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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 1-4-23

130 Years Ago

December 31, 1892

The firm of Wade Bros., druggists, has dissolved partnership, W.C. Wade retiring and Phil Wade becoming sole proprietor. The change went into effect Thursday.

Governor Fifer issued a proclamation declaring the Illinois reformatory at Pontiac now ready to receive prisoners.

Two boys from Forrest, and Will Morton, of this place, skated into a hole in the creek, where workmen had been cutting ice Wednesday and one of the Forrest boys narrowly escaped drowning.

C. W. Neitz has let the contract for a commodious residence to be erected near the north side school house.

120 Years Ago

January 2, 1903

Arrangements are being perfected for the farmer's institute to be held in Fairbury February 17 and 18. An excellent list of speakers will be present and the institute will undoubtedly be an interesting one to the farmers of this section. Get your big corn, fancy butter, and chickens ready and bring them in when the time comes as there will be liberal prizes offered by the merchants of Fairbury.

Tomorrow will open one of the greatest clearing sales in the history of Walton Bros. Co. This great firm has an immense stock of goods, equaled by no other firm in this part of the state. They have had printed and sent thru the mails almost 10,000 four page, seven column circulars, almost every line of which announces a bargain of some kind. They are going to reduce their immense stocks and are making prices that will do it.

The pastor of the Avoca M. E. Church will begin a series of meetings to last two weeks, commencing Jan. 4, 1903. It is very much desired that there be a full attendance at the first service. A glorious revival is expected. N. D. Haynes, pastor.

110 Years Ago

January 3, 1913

At the meeting of the city council Wednesday evening the clock on the city hall was officially presented to the city by J. W. and Isaac Walton. In a resolution presented by Alderman Henning and passed by the council the clock was accepted by the city.

The members of the Phi Chi Psi entertained their lady friends at the fraternity rooms Tuesday evening. It was in the nature of a house warming party, the rooms having recently been taken over by the young men, re-papered and decorated. At cards, Miss Rosamond Nussbaum won the prize. The young folks watched the old year out and the new one in. Refreshments of popcorn and apples were served.

The fine weather we are having in Illinois and the good roads have been the chief topic of conversation this winter. The roads are smooth and dusty.

Mr. and Mrs. Clair Barnes, south of town, were given the first surprise of their married life last Friday evening, when about 50 of their friends trouped in on them. They took with them all kinds of presents, for it was a useful shower for Mr. and Mrs. Barnes.

100 Years Ago

December 29, 1922

According to Postmaster Franzen and according to the empty mail sacks sent back to Chicago, Fairbury people were on the receiving end by a large majority on Christmas. Up to Sunday Postmaster Franzen had sent back 270 empty sacks that had come to Fairbury filled to the brim. He estimated that the incoming mail was five times as great as the outgoing.

One day this week Robert Mack found on a hedge fence on his farm honeycomb sufficient to hold twenty pounds of honey, which indicated that a swarm of bees had camped there for a little longer than is usual before finding a place of shelter.

Forrest — A miscellaneous Christmas program was well given Sunday evening at the Methodist Church by the children of the Sunday School. The audience room was filled, extra chairs being placed back of the pews. The candles of the Christmas tree were lit at the close of the program. The illuminated tree and the snowy gates with overhanging white Christmas bells, made a very pretty stage setting.

90 Years Ago

January 6, 1933

Miss Effie Mundell, an instructor in the fifth grade of the Fairbury grade schools, has resigned her position, the same to take effect February 10, which is the end of the present semester. Mrs. Hattie Swarm, a former instructor in the Fairbury schools, has been secured to take the place made vacant by Miss Mundell's resignation.

The members of John Joda Post, American Legion, are going to do a mighty fine piece of work today. One of their comrades, Matt Lewis, is ill and unable to take care of his corn crop, a part of which is still in the field. So the members of John Joda Post or any others who care to help them, are going out to Mr. Lewis' farm and lift the worry of how the corn is going to be shucked from the shoulders of their sick buddy. The Legion Auxiliary ladies are going to do their share by serving lunch.

80 Years Ago

January 1, 1943

When the Adam Skrobonak family on Route 3 arose Sunday morning they found their house and farm buildings entirely surrounded by water of considerable depth, the over-flow from the Vermilion River. The high point on which they are located is just a little higher than the Vermilion has climbed thus far. In order to reach the gravel road a team of horses was hitched to the truck to pull it through the half mile of intervening mud when the family found a trip to town necessary. The water in the pasture was four to five feet deep.

"Food Rationing," that phrase which makes the average food hoarder snap quickly to attention, was the subject of a speech by Attorney S. F. Dogin on Tuesday evening when members of the Fairbury Rotary Club gathered at Hotel Fairbury for the regular weekly dinner meeting. The various methods of rationing were discussed seriously, humorously and interestingly by Attorney Dogin, including the proposed "point system."

Lt. Mary Beth Mies visited at her home here during a ten-day leave from Ft. Des Moines, Iowa. She is acting assistant commandant of the School for Bakers and Cooks. Christmas Day Lt. Mies was notified of a promotion from third officer to second officer or first lieutenant.

70 Years Ago

January 1, 1953

Cropsey — A/C Homer McCullough, of Lackland AFB, Texas, spent Christmas with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. McCullough. Also with him was a friend, a Danish Air cadet, CPT Andrei Andersen, being trained at Lackland AFB. His home is at Sonderborg, Denmark.

Carl Bennett returned home on Wednesday afternoon from the Fairbury Hospital after being a patient there for ten days with an injured knee.

Five teenage Cullom youngsters have confessed to Deputy Sheriff Ed J. Ginter the destruction of property at the farm home of John Brazil, just west of Cullom, the night of November 29. Damage was set at $350, which will be made good by the parents of the boys. No formal charges were placed against the offenders.

Forrest — Miss Sharon Moore entertained a group of 8 girl friends at her home last Friday evening, Dec. 19, at a chop suey supper in honor of her birthday anniversary, following which they attended the basketball game.

60 Years Ago

January 3, 1963

Mrs. Remmert Heins, who lives one mile west of Weston, stumbled and fell out in the yard and fractured her left leg just below the hip on New Year's Day. She was found about twenty minutes later by their tenant, Jim Reeser. Mr. Reeser carried her into the house and called the doctor and ambulance. She was taken to the Mennonite Hospital where she is in satisfactory condition.

Fairbury's 113 retail firms paid a total tax of $240,819 in retail sales tax for the fiscal year July 1, 1961, through June 30, 1962, setting a new record. Fairbury's food stores pulled more than their share of business, according to the totals. Fairbury's retail tax from food stores was $71,217.

Sunday marks a big day for Earl Bahler, 22, as he heads for Puerto Rico and a final six-weeks training program with President Kennedy's Peace Corps. The young Fairburian has just completed nine weeks of training at the University of Oklahoma, and is home a few days visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Urban Bahler, R. R. 1, of this city. For the past nine weeks, Earl has been intensively studying Spanish, U.S. politics, world affairs, Communism and other technical areas.

50 Years Ago

January 4, 1973

As 1972 fades into the pages of history, farmers in the south-east quadrant of Livingston county will remember it as the year when everything that could go wrong, did, with the exception of prices. A year earlier, as 1971 closed out, it did so with the notation that rainfall was above average, and thus was classed as a "wet year." If 1971 was wet, '72 was a deluge and scuba diving might well become a favorite farm sport. Rainfall figures compiled at the weather-recording station at Fairbury's waterworks totaled a whopping 52.05 inches for the 365 days just past, as compared to 29.79 in 1971!

Jack Vaughan, an employee of Honegger Mill, Fairbury, was injured December 19, 1972, when his right hand was caught in the crumblizer machine. He has two broken fingers. He was taken to Fairbury Hospital and later transferred to Carle Hospital, Urbana, where he remains a patient. Later this week he will have skin grafting on his hand.

Mr. and Mrs. C. Ray Ward of Fairview Haven, Fairbury, were surprised Saturday evening when their children and their families, and six guests, came to remind them of their 59th wedding anniversary. There were 35 present at the celebration. Miss Ruby Alford and Ray Ward were married in Cropsey on Dec. 30, 1913. Their attendants were Mrs. Ethel Cox of Fairbury and the late Frank Cox. Their children are Lawrence Ward, Cropsey; Mrs. Lyle Branz, Sibley; Mrs. Ralph Sweet, Colfax; Mrs. Harold Elliott, Pontiac; and Edward Ward, Fairbury.

40 Years Ago

December 30, 1982

A burglar detected leaving Barth's V & S Variety in Fairbury at 2:40 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, abandoned his loot in the parking lot of Keck's Agency as he successfully fled Fairbury Police Chief Bill Spray who was about a half block behind him. Subsequent investigation revealed that Barth's was one of six Fairbury firms entered that morning and another attempted but failed in the period presumed to be ahead of the Barth incident.

Dr. Brenda Zeh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Zeh of Fairbury, recently completed a program of study leading to a PhD degree with a major in instructional systems design at Florida State University. Dr. Zeh had previously received a Bachelor of Science in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master of Science in physical education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She will be employed as an instructional designer by an educational consulting firm in Tallahassee, Fla.

Ron Moore of Fairbury has petitioned the Division of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Transportation, for permission to excavate a small pond north of the community. Moore's petition asks state approval for construction of an earthen dike and the excavation of a small pond in the southern flood plain of the North Fork Vermilion river, five miles north of Fairbury.

30 Years Ago

December 30, 1992

The deer with the bib, a landmark that has stood outside the Indian Trail Motel along U.S. 24 on the west side of Fairbury for over 25 years was moved last week. Carl Kieser bought the deer from the Harris Estate for an undisclosed amount. Kieser, of Gibson City, says he plans to open a second fishing club and place the deer at the entrance. While positioning the critter onto the flatbed trailer, Kieser measured it for height to be sure it cleared power lines. He says the deer is 16 feet tall, 22 feet long and was told it weighs 1400 pounds. Originally, the deer stood outside a restaurant in Towanda owned by the Merlin Harris' who moved it to Fairbury when they closed the Towanda business. That is why the deer wears a bib, as Harris' son Lee explains it.

A "recycler for 40 years, Fairbury's Dick Steidinger will 're-tire' Jan. 1 from the Steidinger Tire business, where he has been mending inner tubes, and later, re-treading tires for semi-tractors and trailers. "I started working for my dad (Aaron Steidinger) when I was 12 years old, sweeping floors," says the 64-year-old Steidinger, looking back on his years of labor for the family business. Aaron Steidinger bought the business in 1926, when it was known as Fairbury Vulcanizing Works. Steidinger, who is in partnership with his brother Jim and son Larry, plans to sell his share of the business to his son, maintaining a quarter interest.

An average of 55 bushels an acre on soybeans, and reports of 200-bushel corn were recorded for 1992's harvest season in the southeast parts of Livingston County. Unusually frequent rainfalls stalled the fall harvest for many local farmers.

20 Years Ago

January 1, 2003

Colfax Police are investigating five break-ins that occurred sometime after 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29. Colfax Police Chief Mike Walters stated that the village hall back door was broken in and an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the clerk's office, and also from the water department drop box. The Police Department's office was broken into as well. The side door leading into the Ridgeview Unit office was broken in and missing from the Unit Office were some cash and McDonald's coupons. The Old Village Hall was also broken into, and missing from the evidence room are two shotguns, one belonging to the police department and the second being stored as evidence from a past case. Hicksgas was also broken into and three fire-proof cabinets were broken into.

Laura Ortman, a former Chatsworth resident, marked her 100th birthday on Monday, Dec. 30. She now lives in Franklin, Tenn., where her two daughters and one son reside. Her husband, Cyril, ran an electric shop in Chatsworth for many years.

Fairbury area college students recently named to the 25th Annual Edition of the National Dean's List include Tecia Carber, Eastern Illinois University; Emily Harms, Illinois State University; Lanae Knapp, Heartland Community College; and Leslie McDonald, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

10 Years Ago

January 2, 2013

The Fairbury Community Fund has once again surpassed its goal. The 2012 campaign target was $41,000, but the board is grateful to announce $45,306 was collected. All 19 organizations received the full amount of money they requested. The additional funds were placed in a Fairbury Community Fund CD for future needs. No professional solicitors are ever used. The campaign mailing was prepared by residents of Fairview Haven and the PCHS Community Based class. The 2012 board of directors were Terri Wells, president; Karyl Kafer, secretary; Brenda DeFries, treasurer; Nancy Widlacki, assistant treasurer; Bob Wharton, Ione Broquard and Connie Rich, directors.

Bea Tetley of Fairbury celebrated her 95th birthday with a family dinner. She was born in Forrest on Dec. 29, 1917. She married Philip Edwin Tetley on Jan. 4, 1941. He died April 30, 1956. She has two children, Phil (Diane) Tetley of Normal and Mary (Stacy) Smith of Kissimmee, Fla. She also has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Mrs. Tetley retired from the National Bank of Fairbury in 1979 after a 25-year career. She also managed restaurants with her husband, including the Crossroads Cafe in Forrest and the Honegger House Hotel and Cafe in Fairbury. Mrs. Tetley, a longtime resident of Fairbury, is a former Fairbury Citizen of the year.

At the Shirk Center, free throws by Lane Maurer and Addison Bounds down the stretch helped the Hawks move past fourth-seeded St. Joseph-Ogden 60-53 in the opening round of the State Farm Holiday Classic. The game was tight throughout with neither team being able to establish an advantage until Prairie Central built a 10-point lead in the final quarter. It was Bounds and Maurer who helped get the 10-point margin. Bounds had three straight scores and Maurer contributed a 3-pointer. The two combined to go 6-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch. Bounds finished with 20 points while Maurer and Kyler Hoffman had 14 points apiece. Mitch Harrell added 10.

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