually quite small, and in the special opportunity market of bank foreclosures, small indeed.

Bank foreclosures are in the last of three main stages in the foreclosure process, and are lumped in with REO numbers and statistics in readily available data, you can see why when in most cases numbers per metro or county are low.

Compare these REO foreclosures rates and numbers in April with those from the States with existing track records of high foreclosures filings over the last two years;

o In April 2007 California had 2,000 REO filings, compares with 177 in April 2006 out of a total of 30,505 foreclosures filed in the state, which in turn represented 21% of the national total of 147,708 for the month.

o Ohio listed Reo filings of 3,545, compared with 2,424 in April 2006, and out of a total of 11,431 in filings for the month, nearly 8% of the national total.

o Texas recorded 3,375 REO filings compared with 3,371 same period last year, out of a total of 11,424 or 7.7%

o Georgia reported 1,899 (1,354 4/2006) from a total 7,151 or just under 5% of the national total.

After these the April 2007 numbers fall to 1,606 for Michigan, 1002 for Colorado, 858 for Tennessee, 806 for Indiana and 757 for North Carolina
Florida, Illinois, Arizona are all in the range under 660.

REO is the institutional name for Real Estate Owned property, realty that lenders have had to repossess because of mortgage delinquencies. Not all REO’s are bank foreclosures but by definition all bank foreclosures are REO.

April housing statistics and permits are down, but with the pipeline of more real estate to enter the market full, it is not unrealistic to assume a glut of unsold property, especially single family homes, in all price ranges, in the geographical areas where foreclosures filings have been the highest in percentage terms in the last 12 months.
Banks and other lenders forced to foreclose on properties this year face inventories well above past year levels.

Expect some flexibility in financing on offer to help clear these bank owned homes, expect pressure on pricing, and pressure to clear property inventories where all unsold homes sit on the market for 90 days or more. The range on offer of bank foreclosure property will not be great in most areas and the much smaller pool of addresses could mean more bidding competition. Time to ensure those analytical tools so readily available now on the Internet are at your fingertips.

This year, 2007, could be the year of the alert investor and home buyer opportunities for excellent deals in bank foreclosures.

Cord Blood Banking

There are many great aspects to this subject, which we will review carefully so that you may get the most from it.

If you are pregnant or have freshly had a baby, you are liable at slightest a little regular with the idea of stockpiling or preserving your new baby’s umbilical cord blood.

This umbilical cord blood is keep when a baby is intuitive, cryogenically deposited, and then existing if your daughter later becomes sick and desires a bone center transplant. This kind of transplant would be ‘antilogous’ and is different than the more universal ‘allergenic’ transplants that might be done from a sibling or other qualified or an unrelated supporter.

The ads from the companies that bestow this ceremony, such as via cable and cable Blood Registry, are very persuasive. Who wouldn’t want to do something that might keep their baby’s life?

We have had a lot of fun during the first portion of this article and hopefully you feel as though you have a firm grasp on the topic.

And many of the pieces on other parenting and pregnancy places look to bestow unbiased pieces on cord blood stockpiling, but the ads from cable Blood Registry and Via cable on the same pages make these pieces look excluding credible. The piece on one place is actually bestowed by via cable, which would look to make the undivided page an advertisement, stilt that isn’t mentioned somewhere.

So how do you make certitude about cord blood stockpiling?

If you activate to investigate cord blood stockpiling, the first highway deter that you will liable come winning is the worth.

The worth at via cable activates at $1500 for collection of the cord blood and then $95/year for deposit room. Because the blood is keep for up to 21 days, the equal charge would be about $3500, unexcluding you prepay for deposit room, which can keep you up to $500.

The cable Blood Registry has analogous pricing, with a $1290 enrollment and processing fee and then a $95/year deposit room fee, still you can keep some money here too if you prepay for deposit room.

Still these worth’s will put cord blood stockpiling out of extent of many families, you will liable have some mood guilty that they can’t allow taking this opportunity to perhaps ‘keep’ their babies life.

Should they feel guilty?

Should you stockpile your baby’s cord blood?

The answer to the first one is a stated no. The American Academy of Pediatrics goes as far as axiom that ‘it is fractious to advocate that parents deposit their daughter en’s cord blood for potential use.’

The minute query is something that you will have to choose for manually.

The answer is easier if you have a daughter or family element that already has a prepare that can be treated with a stem cabal transplant, such as sickle cabal anemia, thalassemia, plastic anemia, leukemia, metabolic deposit room disorders and certain genetic immunodeficiency’s. In this suit, you should stately try to stockpile your daughter’s umbilical cord blood.

There is actually a course called the Sibling patron cable Blood agenda at Children’s infirmary of Oakland where you can stockpile your daughter’s umbilical cord blood for unbound if you encounter their eligibility requirements. Which includes having a daughter with a transplantable prepare, having a daughter with a prenatal diagnosis of a transplantable prepare, or if your unintuitive daughter is at high jeopardy for a having a transplantable prepare.

While the claims are rightful that a bone center transplant with your own daughter’s cord blood stem cabals could keep his life, the actual odds that you would have to use his stem cabals is very small, and only about 1 in 2,700.

1 in 2,700 means that for every 2700 umbilical cord stem cabals keep, only 1 would be worn. That number is misleading still. Some, if not many, of that daughter might be treated with other therapies if stem cabals weren’t existing.

For example, while an antilogous stem cabal transplant could be worn as a remedy for leukemia, it has been revealed to be no more operative than chemotherapy.

For other disorders, an allergenic transplant from a sibling or an unrelated supporter might also be existing for use.

Or you might even be able to find a stem cabal equal from an umbilical cord blood stockpile that deposits donated stem cabals from unrelated supporters from the native middle patron agenda cable Blood Banks.

So it is not like there is a 100% luck that your daughter will not have a life discount remedy existing if stem cabals hadn’t been keep.

Still, having your daughter’s cord blood existing does have payback, counting that:

* The cord blood is simply existing if you ever do should it

* These stem cabals will be a improve equal for your daughter, while there is only a 25% luck that a sibling will be a equal

Umbilical cord blood stockpiling does advance a lot of ethical queries. If cord blood stockpiling is a good idea, is it good that only people who can allow it will be able to have luck at a life discount therapy for their daughter?

This query will be excluding of a delivery if there is an extension of the unrelated cord blood stockpiles. With this kind of cord blood stockpile, it is potential to donate your daughter’s cord blood for unbound if you live near one of the native middle patron agenda cable Blood Banks in 14 states in the United States, counting Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New pullover, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.. These stem cabals could then be worn by unrelated daughter who should a transplant and explore their registry. Because there is no charge or jeopardy to you to do this, if you choose not to stockpile your daughter’s stem cabals for your own use, you might judge donating them.

Illinois Wine Bucket List

    A “Bucket List” can be defined as a list of actions that individuals would like to accomplish in their lives. I have my own list and staying in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House is not on the list. At the end of this month, another item from my list will be crossed off – attending a baseball game at the infamous Wrigley Field in Chicago. Taking the Bucket List trip will allow for another item of interest – traveling to learn more about the wine industry in Illinois.


    In the 1770’s, French settlers first introduced wine making to small village in Illinois now called Peoria. Emile Baxter, along with his sons, opened a winery along the banks of the Mississippi River near Nauvoo in 1857. The Baxter Vineyard remains the oldest operating winery in Illinois. Before prohibition, Illinois laid claim to being the fourth largest wine producing state in America. Prohibition, as it did in many states, virtually caused the wine growing industry to disappear in Illinois until resurgence in the late 1970’s. By the year 2001, there were 27 wineries and, in the last nine years, another 63 have been added – a 330 percent increase in the past decade.


    Illinois is divided into four major wine growing zones. Each zone approximately divides the state into quarters with the growing zone boundaries running east to west. The zones are aptly named the Northern, Central, South Central and Southern. Nearly one-half of the vineyards are located in Jackson, Union, Johnson and Jo Daviess Counties. About 55 percent of the wineries are located in Union, Jackson, Madison, Adams, De Kalb and Randolph Counties. Illinois has the capacity to produce approximately 850,000 gallons of wine per year but is currently operating at about 65 percent of capacity. Grapes are cultivated on approximately 1200 acres in the state.


    Of the grape area harvested, twelve grape varieties comprise nearly ninety percent of the harvest. The following twelve varieties, listed from most produced to least are: Chardonel, Chambourcin, Vignoles, Traminette, Concord, Foch, Seyval, Norton, Vidal Blanc, Frontenac, Niagara and Cayuga White. The Northern and Southern zones account for 57 percent of the cultivated acres of grapes. Many of the grapes grown are considered hybrid varieties adapted to the cold climates of the state. Fruit wines from apples, peaches and berries are also recognized as a key category within the state’s wine industry.


    The wine producing community of Illinois has four designated wine trails that are ideal to tour. The wine trails are Shawnee Hills (Southern Zone), Northern Illinois, Illinois River and Heartland Rivers. Any of these trails are worth the effort to explore and enjoy. There are established bus tour companies that will allow you to taste as much wine as you want and leave the driving to them. Interstate highways abound and make traveling to one of the wine trail tours easy. Award winning wineries like the 2010 State Fair entry from Prairie State Winery will surely reward your palette. Other notable wineries winning awards at the 2010 Fair were Lynfred, Spirit Knot, Hickory Ridge, Hill Prairie and August Hill Wineries.

    Illinois offers a great selection of tasty wines you should try. It will still boil down in the end to what wine suits your palette. As I always say, buy the wine you like, store wine properly in a wine cooler, serve it at the proper temperature and enjoy it immensely.

Stuff to See and Do Around Momence, Illinois

The region drained by the Kankakee River in northeastern Illinois embraces some of the most beautiful and fertile land in the country. The Kankakee, which was the home of the Potawatomi Indians and the road through which early settlers pushed into the area, rises in Indiana marshes; joins the Iroquois River below Momence Illinois hospital, and flows to the Illinois near Manteno. An odd feature of the Kankakee River Valley is the absence of any ponds or lakes. This region is underlaid with a limestone formation which can vary from several feet to over fifty feet beneath the surface. Kankakee County soils can be classified in one of three groups: marsh and sandy land; light black earth; and a heavy black soil which is the highest in fertility. The sandy soils are found in low-lying ridges which are covered by oak forest; the ridges themselves are separated by areas of heavy dark muck. While much of the original forest of Kankakee County has been cut down, there remains substantial tracts of oak, ash, elm, hickory, maple, walnut and other hard woods. The rocky banks of the river feature stands of cedar and pine. With the exception of sandy soil areas and a few limestone outcroppings, the soils in Kankakee County are the most productive in Illinois. All north temperate crops do very well here. The average rainfall is half again less than in southern Illinois.

Among mineral deposits there are deposits of potters’ clay in many areas, which led to the establishment of several brick and tile factories in Kankakee city from its earliest days. The limestone deposits are mined to manufacture lime, and for gravel for macadamizing and ballast. Kankakee limestone is in fact quite well known for its high quality and beauty, and is used in many of the private and public buildings in northern Illinois and Chicago such as Momence hospital. The western part of the county has substantial coal fields which are highly productive, the coal being located just beneath the surface.

In 1834 settlers came for the first time to Kankakee County, following the federal government’s signing the Treaty of Tippecanoe in 1832. The promise of cheap land brought many immigrants from Vermont and New York who located in Momence Illinois. Today visitors come from all over the country to enjoy the scenery and tranquility of Kankakee. Students of architecture will find many notable and historical structures worth visiting, including the Kankakee County Courthouse and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bradley House in Kankakee (one of the earliest Prairie Style designs). Besides traditional recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hunting, agritourism has become a major local industry. This tourism features visits to local farms and farmers markets, such as Kankakee Farmers Market, Meadowview Farmers Market, Manteno Illinois hospital Farmers Market and Mary’s Berries are just a few of the many great area farmers markets. There are also wonderful bargains at the many local antique shops such as Antiquery Collectibles & More, Castle Antique Mall, Indian Oaks Antique Mall, Olde Barn Antiques, and Manteno Antique Mall.

Online Cash Advance Illinois – Some Quick Tips

People are made to believe by lenders and their agents that online cash advance in Illinois is a worthwhile service, as online processing of these loans makes the approval and disbursal very fast.

However, such claims are not always true. This is only one part of story. The other and rather sad part is that these are very expensive and over dependence on this type of borrowing could land you in a bigger financial trouble. So long as you have any other source of getting funds or if you can manage somehow, it would be better if you stay clear of these loans. However, if you think that the cost and inconvenience of not taking the loan is greater than the cost of cash advance, you can consider taking fast cash. Even then, you must borrow only the amount that you are sure that you can payback on time. If you fail to pay the amount on the due date, you will have to pay a bigger fee.

In times of emergencies, when time is of essence, you require a loan provider who will lend you money with minimum formalities. You have neither the time nor patience to organize loads of documents and answer several questions to get cash. Lenders who offer this online for people staying in Illinois makes the whole procedure of application, approval, and disbursal of money quick and convenient. As mentioned, all this convenience has a cost to it and you are the best judge to weigh the pros and cons before you fill the online application form.

Online Procedure

The online procedure for taking these does not require you to sit for days, waiting for the approval and meanwhile faxing loads of documents as proofs, verification etc. Even all verification of the data provided by you is done through online resources, your data is not shared with anyone and the whole transaction is very straightforward and discreet. They can be secured from any location. If you are a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and if you gave a stable job, which pays you, at least $1000 per month, then you can apply for the payday loans in Illinois. You also must have a bank account in your name, active for a minimum of 3 months.

However, all this comes at a cost and the lenders charge heavy fee to offset the risk taken for such fast lending.

Some Points To Watch Out For:

Though the process of taking fast cash loan is simple, while choosing your lender, you must look out for some aspects:
If the lender is charging an early repayment fee, don’t go for it.

Some lending companies charge you membership fees, in addition to the fee you pay for the loans, avoid them.

Too much information is sometimes asked for regarding your financial status and standing, if you feel it’s unnecessary, don’t tell. Instead, look out for another company.

Always go through the fine print of the terms and conditions before agreeing.

In addition, show caution by ensuring you have enough balance in your account in the payback day, so that the check is not bounced and you do not face negative balance. Loan extension is an option, but a much costly one, plan well to avoid it. This seems to be an attractive proposition, but avail it only for urgent purposes, when you have no other way out. This facility is available for all and can be availed in dire circumstances as well as for building a good credit history. However, as previously mentioned, you should take these only when it is to take care of an emergency and you have no other option for getting fast cash.

Exploring the Heel of Illinois, or I Don’t Even Know Where I Am

Exploring the Heel of Illinois or I Don’t Even Know Where I Am We had a destination when we started. It was the blue grass festival in Bean Blossom Indiana. This year was special because it celebrated the 100th birthday of the father of blue grass, Bill Monroe. We had attended once before but never camped so we picked a large open field hoping for some peace and quiet. This property used to be Bill Monroe’s home and farm where he lived and enjoyed making music with friends and fox hunting. We followed the bright sound of strumming banjos and guitars to the stage. Soon we were taping our toes and reminiscing about the songs our grand daddies sang even though we grew up in Indianapolis far from the hills of southern Indiana. Dr. Ralph Stanley topped off the evening with his rendition of “Oh Death, Won’t You Spare Me Over for Another Year,” made famous in the movie, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? We made our way to our tent at about ten o’clock and lay down for a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately the kids on golf carts had other ideas. They were still racing around the field, revving their engines and shining their headlights into our tent when I finally looked at my watch. It read a shocking 2:30 a.m., and we pulled up our tent stakes and headed for Nashville, Indiana and a Comfort Inn were they were doing an audit and couldn’t access the computer. We finally got to sleep around three in the morning.

The next day we were on our way to New Harmony a place where the Rappites and Owens had tried to establish Utopian societies in the 19th century, to visit my friend, an artist who paints subjects from the nineteen fifties and architecture along old highways like US 40 and Route 66. Serendipitously she found an old drive-in restaurant on state road 66 and converted it into a studio. We enjoyed seeing pictures of James Dean, Hank Williams, women in full skirts and high heels ironing with their new Steam-o-matic’s or admiring their snow white electric washing machines or ranges. One couple danced around the kitchen in front of their new refrigerator looking like they had just returned from the prom. Giant ice cream cones atop tiny restaurants promised relief from the summer heat with no worries about fat or calories. No worries about Chesterfields or Lucky Strikes either. No worries period. Just the promise of suburban bliss or Utopia 50’s style.

It is then that we strayed from the beaten path by crossing the toll bridge just a block from my friend’s studio across the Wabash into southern Illinois. Here was a different world which we had unsuspectingly entered into the previous evening when we went to hear a folksinger in Grayville. Everything seemed fine if a bit surreal. He sang of a minor league baseball player who spent time in Lynchburg and ended up with a pinched nerve. A few songs later he launched into “South of Solitude” about entering into the labyrinthine roads of southern Illinois and getting lost resulting in the lyrics, “I don’t even know where I am,” and ending with the lyrics, “I don’t even know who I am.” We didn’t know it then, but we would soon live the song. There were a grand total of nine or ten people in attendance, four of whom were some young German guys not paying too much attention to the singer. We weren’t too surprised to see them as southern Indiana abounds in descendents of German settlers and German restaurants. Travelers are never too far from a good sausage and sauerkraut dinner. But here in Grayville the waitresses seemed quite surprised and happy to see them as they actually spoke German and were young and not too hard on the eyes. We found out that they were in town to work in the coal mine for eight days and were enjoying some Grayville nightlife. The singer ended with some Dylan songs and his friend accompanied him on the harmonica. “That’s what you get for Loving Me” seemed appropriate to end the set, and the German guys smiled and said goodbye in English.

The next day, at the suggestion of my friend, we ventured across the bridge again following a vintage Airstream travel trailer, which again lent an air of the fifty’s, into surreal southern Illinois again to see the Garden of the Gods. We had seen the one of the same name in Colorado Springs and were not expecting much by comparison. But we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful and strange looking rock formations in the Shawnee National Forest. The wilderness area is over three hundred and twenty million years old and includes over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest. The sediment rock in this area is over four miles deep and the fractured bedrock has created some interesting rock formations that represent various objects like anvils, camels, and mushrooms. Next we traveled south to the Ohio River and saw Pirates’ Cave at Cave in the Rock. Two riverboats had been built and had burned here, but now there was only the ferry taking cars and trucks across the river at no charge. As we reached the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, a truck with an oversize load in the form of an earth mover was waiting to board the ferry. We were glad we had crossed in the company of small cars.

We were now on the Trail of Tears which the original Americans had been forced to take when their land was confiscated by the pioneer settlers. In 1830, Congress passed a bill permitting the removal of all native Indians living east of the Mississippi River. For the next twenty years, Indians were marched west to reservations in Arkansas and Oklahoma, including the bands of the Illini Indians in Illinois. In the Fall and Winter of 1838-39, Cherokee Indians were marched out of Georgia and the Carolinas across Southern Illinois to reservations in the west. It was estimated that two thousand to four thousand Cherokee men, women, and children died during this one thousand mile journey west. It became known as the Trail of Tears due to the many hardships and sorrows it brought to the Indians. The Buel Family told the story of their ancestor Sarah (Jones) Buel who moved to Golconda on Sept. 2, 1836. Two years later the Cherokees passed through Golconda. “My great-great-grandmother was acookin’ pumpkin an’ keepin’ an eye on her baby when she heard a strange noise outside. Before she knew it, the front door popped open and there stood two Cherokee Indian braves just alookin’ at her… They had smelled the pumpkin cookin’ as they passed by, but my grandmother had no way of knowin’ that. Finally, she understood what they wanted, and those Indians were mighty thankful when she gave them some of the cooked pumpkin. I ‘spect she was just as thankful when they left,” she added.*

Our trip in to Kentucky was mostly through farm country so we headed back to Illinois lured by Old Shawnee Town on the map. When we arrived it was not only old but a ghost town. A massive Greek architectural style bank dwarfed everything else in sight. We later learned that it was the first bank to be chartered in Illinois in 1816. It was also the first building used solely to house a bank in Illinois and was used until the 1920s. Someone told us that it had refused a loan to a bank in Chicago when it was first developing, because it didn’t think Chicago would be a successful settlement. HogDaddy’s bar was across the deserted street from the bank. A sign on the door said closed for the winter, but it was obviously closed for the summer as well. We also learned later that the worse flooding in decades had closed the town down. Two wooden cut-out figures of Lewis and Clark indicated that they had passed through Shawnee town, but they looked as forlorn as we did when we found out HogDaddy’s was closed. We drove south out of town thinking we were on the Lincoln trail but ended up on a gravel road. Common sense would have dictated turning back to the main road, but we wanted to see the confluence of the Wabash and the Ohio. We were soon lost in a labyrinth of corn fields. We saw a deer and her fawn in the middle of the road drinking from a mud puddle. We kept turning right when we should have turned left to get back to the main road, but the river beckoned.

Then without warning our engine sputtered and stopped. Walking was out of the question in the heat and humidity. We waited hoping the engine would start but after half an hour, we tried calling for a tow truck. Luckily we were able to reach Triple A, but were not so successful in trying to tell them were we were. “Well there’s a corn field on the right and a forest on the left, and we were on Round Pond Road, then Long Pond road, and then Pond Church Road, then Big Hill Road.” While we were calling, a farmer came along, and we flagged him down. He was a gift from Heaven as he had GPS and gave us our coordinates. Even more amazing was that he knew the guy we were talking to on the phone personally even though he was in Indiana. They had grown up together and the tow truck guy knew the farms bordering the road where we were. The nice farmer stayed and talked to us until the tow truck arrived. He had some sad stories about flooding in the area causing late planting and ammonia used in farming being stolen by people making meth. We had the feeling that we might not be safe even though far from the big city. An even sadder story was about his son, who had served two stints in Iraq, coming home and drowning while swimming in a quarry.

The tow truck guy soon arrived, greeted his friend, and invited us to climb into the front seat of his truck. He continued the tale of woe saying that the economy in southern Illinois had been ruined by the politicians in Chicago even though some of them had been sent to Washington. He also mentioned meth problems in the area acerbated by the bad economy and worse weather. We again felt like we didn’t know where we were, or maybe we had strayed into Mexico. However when we crossed back into Indiana, he cheered up a little naming various industrial sites that we passed such as Marathon and Bristol Myers Squib. Ethanol plants were prospering using the corn we had been lost in. It seemed more industrialized, but not necessarily better. But in his opinion there were more business incentives offered in Indiana and better politicians. He was glad to relate his life story saying he had wanted to be a chiropractor but had opted for nursing. Burnout caused him to go into business as a gas station owner. When his business in Illinois was not doing so well he asked God to give him a sign if he should move into Indiana and start a towing service. That night the roof on his filling station caved in. He now does missionary work every year in Honduras with the Baptist Church where his training as a nurse serves him and them well. He treats people for everything from parasites to gangrene.

These guys from southern Illinois were two of the nicest guys I have ever met and representative of others who are trying to survive in spite of large corporations taking over family farms and politicians passing legislation not favorable to small businesses, and they are retaining their values as good Samaritans as well. We also appreciated the 277,500 acre Shawnee national Forest with its diverse population of plant, animal, and bird life. It provides habitat to several endangered or threatened species and is a beautiful place to visit. It is hard to believe that this area was once covered by a shallow ocean and inhabited by sea creatures before the Mississippian people, the Illini and other Indian tribes, the French, British and finally settlers of English, German, Scottish and Irish descent, and even freed slaves arrived. If we travel to the Ohio River Valley in southern Illinois again, it will be to see Metropolis, the home of Super Man and Harrah’s Metropolis casino/hotel.

The tourist industry is big here also because of Kincaid, the home of a complex society which was part of the Mississippian culture. People first arrived in the Ohio River Valley around 12,000 B.C. The culture reached its peak about 1100 AD and a large city was built at Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Its people built large earthworks and related structures, many of which remain. Mississippian culture regional centers arose throughout the Ohio and lower Mississippian valleys, one at Angel Mounds in Evansville which we would visit later. The rivers were part of widespread trading routes. The French settled in the area in 1757 before the victorious British came to claim the territory. Sometime in the 1830s, Southern Illinois became known as Egypt or Little Egypt because settlers from northern Illinois came south to buy grain during years when they had poor harvests in the 1830s just as ancient people had traveled to Egypt to buy grain (Genesis 41:57 and 42:1-3). Later, towns in Southern Illinois were named Cairo, Thebes, and Karnak, as in the country of Egypt. We were happy to reach Evansville and turn our car over to Pep Boys.

The next day we rented a car and went to the Evansville museums on the riverfront and visited Angel Mounds. From 1100 to 1450 A. D., a town on this site was home to people of the Middle Mississippian culture, who engaged in hunting and farming on the rich bottom lands of the Ohio River. Several thousand people lived in this town protected by a stockade made of wattle and daub. Because Angel Mounds was a chiefdom (the home of the chief) it was the regional center of a large community that grew outward from it for many miles. Roving bands of Shawnee, Miami, and other groups moved into this area about 1650 A. D., long after the Mississippians abandoned the town at Angel. Later, white settlers farmed the land. Much like the Native Americans, they were lured by the rich soil and temperate growing season. One of the families to settle in Southwestern Indiana was headed by Mathias Angel. He had a farmstead on the site of Angel Mounds from 1852 until his death in 1899. His brothers owned adjacent farms, and the land remained in the Angel family until 1938.

Angel Mounds State Historic Site is named after this family. I had participated in an archaeological dig near there while in college at Indiana University. We lived at Angel Mounds and used the Glen Black Laboratory there. WPA workers had excavated at Angel Mounds during the nineteen thirties. Now there is a restored village and a museum. We had photographed the site using box cameras and developed large prints in the dark room. We had used surveying equipment to locate our site in the middle of a field. We found post holes that had been a house, bones, pottery, and even an inscribed stone that looked like a numbering system. Now they probably use modern technology such as digital photography and GPS to find and study the ancient technologies of the inhabitants which included chipping flint spear points, decorating with wax resist pottery techniques, and basket weaving.

We ventured back into Kentucky again to Henderson to see the John James Audubon Museum. He had a fascinating life drawing birds, but left his devoted Quaker wife alone for years at a time and eventually had to declare bankruptcy. He was a dedicated artist and his son later joined him in his passion for recording birds and animals in the wilderness. This museum has a complete Double Elephant edition of Birds of America, the value of which is in the millions. It’s on display only one page at a time, understandably. This museum was well worth the eleven mile trip from Evansville. We had to laugh because every place we went on this trip seemed to be eleven miles from the previous place or, if not, a multiple of eleven. Eleven is our lucky number! We picked up our car from Pep Boys and headed home. The windshield wipers came on whenever we used the turn signal, but at least the fuel pump was working, and we were on the road again. My next story may be about all the places our car has broken down and the opportunities it has provided to get to know people in the area proving that older vehicles have their advantages. Road trips in the Ohio Valley are always fun and provide numerous opportunities for enjoying nature, traveling through history and meeting fascinating people.