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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 11-15-23




130 Years Ago

November 11, 1893

H. I. Reynolds and Everett Chambers, under the firm name of Reynolds & Chambers, will start the city laundry next week. They are young men of enterprise and deserve encouragement.

Miss Rosamond and Leona James entertained a dozen of their little friends last Saturday afternoon, it being Miss Rosamond's sixth birthday.

J. W. Morris' new bakery is now open.

Enoch Marsh and family, late of Chicago, have returned to Fairbury to live.


120 Years Ago

November 13, 1903

We hear of some pretty good corn husking this season, but the best that has been done up-to-date was by Court Burgess and Joe Garber. Burgess works for Garber and is rated as a first-class corn husker. Last Friday he husked, weighed and cribbed 142 bushels and a few pounds of corn, shoveling the corn into the crib. Saturday Burgess and Garber each husked and cribbed over 136 bushels. The corn was all weighed and so far as we can learn this is the best record for 1903.

Weston — The Weston Literary and Debating Club was organized as the result of the meeting at the school house Saturday night. The club starts out with a membership of fourteen which we hope to see doubled by the first regular meeting, which will be held Nov. 20. There is plenty of talent in Weston and vicinity to conduct a successful club during the winter months and the public are cordially invited to join. A good program is being arranged for the first meeting.

Wing — The Epworth League gave a very interesting program last Saturday evening at their chicken pie social. They made about $31.


110 Years Ago

November 14, 1913

The big new barn belonging to W. D. Fry, who resides four miles south of Fairbury, was burned to the ground Monday, just a year to the day from the time it was completed. Burned in the fire were six horses, 30 tons of hay, a quantity of straw, harness, etc. Miss Blanche Fry tried to save her driving horse and got it as far as the door, but it pulled away and ran back into the barn. The implement and tool shed, containing all of their farming implements, was destroyed, as was also a corncrib containing 2,000 bushels of corn and a bin containing 400 bushels of oats.

The Fairbury High School eleven was swamped last Friday afternoon at the fair grounds, the Pontiac High School team being responsible for the one-sided score of 75 to 0.

A corn husking contest of more than usual interest was pulled off in John Thompson's corn field last Friday morning. The contestants were Jay Tyler, proprietor of Tyler's Barber Shop, and Will T. Jones. Mr. Jones is many years Mr. Tyler's senior, but he was as frisky as a colt. He headed his team down the row, jumped up, kicked his heels together a couple of times and it wasn't long until he had the natives in that vicinity looking for a snare drum – he was humping the throw-board so fast. In the three hours Mr. Jones husked 30 bushels while Mr. Tyler was husking 25.


100 Years Ago

November 9, 1923

Roscoe Combes let slip the handle of the gasoline pump while pumping gas and was struck just above the eye. The injury was painful and a very black eye was the result.

The ditching machine, which will be used in the Ash Street drainage project, arrived here Wednesday, was unloaded and taken to the McDowell land east of town, where work will be started. Work on the ditch will start as soon as the preliminary work is completed.

The Fairbury Fair held its annual meeting last Monday afternoon in the Commercial Club rooms. Quite a few of the stockholders were present and a large number were represented by proxies. The annual report of the secretary and treasurer was formally presented, which showed that the receipts this year slightly exceeded those of last year in spite of rain, which marred all but the last two days of the fair. While the rain interfered materially with the receipts of this year, thus causing the income to fall quite a little below the estimate, it is a remarkable tribute to the reputation of the Fairbury Fair that the receipts from all sources exceeded those of any previous year.


90 Years Ago

November 10, 1933

We had a little taste of winter the past week. Tuesday especially it was quite wintry, with a cold west wind and several flurries of snow. Yesterday and last night the thermometer showed well down below the freezing point.

Andrew Armbruster and Mr. and Mrs. George Armbruster were greatly surprised last Saturday afternoon when Walter Armbruster, grandson of Mr. Armbruster Sr., unexpectedly came to visit them, bringing with him a bride of three days. The couple were married in Cherokee, Okla., and are visiting relatives in Illinois and Indiana.

Wing — A very fine exhibit of silhouette pictures in black painted on glass with the turf from milkweed seed for a background, which were hand-painted by pupils of the grammar room of Wing school are shown in one of the front windows of the Anderson Store in Wing. They are worth-while examples of school art work in drawing and make an attractive exhibit.


80 Years Ago

November 12, 1943

We had a couple of rainy days the latter part of last week and Sunday night it turned to snow. Most of the snow melted as it fell, but it turned colder and has been that way all week, with the coldest yesterday morning, 19 above zero.

At the regular meeting of the Fairbury Township High School Board of Education Monday evening, Guy N. Bayless, who has been principal for the past year, tendered his resignation, effective December 1. The board refused to accept the resignation "because of the good of the school" and informed Principal Bayless to demand of all employees their cooperation and the cooperation of the student body.

Weston — Pfc. Edward Traub, a patient at the O'Reilly Hospital in Springfield, Mo., called at the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Range and Mr. and Mrs. Maurice King on Monday morning. He told Mrs. Range that when he was wounded in Australia her daughter, Miss Lola, took care of him during his stay in the hospital, and she didn't seem homesick at any time but was always cheerful. He called on Mrs. King to tell her he had seen her twin brother, Bernard Runyon, and Clarence Holmes, of Pontiac. Both Bernard and Clarence were employed at the hospital. Mr. Traub will return to the hospital following a ten-day furlough.


70 Year Ago

November 12, 1953

The Fairbury-Cropsey Unit Board of Education has accepted the resignation of Robert J. Maurer, agriculture instructor, effective Jan. 31, 1954. Mr. Maurer has accepted a position with the Farmers National Bank. The board has hired Warren Wessels, formerly of Fairbury, to fill the vacancy. Warren is presently serving as assistant farm adviser of Iroquois County. His wife is the former Lois Huisman of Forrest, and he is the son of the late John, and Mrs. Wessels of Fairbury.

Postmaster and Mrs. Francis M. Masterson returned on last Thursday evening from the national postmasters' convention held at San Francisco, Calif. They left Chicago on October 21 on a special train. Stopovers of a day each were made at Denver, Colo., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reno, Nev. The convention was from October 26 through 29. Their trip also included visits to San Diego, Calif., and down into Mexico. Two days were spent in Los Angeles and a day at the Grand Canyon.

Robert Cummins is a member of the Collegiate Choir. The Collegiate Choir and a girls' Speaking Choir will present the program at the opening of a five-day National Methodist conference on education in Cincinnati, O., Nov. 11. Cummins graduated from Fairbury High School and is now a sophomore at Wesleyan, majoring in voice. He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity and Apollo Quartet.


60 Years Ago

November 14, 1963

A group of 27 farmers from the Cropsey area plowed two tracts totaling 97 acres Tuesday afternoon to aid two neighbors who were recent victims of harvest accidents. At the farm of Omer Meyer, they plowed 77 acres in three hours, starting about 12:30. He had lost two fingers when he became entangled in a corn-picker two weeks ago. Earlier on Tuesday, the same crew plowed a 20-acre field just before lunch for Art Huston, who injured a nerve in his shoulder when he fell from a combine hitch.

Fairbury this weekend will be the mecca for hunters as the pheasant season opens at noon on Saturday and hundreds of men, boys and a few women take to the fields with their shotguns. Ross Mowery of Fairbury will again give a pair of new shoes from his shop to the resident from within a 10-mile radius who brings in the longest tail feather from a ring-neck pheasant.

Fairbury's salute to Veteran's Day rolled off Monday to the strains of the Marching Tartars of Fairbury-Cropsey High School. The band escorted a lengthy parade which was headed by the color guard of John Joda Post 54, American Legion, of Fairbury, to services at Graceland Cemetery. Clifford Denker, commander of John Joda Post, was master of ceremonies for the memorial service at the cemetery. The wreath was placed on the monument at the flag pole by Mrs. Denker, president of the Post Auxiliary. The invocation was by Rev. Gordon Reif of Fairbury, and the principal address by Rev. Jack Newsom of Chenoa who made the point, "It's hard to get some people excited about peace until we get in a war."


50 Years Ago

November 15, 1973

A wild, 500 lb., white sow, who has been named Fannie, has spent the last 5½ months bothering farmers south of Forrest. Fannie managed to escape from the Forrest Sale Barn in June and since that time has homesteaded at the farm homes of Roy Schwarzwalder, Homer Blunier, Glen Honegger, Harley Honegger and at one of the Metz farms. Her escapades include following and bothering the farmers while they were combining, chasing hunters out of the fields and breaking out of enclosures when someone finally pens her in.

Rennon Elliott, former superintendent of the Fairbury Street Department, has been moved from the Trauma Center of St. Francis Hospital to the Heritage Manor Nursing Home in Streator. Elliott, who was visited Sunday by Mayor and Mrs. Roy E. Taylor, was described by the Mayor as "showing what I thought were some signs of recognition." The city employee was injured critically last March 30, when his car was struck from behind on U. S. 24, by a speeding vehicle occupied by two deputies of the Livingston County Sheriff's Department while both vehicles were responding to a severe weather warning and possible tornado watch. Since then, Elliott has been unconscious and a patient in the trauma center.

Miss Nancy Foster, 18, Forrest, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Foster of rural Forrest, was named Saturday night to reign as the 1974 Miss Tri-County. The pageant, sponsored by the Fairbury Jaycees, and held at the Fairbury-Cropsey High School gymnasium Saturday night, is part of the Miss Illinois and Miss America pageants, the former of which Nancy will attend as the representative of Livingston, McLean and Ford Counties. Nancy was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants. Nancy will receive a $300 scholarship to help further her studies at the Bloomington School of Practical Nursing.


40 Years Ago

November 10, 1983

Tartar coach Randy Clifton's face told the whole story – an ear to ear smile – following the Tartars' 22-7 victory over LeRoy, a win which clinched the Sangamon Valley Conference title, a state playoff bid and locked up the schools' first unbeaten season since 1970. With some of that 1970 team sprinkled among the several hundred fans at the FCHS field, the Tartars got off to a shaky start. LeRoy got on the scoreboard first. The visiting Panthers, who brought a huge caravan of supporters up with them, appeared to have an upper hand as the clock ran down toward intermission. However, sophomore defensive tackle Bob Short came up with a big fumble recovery at the LeRoy three. Kurt Miller did the dirty work into the end zone and added the two-point conversion that lifted FCHS on top 8-7 at the half.

The National Bank of Fairbury is observing the 65th anniversary of its founding on Nov. 1, 1918 when a group of farmers with invested capital of $44,000 created the Farmer's State Bank. This week, John Gerber, its president, who has been with the bank for 53 of those 65 years, recalled some tempestuous times. At the time, it was the fifth bank in town. By 1930, three of those five banks merged to create the Fairbury Bank, and the fourth, the Claudon Bank, had closed in 1928. And when the Fairbury Bank was closed in June, 1930, the Farmer's State Bank was the sole survivor.

The county's largest retailer, Walton's of Fairbury, this week is observing its 115th anniversary. The department store is also the county's oldest business under the same name. Walton's was founded in 1868 by Isaac and John Wesley Walton. Three times after that, they were destroyed by fire; twice at their present location at the corner of Third and Locust, where the store was rebuilt in 1884 after the first fire.


30 Years Ago

November 10, 1993

When Margie Shilts of Fairbury was informed she had been chosen as Grand Marshal of this year's Christmas parade, she said, "I was shocked." Parade chairman John Strong made the call to Mrs. Shilts to tell her the good news. Strong said she was chosen by the Fairbury Association of Commerce because she had been a "long-time businesswoman" in Fairbury. A long time is an understatement. "I worked downtown for 59½ years," reported Mrs. Shilts. Although she can't recall the exact dates, she said she began work as a sales clerk and soda fountain jerk in Wade's Drug Store. From there she went to Feldman's Clothing and Shoe Store, then Stan's Men's Clothing and Shoes, followed by Cooper's at the same location. "Then I went to Zimmerman's Hardware and was there 10½ years," she said, retiring in 1988.

For the first time since the earliest days of the Fairbury Fair, the date for the fair has been moved up, according to Fairbury Fair Secretary Bill Fugate. "In response to what's been happening at the schools...the Fair board elected to move the fair date up a week," said Fugate. He said the board felt the fair was "probably losing ground" with trying to draw attendance when school was already is session.

Air Force Airman Brad A. Drach has graduated from Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. During the six weeks of training, Drach studied the Air Force mission, organization and customs and received special training in human relations. In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Drach, a 1993 graduate of Prairie Central High School, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Drach, Fairbury.


20 Years Ago

November 12, 2003

Sheriff Robert McCarty of Livingston County appeared before the village board in Forrest Thursday night. He explained that a clerical error in the Sheriff's office had occurred and no invoices were sent to the village for 2003. "The County is more than willing to work with you to help you to catch up." Mayor Richard Sanders said the village would try to make up the payments as soon as possible.

At the special Prairie Central School Board meeting on Monday night, Superintendent John Capasso reported to the board concerning annexation activities for the school year 2004-2005. He also informed the board that the opposition forces have filed for a rehearing before the Regional Board of Trustees. Capasso speculated saying, "The chances of overturning the merger decision are very slim." The board stated that they do not want to be involved in the dispute between Chenoans. The consensus of the board was to support the merger decision, but to maintain the integrity of the Prairie Central District.

Kyle Dawson, an accountancy major at Western Illinois University, has received the WIU Presidential Scholarship, which awards recipients $1,000 per year for four years of college; and the WIU Residential Scholarship, which pays a portion of the recipients' room and board. A 2003 graduate of Prairie Central High School, Kyle is the son of Rick and Sandy Dawson.


10 Years Ago

November 13, 2013

Two members of a young farmer group from Wales experienced life in central Illinois during the past few weeks. The Prairie Central FFA Chapter hosted Leyshon Griffiths and Angharad Lewelyn who are participating in the international program for Wales YFC. The volunteer youth organization represents young people in rural Wales, much like our FFA. The two enjoyed several days of touring local farmsteads, towns and landmarks and were even able to help on area farms during harvest. They also attended the National FFA Convention in Louisville. Both agreed that life in the midwest is much different from back home.

Sav-Mor Pharmacy is excited to be helping a couple of local girls get their Business Ownership badges, through Girl Scouts. Lizzie Duffy and Sydney Nimbler, of Fairbury, have been meeting with Erica Knauer to form a business plan, including brainstorming of products that could potentially sell, pricing and advertising. After much thought and consideration , the girls decided to make bracelets. The bracelets went on sale on Friday, Nov. 1 and have been selling very good. The girls are in Girl Scout Troop #1347 which is where the proceeds will go. Also, Sav-Mor has decided to match all profits made in this great venture.


(Looking Back from Kari Kamrath is sponsored each week by Duffy - Pils Memorial Homes)

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