9 Dec 1970, Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Madison County, Illinois


Miss Nellie Jones, the first president of the Alton Chapter, Business and Professional Women’s Club, died at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday at her home at 706 Royal St., Alton. She was 86 years of age.

She accepted a position as stenographer with Sparks Milling Co. in 1901, and retired on June 9, 1945, after 45 years with the company.

Born in Alton, Feb. 14, 1884, and resided in St. Louis over a period of years and attended schools in St. Louis.

She was a member of the Metropolitan United Church of Christ, the White Cross Auxiliary, and a charter member of the Travel Club.

At one time, she served as chairman of the Student Nurse Committee of Alton Memorial Hospital, where she had also served on the board of directors.

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First of all, this is NOT anyone in my family. I simply came across this article, because I was looking for someone in Kansas with the last name Weeks.

I couldn’t help but read it after a heading like that though.  I’ve been to Yellowstone a number of times – with small children.  I have always felt weird, walking along the narrow boardwalks (often without railings), over bubbling water or standing there, watching geysers spew hot water into the air. Nature is so unpredictable.


It’s one of the neatest places on earth, but it could also be a very dangerous one.  The article is pretty graphic, and it must have been a horrific way to die.

This article was from the Topeka Daily Capital, dated September 8, 1905.  I’m assuming that the pathways and safety measures have improved greatly over the past hundred years. If only everyone would follow them.
2015-03-22_0001Death Comes After Fall in Geyser

Miss Weeks, Who Broke Through Crust Near Hot Spring, Yellowstone Park, Succumbs.

Livingson, Mont. Sept. 7 – Death such as was inflicted on the martyrs of old by cruel Roman emperors who ordered Christians to be boiled alive, was the fate of Miss Fannie A. Weeks of Washington, who died here today as the result of falling into a hot spring in the Yellowstone National park.

Miss Weeks, with a party of other eastern tourists, was watching a geyser in action, and as the water spouted high into the air she stepped back to avoid the scalding spray.  The woman weighed 200 pounds and her weight caused her to break through a thin crust of earth which covered the hot spring.

Into the boiling water she sank up to her waist, and her flesh was slowly  cooked while her friends were trying to rescue her. The crust of earth broke about her, and it was some time before she could be reached. Meanwhile she stood, screaming with pain, in the boiling water until she became unconscious.

Finally Miss Weeks was dragged from the spring and hurried to the hospital here, where effort was made to save her life, but after two days of intense suffering she succumbed.

Miss Weeks, who was 50 years old,  was a clerk in the Treasury department in Washington.

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Virginia Cossaboon was my husband’s great aunt. I found this article, titled “Women of Achievement” in the 15 March 1936 issue of the Buffalo Courier-Express. She was a kindergarten teacher, and apparently very passionate about education. I love all of the details about her exciting travels and hobbies.  It sounds like she lived a wonderful life.

2014-12-26_0001THELMA VIRGINIA COSSABOON, kindergarten teacher at School No. 52, is president of the Buffalo Kindergarten Council and secretary of the Buffalo Teachers’ Federation. Miss Cossaboon enjoys children and loves her work with them. She brings to it enthusiasm, appreciation of the fine arts, and a wholesome, happy outlook on life that should give youngsters just the right start in school.

“Kindergarten is extremely important.” Miss Cossaboon maintains. “It makes the child independent, reliable, and co-operative, sows the seeds of appreciation of art and music, and above all else, teachers him creative expression.”

Appeal of Children

Miss Cossaboon is the sort of person who finds joy in everything she does, whether it’s playing the organ in her father’s church – the Methodist Church of Marilla – or riding down the Grand Canyon on the back of a mule which she did a few years ago. To her, the spontaneity and enthusiasm of children appeal strongly.

“I am fascinated by their complete freedom from self-consiousness and their unrestrained frankness,” she said.

Born at Alexandria, Va., she has lived in Western New York since childhood. Her father, the Rev. Nicholas Cossaboon, has been a pastor in Lockport, Buffalo, and other Western New York communities, Miss Cossaboon well remembers the donation parties that used to be given for her family. To her, as a child, they were thrilling events, with a trail of chickens, jellies and all sorts of goodies.

She is a graduate of Masten Park High School, the Buffalo State Teachers College, and the University of Buffalo. Since 1926, she has been a teacher of small children, first in the Lockport schools with which she was identified for two years, and subsequently in this city.

“Teachers,” she says, “are often misunderstood because some of them tend to carry over their classroom attitudes into outside activities. The precision, essential in giving clear explanations to pupils, may be applied to dress and manner or the frank criticisms and detailed direction of others may seep into friendship. But this is far less prevalent today than formerly; for teachers are developing more and more varied recreations and channels of expression apart from the classroom, and are making the most of their individuality.”

2014-12-26_0002Directs Church Choir

A musician of ability, Miss Cossaboon has been organist and choir director of the Methodist Church of Marilla for four years and was accompanist for the Crystal Quartet, composed chiefly of Chromatic Club members. Travel is another of her hobbies, and she believes in “seeing American first.” She passed the Christmas vacation in New Orleans, delighting in the hospitality and quaintness of that city. With three friends, she motored to California one summer, taking plenty of time for the trip, and stopping at the Chicago Fair and every art gallery or scenic place that appealed to the group.

Every weekend, she leaves her pleasant apartment at 378 Elmwood Avenue for her parents’ home in Marilla. She is active in such village organizations as the Graduates’ Association, composed of high school and college students completing the Marilla school course.

Music by modern composers ranging from De Bussy to Gerschwin interest her, and she likes to browse through all sorts of books from Don Quixote to contemporary poetry. Lighter diversions, such as dancing, skating, bicycling and golf also claim her leisure hours.

In 1934, Miss Cossaboon attended the convention of the National Association for Childhood Education, and returned to her work positively brimming over with constructive ideas.

She is a member of the Buffalo Women Teachers’ Association and Beta Mu Sigma Sorority.

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15 Apr 1916, Alton Evening Telegraph, Alton, Madison Co., IL

Widow, Formerly Conducted Millinery Store on Belle Street.

Word was received in Alton this morning announcing the death at Evansville, Ind., of B. Blackburn, husband of Mrs. Mollie Thornton Blackburn, formerly of this city. Yesterday Alton relatives received word from Mrs. Blackburn that her husband had suffered a paralytic stroke and was very low. Before Alton relatives were able to leave for Evansville another telegram arrived announcing her death.

Mr. Blackburn is survived by his wife and one son, Philip. One year ago Monday another son was brought to Alton and buried here.

The funeral will take place Thursday afternoon in Evansville and will be attended by Mr. and Mrs. John Ehret and Miss Mollie Thornton, of Alton.

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