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History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory
Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon,
Mrs. Alva L. Marlow Reporting....
James Atwood Allen was born February 22, 1839, near West Salem, Shiloh Township, Jefferson County, Illinois.
He served his country during the Civil War from August 6, 1861 until September 15, 1864. He served in the first full company to leave Jefferson County--Volunteer Company I, Forty fourth Illinois Infantry. John A. Wall, who later wrote a Jefferson County History, was his company commander.
James Allen saw much hard service during the Civil War. His first battle was Pea Ridge, Arkansas. The next was Perryville, Kentucky, then Stone River. He was critically wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, where he lost the use of his right arm. Later, he was taken prisoner in the infamous Andersonville and Libby Confederate prisons, being confined sixty-seven days. He was discharged in Atlanta, Georgia, with high honors on September 15, 1864.
On June 17, 1875, James Allen was married to Mary Elizabeth Sursa, and to this union were born three children: Inez, born April 8, 1876, who married Harvey B. McMicken; Fleata, born October 10, 1878, who married Chris Himmelsbach; and Martha, born March 31, 1886, who married Alva L. Marlow.
Mr. Allen's principal occupation was that of farming. He served as constable and poundmaster of Belle Rive (1893). He served as a trustee of the Belle Rive Methodist Church, where his wife Mary served in various church groups for more than seventy-five years. He was also active in the GAR and the IOOF.
Mr. Allen passed away on April 12, 1917, at the age of seventy-eight.
Pauline Cross Roth Reporting......
Marshall Huel Cross was born February 7, 1870, at Middle Creek, Hamilton County, Illinois. He was the son of a carpenter and farmer, John Calvin Cross. John Cross met his Master while building Middle Creek Church, due to a faulty scaffold that had been erected. At the time of his father's death, Marshall Huel Cross was two years of age and was one of twelve children left orphans, ten of them being boys.
At an early age Marshall Cross showed a great liking for books and was an excellent student. After finishing the e grades, he prepared himself with academy training to be a schoolmaster. To be a schoolmaster was a challenge in more ways than educational, for many of his students were boys of his own age and much larger in stature, even though he was five feet ten inches tall and weighed about 156 pounds. He taught in many schools in Hamilton and Jefferson County, Illinois, including Belle Rive.
He met Fannie Marjorie Sims at a church gathering at Antioch Church, near Macedonia, Illinois. Their friendship blossomed to love, and they were married in 1895. To their marriage eight children were born. Two sons died in infancy, and two sons and four daughters are still living: Marie of Washington, D. C., who married Claude Cole; Zola M., of Dahlgren, who married George Kiefer; Rhea of Belle Rive who married Leon (Ted) Shreve; Pauline of Mt. Vernon who married Calvin M. Roth; Marshall M. of Belle Rive who married Lena Sneed; and Huel of Belle Rive, who married Sue Sneed.
After his marriage, Marshall Huel Cross continued to teach at Belle Rive School, but his interest was turning to farming. About the year 1902, he purchased a farm four miles south and a mile east of Belle Rive, where he continued to live out his life on this earth.
While farming, he decided that farmers could be divided into two broad classes: those who merely tilled the soil and reaped the results, and those who followed the scientific knowledge of the time.
His vision into the future inspired him to go the great western states about 1903 to buy a carload of high spirited western horses that graced his farm with offspring for his remaining years. This same progressive spirit inspired him to put the much talked-about limestone on his soil, the first man in the county to make this test for greater production.
He was always interested in politics, in which he always participated. He believed in the brotherhood one receives from organizations, and belonged to the Masons, Modern Woodmen, Moose and others.
The roads and highways of the country were of great interest to him, and he helped maintain and build roads and bridges to maintain the links in the chain of transportation. He owned one of the first cars in the township.
He was co-owner in a telephone system that serviced the community. He served many years on the Board of Education of his local district, and was always striving for bigger and better schools with better qualified teachers. He believed in the cultural entertainment of the area, and acted as master of ceremonies at special lectures at Richardson Hill, Sugar Camp and other places, as well as helping in the Red Cross Campaign in World War I.
He taught his children never to say, "I can't" but always to say, "I'll try." He taught them to appreciate birds in flight, the stars at night, the new plowed ground, the golden harvest. He gave them books to read, love of freedom of thought, to appreciate work and its reward, and to make new friends until the day of death.
He passed from this life on May 27, 1946.
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