DeKalb County Life for May 30, 2016: Meet a Trump delegate; If this canon could talk; Jessi happy Dairy Ripple is back; Doug’s advice for grads; Steve offers more history titles; Barry’s back on the Party Line

Trump backer going to GOP Convention

D Sands

By Barry Schrader, DeKalb County Online editor

Dennis Sands, a Shabbona businessman, was elected an Alternate Delegate for Donald Trump in the Illinois Primary, garnering some 35,000 votes in the 16th Congressional District, so will be going to the National Convention in Cleveland since Trump took Illinois.

Just back from last weekend’s state GOP convention in Peoria he answered questions about his interest in politics and support for Trump:

1.     How did you get interested in politics?  I have always been interested in politics.  I graduated from NIU in 1970 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.  I have never lost the enthusiasm for politics.

2.     Have you been involved in campaigns before?  I ran for the DeKalb County Board after my retirement from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.  I served six years on the County Board, with the honor of serving as County Board Chair and County Board Vice Chair.

3.      What made you decide to get on the ballot for Trump?  I was drawn to the Trump campaign because of his common sense Conservative approach to politics.  What were the steps you took to accomplish that?  I contacted his campaign through his website and volunteered my services.  I was asked to apply to be a delegate and I sent them my resume.  I was soon told I was chosen to be an alternate delegate in the 16th Congressional District for the Trump to the National Republican Convention in Cleveland Ohio in mid-July. I then filled out the State Of Illinois Election forms and got petition signatures to be on the Illinois Primary Ballot on March 15.  I ran as a Trump Alternate Delegate.

4.     How many votes did you get and are others from this area also going to the convention? For Alternate Delegate in the 16th Congressional District, in the  March 15th Republican Primary election I received 35,924 votes.  This was the most by any candidate and over 2,000 votes more than the 2nd place candidate who had 33,607. (So far, no one else from DeKalb County is planning to go.)

5.     What will be your role as an Alternate Delegate? My role will be to fill in as a Delegate when needed.  Sometime, votes may be taken and the Delegate is not present and the Alternate votes.
6.     What contact have you had with the Trump organization? I routinely get e-mail updates about the Trump campaign, such as where the next rallies are and how the campaign is going. On Nov. 9, 2015 I met Mr. Trump, along with the other delegates and alternate delegates in Springfield at a Trump rally.  The delegates met downstairs in a conference room with Mr. Trump for about 15 minutes.  He thanked all of us for our support.  He then handed us red “Make America Great Again” hats.  We all then went upstairs to the rally.  It was an overflow crowd of 10,000 Trump supporters.  It was truly inspiring to see the enthusiasm in the crowd.

7.     Do you plan to join the campaign as a volunteer and travel in support of him? All of us Delegates and Alternate Delegates have volunteered.  I went down to Springfield and got 400 Trump signs and distributed them throughout northern Illinois.

8.     Why do you think he is the best candidate for President? He was the only candidate from the beginning that represented change, is anti-establishment, demonstrated leadership and the ability to get things done.

We discussed other issues that arose at the state convention, among them gay marriage and abortion rights. He said there was no change from the 2012 platform, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. He said he “saw a definite turn toward accepting Trump as the Party’s nominee and there was a call by state GOP leaders for unity to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Among others from this area present at the meeting were Congressman Adam Kinzinger, State Rep. Bob Pritchard, and DeKalb County Republican chair Steve Kuhn. Major figures in the party who spoke included Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Mark Kirk, State Comptroller Leslie Munger, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and Party chair Tim Schneider.


Prairie Ponderings on Memorial Day


By Craig Rice (

Above is a photograph of the Civil War siege canon located at Johnson’s Grove Cemetery south of Waterman. E. F. Dutton Camp #49, Sycamore, IL, of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War recently refurbished the monument by giving it a coat of black paint and sealing the muzzle to keep birds and litter from collecting in it.

Officials dedicated the canon to the remembrance of the soldiers who fought to preserve the Union in the Civil War of 1861-1865. It was placed in the cemetery early in the 20th Century (1905) when there were still a few of the old soldiers living.

Originally, there was a flagpole nearby and a pyramid of canon balls at the base of the monument. The flagpole and the canon balls disappeared long ago. Recently, the cemetery association removed the concrete platform that held the canon balls. The Sons of Union Veterans plan to place a cement replica of the stack of canon balls near the monument and perhaps replace the flagpole, too.

I don’t have the records and news clippings any more since I gave up the position of sexton for Johnson’s Grove Cemetery and North Clinton (Waterman) Cemetery. They went to the next sexton, Marge McDonald. What I recall is that the canon probably came from the Rock Island Arsenal.

One time when I was at the cemetery, probably 20 years ago, I saw a man inspecting the canon and taking pictures. I talked a little with him. He said the canon was actually a Confederate States of America canon modeled from a mold of a captured Union siege gun. He was disappointed that the canon was rusty and hadn’t been repainted in years.

Johnson’s Grove Cemetery used to be the site of Decoration Day activities. That’s what the ceremonies were called before it became known as Memorial Day. According to a May 25, 1931, news clipping—not sure what paper it came from—Decoration Day activities were first held at the cemetery in 1877.

The article said, “The older members of this community remember Decoration Day as a day when soldiers in blue carried the Flag and led the march from one flag marked grave to another ….” The clipping continues, “Children from the schools followed with bouquets of snowballs and honeysuckle and sometimes wild flowers and lilacs according to the season.”

The author of the article said there would be a prayer by the pastor of one church, an address by another pastor, and a benediction by a third pastor—Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist ministers from Waterman churches.

Following World War I, the services took place in Waterman Park, according to the clipping. I think Waterman Park was the village greens, which was located between the railroad tracks and the highway, across from the business district. I can remember a monument with the names of Waterman area soldiers who gave their lives in the more recent war. I can just remember a bandstand, too, and the railroad depot. All of that is gone. The state widened the highway, took away the grassy area and turned it into a parking lot.

Later, Officials held Memorial Day services at the front door of Waterman Grade School. A student would recite “In Flanders Field” and the mayor would give a speech. A band or chorus would play or sing. The American Legion members would fire their rifles in salute and a band member would play Taps off in the distance on his bugle or trumpet. Following the conclusion of ceremonies, kids would scramble to pick up the spent shells.

These days, the American Legion holds Memorial Day exercises in Waterman Lions Park where the veterans’ memorial is now located.

The 1931 news clipping concludes, “The Legion boys are taking up the task of the Grand Army of the Republic [who have] found it necessary to lay down and the spirit of patriotism still lives in the hearts of Americans.”


Jessi happy about Dairy Ripple’s return


By Jessi Haish-LaRue (

I can’t count how many Saturdays during my childhood were spent with a morning on the softball field and an afternoon at Sycamore’s Dari Ripple.

Drive by the roadside restaurant on any weekend and you’d be likely to see a wave of neon-colored shirts as teams celebrated their victories, or just an enthusiastic show of effort.

My family and I would also make the trip to the other side of town to get the “cones with the eyes” on other occasions. My parents would load up the car with two kids and two beagles and everyone would get a delicious treat to enjoy while we spent time talking in the parking lot. Even the dogs would get “doggie dishes,” which were bowls of vanilla ice cream topped with a doggie treat. All we needed was ice cream and good company to have a good time.

With summer on the horizon, it appears that those days are back. Dari Ripple — or Dairy Ripple, as it is now known — is back in the same old location.

Three men from the Elburn/Maple Park area purchased the restaurant when they “raised their hands one too many times” at an auction last year, said owner Brian Herra. With co-owners Ted Janecek and Ken Gilkey, the group reached out to the community to see what they wanted out of the food joint on Route 64. The overwhelming response was Dairy Ripple.

“Everybody we talked to wanted to get back to that old school, hometown feel,” Herra said. “We took the menu back to basics and we’re trying to bring back that hometown feel.”

Herra said he and the other owners frequented Dari Ripple when they were younger, so it seemed like a good fit. Although Dairy Ripple has been open for a couple weeks, the grand opening will begin at 11 a.m. June 4.

The menu features classics like chicken tenders, hamburgers, mac and cheese bites, and yes, even doggie dishes and “cones with eyes.”

“We’re just taking suggestions from the community and going from there,” Herra said.



From the Doug-out


By Doug Olsen (

It is that time of year again. The college graduation season is over, the diplomas have been handed out, all the same old, tired speeches about dreaming big and how the future is yours have been delivered —always by someone who is successful, never anyone who isn’t. The parties are over, the congratulation cards and gifts opened, the cake eaten, the caps and gowns returned.

Now comes the hard part, the truly challenging aspect of graduation no one really likes to talk about: time to find a job that pays enough to start paying back some of those college loans that somehow seem much larger now than they did when they were taken out.

As someone who has worked for the last 40 years I would like to offer a few words of advice. Not the usual cliché phrases about how you can do anything you set your mind to and all that, but a few realistic gems. These aren’t things I picked up in any textbook, but from life.

10.) Never think any honest job you get is below you. If you don’t like the job you have, then find another one. But do it on your time, not during the work day. I know a former newspaper editor who tried to set up his own newspaper while he was working. (Note: I said former editor.)

9.) Never let your boss think you know more than him – even if you do. Always do what you’re told.

8.) Even more important, never let your boss know you think you know more than him. If you do, you’re really going to appreciate No. 10 even more, especially when you don’t have it anymore to look down.

7.) Always treat the company you work for with respect. So long as they’re paying you, they deserve that much.

6.) Never say anything bad about the place you work. You don’t have to lie, but you don’t have to reveal all the company secrets and hand shakes either. Trust me, the company always finds out when you do.

5.) Be loyal to the company you work for — to a point. Don’t cheat or betray them and, like the Bible instructs slaves, always do what you can to promote those who are over you — even if you do know more than them. (This pretty much ties in with numbers 6 and 7, but I had to use it to come up with 10 examples.) The truth is: You have to be more loyal to the company than they have to be to you. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

4.) Always do the best you can. No matter what task is asked of you, big or small, do it without question, as well as you can. It will reflect more on you than it will the company.

3.) Don’t drink too much of the company Kool-Aid. I know many young people coming straight out of college, perhaps in their first serious job, who take everything the company says to heart. Don’t ever get fooled and think the company is more concerned about you than they are themselves. A company isn’t your friend; it’s a place to work, to earn a living, to make a reputation, experience new things, make some friends. And nothing more. (No. 1 will explain why.)

2.) Don’t ever think you’re so valuable the company can’t do with you. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this. Unless you’re Michael Jordan or Steven Jobs, no matter how talented or successful you are, there is always someone somewhere doing just as well, if not better. In baseball terms, as great and revolutionary as Babe Ruth was during the prime of his legendary career, when he left the Yankees he was replaced by a couple of fellows you may have heard of: Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

1.) Finally: Never, ever give your heart and soul to the company. Your heart belongs to your family, your soul to God; both are more important than any company. Most companies, if given long enough, will eventually break your heart – if you let them. Unless you’re that rare exception, the day will come when the company will turn on you. It has happened to me twice. The last time was two years ago. I had been with a newspaper for a dozen years when, without any warning, I was called into the boss’s office one day and the human resources representative told me the company was downsizing and my services were no longer needed. Nothing personal, just business. In other words, when they’re done with you, they’re done. That’s what I meant when I said be loyal to them to a point.

I know young graduates don’t think any of this will ever happen to them, but just wait.

So be prepared.

And good luck.


More source books of local history


By Steve Bigolin, DeKalb Historian

(Final in two part series)

Here are more books containing local history available in local libraries.

The Standard Atlas of DeKalb County, Illinois appeared in 1905. It contained just over three pages of DeKalb County History, and a four page “Portrait Department,” with over 90 small photos of prominent people from around the county.  Over the years this book was not as sought after by history buffs, and could usually be had for less money, although it was considered to have had fewer copies in print.  I had one given to me by a friend years ago.

 The last of the biographical histories came into print in 1907 – Past And Present of DeKalb County, Illinois.  It was the only two volume work with 1204 pages – 608 in Volume I – and 596 in Volume II.  Volume I contained 115 pages of general DeKalb County history and another 74 on the townships.  The first biography in Volume I was that of barbed wire mogul Isaac Ellwood, while Volume II led off with Jacob Haish.  The fair market value years ago was put at $150.  In 1986 I had the chance to get a historic Sycamore family’s mint condition set of books for $200, but did not buy them as I lacked the money.  Subsequently, I acquired three different sets in less than mint condition.  This was the last county history for 56 years, until From Oxen To Jets in 1963.

In 1929 meanwhile The Atlas And Plat Book of DeKalb County, Illinois was published.  Its pages had no historical information at all on them,  yet interspersed throughout were advertisements for various businesses around the county, which helped pay for the book.  Not especially sought after for many years by collectors, it generally could be obtained for less money than its counterparts of 1871 and 1892.  But, like the 1905 book, there were fewer to be had.  I was given the Atlas by an old friend.

The DeKalb County Board the last 20th Century history book in 1963 – From Oxen To Jets.  Edited by Harriet Wilson Davy, it fell far short of filling the gap following Past And Present of DeKalb County, Illinois.  Its best chapters were those written by people other than Mrs. Davy, according to those active in the historical community.  There were chapters on county government, agriculture, industries, the medical profession, school, libraries, the townships, news media, and churches, among others.  It featured a brief 19 page section highlighting just eight individuals or families.  Isaac Ellwood and Joseph Glidden received the most coverage.  Al Golden wrote the chapter on agriculture, and longtime physician Dr. Clifford E. Smith the one on medical history.  I had long been told the book was riddled with errors.  Every now and then over the years the 272 page book turned up in some used book store or antique shop, usually with an asking price of $25 or less.  I once bought one for $5 and others for up to $25, but never paid more than that.  The one I still have I got very cheap at an estate sale on North 7th Street in DeKalb years ago.

During the DeKalb County Sesquicentennial in 1986-87, there was talk of writing an up-to-date county history.  The plan was to divide the project into three 50 year sections.  The problem was nobody was interested in tackling the last 50 year section as it required tons of research and writing done on it.  Nothing came of the talk, and the project died at that time.  After the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society assembled a team of people to research and write a history of the county’s one-room schools – Rural School Journeys: A Legacy of Learning – published in 2006, discussions resumed about doing a new county history.  Topics were proposed along with those who could research and write them, and the number of potential authors stood at over 20.  It was three years in the making, but came to fruition.  The title Acres of Change was suggested by then late agricultural historian Al Golden to whom the book should have been dedicated.  The 8-1/2”  by 11” full color, hard cover book of coffee table quality is 304 pages, and sells for $34 plus tax.  Copies are still for sale at Lehan Drugs, Sycamore Antiques, Klein, Stoddard, Buck & Lewis Law Offices, and the Oak Crest Gift Shop.

The next DeKalb County History could come out in another half century, around 2062, some 194 years after the Boies History.
(End of second of two parts)


From the Party Line . . .


By Barry Schrader (

One of the most fascinating experiences I have had in some time was last Thursday when I sat down with five women ranging in age from 87 to 102 and listened in on their conversation about their lives and service during World War II.

They permitted me to tape record their stories so I could write an article for  the Daily Chronicle (which ran today—Memorial Day) and that recording will be preserved in a digital format for their descendants as well as local historians. All five now reside at Oak Crest, some moving in just months ago.

All five—Virginia Hadley, Mary Maxson, Dorothy Stoddard, Fay Stone and Pat Woods—still have clear recollections of where they were and what they did for the war effort—some on active duty in the military and others helping from the civilian side.

The downside of assembling a group to share stories is you might miss someone. And yes, I did find another WW II woman veteran has just moved to Oak Crest. She is 93-year-old Cecile Meyer and today shared a few details of her enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps while living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when she was 21 years old. After basic training (women’s was much less vigorous she said) at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina she was sent to Washington. DC, then asked for overseas duty. That got her transferred to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, not a state at that time, where she worked in offices with other women in the corps. Asked when she came to DeKalb, she said it was 1967 when her husband came to Northern. She worked in the school system as a social worker for many years. I need to spend more time chatting with her to learn about her life in and out of the service. Sorry I didn’t know about her when I wrote the article (which can be found online at

Cemeteries have always been fertile ground for genealogists and history buffs like myself. I always enjoy the DeKalb cemetery tours given by Steve Bigolin each year as well as the Elmwood Cemetery Walk in Sycamore each fall.

This past Saturday the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association sponsored a self-guided (with map) tour of Fairview Cemetery on the south side of DeKalb. Strolling around we found the grave of Clinton Rosette, first editor and owner of the Daily Chronicle, plus the Glidden mausoleum where the next owner of the Chronicle, Joseph Glidden, is interred. Another discovery were the headstones of cousins on my paternal grandmother’s side of our family Lloyd and Ruth Cooper. They farmed on Gurler Road south of DeKalb all their married life. We still exchange Christmas cards with their offspring, Carol Prentice in Florida, Merle Cooper and Faye Allman, both in Colorado. While at Fairview my wife Kay visited the graves of Daisy and Walter Hegberg, her aunt and uncle on her mother’s side of the Wirsing family.

Being Memorial Day weekend we also visited Kay’s parents’ plot in Elmwood, then down to North Clinton Cemetery near Waterman to place wreaths on the graves of my parents, Vernon and Margaret Schrader, plus both of my grandparents, aunts and uncles’ burial sites. We decided to make a return trip on Sunday to the cemetery and got quite a shock when we drove up and saw that a large tree had fallen during the overnight storm. It landed just short of my parents’ headstone and  covered several graves closer to the fence. But cemetery caretaker Fred Caudle was already at work with his chain saw to begin the cleanup process.

Every time I visit there I think back some 60 years when they held ceremonies which included girls placing flowers on the graves of veterans and the American Legion or VFW conducting a ceremony which included Taps by a bugler. I was fascinated with the bugle and later took up the cornet, playing it all the way through high school at Genoa-Kingston, and then in the Huskies pep band my first semester at NIU when the band leader was the late Gordon Bird. He and I became re-acquainted when we both moved into Oak Crest and I also got to know his daughter Carol McKay.

Enough reminiscing for this time. Since we are planning our annual trek back to Livermore, California in June, the next issue will be delayed until Monday, June 20 and the following issue is not until July 11.

(Typo in last issue: The word “Visalia” should have been “Vidalia”onions.)



Sycamore Rotarians were treated to a tour of the Kishwaukee Education Consortium aviation program, headed by Bruce Griffith at the DeKalb Taylor Airport, during their Wednesday noon meeting. Rotarian Ray Dembinski is shown trying out the flight simulator with the guidance of Danny Kramer, a senior Business Operations major at NIU (and Sycamore High 2013 graduate) who is part of the K.E.D. program. Griffith brought five of his students to the meeting who demonstrated their skills in flying as well as instructing Rotarians on how to use the classroom training equipment. (Barry Schrader photo)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.