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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 10-18-23




130 Years Ago

October 14, 1893

Fairbury, as is usual in such cases, turned out her full share of the visitors who made "Chicago Day" at the World's Fair such a grand success. Agent Joe Reckard sold in the neighborhood of 300 tickets from this city to Chicago for that occasion.

John Conerus will move his cigar factory to the new Claudon Bank building, second floor, where he has nice quarters fixed up.

Several buggy loads of young people journeyed to the woods Friday afternoon in search of the festive walnut. They probably found him, as he is said to be plentiful this year.

About thirty of the friends of Ira Brown surprised that young gentleman Thursday evening at the home of his parents, west of town. During the evening J. W. Compton, in behalf of the assembled company, presented Ira with an elegant toilet set.


120 Years Ago

October 16, 1903

The date for the dedication of the new M. E. Church has been set for Sunday, November 15th, the pastor, Rev. Johnson, has announced.

Next week the wires between this city and Forrest will be connected, and the latter city will receive their electric current from the plant of the Fairbury Electric Light, Heat & Power Company.

Joe Gerber left an almost new overcoat some place last spring. He got along all right without it this summer, but with the cold blasts of autumn, Joe remembers he has forgotten and sighs for his ulster to cover up the cold spots. He is willing to reward anyone who will return it to Walton Bros. Co. Grocery.

Leslie E. Danforth this week came into possession of the Putnam livery stock and will hereafter conduct that livery stable.


110 Years Ago

October 17, 1913

The Fairbury Hospital will be closed for the present at least. Since the marriage of Martha Vetter to Mr. Hoppe last week, no one has been found to take her place.

Weston — Mr. and Mrs. Frank Winterland, who were married last Wednesday, have gone to housekeeping on the Winterland farm adjoining Weston on the north.

Strawn — Mr. and Mrs. Earl Putnam moved their household goods to Danville last Friday, where they will reside. Miss Edith Kuntz and Miss Lola Pygman spent the weekend with the Joy Pygman family at Decatur.

Miss Valerie Kring and Mrs. C. M. Harper were in Pontiac on Monday evening, where they were initiated into the White Shrine.


100 Years Ago

October 12, 1923

One of those occurrences which are bad enough, but what might easily have been worse, occurred Wednesday morning at the Howard Pratt home near Cropsey, when an oil truck tank containing 300 gallons of kerosene and 100 gallons of gasoline exploded. Ernest Hyatt, of Colfax, driving the oil truck for the Corn Belt Oil Company, had just driven into the Pratt yard when he noticed the front end of the truck was on fire. When the fire reached the kerosene and gasoline tanks there was an explosion that sent the burning fluid a hundred feet in the air. Fortunately the burning oil and gas was thrown away from the house and none of the buildings caught fire.

Edward Hilsabeck and Mr. and Mrs. Will Sterling and son Buddy left on Monday by auto for San Francisco, where they will join Mrs. Hilsabeck and make their future home. They have a full camping and cooking outfit and will camp out along the way. Owing to the lateness of the season they took the southern route, which will take them as far south as New Mexico.

October the second marked the birthday anniversaries of Mrs. Chris Ziller and Mrs. Mike Menton and in honor of this event the members of the Lodemia-Avoca Community Circle and their families to the number of forty surprised these ladies at the home of Mrs. Ziller. Two birthday cakes adorned with the proper number of candles, held a prominent place on the tables when a luncheon, which the surprisers had brought with them, was spread.


90 Years Ago

October 13, 1933

Mrs. Granville Masterson had the misfortune to fall down the basement steps at her home on Monday. Mrs. Masterson was carrying several glass dishes at the time and as she fell on the broken pieces she received a bad cut on one of her legs and numerous minor cuts.

The body of Gus Winkler, gangster, who was shot down in the streets of Chicago, Monday, passed through Forrest yesterday on its way to St. Louis, Mo., where burial will occur. The body was in a private combination baggage and passenger car. The casket, it is said, cost several thousand dollars and the flowers will also total an additional several thousand. Winkler's body was literally riddled with shotgun slugs, between 75 and 100 of the pellets having entered his body.

Wing — Mrs. Ollie Baysinger has purchased of Willard Barclay, the house and lot formerly known as the John Hagi property and expects to remain in Wing. The Baysingers recently sold their home here across the Wabash tracks to Frank Bollier.


80 Years Ago

October 15, 1943

A LaSalle car owned by Elisha Bennett of this city and driven by his son Elmer came to grief over at Forrest last Friday morning about 1:30 o'clock when it ran over two gas pumps at the Livingston Service Company station operated by Webb Hilsabeck. There was about twenty gallons of gasoline in the pumps and following the crash it caught on fire and the car was also badly damaged. The gasoline from the pumps had spread out over the ground and when the young man got out of the car and lit a cigarette, the fire was on.

The Fairbury Township High School students sponsored Tuesday's highly successful scrap drive and they were successful in gathering up 29 tons and 1,300 pounds which will net them between two hundred twenty-five and two hundred fifty dollars, to be used in student activities.

Instead of bringing home the bacon, Willard Barclay, of Wing, who returned recently from Minnesota, brought home the fish – around 200 pounds of them. Mr. Barclay is a member of Knoll Lodge and last evening he invited his brother members of this organization and a few other friends out to the lodge to a fish supper and it was the best ever, and there was an abundance.


70 Years Ago

October 15, 1953

Plans for construction of a new modern factory west of Fairbury were announced Wednesday by Thuro-Bilt Product, Inc., after negotiations for the use of the G. Y. McDowell property were concluded. The 7-acre tract of land extends 975 feet west from Calhoun street and 300 feet south of the TP&W Railroad tracks. The coal mine slag pile, so long familiar in the area, will soon disappear in the form of fill needed in the construction of the factory.

Gerald Kemmer, living three miles northwest of Chatsworth, has been a patient at the Fairbury Hospital since Monday morning, when he suffered the loss of the first two fingers of his right hand in a corn picker. Mr. Kemmer was wearing gloves at the time and when he tried to pull a lodged stalk from the picker his glove caught in the moving machinery.

Seven Illinois State policemen and an FBI agent Friday afternoon captured two car thieves in a field of corn near the Chatsworth High School football field. The fugitives entered Chatsworth in a car they had stolen in Beaver, Pa. Police gave the credit of the capture to Arthur George, of Chenoa, who called police after the fugitives had attempted to sell the car radio, a jack and a spare tire at George's place.


60 Years Ago

October 17, 1963

A large semi-truck which skidded off the roadway blocked all traffic on U. S. 24 for some two hours Thursday night. The incident occurred on the high shouldered section of the highway, just east of the Indian Creek Bridge, east of Fairbury. The truck remained upright, but traffic was unable to pass. Wreckers from two Fairbury firms, Fairbury Auto and Chet's D-X, succeeded in pulling the unit back on the roadway. The truck was from Hicksville, Ohio, but state troopers, who handled traffic at the scene, did not obtain the driver's name, since there was no property damage.

Firemen were called to the plant of Fairbury Industries at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday to quell a blaze outside the building. The prevailing winds had blown sparks from a rubbish fire into another pile of forming lumber and crating discarded by carpenters, and started a roaring fire against the side of the steel building. Damage was minimal.

The engagement and approaching marriage of Miss Lou Ida Kaisner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kaisner, Forrest, to Richard S. Steffen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Steffen of Fairbury, was announced at the Apostolic Christian Church Sunday. Miss Kaisner is a 1961 graduate of the Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School and is business manager of The Fairbury Blade. Her fiance is a 1956 graduate of the Fairbury-Cropsey High School, and is now engaged in farming.


50 Years Ago

October 18, 1973

Three apparent sonic booms were experienced by Fairbury residents Thursday evening at about 7:30, 9 and 12:30 p.m. Similar reports of the explosive sounds came from many points in central Illinois, but there was no immediate explanation from either civil or military authorities of any aircraft exceeding the speed of sound and thus sending the shockwaves earthward. Some metropolitan news commentators alleged that the three window-rattling explosions were the results of test flights by an experimental military aircraft while others suspected the passage of sophisticated fighter craft due to the Israeli-Arab war in the middle east, now in its second week.

The Fairbury Hospital Auxiliary board voted unanimously Friday afternoon to discontinue operation of their Fairbury recycling store "The Attic," effective November 3. The store has served the area more than 20 years. Ernest Fosdick has sold the site where The Attic is presently located to Sam Koehl, and the auxiliary will have to vacate the premises. For some time they have been seeking a new location to rent in the downtown area, but were unable to do so at a rent cost they could afford.

A total of 228 trophies have been accumulated by Fairbury's Eddie Hetherington, 35, in motorcycle racing competition during the past 11 years. Eddie, when he isn't racing, is employed by Fairbury's California Cycle Supply, owned by R. E. Weichman on East Locust Street. Among his trophies are the season point championship of the Clinton Motorcycle Club and also, in 1970, the regional and district championships, stretching from the Gulf to Canada.


40 Years Ago

October 13, 1983

Conversion of Fairbury's Third & Locust traffic lights to a flashing four-way stop system is on the work schedule of a Fairbury electrician, Mayor James Steidinger reported at Wednesday night's meeting of the Fairbury city council. Two weeks earlier, the council, on a 5-1 vote, approved a motion by Alderman Robert Wall to make such a change. The lone negative vote was by Alderman Bob Walter.

Anybody lost a peacock? Especially a white one? Les Mies and his nephew, Tom, caught one Friday morning in a freshly harvested cornfield northwest of Fairbury. Tom, on Wednesday, flushed the bird out into the open as he was combining corn. Thursday they didn't see anything of it, but spotted it again Friday morning and managed to catch it. They called Sam Koehl, Fairbury's resident peacock expert to see if it was from his flock. Sam said "no;" also that he didn't know of any others closer than Morris. The birds, famous for their fancy tails in the males, can fly, but only for short distances and are not a migratory species, thus creating a mystery as to whence it came.

To the delight of dozens of parents, friends and former band members who showed up to cheer them on, the Marching Tartars from Fairbury-Cropsey High School again dominated their class at the University of Illinois Band Day Saturday. The Marching Tartars captured first place honors for Class C bands in both parade and field show competition. Director Bruce Hammitt was pleased with the band's field show composite of 85.8 points, which not only far exceeded the second-place score of 71.23 points by Paxton, but also placed the FCHS musicians in the same neighborhood with such standout groups as Monticello (89.5) and the grand champions from Newton (94.4).


30 Years Ago

October 14, 1993

John Wiles, 55, of Chatsworth, announced last week his intention to run for sheriff in the March primary as a Democrat. Wiles hopes to unseat incumbent Don Wall, a Republican vying for his third term as sheriff. Wiles joined the Livingston County Sheriff's Department in May 1972 as a resident deputy in Chatsworth. Prior to that, he worked for General Telephone Co. from 1965 to 1972. While in the Army, he served as an intelligence specialist from 1957 to 1965. He also served 8½ years as an active member of the Army Reserve and National Guard.

Twenty-seven riders rode 535 miles and collected $1,942.40 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during a Bike-a-Thon held Sept. 18 in Forrest. The top five fundraisers were awarded prizes. They are Mark Schneider, first place, Nikon 35 mm camera; Casey Vaughan, second place, Sony Sports Walkman; Alex Hodges, third place, Sony Watchman; Colin Vaughan, fourth place, AM/FM clock radio/cassette player; and Andrew Gerber, fifth place, RCA stereo.

It's been 80 years in the making. Ron Shafer of Chatsworth did not plan for such a "birthday bash" when he was 60 or 70, but "an 80th is something special" – and his celebration just developed. He observed this special milestone by loading his "Shafer clan" onto a bus and taking them on a 1,200-mile outing of a lifetime to Disney World in Florida. Helping celebrate the family's longest-ever birthday party were his wife, Ruth, and about 30 immediate family members, ranging from a 5-month-old baby to the spry octogenarian.


20 Years Ago

October 15, 2003

For 27 years, Nancy Ifft of Fairbury has operated the combine, helping her husband Arnold, with harvesting their corn and soybean crops. All that came to an end last week, when the Iffts harvested their last acre of grain, bringing to an end 41 "good" years of farming. Ifft and her husband have lived on the same farm their entire married life. They feel that farming has been good to them. "We feel lucky that we got to raise our four children on a farm," said Ifft. "And we put all of them through college." As the final acres were harvested last Tuesday, the Iffts had mixed emotions, but are looking forward to doing some "fun things."

The Prairie Central Marching Hawks received numerous awards at the Mahomet-Seymour Marching Bulldogs Festival on Saturday. The band received a first place in Class AA competition and also received Best Winds, Best Auxiliary, Best Percussion and Best Drum Major. The band also placed second in the overall band competition, coming behind Normal Community High School.

Tom and Pam Schaher will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Oct. 20. A trip is being planned at a later date. Schahrer and Pam Immke were married Oct. 20, 1978 at the United Methodist Church in Fairbury. Susan Lambert Marsh and Paul Schaeffer were their attendants. The Schahrers have one son, Scott, at home. Schahrer is a partner in Kelly Electric in Pontiac, and Mrs. Schahrer is general manager of Driscoll Motors, Pontiac.


10 Years Ago

October 26, 2013

Dirt is flying, but for a good reason! On Monday, Oct. 7, the excavation began for the footings of the Brian J. Munz Safety Complex in Fairbury. Weather has been accommodating and hopefully the cement footings will be poured in the near future. The City of Fairbury has been doing the gutter and curb work along both sides of the street and utilities are being moved. Unfortunately, the project got stated late, but now that it has begun, everyone is hoping for good weather and few delays! People seem truly interested in the project, and the public will be kept well-informed with regular updates.

Darren and Sarah Weeks of Fairbury are the parents of a baby girl born at 5:33 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 at Gibson Area Hospital. Sadie Emberlyn weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 20 inches long at birth. Paternal grandparents are Pamela Weeks of Fairbury and the late James Weeks. Maternal grandparents are Rick and Crystal Bartanen of Monticello. The new arrival was welcomed home by her older brothers and sister, Rianne Ayers, 11, Clayton Ayers, 9, and Carder Weeks, 1½.


(Looking Back by Kari Kamrath is sponsored each Wednesday by Duffy-Pils Memorial Home with locations in Fairbury, Chenoa and Colfax)

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