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Wish you were here!
(Postcards from Sullivan:
The Square and other businesses )


(Click on the front or back of a card to see a full-size image.)

Title Front Back Transcription/Comments
Aerial view from the tower of Northside School, c. 1911 Postmark:
Sullivan ILL. Mar 30 (year not given) 9PM

Addressed to:
Miss Pearl Hensley,
Gays Ills


Sullivan 30th Spending this Sunday at home JCB

The the postmark does not give the year, though it is almost certainly 1912. The photograph taken from the bell tower of the old Northside School shows that
the Opera House is missing, and thus it was taken after February 1911. Furthermore, the damage to the adjacent building has been repaired, and it is unlikely that this would have been completed a mere month after the fire. Finally, March 30th was on Saturday in 1912, supporting the news about Sunday at home; in 1913, the 30th would have fallen on Monday.

Pearl, born May 1897, was the daughter of Andrew and Jane Hensley.
Aerial view, from the southeast, 1942 Postmark:
Sullivan Ill, Aug 11 1942, 10 AM

Addressed to:

Mr. G. W. Bryant
Lovington Ills.

Sullivan Ills Aug 10, 1942
Dear Mr. Bryant:
Am sending photos. Very sorry pictures were not mailed sooner. By mistake they were put away and overlooked. Thanks for the reminder.
Yours truly,
W. K. Holzmueller

Walter Karl Holtzmueller was a professional photographer in Sullivan for many years, taking -- among many others -- my parents' high-school portraits in the early '40's. His studio was on West Harrison, on the north side of the block west of the square.

Born in 1882, he was a native of Freiburg, Saxony, Germany. Arriving in New York on April 27, 1907 on the S.S. Main, (with a declared destination of Springfield, MA), he somehow found his way to Moultrie County.

By 1917, he was already established in Sullivan, as demonstrated by
an advertisement in the Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders.

By then, too (according to his draft card) he was married to Emma Feurburn. Emma was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Feurburn of Shelby County, both first generation children of German immigrants.

Walter and Emma are buried in Greenhill Cemetery.
Harrison Street, looking west Postmark:
Unused and undated.

This is a view of the block west of the square. On the left is the side of the current First National Bank building, though at the time, this was the entrance to a hotel in the same building. Based on a comparison of the buildings on the right with the current streetscape, none of these have survived.
Harrison Street, looking east Postmark:
Aug 18 1910 9 PM

Addressed to:
Mrs. I. Sharpsteen
949 Quigle Ave.
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dear Mother, Aug. 18th Well we had a good rain last night and to-day, so it is somewhat cooler.
Your's Earnest
Olney Ill. Aug. 20th

Earnest (b. c. 1889) was the son of Irving and Emelia Sharpsteen. Since the Sharpsteens were from Michigan and the card was mailed from Olney, it is likely that this was a missive from a through-bound tourist, rather than from someone with a Moultrie connection.

Benjamin Barton and Edward Enslow were partners in the dry goods store on the left. Mr. Barton and his wife Della had a son, Coy, (b. 1897). Mr. Enslow and his wife Harriet had two daughters, Fern G. (b. 1896), and Mibra F. (b. 1898).
Harrison Street Garage Postmark:
Not postmarked or mailed.

Addressed to:
Miss Jessie Kincheloe
Memphis Mo.

Hellow (sic) JK Got your card You say you doubt me keeping batchlors (sic) hall (i.e. living by and cooking for himself) I am obliged to here there is no cooks here. If I could have come back to Mo 1916 leap year there might have been a chance ha ha Tell mis J Smoot I hated not gitting that card but I will send the first one if she will ans.

L S Atkinson

(at top)
I know seventeen bachlors in our neighborhood better come out and look around kid me will you ha

Jessie Kincheloe, b. 1874, was the daughter of John and Susan G. Kincheloe. I have not been able to identify the sender or Miss Smoot.

According to John Charles Kuster's recollections, published in the February 1989 issue of Moultrie County Heritage, his father, Charles Kuster, bought the first automobile in Moultrie County, a model A Ford, shortly after they were introduced in 1903. (Note that the Model A he mentions was the early carriage-like model of this name, not the successor to the Model T.)

He started the Sullivan Auto Company at the corner of Harrison and Hamilton. Much of the funds to start the business were provided by Charles Kuster's sister, Mary Kuster Preis, widow of Conrad Preis, who had died in 1904.
North side of square Postmark:
Aug 23 1907
Vincennes IN

Addressed to:
Mr. Ormond Andrews
Henry Illinois

Dear Ormond: We left S- (presumably Sullivan) Saturday and are now on the banks of the Wabash far away from you all but I think of you just the same.
Edwin will write you soon. Mrs. J.

I have not been able to identify the sender or receiver.

Identifiable businesses: on the right is J.M. Cummins Harware which, by 1917, would become McPheeter's Hardware. In the middle of the block is Raymond D. Meeker's Candy Kitchen.
Harrison Street and Courthouse Postmark:
Sep 26 1910 11 AM

Addressed to:
J. H. Hambrton Attica Ind RFD 1

Willy Pauley
Sullivan Ill

Well haven't got no job yet to work Call me if you want me rite Warner

The handwriting is difficult to read and the addressee's name is presumably Hamberton, but I've found no information about either party.
North side of square Postmark:
Aug 14 1910 9:30 AM

Addressed to:
Florence Fulkerson
Lamar Mo

Sullivan, Ill. -
This is a pretty town A park of 40 acres - which is beautiful - Court House contains Y.W.C.A. (sic: W.C.T.U) Fountain Cannons - & statute (sic) Town clock - A terrible storm here last night & tonight

The postmark year is not perfectly clear, but from the style of the postcard and the architectural details, I believe that it is 1910, rather than 1916.

Florence, b. c. 1892, was the daughter of Frederick M. and Lidia B. Fulkerson. The Fulkersons had seven children: Jean Delores (b. 1885), Florence (addressee, b 1887), Asa B. (b. 1892), Freddie L. (b. 1894), Lyle B. (b.1895), Lorene/Loraine E. (b. c. 1899), and Irma S (b. c. 1902).

The sender was probably Florence's eldest sister Delores, the name for which Dollie is frequently a nickname.
North side of square Postmark:
Dec 13 8 PM

Addressed to:
Miss Hazel Harmon
Forest Ohio

Dec. Sullivan Ills Miss Hazel Harmon
My Dear I just forgot if I have sent you a card.
Well I am on the bum About all in (implied end of sentence) hope that every body well best Wishes Callahan
(upside down:)
Dec 16 1912

Hazel Harmon, b. 1895, was the daughter of William and Clara A. Harmon. I have not been able to identify Callahan.

The view is somewhat misleading, as it's actually of the north side of Harrison, looking west, in the block east of the square.
North side of square Postmark:
Sullivan Ill., Oct 9 1913, 9 PM

Addressed to:
Mrs. Vera Biggs

Dec. Sullivan Ills In this town Thurs.

Vera was the (step)daughter of Frank S. and Anna M. Biggs Ingraham. Her father apparently died when she was young, and her mother had remarried before the 1900 census. The sender is unknown.
Post Office, 1909 Postmark:
Sullivan Ill. Dec 20 730A 1909

Addressed to:
R.S. Haley

Compliments of your carrier
R Mayhew Rhodes

The post office was, at that time, located on the north side of Harrison, in the next block east of the courthouse.

The 1910 census lists five mail carriers and a postmaster in Sullivan and, as this card was distributed only six months before the census was taken, there was probably little personnel change during that time. Though none of those in the picture are identified, it's probable that the fourth man from the left, standing near center and slightly in front of the others, was postmaster Perry J. Harsh. The carriers were William H. Burge, William A. Gardner, Mayhew Rhodes, Lee Taylor, and Webb C. Tichenor.
Titus Opera House fire, early Postmark:
Unused and undated.
Titus Opera House fire, engulfed Postmark:
Feb 25 1910

Addressed to:
Mrs. Nora Philpott
Gays, Ill.

My dear Nora: Maybe you will be interested in a picture of the fire.
We are all well. Jennie has not come back yet. Write and come over when you can

Henry and Nora (Bristow) Philpott were married Aug 10, 1885 in Coles County. I have not been able to identify Inez or Jennie.
Titus Opera House ruins Postmark:
Unused and undated.

North side of square, 1940's Postmark:
Unused and undated.
North side of square, 1940's Postmark:
Sullivan Ill., Feb 11 1948, 6 PM

Addressed to:
Mrs. Con Schaaf
659 So 18th
Lincoln 8 Neb.

Dec. Sullivan Ills Dear Theresa -- Don't remember if I sent you a card like this before. The X is Wilbur's Bank. Younny and Jenny ??? cute, play togther so nice. Going to Mattoon this afternoon and to Decatur tomorrow. Looks like it might snow. Love Mts. Shuman???

Conrad A. and Theresa Schaaf. Conrad died in Dec 1944. They had one daughter, Mary, who took vows with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, and was known as Sister Mechtilde.
East side of square Postmark:
Aug 29 1910 9 PM

Addressed to:
Mrs. Sarah D. McIlvain
1520 Capitol Ave
Indianoplis (sic)

August 29 Sullivan Ill
Dear Sister your card at hand very sorry to here (sic) of Louis trouble but hope is better by this time
we are all able to come to the table again
we are having cool weather but nice and bright Maid was here about an hour the other day She looks well Lewis is married again kin folks all well as far as I know let us here (sic) again from You again soon -- your sister Mide

I have not been able to find information about the sender or receiver.

To the left, the sign of Fred Sona's monument shop is visible on the adjacent storefront's window. Mr. Sona supplied not only many grave stones in Greenhill cemetery, but also the Civil War memorial on the courthouse lawn.
First National Bank Postmark:
Sullivan Oct 30 1908 9 PM

Addressed to:
Miss Velma Collins

Hello Velma. How are you? I will write to you as soon as I can find any time, Your cousin,
Lena Monroe

This is my favorite postcard: I purchased it on eBay several years ago because it was a good view of the First National Bank before the original facade was completely hidden in the '50s or '60s. On receipt, I opened the envelope and first inspected the face; I then flipped it over and was shocked and delighted to discover that it had been sent by my grandmother nearly a century before.

Lena Monroe was the daughter of Millard and Asenath Woodruff Monroe, and Velma Ruth Collins was the daughter of Albert N. and Miranda Monroe Collins. Lena and Velma were second cousins; Lena's grandfather Henry Jackson Monroe and Velma's grandfather Isaac Monroe were brothers.
West side of square, 1908 Postmark:
Aug 17 1908 10:30 AM

Addressed to:
Mr. Glen Redman
Mattoon, Ill.

Hello Glen: Am having a fine time. Going to Lovington tomorrow. Will be home sure Wednesday noon.
E. M.

The business on the extreme left is the cobbler shop of Albert Wyman, who, in his estate four years later, donated the funds to buy land and then develop Wyman Park.
West side of square Postmark:
Aug 25 1908 9 PM

Addressed to:
R. A. Foster
Naud Junction
Los Angeles Calif.

Aug 24/08 Dear Boy I arived (sic) at this old berg today. found all pritty well things have changed. Say I am homesick for a letter, for a week & 1/2. Why don't you write.
Yours in disgust

West side of square, about 1919 Postmark:
July 19 1932

Addressed to:
May B. May
320 7th Ave.
Carnegue (sic: Carnegie) Pa.

Am having a great time hope this card helps your collection Love Grace

The automobiles in the picture indicate that the card predates the postmark by about fifteen years.

Note the new streetlights, the removal of bric-a-brac from the bank's roof-line and the new building, the Ponder-Dunscomb dry goods store, where the Opera House formerly stood.

Businesses, from left:
Jack Finley's Rexall Drugstore Citizens' Abstract Co. Meat store (probably the one owned by R.S. Haley), Fair Store, Several unidentified stores, The Mammoth menswear store, operated by J.H. Smith, First National Bank, Sam B. Hall's Jewelry (in the First National Bank building, Merchants' and Farmers' State Bank
IIOF Hall, south side of square, 1907 Postmark:
Dec 25 1907 5 AM

Addressed to:
Dr. S. C. Richardson Indianapolis Indiana
832 New Jersey St.

Dec 23 1907
Dear Uncle
Please accept my thanks for your picture. I appreciate having it so much and your remembrance of me. Wishing you a merry Xmas and a happy new year I am your neice (sic) Anna McPheeters

From right, in the I.O.O.F. building: downstairs, unknown / upstairs: Harbaugh and Thompson, lawyers, Corbin Furniture and Undertakers, W.W. Sheridan Drygoods
South side of square, 1941 Postmark:
Aug 9 1941 8 AM

Addressed to:
Mr. And Mrs. L. A. Parker
Fall River Kansas

We are at Pearl's saw most of the cousins yesterday Ate two meals with Osie. Etta is getting pretty tired but Grace is standing trip real good We are going to Decatur to see Harry and Jessie Robinson today. Wish you were with us.
John & Nellie

Osie (b. c. 1890) and Pearl (b. c. 1888) were daughers of Franklin and Sarah S. Glover and lived in Allenville.

Businesses, from near right to distant left: Crowder's Grocery, Thompson, White, and (unreadable) Lawyers (upstairs), City Light and Water, Corbin Furniture, unidentified grocery and pool room, Index Notions.