This and That

This and That


January 17, 2023
Happy New Year

Another New Year’s Day has passed, and the first check written for 2024! And after our mild fall and start to winter, it, winter, has arrived with conviction!  In not leaving the house, a couple of cupboards and closets have been cleared and cleaned. No excuse!

The Museum volunteers are gearing up for the 2024 season, with changing up with displays in the museum, and the changing up of window displays.  Many thanks to Terry Lee and Sara Abbott for the Santa Claus display, and to the trees decorated in the other windows by the following groups: Greenvale Neighborhood Club, Wa Tan Ye Service Club, Home and Community Education, the Arts students at Stockton High School, and the Carroll Jo Daviess Chapter of the DAR.

The train crew is looking for volunteers to help with the landscaping of the train display. If interested, please leave a message at 815-947-2220.

During a visit with my Aunt Sue in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she gave me a gift to share at the Museum.  It was a bottle from the Stockton Bottling works, Stockton, Illinois. My late Uncle Dean found the bottle in the barn at my grandparent’s farm south of town, and grandpa said my uncle could have it. My aunt said she has moved it many times and it needed a permanent home at the Museum. Does anyone have any information on the Stockton Bottling Works? We keep looking but have not have much luck! I should have taken a pic of the bottle, but not going out today!

Next month’s column will include our dates for opening, volunteer meetings, and a list of our programs scheduled so far.  Stay tuned as we are planning a great summer of programs, and new displays. Please take care.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason


December 13, 2023
The Blessing of the Season to All

We at the Stockton Heritage Museum want to thank all the people who supported the Museum this year and worked hard to help achieve a successful season. We had over 700 visitors to our museum and programs we hosted this year and entertained visitors from around the world and coast to coast.

In the last couple of months, Stockton has seen the passing of two men who supported Stockton, through both their time and energy. Heinz Zueger was a legend around town, coming to the states from Switzerland, found the love of his life, Irma, at Monroe Cheese days, started a business in Stockton and joined the village board; he was a proud citizen. Both he and Irma were civic minded; they supported the Community Christmas dinner every year and Irma was head of the food panty for many years. And they were great neighbors!

Arnold “Jim” Wood was Stockton village president for a number of years and was a flier/pilot who taught a number of young men to be pilots, out of the Stockton Airport. He was a face well known to Kraft Cheese patrons, as he served as fieldman for the Kraft Cheese Company for the Stockton plant. His niece and nephew stated he learned his love of dairy from his milking jobs he had while enrolled at South Dakota State University (go Jackrabbits!) Both men had a great love of life, enjoyed their neighbors and added to Stockton history. They shall both be greatly missed by family, neighbors and friends. It is at this time of year we miss those who have left us, like my bird-feeding and cat loving neighbor Roger Arand or the wife of a childhood friend, Patty Oates Noller. May we be grateful for all who were present in our lives.

The Museum Board has already scheduled Programs for the 2024 season:

  • May 5th, 2024 – Route 20 Association program
  • June 9th, 2024 – “What’s Coming Down the Line? The Railroad in the American Mind” by Mike Matejka (Illinois Humanities Road Scholar)
  • July 2024 – Program on movies featuring trains by Alan Wenzel (exact date to be determined)
  • Date to be determined – “How Corn Changed Itself and Then Changed Everything Else” by Cynthia Clampitt (Illinois Humanities Road Scholar)

We are excited for our coming year and the presentations.

As always, if you are interested in volunteering at the museum, do not hesitate to let us know, through email or phone message. Between now and January, the board takes some time off, so please leave a message if you need to pick up a gift from our shop or drop off a donation.

Our board members for the coming year are Peg Drane, Terry Buske, Warren Dixon, Jan Steffens, Leslie Bonvillian, Deb Huso and Ann Coppernoll. Our phone number is 815-947-2220 or email us at

Peace to all and Happy New Year!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

November, 2023
Stockton Veterans Memorial

Another month has flown by, and it was a busy month! The Museum closed on another successful season, with over 700 visitors, six programs, visitors from Hong Kong and coast to coast, an antique car club, class reunions and some of our favorite visitors, the Stockton 6th graders! Donation of artifacts to the Museum keep coming. We received precious quilts, with squares in one quilt made by the SHS class of 1940 and a quilt made in 1956 from members of the Greenvale Neighborhood Club (going strong at 107 years!)

The village honored our veterans at a program at the high school, school sports continue as some seasons ended and others started and our FFA program is growing and had 2 members, Jenna Haas and Joseph Brudi, receive the American FFA degree at the National Convention.

Brewster Cheese Celebrated 25 years in Stockton in October; we are certainly blessed that they are a part of our community! Congratulations to Brewster Cheese.

And as November draws to a close, the village is preparing for holiday celebrations, such as the lighting of the tree downtown and the Living Windows on November 24th, to the Christmas Walk on December 2, with businesses “dressed up” for the holidays. Church Christmas programs are being prepared and the frenzy of the season is certainly to be felt in school!

As this writer gets more seasoned (not old), finding time to visit with family, friends and neighbors, enjoying the sights of lights, and certainly savoring the smell and taste of food are the presents best to receive.

While the Museum is closed in the winter season and we prepare for a new season in 2024, we also thank all the folks who volunteered to help us get through the 2023 year successfully. Don’t forget to look us up on Facebook and our website, has the latest edition of our newsletter Museum Musings which will get you up to date on what’s happening at the Museum.

Happy Thanksgiving and Take care.

Stockton Veterans Memorial located on Highway 20.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

October 11, 2023
It’s Fall, Y’all

How did October get here so fast and going by so fast? This month’s column is a bit of a potpourri.

Stop by the Stockton Heritage Museum to view the window display listing the names of all the Stockton area men who served in the Vietnam War Era. 50 years ago in 1973, US military involvement ended. Over 330+ men and women from our area served the United States during this era, and we honor all the service people who served. Do stop by the museum to read the names.

Several years ago, this column carried stories of some of the oldest living Stockton High School Alums. Imogene Coppernoll Andrews at age 105, passed on earlier this year. Other alums who were featured and who we hold in our memories include Burrill Coppernoll, Dayle Lyons, Dean Coppernoll, Dick Lawfer, Mason Beard, and Duane Kupersmith.  We celebrate their lives and their contributions to our community.

There are 2 more programs sponsored by the Museum this fall. On Thursday October 19, Main Streets, Illinois by John Lynn will be presented at 2 pm at the Museum. And on November 12, at 2 pm the Museum will hold its annual meeting and a program on the businesses on US 20, by Warren Dixon. We hope you will be able to join us.

If you are looking for a warm place to wander this weekend, stop by the Museum. We are open on weekends through the end of this month. Of course, you can always call the museum to set up an appointment.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather. Take care all.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

July 26, 2023
Adventures in Stockton

My goodness the summer is flying by. Still time for vacation for the families with school-age kiddos. Some of us can and will take a vacation at any time. Whoo Hooo!

There are exciting events happening in Stockton. The “Adventures in Stockton,” a program established in partnership with the Stockton Chamber of Commerce, Stockton Heritage Museum, Village of Stockton and Galena County Tourism, is ready for you to explore.

A number of businesses and building owners have worked together with the above entities to provide a tour of downtown Stockton, which highlights the people and businesses that started and keep Stockton a vibrate community. Come see the murals downtown and pick up a brochure to lead you on a tour. Each building noted has a QR code, which provides the reader with information about the person or business. We are very excited about this opportunity to showcase Stockton.

Since the Business of the Museum is to collect and preserve information on the history of Stockton, the Adventures in Stockton is a great way for folks to learn about the past, the present, and look into the future. At the Museum, the second-floor bay windows have the pictures and information on two women, Mary Pitcher Peters and Loretta Backus Lyons, who were colorful and ambitious women. Both played an important role in the lives of the residents of Stockton. (I won’t give away their talents!)

Join us for the Ribbon Cutting on July 29th, at 10:00 a.m., at the mural across from Stella’s and the Museum.

We all hope you enjoy your journey in Stockton, be you a resident or a visitor, join us soon.

Have a great week.

Photos left to right: ‘Adventures in Stockton’ advertised on Ace Hardware Store | Mary Pitcher Peters | Loretta Backus Lyons

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

July 12, 2023
Upcoming Program on 1970’s Films and Rush Post Office History

We at the Stockton Heritage Museum hope you had a good 4th of July celebration. And now that it is July, August looms. This author had a great column written, but it is lurking somewhere on my computer, so you all get the second draft!

We hope you can join us for our program this Wednesday the 12th for a program presented by Alan Wenzel. Alan, a retired speech communication/film instructor at Highland Community College, will present “Hollywood Films of the 1970s: A Decade that changed American Filmmaking.”  Such films are American Graffiti, Jaws, The Godfather, Annie Hall and many others. The 1970s was a pivotal decade for filmmaking in the United States. Join us for the program which will start at 6:00 p.m.

We are always going through documents that have found their way to our museum. A real gem was found a couple weeks ago as we were going over letters written by or to members of the Lewis family of Rush Township. Our research has not been completed on the family, but the exciting find was the postmark on a couple of envelopes, which were noted as being from 1887, per the letters inside the envelope. The envelopes held the Rush post office mark! We had never seen that mark before.

The Rush post office was in the Rock House, on Canyon Park Road, at that time the home of George N Townsend and later of his son, Samuel Asher Townsend. Extremely exciting find or at least this writer thinks so!

More interesting correspondence: we have a group of letters sent to Mrs. Cora (Walter) Coppernoll from her relatives in Germany. They were sent in the late 1940s and early 1950s. They were in German and translated (by Michael Brunner we believe). The family was expressing their thanks for the food items sent to them by Cora and some of her friends (mentioned was Mrs. Winfield Hall). We may have forgotten, or for those of us who were not around at that time, just how many folks in Europe were suffering from shortages of items like sugar, eggs and other food items. One letter mentions that they were able to make a holiday cake from items sent. (Wonder how the eggs were shipped?)

Thankful for the rain, and cooler weather, knowing that July and August will bring heat. Take care all.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

May 31, 2023
End of the Year School Visitors and Upcoming Program

Memorial Day has come and gone, already. It marks the beginning of summer for many folks, including school students! Weddings, reunions, and class reunions abound.

For the Museum, we are open and ready for our summer visitors. We just had our 6th grade students visit on Friday, and they love to check out all the year books as they look for parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters. They get a charge out of some of the pictures in the books. And do you know that one of our most popular exhibits besides the train, is the typewriters! Yep, of course, they do ask how to spell check! And the milking machine gets a good workout, as students place their thumbs in a working milker. Out of the students on this trip, only four were from farms! We always enjoy their visits.

If you are not too busy on June 11th, join us at the museum for a program on The Chicago Great Western railroad. The program starting at 2:00 p.m., will cover Stockton’s own railroad history.  Please join us for this special program.

And do visit our website, at where you can find info on programs, our board of directors, Veterans information, and much more.

We hope you honored our veterans this past weekend and look forward to Stockton’s 4th of July celebration. Enjoy this lovely weather!

Ann Coppernoll shows two 6 graders how a milking machine works.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason


April 12, 2023
Museum Opening Weekend Scheduled for April 29th and 30th

Oh boy, I do believe spring may be sneaking in. A time to hear ballgames in the Stockton Park, lawn mowers running and neighbors out and about. The Museum is working to prepare for the opening weekend on April 29 and 30. The hours of the Museum will be 10-2 on Saturdays and 11-2 on Sundays. In anticipation of opening, we are hosting a program on April 22nd for our volunteers, from 9-10:30. In this program we offer information on our new displays in the Museum, programs to be offered throughout the season and information on duties while a volunteer. We also have room for those of you who would like to help with designing window displays, filing newly acquired artifacts, and helping with our family files. We appreciate all our volunteers. We hope to see you on the 22nd. Refreshments provided.

Most villages had elections this past week. In Stockton, the school board, park district and village trustee positions were on the ballot. Re-elected to a position on the Village of Stockton Board of Trustees was Dan Kunz. Besides being appreciated for his years of service, he also carries with him a family history of service to Stockton. Dan’s great-grandparents were Marvin and Susan Blake Carpenter, co-founders of Stockton. Dan’s grandfather Earl was the youngest of 11 children of Marvin and Susan, and his mother was Dorothy Carpenter Kunz (Harlow). We thank Dan and all village trustees for continued service to Stockton and to Dan for carrying on a tradition of service to our Village. Oh, and he is serving as the Village President!

Join us on April 22 to assist our Museum in our goal of providing historical background to visitors, and to serve our community. Happy Spring!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

March 29, 2023
Women of Stockton

While sorting through the paper artifacts we have collected at the Museum, we find some gems, like the 1898 graduation invite for Stockton High School. Or the wedding invitation of 1906 for a young couple from Stockton.  Finding these items plus many others, such as a complete senior memories booklet for the Stockton class of 1920, complete with pictures of the members of the class with names attached.  Such a find, as we have many wonderful photos with no names.  (a reminder to write on your photos!)

I hope you have been following the posts on our Facebook page of the women of Stockton who have contributed to the vitality to our community. Mary Pitcher Peters, a woman who helped set up the telephone lines in the county for the Pitcher Telephone Company. Her husband, William Peters, was the drayman for the town. His namesake and great-grandson, from Nevada, is one of our museum supporters. What a wonderful connection. And Wendy Fjellstad, from Wisconsin, a great-great-granddaughter of Mary Peters, and granddaughter of Blanche Johns, has sent us many Pitcher-Peters photos. We are so grateful to Bill and Wendy for their support. Another woman highlighted was Dr. Loretta Backus Lyons. I learned through talking with my uncle, that she was the physician for Stockton athletics teams. Not only did Dr. Lyons marry into a large family, as her husband Alexander had nine children, but her mother was a Townsend!

My favorite librarian at the Stockton Library was Carrie Hanson. When I stayed with my grandmother Rebecca, we would visit the library. My grandmother and grandfather George and Rebecca were avid readers, so we were at the library a lot! Carrie would ask my Grandma if I could read a certain book; I believe the book in question was the Dirty Dozen and I was in 7th grade; Grandma said ok! We have a window display now of Carrie’s spinning wheel and a blanket she made from the wool of the sheep she and her husband raised.

Pat Nagel was my Girl Scout leader for a while.  Pat was always busy, setting up the Heritage League, the precursor to the Heritage Museum and co-writing the two-volume book about Stockton.  Such ambition.

Hulda Justus and Della Calista Justus Simmons, mother and daughter, were both civic minded and creative women. Hulda taught children first in a home and then in the Fremont school.  She and her husband George built a home on East Benton in 1901. She was on the editorial board of Stockton News and that year they donated land to build the Universalist Society/church. Her daughter Della married Benjamin Franklin Simmons, a farmer.  Della was a member of the Ladies Union Cemetery organization, whose goal was to establish a cemetery for the fledging village. She persuaded B.F. to donate some land to establish a cemetery, which was called Ladies Union Cemetery. In 1921 Della and her brother Charles donated the Crypt at the cemetery in memory and honor of their parents.

We salute all the women, past and present, whose hard work and faith in the village of Stockton has allowed the village to remain a vital and active community,

Stop by the Museum to read more about these important women. We are opening the first weekend in May and we hope to see you then. Think spring!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

March 1, 2023
Busy Season at the Museum

March, the month where lambs and lions are active. The first day of March was lovely, not sure that rest of March will calm and gentle.  For basketball fans, March is the best month; for baseball fans, looking forward to spring opening makes patience a virtue.  I suppose there is a football game somewhere, and maybe soccer, too.

For the Museum, ‘tis the “we had better get going” season, as we prepare for our May opening.  It always seems like we have lots of time in January to prepare, and boom we are in March and time flies.   

March is Women’s Month, and the Museum Facebook page (Stockton Heritage Museum) will profile some of the women who were prominent in the development and growth of Stockton.  This past week, Susan Blake Carpenter, wife of Marvin F. Carpenter, one of the founders of Stockton, is highlighted.  Called the grandmother of Stockton, she was the mother of 11 children, six who married and had children. Sarah married Delzon Gates; Nettie married Edward Cyrus Coppernoll; Hettie Medora married James Lincoln Tyrell; Angie Belle married William John Tucker; Susan married William Marsh and then James A. Blair; and Earl Carpenter married Sarah Gertrude Batchelder. John Carpenter married Sarah Ellen Spiers but had no children (although some record show an adopted son).

The legacy of Susan Blake Carpenter and Marvin Carpenter lives on in Stockton through the business owners and civic leaders who continue the hard work of their ancestors. Many thanks to the perseverance of the families descended from Susan (and Marvin) Carpenter.

Also, this week, Mary Pitcher Peters, is highlighted. More on her next column

This postcard is a holiday greeting from Angie Belle Carpenter Tucker (her family called her Belle) to her sister Nettie Carpenter Coppernoll in December 1913. Bell and her family lived in Rathbun, Idaho.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason

February 1, 2023
New Beginnings

How did it get to be February 2023? Where did January go, so quickly? A new year with new beginnings.  From the freshly fallen snow, to a recently painted living room, to new displays at the Museum for the 2023 season.

In looking into the events that took place seventy years ago (not sure why 1953 but in my mind it was important), in Stockton and around the world.  The Atwoods plant was up and running in Stockton, the Kraft Cheese Company was doing well and looking forward to expanding in a few years.  Businesses were growing on Main Street.  In the world, the Korean War Armistice was signed, Josef Stalin died, Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to climb Mt. Everest, and Queen Elizabeth the II of Great Britain was crowned.

Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated as President, and British physicist Francis Crick and American biologist James Watson discover the double-helix structure of human DNA. Ian Fleming published his first James Bond Novel, Casino Royale, and the New York Yankees won their fifth World Series in a row.

So, what will folks read in 70 years from 2023? What will Stockton be like?  What businesses will be here, what will the population be.  What will your grandchildren know about Stockton; will the Blackhawk sports teams be going strong?

A new year, new opportunities, new directions.  As they say, time will tell, but we all will have a part in the direction of Stockton, and the history that will follow.

Have a great New Year and the best to all.

Mobil station which was the Chevy garage in the 50s.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Community Liason


December 2022
Where did this year go?

It has been a busy one for many of the folks in our community. New businesses joined the downtown community; the Atwoods/Dura building had a business move in, and new businesses on 20.

The museum had a busy season. With programs throughout the summer and over 500 folks visiting, from the 6th graders to visitors from Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Florida, California, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and Germany, we were busy.

We also had the classes of 1967 and 1972 visit our museum.

For our Christmas walk this year we had over 140 folks visit our museum on Friday evening and Saturday. We thank the train crew for running the train on the Saturday of the Walk and we are grateful to the Greenvale Neighborhood club for their contribution of Gnomes for sale with profits to the Museum.

Our over 25 museum volunteers enable us to be open every weekend, and during the week they assist the Museum board members in getting displays set up and items placed in the correct storage rooms upstairs (yes, the upstairs of our buildings are full of archived items donated and gifted to the Museum). Thanks to Shirley and Elaine for drafting our volunteers!

We did improvements to the buildings, with a new roof on part of both buildings, new gutters, and a new back door on the Museum building. The total improvements totaled $21,290. With the Park Board paying one half of the roofing costs, and a generous donation (anonymous) of $20,000 we were fortunate to complete the above projects. We also added a keypad to the back door. Of course, in buildings over 120 years old, there will be other improvements, such as tuck pointing the front bricks and smoke and fire detection systems for the annex. We are also looking at an energy audit by ComEd and Nicor related to insulation and lighting.

Peg Drane works on our advertising for our programs and adding info to our Facebook and WEB sites. Terry Buske, co-vice president, sets up window displays and entering items into our data base. Jan Steffens, secretary also sets up displays and of course set up the Tractor Display from her collection of Ford Tractors, a result of her parents Ford Tractor dealership in Stockton for many years. Leslie Bonvillain is treasurer and keeps up with membership, donations, and our monthly expenditures. Warren Dixon, co-vice president, is our resident researcher, who has contributed many hours to chasing down info on buildings, owners and of course, the program presented November 6th – Stock-town and Agriculture.

We thank Dana Noller and Kyle Arnold for their time and efforts on the board and we welcome Deb Huso as a new board member.

Memorials were given in remembrance of Don Bradley, Lee Freedland, Kim Bauer, William F. Peters, M.F. Carpenter, Florence Parker, Earl Batchelder and Judy Ven Huizen in 2022
Our heartfelt thanks go out to the Village of Stockton trustees for their support and to all folks who visited the museum, worked at the museum and attended 2022 programs. 2022 was a great year, and we are looking forward to a wonderful 2023. Happy New Year to all!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

April 2022
Flag Recognition Award Presentation

There is always something happening that will make you feel good. Be it basketball wins, an outstanding play at the school, good baseball when the weather cooperates, or visiting with family.

The Daughters of the American Revolution, Carroll Jo Daviess Chapter, recognized students and community members at their last meeting March 19th, at the Lanark Heritage Center. As many of you know, DAR recognizes high school seniors with the Good Citizenship Award, community members with the Flag Recognition Award, and Essay award winners.

This writer was pleased to award the Flag Recognition certificate to two families: Carol Martin of Lanark and Donna and Duane Kupersmith of Stockton. These individuals were recognized for their proper display of the United States Flag, as put forth by the Congress of the United States. The Kupersmith family has displayed a United States flag for over 45 years; the last 35 years with the flag being lighted. The Kupersmith children remember on the farm the flag was raised every morning, but because it was not lit, it came down every night.

Duane is a veteran of the Korean Conflict and has an abiding love of the flag. And they are great neighbors!

DAR Flag Recognition Winners
Left: Flag Award recipients Carol Martin and Donna and Duane (in photo) Kupersmith.
Right: Donna and daughters Barb, Brenda and Bev who were able to attend the presentation.
Duane was not able to attend but was there in spirit and in the photo.

Recipients of the other awards will be noted in another column.

The museum opens on May 1, and will be open on Saturdays and Sundays through October. We invite you to stop by to see all the history housed in our buildings. New this year is a display of Centennial Farms which have been in the same family for 100 plus years. There are several farms that have reached the 150 year mark. As we gather additional research, we will continue to add to our Centennial farms display throughout the museum season.

You can pick up some trivia while you visit too. What town in northern Illinois was the home of the first Kraft Cheese plant? What town in Illinois has the highest elevation? When did the railroad come to Stockton? Visit and find the answers! Enjoy and stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

March 2022
Opening Day is Coming

The Museum season is getting closer. May 1st is opening day this year! We are excited to start what will hopefully be a full season.

Our first program this year will be April 24th at the Masonic Lodge, at 117 N. Main in Stockton. Tom Heidenreich of the Plum River Lodge will present the program “History of the Masons and the Plum River Lodge”. Doors to the Lodge will open at 1 pm, with the program starting at 2 pm. The Lodge is on the second floor (above Hartig Drugstore), and is handicap accessible.

Our second program will be on May 1st, 2 pm, at the museum. Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Katherine Hamilton-Smith will present: “The Happy Invention: The History and Significance of Picture Postcards.” Bring postcards to share if you wish.

Come to the museum on August 7th at 2 pm for music. Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Dennis A. Stroughmatt will be the presenter: “Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler “Pappy” Wade Ray”.

It is also that time of year where we are recruiting volunteers to help at the museum in a variety of capacities, from greeting guests visiting the Museum on Saturdays and Sundays, to assisting with displays, and helping with storage and preservation of our artifacts.

Your support is important to the continued success of the museum. Please consider renewal of your membership, becoming a first time member and/or donating your time as a volunteer. More information can be found at

1950’s Stockton Cardinals Baseball Team
Standing: Brown, Haight, Page, P. Andrews, N. Coppernoll, N. Vanderheyden, Farrell, B. Logemann
Front: Lawfer, W. Block, Magee, M. Albrecht, Downey[/caption]

We are always finding or have contributed to us interesting stories and photos. The late Dick Lawfer shared this photo with Jane Vanderheyden, as her brother is in the picture. Jane shared it with the museum. In hopes of a 2022 baseball season, here is a picture of a 1950 Cardinals baseball team from Stockton. Not all of the first initials are noted, but last names are correct.

Enjoy and stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

February 2022
The Railroad’s Impact on Stockton

Winter is definitely here, and we are all dreaming of warmer weather!

The history of Stockton is definitely connected to the railroad which came through Stockton from 1888 to 1972. The Chicago Great Western was the name of the Rail road from 1890 through to the end. Stockton was the high point of the route, which ran between Chicago and Olewein, Iowa. This meant the engines could get started by coasting on either side of town.
The round house at East Stockton was where the steam engines were worked on and where engines hooked up to rail cars to transport the goods and products to many destinations. There were over 400 men employed at East Stockton, 24 hours a day. Crews from the trains were changed out here, and there were cottages and a hotel where crews and other folks could stay.

The entire Eastern Division of the line between Oelwein, Iowa and Chicago was operated from the dispatcher’s office at the round house. These were the huge steam locomotives that ruled the rails. By 1930, seven trains a day were going through. But when diesel engines came along they didn’t need servicing like the older steam engines. The depression hit and car travel became more popular. The workshop in East Stockton was abandoned. Some of the rail was used in the new bridge in town and some bricks were used in houses and buildings. Passenger service was discontinued in 1965 and the last freight train went through in 1972. The dispatcher’s office was moved into town in the 1930s. Now little is left of this major part of Stockton’s creation.

My grandfather, George Coppernoll, worked at the round house prior to his enlistment in the army for WW1. He worked with steam engines and one day did get a steam burn on his arm. The railroad employed a doctor, Dr. Runkel, and he bandaged my grandfather up. According to my uncle, when the time came to remove the bandage, the Doctor, with little bedside manner, just ripped off the bandage! The pain must have been immense. According to my uncle, my grandfather became a faithful client of Dr. Gustafson until the good Doctor retired.

Left: George Coppernoll in his WW1 uniform. Right: A print rendition of a train passing through Stockton. Prints are available for sale at the Museum. The pen and ink photographic prints were created by Kenneth Fissell (1931-1993).

Stockton became a village because of the railroad. Other villages in the area, such as Morseville and Pitcherville, faded away to small hamlets as the railroad bypassed them. Kraft Cheese came to Stockton because of the dairy product availability and the railroad could move the products of Kraft to Chicago and beyond.

Let us hope and work to have other industries move to our town so we can thrive and stay on the map! Stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

January 2022
Happy New Year!

It certainly does not seem like 2022 should be here but it is! The saying is that the older you get the faster time goes by! However, this writer was not planning on getting older this fast (I know, no control over that process)!

The Museum had a great 2021, given dealing with the Corona virus and not opening until June. We had great programs, over 500 folks who visited, and we acquired exciting artifacts to add to the Museum collection.

As many of you know, we need repairs to our roofs on all three buildings (103,105 and 107 W. Front). We have received funds from the Village of Stockton and the Park Board and are grateful for their support. If you wish to add to our roof fund, please do so. And please do not hesitate to donate to the Museum; if you wish to specify your donation, you may do so. Our mailing address is Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 W Front, Stockton, Illinois, 61085.

If you are stuck in the house during the cold weather, explore our website at Learn about Stockton history, Veterans from the community, programs offered and our museum displays.

The winter months at the Museum are spent documenting artifact donations, changing displays, and developing new window displays. Our train crew also continues to work on the train display. Click here to find out more about volunteer opportunities at the museum. In interested, send us an email at or call us at 815-947-2220 and leave a message and we will get back to you (because we are not on a schedule during the closed season it may take a few days for us to return the call). And don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Wishing you are healthy and prosperous 2022. We hope to see you all in the spring.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President


September 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 7

The last 2 folks interviewed for this series on Stockton High school alums are from the class of 1949, Verla Bohnhoff Rhyner and Duane Kupersmith.

Verla was born in Stockton and lived on a farm just to the west of the Stockton.  She graduated from Stockton High School and then worked for the high school as a secretary. Verla has some good stories about her adventures in the office (ask her sometime about a letter to the late Ron Lawfer’s father, which was somehow delayed in getting posted)!

She met Lauren Rhyner from Warren through a youth rally of Lutheran churches in Jo Daviess County. They were the first couple married at the new Christ Lutheran Church in Stockton. For the next 3 years Lauren and Verla lived in Florida and California while Lauren was in the Air Force. On returning to the area, Lauren was studying engineering at Platteville when Verla’s father passed away. Her mother offered the farm to Verla and Lauren, so farming they went! Verla states that they had a wonderful time on the farm. They have four children, Lorra, Cindy, Jay, and Dan and still have family on the farm. She said she enjoyed working outside on the farm and living next to Highway 20 was as good as a watch. She always knew what time it was when the bus or the Tydee Dydee Diaper Service went by on the highway. Verla said she has a very good life and is going strong!

Verla Bohnhoff Rhyner and Duane Kupersmith, Class of 1949

Duane Kupersmith told this writer that he credits Verla Rhyner for helping him get through history class! He said his mother, who had been a teacher at Robinson School in Rush Township, could not understand why Duane had a hard time in school. He said perhaps one reason was the 3 hand Euchre Verla and Shirley Stafford played with Duane in the back row of study hall!

Duane was born on a farm in Rush Township and later, his family moved to the farm where his grandfather lived. His grandfather had emigrated from Switzerland. After high school he worked and was drafted in 1952. After serving in active service for 18 months he came home, although he remained inactive for 8 years until his discharge. He and Donna lived above Glanville’s Hardware store and he went to the farm every day to help his father. In December 1955 he was delayed in getting to the farm as where his car was parked was blocked in by fire hoses which were being used to put out the fire at the school. Later, they moved to the family farm. They were very proud of the registered Holstein cows they raised on their farm.

After moving from the farm, he then worked as a custodian at Stockton Schools for 13 years. He and wife Donna’s children are Bill, Brenda, Bob, Barbara, Beverly, and Betty. He met Donna when she was the popcorn girl at the Stockton theatre.  But the real story was when Duane was at the local café on a Monday evening after being out with his friends; he not only threatened to squirt ketchup on Donna, he did!  He returned on Thursday evening to apologize and then asked Donna out on a date. He said that was the best decision he ever made!

This column is the last one on Stockton High school alums, who graduated from 1935 through 1949. The adventures of our Stockton High School Alums have covered the globe and have contributed information, experiences, and value to many, both locally and internationally. It has been this writer’s pleasure to meet (some in person, some over the phone) all the wonderful folks interviewed. Not all living alums prior to 1949 were interviewed for this column but they all added to the tapestry of our communities. Take care and enjoy!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

August 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 6

This article will highlight 3 men who were businessmen on highway 20 in Stockton in the late 1950s through the 1990s. Walt Steffes graduated in 1946 and Bob Kappes and Dick Lawfer were in the class of 1949.

Walt Steffes, Class of 1946
Richard “Dick” Lawfer, Class of 1949, Bob Kappes, Class of 1949

Walt Steffes was born in Stockton and while in high school he hauled milk for Kraft. He left for the Navy the day after graduation. He served in the Occupation of Japan and was stationed in China. He was discharged and returned to Stockton where he worked for Kraft. He was recalled in 1950 during the Korean War and was stationed in the Boston area.  He served as an electronic technician, updating radar on an aircraft carrier. The ship made runs to Labrador and Cuba. He then returned to Stockton and married Darlene Beyer. They have two children, Lynn and Curt.  Walt and Darlene have been married 67 years and traveled the U.S. and beyond.

After his return to Stockton in 1952, he worked for Lyons Well drilling and delivered fuel to farmers for the service company. In 1957 he had the opportunity to join Fred Fiedler at the Mobil station and when Fred retired, he became the sole owner. He also removed snow; a story he recalled was while plowing snow, he “managed” to plow in Brian Breed’s car at the Wayne Evans home. Later, a dump truck delivered a load of snow to the gas station! Wonder where the snow came from?

He and Darlene moved from gas to ice cream and sandwiches as Walt’s Drive In, which they operated for 10 years! Then came retirement. Walt has been a member of the Plum River Masonic Lodge for over 71 years. He was a Shriner’s Clown, and made over 200 trips taking children to the Shriner’s Hospital in Chicago. He also drove a school bus and has a story or two to tell, as some children were not able to eat breakfast and ride the bus! Such memories.

Dick Lawfer was born in Willow where his family had a farm. He married Luann and three children, Jan, Kim and the late Rex were his family, in addition to three brothers. He attended Willow school and rode the first bus taking students to Stockton. He remembers the bus going into Kent through Willow to Stockton. Quite the ride.

In asking about any shenanigans in high school, he was not persuaded to share although he did say he knew the principal. He worked through high school and when the opportunity arose to be in the auto body business, he and Wayne Noll ran L and N auto body shop for a number of years. In his spare time, he is a great gardener. He and Luann had large gardens and did a lot of canning, which Dick learned how to do. These days, he says the garden is much smaller. This writer knows he grows great onions!

Bob Kappes and his brother Ron ran the Standard station from 1958 through 1998. Bob graduated in the class of 1949 and said he was a quiet guy in high school and spent time taking photographs of life around him. A memory that has stayed with him was the time he “watched” several young men place a wagon/buggy on the roof of the study hall at school. They did a great job!  When they were done, the local policeman, Ira Logemann, after observing their work, told them to take it down!

After graduation, he worked for Green Giant in Lanark starting at 90 cents an hour, and remembers he put in a 21-hour day once. That’s a lot of beans and peas! He said he felt rich after that day. He then worked for Mernice Toepfer, at the store and locker, learning the business and delivering groceries, usually with one of Mernices’ sons along for the ride. He started working with Gene Hess building houses, until Uncle Sam called him up for duty in the Army in 1952. He trained in Arkansas and then to San Francisco where he took a “boat “ride for 14 days on the way to Korea. He ended up in Taiwan and was supposed to go to Korea but headed for Okinawa, as a typhoon was coming, when the armistice was signed. He spent 1 year at headquarters there. He said seeing other countries left him with a great appreciation for what we have here. He returned to Stockton and married his late wife Vernetta in 1956.  Their children are Michele, Michael, and Mitchell (Mitch to those who frequent the Hardware Store).  Both Bob and Ron were bus drivers for almost 30 years. They started out as substitute drivers but before the year was over, they were permanent drivers. This was a time when Stockton had 16 routes! He built several homes he has lived in here in Stockton. He is appreciative of his time in business in Stockton and said the above-mentioned folks, (and including the youngster Cleland Dittmar, class of 1955, who ran the Shell Station), worked well together.

How great that the above men chose to make their permanent home in Stockton and worked hard to add to the fabric of the town.

Although there are more folks who could tell their stories, this series will wrap up in the column next month with other members of the class of 1946 and 1949 sharing their stories. Enjoy!

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

July 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 5

Stockton Schools had students from areas which were close to the borders of the school district. Prior to the formation of Community Unit District # 206, school borders, especially near Elizabeth, were fluid for residents to attend either school system.

Betty Jones Mackeben attended Welch Hollow School in her early years, and attended Elizabeth school for grades 6, 7, and 8. She attended high school in Stockton. Her last teacher at Welch Hollow was Leona Stadel. Leona, who was from Scales Mound, lived at the Wayne Evans home while teaching at Welch Hollow. In the 5th grade, Betty and Dale Stadel were the only two students at the school! Betty was the youngest of the family with four older brothers. She would get a ride to high school with Dale Stadel or ride the Greyhound bus, which would let her off at the end of Evans Road. Sometimes she stayed in town.

She met her husband Cliff in school as they were in the same class. Betty attended beauty school and had a shop on South Main, where Ralph Knauer had his shop. She and Cliff married, had four children, bought a grocery store from Murnice Breed, and briefly had a store in Kent. When Cliff sold the store in Kent, he went to work at Atwoods and was there for 40 years. Cliff passed in October of 2020. Betty has great memories!

Betty Jones Mackeben, Class of 1948
Edythe Wurster Larsen, Class of 1948, Clara Wurster Nieman, Class of 1949

Edyth and Clara Wurster are sisters from Elmoville who graduated from Stockton High school in 1948 and 1949, respectively. They attended grade school at Elmoville (they walked the 2 miles usually!) and then attended Stockton High School. Clara said she and her sister boarded in town during the week for the first two years of high school. Clara’s last two years of school they rode a school bus.

Both Edyth and Clara attended Northern Illinois Teachers College (NIU) and have lived in Dekalb most of their married lives. Clara had several jobs, with her favorite being working in the trust department of a bank. She and her late husband have four children. Edyth and her husband Harry met at a square dance, married, and after a few years in Freeport, returned to DeKalb. They have five children. Edyth was a substitute teacher and worked for Farm Service. Both women have wonderful families and memories.

There will be 2 more columns on alums and then on to other exciting adventures. Take care all.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

June 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 4

In following up with the Stockton High School Alumni who are among the oldest living alums, there are two gentlemen who have shared their stories with this writer.

Jay Johnson, class of 1942, was a legend in my house as I grew up. My father grew up with Jay and although my father did not betray any wild secrets, it was clear the “Morseville gang”, (including Jay’s brother Paul, Ron and Donny Pierce, Gilbert, and Dean Coppernoll) did have a great time. Jay, who still golfs, told of some hijinks, one of the favorites was tipping over outhouses. My uncle said they even managed to tip one over with the Morseville cheesemaker, Theodore Schamberger, in it! Of course, taking apart a wagon and putting it on a barn roof was a good trick too. Jay did not mention that event.

Jay went on to marry a young woman, Shirley, who came to Stockton as a music teacher. She has passed away. Jay and his wife Shirley had four children, Ann, Alan, Tom, and Rick. Jay worked in the funeral business for most of his adult life, living in Wisconsin. Jay is a great source for information on Morseville.

Jay Johnson, Class of 1942 and Mason Beard, Class of 1944

Mason Beard is the great grandson of the co-founder of Stockton, Marvin F. Carpenter, and member of the class of 1944. Mason spent lots of time at his grandparents, the Earl Carpenters, who lived in the farmhouse on South Simmons Street. Mason talks about the CCC camp (Conservation Corps) which was across the street and housed the all African American unit in Quonset huts. (Currently the location where the trailer court and Bard Concrete are situated.) He remembers going over to watch the members play cards. Mason was with the Navy during WW ll and was in the Pacific. He has been a member of the American Legion for over 70 years.

Mason married a young woman from Pearl City, Joyce Asher, and they lived in Stockton with their family, and later moved to Monroe. Mason is immensely proud of his heritage and his family. He was the driver of the first Kraft bulk semi-truck in Stockton.  (Note: Our condolences go out to Mason Beard and family on the passing of his wife Joyce in June 2021).

Both these men have fond memories of growing up in Morseville and Stockton.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

May 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 3

This column will feature three SHS alums who define hard working, caring women.

Nina Mae Hall Sheetz, Class of 1941, Helen Gothard Raab, Class of 1946, Helen Townsend Reed, Class of 1947

Nina Mae Hall Sheetz, graduate of 1941, has had a very fulfilling life as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. With 3 children, and as a farmer’s wife, she was terribly busy. Nina Mae said she met her husband Bill in 5th grade! Bill’s sister was the teacher at Roe’s Corner country school and wanted Bill to help the students to sing. Nina Mae said they did! (Bill was a lifelong singer in many venues around the town and county!) After graduation Nina Mae worked in Elizabeth and then at Micro Switch. She and Bill married, and after his parents retired, they moved to the family farm where their 3 children grew up. The farm is still in the family.

Helen Gothard Raab, class of 1946, the youngest child in a family of 12 children grew up on a farm. She is energetic and organized and makes a mean meatloaf and rhubarb bread (full disclosure, I have eaten both!) Her sister-in-law Phyllis told the story about being out to lunch with her friend Helen during their high school years, and Helen said, “come meet my dumb brother”. Well of course, that introduction garnered Helen a sister-in-law! With five older brothers, maybe Helen was trying to move the last one out of the house! She has worked on the farm, at an insurance company, and certainly at home. She and her late husband Marshall always welcomed friends of their five children to their house; she was a busy lady!

Helen Townsend Reed, who graduated in 1947, has lived in the hills of Jo Daviess County and in the flat and hot of Texas. She said she was glad to come home after Texas! She married Franklin Reed of Warren. Franklin, more well known by his nick name of Speed, was an only child. Helen said getting to know all the Townsends and their extended families was quite the event for her husband. Helen worked for dentist Dr. Alzeno as a bookkeeper; she also was a librarian, and many Stockton students will remember Helen as working at the SHS cafeteria. In retirement, she enjoys the company of her 3 children, her grandchildren, and her dog Cricket.

Our next column we will meet a gentleman from Morseville and a great-grandson of the founders of Stockton. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

April 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 2

The column this week continues with the stories of the oldest living Stockton High School Alumni. In the last column, Imogene Coppernoll Andrews was noted as the oldest at 103. Imogene, class of ’35, trained as a teacher. During her time teaching in Warren, she met and married R. Bruce Andrews. They traveled the next 40 years with Bruce’s diplomatic job, living in many places, including Germany, Malta, Singapore, and Malaysia, where she taught school, before retiring in Texas.

Burrill Coppernoll, class of ’38, with his brother John, flew planes out of the Stockton Airport from 1939 until the airport closed in 2020. He worked for the Department of Aviation Safety. Burrill was married to the love of his life, Della Mae Dossey, for 64 years.

Dayle Lyons, class of ’39, was from the Willow area. Dale tried working with his father at the Willow cheese factory, and also worked at Atwoods in Rockford until the Army called.  After his time in the service, he returned to work with his father and at Kraft Cheese where he met his wife Barbara. She passed away in January 2021. Dayle worked at Kelly-Springfield until retirement. Dayle’s family includes a daughter, Diana (who married Burrill’s nephew, Larry Coppernoll), two granddaughters and five great-grandchildren.

I also had conversations with 2 grads from the class of ’44, Elda Goodmiller and Richard Williams. I asked both what special memories they had from high school.

Elda said she needed to be good student for her parents. She was a quiet student and was in 4-H throughout high school.  She liked 4-H so much she continued in the program after high school. She began as a junior leader and continued as a leader for over 50 years! Such commitment!

Richard said he met his wife Carolyn Atz and they had three children. He started raising sheep in high school and continued throughout his farming career, ending up as President of the Continental Dorset Association. Richard’s farm is a Century Farm. Another memory from high school; he ended up driving the school bus the last day of school his senior year, as the bus driver was not available. When Elda was told of Richard’s story of driving the bus, she asked if Richard told me what the school bus was like. It was an old hearse converted with benches in the back for the students to sit on! Quite the adventure I am sure. Richard must have been a good driver!

The next column will share more stories of SHS alumni, who have been contributing members of the communities where they live. The prior column noted the first cousins who graduated from SHS.  Sadly, one of the cousins, Dean Coppernoll, passed away on March 15th. May he rest in peace.  Take care and stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

March 5, 2021
Stockton Alumni, Part 1

One of the latest projects started at the Stockton Heritage Museum involves identifying the oldest living Stockton High School alumni. We had several names, but there was an aspect of the project this researcher had not envisioned. The project has morphed into a remarkable family story. Out of the number of alumni names we had, five of the living alumni older than 90 are first cousins. The cousins are the grandchildren of Stockton residents Edward Cyrus and Nettie Carpenter Coppernoll. The oldest living alumna, at 103 years, is Imogene Coppernoll Andrews (married Bruce Andrews from Warren), a member of the class of ‘35. Next is Burrill Coppernoll, a member of the class of ‘38, who will celebrate his 100th birthday March 26th (married Della Mae Dosey).

Also included in the group of five are Dorothy Coppernoll Taylor (married Charles Taylor), from the class of ’42 and cousins from the class of ’46 – Dean Coppernoll (married Willie Fay (Sue) Kelly), and Helen Gothard Raab (married Marshall Raab). A 6th cousin who graduated in the class of 1950, Norm Coppernoll is only 89; (he married Donna Jean Vande Weerd). Just think, all cousins whose parents were siblings. Incredibly unique!

We are putting together stories of some of the graduates, stories they tell of their life since graduating from SHS. Imogene has traveled the world with her husband, who was a diplomat; Burrill worked for the State of Illinois Aviation division and ran the Stockton Airport. The cousins were housewives and farmers, insurance company agents, salespersons for a publishing company (my favorite publication was Pig American!) They have been spouses, parents, grand and great grandparents, and hardworking members of society. They talk of their bond with Stockton, their upbringing, and the memories they have of Stockton and the area. Stockton High School should be proud of their alumni.

There will be more stories to follow including: Dayle Lyons, 99 years old class of ’39, Edyth Wurster Larsen, class of ’48, and Clara Wurster Nieman, class of ’49 and others. We are looking forward to telling more stories about our alumni.

Thankful for great weather and great family! Take care and stay safe to all.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President

February, 2021

Where did January go? Just remembering to put 2021 on checks (yes, this writer still uses checks!), but to be prepared to write February 2021 is just too amazing. Did time always go this fast? In the past, did the founders of Stockton say “hey, it is 1900 already, or can you believe the town is 25 years old?” We know they had celebrations of all sorts of events, from the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) to J.N. Klock’s book on the first 50 Years of Stockton, from the end of wars to Atwoods coming to town, from carnivals to celebrating local championship teams. But what do we celebrate now?

Carnival in Stockton in 1910, on West Front Avenue (street at the time)

Each of us celebrates individual experiences. Families celebrate milestones; we celebrate the lives of those who leave us to the new lives coming into our circles. We celebrate our health professionals, caregivers, and public safety personnel. We celebrate those who contribute to our food supply, from delivery people to our grocery store folks. We celebrate “meeting” with family, colleagues, and committee members through various electronic and technical sources.  And certainly, we celebrate our teachers and students who have maneuvered through the challenges of the pandemic. Even a snow day may be cause for celebration. Let us look forward to the celebrations in our futures, fairs and carnivals, family reunions, graduation parties, and so much more.

Carpenter Family Reunion – 2015

We at the Stockton Heritage Museum are celebrating the near completion of our new website. (If you are reading this online – we did it!) We thank the Freeport Community Partnership for their funding of this project, we appreciate the monetary support from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and of course, we give our gratitude to those who generously donate to the Stockton Heritage Museum. Take care and stay safe.

Ann Coppernoll, Stockton Heritage Museum Board President