Born at home, May 8, 1937. Great-grandfathers came to the area between 1850-1860; he lives there today. Patrick Coleman purchased land and started farming north of Shawneetown. Inherited by Lula (grandmother). His father acquired the land and it is now part of what he owns with his brothers. Most family was Irish. "McNally, Coleman, the Irish names." German great-grandfather Scates. Would visit family as a child. Grandparents lived nearby. Most of the family lived between Shawneetown and Pond Settlement ten miles north.
Always had something to do. Mostly inexpensive activities, imagination was key. As teenagers Stephen and his brothers, cousins, and neighbors would ride horses and play cowboys and Indians.
For close visits, bike or walk. For the greater distances, they would drive. Team and buggy was not used very often, but occasionally used for corn cultivating.
Brother Mark fed the hogs, broke corn for the cattle. Milk cows, chickens, "whole gamut." Cultivating corn with a team was Stephen's favorite chore. Picking strawberries was his least favorite.
Would send the cream to Pana, IL where it would be shipped by rail. Beef cow herd.
Stephen's father would rent land in the riverbeds and grow corn in the spring, harvesting with a two-row picker or by hand.
Schoolhouse was within a baseball throw's distance. Thirteen to fifteen students, about ten were brothers and sisters or cousins. Aunts were grade school teachers, except for second grade (Aunt Anna, Aunt Evadeen, Aunt Ruth). If you got in trouble at school, you were in trouble at home.
All brothers were members of Maple Grove 4-H Club. FFA members in high school. Brother Pat went to 4-H Congress in Chicago. Evadeen Coleman led 4-H for 39 years and encouraged the boys to move forward. Projects included livestock, dairy cows, horses, demonstrations; went to the state fair and received blue or red ribbons.