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Articles & Local History > 2010 - Tampico Cemetery Walk

by Denise McLoughlin


The Tampico Area Historical Society in tandem with the Tampico American Legion, Post 574 sponsored their annual Memorial Day Cemetery Walk. The event is usually held in the Tampico Memorial and St. Mary’s Catholic cemeteries at the grave sites of those being honored that day. However, the weather was not accommodating so everyone gathered in the Community Building. Outside of the Community Building, the Tampico American Legion presented a memorial service with prayer, gun salute and ended with Taps.

Meeting indoors certainly did nothing to detract from the wonderful presentations provided by Dr. Sharon Callaghan, Prof. Gene Wright and James and Rhonda (Renner) Reese.

Dr. Callaghan, who is a distant relative of the Egan family, gave an historic presentation of the Michael Egan families, incorporating the Irish history that brought them to this country. He never forgot his humble beginnings and was very generous to St. Mary’s church. The church has a beautiful stained glass window donated by Mr. Egan. There were Egan’s a plenty attending the walk. One family member brought a hand-painted cookie jar passed down through the generations.  The Egan’s are interred in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

Prof. Gene Wright told of the Charles Darby, Sr. and his sons. All of Mr. Darby’s sons were veterans of WWI, and some remembered patronizing their various businesses in town. The Darby’s had a tailor shop, barber shop, and even a hardware store for a while. “Hub” was also the postmaster at one time. The cemetery walk would not be complete without one or two of Gene’s anecdotal stories, endearing us to the family even more. His stories always include props. This year’s tale included a shave at the barber shop, a dog and the loss of an ear. The Darby’s are interred in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

The “walk” always ends in the Tampico Memorial Cemetery and this year Tampico was fortunate enough to have a descendant of two special people of Tampico and  Hahnaman Twp. Rhonda Renner Reese gave an exceptional account of her great great grandmother, Ellen (nee: Cronin) Welch. Mrs. Welch also came here from Ireland, moved to Tampico in 1872 and was the first family to travel over the newly built railroad into Tampico. Rhonda’s husband, Jim, told of another prominent ancestor of his wife, John R. Renner. John was the son of William Renner, who founded the village of Deer Grove, IL. He was a Civil War Veteran and a survivor of the Andersonville Confederate Prison. He was also a landowner and Commissioner of Hahnaman Township. Both Jim and Rhonda created a very compelling visual presentation with their period costumes. The program ended in songs, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

TAMPICO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - MUSEUM - FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY/RESEARCH CENTER  119 Main St., P. O. Box 154,  Tampico, IL  61283   www.tampicohistoricalsociety.com   tampicoareahistory@gmail.com  We are an all-volunteer organization so your donations are always appreciated!  Sign up to receive our e-newsletter. Thank you!  Visit us on FACEBOOK.