Some Important Dates in Merna and Barnes 1866 1867 1873 1875 1883 1885 1890 1892 1902 Priests from Holy Trinity in Bloomington would celebrate Mass bi-monthly at the home of Ed Hanley or James Merna. The Merna School is built one mile south of what is now called Merna. Mass was held in the school. The school teacher was Catherine (Brennan) Merna. The religion teacher was Anna (Gould) Powers. Patrick and Margaret Bolan Kinsella, immigrants from Ireland donate an acre of land diagonally across from the school and the original frame church was built costing $1,625. The town of Merna is laid out on the new branch of the Illinois Central Railroad. An acre of land was purchased from Edward Crane to build a rectory north of the church in the town of Merna. The contract was let for $13,500 to build a larger catholic church in Merna closer to the rectory. Catholics purchase 5 acres of William Casey land for a cemetery. The old church was moved to Merna to be used as a community hall. June 9. The Merna community Hall was struck by a tornado during a dance. Three young women died in the collapse of the building. Annie Kelly, 22 year old daughter of Patrick and Mary Flynn Kelly and two Gahagen sisters. Thomas Kinsella's grocery and farm implement store was completely demolished. Two community halls were built in Merna. Barnes: Walter and Alta Weber moved into the back of the store in Barnes. Walter worked at the "brand new" grain elevator; Alta ran the store. Others who lived in Barnes then were the Victor Harl, and Fortino families. George Mechrle, founder of State Farm Insurance, would get off the train while it was switching and walk over to the store for pop or candy. Alta said he looked like a typical farmer those days. Basil and Agnes Weber's twins, James and Francis, were the "cutest thing" Alta ever saw as they sat on the box wagon seat with their dad in front of the store. Three children were born to Alta and Walter while they lived in the store. Doris, William and Donald, Donald died of diabetes November 29, 2004. According to Bertha Patrick (Pantagraph 20-19-05) Barnes had 5 houses, Barnes Grain Co., a depot, railroad, schoolhouse, horseshoe machine shop, stockyard and limestone company. Barnes--The store at Barnes run by Alta Weber burned down. Alta and Walter Weber moved into a little house just east of the store. Little Doris Weber contracted spinal meningitis and died and was waked in the house. The house was quarantined. Three bandits attempt to hold up the Merna Grocery Store owned by T.F. Kinsella. Mr. Kinsella successfully routed the bandits. The Runaway School: Monica Dalton taught the Phoenix School north of Merna. Her sister Eleanor Dalton Newmister taught the Union School in nearby Blue Mound Township. Eleanor recalls that the Phoenix School used to stand on the road near the Dalton home, but was moved a mile away one night to north of the present Route 165. One of Eleanor's own teachers was Julia Larkin Sullivan.
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Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
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