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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 3-29-23




130 Years Ago

March 25, 1893

The Wabash section men north of Forrest are said to be out on strike for $1.50 per day.

George Decker left yesterday for Chicago, where he will join the Chicago ball team, which leaves for Atlanta, Ga., in a few days on their spring training trip.

While Frank Atwood, a school teacher near Lodemia, was handling a revolver last Tuesday, he accidentally shot himself through the fleshy part of the hand.

Mr. Hugh Salmon, who has been attending the Chicago Dental College, returned this week and will remain with Dr. Rayburn until next fall, at which time he will return to college to finish his course.


120 Years Ago

March 27, 1903

There are now in Fairbury two gentlemen who have machines of their own patent and both wish to establish plants in Fairbury. Both machines are implements for the farm, both are new and both are very useful. Johnson Bros. have a patent grain dump for conveying corn from a wagon into the crib. Joseph Mangan, a former citizen of this place, has patented a riding attachment for a harrow and has it on exhibition at J. P. Cooks' Furniture Store. Later: Mr. Mangan, we understand, has decided to locate in Galesburg where he has an offer.

Dr. C. E. Hayward of Cropsey has disposed of his telephone interests to the farmers living along the respective lines, a meeting was held Wednesday to make the transfer. The new company is using the incorporation papers that Dr. Hayward's company had, and the following were elected officers: President, E. W. Crum; secretary and treasurer, H. L. Barnes; directors, J. T. Cox, R. T. Slater, D. S. Crum, W. L. Tarr and H. L. McCullough. A meeting will be held soon to make further and more definite arrangements and confer with the other holders of 'phone interests at Cropsey with a view of establishing a central office.

The regular round up meeting of the Jolly Dozen Club was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. P. B. Groesbeck last Friday evening. All the members were present, accompanied by their husbands. A social time was enjoyed by all and the usual amount of good things were furnished to eat.


110 Years Ago

March 28, 1913

The heavy rains the latter part of last week and the first of this have filled up cellars, put out furnace fires and worked havoc in general. Indian Creek got out over its banks and the Munz and Dominy pastures south of town gave the appearance of a big lake. Out on the east road near the Haner bridge the water was so deep it could swim a horse. The bridge over Indian Creek near the stone quarry was swept away.

A letter from Nowlan Babcock, who is with the 30th U. S. Infantry at St. Michaels, Alaska, says that they have had a very pleasant winter, the mercury reaching only 43 degrees below zero a couple of times.

Owen Baily had a little argument with the family horse Tuesday afternoon and when it was over Owen concluded the horse was best. He was driving south, and when near the stone quarry, the horse took a notion to come back to town – and did it. Owen found himself piled up alongside the road after the argument was over, as was also the buggy. Owen came out all right, but the buggy didn't fare so well.


100 Years Ago

March 23, 1923

E. C. Fuller, who for the past five years has been foreman of The Blade office, has accepted a position as advertising manager of the Minot (N. D.) Daily News, and with his family will leave for that city about the first of April. Mr. Fuller is a gentleman who is thoroughly familiar with the advertising game and without question will make good in his new location.

During the excitement of the Republican caucus last Saturday afternoon Supervisor Cox's automobile bumped into Marion Fugate's buggy and took a hind wheel off the buggy. Stanley Perlee is authority for the statement that Mr. Cox said, "That's all right, Marion; go and get a new buggy and I'll pay for it." "Tip" said he didn't say new buggy but that he said new wheel. The accident happened on Main street in front of the Bon Ton.

Those who received the nomination on the Citizens ticket at the recent city primaries have withdrawn their names. This leaves only the Independent and Republican tickets in the field.


90 Years Ago

March 31, 1933

June Carolyn Johnson, sophomore at the Fairbury Township High School, was the entertainer at the Rotary Club dinner on Tuesday evening. Miss Johnson gave a humorous reading entitled "Little Sister Comes Up With Her Own." This is the same reading with which Miss Johnson delighted her audience at Fairbury Township High School last Friday evening and won for herself the distinction of taking first place in the humorous reading division of the high school preliminary literary contest. After listening to her rendition of the piece the Rotarians felt that the judges' decision was fully vindicated.

A vacant house on the North Jackson Street road, just at the northwest edge of Fairbury, burned this morning shortly after five o'clock. The house belonged to Mike Flanagan, and had formerly been occupied by Jack Runyon and family. It is not known how the fire started, but it may have been struck by lightning during the thunder storm.

Fairbury automobiles had their first "taste" of Hi-Ball gasoline last Saturday when the local station of the Livingston County Farm Bureau at the Fairbury Auto Company received several hundred gallons. This new Hi-Ball gasoline contains 10 percent alcohol, the idea being that advocated by Paul Beshers, of El Paso. There was a general rush for the gasoline when it arrived here, and all say it works fine.


80 Years Ago

March 26, 1943

Farm families are "on their honor" not to eat more meat, cheese and butter than others. OPA urges the farmers to market most of their produce and retain for themselves only an amount equivalent to what they could buy with ration book 2.

Complaint has been made that someone has been throwing dead chickens into Indian Creek and that the results are very unpleasant for farmers through whose lands the stream runs. Besides providing a source of undesirable food for hogs pastured along the stream and developing in them a pernicious appetite for fowl, the practice of dumping carcasses into the creek pollutes the stream and renders the water unsafe for livestock to drink.

A recent ruling by OPA, effective March 10, placing rationing of kerosene and fuel oil for farm vehicles and machinery, non-commercial cooking and lighting and similar purposes on a six-month basis is designed to simplify fuel oil rationing and to lessen the number of trips consumers must make to their local rationing boards.


70 Years Ago

March 26, 1953

W. K. Yoder, who lives northeast of town, discovered a sure sign of spring near his farm Monday. He stumbled across a den of seven baby foxes, minus their mother. Mr. Yoder was awaiting the return of the mother before taking the entire lot to Pontiac for the collection of the bounty.

The Fairbury Fire Department was summoned to the scene of two fires which broke out in the downtown district during the past week. Fire of undetermined origin broke out in the combination barn-tool shed building located in the alley behind the Emma Forrester home in the 300 block of East Ash about 4 p.m. Monday. A fire which could have had serious results was confined to a small area at the rear of the Fairbury Auto Co. garage through quick action by a passerby and the fire department Saturday night.

The Fairbury-Cropsey unit district grade school band, under the direction of William Wagner, distinguished itself to a great degree Saturday at Champaign, when it captured 14 firsts in the district music contest. Six second place ratings were also awarded to local contestants. The local band will enter the state contest in Bloomington to be held May 8 and 9.


60 Years Ago

March 28, 1963

House fires are a common emergency for all fire departments, but Fairbury may be setting a precedent with Dog House Fires, according to Chief Oscar Hannie. Saturday afternoon his department responded to a red hot blaze at the Bruce Redford home and since they couldn't get inside (too small) they just turned it over and poured on water. The technique had been perfected earlier, for while many departments are waiting for their first call of this nature, Fairbury currently claims the honors, for this is the second Dog House Call they've responded to, Hannie said.

A joint announcement today from E. F. Dickey, president of Honeggers and Company, Inc., and Elmer Roth, vice-president for marketing of the Honegger Company, revealed that Roth is resigning his post with the firm to enter a new business, details of which will be announced in the near future. Roth, who would have completed 23 years with the Honegger organization this next May, began his tenure with the company as a milk delivery driver and helping with odd jobs at Honegger Farms.

Western Newspapers, Inc., today announces sale of the Casa Grande Newspapers, Inc. to Mr. and Mrs. Donovan M. Kramer of Fairbury. The corporation publishes the Casa Grande, Arizona, Dispatch, a weekly newspaper of which the former Fairbury publisher assumes management Friday, March 29, becoming editor and publisher. Kramer left Fairbury this morning, for Arizona, accompanied by Gary Bishop, also of Fairbury, who will become mechanical superintendent of the Dispatch.


50 Years Ago

March 29, 1973

T. P. & W. Locomotive No. 400 derailed while switching in Fairbury Friday morning. The disabled unit was the front of a three locomotive power assembly on the eastbound local. The derailment occurred on the siding between First and Second streets. The crew uncoupled the unit which was "on the ground" as railroaders put it, and continued on their run, using just two engines. A maintenance crew arrived later to re-rail No. 400.

Fairbury-Cropsey School board member, Dave Ahlemeyer confirmed that the board knew all along that Charles Lane, and all administrators in the state, qualify as tenured teachers. He asserted that technically, Lane was not being removed from the school system, but merely the board was exercising its right not to offer Lane a contract as an administrator. Ahlemeyer acknowledged that Lane could be reassigned as a teacher in the district. Lane has asked the board for a bill of particulars and a public hearing as a result of his dismissal. Ahlemeyer reiterated that the board was "not about to" give Lane a hearing, and commented that under the re-assignment clause, they were not required to.

Three area grade schools won a total of four First Division ratings in the District Three band and chorus contest held Saturday in Fairbury. Both the grade school band and the chorus from Fairbury-Cropsey schools, conducted by Bruce Hammitt and Mrs. Carroll BesGrove, won first division ratings, while Chatsworth's Grade School chorus, directed by Barbara Kritler; and Forrest-Strawn-Wing's band, directed by Dave Holcomb, also were placed in the First Division.


40 Years Ago

March 24, 1983

The crocuses had been blooming prematurely for a month; the daffodils and early tulips had just followed the forsythia into bloom and robins abounded as Ol' man Winter waited until the last hours of "his" season on Sunday to greet Spring with the heaviest snowfall of the year. Starting at dawn on Sunday, about 5½ inches of wet snow fell in the Fairbury area, ending just about the time the equinox at 10:36 p.m. that evening marked the official arrival of Spring. Until that day, Fairbury had ben gloating over the experience of the mildest winter in a half-century.

An overflow crowd jammed the Forrest Legion Hall Tuesday afternoon for the sale of the 250 acres in the Mary Tjardes farm for the benefit of Evenglow Lodge in Pontiac. Apparent winner was the brother team of Ivan and Richard Steidinger of Forrest, who offered a total of $814,000 for the three tracts, one of which had a set of buildings. The three averaged out to $3,309 per acre. The bid must be approved by the Evenglow Lodge Board of Trustees which is to meet April 15.

A pair of defeats in the Illinois Elementary School Association state volleyball finals Monday failed to diminish the accomplishments of the Fairbury-Cropsey junior high girls. Coach Kathy Sytar's squad captured fourth place in the state tournament, closing out an excellent 20-2 season with a heartbreaking loss to eventual state champion, Easton, in the semifinals and a loss to two-time state winner Riverton in the third place match.


30 Years Ago

March 25, 1993

Mr. and Mrs. Dean Lassiter, Fairbury, have been selected to host a young man from Japan March 24-April 3 as part of an exchange program sponsored by the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H. The Lassiter family will have Kazunori Kaneiri, age 19, living with them for this 10-day period. The Lassiters have two children Tonya and Scott. Kaneiri will be here to learn more English, learn about American family life and culture and experience the day-to-day life of a typical family.

Leroy and Robin McPherson, Fairbury, are parents of a boy, Ethan Leroy, born March 17, 1993 at St. Joseph's Medical Center, Bloomington. He weighed eight pounds, one and a half ounces, and was 21 inches long. He has one sister, Katie, who is one and a half years old, and a half-sister, Wendy, 14. Grandparents are Harold and Jan Metz, rural Fairbury, and the late Larry and Bertha McPherson.

Saturday, March 13, found the Prairie Central High School Math Team in Peoria competing in the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Contest. Winning the Junior-Senior two-person contest and advancing to the State finals at Illinois State University Saturday, April 24, are senior Greg Freadhoff and junior Jennifer Salrin. Placing 2nd and 3rd respectively was the Frosh/Soph eight person team and the Junior/Senior eight person team.

Colfax — Kenneth "Dale" Orendorff decided to 'Come on down!' and win a new car on the CBS television game show "The Price Is Right." Viewers in this area will be able to see how Dale won the Mercury Topaz in addition to an electric guitar, a food mixer and a camera when the show is aired April 9. "It was a big surprise to all of us," says Dale. "I had no idea that my name would be called."


20 Years Ago

March 26, 2003

Forrest has been named Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation, making it the second year that the village has received this national recognition. Receiving this award for the second year, Forrest may qualify for saplings for the village. To become a Tree City USA, a community must meet four standards: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance.

Fairbury's City Council on Wednesday night, heard from Livingston County's States Attorney, Tom Brown, and Livingston County Sheriff, Robert McCarty about the drug problem in Livingston County. Brown related to the board that, "This is a bigger problem than you realize. I have kids, too. It scares me." He said that in the last six months, the drug activity has spiked. They have trouble with gangs spraying vehicles and buildings in Pontiac. There is also other forms of violence happening. He said, "I have never seen such a spike in both violence and the increased use of drugs."

This week's athletes of the week at Prairie Central Junior High are members of the Scholastic Bowl team: Lauren Marshall, Angel Darveau, Kristy Stefanski, Mike Smeltzer, Jerid Coleman, Jim Hildensperger, Chris Shepard and Eric Steidinger. The team is coached by Norma Harms and Chastity Pick. Thus far, the team has participated in 11 matches, with 10 to go, compiling five wins and six losses.


10 Years Ago

March 27, 2013

Karen Harms and the Fairbury community will be honored Friday, April 5, at a Donation Hall of Fame open house for their continued dedication to holding successful platelet drives each month. “Karen is highly respected by myself, American Red Cross staff, the donors who participate in the monthly drives and the community,” commented Nicole Powell, Director of Mobile Apheresis. “Karen has been the chairperson for mobile apheresis in Fairbury since 2009. Fairbury's efficiency rating sits at a whopping 97.24%. She has recruited 67 new donors since she began as coordinator, and total product collection since 2009 has been 2,202,” Powell added.

Brian and Kelly Helmers of Cropsey are the parents of a baby boy born in Champaign at 12:05 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Silas William weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 19½ inches long at birth. Paternal grandparents are Dennis and Cindy Helmers of Cropsey. Maternal grandparents are William and Barbara Butts of Mattoon. Paternal great-grandparents are Bill and Darlene Helmers of Cropsey and Donna Sands of Bloomington. Maternal great-grandparents are Kathryn Price of Charleston and Martin and Millie Murray of New Lenox.

Recently, Chatsworth Elementary School celebrated “Read Across America” with the theme, “WHO Loves to Read?” Students and staff dressed as citizens of “Who-ville” and ate “Who Pudding.” Students also helped the Grinch's heart to grow (it is two sizes too small) by participating in a random act of kindness. Chatsworth students collected items for the Livingston County Humane Society. Over 100 items were collected and donated over the week. The Livingston County Humane Society brought in a few furry friends to pick up the donations on Friday, March 22. Prizes were also given away and 10 Dr. Seuss character animals were raffled, with the proceeds going to the local PTO. Other activities included “Family Literacy Night and a “Read-A-Thon.”


(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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