January 19, 1930 Lawrenceville
Henry Mikels of Sumner celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary in Lawrenceville Monday with his intimate friend S N Cunningham, despite the inclement weather and his advanced age. Mr. Mikels and Mr. Cunningham, who is 63 years old, have celebrated their birthdays together for the past 35 years.
Hale and hearty as the ordinary man of 70, Mr. Mikels uses no cane, glasses, and wore no overcoat Monday. His hearing is exceptionally good and appetite fine. He refuses assistance in any way.
He talked freely of changes during his life. Outstanding in his mind was the franchise to women. Concerning prohibition, he declared “it will never be put down. Whiskey is one thing you can’t put out of business.”Religiously he advised all to be ready for the change that is sure to come.
Mr. Mikels was born on a farm 6 miles South of Mattoon on January 13 1830. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War fighting with three regiments – 27th and 76th Illinois and 27th Indiana. He served under Gen. Banks and was with Sherman on his famous march to the sea. It is very interesting to hear him relate incidents that occurred in this part of his life.He talked to Abraham Lincoln many times, and met him on the streets of Charleston when Lincoln was hauling wood.
He has been a great hunter and a fisherman during his 100 years of life. Just a few days ago he spent a few hours hunting. When asked about the game he bagged, he said “I didn't get anything, but I would've gotten it if it was there.” He has killed numerous wild turkeys and told of killing deer while hunting in Missouri.
Mr. Mikels has lived in Lawrence County 40 years spending a part of that time on a farm in Lukin Township adjoining the farm of Mr. Cunningham. It was there these two became fast friends, exchanging work in a neighborly way, always ready to divide everything with the other. They both derive great measure in relating old remembrances that took place down on the farm.
Mr. Mikels was bereft of his wife many years ago and until about a month ago lived alone. His son Alfred, who is 61 years old lives with him and gives him the best of care at his home in Sumner.
He has been using tobacco for smoking and chewing since he was nine years old, and admits he has taken a drink of wine once in a while. He was smoking one of Mr. Cunningham's favorite cigars with great pleasure.
Mr. Mikels is the father of six children, five daughters and one son.
Congratulations have been received by him from almost every state in the union. A plum pudding was received from a lady in New York City. At the noon hour a bountiful turkey dinner, with oyster dressing, mashed potatoes, string beans, noodles, salad, hot rolls and coffee was served at the farm of Mr. Cunningham just west of Lawrenceville. The anniversary according to this centenarian will be celebrated next year at his Sumner home.