Looking Back at Milan’s History ~ through the lens of the Milan Community Association Newsletter started in November 1968…
Local author Bonnie Wood, editor of Stone By Stone and creator of the Burton Coon blog, writes “Reader’s Notes” and “More About History” to supplement the original MCA Newsletters.
Fifty years ago in November 1968, when Chairman Carl Sardaro drafted his From The Chairman column in the first volume of the Milan Community Association Newsletter, he may not have anticipated the continuing significance of the Association’s “aim of improving our township and making it a better place in which to live”. By focusing on the needs and interests of the community, the Newsletter provides a glimpse back into the daily lives of our citizens. Not only does this lens focus on the late 1960s and early 1970s but also further back to the Milan of our ancestors.
In our mission to keep local history alive, we are posting each volume of the Milan Community Association Newsletter in its entirety. Highlights include the mention of the names of friends and families in the community as well as contributions from local sketch artist Oswald Stippa and author and historical researcher Barbara Thompson.
Milan Community Association Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 1 November 1968
CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS PLACE?
Local artist, Oswald Stippa, Academy Hill Road, has contributed this sketch of a Milan landmark. How many residents recognize it?
See HISTORICAL QUIZ below the Newsletter for the answer.
After glancing through Carl Sardaro’s From the Chairman letter and looking for familiar names on the list of the original members, officers, and Board of Directors on the last page and in the reports from the Town Board and School Board, I discovered a reminder of just one of the many social activities held and continue to be held in the Milan area.
Notice: The Jackson Corners Vigilante Society held their annual dinner Saturday, November 2, 1968. No horse thefts were reported.
HISTORICAL QUIZ The sketch on page one shows all that remains of the Shookville Church. It was built in 1834 by Jacob and Peter Shook. Clark and Donnelly were the first circuit ministers. Altered in 1859-1860 when the pulpit was moved from the south to the north end of the church, it originally had a steeple which was damaged by wind and taken down. The last service was held in 1910. Peter Shook, one of the founders is buried here and in the northeast corner, surrounded by an old iron fence, is the Coon family burial ground. by Webster Coon
More About History~
Shookville Church on Shookville Road remains a Milan landmark. For photos, Burton Coon’s history of the church, and additional details see Shookville Church on our local churches page.
In Stone By Stone, I reminisced in the Foreword and later included Burton Coon’s paraphrasing of his father William Coon’s heart-wrenching diary entry:
As I walked from the Shookville Methodist Church along the stone wall erected from the surrounding fields, I paused to reflect on how this wall stood as a testament to my ancestors’ tenacity. As I stood beside it, I found a place to contemplate how the land might have appeared before any inhabitants. I imagined how my ancestors, descendants of Palatine immigrants, first stood here on soil that seemingly only grew rocks. Yet, they began by moving one stone. Stone by stone, these mighty souls persevered. Stone by stone, they overcame each burden. Stone by stone, they cleared the land. Stone by stone, they built a farm and a family.
The next year (1865), in September, diptheria invaded this quiet hamlet. The little daughter of Philip and Charlotte Coopernail was taken with it. She was about five years old and a great favorite with my father’s daughter, Jemima, who went down to see her. There was no quarantine in those days and disease must have been of a malignant type, for they both died, one on the 4th and the other on the 7th of September.
And they are buried inside the iron fence in the old Shookville cemetery, the little one at the feet of the older one. So they are together there in death. At the top of the little one’s stone is the figure of a broken rosebud, and underneath her name and age are the words: “Go with me.” Her friend went…