The Wabash County Museum at 320 N. Market Street in Mt. Carmel, IL has received a Community Grant from Walmart, through the Princeton, IN store to use to purchase electronic equipment for the coming exhibit titled “Where Archeology Meets History: Archeological Discoveries at the 19th Century Hallock-Shearer Farmstead in Wabash County, Illinois”. Recently Claudia Dant, President of the Wabash County Museum Board, met with JaDon Payne, manager of the Princeton, IN Walmart store to accept the check, say thank you and discuss the use of the funds.
Exhibit preparations are being made at this time with the intent of a fall opening. Featured in the exhibit are some of the thousands of archeological artifacts, including the very large, heavy mill stone found on the farm. The Hallock family came from New Jersey to Bald Hill Prairie, in central Wabash County in 1838, to manufacture castor oil. The castor beans were purchased from local farmers, crushed using the mill stone turned by a horse, then processed and bottled on the farm with a Hallock paper label. A daybook, used to record transactions, mentions the farmers and the amount of beans purchased from each one. The daybook will also be in the exhibit.
Later the family turned to other locally produced crops to make a living; like apples, cider, vinegar and hay compressed into very large bales. A Mormon hay press was used to make hay bales (weighing about 250 lbs.) which were shipped down river by flatboat and later by steam ship to sell to the U.S. Army. The Army was also a large consumer of vinegar. This entrepreneurial family was unique and talented.
The story will be told through exhibit panels using the words of Mary Hallock Shearer, born on the farm, from the journal which she kept. Mary had a talent for describing and using details useful for the historian. Her journal was published in 1967 by her grand-daughter Clara Pixley. In addition to artifacts and exhibit panels, a television will play two videos helping to explain the Hallocks trip from New Jersey and the hay press. The Walmart Community Grant was used to purchase the electronic equipment.
A giant thank you to the Princeton Walmart Store and JaDon Payne.