Hardin County

Phoebe Irene Oldham

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (Jan. 3, 1935) — Mrs Phoebe Irene Oldham of Cave-in-Rock now 87 years of age on Tuesday January 1935. the anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Phoebe Irene Oldham was celebrated at the home of her son, Fleet Oldham near Cave-in-Rock. Mrs. Oldham was born 1 January 1848 near Herod in Hardin County, but near the Pope County line. Her father was David S. Watkins who was born near Louisville, Kentucky. Her grandather's home was in a fort which was built as a protection for the white settlers against the raids of the Indians. Two older brothers of her father were killed by Indians when eleven and thirteen years of age. After this the grandfather brought the remainder of his family down the Ohio river and established a new home in Hardin County, Illinois. Mrs. Oldham's mother, who before her marriage was Susan Walston, was born and raised in Saline County, Illinois..

Mrs. Oldham was the thrid child in the family, having had four brothers and four sisters. Besides herself there is only one other member of the family living. This is her brother D.W. Watkins, whose home is in Chicago, and who has been superintendent of the Carbolic Acid Gas Plant there for the pst five years.

When she was only three years of age, her parents moved to Elizabethtown and there her girlhood was spent. In 1867, at the age of nineteen she then married Henry Hoewischer who was a Civil War Veteran. After their marriage they lived in Cairo, Illinois for two years. From there they came to Golconda,where they resided for a time, before returning to Elizabethtown, where they again made their home.

To this union were botn three children. They were Harry, who is a foreman of a cotton mill in Tiptonville, Tennessee; Phillip who is in the government employ at Owensboro, Kentucky and a daughter, Maude, who died at the age of five years.

Mr. Hoewischer died in December 1874 leaving the subject of this narrative with three small children. Three years later after his death, the little daughter Maude, above mentioned, died from the effects of burns she received when the family home burned.

On October 10, 1878, Mrs. Hoewischer married a second time. Her second husband was Thomas Oldham, who was also a Veteran of the Civil War. Mr. Oldham was a farmer and continued at that occupation until shortly before his death. They at first made their home at Elizabethtown, but afterwards lived on a farm near there for a time. In 1904, however, they moved to Wayne City, Illinois, where they resided until Mr. Oldham's death in 1911. To this union was born one son, C. Fleetwood Oldham. His home was also in Wayne City. The mother, for the second time, became a widow, made her home with him and his family. They all remained in Wayne City until 1914 when the family returned to their native county and made their home on the farm a short distance east of Cave-in-Rock where they now live.

There are ten grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren connected with the Hoewischer family, whose homes are in various places in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

The only grandlchild of the Oldham family is Mrs Ted Frayser who with her husband and their little son, Jimmie, also makes their home on the farm with the grandmother and parents. In her youth Mrs. Oldham united with the General Baptist Church at Mt. Zion in this county. When she moved to Wayn County, she transferred her membership to the Methodist church there. It remained there until the 25th of November 1934, when she was received into the Christian Church here, where her daughter-in-law Mrs Fleet Oldham belongs.

During her earlier years, when the Rebecca Lodge was organied here, Mrs. Oldham was a very active member and took a leading part in the activities of the order, having passed through all the chairs before moving to Wayne City. At the time of her first atttendance at the lodge at that place, she was honored by being requested to fill the chair of Post Grand during an initiation ceremony of several new members.

Mrs. Oldham has an excellent memory. The family records which she left in her care by her mother were lost in the fire which destroyed the home some years ago. All of the data for this sketch were furnished by her from memory. Her health has been good and she tells us she has not found it necessary to call a physician for twenty years except once when a cow stepped on one of her feet, crushing the bones of the foot and ankle. On account of this accident she has not been so active of late years. Her sight and hearing are somewhat impaired, but she is still able to do many things in spite of these handicaps. We are sure that the many friends of this fine old lady who cames of some of the best pioneer stock of this county, joins us in wishing her many more happy birthdays.

Thanks to Wanda H. Reed for contributing this article to the Hardin County ILGenWeb site. The Hardin County Independent first published this article on January 3, 1935.

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