Librarian Christine Haney said the stones in the memorial garden
honored historical society members who had memorials dedicated to
Haney read a dedication written by Knapp/Chestnut/Becker Historical
Society President Bill Post saying, "today, December 4, 2016, we
dedicate these stones in memory of five faithful members of the
Knapp/Chestnut/Becker Historical Society in Middletown, Illinois,
who gave many hours of labor and money gifts to see this
library/museum become a reality."
She said Winifred Coningham Golden, Joyce Skelton, and Ed Tibbs, had
died within a month of one another in 2015.
Haney shared what each one had done for the community.
Winifred Coningham Golden, who died May 25, 2015 was a Middletown
native. She had a dream for a library in Middletown for the young
people to utilize in their studies at school, and also for the
community to have access to reading for their enjoyment.
The library is housed in the oldest brick building in Logan County,
which dated back to around 1840 and was first owned by Moses Knapp,
then Ben Chestnut, and Tom Becker. From these three men's last names
came the Knapp/Chestnut/Becker Historical Society and Knapp
Golden purchased the building in 1991 from Tom Becker. The building
had not been in use for many years and was in a "wrecking ball
state, but Golden saw fit to rescue and refurbish it, as she was set
on saving buildings for historic preservation.
Joyce Skelton, who died June 15, 2015, was a library volunteer.
Skelton worked faithfully and diligently with her volunteer services
on Thursday afternoons by having the library open the public. She
was also a town historian and genealogical research person and
helped with many town fundraisers. Skelton served as a trustee and
held offices in both the treasurer and secretary positions. She was
the secretary at the time of her passing and had worked on many
fundraisers, bake sales, turkey dinners, yard sales, and ice cream
socials in the park.
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Ed Tibbs, who died September 24, 2015, served the project by hauling
bricks from the former Cherry Grove School in Mason County, which
was being torn down. The bricks were offered to help repair the old
building, and ironically, the school was from the same era as this
building. Tibbs made many trips between Mason County and Middletown
with the bricks which were scraped and cleaned, then stacked for
placement in the building. The bricks were used to repair the large
opening on the west end and also for an addition, which houses a
kitchen, two restrooms and space for storage.
Tibbs served as a trustee and as the first treasurer of the organization.
Helen Cofer Smith, who died in 2008 was a contributor of both time and money in
seeing the building become a reality. Smith served as a trustee and helped with
fundraisers, bake sales, turkey dinners, and making quilts to be raffled. She is
remembered for her quilting, pies baked and she donated for many causes, the
bake sales, turkey dinners, and ice cream socials in the park.
Jackie Sullivan, who died July 9, 2016, was one of the first volunteers and
trustees. Sullivan served as the first secretary of the organization, a position
she held for many years. She also served as one of the first workers scraping
and cleaning the bricks from Mason County, which included many hours of hard
work and labor. Sullivan helped with many fundraisers, bake sales, turkey
dinners, and ice cream socials.
The town is thankful for the hard work of those who helped restore the building
and make the library and museum a reality. The stones are a memorial to them.