Flood of 1918

cummings house

The Roscoe, IL homesite of the Roy Cummings family, directly north of the bridge on the east side of Main Street, had a steep bank and several feet of level land next to the creek, which flooded to more than twice its normal size in February 1918.

This post is taken from information in the book, Roscoe by Dorothy Hunter with Doris Hunter Tropp, published in 2013 by Arcadia Publishing


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Son-in-law killed by lightning

Albert & Lucy Cummings‘ son-in-law, James Arthur Rhodes, was struck and killed by lightning in the presence of his family.  James was married to Albert’s daughter Ella for four years before his death.

James and Ella were married December 28, 1888.  He was a successful farmer and they lived three or four miles north of Roscoe, Illinois.  He was listed as a Republican and a Methodist.  He died August 9, 1892.

Book reference #1 with Hathi Trust (page 31):  Genealogy, history and traditions of Thomas Rhodes

Book reference #2 at Library of Congress:  Genealogy, history and traditions of Thomas Rhodes; Page 32

Click here for more about Albert & Lucy Cummings.

Have you any old rubber? June 1942

June 19, 1942

My dear Norman,

Dad is busy getting some business papers ready for mailing so says for me to write for him too. The weather is delightful but we have had a great deal of cold rainy weather. The farmers have had a hard time getting crops in due to weather and wet ground. By the way, the wet ground has been just what those poppies want. They stand a foot high and just loaded with buds. Are they some choice kind as the common red ones?

All we hear now is “have you any old rubber?,” if so take it to your nearest gas station and he will give you one cent a pound. We don’t seem to have any. We cleaned the basement too thoroughly last fall to find much of that kind of stuff.

Hilda L., Betty and Densel and Jean took a trip to Mont(?) to visit Shirley and her Aunt (Hilda’s sister) she lives with. They were gone a little over a week.

Dad says tell you that he decided to get that old lawn mower out of the way, so we took it to that man in Love’s Park to have him look it over to see if it was worth fixing, so for a dollar and a half we have a new mower. Newt used it yesterday, says it works fine.

Had a letter from Genevieve in which she mentioned that you were having trouble with your feet. What about it? Tell us what is the matter. Don Fry isn’t home yet. Was pretty sick. Gordon is stil working there but may be called at any time.

Grandpa will spend Sunday with us. Grandma is going to a picnic-dinner down at Mr. Blaksley’s cottage and he won’t go. She wants me to go and I feel the way Grandpa does, no.

Dad and I never thought about air-mail when we sent money before, hope it won’t be necessary to send again. Hope you will get paid. Doesn’t seem right to go so long without a red cent.

Strawberries have been a wonderful crop around here. But are almost gone. We wondered if you had them. You never mention what kind of meals you get. But guess food must be good and wholesome. Perhaps not like home cooking.

Hope you like your new quarters.

We will be looking for the pictures you mentioned and I will pack and send ?????. I will ask Harry E. to save heavy corrugated paper.

Almost time to mail letters so will sign off.

Lovingly, Mother.

For more posts, click their names:  Elsie or Roy

1942-06-19 letter
1942-06-19 letter 2
1942-06-19 letter 3

1942-06-19 letter 4

May 9, 1939 May’s letter to her daughter

Life appears to be going quite nicely for May.  Only the Lord knows how long each of us has on this earth.  This is one of three letters I have from May that were written just weeks before she died on May 18, 1939.

To:  Dorothy Powell
From:  May Pollock Powell (her mother)

Dorothy Powell about 1935

Dated:  May 9, 1939

My  Dear Dorothy,

I’m a day late with your letter but Daddy had a school board meeting here last night.  We have had such nice weather the last week.  We had rain Sun. night and nearly all day Mon.  It did lots of good, I have wanted to go to Beloit to get me some shoes and a hat and some curtains for the dining room.  Daddy said he could go Mon. afternoon because it was raining so I went.  He also had time to take down the storm windows and put up the screens.

It is nice today.  The plum trees have been full of blossoms.  The apple trees are out this week.  They sprayed the trees last week.  The baby iris is out also the Japanese quince and flowering almond.

The garden looks nice.  I put the gladiolas out today and some flower seeds.  Daddy has been plowing the pieces back of the barn today.  He is going to hire some of his planting done.

Alice and the reading circle had a picnic tonight in Rockton.  She came home early from school and went with Lois Musselman and Evelyn Wood.  She furnished a salad and dessert that was easy to fix.  Tomorrow her school will eat dinner in our woods.  She is invited to a picnic of Shirland schools Thurs. night.  She will only have three weeks after this week.

Elaine and Josie had a very nice social Sat. Eve.  We went to the supper at 7 o’clock.  They had baked ham.  It was so good.  They gave a very good program.  The school band was very good.  They had a good leader.  There were all little tots.

We went to church Sunday.  We had 60 in S. S.

I hope Jr. can come home next Sun.  Mrs. Cummings thought they might.  Would I love to see my little grand daughter.

I congratulate you on winning first place with your annual.  That must have made you feel good.  Wasn’t it nice you got your contract for next year too.  Alice got hers last night.  They are going to give her $90.  She wants to stay here.  George meets in the school house Fri. night.  No one wanted to entertain.  The ladies are cleaning house.  Leslie is so happy thinking of his trip.  I hope it will be very pleasant for you all.  Uncle Sam didn’t come for the Shirland Home Coming.  He wrote that he was so busy now.  Ruth had her tonsils out and was feeling better.  Uncle Park and Aunt Dell called Sun.  She has her cleaning all done but her kitchen.  Hazel and Harold live a mile from them mow.

Well my dear, good night.  Hope you are fine.  How is your music?  Heaps of love,


May 1, 1939 May Powell’s letter to her daughter

This is one of three letters I have from May that were written just weeks before she died on May 18, 1939.

To: Dorothy Powell

From: May Pollock Powell (her mother)

Dated: May 1, 1939

My Dear Dorothy:

This has been a fine day- Daddy and I made the best of it.  We have all our early garden made.  We put in early potatoes and green corn this afternoon.  We are so tired tonight.  Daddy is trying to get some help with cleaning the barn yard.  He thinks Frank Boland(?) might come tomorrow.  He was in Rockford helping his brother today but expects to come home tonight.  I hope he does come.

Daddy has his seeding all done.  The oats are coming up fine.  He will be anxious to get his corn in now.

We staid (sic) home all day yesterday and rested.  We didn’t have a caller all day long.  We had callers Sat. Eve.  Norman took a moving picture of our new baby1 last week when he went after Mrs. Cummings.  She staid there a week.  They came out to show it to us.  It was so sweet.  Genevieve and her mother were working in the kitchen.  G. picked up the baby and was trying to wake her up.  Then she was giving her a bath.  She looked so bright and happy.  Then she was dressed.

We couldn’t go down last week.  Rain hindered Daddy with his work.  One morning picture was Jr. hanging out the wash.  It was so natural.

We had a nice time at P. T. A. Fri. night.  The district school went off fine.  She will have one more meeting.  Victor Grevas had an operation on his leg in hopes that he can walk on it.  Ernest King hasn’t done very well.  They expect to take him to the hospital.

The school play was good Thursday night.  They have a band concert this week and one next week.  I don’t suppose we will go.  I would like to go to the Shirland Home Coming of the school Sat. Eve.  I got an invitation today.  They expect to have a baked ham supper.  I think Uncle Sam will be there.

How is your work going?  Have they offered you a job for another year?  Did you hear New York fair over radio yesterday?  We heard it over the band hour last night.  Alice said she heard the President as he opened it.  It is a big fair I guess.  It will be a nice place for folks taking a vacation.

Mary Graham called me one day and said Maria and her husband were in Baton Rouge and called on Leslie.  She wrote them about her visit there.  It was nice they called I think.

Did you have a happy birthday?  I must close now.  It’s about my bed time.  I’m going to stat mowing the yard this week.  Hope everything is fine with you.  With love and kisses,


Editorial Note: 1The new baby was Phyllis Mae Powell.

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1955 – The Roy Cummings Are Wed 50 Years

Thirty-eight relatives of the couple gathered for a family dinner at the home of their daughter Mrs. Wilbur Hopkins of Mount Morris, IL.

The man next to Elsie is Harry Bainbridge.  Mean was in the church basement.  The Hopkins lived in the parsonage next to the church.

Note: the announcement lists the wedding year as 1895 which conflicts with their marriage certificate that states 1905.   A 1905 wedding would put the 50th anniversary in 1955 which is most likely given the age of Joann Powell Gove in one of the pictures who was 11 years old at the time.

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Cummings/Steward Wedding newspaper clipping








The marriage of Miss Ida Elsie Steward, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Minard Steward, of 1220 School Street, to Roy B. Cummings of Roscoe, took place last evening at the home of the bride’s parents, in the presence of a large company of friends and relatives.  Invitations to the number of 100 had been issued for the wedding which had its solemnization at 6 o’clock.

The Rev. Frank D. Sheets performed the ceremony in the home being handsomely decorated with asparagus ferns and flowers.  In the parlors and throughout the house the green and white idea prevailed to the strains of Mendelssohn’s wedding march rendered on the piano by Mrs. E. Lowe, the bridal party took their place beneath a bell, done in ferns and holding a shower of rose petals.  Draped from the bell were fourteen white ribbons and at the end of each was a member of the Ab Bea club of which the bride and her sister, Miss Delphine, are members.  At the close of the ceremoney (sic) a tightening of the ribbons loosened the rose leaves which showered the bride.  Misses Bertha Cummings and Delphine Steward, sisters of the bridal couple, were the only attendants.  The parlor of the Steward home had been prettily arranged for the wedding, a bank of palms and Easter lilies being arranged in front of the window and before this stood during the ceremony.  Asparagus fern had been used in profusion in available places about the room.

The bride was attired in a gown of white silk Persian lawn and carried a shower boquet (sic) of bride roses.  Her attendants were attired in white and carried pink roses.

The dining room, where a coallation (sic) was served after the ceremony, was prettily arranged, the same color scheme of green and white being employed.

Mr. and Mrs. Cummings will go to housekeeping at once in the home they have prepared at Roscoe and after May 20 will be at home to friends. Mr. Cummings is with the American Insurance company in that place.  His bride of last evening has been a resident of Rockford for about a year, the family staying here from the farm in _____________.