THE REGION OF HORNBACK cemetery, southwest of El Dara, is historic ground. Near this spot, in the pioneer log home of William Hornback, the first white birth in what is now Derry township occurred in 1829, that of William Landrum Hornback, son of Pioneer William. Here also occurred the first white death in the township in 1832, that of James Hopeful Hornback, half-brother of Pioneer William. Here, in William Hornback's house was the first preaching in the township in 1829 and here, at the southeast corner of the old cemetery, stood the first school house, a rude log structure, where was taught the first school in that region. The old Hornback school house was torn away more than a half century ago.
In the old cemetery, much of it covered with matted brambles, are the graves of the first comers to that region, families who bore the honored names of Hornback, Garner, Fesler, Thomas, Easley, Tittsworth, Landrum, Evans, Hogan, Harmison, Liggett, Shue, Reeder, Helme, Motley, Pryor, Brown, Hill, Coulter, Hall, Wilson, Pierce and others. Many of those named were inter-related families, no less than twelve of them being related by blood or marriage to the Hornbacks, whose name the cemetery bears.
This old burial plot took its name from James Hopeful Hornback, thirty-year-old bachelor who was the first to be buried there, his grave being made in the southwest corner of the 160 acre farm he entered in 1829, in the northwest quarter of Section 20 in (now) Derry township. Since that day the plot has been used by the Hornbacks and their relatives for a burial ground. Here is buried James Hornback's father, the elder Solomon, who was a soldier of 1812.
Here in this remote burial ground, amidst the Hornback burials, is the grave of old Aunt Millie, Solomon Hornback's black mammy slave, who came with the family from Kentucky. She had been given her freedom before the family started for Illinois, but refused to be left behind. The family, coming overland from Kentucky, made next to their last camp by a spring, on the prairies of Illinois, where now are the State Fair grounds at Springfield. When they crossed the Illinois river into Pike county, Solomon Hornback again offered Aunt Millie her freedom. Said he: "Aunt Millie, you are free to go on or go back, as you please. Illinois is a free state and you are free." Old Aunt Millie replied: "I am going to live and die where you do." And she did
A short distance southeast of Hornback cemetery, Aunt Millie had her cabin, located by a fine spring. She served the elder Solomon Hornback and his wife, Sally Philips, until their deaths; then she lived with their children. In her later years she lived with Sarah Ann Strubinger's mother, Nancy Hogan, who was Solomon and Sally Hornback's youngest child. Mrs. Tillie Loyd of Pittsfield, a daughter of Sarah Ann Strubinger, remembers old Aunt Millie and how she was loved by all the family. Mrs. Loyd says Aunt Millie died at her Grandmother Hogan's home and that she must have been nearly a hundred years old.
Once, it is related, Aunt Millie set baby William Hornback (father of Alice and Nellie Hornback of Pittsfield) in front of the fireplace, with his all-day bacon sucker attached to a string. Young William pitched headfirst into the fire while Aunt Millie was out of the room and ever afterward his head was partially bald.
When Aunt Millie died there was sorrow among all the Hornbacks and their kin. She had been the beloved mammy of many who bore the name. The faithful old slave was buried in the cemetery with the Hornbacks whom she had served, and a marker was placed on her grave by the family. No sign now remains of Aunt Millie's pioneer cabin, or the well-beaten path that led from her door to the spring.
Nancy Hornback, youngest child of Solomon Hornback and Sally Philips, married Adley Hogan, native of Kentucky and a Pike county pioneer. He was born April 20, 1811. Nancy was born April 13, 1812 and was a two- months-old babe when the second war with Britain began.
Adley Hogan and Nancy Hornback had six children, all born in Pike county, namely, Sarah Ann, John L., Lurana, Mary, William and Benjamin Franklin Hogan.
Sarah Ann Hogan, born in Pike county August 8, 1841, married Thomas Clark Strubinger in Pike county December 14, 1862. He was a native of Wilmington, Delaware, where he was born March 19, 1834, a son of Joseph Strubinger and Mary Clark, he a native of Holland. The parents arrived in Pike county April 17, 1838, when Thomas C. was four years old, and settled on the southeast quarter of Section 22 in (now) Derry township, on which place they resided for many years and which the elder Joseph Strubinger still owned at the time of his death. He was prominent in the agricultural history of Derry township, owning 520 acres of land, all of which, except 80 acres, came into his possession in a perfect wild state. He put the whole of it under cultivation. His children included Michael, Thomas C., Joseph H., Elizabeth, Mary and Harriet Strubinger.
Joseph Strubinger's father and mother (grandparents of Thomas C. Strubinger) both died aboard the sailing vessel that was bringing the family from the old world to the shores of the new, and both were buried at sea.
Thomas C. Strubinger and Sarah Ann Hogan (the latter a granddaughter of Solomon Hornback and Sally Philips) had 11 children, namely, a babe (unnamed), born and died August 22, 1863; Flotilla May, born November 13, 1864; John Oscar, born September 12, 1866; Edwin Thomas, born March 14, 1868; Henry William, born March 10, 1870; Eva May, who died young; Cora Cecelia, born April 30, 1873; Lillie Jane, born March 12, 1875, died August 2, following; Mary Eva, born April 23, 1876; Bert Franklin, born October 25, 1877; and Roy Franklin Strubinger.
Flotilla (Tillie) Strubinger married William Sherman Loyd, April 16, 1890, he a son of Henry S. Loyd and Anna Wilden, and they had three children, Edwin Henry, Raymond Thomas and Mary Florine Loyd.
Edwin Loyd married Ada F. Winans December 16, 1914; she a daughter of Isaac N. Winans December 16, 1914; she a daughter of Isaac N. Winans and Isadora F. Wells. They have two sons, Merle Edsel and Stuart Earl. The family resides west of Pittsfield.
Raymond Loyd married Mary A. Dolbeare, a daughter of Christopher Dolbeare and Isabel Coultas, September 22, 1915. Their children are Donald Eugene, Doris May, Raymond, Jr., and Joseph Carl. The family lives in Pittsfield. Mr. Loyd is a Pike deputy sheriff.
Mary Loyd married Joe R. Gully June 2, 1916, and they had six children, Loyd, Leo, Leona, Joseph Earl, Leslie and William. Mrs. Gully died and Mr. Gully resides in El Dara.
William S. Loyd died February 12, 1926, and his widow resides with her son Raymond at 717 West Fayette street, Pittsfield.
John O. Strubinger married Cora May Davis April 22, 1891, and their children were Ralph, who died when nine months old, Loraine, Gladys, Louie and Sophia.
Loraine Strubinger married Roberta Coffman of Barry and they reside in Jacksonville, Illinois.
Gladys L. Strubinger married Loraine C. Sultzman and they are in Denver, Colorado.
Louie Strubinger married Juanita Fishel and they reside in Tucson, Arizona.
Sophia Strubinger married Ben Cassidy and they live in Springfield, Illinois.
Mr. and Mrs. John O. Strubinger, formerly of Barry where he was president of the Barry State Bank, now reside in Los Angeles, California.
Edwin T. Strubinger married Jennie Jones and their children were Walter, Helen, Eloise, Bert, and one child who died in infancy.
Walter Strubinger married Nellie Larimore of Kinderhook. He is a banker at El Dara.
Helen Strubinger married Taylor Strubinger, a son of William A. Strubinger and Coloma Taylor, and they reside in St. Louis.
Eloise G. Strubinger married Lloyd A. Springer of Springfield Nov. 25, 1920. They live in Springfield.
Bert Strubinger married Grace Kykendoff of St. Louis and they reside there.
Edwin T. Strubinger was representative from the 36th senatorial district in the 48th, 49th and 50th Illinois General Assemblies. He died in January, 1923. His widow makes her home alternately with her daughters, Eloise of Springfield and Helen of St. Louis.
Cora C. Strubinger married Dr. Walter F. Reynolds of Eldara. Both are deceased. Their children included Lillian (deceased), Albert, Robert Carl and Pauline. His first wife died, and Dr. Reynolds married Miss Ada Scott, a daughter of James Scott, and by her had two more children, Albertine and Voris.
Albert Reynolds, a former head of the Baylis schools and now assistant state superintendent of public instruction at Springfield, married Catherine Orr, also a teacher in the Baylis schools. They live in Springfield.
Carl Reynolds married Harriet (Hattie) E. Dolbeare (a sister of Mrs. Raymond Loyd of Pittsfield). They were married June 22, 1919. They have two children, Mardell Kathleen and Phyllis Jean. They reside in El Dara.
Pauline Reynolds married Howard Purcell, and they have two children, Rosella Jean and Howard, Jr. They live in Hannibal.
Mary Stubinger married Parvin Moyer. She died at El Dara, and he now lives in Barry. They had no children.
Bert Stubinger died at El Dara, unmarried.
Roy Franklin Strubinger, last of the eleven children of Thomas C. and Sarah Ann Strubinger, married Adrian Taylor and resides in Barry. They have one daughter, Lois, who married William Forrest McCardle and they live in Greensburgh, Indiana. They have one daughter, Lois Ann McCardle.
Thomas C. Strubinger, father of the eleven children named above, obtained his early education in a Pike county log school, while on his father's farm. At the age of 25, he bought 40 acres of land, being a part of the place where he resided after his marriage, in section 34, Derry. The home farm comprised 80 acres and upon it he built one of the finest farm residences and improvements in the county. He accumulated 380 acres of farm land and became one of the county's most successful farm operators. He died February 10, 1884; his wife survived until May 16, 1923. Both are buried in Taylor-Martin cemetery, in Derry township.
John L. Hogan, second child of Adley Hogan and Nancy Hornback, was born in Derry township March 7, 1847 and married Lizzie Buckingham February 9, 1868. They had two children: Harry, born December 29, 1869, is deceased; and Nina, born December 1, 1876, is married and relatives suppose her to be still living, in Idaho. Adley Hogan, father of John, died October 17, 1856, when John was nine. John and his mother lived together on the 120- acre farm in Section 27, Derry, until her death on December 7, 1887.
Lurana Hogan married James Henry Nation, September 26, 1867, and they had four children, namely: Frank, Carson, Nancy Lurana, and one son who died young. James Henry Nation often told of driving cattle through Chicago's streets in 1854.
Nancy Lurana Nation, now the wife of Arthur Lewis, possesses a wooden jewel box which her great grandfather, the elder Solomon Hornback, made for his mother, Lurana Hornback, and which has descended through the generations to those bearing the name of Lurana, from its first possessor to Nancy Lurana (Hornback) Hogan, from her to her second daughter, Nancy Lurana (Hogan) Nation, and from her to her daughter, Nancy Lurana (Nation) Lewis.
Mary Hogan, fourth child of Adley and Nancy, married William Willard Martin, October 15, 1863. They had no children of their own but raised in their home Mr. Martin's nephew, Thomas Martin.
William Hogan (known in the family as "Uncle Fob") was never married.
Benjamin Franklin Hogan, born January 11, 1852, died January 19, 1856, aged four years. He is buried in Hornback cemetery.
Adley Hogan died in Derry township October 17, 1856. His wife, Nancy (Hornback) Hogan, died December 7, 1887. Both are buried in the Hornback plot.