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Christmas in Rockford

In 1854, Gregory and Allen (Crockery) were advertising Christmas and New Year’s gifts: gift and motto cups, ornaments and toys, including children’s tea setts (note spelling), as found in the Rock River Democrat, Dec. 19, 1854. 1855 had a greater listing of advertisements.  Gregory and Allen repeated their ad from 1854. W. C. Harris was listing “Holiday Presents, confectionery, and…Parties supplied on short notice.” Ticknor and Brother (A. O. & D. W.) book sellers, were advertising annuals for Christmas and...

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Thanksgiving Day in Rockford

Some of the earliest accounts of Thanksgiving Day in Rockford begin in 1855. It was suggested that the day be spent in religious observances. In 1862, not only were there several churches with services, but the river was frozen over. The Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette reported that young people (of both sexes) and older people as well were out early in the morning, skating on the Rock River! Continuing into the 1870s, religious observances are the main event of the day, but 1874, there is mention of the turkey as important to the meal. But...

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Veterans’ Day

The end of the fighting of World War I was “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” 1918. This was the armistice. (The actual peace treaty was not signed until June 28, 1919, at Versailles, France.) The first Armistice Day was held November 11, 1919. In Rockford, Mayor Robert Rew had declared the day a half-holiday. The following departments stores closed at noon, so their employees could enjoy the afternoon holiday: Hess, Ashton, Field, Wiese, Brown, Stewart, Deming and Wortham. The members of the East...

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Myty Good Bar

It seems as though the people of Rockford have always had “a sweet tooth.” If you check through the older Rockford city directories, there are a number of confectionary shops, where candy would have been produced onsite. Also, sugar was produced in Rockford at the old Glucose Plant (where Behr is today.) But, have you ever hear of the Myty Good Bar? It was produced here in Rockford, by the Doerr Brothers. “Doerr Bros. will open a candy factory,” proclaimed the old  Rockford Republic, January 23, 1913. Brothers H....

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“We Saved Baseball” — Betty Yahr and the Rockford Peaches

With baseball season coming to an end, we are reminded of one of Rockford’s greatest legacies: the Rockford Peaches. The Peaches were one of fifteen teams in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League that existed from 1943-1954. The Peaches won three league championships and were portrayed in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. Though the team was based in Rockford, members of the team were selected by talent scouts throughout the United States who would choose the best women baseball players for the league. One of those chosen...

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Time Change Coming Up; a Brief History of Daylight Savings Time in Rockford

This years on November 1, 2015, we will change (fall back) from Central Daylight Savings Time to Central Standard Time. Rockford has an interesting history in regard to the time changes. On 26 May 1917, Mayor  Rew had the water works whistle blown at 9:00 p.m., so that everyone in Rockford could move their clocks ahead one hour. The electric trolleys and many of the factories were ready for the change. But not everyone; the daylight savings time lasted for only a few days; the newspaper of 29 May 1917, said “Turn Back Now; Daylight...

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Anson Miller

1 Anson Stowe Miller was born 24 September 1810 in New York State. His brother, Cyrus F. Miller came to Winnebago County in 1839 or 1840, and Anson would have come soon after.  In 1846, Anson S. Miller, from Winnebago County, was elected state senator  from this county, to the Illinois legislature. In that year, he introduced a bill, hoping to repeal the Illinois Black Laws, which required that African-Americans carry a “certificate of freedom,” were not allowed to vote, nor could they appear as witnesses in cournt, unless the...

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