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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 12-13-23

130 Years Ago

December 9, 1893

Elmer Odell traded horses this week with parties near Forrest, so now he is flying high.

Live coals falling out of the grate and onto the floor caused a small fire at the Logan Lough home on Friday morning. Although the fire was small, the ceilings, woodwork and furniture were quite badly damaged.

"Sy" Thompson has had a tussle with the grip. He says it is harder to turn down than the Forrest nine.

A sleigh load of sixteen young people from Forrest devastated the supper table at the Morris Restaurant Tuesday evening.


120 Years Ago

Dec. 11, 1903

S. E. Ellis purchased the Jesse Tune property, just west of Mrs. McKenzie's residence this week, paying $1,200.

Peter Lehner, tailor with John B. Reis, is now an American citizen. He went to Pontiac Wednesday with Mr. Reis and took out his papers.

The first load of coal out of the new shaft was put up at auction last Saturday and was bought by Jay Claudon at $15 per ton. There were 4,420 pounds in the load.

According to the Cullom Chronicle, Ed Amsler, formerly of this city, and Miss Emma Amacher, of Cullom, were married in Chicago Thursday of this week.


110 Years Ago

December 12, 1913

Mr. and Mrs. R. N. Kelso and son, Price, and Mrs. Kelso's sister, Frances Price, who makes her home with them, are moving to Decker, Mich., where Mr. Kelso has purchased a farm.

The following were initiated into the mysteries of the Phi Chi Psi Fraternity last Saturday evening: Dr. J. H. Langstaff, N. E. Fulton, Dr. N. M. Otis, J. H. McFadden, L. E. Broadwell and Van Wharton. Following the initiation a banquet was served at Woodman Hall.

Roscoe Combes has purchased the residence property of Mrs. Jennie Travis-Cooper, in the southwest part of this city, paying $2,000 for the same.


100 Years Ago

December 7, 1923

Dr. J. C. Page had a pretty narrow escape from a fire Monday night that damaged the residence in which he and Mrs. Page live, to the extent of about $3,000, and also destroyed a part of their furniture. Dr. Page had to make his exit from an upstairs window onto a porch, and then down. Mrs. Page was away from home at the time. There was some misunderstanding as to where the fire was, the firemen getting the impression it was in Dr. Page's office on Main Street. They strung a lead of hose up to his office and knocked out the glass in his door, only to find there was no fire there. This delayed them some five or ten minutes, but they did effective work after getting to the house.

A deal was closed last week whereby Sam Zehr became the owner of the Mrs. W. D. Fry farm, four miles south of town. The farm is one that is well improved. It contains 240 acres and the price paid by Mr. Zehr was $255 per acre. The farm is at present occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Fry.

At the annual meeting of the Fairbury Fair Association held recently, Prof. E. W. Powers, secretary, stated that the duties of that office had increased to such proportions that they were taking up too much of his time and asked that the association find someone to take over the work entirely or someone to assist him and eventually take over the work. A committee was appointed for this purpose and have selected for the position G. W. Bennett, a gentleman who has had lots of experience along this line.


90 Years Ago

December 8, 1933

The Central Theatre is presenting a big stage show of its own Thursday, December 14. The management is calling the event Fairbury's Stage Revue. Local talent has been obtained from several of our neighboring towns and Fairbury. The show will be an exhibition of some of the very best of local talent from the county. The program includes three teams of girls' adagio and tap dancers from Pontiac, a quartette from Sibley, a vaudeville act from Forrest, a group of musicians from Chatsworth and four acts from Fairbury with the best of Fairbury's talent. The winners will be judged by audience acclamation and winners will be given money and trade prizes.

The Fairbury Rotary Club with the assistance and co-operation of the entire community, will for the third consecutive year, be Santa Claus to the children of Fairbury and vicinity. The Rotary Club on last Tuesday evening appointed a committee to direct this community project, and provided funds for the immediate use of the committee. Additional funds are solicited and needed from any of our people who desire to help make the children of this city happy during the Christmas season.

Someone attempted to enter the home of Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Bliss on West Hickory Street, the forepart of the week while they were absent. A long cut was made in the wire of the screen door and the door unhooked, but the intruder failed to get the other door unlocked.


80 Years Ago

December 10, 1943

The farm sale of L. L. Cook, held Tuesday at his home a mile and a half north of Cropsey, was largely attended, the bidding was brisk and the sale totaled $6,000. Cars lined the roadway in all directions from the house, many of those present coming from considerable distances. One man told Col Downs, the auctioneer, that he had come a hundred miles, this bidder being especially interested in power farm machinery. Naturally Mr. Cook was more than pleased with his sale.

H. DeFries, proprietor of the Fairbury Coal Chute, who last week disposed of his buildings near the Honegger Mill, to this latter firm, has leased of George Walker the Walker Coal yards and equipment located a block west of where the Fairbury Coal Chute was originally located. Mr. DeFries has operated the Fairbury Coal Chute since February 16, 1938, when he purchased the business of P. M. Hotaling. Mr. Hotaling had purchased the business of C. W. Veatch, August 22, 1927.

The immense amount of work involved in putting on a Fairbury Fair, together with the importance of putting on a fair next year, was made definite and clear to the members of the Rotary Club on Tuesday evening when P. J. Keck, president of the Fair Association, and George Decker, its secretary, gave a graphic description of the manpower necessary to handle the event and the man hours of work during, preceding and following the fair. The purpose of this was to prepare Rotarians for the time to come when they will be drafted for fair jobs.


70 Years Ago

December 10, 1953

Fire Tuesday night did an estimated $7,000 damage to the interior of the Forrest High School gymnasium. The Forrest fire department fought the flames for about an hour and succeeded in confining the blaze to the stage, located on the east side of the gym. Destroyed were curtains, backdrops, musical instruments and some temporary bleachers which had been erected to seat a portion of the overflow crowd expected to watch the Forrest-Chenoa basketball game scheduled for less than an hour after the fire was discovered. The water-soaked floor and heavy smoke made playing of the game impossible in the gym, and it was switched to Chenoa. Cause of the fire was thought to have been a shorted switch box, which ignited a cord used for drawing the curtains.

Jack Milne, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Milne of Fairbury, was one of the 16 Bradley University students recently named to "Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities." Students are chosen on the basis of their scholastic record and participation in extra-curricular activities. Jack, a public relations major, will graduate in June. He is a graduate of Fairbury Township High School.

Pvt. Vernon L. Garmon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edvin E. Garmon, Cropsey, recently arrived in Korea for duty with the Army's I Corps. The Corps, one of three in Korea, coordinates the intensive post-truce training and reconditioning of UN units under its control. Pvt. Garmon is a storage supply specialist in the 51st Signal Battalion's Headquarters Company. A former Illinois State Normal University student, he entered the Army last April and completed basic training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.


60 Years Ago

December 12, 1963

Fairbury area residents should be on the lookout for T. P. & W. trains "highballing" through town now that a slow-down restriction has been lifted by section foreman John Kammermann. Trains have been traveling through town about 10 m.p.h. for the past several months because of work being done on crossings, replacement of ties, and new ballast added to the Fairbury yard. Kammermann emphasized that trains are now hitting 49 m.p.h. "When signals are flashing now, it means there's a train on the track and it's not our equipment that's causing the lights to blink," said the foreman. He told The Blade that he has already witnessed several "close calls" by area motorists who drive right across the tracks even though lights are flashing.

An 82-year-old Chatsworth woman was killed instantly at 2:08 p.m. Tuesday when struck by a T. P. & W. freight train at the 4th Street crossing in Chatsworth. Mrs. Laura Brown had almost cleared the train when hit. Crew members told County Coroner Vernon Von Qualen that they noticed a lady walking slowly south, watching her footing and carrying groceries in her left arm. Witnesses said that flasher lights were working, the locomotive whistle was sounded, and the crossing bell was working.

Carl Rapp, of K & S Sales, Inc., Fairbury, has earned a "Master Salesman" award for being among a group of outstanding salesmen in Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, Patrick A. Brescia, Chicago district sales manager for Lincoln-Mercury Division, announced today. His outstanding sales proficiency has placed him among the top 12 percent of all Lincoln-Mercury salesmen in the nation and earned him special recognition from the Lincoln-Mercury Sales Council.


50 Years Ago

December 13, 1973

Five "Big John" hopper cars of the Norfolk and Western railroad, part of a 100-car train being transferred from the T. P. and W. railroad to the N. and W. in Forrest, jumped the tracks and overturned shortly after 2 p.m., Tuesday, blocking all traffic on both roads. N. and W. locomotives had started to pull the cars around the interline track, or "Y" onto their north-south line when those rails apparently heaved and some of the trucks jumped the track. When the first of the derailed cars reached the mainline switch, the trucks were pushed from under the lead car and it plowed into the ground and overturned, dragging three following cars with it.

The Thursday evening pinochle club met Tuesday morning at the home of Mrs. Jim Kafer for a cookie exchange party. Those participating were Mrs. Bob Zimmerman, Mrs. Roger McDowell, Mrs. John Mowery, Mrs. James Maiden and Mrs. Rich Miller.

For 40 years of perfect attendance – that's 2,080 meetings at the rate of one per week, plus several dozen assorted district conventions, assemblies, and even International conventions, Carlos "Bud" Thompson, the secretary of the Fairbury Rotary club since 1940, received a special lapel pin last Tuesday from District Governor Kurt Schmidt of Champaign. Frank Pratt was cited for 30 years of perfect attendance and Dudley Fultz, who only four days earlier had observed his 100th birthday anniversary, was cited for 20 years of perfect attendance achieved prior to his taking senior inactive status early in 1973.


40 Years Ago

December 8, 1983

Through bankruptcy and bloodshed, fire and flood, terror and tragedy, the Toledo, Peoria and Western railroad which fathered Fairbury 125 years ago, had endured through good times and bad. As this month ticks away, at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, 1983, the T. P. & W. and its 326 miles of mainline trackage, 21 locomotives and uncounted cars will be no more. At midnight on the last day of this year, it is to be absorbed by its parent organization, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. At that time it will become the Peoria district of the Santa Fe's Illinois division and its blue and yellow paint will replace the orange and white of the T. P. & W. locomotives.

A Fairbury native, Charles B. Wharton, has been named an Honorary Texan by Governor Mark Whit. Wharton is director of admissions and finances at Austin College in Sherman, Tex., and the son of Mrs. Shelby Wharton and the late Mr. Wharton of Fairbury. He joined Austin's staff 18 months ago. He has been presented with a plaque from the governor in recognition of what his colleagues in Sherman call a "distinguished honor."

Rev. Arthur J. Campbell was installed as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fairbury in an afternoon service on Sunday, Dec. 4. Rev. Campbell is a native of Deadwood, S. D. He is a graduate of William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo., and of Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Center, Mass. He has served pastorates in North Platte, Neb., Torrington, Wyo., and Mahomet prior to his arrival in Fairbury. His wife Karen is a teacher at Tree Top Child Development Center. The Campbells have two sons, Bill, 16, and Rich, 11.


30 Years Ago

December 8, 1993

Bar-b-qued raccoon may be a treat to some palates, but it was the raccoon who reportedly turned up the heat and cooked the power in Forrest Thursday, leaving the village without electricity from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. The supervisor on the scene said there was raccoon hair on the "bushing" at the power substation. Mayor Richard Sanders reported that a village worker was looking at the sunrise when the 69,000 volt transformer, located at the sub-station on the east side of town, blew, causing a huge orange ball.

Something that a lot of safety-minded motorists already do will soon be required of all Illinois drivers – having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are used, according to state Rep. Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac). The new law states headlights must be on when there is rain, fog, snow or any other atmospheric condition that requires the use of windshield wipers. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 1994, but Rutherford asks motorists to begin now as a safety measure, if they aren't already, and as a way to get into the habit.

Prairie Central's head varsity basketball coach, Tom Posey, is on his way to achieving a goal that not many coaches achieve in their careers, according to PC Athletic Director Jeff Butts. "In his 20th year as a head coach, he has averaged 21 wins a season. His coaching career has been limited to only two schools, which makes this even more amazing," said Butts. Posey began his career at Crescent City, which is now Crescent-Iroquois, in 1973 and remained there until 1991 when he joined the Prairie Central Hawks coaching staff.


20 Years Ago

December 10, 2003

After competing at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., this fall, the Prairie Central High School Dairy Judging Team accomplished a second place finish. Because the team placed in the top three, they have been invited to represent the United States at the Royal Highland International Dairy Judging Contest in Edinburgh, Scotland next summer. At the Royal Highland Contest, the dairy team will be able to enhance their dairy judging skills by getting pointers from the Scottish judges. Even more importantly, these future leaders will experience European agriculture and receive a global perspective of the agricultural industry.

After nearly 20 years in business in Fairbury, Rusty "H.D." Leffingwell has sold Rusty's Ag Sales to Chad Wieland of Kawkawlin, Mich. Wieland grew up working in an implement dealership with his father. After the sale of the business a few years ago, Wieland established the Chad Wieland Farm, where he raises berries and vegetables along with corn, wheat and soybeans. The majority of the berries and vegetables are sold through his own market on the farm. Leffingwell intends to stay involved in the design and manufacture of new products, as well as furnishing assistance at specialty trade shows.

Fairbury's own Tamira Kothari Barnes, has just released a solo piano CD, entitled, "Candlelight Christmas." Tamira is the daughter of Dr. Nik and Ruthanne Kothari of Fairbury. Her reputation as a premier pianist was established during the 80's as she played for many school functions, church events and recitals in Fairbury. She studied piano at Anderson University, where she met her husband Jeff. They now reside in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with their two children, Blake and Brianna.


10 Years Ago

December 11, 2013

Slowly, but surely, progress is being made on the Brian J. Munz Public Safety Complex in Fairbury. Members of the Fairbury City Council learned Wednesday night that the actual building was delivered the previous Friday and is currently at the old Ameren facility. The council approved a $122,251 payment to A & S Building Systems and Tarter Construction. Crews are in the process of forming up the structure to pour the foundation. The footings are poured and work continues on a raised curb.

Sarah Kristine Harms and Alexander Roland Henson, both of Urbana, were united in marriage on Aug. 3, 2013, during a 2 p.m. ceremony at Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign. The bride is the daughter of Neal and Norma Harms of Forrest. The bridegroom is the son of Christa Russell of Indianapolis, Ind., and Allen and Karen Henson of Mahomet. The bride attended Parkland College and Illinois State University and is employed at Patterson Auto Supply in Champaign. The bridegroom attended Parkland College and is employed at Best Buy as a home theater installer.

Dwight and Anita Knapp of Fairbury are the parents of a baby girl born at 1:57 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 at Gibson Area Hospital. Adeline Kay weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces and was 20½ inches long at birth. Paternal grandparents are Alvin and Susie Knapp of Fairbury. Maternal grandparents are Lloyd and Joyce Honegger of Forrest. The new arrival was welcomed home by her older brother, Silas, 22 months.

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

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