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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 1-24-24

130 Years Ago

January 20, 1894

A party started for California last Tuesday, including Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Gilpin, J. W. Gilpin, S. R. Gilpin and Frank Porter. These will locate at Tulare. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schrontz and family went to Los Angeles.

Frank Johnson, formerly in the employ of Swap & Chapman, has accepted a position with the Dr. Max Medicine Co.

Cropsey — The frost is out again and the ground plows fine. Many farmers are fixing things for spring.   The signs are for war, as this year's children are all boys, one at E. C. Meeker's last week, one at E. W. Crum's, also one at Ab Putnam's.

Strawn — Joseph Woods has opened a barber shop here. The school board is furnishing free vaccination. Dr. Klemme does the work. Born to Mr. and Mrs. Chris Sheppelman, a boy; and to Mr. and Mrs. Nels Pearson, a boy.


120 Years Ago

January 22, 1904

Messers W. W. Shedd, E. Dillon and Robert Watts went over to Weston Wednesday to attend a meeting to perfect an organization for the building of a farmers' elevator at that place. The gentlemen report a large number present at the meeting, some against the project but many more in favor of it. It was proposed to incorporate for the sum of $8,000 and with out much effort 285 shares were sold and the remaining 35 shares have since been taken. The stockholders are composed of substantial farmers and the new elevator will probably be built the coming summer.

People who use water for drinking purposes from surface wells should use every care to prevent sickness. Since the recent thaw a great many impurities which have accumulated on the surface of the ground during the winter will get into the wells and if great caution is not used sickness will follow the use of the water. The best safe guard is to boil the water and every one using this kind of water should take this precaution.

The building committee of the Central Opera House Co. met Monday evening and voted to employ J. K. Shook to build the new opera house. The work will be done under the supervision of the committee and Architect Bullard and in this manner the company expect to save from three to four thousand dollars and also have the work done in a first class manner.


110 Years Ago

January 23, 1914

Dr. W. A. Roth, successor to Dr. J. R. Rayburn, is now permanently located in his suite of rooms in the Walton building. He will move his family here in the spring.

This morning about 7:45, A. W. Murdock, a traveling salesman from Chicago, was run over and killed near the depot. The accident happened when Mr. Murdock started to go around two cars that were standing just east of the Third Street crossing. Just as he started to cross the tracks a car of rock was switched form the engine and came with great force against the two cars. He was knocked down and one of the sets of trucks ran over him.

The building committee in charge of the erection of a tabernacle for the Honeywell meetings to be held in this city beginning February 15, is busy these days and soon we shall see the walls of the structure going up.

A number of the friends and relatives of Miss Nellie Belle Hetherington gathered at her home last Thursday evening to remind her of her sixteenth birthday.


100 Years Ago

January 18, 1924

Parking space in Fairbury was at a premium Tuesday, at which time the merchants of this city gave away three $50 coupon books. As a result of this shortage of parking space Dan Roth, of Forrest, parked his car too near the main line of the T. P. & W. tracks, with the result that when the Wabash train came in, the auto was struck by the cylinder of the train. The auto was turned partly around, the train side-swiping it as it passed by, but the car was not badly damaged.

Conrad Munz, Jr., succeeded in filling his ice houses the first of this week. The ice was not quite as thick as last year, but is of excellent quality. Mr. Munz intends to fill the cold storage house in this city before he counts his ice harvest as finished.

John Smith, residing north of this city in Avoca Township, was arrested last week, charged with violation of the school law, in that he did not require his son to attend a district school in Avoca township. The case came up before Justice W. E. Baker in Pontiac last Friday and was continued until today. Smith and his son moved back here from Arkansas a couple of years ago.


90 Years Ago

January 19, 1934

Claude W. Rice, of Strawn, tower man for the Wabash and I.C. Railroads at Risk, claims that he was kidnapped in this city early Monday evening. Mr. Rice came to Fairbury Monday afternoon. He got the oil changed in his car and parked the car on main street. Later when he started to get in his car a man and a woman stepped up, the man holding a revolver. They commanded Rice to get over as they were going to accompany him. Rice got over. They made Rice drive west until they came to a school house west of town. Here they stopped, and Rice at the point of a revolver was compelled to take a narcotic in the form of a pill. While Rice was in an unconscious condition they took his money, some $50, and when Rice came to, he was in Chicago Heights and his car was gone.

Billy Estep, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Estep, was in the Spence timber south of town Tuesday, cutting wood, when the ax slipped, cutting one of his legs between the ankle and the knee. The ax blade went through the tall leather shoe, his trousers and sox, and made a gash that required several stitches to close.

Chenoa — Zirkle Bros. (Tom and Clint), who for many years have been engaged in the restaurant business in this city, are leaving to open a cafe on Route 4 in Pontiac. On Tuesday evening they entertained 29 business men of this city at a sumptuous dinner at their restaurant on the hard road. All present wished the Zirkle boys much success in their new enterprise, and expressed regret at their departure.


80 Years Ago

January 21, 1944

A sawmill has been set up in the Jack Schahrer timber northeast of town and all the larger trees are going down under the woodsman's ax. Ten men from the timber lands of Missouri, skilled in felling trees and getting them ready for the mill, arrived Wednesday. It is said the lumber from the trees will be shipped to the Caterpillar plant at Peoria and will be used in crating their products. Other timber in the same vicinity as the Schahrer timber will also be cut down, it is said.

Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gee of Cropsey, last week received a message from their son, Lt. Jack Gee, that he had arrived in the United States. Lt. Gee had been piloting a plane for the past eight months overseas and came from Italy to Camp Patrick Henry, Va.

The Isaac Walton and Edison school children have enlisted in the fight to collect all waste paper in Fairbury. Each and every home can assist in this war effort. Newspapers, magazines, pasteboard boxes and paper sacks are all acceptable. Please securely tie newspapers and magazines in separate bundles or pack them in your pasteboard boxes. Place your boxes or bundles of waste paper on your front steps or hold for some particular child to whom you may have promised it. If no child has collected your paper by Thursday noon kindly telephone either school. Uncle Sam needs your paper. It is patriotic to save scrap waste paper.


70 Years Ago

January 21, 1954

Lowell Stockment, of Wolcott, Ind. was in Fairbury Tuesday, when he became a partner in the K. and S. Farm Supply with Dick Koehl and Albert Stoller. Mr. Stockment, his wife and son plan to make their home here, and divide his duties between the Fairbury firm, and the Stoller Farm Supply at Chenoa. Mrs. Stockment is Mrs. Stoller's niece. Mr. Stockment has farmed in the Remington and Wolcott vicinity since 1947.

Army PFC Melvin G. Metz, son of Ben Metz, recently spent a seven-day rest and recuperation leave in Kokura, Japan. Normally stationed in Korea with the 507th Signal Company, Metz stayed at one of Japan's best resort hotels and enjoyed many luxuries unobtainable on the war-torn peninsula.

The weather ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime here this week. The "ridiculous" portion was dished up late Saturday night and early Sunday morning when the mercury sagged to six degrees below zero, the coldest recorded here in a number of years. The temperature Saturday failed to get above 18 degrees all day. Then Tuesday and yesterday the sublime arrived, with the mercury frolicking up into the 50's. The jump was accompanied Tuesday night by a spring-like thunder shower.


60 Years Ago

January 23, 1964

What a difference a week makes! After an all-time record blizzard belted the area last week, Chinook winds wiped out all but the deepest snowbanks over the weekend. Until that time, one-way traffic had existed on many roads, including the Cropsey blacktop from Fairbury. Monday's temperatures got into the 40s and by Tuesday, with a 58 in this area, it was warmer here than in Los Angeles, which had a high of 54, and Pensacola, Fla., where it was 56.

Floral Hall at the Fairbury Fair grounds will be demolished, in the first step toward construction of a new building, directors decided Tuesday evening when they met at the offices of the Keck Agency. President John Wade said Wednesday that a new structure would be erected before fair time, "at least large enough to contain all fair-time exhibits." Sunday, 12 representatives of the fair will go to Springfield to attend the annual fair convention, booking carnival attractions, entertainment, tents and harness races.

Mrs. Alma Lewis-James entertained the Lozang Bridge Club with a luncheon at Oh Susannah on Friday, Jan. 21. The group went to Mrs. James' home following the luncheon, for bridge.


50 Years Ago

January 24, 1974

The Illinois Department of Corrections Tuesday revealed plans to transform the Dwight Correctional Center to an all-male facility. The Dwight site has been used as a women's reformatory since it was built in the 1930s. The change is part of the continuing reorganization of the state's prison system to separate hardened criminals from lesser offenders and to bring prisoners closer to their home communities.

Ceiling tile in the Fairbury-Cropsey High School gym will be strained Tuesday night when the Tartar band hosts their counterparts from Eureka in conjunction with the basketball game between the two schools. Tartar band director Bruce Hammitt said about 180 musicians from the two schools will play a half-dozen numbers together, and each band will play two or three numbers individually. The Eureka band will arrive at 5:30 Tuesday and will be guests at a potluck supper being hosted by the Fairbury-Cropsey band members.

A total of 812 Eastern Illinois University students at Charleston, including five from this area, have received academic honors for the fall semester. Receiving high honors was Joan Ellen Goold of Fairbury. Named to the honors list were Gary Lynn Hall of Chatsworth and Diane Gay Hammitt, Marla Jean Harris and Kathleen Miner, all of Colfax.


40 Years Ago

January 19, 1984

Dr. Cesar Secoquian has been elected by his colleagues as chief of the medical staff at Fairbury Hospital for 1984. He succeeds Dr. Lucjan Moscicki, who held the post in 1983. Dr. Secoquian has been a member of the medical staff at Fairbury Hospital since 1973, when he was given privileges while practicing in Pontiac. Two years later he moved his residence to Fairbury and affiliated with Fairbury Medical Associates for surgery and general practice. The new chief is now a partner in the Chen-Secoquian Clinic with offices in Fairbury and Chatsworth.

Two tickets to San Francisco (instead of the traditional gold watch), were the retirement presents which employees of Walton's Department store presented to "Dude" and Marie Wessel Thursday night in the party room at McDonald's Restaurant. The round-trip tickets are good for anytime to be selected by the couple, which they plan to work on when they come home from Florida, where they will be heading Monday. "Dude" is ending almost 38 years with the 115-year-old firm, of which he has been manager since 1969. Marie joined the firm's staff in July, 1956 as manager of the dry goods department, later becoming advertising manager.

David McKeon, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim McKeon of Fairbury, was recently voted Junior Volunteer for the months of October and November by the Fairbury Hospital employees.  David has put in over 240 hours of volunteer time working in the respiratory therapy department. David is one of 10 active junior volunteers working at Fairbury Hospital.


30 Years Ago

January 19, 1994

Rob Duffy of Chenoa has been appointed Deputy Coroner for McLean County by Coroner Dan Brady. His primary responsibility will be as an area responder in the eastern half of McLean County, Brady said. Duffy will receive continuing education as it pertains to the Coroner's office. Coroner Brady states the size of McLean County and his desire to improve response time to death scenes throughout the county, prompted his area responder program. Duffy, who started with the family business in Sept. 1991, is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Des Plaines. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and is a 1984 graduate of Fairbury-Cropsey High School.

When Dairy Queen throws a Customer Appreciation Day, they don't mess around. Store manager Mark Campbell said that over 2,000 customers took advantage of the half-price deals being offered at the Dairy Queen in Fairbury as part of the business' 19th year celebration. Campbell bought the local business from Don Geiselman in 1991, after managing Dairy Queen stores in Fairbury and Chenoa.

Dan Froelich of Saunemin Grain, a division of Trainor Grain and Supply Co., Saunemin, has been recognized as a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) by the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser State Board. To become a CCA, individuals must meet minimum requirements of education and experience in crop management, pass state and national written exams and sign a code of ethics. The state and national CCA programs are a result of cooperative efforts of universities, agribusiness, government agencies, environmental organizations and farmers.


20 Years Ago

January 21, 2004

Fairbury's own Si Moser had a big birthday celebration at Dave's Deli Friday, with over 150 friends and relatives attending to feast on rolls and coffee and to extend their best wishes to Si. Livingston County Sheriff Robert McCarty came to wish Si a happy birthday and so did his longtime friend and fellow pool player, Don Barnes. The celebration was also highlighted by the presentation of two bunches of green bananas from Si's morning coffee group, the "Green Banana Bunch."

The Southeastern Livingston County Ambulance Service has a new ambulance, a custom-made 2003 Medtec with a transport capacity for two patients. The new rig is longer and taller, according to SELCAS director Jim Hargitt. The ambulance was built 18 inches longer and four inches higher, to allow additional room to treat patients during a transport. The unit also has rear 'privacy' windows, an IV and blanket warmer and several new additions that will provide more convenience and efficiency for the SELCAS staff. The SELCAS fleet now has three units, all Ford Diesels, a 1998, 2002 and now a 2003.

Shane Ziegenhorn, son of Dave and Kelly Ziegenhorn of Fairbury, who is currently serving with the United States Coast Guard, was on board the Coast Guard Cutter "Forward" that repatriated 96 migrants to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Dec. 30, 2003. The migrants were intercepted on their 40-foot sailing vessel, off Great Inaugua Island, Bahamas, when spotted. They all came off the vessel voluntarily and then the empty sailing vessel was turned over to Bahamian authorities. The U.S. Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that was organized in March of 2003. The DHS was the largest reorganization of the federal government since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947.


10 Years Ago

January 22, 2014

A recent new venture from Fairview Haven Retirement Community is Loving Loom Hand-Woven Creations. It all started when the McLean County Nursing Home called to ask Fairview Haven administrator, Rick Plattner, if Fairview Haven would like a loom. They had a loom that was not in use and offered to donate it to Fairview Haven. Fairview Haven volunteer receptionist Tom Steidinger became enthused and learned how to use the loom from Friedora Wiegand of Eureka. Now the loom is set up in Steidinger's garage in Fairbury, which he has named the “Fairview Haven Loom Room.” He is turning out beautifully woven creations, such as rugs, placemats, table runners, etc.

The 66th annual McDowell stuffer was held Jan. 9. The Stuffer is held every year, rain, snow or shine., the second Thursday in January. The 12-hour time span is tradition, staying open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This year's event was another great turnout, serving 1,208 people. The money raised from the event will pay for many of the church's involvements. A total of 15 hogs at a live weight of 4,999 lbs. were used, 35 gallons of milk, 100 half gallons of milk, five cases of applesauce, 12 cases of pancake mix (144 boxes), 13 cases of syrup (156 bottles), 36 dozen eggs, 45 lbs. of butter and six lbs. of sugar.

The four men hoping to be the next sheriff of Livingston County expressed their views on numerous issues during a candidate forum sponsored by the Livingston County Tea Party Tuesday night. Former Fairbury Police Chief Jack Wiser pointed to his prior service with the Livingston County Sheriff's Department before heading Fairbury's department for several years. Dwight Police Officer Mark Scott said the sheriff must ensure the department treats the public and employees fairly. Former Livingston County Sheriff Marvin Rutledge said his first priority, if elected, would be to return public respect to the office. Current Livingston County Chief Deputy Tony Childress touted some notable arrests and his time serving as a detective for the department.

("Looking Back" from Kari Kamrath is sponsored each week by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes with locations in Fairbury, Chenoa and Colfax)

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