In a letter to the Denison Bulletin and Review, the Kershaws wrote they visited Denison for a family wedding.
Carol Kershaw is a cousin to the Gottsch family in Westside and Dunlap, so the Kershaws have made many trips to the area from Illinois.
While at Wal-Mart in Denison, they left Abraham's walking stick in a shopping cart. Once they realized that, they rushed back to the store, but the parking lot attendant told them a woman had driven by while he was gathering carts and said it was her walking stick.
"The funny thing about is this that we left the cane in the cart, and the parking lot attendant was going to head inside to put it in the lost and found when a woman drove by and said it was hers," Carol Kershaw said when called by the newspaper. She added there was no way the parking lot attendant could have known that it wasn't the woman's cane.
The cane has been in the Kershaw family since the early 1800s and has been passed down for four generations.
The Kershaws have four daughters, and the heirloom would have been handed down to all of them.
Two of Abraham Kershaw's brothers have used the walking stick at times to get around. Abraham was using the walking stick to help with his mobility. In the absence of his walking stick, he is using a cattle cane.
"There's a lot of history and sentimentality connected with the walking stick," said Carol.
"In the early 1800s, along the Fox River Indian trail, the Kershaw family did a lot of investment. Two Kershaws owned farms and they assisted other pioneers in settling."
"Being part of an early settler was a willingness to help your neighbors clear land, raise barns and homes and share your knowledge," the Kershaws wrote. "In acknowledgement and appreciation for this kindness, horses and willingness to help, neighbors presented him (Abraham Kershaw's great-grandfather) with an ebony walking stick with a gold handle or knob."
Carol said the gold knob has the following inscription in an oval.
"To A. Kershaw from his friends."
"We have a picture of a couple of cattle owned by a P. Caldwell with the walking stick in it. We know the picture was painted before 1874 because it was in the 1874 DuPage County History Book," Carol Kershaw said.
"It's incredible at this stage in my husband's life, the walking stick should vanish," she added.
The Kershaw family has tried to get the walking stick returned in a number of ways.
They have called Wal-Mart and the Denison Police Department. They have put advertisements in the Denison Bulletin and Review and have called a local antique dealer. They are offering a reward.
"The loss of the walking stick is something that we're feeling deeply," Carol Kershaw stated.
She wrote the walking stick may be just that to whoever has it, but it is an important part of the family.
The Kershaw family is asking that the walking stick be returned to Wal-Mart or to the Denison Police Department.
"We do not want to know who or why, but we do want a part of our history back," the Kershaws wrote.
At the same time, they thank the staff at Wal-Mart, Cronk's Café and the Denison Police Department for their patience and understanding, adding that these people have been a shining example of everything that is good about the heartland of America.