Following is one of the Biographies and Stories which where gathered by Charles Sumner McKamy in the 1950s for publication in a Crawford County History Book. Unfortunately he passed away before the book was published.

One day in June, 1924, Mrs. Wright and I came to Palestine and arranged for a place to live after having been employed by the Board of Education, which at that time consisted of Dr. J.A. Ikmere, E.E. Miller, Burke Bruner, A.D. Pifer, H.A. Tewel, John Phipps and Sam Markee. We were soon involved in the activities of the community and followed with interest the historical setting of the first county seat of Crawford County. During my 15 years of service, a new elementary school building was erected and many other improvements were made by the citizens of the village and district. Mrs. Wright's grandfather, John M. Forney, was a very close friend of Jesse Stoner of La Motte Prairie, so we found that we had many friends living on the Prairie. These men and their families were leaders in the church of the Brethren of their respective communities. Bethlehem Christian Church (now Congregational) south of Sumner was organized in the home of my great grandfather and most of our people have been consistent workers with that church group. However, my father, Emsley Wright, the same name as my great grandfather, and mother, Bertha Jane Fite, moved to Richland County and became affiliated with the Berryville Christian Church (Deciples of Christ) and we have helped what we could with the churches in Palestine and Robinson.

Christmas vacation time in 1927, I went with Mr. Burke Bruner to interview some of the members of the Rural School Board in order to secure their ideas about consolidation. Some of them were interested but most of them were opposed. The population at that time was shifting from the farm areas to he villages and towns. February 27, 1928, our daughter Amelia Ann was born at the Ikemire Clinic which added to the village population and to our joy of living.

The spring of 1939, I was invited to take the superintendency of the Robinson Elementary Schools, which I accepted. The Board at that time consisted of F.M. Brosman, Charles D. Brown, Mrs. Ray Ridgeway, Mrs. V.D. Heath, W.F. Fox, H.E. Burckhalter and A.V. Doak. After serving with he Elementary Schools for four years, I was elected to the County Superintendency and served in that position for two terms. During the second term, the Illinois Legislature passed permissive legislation for school reorganization. The 106 school district Board of Crawford County in a joint meeting elected a Survey Committee consisting of John Adkinson, B.C. Fulling, John Q. Adams, O.L. Plunkett, Russell Rains, Floyd King, C.L. Dees, Rex O. Goodman and Paul E. Neeley. This committee made its tentative report November 10, 1947 and its final report May 15, 1948. Hutsonville Community Unit School District No. 1 was organized by a vote of the people March 6, 1948, after petitions were properly filed. Palestine followed with a petition for a vote but failed. Central Community Unit School District No. 2, consisting of Robinson, Flat Rock, New Hebron, Trimble and Porterville was voted in April 17, 1948, and organized; then Palestine repetitioned and formed Palestine Community Unit School District No. 3. These three districts made up approximately three-fourths of the county. During this time Hardinville Community Consolidated School District No. 6 was formed. Oblong Community Consolidated School District No. 7 was formed and Bend Community Consolidated School District No. 210 had been previously formed to this time. Then the Monarch Community Consolidated School District No. 8 was formed. This left a few one-room school districts north of Oblong and some in the southwest part of the county. Most of this territory was in the Oblong township high school district, so the west one-fourth of the county remained dual.

During the Christmas vacation in 1950, Mr. Earle L. Olson, Superintendent of the Central Community Unit School District no. 2 died and the Board of Education consisting of Bayard E. Heath, W.F. Cox, Cecil M. Weger, Willard Rich, Wilbur Frost, Paul E. Hammer and Floyd King offered me the position as superintendent of the district, which I accepted February 15, 1951, and I resigned as county superintendent of schools. This position I held until the end of the year 1953, at which time I resigned to accept my present position as Business Manager of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers.

New school buildings were built at New Hebron and Porterville. Twenty-four rooms were added to the Robinson high school

"Give to each boy and girl that which the best father and best mother would give to their children" is my philosophy. You will find my personal history in Who's Who in American Education in 1945-46 and 1955-56. Also in Who's Who in the Mid-West & Who's Who in Chicago and Vicinity. Any progress that has been made during the thirty years of service in Crawford County has been due to the effort and work of its citizens as individuals and as cooperative groups.

In the winter of 1906-07 Oblong was awakened to the greatest industry in its history. The discovery of oil. It came unexpected, unasked for, but much enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to have this great subterranean wealth which flowed from the earth.

Oblong had a great influx of people more than doubled in population by the new arrival of leasers, rig builders, tool dressers, oil drillers, pumpers and roustabouts. It brought much wealth to our community which Oblong welcomed and profited. After the field was drilled up many left but some remained and became among our very best citizens. It is now an old stripper field but many still dream of those boom days and good times. Up until this time we had no hard roads. Much hardship was endured both by man and beast in transporting the rigs and heavy machinery. Our hard roads came much earlier than we would have had them had it not been for the discovery of oil and the coming of the automobile.

I told of the beginning of schools in Oblong in former paragraph. Depicting our school system at that time. I visited the Oblong Consolidated district school today and noted the great advancement of our schools in the past 80 years. I arrived at the school at an intermission period, found the children romping, playing and shouting on a large play yard. I was met at the door by a small girl who ushered me into the Supt. Office where I read the following facts. He told me the school had an enrollment of 355 pupils in the 8 grades taught by 15 teachers. The consolidated district comprised of Bellair and Stoy has a combined enrollment of 430 pupils with teaching force of 18 teachers, one secy., and 3 janitors to care for buildings and grounds. Hot lunches served at noon non-profit. The children being transported in warmed and well ventilated school buses. The total cost of operating is about one hundred thousand dollars a year. This will show the progress of our school system in past 80 yrs.

(FOOTNOTE) They are now starting to build a new annex of 5 rooms at a cost of $125,000. The new annex will provide more room in which there will be a kindergarten. State law requires physical exams and inoculations 1-5-9.

Supplemental to bird life: It has been related by the early pioneers that they have seen the wild pigeon in such numbers as to rival this historic bird of Ky. At eventide when they sought rest they were so many that the branches of the great oaks gave way under the weight. The pigeon now extinct. The owl family should be mentioned. They were the great hoot owl, screech owl and the ground owl. They are the only N. American bird that can bring both eyes to focus on an object at the same time. Nocturnal in their habits and carnivorous. The hoot owl and screech owl are still found in our wood lands.

The possum should be remembered as the only marsupial quadriped found in America. They are carnivorous, nocturnal in their habits. It is said their pouch for carrying their young is sometimes found to be only rudimentary. But this writer has seen the young snugly tucked away in the mother's pouch. One means of defense when attacked is to fall and feign death.

In addition to what we have already recorded about our consolidated grade school we feel that the school history of Oblong and the west side of the county is not complete without some record of our Oblong Township H.S. It has some 300 boys and girls enrolled and comfortably domiciled in a beautiful brick building some 16 rooms and 14 teachers and principal, two janitors, 5 buses warm and well ventilated delivering the children to school.

The school is on the accredited list of the University of Ill.

Hot lunches on a non-profit basis are served by three cooks and 85 to 90 students eat at 25 cents per lunch.

For those who care not to go farther in the educational field the school offers the following courses to equip them for life; namely agriculture, manual training, shorthand, and typing, Home Econ. and a course in music.

Indians: The Indians were no longer here. They had gone west but had left plenty of evidence behind of their once being here. This evidence consisted of arrow heads, wap-pum, tomahawk and stone ax were often picked up on our prairie.

The dress for women in those days was very plain, course material made long enough sometimes to sweep the floor, and wore high top button shoes and home-knitted woolen stocking. Men's' dress were in common with the women. The clothing for men were often homemade of blue jeans. A fine boot for Sunday and course leather boots were worn for everyday. The white shirt homemade and high celluloid collars. But little shaving in those days as men's face was covered with whiskers and he mustache coffee cup had its place at the table. Tobacco chewing was common in those days as the whiskers would often betray. Snuff was sometimes indulged in by women.

Headress for women varied from postage stamp type hat and men's varied broad brimmed to the turtle-shell derby.

The headdress for women varied from the sunbonnet with its varied styles to merry-widow hats.

The hamlet of Oblong had its inception with the country side and as the country grew, it grew also. It is well with in the memory of a few of our oldest citizens when corn fields extended within one block of the cross streets Range and Main. They also relate on west side of Range St. when rail fences ran within one block of the cross streets. They also relate only 5 or 6 houses at that time, most of which were log. Joel Ziegler's residence stood where Dr. Kirk's office now stands. He and L.R. Roman had a blacksmith shop between his residence and the cross streets. Where the M.E. Church now stands was a cooper shop owned by D.W. Meece. The Joseph C. Barker farm extended within 2 blocks of the cross street. Wm. A. Wood built the old brick store where First National Bank now stands. D.W. Odell, Sr. was the 1st merchant to be followed by W.A. Wood, Goock Bros. And in turn Zac Wirt who operated the store for many years. He was an apprentice of D. W. Odell. He served as banker and advisor of the community. Those who had a little extra money entrusted it to him and his big iron safe.

The log schoolhouse earlier mentioned in this story was replaced by a 1 room frame building just one block east of cross street of Main and Range. This building served for school purposes till late 80's when a new 3 room brick building was built 1 block north 1/2 block west of the cross streets of Main and Range. This building was built in edge of a corn field where it remained when a new building was erected on the grounds where our present grade school now stands. That building burned -- and the present building was then erected. They now have a new annex under construction.

Some of the early school teachers of this part of county was M.N.D.B. Cody, Maggie Wright, Jenny Ziegler, W.A. Sweren, Hayden Arnold, Cordelia Dede Zeigler, Grace Douglas and others. The development and progress of our school system has been marvelous in the past 75 years.

Oblong churches have developed and progressed comparable to our schools. From the log school house previously mentioned we now have 5 church organizations with church houses of worship with a Sunday School attendance of 800 or more. The Primitive Baptist built the 1st house of worship in which they not only worshiped but the M.E. used it many years. Then the Universalist built a church about 3 blocks west of cross streets. The M.E. Class worshipped here for a few years. Then they built the building where the Pilgrim Holiness now worship.

Our little city now has 5 churches namely M.E., Christian, E.U.B., Missionary Baptist and Pilgrim Holiness.

Oblong is now assured of good educational facilities and Christian training for our children.

Up until this period in the late 70s (1878) the railroad was built. The farmers had no market for their grain and livestock only as they hauled it to Olney and Vincennes. With the coming of these facilities a good market was opened up. Robert A. Wood was the 1st stock buyer. After this the farmers increased their production of livestock and grain many folds. Oblong was noted for its livestock shipping market. C.S. Mutchmore was 1st grain merchant for this community. He built a grain house by the side of he railroad where Oblong Coal and Feed Company is now located. With this small beginning we will say in early 80s we now put through our elevators operated by Monteagle Mills and Feed and Coal Co. more than a million dollars worth of wheat, corn and soy beans each year.