Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Adolf R. Harseim Merchandise Store, Secor, Illinois, and famous resident Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin.

Secor, Illinois, was named after Charles A. Secor, a partner in the engineering firm that laid out the eastern branch of the Peoria & Oquawka Railroad Company. Secor is 25 miles east of Peoria.

The General Store was established by Rudolph Harseim, born May 8, 1830, an early settler arriving in 1862. The General Store was passed on to his son Adolf R. Harseim in 1910.

Rudolph died on December 21, 1905. His wife, Katharina, lived from 1836 to 1921.

Minnie Vautrin
Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin (1886-1941), born in Secor, Illinois, on September 27, 1886. Miss Vautrin, an American missionary to China and known as 金陵女子大学, the "Goddess of Mercy." She was the president of Ginling College, University of Nanking, China. During WWII, Nanjing was invaded by Japanese Imperial troops in December 1937. The invasion aftermath is known as the 'Nanjing Massacre.' 

During the Nanking Massacre aka the Rape of Nanking, the college, led by its acting principal Professor Minnie Vautrin, harbored thousands of women hiding from the Japanese Imperial Army and saved hundreds of children and women from rape and worse.

The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . . Tonight Nanking has no lights, no water, no telephone, no telegraph, no city paper, no radio.”            December 13, 1937, The Diary of Minnie Vautrin. 

Vautrin guarded the college with the motto: "Whoever wants to go through this gate will have to do so over my dead body."

From August 12, 1937, to April 1940, Vautrin kept a daily diary, recording war crimes committed by Japanese troops in Nanjing. She returned back to the United States for medical treatment on May 14, 1940.

Vautrin is highly honored in China for establishing a sanctuary on the grounds of Ginling college to protect Chinese non-combatants  women  from the six-week massacre and other unspeakably evil things. Minnie was posthumously awarded the "Order of the Brilliant Jade" by the Chinese government for her actions during the massacre. 
Salt River Cemetery, Shepherd, Michigan.
She committed suicide in May 14, 1941 and is buried in Salt River Cemetery, Shepherd, Michigan.
Order of the Brilliant Jade.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is RATED PG-13. Please comment accordingly. Advertisements, spammers and scammers will be removed.