The Springfield Herald had a regular series in either 1918 or 1919 called “Persons, Stories, and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.” I am a bit confuse on the year because several of the issues have the year 1918 marked out in pencil with 1919 written in. This occurs in several issues but not all. It is a bit confusing so I think we will just have to go with the flow on this one until I can possibly get some clarification on this issue.
The story is fun at any rate. The episode author is listed as “The Writer”. The January 3, 1918 or 1919 edition of the series was titled “Some More of Old Vilas”. Note the list of stores that were in Vilas in 1889 at the end of the article. The story goes as follows:
In the Vilas Democrat February 7, 1889. We find a few locals of some of Baca’s old-timers worth noticing, running as follows.
Our old friend Fred Willis to be seen on our street the 4 part of the week.
About a 1,000 times since that time Fred could be seen on the streets of Vilas, he being one of the thousands and one who refused to abdicate his little throne, when all the other kings potentates and high muckamucks were getting out.
Fred owns a whole lot of the good earth over east of Vilas during the middle ages of his stay here was worth all the way from $25.00 to $75.00 per quarter section, now worth from $2000 – $5000 a quarter — after being marked down.
Fred during those middle ages made a whole lot of money out of horses and cattle — until the new fellows took up the range. When he took up other ways of making money.
Did you stop at the in Cady and Brothers store and buy that fresh supply of groceries?
The Cadys for years lived over in the West Pretty Prairie country after leaving Vilas and we believe some of them are still in the country.
C. F. Wheeler has started on a Siege of freight from Lamar. C.F. is bs. from the word go.
Has there is a point after the s and not after the b, we have an idea there was an i in between the two letters that didn’t show up.
Wheeler in those old days as we understand got $1.00 a hundred freighting from Lamar down and as he can’t pay out anything except for a cracker once in a while, and sometimes buying a stick of candy for his best girl when old Vilas went down and the stores were gone he went out into the backyard dug up that freight money, started a store of his own, sold goods to everybody in Baca County, a way down into Egypt for the panhandle and from Dan to Beersheba the other way, and today he may be worth $50,000, and he may be worth several times that, as far as any mortal outside of himself knows.
Ed Shield came in from Lamar Sunday Evening with a choice stock of groceries.
Ed Shields may have been the Uncle of Joe Shields, who grew up in Baca county, married Les and Claude Jones sister Mary, and moved a few years ago to California.
Among the advertising firms of Vilas in the Democrat were Ross and Johnson Real Estate Dr. Hanna drug store, Ryan and Campbell Livery Barn, Ed Shield lawyer, J. M. Conway, Blacksmith, Ryan & Crossman ????? & real estate, W. Ferguson stage line, P. G. Boonewits hard ware and general merchandise.
When last we saw of Vilas in those old days it was all ????? except the five houses that had been moved to Boston.
It was the second largest town in the east end, and we believe presented a more striking appearance than any of the others.
Then came the general Roundup of the County Seat business with Springfield the winner of that losing game, with the other dozen towns of the county left out in the outdoors of creation.
It was seventeen years before the writer again saw the once-proud city of Vilas. And what a difference in the morning. All there was left of the fine little city of the old days was C. F Wheeler with his double business building in the center of town and one or two other buildings, the old hotel building and we believe one or two residences and the schoolhouse. With a few remaining unpainted weather-beaten dilapidated houses it certainly presented a forlorn site.
But it was still the second size in the county, for the reason that the dozen of towns of those old days it was just one of the to survive, the county seat being the other one.
Something else next time.
My Observations on this:
- When you see ???? I couldn’t decipher the text in the scan. I hope I get the chance to follow up on the originals and fill in the blank.
- I find it interesting in 1918/1919 they were already calling it Old Boston.
- Below is the Vilas Hotel that was in Vilas in 1889 when the original article was written. It can’t be the hotel mentioned at the end of the 1918 or 1919 article as the hotel in the picture was destroyed by fire September 15, 1904. If they are referencing that as the “old hotel” then it is incorrect. A few of the names mentioned are the same in this post. The picture was taken possibly in March 1887. Some of the people shown are(note the duplicate names): W.B. Ross & Family. Dock Floyd, Charley Spear, D. E. Duptey, Charles Carlile, Dr. Hanna, J.D. Miller, Charles Draper, Charley Spear, Bob Crossman, M.D. Ryan, Joe McIntire, Dock Ryeson, Dock Draper, Stacy Core, Sam Bigler, Ed Ryan, Ed Shields, Marion Evans, A. J. Shaw, Bart Roads & setting on the corner of the porch is Dan Warner and John McCoach playing cards.