Keith and Jessie’s Story, Farmer City Illinois

While we were in Farmer City, we were overwhelmed by the number of antique shops, and, unfortunately the fact that most of them were closed. As we browsed and peered through the windows of many of the stores, we were tempted to come back another day when they were open. Beautiful bottles, old license plates, medical equipment, signs – and a wedding dress.

**EDITORIAL NOTE: Please note it has come to our attention (March 2014), the below wedding dress was on display at the Farmer City Genealogical and Historical Society. Not on display at an antique shop. We apologize for this original error.

As we walked by one store, we were stopped in our tracks seeing an old wedding dress displayed in the window. As we got closer, we saw that there was a tag attached to the dress. The bride was married to her groom in 1917. With a horrible glare through the window, we tried to take the best photo we could of the dress, but also stood there for a good five minutes admiring the off white silk gown with intricate lace detail.

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I (Cate), didn’t think much about the dress after that, until I started downloading my photos and found the above shot. The tag that was attached the dress.

Wedding Dress worn in
Keith Swigart and Jessie Saxton
Wedding Ceremony
August 15, 1917

Who were these people? Where they born and raised (and eventually passed on) in Farmer City? What was their love like? What was their wedding like? Did they have a family?

The curious and interested person that I am, I googled them. I googled their names, Farmer City, IL, their wedding date and kept googling for about an hour. I was amazed at what I found and wanted to share their story.

Keith and Jessie were married on August 15, 1917. They are believed to have had five children:
June Aidene, passed away at the age of 81 in 1999
Henrietta Alice, passed away at the age of 86 in 2006
James Carlton, passed away at the age of 78
Raymond M, believed to still be living
Franklin H., believed to still be living

Keith Wellington was born on March 13, 1984 in Farmer City and was a farmer in town until his retirement. He was the son of Bion Theodore and Sarah Evelenah and it appears that Bion’s family had political status.

Keith was also a member of the Weedman United Methodist Church, a member of Farmer City Masonic Lodge and a member of the Knights of Pythias for 78 years. In 1970, Keith was named Illinois Hereford “Man of the Year.”

Keith passed away at the age of 100 on November 6, 1994.

Jessie Agnes Saxton was born in 1896 and passed away in December of 1978. Unfortunately, not much was found on Jessie.

Their daughter, Henrietta, who is survived by her husband and family was “always on the go and blessed with energy.” A teacher and day care owner in Peoria, her obituary stated that she was an exceptional cook, baker and candy maker. She will be remembered for her sense of humor.

At the time of Keith’s death, they had 13 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren.

I would love to have seen a photo of Jessie and Keith, faces to this story and to the wedding dress that was worn on August 15th.

Further research shows that they are resting together for eternity in Farmer City. I hope you are dancing in the heavens and together and if you have internet up there, you are reading this and smiling down on my interest in your lives. I hope it was a beautiful one Keith and Jessie.


11 thoughts on “Keith and Jessie’s Story, Farmer City Illinois

  1. WOW, what a beautiful story…..pass the tissues!! I LOVE stories like this. It’s what makes the world go round

  2. Oh my goodness, this made me tear up. Absolutely AMAZING! Can’t help but smile thinking about their story – and them laughing about the two crazy girls who looked them up! 🙂

  3. I just happened across your blog while working on a project for our community. I am the President of the Farmer City Genealogical and Historical Society. Your dress is one from our collection, and we do have a wedding picture of Keith and Jessie. If you ever come back through I would love to share with you more of what we have from Keith and Jessie and their family. Thank you for your visit to our community and your pleasant writings. I will be sharing them on our Society’s Facebook group.

    • Elizabeth, Thank you so much for your beautiful note and sharing Keith and Jessie’s story. I just posted an update on the blog and we are working on reading through everyone’s emails. The outpour has been humbling and overwhelming. We are overjoyed. Would it be possible for you to send us an email – I wanted to ask you a few questions. Also, tried to log onto your Facebook page and says content is not available. Thank you again. Be well. Cate

  4. Keith Swigart was a great guy – knew most of his children and many of the grandchildren, even some great-grandchildren (Adam). Super family, most lived near Weedman, northeast of Farmer City.

  5. I am the pastor of Weedman United Methodist Church their son Raymond is still living at the Farmer City Nursing Home, his grandson Adam , grand-daughter-in-law Chelsea, still attend the church and I was blessed to baptize their son Kade. The roots of some of the families in this area go deep and continue to bear fruit in lives that are a blessing to our community and world.

  6. Unfortunately, I believe people missed the point here. First, the antique store did not put any information about the couple with the wedding dress in the picture. Secondly, the antique stores were not open. Don’t know what their hours are, but it seems to me they are not open very much any more.

  7. Pingback: Hello and Thank You, Farmer City! | twofarfromnormal

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