Monday, October 25, 2010

Ferne Clyffe Dedication Plaque to Emma Rebman in 1974

I am continuing to go through papers and think upon Martin family history. I could barely read this 1974 manuscript, so decided to retype it. Ferne Clyffe was aways very important to our family not only because my parents and two siblings lived there one summer but also because it lay beside land my parents owned.In fact, Mom and Dad sold the enormous rock called "Boat Rock" to Miss Rebman. During the 1920s, Miss Rebman operated the park for the public for a small admittance fee. She later moved to Vienna, and I met her once when I went there with Mother. I have one fading memory of her room where we visited--crowded with papers. I loved it then, and claim it is her influence that makes me so addicted to papers today. I remember after she left the park that it became grown over and almost deserted during my childhood except for the one-room house where Alf Girtman lived. Miss Rebman insisted on allowing him to continue living there after the state bought the park. Once when Daddy was plowing on his nearby ground and I was hanging out with him that day, Daddy took me over there for a wonderful drink at one of the springs built into the rock cliff. Those springs are not available for families to fill their Thermoses with today. Our family was very happy when it became a state park in around 1950. The car anecdote below was often told by my mother, and she gave a detailed description to Fran Grabow when she drove our gang down there in 1951. Fran knew to put the car into low gear and go slow--and she said she was grateful for Mother's warning.

Here is what I just finished typing:

Copy of talk made by R.C. Martin at the dedication of a plaque to Miss Emma Rebman at Ferne Clyffe Park on Sept. 14, 1974.

Mr. President, Members of the Historical Society and Friends.

I appreciate this lovely tribute to Miss Rebman, I am sorry she does not know that it has been done. Maybe she does know. I want to thank President Bradley, Mr. Ralph Zech, the Historical Society, and Don Cole, Division of State Parks of Illinois for making this possible.

Miss Rebman had many outstanding traits of Character. I’ll just discuss two of them.

Many years ago we had the good fortune to share the old Club House which was then Miss Rebman’s home with her. It was a pleasant and happy experience.

The Club House had a high porch on the east side, many feet off the ground. The house was divided by a corridor running east and west. We lived in rooms north of this corridor.

One of the traits of character Miss Rebman displayed was courage. She demonstrated this quality many times. My wife had only recently learned to drive. She said anybody could teach a woman to drive better than her husband, I had forgotten to tell her how to drive down steep inclines. The old entrance was still a dirt road, She, with Miss Rebman at her side, started down the hill. She not only put on the brakes but threw the car into neutral. Of course the brakes didn’t hold, and the car raced down-grade. They managed to make the first turn, and away they rushed until the grade started up and slowed the car. Miss Rebman sat quietly and never spoke until the ordeal was over. She was completely cool and collected and continued to ride the remainder of the way in the car.

As County Superintendent she visited some 50 or 60 schools annually. The mode of travel then was by horse and buggy. One of these schools buildings was off the public road some distance. The teacher or one of the larger boys usually met and guided her to the school.

Another one of her traits of character was her love of nature. She loved the small animals in the park, grass, flowers, ferns and trees. In the hunting season she was always disturbed when she heard guns firing. She would often go out on the porch and call out, “Quit killing my squirrels.” She was partially repaid by an increase in their number. They were frequently seen near the house, and walks everywhere were made pleasant by their presence.

She wanted very much for the state to make Ferne Clyffe a state park. She worked long and patiently to this end. It was not just to help her sell the park.

I personally know she was offered the same price by individuals as she was offered by the State. However, she turned down this offer down because she wanted it to become a state park.

[This talk was on a typewritten sheet in R. Clyde Martin’s papers, which my mother saved. I suspect there was at least a closing paragraph on a second sheet, but only this much was saved.]

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