Friday, August 23, 2013

Joe Schofield, Sight- Impaired Resident of Bridgeport

The following article was submitted by Flossie Price.

The LCHS Genealogy Library at Bridgeport recently received a donation from Mrs. Pat Schofield of rural Bridgeport involving  the unique, honorable former citizen and family member, Joseph Calvin Schofield (Feb. 16, 1906-March 23, 2007).

"Joe was born in Fly, Ohio but was brought to Bridgeport when he was 8 months old where his father began working in the birth and growth of the oil field.  Joe was a poet, writing poems while he was in Bridgeport High School where he graduated in 1925, and writing until he was at least 87 in 1993.  He was a loving husband to Leva Kramer-Schofield, as well belonging to the Masons, Odd Fellows, and Rebekahs. He was a  Scout leader and a Silver Beaver award-winner, a weaver, a woodworker, a broom maker, a basket weaver, a switchboard operator, a gardener, a gun collector, a humorist and Centenarian.
For several years he was a resident of Rock Grove, IL where he was active in community affairs.  Being totally blind, Joe and his equally blind wife, Leva were the switchboard operators for that community.  After the death of his beloved spouse, Joe returned to Bridgeport to live alone near his brothers and sisters.
The collection at the library includes copies of two books of his poems “Along the Trail”,   and copies of newspaper clippings collected and preserved by the family.
At the time of his 100th birthday in 2006, two young ladies from Rock Grove came to Bridgeport to visit Joe Schofield to remember and share with him, what a difference he had made in their lives.  As the time of the visit was drawing to a close,  Joe recited the following poem from his book:
“To be up on the trail of a morning,  To feel the breeze on my face,  To hear the stretching and yawning,  Of waking woodland place;  To know the fragrance and comfort of campfire;  Hear the sizzle of meat in the pan;  Such are the things that  inspire,  The heart of a trail loving man;  To hear the chatter of nestlings,  Beneath their warmth of feathers and down;  To watch the fog, a ghost giant;  Rise up from his rest on the ground;  To be touched by that one breathless moment;  ‘Ere cardinal and robin and wren;  Break the silence of prayer about me with their lovely morning hymn;  To watch the forest about me, Decked with shadows and streamers of gold,  To stand with awe in the presence,  Of the very new and the old,  Then to put my feet to the trail set before me,  Knowing that all’s in accord,  One hand clinging to Nature’s... the other stretched out to the Lord.”  by Joe Schofield"

The writer of this article, Tess Klinger-Ritter, closes with the following comment:  “As adults we reflect back on our favorite childhood memories which always include...the blind man, not only a neighbor who shared his time playing card games with a group of kids, but a man who took time to point out that there is more to life than that of sight.”

This collection is available  at the Genealogy Library on Tuesday and Thursdays, 2-4 PM each week or by appointment.  You are invited to visit and enjoy the many collections there. Donations of family research are welcomed.      

Don't Forget Field Trip scheduled for August Meeting:   Monday 26   5:00 pm (Indiana Time) Tour of Indiana Military Museum at Vincennes, IN 

Cost $5.00 Admission ticket ($4.00 Seniors 62 and older, and all Veterans) Everyone invited.  You may meet group there at 715 South 6th St, Vincennes, or if you would like to carpool, meet at the Museum on the Square at Lawrenceville at 3:30 pm Illinois time.   For information about the Military Museum see