As May comes to close we have been reminded of the power that mother nature holds. As I sit here writing our city crews are out repairing power lines that were damaged in this afternoons storm, numerous people are out cleaning up the aftermath of the strong winds, and some are still scratching their heads trying to figure out where to start.

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon at the Johnson building welcoming a family from the Newton area if my memory serves me correctly. The spent the better part of two hours looking through all 3 museum buildings to see what unusual things could be discovered. I think the highlight for the two young boys with them was the train layout in the depot. They circled it for nearly 45 minutes pointing out things they were finding in it. Can’t forget the daughter that found it terribly funny to give the old train horn a yank and scaring her mother nearly to death. The boys also enjoyed checking out the different eras of military uniforms that we have on display at the Military Museum. It was a joy listening to their father telling them about each one and about members of their family that had served in different branches of the military.

Again this week has just been another round of adding to the school listings. I’ve added information for Brown, Brushy Ridge, Buchanan, Buck Branch, Burge, and Butterfly schools. Take a look at them and travel through time as we continue our journey of the history of schools within Cumberland County. If you have any information about a school that I haven’t shared I’d be happy to include it in the listings. Just send it to kyle@cumberlandcountyhistory.org and I’ll add it in when time allows.


From work life to home life, it sure has been a busy week for me. I haven’t got as much done around the site as I had planned for the week due to work hours, helping a neighbor with tree removal, and of course the kids keeping me on my toes, but somehow I still manage to squeeze in just a few additions to the schools, so stop in and check them out.

I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, be safe and have fun.


Some times the desk can become quite disorganized and cluttered simply due to the vast amounts of information that must be sorted through and placed where needed. This week has been no exception as I start getting things added to the site. There has been some major updating going on with our newest section being added for the history of schools that have called Cumberland County home. It has been a fascinating journey thus far digging through all the data on some places that I personally never knew existed. I hope you enjoy looking through it as much as I have, stay tuned for more updates as I add more and more information to the site.

This weeks updates and additions

  1. Added the following pages to the school listings: Aleshire, Antioch, Apperson, Baumgartner, Block, CumberlandPioneer, Silver Leaf
    • Started working on Neoga Unit #3
  2. Restructured the cemetery listings to allow for future updates to them in a more organized manner. This change is something that was needed on the backend structure of the site. From a viewers standpoint it will still cosmetically appear the same as it always has.
  3. Added post about the history of the Ettlebrick Shoe Company that was complied by Kay Ettelbruck Ziegler in 2002, daughter of August Ettelbrick.
  4. Added post from scanned article about Lincoln, Needham, Gibbs – 1832
  5. Updated the location & contact page.

Last weeks “From The Desk” post was quick and to the point on what I wanted to say about some changes I was making to the site. Thinking back to it over the past week I realize it was rather vague on what the changes meant. As I said last week I had created a couple new sections of the site with future development planned for them.

From The Desk” is a category I have added to the blog as a means to organize my writings about site development. From time to time I may post some personal interest work in it but for the most part it will contain items such as what you are reading now, updates and information relating to changes made to the site. All postings in this category will be made solely by me. If and when the time comes that others decide they would like to write weekly articles for the site I will create categories for them to assign their writings too. Thus keeping things a bit more organized.

Community Corner” is another category I have added to the blog with the intention of opening our site up for the local community to share stories, photos, events, etc. Submitted items will be reviewed by a member of the site staff before being posted. In the event that a submitted item is rejected, you will receive an email in regards as to why your item was rejected, along with steps you may need to take to have it approved. See below for some general guidelines for submissions:

  • Contact Information is required for all submissions (Your name will be included on the post but contact information will be for our records in the event it is needed)
  • Event listings must include location, time, cost, description of event, a contact name/info for event (this will be posted)
  • submissions must be made via email to cc@cumberlandcountyhistory.org


Special Announcement

Over the past year I have allowed people to register an account on our website as a means to receive updates via email however over the past 2 weeks I have seen an significant increase in malicious login attempts and creation of spam accounts, along with verification that the system was not sending emails out when it was updated as intended. As a result I have made a few drastic changes to the backend system to increase security of the site, while still giving visitors an option to receive updates via email.

  1. User registration has been disabled. All accounts going forward must be approved and manually created by the developer.
  2. All current non-administrative accounts have been deleted from the system.
  3. User accounts will only be created for site moderators, contributors, administrators, and members of the Historical Society.
  4. A new email subscription system has been tested and implemented to allow viewers to subscribe to updates via email.
  5. Commenting has been set to require name and email. The first time you leave a comment, it must be approved by an administrator prior to showing on the site.


Ettelbrick Shoe Company

Nicholas Ettelbrick, SrFounder – Nicholas, Ettelbrick, Sr. 1876-1947

On November 4, 1947, residents of the Greenup and Casey area were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Nicholas Ettelbrick, Sr., age 70 years. For the past 20 years Mr. Ettelbrick was active in manufacturing and community affairs in the area. In 1926 he became the founder of the Ettelbrick Shoe Co. in Greenup and later expanding into .the communities of Casey and Robinson, Illinois.

Born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1876, he migrated with his parents of German descent, August and Annamarie Wasserman Ettelbrick, to Springfi.eld, Illinois. After leaving school, he entered the business world and for several years thereafter he operated a retail shoe store in that city. On June 7, 1899 he was united in marriage to Miss Emma Link of Springfield. Children born to this marriage were August V., Alma (Mrs. Ernest Hiltebrand), Nicholas Jr., Joseph (Rev. Rene), Albert (Rev. Albert) and Marie (Mrs. William Willenborg). In 1912 the family moved to St. Louis and eventually he entered the manufacturing business in the production of the ”Soft Sole” shoe. However, Mr. Ettelbrick could not pay his workers as much as workers received at the larger Brown and International companies. This resulted in losing the good workers he had trained to the higher-paying competitors.

In the summer or 1926, Mr. Art Van den Ende, General Manager of five tanneries in nine states and a son-in-law of Mr. Ed Elstun of Greenup, Illinois took up the need for a manufacturing business with a group of Greenup businessmen. Mr. den Ende was also acquainted with Nicholas Ettelbrick and suggested persuading Mr. Ettelbrick to relocate from St. Louis to launch a shoe factory in Greenup.

After several meetings, a committee composed of Barry Jenuine, Fred Wylde, J.D. Green, Arthur Jobe, Charles Greeson, Ross Greeson and Charles Stanford, worked with untiring efforts to raise the amount of funds necessary to finance the factory. Next they raised money for the building to house the factory. These men were backed by Gar Borden and Ernest J. Bancroft. As a result of their negotiations, $20,000 was raised to begin the process of locating a factory in Greenup.2

On Monday, October 4, 1926 at 2:00 p.m., the contract was let for the erection of a building to house the shoe factory in Greenup, Illinois.

While the building was being constructed, machines were installed in the corner building, which later was the location of a coffee shop. There the first employees were trained in the manufacturing of baby shoes. The plant represented an investment of $50,000 and employed 75 persons, with a payroll of $800 a week.

The Directors for the factory were: Arthur Jobe, Fred Wylde, and Art van den Ende.

Mr. Ettelbrick’s oldest son, August (Gus), a 1925 graduate from St. Louis University School of Law, had joined a St. Louis law firm when his father asked him to come to Greenup to help get the project underway. Once he became a part of the business and the community, he never left.

About 1927-28 a decision was made to establish a factory in Casey, Illinois with Gus as the President. The enthusiasm for the new industry and the involvement of the community were expressed in a Tag Day. The high school students were dismissed and marched in a parade from the school to town selling tags for $1.00 apiece. Funds raised were contributed towards the necessary financing. Local businessmen also made individual contributions. A building on East Main Street, used as the Ford Garage by Charlie Peirson and Dr. Lester Johnson, was rented. The $75 a month rent was to be applied toward the purchase price. With added space, shoe production readily expanded from infant sizes to include children’s sizes.

Later, son Nicholas, Jr., also took an active part in the management of the Greenup company, as did two sons-in law, Ernest Hiltebrand and William Willenborg.

For the first 15 years of Ettelbrick Shoe, business was devoted to sales to chain and volume accounts. Then on July 15, 1941 a decision was made to create a branded line of shoes to service the independent retailer. A female factory employee suggested the name, Step Master, and the line became an immediate success. Marie Ettelbrick was named as the first President. Since women were not accepted in the executive ranks of businesses in the mid- 1940’s, they decided to identify her on all of the corporate documents as M. J. Ettelbrick. She remained as President until Step Master became a subsidiary of Ettelbrick Shoe Company in the late ’60’s.

Eventually, Step Master surpassed ESCU in size and production. Step Master was the fourth largest manufacturer of children’s shoes in the country in the late 1960’s and early 70’s.

During World War II, appropriate conversions were made to manufacture nurse’s oxfords to aid in the war effort. At the end of the war, about 1946, a plant was built in Robinson, Illinois with August Ettelbrick as manager.

Under the direction of Nicholas Sr. and sons, August and Nicholas Jr., the company progressed well. Upon the death of both Nicholas Sr. in November, 1947 and August in January 1948, the reins were placed in the hands of Nicholas Jr.

On August 24, 1964, Nicholas Jr. was promoted to Chairman of the Board and his brother in law, William Willenborg, became President. A factory was opened in Newton, Illinois in 1965 but closed five years later due of lack of business volume. Following the death of Nick, Jr. in 1974, William Willenborg became Chairman of the Board.

On November 26, 1976, the Ettelbrick Shoe Company celebrated its 50th Anniversary with Nick Eltelbrick III, grandson of founder Nicholas Sr. serving as President, grandson Tom Elttlbrick as Vice-President, grandson Jerry Willenborg, as Purchasing Agent and granddaughter Judy Ettelbrick Cochonour as Head of the Payroll Department. The Board also included two other grandsons, Bob Ettelbrick and Ernie Hiltebrand, Jr.

By 1984, three great-grandsons of the founder were working at the company. Nick Ettelbrick IV was Step Master salesman for Southern Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky; Eric Ettelbrick worked nights in the Data Processing Area and Joseph Ettlelbrick was the assistant to Tom Ettelbrick in the areas of Production and Quality Control Jerry Willenborg was the Secretary and Treasurer of the company. ,

From its beginning, the Ettelbrick Shoe Co. provided a strong influence on the area communities. In one way or another it affected the lives of many either through employment by the company or from the financial benefits it provided to other businesses and to the community. There was scarcely a family who did not have some association with it during the years of its existence. The company’s tremendous impact was especially felt during the difficult years of the Depression and World War II. At Christmas time, there were always new shoes for the school children of families who had fallen on hard times.

The company expanded into three factories, one main office building and a warehouse with a production of 2-3 million pairs of shoes a year. It formed its own subsidiary company – Step Master Shoes. At its peak, over 1000 people were employed; at the lowest point, just before closing, it had about 150 employees.

On January 1, 1984, Ettelbrick Shoe Co. closed its doors, partly due to the impact of imports and partly due to the difficult times for small businesses.

Ettelbrick Shoe Company-Manufacturer of Children’s Shoes-A Three Generation Family Owned Business

57 Years of Serving Greenup, Casey and Robinson, Illinois

Compiled by Kay Ettelbruck Ziegler, daughter of August Ettelbrick-2002



Lincoln, Needham, Gibbs – 1832

In 1843 part of Coles County was organized as Cumberland County. Elias Needham and his son, Daniel Parkman Needham, took an active part in organizing Cumberland County. Elias Needham served as an election judge in the Woodbury precinct that year. Part list of the children of Elias and Elizabeth Needham: Elias Wells Needham; Daniel Parman Needham, b. August 18, 1804; Rachel Ann Needham (Mrs. Daniel Edson); Laura, Angeline, and William B. Needham.

Several of Rachel Edson’s Needham cousins lived around Neoga, Illinois. A cousin, Elias Parkman Needham of New York City, brought forth the reed organ, invented the up-right action and originated the idea of a perforated sheet passing over a reed chamber and held fifteen patents, there-on. (Ref. Who’s Who in America)

The Edsons and Needhams soon after arriving in Illinois became acquainted with the Gibbs family, one of the very first to settle in Coles County. The following year the Abraham Lincoln family settled nearby. Rachel Edson’s brother, Daniel Parkman Needham, Elijah Elias Gibbs, and Abraham Lincoln became firm friends and did many things together.

Elija Elias Gibbs, on February 7, 1832, married Angeline Needham, sister of Rachel Edson. Their first home was in Springfield, Illinois area. Abraham Lincoln helped Gibbs in splitting the rails which fenced the Gibbs property. Elijah and Angeline (Needham) Gibbs attended the wedding of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd.

Daniel Needham purchased land (Section Sixteen), south of Daniel Edson’s home place in Coles County, Illinois, from Abraham Lincoln’s father. There is a Lincoln marker on the property. Need ham served as Justice of the Peace in 1839 and 1859. He took a leading part in organizing Cumberland County in 1843 and in 1844 he was County Commissioner candidate.

Later he moved to Effingham County and settled two and three quarters miles northwest of Montrose. He was a large land owner. He was buried in the pioneer Needham cemetery diagonal across the road from his home (d. February 16, 1876, age 71 yrs, 5 mo, 28 days). He and his wife Julia A. ___ were born in Penn.

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From The Desk

It has now been over a year since I took over management of the Cumberland County Historical & Genealogical website. I started my tenure with a complete redesign of the site which started with a new name, an evolution of looks, and the implementation of a content management system. With all the bugs worked out it is time to get this project revved up and expanding. So lets get on with what is currently in the works…..

  1. From The Desk
    • Blog category created as a means to keep viewers updated on what is going on around the website
    • Planned for bi-weekly updating
    • Will include links to the newest articles, updated articles, and future plans
  2. Community Corner
    • Blog category created to feature viewer submitted content
    • Updated as needed
    • Will include stories, photos, news, events, etc from viewer submissions
  3. Cumberland County Schools
    • Created under the “Sections” heading of the main menu
    • Will feature information about schools that once existed within Cumberland County
    • Goal is to add information for 2-3 schools per week until all are added to the site

If you would like to have something featured in the Community Corner it may be submitted via email to cc@cumberlandcountyhistory.org

Questions/Comments regarding CumberlandCountyHistory.org may be submitted via email to kyle@cumberlandcountyhistory.org