By GAIL PARSONS
TALMAGE—The unincorporated city of Talmage will celebrate its 125th anniversary with an old-fashioned ice cream social and concert on Sept. 21. Attendees are invited to share ice cream and cake at the Talmage Community Center from 5 to 6:30 p.m. then head down the street to the Lord’s Chapel for a 7 p.m. concert by the Innermissions, a local men’s quartet.
The following day there will be a Talmage School Reunion at 12:30 p.m. with a covered dish meal and entertainment provided by Sisters of Hope from Hope.
During the celebration there will be a short video that will show a pictorial history of this small northern Dickinson County town.
The Talmage Community was being settled long before its official platting in 1888.
Verl Coup, director of the Talmage Historical Society Museum and Library, explained how the town was a virtual melting pot of people from around the world.
Those who settled north of Talmage originated from Scotland but came through Canada; those east of Talmage were the River Brethren, a branch of the Mennonites from Pennsylvania. To the west were the English and settling south of Talmage were early pioneers who were moving away from the Clarks Creek area.
“They came for cheaper land,” Coup said.
Government land grants were being handed out and Civil War Veterans had the opportunity for free land, “which is why we have so many Civil War veterans in our cemetery” said museum volunteer and board member Pat Bowell.
There has been no shortage of veterans heading into Talmage after the war, but on the flip side there was no shortage of young men who have headed out of Talmage into the world to serve the country in every major conflict. Today, the patriotic spirit is easily seen as one drives around the few streets of this small town and sees Old Glory hanging proudly from flag poles and front porches.
Talmage was built around the farming community and although it was on the railroad, it never grew to more than about 150 to 200 people.
At one time, it sported 35 businesses but as progress, in the form of cars, reached the rural communities, people started gravitating toward Abilene which slowly led to the loss of businesses and residents.
Bowell said that has not necessarily been a bad thing. Bowell said they are a bedroom community and that is okay with them.
Being an unincorporated city gives them a certain edge that other larger cities don’t have.
“We have no elected officials,” Coup said. “If you have a pothole in front of your house, you get a shovel and fix it.”
The city park is mowed when it needs it by a volunteer. Playground equipment is fixed by whoever sees a problem.
“Everyone enjoys their privacy but I know if I stepped out on my front porch and yelled for help, someone would be there,” Bowell said.
With a population of only about 100, the town supports two churches and most people know everyone else. Coup said they look after each other. With 125 years behind them, that sense of community will follow them into the next 125 years.