“These Parts” [June 18]–great feature, very interesting, and eagerly read, but:

First–although spell-check may not agree, “hung” does not describe somebody suspended by the neck until death occurs [“Down Town”]. You may have hung up your coat or hung a picture on the wall, you may have a hung jury, you may be considered hung (but then you shouldn’t be on a scaffold, you should be in porn movies), but if you dangle somebody from a noose until they die, then they’ve been hanged. He will hang, he was hanged. I challenged a know-it-all high school English teacher on this one and won.

Next–I own property in the vicinity of Hanna City, and six to ten times a year travel Route 116 through this town [“Across the Fence”]. I feel I know this area pretty well and find it quite difficult to believe that this “don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it” town has 1,400 people, as stated in your article. If that town has that many people, they’re well hidden, and if the population is suddenly that much higher than in past years, it should be considered a bona fide boomtown–in which case I’ll sell my other property and invest in Hanna City.

Finally–the Hanna City article mentioned that the town celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1982. How could that be? Chicago was dragged out of the mud and incorporated in 1837–is Hanna City really 55 years older than Chicago? Hanna City founded in 1782? That soon after the Declaration of Independence and the 13 original colonies?

And more than five miles away from a dependable water source in the Illinois River? My above-mentioned property is 30 miles straight west and on the Spoon River. That town celebrated its 100th in 1983. Did it take our brave settlers 100 years to get 30 miles down the “road” and settle another town in a more logical spot right on the river?

I know I’m correct in the hang/hung/hanged issue, but what about the other two? The logistics don’t add up. I’d like to know if I’m wrong, but I’d really like to know if you’re wrong!

Carolyn O’Connor

W. Albion

Paul Turner replies:

According to the tenth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, “Hanged is most appropriate for official executions…. Hung is more appropriate for less formal hangings.” The hanging in question was anything but official.

Johanna Rosenbohm replies:

Hanna City celebrated its centennial in 1982. The latest official census count for its population is 1,250 residents in 1996, according to the Peoria County zoning office. My apologies for the errors.