• Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on Different Tombstones

    When we went to the cemetery, we saw a lot of different tombstones. William Porter Pierson’s tombstone is a woman pointing up. Gish’s gravestone is a is a tree trunk. W. A. Rankin has a very big block as a tombstone. Even 3 or 4 tombstones are above ground.

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on Last week

    Last week we went to the cemetery. We went because we were going to mark the different gravestones on the GPS to put them on the map. I ended up getting 12 or 13.

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on Finishing last years project

    This is the third article in this series.  As we mentioned in the last article based on their work some of the members of the IW Map Master would be invited to participate in a program/research study.  This program would take place in the Graduate Department of the Study of Library and Informational Sciences at University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana.

                    Three youth along with Mrs. Rahn participated in the program on Saturday June 28.  This group of youth was some of the youngest present as most of the others were high school age.  They felt a little intimidated at first but then jumped right in and had a great time. 

                    The focus of this program was introducing the youth to community journalism using modern technology.  They were divided up into groups and each group was responsible for doing a project about a resource in the community.  Each group was assigned where they would visit.  They had several goals that needed to accomplish that day in order to be successful.  Our group was chosen to visit the new Champaign Public Library and discover and explain to the community what this resource had to the community.

                    Each group was given a handheld GPS unit and an I-Flip video camera to assist with this project.  The group had to do video taped interviews and record their GPS coordinates.  The finished project was to consist of an edited video downloaded to You Tube and a Google map both linked to each other.  So that when someone clicked on the map they could view the videos about the location that the youth created.  Or they could pull up the video on You Tube and be connected to the Google map.

                    The youth learned many new skills that day in podcasting and recording audio voice over’s, and well as using software to edit their videos and set them to music.  They allow learned how to use the components of Google Maps.  These 3 youth were so excited and full of ideas after the program they began making plans for next year.  However if you ask them, the best part was that the group got to take home their I Flip video camera.  Be sure to stay tuned to more exciting adventures in technology with this group of youth.  If you would like more information on how to become a part of this group please call Kimberly at the Ford-Iroquois Extension office at 815-268-4051

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on Cemetery Symbolism

    Cemetery symbolism comes in many shape and forms, much like the actual gravestones. In its simplest form you can tell how prominent a citzen is (or was) by the size of the gravestone. Also, engravings like broken chains symbolize a life cut short.  Web sites like http://www.graveaddiction.com/symbol.html are great places to visit if you are interested by cemetery symbolism. One interesting tombstone that we found at the Onarga Cemetery was in the shape of a tree trunk. The name of the person buried there was Emory Gish. According to our reseach on symbolism the tree trunk showed a life cut short. The number of broken branches might symbolize the number of deceased family members buried nearby.

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on Map Masters Showcase Invitation


    You are Invited


    to the


    Iroquois West 4-H Map






    6:00-7:00 pm


    Iroquois West Middle School




    The Map Masters


    will be sharing their GPS/GIS


     mapping project of


    the Onarga Cemetery.



    The IW Map Masters wishes to thank the following for assistance with this project:  Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Muench, Mr. Eggemeyer and IWMS, Kimberly Rahn and U of I Extension office, Nama Raj Budhathoki U of I GSLIS Department, and the Youth Community Informatics program, Onarga Historical Society and the Questors, (specifically Gwen Thomas and Cheryl Rabe).




    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

    United States Department of Agriculture n Local Extension Councils Cooperating

    University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.


    If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Ford-Iroquois Extension at 815/268-4051





    Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on How Map Master Got Started

    This is the first in a series of articles about a small group of extraordinary Iroquois West students.  These brave young men and women embarked on a journey of exploration.  They had no idea what they had signed up to do but as with most kids their age if it had to do with technology they were game.  Let’s start with some background, in the spring of 2007 Kimberly Rahn from University of Illinois Extension and Jill Murphy from IWMS got together and wrote an ESRI grant.  This grant, if awarded would provide them with the use of software license for ESRI Geographical Informational Systems software for one year and an additional year of upgrades once the requirements of the grant were met. 

                    What is GIS you ask?

    A GIS (Geographic Information System) gives you tools to answer questions about a location (geographic information). You can combine layers of information stored in a database that may include addresses, aerial photographs, satellite images, dates, and other numerical values.  A GIS does more than tell you “where,” but can also answer questions like “why” and “what if?” With a GIS, you can explore relationships, trends, and conduct analyses that can be represented as maps.

    GIS can be applied to a variety of topics in the physical and social sciences, as well as mathematics and art/design, providing a great foundation for interdisciplinary projects. Working with GIS helps students develop computer literacy, analytical approaches to problem solving, and communication and presentation skills.

    Our goal was to work together, with the students to produce a community profile: an electronic project containing 10-20 original static maps plus documents totaling 1000-2500 of their own words, showing important aspects of the community. This would require significant research.  

    Mrs. Rahn and Mrs. Murphy were successful and were awarded the grant, now they had to learn how to use the software so they could teach the kids.  So from August 2007-Early Spring 2008 that is what they did.  Next they began planning how to make the requirements of the grant happen.  At this point they brought 6th grade Social Studies teacher Randy Defauw into the picture.  First they invited students to participate in an afterschool project.  They had six brave individuals sign on.  We began meeting the last week of February, afterschool and some Saturday’s.  Member of this group included: Angela Behrends, Halley Cummings, Kristen Culkin, Lindsey Luhrsen, Nathaniel Murphy, Elaina Renehan, & Sawyer Rahn.  Be sure to look for the next article in this series to hear about the exciting things this group accomplished.  They decided to call themselves the IW Map Masters.

  • Uncategorized 13.05.2009 Comments Off on More Background Information

    This is the second article in this series.  Now the IW Map Masters were meeting on a regular basis and working hard.  At this time we also became connected with Nama Raj Budhathoki, a Doctoral student from the University of Illinois, he had a lot of experience in GIS and became our technical support person.  We all learned so much from working with him, not only the kids but us adults as well. 

                We were well on our way to completing our 10-20 community Maps.  From these maps the youth also developed a power point presentation.  They held a GIS day Wednesday May 14, 2008.  The public was invited to this event it was held at 6:30 in the evening at the IW Middle School.  At this GIS day the IW Map Masters had the opportunity to show the people present what they had accomplished.  Nama was also present and he recorded the presentation and posted it on You Tube which you can view at this link, http://www.youtube.com by searching  for Iroquois West Middle School.  Those in attendance were also able to use handheld GPS units and participate in a Scavenger hunt around the school grounds. 

                6 of the 8 youth in the group decided to form an afterschool 4-H club and worked on additional maps that they will be exhibiting at the Iroquois County Fair from July 16-21 at the Fairground in Crescent City.  Their display of the maps they completed for the project will also be on display during the fair. 

    To view their completed project on the ESRI website you can get there from our website at www.extension.uiuc.edu/ford and go the local links tab at the top and click on the IW Map Masters link and follow the instructions.  Otherwise you can go directly to the ESRI website at http://www.esri.com/communityatlas click on (Explore all projects) and then (I agree) and put (Iroquois West) into the box for school name and then click on (perform search).  The IW Map Master project will come up and just click on it.   

                    Throughout this project Nama had been sharing their work with his department on the U of I campus and they were very impressed with what this group of youth had been accomplishing.  He offered a tremendous opportunity to some members of this group, stayed tuned to the next article in this series to hear more about this opportunity. 

  • Uncategorized 08.05.2009 Comments Off on Finalizing the project

    We are almost done with making the map of the cemetery.   I am very proud of all the work the students have done and how they have been problem solvers with each other.  I am also proud that they are patient with the adults when we get into a groove or the technology doesn’t work.  Keep up the good work guys!

  • Uncategorized 07.05.2009 Comments Off on Moses Haynes Messer

    Moses Haynes Messer

     His early employment was on the farm and in his father’s hat shop.  He was a student at New Hampton academy for 2 years and took course in higher mathematics and civil engineering at Yale and Brown University.  During his connection with the city engineer of Boston, he assisted in surveying and constructing railroads in Western PA and MS, and in NH on the line from Bradford to Claremont.  In 1855, he went to Chicago and was employed by IL Central.   He settled in Onarga, IL in October 1855 and has been a promoted and useful citizen, holding numerous offices of public trust. 

    By: Sawyer

  • Uncategorized 06.05.2009 Comments Off on William Porter Pierson

    You can learn more about him by listening to this.


    William Porter Pierson