Born in Hornsby IL. Father got start in farming by renting 80 acres of land from half-sister's preacher husband. Hornsby was close to coal mine that employs many men (~100?). Most relatives worked in mine.
Mine was worked for 5 years until shaft was too far for mules to haul coal. Relates use of mules/donkeys/burros to haul coal out of mine.
Dad never worked in mine, but many relatives did. Hornsby was originally called Clyde. Relates story of building rail line & naming of post office. Name changed in 1880's.
Land around Hornsby is good farmland but it is subject to mine subsidence.
Bert's father born in Bunker Hill. Mother born in Iowa. Married in grandfather Aikman's home because grandmother was dying & wanted them married quickly. Bert relates attempt to get his birth certificate.
Bert recalls leaving home & working for his aunt's son at the age of 15.
Father homesteaded near Lone Elm. Recalls grandfather was a great sportsman & hunter. Story about grandfather shooting wild ducks who had eaten father's corn & Bert picking up dead ducks. Moved to Lone Elm area in about 1881.
Recalls great fishing in swamps & lakes near Lone Elm. Could spear fish with a pitchfork & did not need fishing line. Story of grandfather stepping on catfish spine.
Father homesteaded near Lone Elm. Later sold the property in about 1881 when father was getting ready to move family to TX.
Father had rheumatic fever [really malaria?] due to living near swamps. Dr. gave father quinine for fever. Then went to TX & this helped father's health.