A Brief History of the Authors . . .


Max and Joe . . . The early years . . .

Max and Joe began learning about local wildlands and landmarks as boys, listening to eyewitness accounts from their grandfather, Will Jaco, who was born in 1888 in neighboring Pope County and lived most of his life in Johnson County. 

Now Max and Joe are “old-timers,” two of a diminishing number whose knowledge of Johnson County extends back into the first half of the twentieth century.  Many people who provided information in this book are no longer living and their personal knowledge of these special places would be lost if Max and Joe had not preserved it.

M. D. Hutchison and J. L. Ashby (1970)

M. D. Hutchison and J. L. Ashby (2023)

M. D. Hutchison  (2023)

M. D. Hutchison

A heart to preserve Nature

Max was the forester for Main Brothers Box and Lumber Company; then he switched to a career in nature preservation, specializing in the identification and evaluation of significant natural areas.  Although Max worked all across Illinois and several other states, he and his wife Sharon kept their home in Johnson County.

So often the lay of the land determines the most efficient transportation corridor, and country folks have traditionally held an intimate knowledge of their local terrain: an ideal home site, a scenic picnic spot, and a reliable fishing hole.  Max Hutchison has chronicled this relationship between humans and nature through the names that people have given to the natural landscape.

The effort to obtain up-to-date photos for the book became a family affair: Max and Sharon’s daughters Beth and Rachel, son Donald, and granddaughters Daniela, Olivia, Journey, Harmony, and Mercy all joined the effort to locate and photograph sites.


J. L. Ashby

A helping hand

I was born in Reevesville, but our family moved to a farm four miles north of Vienna when I was five years old.  We moved to Indiana when I was thirteen, but I made many journeys back to Johnson County to visit family.  During these visits, I spent as much time as possible with Max, hunting and hiking throughout the county. 

While visiting Max in late 2021, Max discussed his work on this inventory of local natural areas and place names, and he showed me a draft of his growing manuscript.  In our discussion, Max expressed concerns regarding publication layout and the use of maps and photographs to complement the text.

Because of my background in printing and design as well as photography, I stepped forward to prepare the illustrations and to contribute to the text.  I feel very blessed to have been asked to assist with this project.


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J. L. Ashby (2023)

Hutchison Ashby Publishing LLC

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Columbia Falls, Montana  59912