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.

Mrs. Frank Mefford, daughter of William Tilden Rousch, makes this contribution.

William Tilden Rousch was the last survivor of the family of seven children of the late Peter Rousch and Rosena Weld Rousch. He was born near Dayton, Ohio January 8, 1862 and passed away December 20, 1941.

His father, Peter Rousch, was born near Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, Aug. 1, 1836. AT the age of thirteen years he came to America locating at Altoona, Pa., and later moving to Johnstown in the same state. In a few years he migrated to Dayton, Ohio where he operated a sawmill and farmed for six years. It was at this homestead that Mr. Rousch was born. Then they moved to Illinois in 1865 and bought a 160 acre farm three miles south of Hutsonville where he raised his family.

The other six members of the father's family, all deceased were: Mrs. Orlin Correll near Mt. Ephriam; Mrs. Greenlee Steele of LaMotte Prairie; Mrs. Joe Winters of Hutsonville; Florence, Peter and Mary, who passed away before reaching the age of maturity. A few years after the death of his wife, he married Mrs. Stucky of Palestine and later was married to Mrs. Mary Johnson of Hutsonville. This union was blessed with one son, John Rousch of Terre Haute, Indiana, now deceased.

William Rousch was educated in the Colliflower School on the north side of LaMotte Prairie. After his school was completed in 1872, he was one of the first pupils in this school, having changed from the Moore School which he and his sisters had attended. Owing to his kindness he was a great friend and leader among all the pupils. He finished the 8th grade of the common school, after which he devoted his full time to farming.

About 69 years ago, he bought a threshing machine and two steam engines which he operated all his life, also a saw mill by which he did custom and his own work for 35 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Rousch were non-assuming, hard workers, frugal, and have one of the most beautiful and attractive farm homes in southern Illinois. This farm home was furnished with well constructed and arranged buildings, a water system and well equipped work shops where the three sons developed their mechanical ingenuity and built many useful pieces of machinery and finally airplanes which they all learned to fly. Soon after the new home was built, the F.M. Lamb Canning Company located a factory in Palestine. They took a picture of the Rousch homestead and placed it on the wrappers of the tomato cans calling the product "Country Home Tomatoes".

Mr. Rousch was married to Selena Newlin at her home near Porterville by Rev. M.V. Hathaway on February 10, 1888. She was the daughter of Elias and Elizabeth Holmes Newlin of Hutsonville, of English and Welsh descent. There were brothers in her family; namely Usher of California, Sherman and Linder of Hutsonville, all deceased. Mrs. Rousch attended Lone Elm School west of Hutsonville and spent a year at Merom College.

A month after their marriage they moved into their first home, a three room house on the Hussong place which was located a short distance north of the present N.F. Goodwin farm on LaMotte Prairie and lived there two years, then they purchased a 200 acres farm 1-1/2 miles west of Palestine, moving to it on Christmas Day, living in a log house for about 2-1/2 years. In the meantime they were building the large farm home. Mr. Rousch sawed his own house pattern for the home. The front yard had to be cleared of the trees and underbrush. New shrubbery and trees had to be planted in later years. They saw many improvements and changes in that community. Route 33 that passes directly in front of that home was at one time an almost impassable dirt road, is now a new pavement and blacktop road and in later years they added several more acres to their farm. Their Golden Wedding Anniversary was celebrated on February 10, 1938. Mr. Rousch passes away December 30, 1941, lacking 8 days of being 80 years of age.

They were the parents of seven children, four daughters and tree sons, namely: Mrs. Elaine (Elsie) Phipps (deceased), who lived on a part of the home place; Usher, who met his death on a mountain side near Suina, Nicaragua, Central America on April 4, 1941; Mrs. William (Minnie) Gillespie, who spent many years in the teaching profession, at the time of her death March 8, 1938, having nearly completed her Doctor of Philosophy Degree; Charles, who met death January 21, 1932 near Rockford, Ill. while piloting a mail plane; Berl (aviator) who passed away December 12, 1939. His death came from complications that resulted from an airplane accident on Aug. 12, 1929; Mrs. Frank G. Mefford, former piano teacher, now living on the home place, in a newly built modern home with her husband and daughter Cheryl and Mrs. L.C. (Frances) Guy. Three grandchildren preceded Mr. and Mrs. Rousch in death, namely: Russell, Isabelle and William Robert Rousch. Two grandchildren survive -- Marilyn Wolfe and Cheryl Arlene Mefford.

Mr. and Mrs. Rousch lived a long life and saw many changes take place thru out the years. Although Mrs. Rousch's health was never the best all her life, she out lived most of her family. On the farm, electricity had never been available only with their own light plant. Thru the continued efforts of her son-in-law and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Mefford, Mrs. Rousch was able to realize the use of modern electricity in 1950 which was only a short time before her death January 3, 1954 at the age of 86 years.

In 1946 at the advanced age of 79 Mrs. Rousch was highly honored when she was chosen "Honorary Mother of the Flying Farmers of Prairie Farmerland" which included the entire middle west. The National Farm Magazine sent their plane for her where they flew Mrs. Rousch to Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana where she was the center of the day long elaborate ceremonies.

The parents saw their three sons Usher, Charles and Berl develop many mechanical experiments and working with planes at the old family Homestead that has been a great beginning for aviation. The three local farm boys made no pretension of being Wrights or Curtisses, yet had it not been for students and flyers like the Rousch's, the great developers of airplanes would not have brought these machines to their present high order of dependability. Personal risks by our local pioneers were greater than those of famous experimenters in large factories. The Rousches did not have money or plant facilities with which to acquire helps they desired and their machines included many of their own improvisions.

To test their theories they had no employers to call for the risk of life, so they flew the job themselves knowing well what the penalty might be if their reasoning proved erroneous.

In 1909 aviation schools were unknown and information about airplanes was very hard to get. In building an airplane at that time Usher had to rely largely upon his own mechanical sense and invention. Power would be furnished by a two cylinder motor. Most of the materials were obtained where ever he could get them in the community.

Usher was a boy of 18 when he displayed a visibly air-minded inclination and applied his natural mechanical skill to construction of a crude mechanism with which he gave this locality its first demonstration of what was then called "flying".

Naturally a large crowd was on hand to see the strange creation one Sunday afternoon and to see if it really could fly. The crowd received a thrilling surprise. Usher's first ship was not capable of greatly sustained flight but it took off and remained aloft long enough to prove he was on the right track. It had a speed of 60 miles per hour causing some people to shake their heads and say such speed should be too great for safety.

Usher needed money and at that time airplanes is most localities were curiosities. He therefore took his ship from place to place for exhibition. At one of the Chautauquas at Merom, Indiana, it proved a great attraction, many people attending the Chautauqua, especially to see the airplane. Usher went to California and worked as an automotive mechanic. Then he took flying lessons from the well known Earl Daugherty.

During Usher's absence the Rousch farm continued to be a proving ground for airplane experiments by Charles and Berl. They had built two successful biplanes. An accident August 12, 1929 made Berl a cripple for life. With both legs broken and permanently crippled, much time was spent in a wheel chair. He refused to be stopped at mechanical work so he continued the operation of the Rousch Brothers Machine and Battery Shop in Robinson for several years. He was known as a crippled genius and for his unfailing good humor. He was 39 years of age at the time of his death. He was preceded in death by a son and daughter and his wife departed this life five years after his death.

Charles was too highly recognized for his vast knowledge of electricity and mechanical ability. During his early life he worked in the Buick Garage at Robinson and later at the Hawkins Garage in Palestine. The call of aviation soon became strong so in later life he flew the mail for the Robertson Airlines of St. Louis and later the Midwest Airlines from Chicago. This was the Company that he was with at the time of his tragic death due to motor trouble, which occurred on January 21, 1932 at the age of 35 years. He was survived by his wife. Through Charles' rapidly developing acquaintance in aviation circles, Usher obtained his first job as a regular commercial pilot flying from Evansville, Ind. to Atlanta, Ga. carrying mail and express. After several years he joined the American Airlines and flew both passengers and mail from Chicago to Newark, N.J.

Usher's first trip to Central America was made in 1939 ferrying a Ford tri-motor from Brownsville, Texas to San Jose, Costa Rica. Here he entered the Aerovias, a large airline company, and confined his flying to Costa Rica. Coming back to the United States he was personal pilot for a time for two noted business leaders, C.R. Walgreen, of the Walgreen Drug Store system, and R.G. LeTourneau, head of a large equipment business bearing his name. Later Usher returned to Aerovias in Central America. This company was taken over by the T.A.C.A. organization and he was flying for them when he met death in the Nicaraguan jungle due to bad weather conditions. It was the Company's plan to promote him to an executive position but he died a month before without knowledge of such arrangements.

Charles and Berl stood high in their profession. Usher was one of the organizers of the Airlines Pilots Association and was elected to its Treasureship for two terms. His flying had been very extensive. Besides unrecorded flying, log books credit him with more than 15,000 hours of flying time and approximately two million miles. He was 49 years of age at the time of his death. Usher was preceded in death by a son, Russell. Usher and Charles and Berl Rousch were familiarly known as the "Flying Rousches", will long be remembered as worthy, colorful figures in local history.