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Full text of "Wagons to wings : a history of Piper City"

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 

LIBRARY 

AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 

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Congratulations 
PIPER CITY 



ROBERTS HICKSGAS, INC 

ROBERTS, ILLINOIS 



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Bulk l!lU:dr|l-| Bottle 



Water Softeners Rentals 

30 Day Free Trial 



PIPER CITY'S CENTENNIAL COMMITTEE 



PROUDLY PRESENTS 



A Dramatic and Spectacular Pageant 

PRESENTED AT 

8:00 P.M. Piper City High School Gymnasium 
AUGUST 29-30-31, 1969 



"Wagons to Wings" was written by Mrs. J. D. Somers 
and is being produced by Mrs. James Stuckey. The Cen- 
tennial Chorus is under the direction of Mrs. Glenn Gibb. 

All local talent has been used in writing and staging 
this historical pageant of ten dramatic scenes depicting 
over 100 years of local history. 

Mrs. Thees Sterrenberg, Piper City, III. 60959 is in 
charge of advance sale of tickets. 






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A HISTORY OF PIPER CITY 

by 
PEG JOHNSTON 




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



My first acknowledgments are going to be to the 
last who made contributions to this history of Piper 
City. First, to Amy Somers, for naming the pageant and 
history Wagons to Wings and to Duane Hitchens who 
did the art work in connection with the title. Duane 
also did the sketches of the Opperman band chariot and 
of Old Brenton House. 

Another one of our young persons who is to be cre- 
dited is Miss Nancy Stamm, who did the art work for 
the cover. 

Gordon Downs did the sketches of the Fourth of 
July picnic and herding the cattle across the Kan- 
kakee River. 

Many have helped in the research by loaning books 
or newspaper clippings. The 1884 Atlas of Ford County 
and the Standard Atlas of Ford County of 1901 were 
used as references. 

I was fortunate to have a scrapbook, kept by some- 
one a long time ago whose identity has been lost, which 
had clippings of obituaries, weddings and important 
events to about 1918 or 1920. 

Mrs. A. W. Opperman loaned me the two-volume 
Ford County History of 1908. Mrs. Henry Chamber- 
lain loaned me Illinois 1837 and Mr. and Mrs. Oscar 



Stamm loaned me an 1891 Fair Book that was help- 
ful in compiling the fair history. 

Only two sources were used for the account of the 
great train wreck of 1887 and they were the August 
12, 1887 issue of the Piper City Pan Handle Advocate 
and the January-February, 1969 issue of Illiniwek. 

Valuable newspapers were loaned to me by John 
Nordstrom of Loda and Harvard (Skip) Ficklin. D. 
Earle Wilson contributed much to the Personal Glimp- 
ses part of this history with his reminiscences and 
vignettes of people of the 1900-1920 era. 

Two histories written by young people were also 
helpful. One was written by the junior class of 1941 
and was loaned to me by Mrs. Duane White. The 
other was compiled about five years ago by Mrs. David 
Monk. Mrs. W. G. Raudabaugh loaned the material 
that had been gathered in 1959 for the Ford County 
Centennial committee. 

I am grateful to all who have helped me or even 
encouraged me in any way. I have also been assisted 
in typing by Mrs. John Ark, Mrs. Thees Sterrenberg 
and Mrs. Richard Alexander. 

Mrs. Glenn Gibb wrote the original theme music 
for the centennial and pageant. 
June, 1969 Peg Johnston 



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THE EARLY DAYS 

These are the Gardens of the West — these 
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, 
And fresh as the young earth ere man had sinned, 
The Prairies! I behold them for the first 
And my heart swells, while the dilated sight 
Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch 
In airy undulations, far away, 
As if the ocean, in his gentlest swell, 
Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed, 
And motionless forever, — Motionless? — 
No — they're all unchained again. The clouds 
Sweep o'er with their shadows, and beneath 
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye: 
Dark hollows seem to run along, and chase 
The sunny ridges. 

— Illinois, 1837 



Nowhere, other than in Central Illinois, was 
the early phenomenon of the prairie more in evi- 
dence. We can only guess whether the hearts of the 
early settlers swelled at the magnificence of the 
"encircling vastness" or quailed in fear at the 
trackless and heretofore almost unpenetrated 
wilderness. 

The first pioneers who pressed into Illinois fol- 
lowed the streams and portages and only the state 
surveyors and a few Indians had crisscrossed the 
inland area around what is now known as Piper 
City at the time of the coming of the first settlers. 

The first to come were Mr. and Mrs. John R. 
Lewis and Mr. and Mrs. Mark Parsons, in 1856. 
The Lewises arrived first, and the Parsons only a 
day later. From Mr. Lewis' obituary we learn that 
there was no other house to be seen anywhere 
and that one could ride 30 miles north without 
coming across a settlement. 

Another man, S. Standish, arrived in 1856, but 
there is little recorded of him other than his arri- 
val. Perhaps he did not stay long. Piper City was 
extremely fortunate, however, to have two settlers 
of the caliber of Lewis and Parsons and their 
families. 

Both men lived to be what was considered 
then a "ripe old age" and both filled many posi- 
tions of trust and importance in the community. 
Parsons was 76 when he died in 1899, and Lewis 
died in 1901 at the age of 73. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
moved to Chicago in 1871, where he sold real 
estate, but returned in 1878, and they lived here 
for the rest of their lives. 

Lewis, especially, was a man of boundless 
energy and of high intelligence. He had more edu- 



cation than most men of his day. Born in Herkimer 
County, New York, from Welsh stock, he attended 
Whitestown Seminary for three years and taught 
school for three winters before emigrating to 
Illinois. 

In 1850 he decided to go west and migrated to 
Naperville, Illinois, where he farmed and taught 
school until 1855. In 1851 he married Delia 0. 
Johnson, a native of Vermont. Together they came 
to this area in 1856. Their son, born August 4, 
1857, was the second baby born in the community. 
The first birth was Hattie B. Bartlett in June of 
1857. 

Mr. and Mrs. Parsons had the third child born 
here when their son Jesse arrived August 26, also 
in the year of 1857. 

Mark Parsons was born in Sunderland, Ver- 
mont, and in 1846 married Jane Crossett. In 1847 
they moved to Will County, Illinois, and in 1856 
settled about five miles south of what is now Piper 
City. After nine years they moved to about one 
mile south of town and just 100 years ago from 
our centennial year — in 1869 — they moved in- 
to town where he ran a store for several years. 

He was caretaker of the Presbyterian Church 
and his punctuality and fidelity left a lasting im- 
pression on the early church-goers. He was recalled 
as having paced back and forth in the vestibule 
with watch in hand, awaiting the exact moment to 
ring the bell for church services. 

It was also his unhappy duty to climb to the 
church belfry and toll the bell with a wooden mal- 
let at the time of the death of any citizen. The 
townspeople would stop what they were doing and 
count the number of times the bell was tolled and 

Page Five 



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Page Six 



in that way could sometimes surmise whose death 
had occurred, for the bell was tolled once for each 
year of life. 

HERITAGE LIES IN PRAIRIE 

But the beginning of our history lies in the 
prairie, and if we are to understand and appreciate 
our heritage we must understand and appreciate 
the wild implacable land that beckoned with the 
siren song of unbelievable fertility and yet threat- 
ened darkly of swamps, reptiles, wild animals, and 
loneliness. 

The men who dreamed dreams of the future 
of this land saw it crisscrossed with railroads, dot- 
ted with little villages springing up so that the 
grain from the fertile fields could be shipped to 
market, and the things needed for trade could be 
brought in over the railroad. 

The coming of what is now called the Toledo, 
Peoria, and Western Railroad in 1857 was a mo- 
mentous occasion, but one fraught with some sur- 
prise. The railroad was built in a line almost due 
east and west across the north edge of Township 
26. A long side track was laid on the north half 
of Section 2. At this time there were no settlers 
near the railroad, and a little to the west of the 
side track there was a big slough that completely 
cut off all communications from the west. East of 
the side track there were no settlers within the 
boundary of the Pan Handle. (Although Ford 
County was not yet formed, this term applies to 
the northern part of what later became the Coun- 
ty, and in shape does indeed resemble the handle 
of a pan.) The motive of the railway company in 
building the side track in such a place was beyond 
the comprehension of any of the settlers, but it 
was soon learned that there was to be a town 
there, called Brenton. 

THE OLD HOTEL 

A landmark long familiar to people of this area 
was the "old hotel" that was razed with little note 
or fanfare in 1962. Sometimes called the "Old 
Brenton House" it was the first good, wooden 
structure to be built on the virgin prairie in 1858 
or '59 by Lyne Starling. 

Starling was a young man who had emigrated 
from New York and became a large land owner 
in both Brenton and Pella Townships. 

An old Ford County history suggests that he 
may have been emulating his cousin, Michael L. 
Sullivant, who in 1854 began to buy land north- 
west of what was later the town of Paxton. Sulli- 
vant's holdings became known as "the largest corn 
farm in the World under one man's manage- 
ment." Later, he sold much of his land to Hiram 




OLD HOTEL 

Sibley. 

The history reports that early settlers were 
encouraged to see Starling's hotel as a mark of 
progress in the new land. And well they should 
have, for when the old hotel was coming down, 
many expressed admiration for the care and pre- 
cision of the pioneer builder. Walnut and oak 
were used throughout the structure and the foun- 
dation was of flat limestone rock. 

The sills were scored and hewn by hand with 
a board axe and foot adze. Two by sixes were used 
throughout, and all corners were re-enforced with 
six by sixes and storm braced by four by sixes. 
The sills were morticed and pinned, and solid 
sheeting one and one-quarter inch thick was used 
under the weather-boarding. 

There were nine rooms, with four fireplaces 
— two upstairs, and two down. 

The front door was of Colonial design made 
of poplar wood, and had panes of glass around 
the side and top. 

The old hotel stood for over a century with 
very little repair or upkeep and was so well con- 
structed that it could probably have stood for 
another century. 

After its usefulness as a hotel was gone, the 
structure was moved to a spot a quarter of a mile 
north of its first location and was used as a farm 
home until the 1930's. 

In the early days the hotel was a stopping-off 
place for travelers and pioneers who came to this 
territory by railroad (and that was almost every- 
body, in those days). 

The railroad breathed life into the old hotel 
in its early days when the nearest trading centers 
were Chatsworth, seven miles to the west, and 
Gilman, ten miles to the east. 

A small center of trade developed around the 

Page Seven 



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WHOLESALE and RETAIL GROWERS 

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FRANK O. WEBER 
Sales — Management — Loans 

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BERTHA WEBER 

Hallmark Cards — Selected Gifts 

Gilman, Illinois 



LOWERY BODY SHOP 
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Repair and Refinish 

Phone 635-3101 Chatsworth, Illinois 



MARR OIL COMPANY 

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SKELGAS SERVICE 

CHATSWORTH, ILL. 




GEISLER'S TAVERN 
Onarga, Illinois 



Compliments of 

ROBERT A. ADAMS 

AGENCY 

Chatsworth, Illinois 



Page Eight 



railroad spur or side track. A small grain terminal 
developed, and it was believed that a town would 
grow up in this location. The spot was called 
"Brenton" and later "Old Brenton." 

PIPER CITY PLATTED 

But less than a decade after Brenton House 
was built, Dr. William Piper, of Philadelphia, and 
Samuel Cross, of Chicago — both large land own- 
ers — contracted with County Surveyor, H. J. 
Howe, in 1867, to plat the village that later was 
named Piper City, for Dr. Piper. This spot was two 
miles west of Brenton and the new location was 
at first called New Brenton. 

Very soon the first general store was opened 
by John Allen and W. C. Jones. John R. Lewis ser- 
ved as the first postmaster, receiving and dispen- 
sing mail from his residence. 

Dr. Piper and his nephew, John A. Montelius, 
also opened a general store and built a grain ele- 
vator. Houses were built and the community be- 
gan to grow. Incorporation papers were signed 
in 1869. 

Following the Civil War there was a land rush 
and land buyers came pouring into town, getting 
off with every train that stopped, many of them 
coming from the east after reading pamphlets 
put out by the railroad companies telling of the 
great opportunities awaiting them on the virgin 
prairies. These pamphlets were circulated in for- 
eign countries and many foreign emigrants be- 
gan arriving, too. 

The railroads had bought vast holdings of land, 
and their purpose was to get the country settled as 
quickly as possible. Their informative pamphlets 
traced step by step a bright future for prairie 
farmers. 

JOHN R. LEWIS, LAND AGENT 

John R. Lewis was uniquely able by intelligence 
and aptitude to handle land sales. He was a sur- 
veyor and had as good an understanding of law as 
most. He later was admitted to the bar, but never 
actively practiced law as it was not his "greatest 
interest." 

Lewis became land agent for the Illinois Cen- 
tral in 1866 and was quite efficient in dealing with 
the men who came in feverish excitement to vie for 
a "stake" in this new community. 

An old newspaper article refers to Lewis as the 
"master spirit of the land situation", and in truth 
he sold more than any other agent in Ford County. 

For some it was the opening of a new world, 
and many did make their fortunes in the new land; 
but it was not always as easy as the pamphlets cir- 
culated in the east would make one believe. 




DR. WILLIAM A. PIPER 

George H. Thompson, who settled in Lyman 
Township, writes in the Ford County Atlas — 1884: 

"The years 1857-58-59 were hard times for the new 
settlers on the Illinois Central lands. Crops were short, 
and the people all pretty poor. They often received re- 
lief from their wives' relatives in the East, but the year- 
ly interest on the lands purchased from the railroad 
company could not be met, and many fearing they 
would lose their little homes were troubled. S. K. Mar- 
ston, the only man who had a respectable suit of clothes 
to wear to Chicago, was sent to interview the land offi- 
cials of the company. 

"Arrangements were made to get the payments ex- 
tended, and some seed wheat was forwarded and loaned 
to those who needed, and by economizing in all things, 
using peas and rye for coffee, red root for tea, sorghum 
for sweetening, and then patching up old clothes, they 
bridged over these bad years." 

EARLY RECOLLECTION 

John R. Lewis set down some of his early re- 
collections: 

"The spring of 1857 was noted for the large influx 
of new settlers, and carpenters who came on to build 
their houses for them, among the latter I remember 
Elisha and Nathaniel Sherman, of Onarga, and Mr. 
Needham. These three had others helping them, and it 
was with difficulty that they found boarding places. 
Among the first of the new settlers who came were 
Messrs. Samuel and Michael Cross. These began put- 
ting up a house on the northwest quarter of the north- 
west quarter of Section 4, Township 26, Mr. Needham 
superintending the work. 

"They boarded with John R. Lewis and traveled 
four miles morning and evening to and from work. 

Page Nine 



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Page Ten 



Soon after these came, which was in April, it was disco- 
vered that a house was being built on the northeast 
quarter of northeast quarter of Section 20, for a family 
from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, named McKinney. 
The next house to be built was for Ira Z. Congdon on 
the northeast corner of Section 32. Mr. Congdon came 
from near New London, Connecticut, along with what 
was known as the "Connecticut settlers," mention of 
whom will be made hereafter. 

"A little to the west of Mr. Congdon, on the same 
section, Mr. Wallace W. Wicks commenced improving 
a farm, but did not build on it. Mr. Aaron Schofield 
built on the west half of the southwest quarter of Sec- 
tion 30, and at the same time Mr. Conrad Volp put up 
a house on the southeast quarter of Section 10. He 
came from near Albany, New York, and brought with 
him his three youngest sons, George, Henry and Chris- 
topher, the oldest, Charles, having come out the sum- 
mer before and taken up his abode with A. J. Bartlett. 

"All these settlers were near each other, but a few 
began to arrive and take up land in the northern town- 
ships, which seemed to us at that time quite a long way 
off. The first of these was Mr. Robert Hall, who came 
from New York State. He had purchased a large tract 
of land from the I. C. Railroad Company, and built his 
house on the southwest corner of Section 28, Township 
27, and soon after a young man from near Boston, 
Massachusetts, put in an appearance, and commenced 
to build a small house on Section 22. He had no family 
and "kept bach." His name was Henry Atwood. A 
little later in the summer, Mr. Joseph Davis, from Ohio, 
settled on the northwest quarter of the southwest quar- 
ter of Section 6, Township 26. Most of these settlers 
arrived in time to break up some land and put it into 
corn." 

CONNECTICUT SETTLEMENT 

Mr. Lewis continued: 

"I will now go back to the time the Connecticut 
settlement, of which I have spoken, was organized. 

"During the winter of 1855-56, an organization was 
was affected by a few citizens in and around New Lon- 
don in the State of Connecticut, under the name of the 
Working Man's Settlement Association with the fol- 
lowing named persons as members: 

"W. A. Babcock, President; R. A. Hungerford, Sec- 
retary; S. K. Marston, Treasurer; M. E. Morgan, E. 
Marston, B. F. Field, Urbane Havens, Ira Z. Congdon, 
R. R. Piersons, Rev. P. J. Williams, George B. Clark, 
J. H. Lester, S. P. Avery, W. H. Bently, Sidney A. Mor- 
gan, Theophilus Morgan, B. N. Marston, William Ap- 
plery, James S. Maxon, C. A. Marston, E. F. Havens, 
W. S. Larkin, Gil R. LaPlace, D. T. Hutchinson, James 
Miller, Robert Eccelston, U. S. Bossie, H. C. Dennis, 
E. C. Morgan, John lsham. 

"In September, 1856, the first permanent settlers 
belonging to the colony arrived. While passing through 
Chicago, they purchased 100,000 feet of lumber for 
building purposes, and had it shipped to Onarga, to 
which place they all were bound. 

"In April and May, 1857, all these settlers moved 
onto their lands in the Pan Handle, and began making 
improvements. 

"Some time in June, it was suggested by E. F. 
Havens that we all take baskets on the Fourth of July, 
go to School Section Grove, have a good time, and pro- 




perly celebrate the birthday of our national liberty. All 
were pleased with the idea, and each one did his best 
to make it a success. 

"The eventful day at last arrived, and we all as- 
sembled at the grove. When the baskets were opened, 
Mrs. M. F. Chenney created quite a sensation by pro- 
ducing an immense pan of pork and beans. Others 
brought roast turkey, chickens, frosted cakes and other 
delicacies, but all these fine dishes were given the cold 
shoulder, each one longing for a dish of the dear old 
familiar, homely, baked beans. 

"There were 110 persons present, men, women and 
children, and everyone seemed surprised that there 
were so many people near them, and rejoiced in the 
feeling that they were not alone in the boundless wilder- 
ness." 

And boundless it must have seemed to the pio- 
neer. He set his course by such things as a grassy 
knoll, a lone tree growing on the prairie, or a 
grove of trees if he was lucky to have such a land- 
mark on his course of travel. No wonder travel of 
the early settlers pretty much followed the paths 
made much earlier by the buffalo herds and other 
wild animals, holding for the most part to the high- 
est ground. 

The wetness and impassability of the land in 
this area in the 1850's is reflected in accounts of 
how settlers to the south of us followed a route 

Page Eleven 



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Piper City, Illinois 
Phone 686-2439 

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For Appointment — Phone 635-3108 
DOROTHY GILLETT 



Page Twelve 



from Danville to Paxton, to Oliver's Grove south 
of Chatsworth, to Pontiac, to Ottawa, and finally, 
to Chicago. This circuitous route was used partly 
from consideration of the rivers and terrain, and 
also because of the accessibility or lack of it, of 
accommodations along the way. Sometimes just the 
building of a home would change the route. 

CATTLE DRIVE 

In 1853, a group of men decided to drive some 
300 head of cattle from Ten Mile Grove in Patton 
Township to market in Chicago. They decided not 
to go the old trail by way of Ottawa and took the 
more direct route by way of Kankakee. Arriving 
at the Kankakee River, they undertook to ford it. 
A mile up the river was a bridge, but the owners 
of the cattle, in order to save the toll, had directed 
the young men to avoid crossing at the bridge. The 
cattle plunged into the river and soon the entire 
drove was swimming in a circle in the middle of 
the river. In a short time they would certainly 
have drowned, but dashing in on horseback, the 
men separated a large ox from the drove, and 
swimming their horses, they directed this leader 
of the herd across the river. Looking back, they 
discovered the rest swimming after them, and 




soon the entire lot were grazing on the north bank 
of the river. 

Arriving in the city of Chicago, they found they 
had overstocked the market by such a large drove, 
and were obliged to bring 100 head back again. 

PRAIRIE BOTH FRIEND AND FOE 

There are many indications in early writings 
that the prairie was both friend and foe to the 
early settlers. This description of the prairie is 
given in "Illinois 1837": 

"The grass which covers the prairies in great abun- 
dance is tall, and coarse in appearance. In the early 
stages of its growth, it resembles young wheat; and in 
this state furnishes succulent and rich food for cattle. 
Cattle and horses, that have lived unsheltered and with- 
out fodder through the winter and in the spring, scarce- 
ly able to mount a hillock through leanness and weak- 
ness, when feeding on this grass, are transformed to a 
healthy and sleek appearance, as if by a charm. 

"From May to October, the prairies are covered with 
tall grass and flower-producing weeds. In June and 
July, they seem like an ocean of flowers of various hues 
waving to the breezes which sweep over them. The nu- 
merous tall flowering shrubs and vegetables which grow 
luxuriantly over these plains, present a striking and 
delightful appearance." 

Badgers and wolves were among the unwel- 
come wild animals that abounded in the swamps 
and they seemed especially thick around what is 
now called Sand Ridge, but was referred to then 
as Mount Thunder. 

Miss Nora O'Mara can recall her family tell of 
the wolves coming right up to the houses and some- 
times at night they would look in the windows at 
the candle-lit room. Her grandfather, Peter Galla- 
hue, arrived here in March, 1869. 

Another hazard that beset the early settlers 
were the prairie rattlers that infested the swamps 
until cultivation drove them out. The men killed 
them with shovels, hoes, pitchforks or anything 
that came to hand. The men wore high boots for 
protection and they often wrapped the legs of 
their horses to protect them from this danger. 

On the other hand, wild game and wild fowl 
for the table were always in abundance, right at 
the doorstop. Prairie chicken, quail, wild geese and 
ducks were so plentiful that hunters came from as 
far away as Chicago for the sport of hunting here. 

In the early days deer roamed the area, but 
according to John R. Lewis' History of the Pan 
Handle, a great prairie fire occurred in September, 
1856, and burned for months. This fire swept from 
the Illinois Central tracks west to Indian timber 
and north to the Kankakee River. He credits this 
fire with causing ponds and basins where there 
were none before, and reported the deer were 
never so plentiful after that. 

Page Thirteen 



WES and JUNE'S 

LONG BRANCH TAVERN 

L'ERABLE, ILLINOIS 

"GARDEN SPOT OF THE WORLD" 

Spaghetti on Wednesday $1.25 

Fish, Shrimp, Frog Legs and Chicken 
Every Friday ----- Fish 95c 

STEAKS, CHICKEN 

& 

FROG LEGS 

on Saturday Night 

SERVING — 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. 




Compliments of 

EARL EHEART 

SHELLING -- TRUCKING 

Ph. 686-2476 

Piper City, Illinois 



Join the yield explosion . . . 

This year plant FUNK'S G-Hybrids 



DECS 




CB33E 



G-£t*tW G-4360 

G-4333 

THE "HOT LINE" FOR '/0 

RALPH BRADBURY 
ROBERTS, ILL. 
RT.1 
Phone- 815-395-2*159 



Page Fourteen 







FIRST UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 



EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 

From the beginning, our pioneer ancestors 
seemed to feel a deep need to establish churches 
and to gather together for prayer meetings and 
to seek the comfort and divine guidance of God. 

Even before any of the churches were organiz- 
ed, the Protestant settlers met together in the 
homes for "Bible discussion." 

Sunday school in the northern township was 
held at the homes of Archibald McKinney, Robert 
Hall and others. Mr. Hall was superintendent and 
Mr. McKinney taught the Bible class. He was con- 
sidered the spiritual leader and was like a pastor 
to many. 

As a rule Sunday was strictly observed by the 
entire settlement and it was a rare thing to see 
anyone doing any work on that day according to 
the 1884 Atlas. 

The United Presbyterian Church was organiz- 
ed on May 14, 1867 with a membership of 32. Wil- 
liam Thompson, who came here from Monmouth 
in 1863, was considered the pioneer of the United 
Presbyterian Church. R. N. Thompson and James 
W. Holmes were the first elders. This little church 
thrived for many years but disbanded in 1922. 

This church is not to be confused with the pre- 
sent United Presbyterian Church which when 
organized in 1862 was the Brenton Presbyterian 



Church and later became the First Presbyterian 
Church of Piper City. In 1958, upon the national 
merger of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. with 
the United Presbyterian Church, the Piper City 
church became the First United Presbyterian 
Church of Piper City. 

Organized September 19, 1862, it is the oldest 
Piper City church still in existence. The first ruling 
elders were Archibald McKinney, Robert Hall and 
M. H. Hall. John McKinney and Henry Atwood 
were made deacons at the first meeting. 

MET IN PIONEER HOMES 

Elizabeth Pope Brown at the time of the dedi- 
cation of the new kitchen and dining room of the 
Presbyterian Church in 1908, wrote of some of 
her early recollections: 

"The new kitchen and dining room should be con- 
sidered living monuments to the struggles and sacrifices 
of the early pioneers; our dear fathers and mothers 
whose prayers were heard, and who formed that small 
body gathered in a prayer meeting in dear old Father 
McKinney's home. This large family with ours 
(Pope's) would fill our small rooms. I cannot remember 
the date of that first gathering in prayer, neither does 
it matter — early in '58 — perhaps in '57 — or it 
might have been earlier. 

I well know we had been on the prairie long enough 
to be very hungry for someone to propound the gospel 
truths. The few who gathered were very willing to listen 
to Father McKinney in his wholehearted, good spirited 
way, lay out the way of salvation, and to me it was the 
first awakening of a bright and beautiful life." 

Perhaps her letter speaks for the Christians of 
all faiths who served God and each other as best 
they could in a strange and new environment. 

In 1904 the Second Presbyterian Church of 
South Brenton was organized with 32 members. 
It was located six miles southwest of Piper City. 
The first elders were Jacob Ehresman, Frank Stad- 
ler and Elmer Huttenburg. It was dissolved in 
1925. 

Rev. W. C. Neely was the first pastor of the 
Presbyterian Church and began his duties here 
May 1, 1868 and served for 20 years. Under his 
pastorate in 1873, the first church was erected 
with a mortgage of $625. This church was re- 
modeled and a kitchen and dining room added in 
1908. On January 22, 1913, it burned to the ground 
with very little saved other than a piano, organ 
and a few chairs. 

On April 19, 1914, just a little over a year 
later, the fine brick church standing today, was 
dedicated. This church had a fine pipe organ, 
stained glass windows, a belfry and a bell, several 
Sunday School rooms as well as a kitchen and din- 
ing room. 

Although the mortgage on the first church was 

Page Fifteen 



only paid off with money from the fire insurance, 
the disaster of the fire so challenged and united 
this congregation that when the new church was 
built it was mortgage free. The Ladies Aid pledged 
$3,000 to be paid in two years and raised $2,000 
the first year. 

Mission work has been an important part of 
the Presbyterian church's outreach and under the 
pastorate of Rev. Samuel Johnson, the church gave 
as much to missions as to its own budget. It was 
under Rev. W. Z. Allen that the Presbyterians be- 
gan the support of Miss Lena Fay Froese, who 
served as a missionary in India, arriving there the 
day before Christmas, 1920. She was there until 
her retirement from the mission field in 1958. At 
first the Piper City church furnished her whole 
support, but during the depression years of the 
1930's a church in Pasadena, California, helped 
with her support. 

METHODIST CHURCH ORGANIZED IN 1867 

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized 
in October 1867 and among the first members were 
Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. D. E. Middle- 
ton, Dr. and Mrs. Burchard and Mr. and Mrs. 
George Spera. 

The Piper City Circuit at this time embraced 
Piper City; Mount Zion School, seven miles south- 
west; Mount Thunder School, seven miles north- 
east. Mount Thunder soon became known as Sand 
Ridge. 

In 1874 the school house in Piper City was pur- 
chased and moved to the site of the present United 
Methodist Church. Up until this time they had been 
worshiping in Clark's Hall, paying an annual 
rent of $50. Clark's Hall was apparently used by 
all denominations in the early days before any 
of the churches were built. 

During the pastorate of Rev. E. B. Bogges, in 
the year 1881, the old school house they had been 
using for a church was sold for $150 and plans 
,were made to build a new church. Nicholas Sher- 
man, Ira Hand, L. B. Kiblinger and William White 
were apointed to make the plans. They, with other 
elders of the church, proceeded to the bank and 
borrowed $1,200, the necessary amount to begin 
operations, and secured it with their note. The total 
cost of the new church was $2,582.66 and it was 
dedicated November 6, 1881. 

Sand Ridge Chapel was always closely affiliated 
with the Piper City Methodist Church and they 
shared pastors for many years. The church at 
Ridge Chapel was built at a cost of $1,500 during 
the pastorate of Rev. A. M. Lumpkin who was here 
from 1890 to 1892. 



"Sand Ridge Day" was a tradition for many 
years and the Piper City Journal carries this ac- 
count of the 4th annual event held July 25, 1901, 
at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Weakman: 

"The lot and barn yard were filled with teams and 
buggies while hitching room was at a premium. The 
lawn was decorated with torches and Chinese lanterns. 
Opperman's Piper Band discoursed its sweetest strains. 
The program included a violin solo by Miss Estella 
Woodruff, songs by Jennie and Lottie Thompson and 
Leota DeMoure, a duet by Misses Edna Read and 
Mable Hill, and a reading by Ethel Read." 

On June 6, 1954, the last service was held in 
the Ridge Chapel Church, after serving the com- 
munity for over 60 years. The land on which this 
church stood was given by Arby Read. The first 
trustees of the church were John Weakman, Sr., 
Thomas Read, Arby Read and Henry Pettys. The 
first stewards were John McKinney, Charles Read, 
Henry Pettys and William DeMoure. 

The first wedding to be solemnized in the church 
was that of Hill Dickey and Addie Pettys. Within a 
year Mr. Dickey died and his was the first funeral. 

METHODIST CHURCH REMODELED 

In 1941 under the pastorate of Rev. C. P. Bru- 
ner the first plans for remodeling the Piper City 
Methodist Church were made. In 1944 the building 
fund was reactivated under the pastorate of Rev. 
Merwyn L. Johnson. Clifford Orr was elected to 
go ahead with plans for remodeling after $7,659.50 
was pledged. 

By October 1948, $23,722 was raised, and the 
resulting building contained three times as much 
floor space as before with additional Sunday 
School rooms, a modern kitchen and rest rooms. 
The remodeled church was dedicated February 
20, 1949. 

Through the merger in 1940 of several branches 
of the Methodist church and the union of the 
Evangical United Brethren and Methodist Churches 
in 1968, the present United Methodist Church 
came into being. 

CATHOLIC CHURCH 

John Sauerbier made this observation at the 
time of the celebration of the 75th anniversary 
of St. Peter's Catholic Church in November, 1962: 

"If we are celebrating a 75th anniversary this month 
it isn't because the Faith in this area is that young, nor 
that the church building is that old. It was in November 
1887 that the Most Reverend John Lancaster Spaul- 
ding, D.D., first Bishop of Peoria raised Piper City to 
the rank and dignity of a parish under the patronage 
of St. Peter. He appointed Reverend D. L. Crowe as our 
first pastor, and gave us St. John's in Cullom as a mis- 
sion of Piper City." 

Father Fanning of Chenoa was the nearest in 



Page Sixteen 





ST. PETERS CHURCH BUILT IN 1881 



ST. PETERS DEDICATED IN 1917 




OLD UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 



Page Seventeen 



COMPLIMENTS OF 

DRS. RAUDABAUGH -- HAY -- FINNELL 

Veterinarians 

PIPER CITY OILMAN 

ILLINOIS 



Congratulations to PIPER CITY on 
100 YEARS OF PROGRESS 

Reynolds Standard Bulk Plant & Farm Store 

PETROLEUM PRODUCTS 
AMOGAS L.P. GAS 

AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS 

AMOCO HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING 
CROP-MATE FERTILIZERS 

FARM TIRE SALES & SERVICE 
HOME APPLIANCES 




STANDARD CHI 
CHICAGO. ILLINOIS 



JACK REYNOLDS, Agent 
Piper City, III. 
Dial 686-2271 



Page Eighteen 




OLD SOUTH BRENTON CHURCH 




Pipe* Cty MeJAodUi (TiwicA ' ■„, ^^^faifeg^^^^^^^ Qu*enniaJL t/eaA (l86y.1^7) 
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 



Page Nineteen 



FS Dealers -- Staff -- and Personnel 
-of the - 

FS SEED DIVISION 

-- salute - 

PIPER CITY 

IN THEIR 100th YEAR 




"Progress Together" 
Seed Corn — Seed Grains -- Field Seeds 



Page Twenty 



the earliest days to serve families in this area. A 
few years later Sts. Peter and Paul's parish of 
Chatsworth came into existence and its pastors, 
in effect, served Piper City's Catholic families. 

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first offered 
up on the second floor of what is now the City 
Grocery, or Clark's Hall as it was called then. 

In 1880 Matthew Soran went to Chicago and 
purchased the site for the Catholic Church from 
Samuel Cross. Because he was anxious to have 
his family worship closer to home, he made a 
gift of the site to the church. He also purchased 
the lumber for the church building in Chicago 
and secured it by his own note until such time as 
the church could pay it off. 

The first Catholic Church, a wooden structure 
66 by 32 feet, was built in 1881. 

The story is told that the one who was the 
largest subscriber to the church fund would have 
the privilege of naming the church and that Peter 
Gallahue earned this privilege. It is not surprising 
that the new church was named, "St. Peter's." 

Many others gave generously and on July 4, 
1881, the women of the church gave a dinner for 
the benefit of the new building which netted $240. 
In September of the same year they held a fair 
in Clark's Hall which netted $1,300. 

By about 1915 the old wooden church was being 
outgrown by the growing parish and it was moved 
back off the site where parishioners continued to 
worship while a new brick church was being built. 
This church which still stands today was dedicated 
Tuesday, July 10, 1917. Rev. M. O'Conner was the 
pastor from 1916 to 1918. 

After services were being held in the new 
church the old church was used for a time for 
basketball games and community activities. 

St. Peter's parish had the honor of having their 
pastor, Rev. Aloysius Selva, raised to the rank of 
Monsignor while serving here. This very impres- 
sive ceremony occurred November 4, 1931, after 
the Right Rev. Selva had served 13 of his 14 years 
in Piper City. His was the longest tenure of any 
priest in Piper City. 

Three young people from St. Peter's parish 
have gone into full time service to their church. 
They are Rev. Louis Dougherty, son of Mr. and 
Mrs. John B. Dougherty; Sister Elizabeth Ann of 
the Franciscan Sisters, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
John Miller, and Sister Sharon Rose, Our Lady of 
Victory missionary, is the daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. L. E. Eshleman. 

TOWNSHIPS ORGANIZED 

Both Brenton and Pella Townships, orginally 
were a part of Stockton, and from 1861, when 



Brenton was organized, up to 1870, Pella was a 
part of Brenton. 

With its organization as a Township, Pella be- 
came the youngest of the townships in Ford Coun- 
ty. 

The 1884 Atlas says that Pella was unfavorably 
located for early settlements, on account of its 
being mostly a low, level prairie, and exceedingly 
wet except in the driest times of the year. The 
Vermillion swamps extend across the northern part 
of the township, the South Fork of the North Ver- 
milion River, a slow, sluggish stream, flows across 
the center, and various marshes and sloughs are 
scattered over the township, and much of the land 
was long regarded as irreclaimable. But of late 
years many Irish families have moved in and 
bought the wet lands, and at once began the work 
of ditching and tile draining, and such other 
changes made as warrants the belief that Pella 
will soon rank as one of the best townships in the 
county. 

The first settler of this township was Robert 
Hall, who bought land in Section 16 and 28; he 
came in 1857. The next settler was Henry Atwood, 
who settled on the southwest quarter of Section 
22. Henry Mitchison came the same year and set- 
tled on the northwest quarter of Section 22. 

The first marriage in Pella was that of Henry 
Atwood and Mary Wylie. She came by train from 
Vermont to Onarga where he met her and they 
were married by W. P. Pearsons in Onarga, No- 
vember 16, 1859. 

"THE SLOUGH" 

Piper City was so wet in the early days that 
part of it was referred to as "the slough" and 
many people expected to have their homes flooded 
every spring. 

The water followed a course entering town at 
the southwest edge back of Mrs. Emory Harford's 
following an easterly course past the Standard 
Service Station and the Presbyterian Church and 
out of town at the northeast edge. This was the 
site where the old slaughter house used to be in 
the days when meat was practically all home but- 
chered and sold direct by the butcher and his wife 
to their customers. 

A storm sewer of 30 inch pipe was laid in 1960 
and this has completely prevented the usual flood- 
ing that took place periodically before. In retro- 
spect it is hard to understand why it wasn't done 
sooner. 

One of the earliest tasks of the farmers was to 
drain the soil so that it could be farmed at all. At 
first small ditches were dug with teams of horses 
and slip scrapers and as soon as a ditch was made, 

Page Twenty-one 




A part of Piper City was referred to as the slough and some of the streets were 
flooded almost every spring until the storm sewer was laid in 1960. 



tiling was begun. Many, many hours of arduous 
work went into the drainage of land in this area. 
As more and more tile drained more and more of 
the land, it became necessary to make the ditches 
bigger so that they could carry off this excess 
water. 

In 1900 the Vermilion special drainage dis- 
trict had ditches cleaned and built and repaired 
bridges. For this they paid $3.00 per day for man 
and team, $1.50 and $2 for a man alone. Commis- 
sioners were L. T. Bishop, J. W. F. De Moure and 
William Dancey. 
STERNBERG CHANGES DRAINAGE PICTURE 

This way of clearing ditches and improving the 
drainage of the fertile soil looked rather old-fash- 
ioned after the advent of the W. F. Sternberg Com- 
pany, drainage contractors in 1917. 

Promoted as "big brother to agricultural in- 
terests," Mr. Sternberg's modern equipment and 
methods did indeed extend the productivity of 
the land and bring in a new era of farm prosperity. 

By 1929, the company had grown to the place 
where it was recognized as the largest and most 
dependable drainage contracting concern in cen- 

Page Twenty-two 



tral Illinois. In its first year it had excavated 22 
miles of main line open drainage ditch and in 1928 
it completed 71 miles of major drainage canals, 
together with a large amount of smaller ditch 
work. By 1929 the company owned six gasoline 
driven dredging and ditching machines as well as 
other necessary equipment to complete the most 
exacting job in a satisfactory manner. Each oper- 
ating unit was complete within itself, including 







Ernie Walner, Les Spelbring, Gene Tucker and George 
Kemnetz worked on the Sternberg drainage crew. 



<AX BE F ;UNH AT TH.K l'RESKXT TIME THAN" 

ILLINOIS FARM LANDS. 

The Farms in our list are all situated in the great CORN and ARTEISAN BELT, and they are certain 
to increase in price every year. T e value of these lands will assuredly never b£ less than at present. 



COE.EESEOISriDEISrGE SOLICITED 



U^^J/^A^ 



-J-l 



M 



m 



•^BANKERi 



PIPER CIT~5T, 




FORD COTJISTTTT, 



IX.LI3STOIS. 



"Arrangements have been made with Mr. John R. Levis and Mr. John A. Montelius, of 
City, to ('how these and other lands to our customers. 



- pa - — < H;o'r P^ - _^_ . 



: ^^i jyx gt^ . eg . 




A LISTING OF FARM LAND DATED SEPTEMBER I, 1883. 




These big dredging machines changed the face of agriculture in the 1920's. 



Page Twenty-three 



Compliments of 



Faraday J. Strock 




Compliments of 

HAROLD BORK 

& 
DRELL STUCKEY 

FARMER DEALERS 
PIPER CITY, ILLINOIS 



Page Twenty-four 







Father is proud of the car and Mother is proud of baby Dorothy. Picture shows 
George and Anna Montelius and other members of the family with the Montelius' 

second car. 



camp wagons, cook houses and the usual mis- 
cellaneous equipment, that permits a complete 
self-sustained operation on the job, and to and 
from the job. 

Mr. Sternberg's first wife went with him on 
many of these big projects throughout the central 
states and did the cooking for the crews of men 
who worked the big earth moving equipment. They 
built up a sizeable fortune and Mr. Sternberg was 
well known as a capable businessman. He was 
president of the State Bank for many years and 
was a trustee of the village board. 

FIRST GAS STATION BUILT 

In 1926, he built the modern Standard Service 
Station which he sold two years later to George 
Kemnetz who still operates it today. 

This was the first station to be built in Piper 
City for the express purpose of selling gasoline and 
servicing cars. The station had three "positive mea- 
sure" pumps. The hydraulic lift made it quicker 
and more efficient to change the crank case oil 
and lubricate the ever growing number of cars. 

By this time it was obvious the car was here 
to stay. It had been over 20 years since George D. 



Montelius had gone to Chicago and purchased a 
Studebaker touring car, the very first one to be 
owned and driven by a Piper Cityan. Bringing the 
car from Chicago took three days. A mechanic 
accompanied Mr. Montelius home with the vehicle, 
and also some cousins from a suburb of Chicago 
made the memorable trip. Having learned of the 
imminent arrival of this new wonder of the times, 
a large delegation of Piper Cityans congregated at 
the north end of town awaiting the arrival of Mr. 
Montelius and his "new buggy". 

Fred Kewley was the second man to be bitten 
by the bug and soon the craze for motoring was 
catching on and it was more necessary than ever 
to get on with the drainage of the land and to build 
better roads. 

Many years passed before all travel could be 
motorized. 

The early rural mail carriers, C. B. Switzer, 
Adolph Liebe, Ollie Johnston and others, used a 
car when the weather was dry, but when it rained, 
they hitched up a buggy, or if it was really bad, 
just saddled up a good old dependable horse with 
which to make their appointed rounds. 

Page Twenty-five 



SORAN'S RESTAURANT 



HARVEST ROOM 

PIPER CITY, ILLINOIS 

Phone 686-2401 

OPEN EVERY DAY — 5 A.M. - 12 P.M. 

SUNDAYS — 6 A.M. - 2 P.M. 



McKEE HOME SERVICE 

HEATING and AIR CONDITIONING 
APPLIANCES 

FORREST McKEE & SONS 
Piper City, III. 



CONGRATULATIONS 

to all the fine people of Piper City 
on their 100th Anniversary Celebration 

CULKIN STAR MARKET 

your neighbor in Chatsworth 

Francis J. Culkins 

To PIPER CITY 

Congratulations on your Past and 
Good Luck in your Future 

GENE and CAROL FROELICH 
Dan, Mark, Cathy, Cindy 

Eugene E. Doran's General Insurance 

Bonds, Real Estate, Auctioneer 

& Notary Public 

Piper City, Illinois 



Page Twenty-six 



OIL ROADS USED 

Some of the primary roads were oiled periodi- 
cally and even though housewives hated the splat- 
ters that showed up on children's clothes and else- 
where, they didn't complain too much because 
it meant the only passport into town or further, 
and it was generally looked upon as a necessary 
evil of the times. Later roads were treated with 
gravel or blacktopped. 

Len Small's term as governor of the state of 
Illinois is remembered for the hard roads that 
were built. U.S. 24, that runs a quarter of a mile 
south of Piper City, was built in 1924. The decision 
to put the new hard road there did not meet with 
approval of all the people by any means. 

It had been expected that the new road would 
follow the old Corn Belt Route along the north 
edge of town. The Corn Belt Route was a graded 
road extending from Sheldon to Burlington, Iowa, 
and was colorfully marked with a full sized ear of 
corn with green husks painted on the telephone 
poles. Piper City was then known as the "Corn 
Center of the State." 

This title was not a misnomer, as Piper City in 
the 1920's, was one of the three largest primary 
grain raising sections in the state. The Farmers' 
Grain Company in 1928 did a daily business of 
$835. It was shipping 400,000 bushels of grain 
annually. 

The same year the B. W. Cunnington Grain 
Company shipped 500,000 bushels of grain and 
both were thriving, prosperous businesses. 







Artesian wells furnished most of the water for men and 

beasts in the early days, but early in 1900 Mrs. George 

Kemnetz' father, Art Cook, used this rig to dig many 

wells in this area. 




This picture was taken May 13, 1910 of the Mount Mellick Club at the home of Mrs. 

Jacob Spera. Mrs. Erskine, who got the whole thing started, is standing on the sidewalk 

in second row in white blouse with woman at her left in black blouse. Mrs. John A. 

Montelius Sr. is immediately behind her. 



Page Twenty-seven 



KELLEY WILBERT VAULT CO. 

and 

REILLY FUNERAL HOME 

have donated jointly the Wilbert Burial Vault 

in which the mementos of the Piper City Centennial 

will be entombed: 

FOR OPENING SOME 50 YEARS HENCE. 



DR. ENAMEL CRACKER 

Performs every necessary operation 
on the Teeth and Gums; fixes in Teeth 
either natural or artificial, in many 
different ways, some which are peculiar 
to himself. 

Respectfully informs the Ladies and 
Gentlemen of Piper City, that he will 

with pleasure wait on those who may 
please to honor him with their com- 
mands. 

Highest Prices Paid for 
Sound Front Teeth 



FORD COUNTY F.S. INC 

RONALD WEIBERS 

Petroleum Salesman 
Piper City, 111. 

MERVYN KAEDENG 

Feed & Fertilizer Salesman 
Piper City, 111. 

ROBERT TEWELL 

Petroleum Salesman 
Kempton, 111. 



Page Twenty-eight 



HARD ROAD USHERS IN NEW ERA 

But to get back to the matter of where the hard 
road was going to go, the citizenry of Piper City 
was encouraged, when in 1922, the state sent its 
surveyors to survey the Corn Belt Route and it 
was reported in the Piper City Journal that it 
appeared to be the intention of the state to stay on 
the north side of the T. P. & W. 

However, when the townspeople learned that 
U.S. 24 was going to bypass Piper City and go a 
quarter of a mile south of town, the businessmen 
were "up in arms" and W. F. Sternberg led a con- 
tingent of 75 to Kankakee where they pleaded 
their case to Governor Small, himself. It proved to 
no avail and plans proceeded as they were set. A 
few years later Illinois 115 did, indeed pass through 
the village running in a north and south direction. 
This road never carried the amount of traffic that 
passed over U.S. 24. 

IT WAS A LONELY LIFE 

Before the advent of the hard roads, the days 
and years were often fraught with loneliness, es- 
pecially for the women who lived on the farms, but 
they kept very busy. If we were to visit a pioneer 
home it would seem very odd to us, no doubt. 
Usually the homes were small with only weather- 
board on the outside, with no lathes or plaster on 
the inside. Sometimes the only rugs were rag rugs 
made by hand, and the homemaker usually made 
all of the clothing for the family. 

To keep warm the housewife spread the floors 
with straw and covered it with carpeting and tack- 
ed it down at the walls. Feather beds or straw ticks 
were used for mattresses and everything on the 
farm was used in some way. 

Because there were not many trees there was 
not much wood to burn. Coal was brought in from 
mining states and that helped alleviate the cold 
during the winter months. 

The pioneers had many little forms of diversion 
that meant a great deal to them. Children played 
checkers and jackstraws, but soon they were doing 
their share of the work along with their elders. 

Women sometimes stayed home for months or 
even years. Mrs. Catherine Stadler, who was called 
affectionately "Grandma, Stadler" by everyone, 
came to this area with her husband under the 
Homestead Act and they later purchased 80 acres 
of land in section 20 from the Illinois Central Rail- 
road for $10 an acre. 

In a newspaper clipping telling of some of her 
reminiscences after she became an old, old lady, 
she recalled that in the early days she had spent 
10 years of such solitude as she had never known. 



For four years she had never left home. After her 
husband died in 1884, she raised their 10 children 
and supervised their 360 acre farm. This was no 
small job. 

For a time they drove six miles to a natural 
spring at Oliver's Grove for water for themselves 
and for their stock. At first this was necessary be- 
cause of a lack of equipment, but later they con- 
tinued to do it because of a superstition that water 
from artificial wells was deadly for both man and 
beast. 

IT WAS "WILD AND RAW" 

Mrs. J. W. DeMoure who came with her hus- 
band to the "Wilson settlement" in 1864, where 
her husband was superintendent of Dr. Wilson's 
large farm interests, once said: 

"It was wild and raw in those early days. Few have 
any idea of the hardships. I remember I didn't see a 
woman for 18 months at one time, and then Mrs. Cap- 
tain Mitchison came over to see me one day just for an 
hour or two. It grew better with the settlement of the 
country, and when we moved into Piper City in 1887, 
we then left a well settled country and almost a section 
of fine, well improved land of our own." 

The women were made of strong and sensible 
stuff, but occasionally to break the monotony, there 
were Fourth of July picnics and small socials and 
gatherings. In the winter the churches had oyster 
suppers and mite society meetings. There were 
little musical productions and debating societies 
were quite popular. 

FIRST FAIR IN 1882 

The first fair was put on by the Piper City 
Union Agricultural Board in the fall of 1882 and 
this grew to be an annual event that everyone 
looked forward to with great anticipation. 

A premium list and fair book for the 10th 
annual fair lists these officers of the association: 
Joseph Burger, president; C. A. Cook, vice presi- 
dent; T. J. Sowers, vice president; H. S. Carpenter, 
secretary and Ira W. Hand, treasurer. 

No intoxicating liquor was served on the fair 
grounds and no intoxicated person was allowed 
on the grounds. Races were held every afternoon, 
except on the opening day, with purses ranging 
from $30 to $100. Gambling on the races was 
against the rules of the association, but interest 
in the races was keen for most of the horses were 
owned by local people. Many races were limited to 
Ford County horses. The fair was closed on Friday 
so that the moving out could be completed on 
Saturday and no one would have an excuse to 
"break the Sabbath". 

Young people came in for special consideration 
Page Twenty-nine 



CITIZENS BANK OF CHATSWORTH 
Gives Best Wishes to 
Piper City Centennial 



COME TO THE PIPER CITY 
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION 
August 29 - September 1 



TINY HILL CENTENNIAL BALL 

8:30 to 12:30 
Thursday — Aug. 28 

PAGEANT at 8 P.M. 

Friday, Saturday and Sunday Nights 

FREE ATTRACTIONS 
Every Night at 8:30 



WALL CARNIVAL 
on Midway 

BIG PARADE at 4:30 
Labor Day 

MANY OTHER ATTRACTIONS 



Page Thirty 




PIPER CITY FAIR SCENE IN 1910. 



by the fair board. School children were admitted 
free on Wednesday afternoons and a two year 
scholarship to Wheaton College was given to any 
Ford County resident, between the ages of 16 and 
24, who could deliver the best original oration of 
not less than five minutes or more than 15. There 
were also general school exhibits and awards for 
the best equestrianship for young men and young 
ladies under 15 years of age. 

MANY CLASSES OF LIVESTOCK 

The 1891 fair book from which this information 
was gathered lists a wide variety of classes in live- 
stock. In poultry, 34 classes are listed in the regu- 
lar division and over 20 in the miscellaneous, ran- 
ging from pea fowls to brown China geese. 

The agriculture, horticulture and floriculture 
divisions also reflect the variety of vegetables and 
grain raised in those days. Over 40 varieties are 
listed with prizes of 50 cents and 25 cents offered 
for the best red wheat, spring wheat, white wheat, 
clover, flax, rye, buckwheat, millet, sugar beets, 
celery, pumpkins and many others. 

Under miscellaneous farm products, awards 
were offered for the best cheese, butter, smoked 



ham, comb honey, extracted honey, bees in obser- 
vatory, lard, maple sugar, beeswax, soap, sorghum, 
hops, wool fleece and German carp fish. What a 
contrast to the specialized products of today's 
farms. 

A display of leather work included a class in 
harness and saddlery, boots and shoes, and trunks 
and travel bags. 

The women could vie for prizes and glory in 
the domestic arts classes where they could show 
their skill in the culinary or needlework divisions. 

There were no lights at the fair ground so there 
was no evening program. However, in later years, 
at least, a good traveling dramatic company would 
be engaged to put on plays at the Opera House in 
the evenings. Children and adults saved their pen- 
nies all year to have enough to attend the show 
every night if possible. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was 
one of the favorite productions. 

There were four different fair grounds in Piper 
City and at least two fair associations. The last one 
which closed in 1917 was called the Ford County 
Fair Association and was held in the soutnwest 
edge of town on the land now owned by Mrs. A. W. 

Page Thirty-one 



OLIVER GROVE CHAROLAIS 
World's Finest Beef Cattle 




WAYNE & EDNA SARGEANT 



LUELLA C. OLIVER 



Compliments of 

PIPER CITY LANES 

Piper City, Illinois 

HOWARD & HARRIET MYERS, Managers 
Phone: 686-2515 



CONGRATULATIONS 

from PIPER CITY'S OLDEST BUSINESS 

Under One Name 

STILL GOING STILL GROWING 

1897 1969 

THE PIPER CITY JOURNAL 

Mitchell and Margaret Johnston, Publishers 



Page Thirty-two 




Charles Opperman, founder of Opperman's Band. 

Underwood. The first fair was held at the east edge 
of town where Mr. and Mrs. Otto Albrecht now 
live and one was held just back of the north side 
business district. Another site was where the school 
now is. 

After the fair disbanded in 1917, the buildings 
were sold in February of 1918 for $3,000. There 
was some hope that a new organization would be 
formed and the fair would be started again at a 
later date, but these hopes never materialized. 
The buildings were torn down or moved, the land 
soon was put into cultivation, and the fair was just 
a memory. 



OPPERMAN'S BAND 

One of the chief attractions at the annual fair 
was the performance of the "Opperman Band". 
This group was a Piper City institution for many 
years, entertaining at all patriotic, political, social 
and religious functions throughout the area. They 
did this without compensation other than the plea- 
sure it gave them to share their musical talent 
with an appreciative audience. 

Charles Opperman, the founder and director 
of the band, was born in Colbitz, Germany, August 
23, 1857, and came to America in 1868 with his 
parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Opperman. They first 
settled near Chatsworth, moving from there to 
Brenton Township in 1873. After his marriage to 
Margaret Rehm, in 1874, they lived three and a half 
miles southwest of town and moved into Piper City 
about 1895. In 1897 he and his brothers, Ernest 
and August, bought out Clark's general store 
which they continued to operate until 1905 when 
he invested in a cotton plantation in Mississippi, 
moving there in 1907 with his family. There he 
remained until 1915 when ill health and a home- 
sickness for his former home prompted him to 
come back to Piper City. Here he stayed until his 
death in 1930. 

He is best remembered for his muscianship, 
although he was a profound lover of things of na- 
ture, and spent much of his time in the culture of 
trees and flowers, and even planted and tended 
flower beds in the railroad and village parks. 

Mr. Opperman's father, David Opperman, was 
a vocal teacher and in 1878 became the leader of 
a most successful glee club. From that beginning 
a cornet band was organized by Charles Opperman 
and his brothers, August and William, under the 
leadership of Prof. Rebholz, in 1880. In 1887 he 
organized a band at Thawville. In 1894 the Opper- 
man Piper City Band was born and it was for years 
one of the leading musical organizations in this 
section of the country. 

The band played regular weekly concerts dur- 
ing the summer time and at various fairs, both 
here, and at Fairbury, Pontiac and many other 
places. 

Four of the Opperman brothers were charter 
members of the band and it was later strengthened 
by younger members of the family. In about 1915 
or 1916 it was decided that the band needed new 
uniforms, and since their services were generally 
free, they held two or three public concerts to raise 
money. They featured special soloists and instru- 
mentalists. Mr. Opperman's daughter, Margaret, 
and Miss Irene Flessner were two of the young 
ladies who sang to help raise the money. 

Page Thirty-three 



Custom Farm Services, Inc. 

PIPER CITY PLANT 




P.O. Box 237 Piper City, 111. 60959 

Phone: (815) 686-2209 

GLENN J. MOGGED, Mgr. 

Complete Line of Dry & Liquid Fertilizer 
Anhydrous — 21% Aqua — 28% Nitrogen 

Limestone — Rock Phosphate 
University of Illinois Approved Soil Testing 
A Satisfied Customer 

Is Our First Consideration 



Compliments of 
WESTERN AUTO ASSOCIATE STORE 



DON and ROSEMARY DORNFELD 

OWNERS 
Piper City, Illinois 



THEES STERRENBERG 

CEMENT CONTRACTOR 
Piper City, Illinois 



KEMNETZ STANDARD SERVICE 

TIRES, BATTERIES & LUBE JOBS 

We Guarantee Our Work — You expect 

more from Standard — and You Get It! 

GEORGE & LOTTIE KEMNETZ 



ALLEN H. DAY 

Auto-Life-Fire and Casualty 

Piper City, Illinois 

Phone:686-2575 



Compliments of 
"THE OFFICE" 
RUTH FAGAN, Owner 
Mixed Drinks Schlitz on Tap 



Compliments of 
BOB'S BARBER SHOP 

BOB & HATTIE ZORN 



PIPER HARDWARE & VARIETY 
Piper City, Illinois 



DUANE AND BETTY WHITE 

Plumbing & Heating — Hardware — Floor Covering 

Electrical Appliances — Keymark Clothes — Houseware 

Gifts — Greeting Cards 



Page Thirty-four 




OPPERMAN'S BAND CHARIOT. 




OPPERMAN'S BAND PLAYED FOR ALL PUBLIC FUNCTIONS WITHOUT PAY. 



Page Thirty-five 



Compliments of 



The First National Bank 
of Cullom, III. 60929 



GODBEE'S 
SUPER-WAY 

Cullom, Illinois 



Get acquainted with a Stanley Hostess Party 
by calling your local dealer, 
MRS. CHRISTINA BOMA 

Piper City, 111. Ph. (815) 686-2566 



Compliments of 

FOXIE and ANNA 

HAYSLETTE 



CONGRATULATIONS TO 

Piper City on Your First 100 Years 

HAAG AND HAAG 

Jl CASE FARM EQUIPMENT 

Cullom, Illinois 

Phone (815) 689-4461 



Compliments of 

K's FRIENDLY MARKET 

Cullom, Illinois 



Compliments of 



HAHN INDUSTRIES 



Cullom, Illinois 



Page Thirty-six 




This view shows Piper City's first general store in foreground. Built in 1867 it is 
not much changed from the early days and has always been a grocery store. Upstairs 
room was used by all three churches in the early days to hold services and was, 
later used as a band rehearsal room. 




v\ 



t^>*^v 



^"v.^^V^ CVt^lW. 



An interesting view of the north side business section. 



,rvy ff nr » re ■--'■--* ** ' Page Thirty-seven 



FARMERS GRAIN CO. 
of PIPER CITY, ILL 

GRAIN STORAGE GRIND & MIX 

GRAIN DRYING FEEDERS & WATERERS 

SEED CLEANING GRAIN BANK 

-SUPERSWEET FEEDS - 



Page Thirty-eight 




The carbide gas light at the far end of the street, the unpaved street and the horses 
and buggies date this picture at around 1900. 




This scene of Peoria Ave. with the "tin Liizies" and the paved street dates it after 

1910. The State Bank building, now the home of the Journal, further dates it after 

1913. Note the electric lamps instead of the gas lights as in the top picture. 



Page Thirty-nine 




A brick pavement was laid around the square in 1910 and raised Piper City's business 
district out of the mud. Other streets were paved in 1919. 




Bird's eye view of Piper City taken between 1895 when the Montelios Bank was built 

and 1907 when the Opera House was remodeled shows water tank in foreground where 

trains got their water and coal sheds near the tracks. 



Page Forty 



In the early days the band had a "bandwagon" 
or "chariot" with curved sides drawn by four 
horses, in which they used to travel to other towns. 
In this way they publicized the fair and other 
events. 

VILLAGE GROWS 

In 1870 there were 307 inhabitants in Piper 
City and this number had grown to 750 by 1884. 
The little village was steadily growing and there 
were many signs of progress in the latter part of 
the 19th century. 

In 1884 Piper City had a two-story school in 
the middle of the block on West Cross Street be- 
tween Pine and Green Streets. There were four 
churches, a hotel, two newspapers, a bank, four 
general stores, two hardware stores, a lumber 
yard, three grain elevators, a creamery, a livery 
stable, an agricultural warehouse, two drugstores, 
two wagon shops, three blacksmith shops, and a 
post office. 

The creamery, which was located at the east 
end of Walnut Street, did a big business and about 
20 tons of butter were produced per year. Most 
of it was sold in New Orleans at 20 to 35 cents 
a pound. They churned four times a day in the 
summer and eight times a week in the colder 
months. 

John A. Montelius, Sr., who came right after 
the Civil War to manage the extensive land hold- 
ings of his uncle, Dr. William Piper, was active 
in much of the commercial development of the 
village, primarily in banking and the grain busi- 
ness. 

The first bank was established in 1870 by 
Charles M. MJontelius and his son John A. Monte- 
lius, Sr. The bank was opened with a capital of 
$50,000. 

EXCURSION TRAINS POPULAR IN 1880'S 
The "excursion train" was a product of the 
times in the 1880's, meeting the need of the railway 
companies to keep their otherwise idle passenger 
coaches engaged in money-raising activity. Due to 
the rapid expansion of the railroads, many such 
as the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Com- 
pany, which had just gone through a costly re- 
organization, were eager to do whatever they could 
to make a little money. 

Excursions were planned by the railroad com- 
panies to such points of interest as the State Fair 
in Springfield, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, 
homestead sites in Nebraska, and the world's first 
skyscraper in Chicago. Public response was over- 
whelming, and many church groups and other or- 
ganizations rented trains and went as a group to 



see these places. It was the era of excursions. 

During the middle of July, 1887, handbills were 
displayed prominently in Peoria and vicinity des- 
cribing an excursion on the T. P. & W. to Niagara 
Falls scheduled to leave Peoria at 7:15 P.M., Wed- 
nesday, August 10. The price for a round trip tic- 
ket, good for up to ten days, was $7.50 and the 
handbill advised that you couldn't afford to miss 
it. 

Many people took this advice to heart, and by 
6:00 P.M., that fateful night, a large crowd was 
already gathered on the station platform and the 
final preparations were being completed on the 
Niagara excursion train. It was made up of six 
Palace sleeping cars, two reclining chair cars, five 
day coaches, a combination baggage car, and the 
General Superintendent, E. N. Armstrong's offi- 
cial car. 

As the train came to a stop, the eager excur- 
sionists rushed aboard carrying large lunch bas- 
kets, diapers, and other provisions for the small 
children that went aboard. There was no dining 
car on the train. 

GREAT TRAIN DISASTER 

Little did the excursionists realize that instead 
of a happy trip, they were really heading for one 
of the greatest train disasters in history. So terri- 
ble, in fact, that the editor of the Piper City Pan 
Handle Advocate wrote: 

"No pen is able to describe the scene, and to do so 
would require human flesh for parchment, a flame of 
fire for a pen, and human blood for ink." 

The departure was delayed slightly by late- 
coming passengers. From the first, things did not 
go exactly as they should. After all were aboard, 
the two locomotives slowly pulled the train out of 
the station amid great bursts of waving and shout- 
ing between the people on the train and the people 
on the station platform. 

The train crossed the bridge over the Illinois 
River and proceeded eastward across Illinois. After 
another hour's delay to repair a drawbar mishap, 
the train continued on its way, making a few stops 
to pick up additional passengers. Several got on 
at Fairbury. It reached Chatsworth after 11:00 P.M., 
about an hour and a half behind schedule. After 
leaving Chatsworth the engineer on the first en- 
gine opened the throttle and at last it looked like 
they could make up for lost time as they sped to- 
ward slumbering Piper City. 

BRIDGE BURNED OUT 

Approaching a small bridge about two and a 
half miles west of Piper City, the engineer caught 
sight of a small blaze in the distance. The fireman 



Page Forty-one 




Ph. (815) 686-2373 Piper City, 111. 60959 

Hitchen's Sinclair Service 

TIRES — BATTERIES — ACCESSORIES 

"Service Is Our Motto" 

BABE HITCHENS 

JIM KINKADE 



CORNER CAFE 

MARION BUTLER, Prop. 
Homemade Donuts — Rolls — Pies 

Home Cooked Meals 
Phone 686-2285 Piper City, Illinois 



Compliments of 

PIPER CITY LOCKER ASS'N 

A Complete Processing Service 

Smoking, Lard Rendering, Curing 

Phone 686-2727 Piper City, Illinois 

CLARENCE E. PEARSON, Mgr. 



OVERACKER, INC. 
Piper City, Illinois 60959 
NEW and USED CARS 



PHILLIPS SERVICE CENTER 




TIRES — BATTERIES 

TUNE-UP SERVICE 

Piper City, Illinois 

DAN ROGERS 

Phone 686-2481 



<#> 



TRIPLE "H" CO., INC. 

Distributor Factory Representative 

Featuring — 
KILLBROS GRAVITY "SLIDE" 

GRAIN BEDS Gravity Bed Wax 

B-M-B- COMBINE BIN 

ROTARY CUTTERS EXTENSIONS 

KNOWLES 
WAGON RUNNING GEARS 
& 
OTHER ALLIED LINES 
Office & Warehouse in 

PIPER CITY, ILLINOIS 
Ph. (815) 686-2434 



Page Forty-two 





SCENES AT 1887 TRAIN WRECK. 



Page Forty-three 



(jfih 



SEED CORN 



High- Yielding • Sure-Drying • Easy-Picking 

High Performance 

CLAUDE KING, Dealer 

Piper City Phone 686-2629 



CUSTOM SPRAYING 

EDWIN WILLIAMS 

JOHN R. PENICOOK 

Piper City, Illinois 



0. L. WOODWARD & SON 

Registered Spotted Swine 
Sale Date - Sept. 2, 1969 

Phone 686-2714 
Piper City, Illinois 60959 



RHODE MOTORS, INC. 

CHRYSLER — PLYMOUTH — VALIANT 

Floyd and Harold Rhode 

Phone 686-2333 

Piper City, Illinois 60959 



Page Forty-four 



w 



.^v 



ANOTHER SCENE OF TRAIN WRECK. 



noticed it, too, and passed it off with a remark 
about section hands being more careful in burn- 
ing off the weeds along the track. But the words 
were hardly spoken before both men realized with 
shock that the bridge itself was on fire and that 
they were headed toward it at high speed. The en- 
gineer gave a desperate pull on the whistle rope 
signaling "down brakes." 

It was too late to stop and the first engine cros- 
sed over the bridge and ran on east up the track 
for some distance. The second engine leaped the 
chasm. The tender of the first engine became de- 
railed and broke loose from both engines. The ten- 
der of the second engine was stripped of its trucks 
and landed 100 feet east of the bridge, where it 
was thrown into the ditch north of the tracks. The 
engine was dumped into the ditch on the south of 
the track opposite. 

As soon as the second engine crossed the cul- 
vert the cars followed, and leaving their trucks in 
its ditch, were piled and mashed together like kind- 
ling wood. The scenes of horror and confusion that 
followed were frightful. There were about 700 
people on the train, and of these fully one half 
were in the coaches that now lay in a huge mass. 
Seven cars filled with dead and dying people were 
jammed into a space of two car lengths. 

The car of General Superintendent Armstrong 
was thrown across the track and the trucks knock- 
ed from under it. The occupants had a miraculous 
escape. Mr. Armstrong was thrown out of the car 
and escaped with a slight scratch. 

The engineer of the leading engine was unhurt, 
but the second engineer was instantly killed with 
his head crushed to a pulp. His fireman jumped 
from the engine and was uninjured. 

The accident was thought to have occurred at 
11:49 P.M., since that was the time when the dead 
engineer's watch had stopped. Almost immediately 
two trainmen ran the first engine, without a ten- 
der, into Piper City for assistance. On arrival the 



fire alarm was given, which at that time was done 
by striking the steel rim of a locomotive wheel with 
a sledge hammer. 

Soon the town was bustling with activities and 
the tracks were covered with people going to the 
scene of the disaster. The news was telegraphed to 
other towns and soon help was on its way from 
Chatsworth. 

The ladies of both places prepared places for 
the wounded and in short orde;r both Chatsworth 
and Piper City looked like hospitals. Doctors were 
rushed to the scene on hand cars and were among 
the first to arrive. 

FIRE THREATENS CRASH VICTIMS 

The fire received the first attention of the early 
arrivals, for if any of the cars had caught fire the 
horrors of a holocaust would have been added to 
the already frightful disaster. 

The events of that tragic night had one more 
ironic twist to make before the coming of the dawn. 
The day had been a hot and searing one, and the 
sun had shone down mercilessly on a parched 
prairie. The Peoria Daily Transcript had carried 
a front page story that very day on the great 
drouth, calling it a disaster for the farmer. The 
much longed for rain finally came at about 2:30 
o'clock the morning of August 11. It may have 
been a blessing to the farmers, but to the victims 
of the train disaster and those working at their 
rescue it was the final touch of horror. 

The darkness was faintly illumined by lanterns 
as the night was pierced with the screams of the 
dying and injured. The pouring rain and lightning 
and the roar of thunder added up to a scene that 
couldn't be forgotten by anyone who witnessed 
it. 

After the wounded had been handed out of the 
cars and were being cared for as well as posible, 
the work of removing the dead began. Strong 
men began to take everything apart in the three 

Page Forty-five 



Compliments of 



(bilkh Jik Qo., Qnc. 

Manufacturers of High Grade Drain Tile 
Retailers of Brick and Corrugated Culverts 



Phone 635-3131 



CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 



Page Forty-six 




This scene of Corn Day in Piper City shows the Opera House before it was remodeled 

in 1907, the new bank building on the corner and the old bank building which was 

moved back and was later used as the Journal office. 



telescoped cars. As they progressed they came 
across such scenes as these described in the Piper 
City Pan Handle Advocate: 

"Here someone would pick up a valise and uncover 
an arm or leg without a body, and over there someone 
would pick up a piece of linen to hand to the nurses 
and when lifted up discover a child mashed to a jelly. 
Such sights were common and made the bravest men 
shudder. Ghastly bodies of both men and women hung 
in grotesque fashion from the windows. In the midst 
of all of this horrible mixture of legs, heads, arms and 
mutilated bodies were to be seen frail pieces of glass 
and wood as good and unmarred as before the wreck. 
A small clock found in one car was keeping time as well 
as if just wound. 

"The maniacal scene became more agonizing as 
husband sought wife, wife, husband, father or mother, 
children, or children wildly clamoring for parents, 
while brothers, sisters, relatives and friends kept up 
the same frantic search, with their lost loved ones 
sometimes so mutilated as to be unrecognizable. The 
piercing shrieks of terror-stricken people suddenly be- 
reft of those most dear to them, and under such awful 
circumstances, mingled with the heart-rending groans 
of the wounded and dying, etched the scene on the 
minds of those who were there." 

Piper City's two physicians were the first on the 
scene and worked at their mission of mercy until 



completely exhausted the next day. The Opera 
House, the hotel and numerous private dwellings 
were turned into emergency quarters for the injur- 
ed. Food and medicines were procured as soon as 
possible and all that could be done was done to 
alleviate the suffering. Eighty-one lost their lives 
that night and many more were maimed for life. 

Piper City people acted with unstinting service 
and performed some of the most trying duties that 
can be required of a human being during the after- 
math of the "great train wreck." 

TRAINS BRING EXCITEMENT 

It is hard to imagine the excitement of the 
townspeople over the arrival or departure of the 
trains. People came down town just to see who got 
on and off and it was said that Caroline (Cad) 
Beach met every train and was always dressed "to 
the teeth." She was a reporter for her father, 
Judge Beach's newspaper, The Pan Handle Advo- 
cate, and it was said that nothing escaped her re- 
portorial pen. 

The hotel was conveniently located just across 
the street from the depot and the traveling sales- 
men would display their wares in the lobby, and 

Page Forty-seven 



GRAIN FARMERS 

We Have A Complete Line Of Products For All Your Grains 

Liquid and Dry Fertilizers 

in Plow Down Forms of Slurry and Blend 

Also, starter fertilizer of liquid and dry nitrogen needs in anhydrous 
ammonia, aqua ammonia and nitrogen solution 37%, and Spencer 
Uran 32%. 

We Also Carry Your Complete Line Of Herbicides and 

Insecticide Needs. 

Our Prices Include Applicator Rental 

McMillan fertilizer co. 

ANHYDROUS AMMONIA PLANT 

Onarga - 268-4541 Thawville - 387-2425 Gilman - 265-4357 

or 2654529 




ANDIE'S CUT 
AND CURL 

22 W. Market 
Phone 686-2348 



We specialize in High Styling and 
Children's Haircuts 



Compliments 

of 
JOHN R. KEEFE 
COMPLETE SERVICE 
Piper City, Illinois 



Avon Calling 

See: MAYANNA FROELICH 
DONNA CARPENTER 
FLORENCE WYCOFF 

For Your Cosmetic 
Needs in Piper City 



Page Forty-eight 




This hotel was torn down in 1947 to make room for Cook's IGA. 



the local merchants would come there to buy. The 
proprietor of the hotel, about 1900, was Jim Jeffery 
and it was called the Jeffery House. It was sold at 
auction in 1906 and a modern brick building erec- 
ted in its place. 

Another hotel called the Central Hotel flourish- 
ed after that on the corner where Cook's IGA now 
stands. This was the scene of many suppers and 
balls and was often used by the churches and civic 
organizations to hold their dinners or meetings. 
The Methodists held their Washington Birthday 
dinners there for many years. This hotel was in 
existence until after World War II, although its 
commercial enterprise had been on the wane for 
several years before that. It was torn down in 1947 
to make way for the grocery store which was built 
by George Cook and his son, Ronald after the lat- 
ter came back from service in World War II. 

Certain years stand out as notable in progress 
and events. 1895 was one of those years as the little 
frontier town of Piper City began to build and im- 
prove. J. A. Montelius, Sr., made the greatest im- 
provement by building a new brick building 40 
by 80 feet. This building houses the State Bank 
today. A newspaper clipping describes it thus: 



MODEL BUSINESS STRUCTURE 

"It is a model business structure, ornate in appear- 
ance and most substantial in construction. The founda- 
tion is of stone and superstructure of brick, with oolitic 
stone trimmings. The facing of both north and west 
fronts is of dark red pressed brick with terra cotta trim- 
mings above doors and windows, and a wide expanse 
of plate glass, while on the street corner is a graceful 
tower which appropriately adorns the entire structure. 
The interior finish will be in keeping with its outside 
appearance, and when completed, which will be soon, 
it will have cost $12,000. The corner room will be 
occupied by the Piper City Bank which will certainly 
have quarters unsurpassed in the county. In the rear 
of the bank, on the west side, Mr. Montelius, Sr., will 
have his grain office, which will be occupied by Mr. 
Montelius' sons in conducting the Agricultural Imple- 
ment and wagon carriage business, the second floor be- 
ing devoted entirely to wagons and carriages. An im- 
mense elevator will facilitate the handling of vehicles 
and machinery and render the business which is usually 
so laborious almost a pleasure. Mr. Montelius is en- 
titled to highest commendations of the people of Piper 
City for his enterprise as well as for the evidence thus 
given of his faith in the future of his town. It is such 
manifestations of confidence which encourage future 
development along the same lines. 

MANY IMPROVEMENTS 

"But his is not the only improvement worthy of 

Page Forty-nine 



CONGRATULATIONS DEAR NEIGHBORS! 

May the next Century be as wonderful as the past one. 

Such a fine Community can only become a prosperous and the 

Best Place in the World to Live! 

Kindest personal regards from 

"LARRY" LaROCHELLE and JIM EDWARDS 

Dealers in 

MAYTAGS ROPER STOVES 

ADMIRAL TELEVISIONS — REFRIGERATORS 

CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 

Phone 635-3041 




j^lVINGSTON 
(C^HATSWORTH 



J& 




PHONE 

635-3181 



*Sattj Sale* & Seivice 

BUICK-PONTIAC DEALER 



Joe & Evelyn Baltz 

Proprietors 
Chatsworth, Illinois 



Page Fifty 



mention nor the only one which renders the growth of 
the village remarkable. We found the Thompson Bro- 
thers occupying a large double brick store two stories 
in height and finished inside and outside in manner 
which would reflect merit on a place of many times the 
size of Piper City, while adjoining them on the west 
and constituting part of the same frontage is the jewel- 
ry store of Mr. Roberts, well stocked and equipped with 
the finest of furnishings. The drug stores of D. A. Boal 
and Dr. S. D. Culbertson, each 25 feet in width, are 
constructed with the same view to adornment and dur- 
ability and furnished with the most modern interior 
fittings. 

"The buildings enumerated constitute a frontage of 
about 165 feet, in front of which, and many other build- 
ings, is laid about a block and a half of first class ce- 
ment pavement. 

"On the opposite side of the railroad is another 
brick building of about 27 feet frontage in which is 
located the new Odd Fellows' Hall which soon will be 
dedicated. The upper story is owned by the lodge and 
they can soon be congratulated upon the possession of 
one of the finest lodge rooms in the county and suf- 
ficient for all their needs for many years to come. 

"While these are not all the improvements of the 
season, they are the principal ones, and when the elec- 
tric light plant, which is now in the course of construc- 
tion, is completed, Piper City will have taken a step 
in advance of which will make the season of 1895 mem- 
orable in her history." 

ELECTRIC LIGHT PLANT 

The electric light plant was built by A. A. Blair 
and later sold to Dave and Charles White and Otto 
DeMoure. This was quite a progressive step for the 
village and constituted a big job for the owners of 
the plant, as they had to wire the homes of their 
customers before they could sell them electricity. 

The generator for the plant, which stood on 
the north side of Peoria Avenue across from what 
is now Cook's IGA, was run with steam engines 
and boilers to provide the electricity. They also 
ran a line to Chatsworth and supplied them with 
electricity for a time. 

It was some time later that electric street lights 
were installed. The village board was very frugal 
with the use of electricity and at one of their board 
meetings in 1900 they considered not turning on 
the lights on bright moonlight nights. 

FLAX, A POPULAR CROP 

Flax was a popular crop with early farmers in 
this area because it helped to prepare the sod for 
cultivation. There was a flax mill in Jeffery's pas- 
ture at the south edge of town near where Mr. and 
Mrs. Clarence Pearson now live. 

Sorghum mills were rather plentiful and there 
were evidently several plants that took the sorg- 
hum grown by local farmers and made rich, brown 
sorghum molasses. This was an important staple 



in the pioneer's diet and many a table was set with 
nothing but corn bread and molasses. There was 
a sorghum mill about where the Custom Farm 
Services fertilizer plant is now located. This mill 
was run by Mr. McLaughlin. 

There also was a mill across from L. T. Bishop's, 
or where the Edwin Bork family now lives, and 
one north of town operated by "Molasses" Koerner. 

Children used to follow the wagons hauling 
molasses cane into town, chewing on the sweet 
stalks that fell to the ground. 

An ice plant was an important addition to the 
early business section and there was probably 
more than one ice house during the early history 
of the town. 

Nels Plank operated an ice house for many 
years. They used to cut ice out of ponds in the 
winder and store it for the summer. There was a 
pond north of Robert Dehm's residence where 
they used to harvest ice. Ice, like other crops, was 
harvested when it was ready, and it was considered 
ready when it was eight inches thick. 

TURN OF THE CENTURY 

The turn of the century was ushered in with 
great plans by Piper Cityans to build a new $12,000 
schoolhouse on a new site at the south edge of 
town. To be forever left behind was the cramped 
two-story frame school, heated by space heaters in 
winter, and poorly ventilated in summer. 

Gone, too, was the three-year high school that 
had seemed more than adequate for the children of 
the pioneers up to this time. 

The new brick two-story school was the pride 
of the citizenry, and furnished large and comfor- 
table class rooms for all grades from first through 
high school. 

On August 27, 1900, the cornerstone to the 
new school house was dedicated in an impressive 
exercise in which almost all the townspeople took 
part. The exercises were under the auspices of 
the Masonic lodge. A committee was on hand to 
meet Grand Master Hitchcock, who arrived on 
the 9:45 A.M. train. At 2:00 P.M., the procession 
formed at the lodge hall and marched to the school- 
house site, headed by Opperman's Cornet Band. 

The Reverend M. C. Long delivered the first 
address — a history of the school. Grand Master 
Hitchcock followed with the main oration, after 
which the ceremony of laying the cornerstone 
took place. The exercises concluded, members of 
the lodge, friends and patrons, returned to the 
lodge hall for various amusements and entertain- 
ments, and at 6:00 P.M. refreshments were served. 

School started October 1 in the old building, 

Page Fifty-one 




This school housed the grade school and a three-year high school until 1900 when a 
fine new brick building was built at the south edge of town. 



with Miss Mary Hotzenpillar, principal; Miss Clara 
Bishop, assistant principal; W. G. Cook, grammer 
department; Miss Anna Ralston, intermediate, and 
Miss Lizzie Dick, primary. 

After the Christmas holiday, youngsters began 
going to school in the new building and everyone 
felt very proud to think that all grades from first 
through high school could attend such a nice mo- 
dern school. 

The old school was not completely abandoned, 
but was used by youngsters who played basketball 
and other games in it. Later it was moved to the 
site where the Triple H Company now stands, and 
it was used by Mike Kelly and his sons to store 
implements and such. They were dealers of farm 
implements for many years. 

One small addition was made in 1920 to the 
1900 school, then in 1937 the board of education 
thought that it was time to enlarge the school and 
local people responded affirmatively by voting the 
referendum necessary to do it. A fine new gymna- 
sium and several classrooms were built. 

1940'S BRING MANY CHANGES 

The 1940's ushered in many changes for the 
schools. The country schools began to close one 

Page Fifty-two 



by one and their pupils were amalgamated into 
the town school. This was due to the economic 
pressure of the rising costs of teacher's salaries 
and the state government's upgrading of stan- 
dards. There was pressure from many groups, in- 
cluding the Illinois Agricultural Association, to 
consolidate schools and to upgrade the rural 
schools to a par with the town schools. 

Many did not feel this way. In fact, they felt 
that what the country school had to offer was super- 
ior to the town school. 

The trend continued, however, and the last of 
the country schools to close was the Crandall 
School. 

Some of the faithful country school teachers 
moved into the town school system and others re- 
tired. We still have some teachers who formerly 
taught in the country schools. Among them are 
Mrs. Frank Bouhl, Mrs. Merle Harford, Mrs. Don- 
ald Schnurr, Mrs. Francis Boma and Edmund Col- 
ravy. 

A bit of Americana passed from the scene 
with the country schools. They had been little cen- 
ters of community interest, the box socials in the 
winter and the school picnic at the close of school 














II II || v 1 


BUS? 




i 






■ ■ 


ill ' 






L M j*. 




:■? 


" 


g 


j«,r City 


III. Sail. 





Piper City was justly proud of this fine brick school built in 1900 at a cost of $12,000. 




In 1911 the school staff looked like this. Left to right they are Miss Andrews, Miss 
Warrick, , , Miss Grafton and Mr. Dolph. 



Page Fifty-three 




PIPER POMPADOUR 
BEAUTY SALON 

Rosemary Jackson 
Phone 686-2261 



MOGGED CONSTRUCTION 

MASONRY, CONCRETE 

CARPENTRY 

Piper City, Illinois 

Ph. 686-2335 



GREETINGS 
D. K. and MABEL WALRICH 

18 West Vine St. 
Piper City, Illinois 



CONGRATULATIONS 

On Your Centennial 

WM. R. ZORN, Chatsworth 

FRANKLIN LIFE INSURANCE 



TRUNK AUCTION CO. 

JIM TRUNK, Auctioneer 

Chatsworth, Illinois 60921 

Phone (815) 635-3553 

Farm — Livestock — Real Estate 

Household and Antique Sales 



THOMAS A. BECK 

Building Contractor 

CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 
Phone 635-3725 



FARM REAL ESTATE and 
APPRAISALS 

W. JEROME KILEY, Realtor 
Ph. 689-4551 Cullom, III. 






Page Fifty-four 



were events that the whole family looked forward 
to with anticipation. 

Being geared to the necessity of rural young- 
sters working on the farms the country school was 
usually in session for only eight months to the town 
school's nine. At the end of April, or first of May, 
the families of the district all gathered for a picnic 
dinner to mark the close of school. 

After the bountiful dinner, the men and boys 
organized a ball game and the women exchanged 
recipes and visited. The highlight of the day came 
when the freezer of ice cream was opened in the 
afternoon and everyone enjoyed this rare treat. 
The teacher customarily furnished the ice cream 
out of her meager salary. 

The closing of the country schools presented 
the problem of getting the children to town school 
and on August 31, 1942, some parents from north 
of town attended a school board meeting and asked 
that the school obtain a bus and see that their 
children got to school. 

Shortly after that the school did get one bus 
which shuttled back and forth as best it could. 
Some of the students had to wait at school until 
the others arrived for classes. 

Ben Thompson was hired as the first bus driver. 
The school now maintains four buses, a mini-bus 
and one spare bus. 

The country schools were disposed of in var- 
ious ways. Some were moved away and remodeled 
for homes. Others were bought with the idea that 
they would remain as community centers for the 
district, but this hardly ever worked out. Center 
School is used for a town hall and polling place 
by Pella Township, one of the few still used and 
maintained. There is hardly a recognizable coun- 
try school in the area. 

In the fall of 1946 two country schoolhouses 
were moved into town where one was used for in- 
dustrial arts and the other for ag. They were used 
for a few years until better facilities were built. 

Hot lunches were also started in the 1940's and 
the old dining room was the room under the stage 
in the gymnasium. The pleasant, well-lighted din- 
ing room in use today was built in 1952. 

COOPERATIVE STARTED IN 1967 

An experiment in education was begun in 1967 
when Chatsworth and Piper City began the "co- 
operative plan." In this plan, students are bused 
from one school to the other and it has made a 
more economical teacher - pupil ratio and has given 
a wider choice of subjects to students. 

It has been hailed by educators all over the 
state as "the largest cooperative in the state of 



Illinois." The two superintendents who worked 
out the cooperative plan were Edward Gladish of 
Piper City and Robert Stuckey of Chatsworth. Fur- 
ther consolidation seems imminent in 1969, but only 
the future will reveal just what and how much. 

Our modern school with a staff of 22 teachers 
and two administrators is a far cry from the first 
humble beginning of education begun on the 
prairie 110 years ago. 

The first school in Brenton Township was in a 
small lean-to beside the home of John R. Lewis 
The offer of this rude building was gladly accepted 
by the newly formed school trustees, as no educa- 
tion had been "diffused" in the township up to 
this time. Miss Annie Hobbis of Onarga was em- 
ployed as the first teacher, beginning her duties 
the first Monday in December, 1859 and continuing 
four months. Mr. Lewis also furnished the fuel for 
the school and boarded the teacher for the very 
liberal sum of $24. 

The Wagner school was one of the earliest coun- 
try schools and was also used by the churches 
to hold meetings and socials. 

AAANY TEACHERS SERVED 

Many Piper City teachers could qualify as out- 
standing and we make no attempt to name them 
all here, but a few stand out in length of service 
and devotion and we would be remiss if we failed 
to note their contribution to the youth of this 
community. 

Clara May Powell was an early country school 
teacher who taught in the Herr School. She also 
organized a Sunday School there which she taught 
on Sundays, making her attendance at school a 
necessity for six days a week. This was quite a 
bit of devotion when we note that it was the tea- 
cher who did all the janitoring, fixed the fires, and 
took care of all emergencies. Once in a great 
while one of the school board members was called 
in to "settle" one of the big boys. 

Anna Ralston devoted most of her life to teach- 
ing and exemplified the old-fashioned image of 
a school ma'arm. She wore her hair in a bun on 
top of her head and her mouth was drawn into a 
tight little knot from which very little praise ever 
escaped. She was there to teach, and teach she did. 
Many were better off for her strict discipline and 
devotion to learning. 

Professor J. H. Francis was superintendent 
here for many years, retiring in 1954. Not only did 
he superintend both grade and high schools, but 
he also was a very good math teacher and made 
even the most unlikely pupils understand it a 
little better. He taught here for 36 years. 

Page Fifty-five 



TOM'S SHELL SERVICE 
Chatsworth, Illinois 

TIRES, BATTERIES and ACCESSORIES 



BORCHERS 

MEN'S WEAR - - DRY CLEANERS 

GILMAN, ILLINOIS 60938 



MONTGOMERY WARD'S 

Shop at Home by Phone 

(815) 265-7231 

RIVA'S CATALOG SALES AGENCY 

Gilman, Illinois 60938 

BEST WISHES 

KANE'S T.V. SALES 

Cullom, Illinois 



MIDDLETON & SON 
Furniture 

Featuring Famous Names 

in Furniture and Floor Covering 

ONARGA, ILLINOIS 

60955 

V. E. Middleton 1-815-268-4313 



Best of Everything 

on Your Centennial Year 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR 

PATRONAGE 
CLIFFORD ORR AND SON 



CUSTOM COMBI N ING 
FLOYD GOURLEY 
Piper City, Illinois 



HERB SHELL 

Local Homelite Chain Saw Dealer 

Tree Cutting — Removal 

686-2675 

MEMBERS OF VILLAGE BOARD 
OF PIPER CITY — 1969 

MERLE HARFORD, Mayor 
HAROLD JENSEN 
RONALD COOK 
EDMUND COLRAVY 
HERB BRADBURY 
HOWARD MYERS 
M. J. SORAN 
JOHN D. SOMERS, Clerk 



Page Fifty-six 




District 35, a country school, was taught by Miss Hortense Blaine. In the back row 
are Nina Decker, Verda Ehresman, Gladys Blaine, Ocie Ehresman, the teacher, Mary 

Stuckey, Leota Decker and Angie Ehresman. 
In the middle row are Herbert Zick, Roy Taylor, Kirker Hawthorne, Albert Brauman, 

lona Decker and Hazel Stuckey. 
In the front row are Orval Taylor, Delbert Ehresman, Vern Stuckey, Marie Zick and 

Delta Stuckey. 




Piper City school was integrated at one time when a Negro family lived here. This 

is a picture of the 7th and 8th grades taken in 1921 with Miss Anna Ralston, the 

teacher, in the back row. 



Page Fifty-seven 



Compliments 
FLOYD DONLEY 
Piper City, Illinois 



HAAG'S TAVERN 

Cullom, Illinois 
HOMEMADE FOOD DAILY 

— Specials on — 
FRIDAY NITE — Fish — Shrimp and 

SATURDAY NITE — Chicken and Steaks 



BEA'S BEAUTY SHOP 

Permanent Waving a Specialty 



WEBER CAR WASH 

25c Self-Service 

Wash & Wax 

IVAN WEBER 



ERNIE HAHN MERLIN WHITMAN PAUL DEANY 

PHONES: CULLOM 
689-4850 689-8716 689-4860 



SHOP PHONE: 689-6855 



C ULLOM C ABINET C OMPANY 

Cullom. Illinois 



CUSTOM CABINETS AND MILL WORK 



CONGRATULATIONS TO PIPER CITY 

PIPER CITY 

AMERICAN LEGION 

and AUXILIARY 



CULLOM CO-OPERATIVE GRAIN 
COMPANY 

Cullom, Illinois 60929 





LeROY 


HACK, Manager 


E. W 


Morrison, Assistant Manager 




PHONE 


: (815) 689-4771 


• GRAIN 




DIRECTORS 


• COAL 




F. E. Sterrenberg, Pres. 


• LUMBER 




John Riebe, Sec. and Treas 
George Haag 


• BUILDING 




L. E. Hack 


MATERIAL 




Merle Haag 


• FEEDS 




Louis Post 


• SEEDS 




William Kroll 
Ray Ehlers 


• FERTILIZER 




Merle Haley 



Page Fifty-eight 




This street scene shows the Opera House after it was remodeled. 



Miss Dora Heavener was a first and second 
grade teacher and introduced literally hundreds 
of children to school. Later she became teacher of 
the kindergarten. She was the second kindergar- 
ten teacher. Mrs. Sylvia Guren taught the first 
class in the spring of 1952, then Miss Heavener 
started in the fall and taught kindergarten until 
she was forced to retire because of her health in 
1962 after devoting 46 years to teaching. Piper 
City was one of the first schools in the area to have 
a full time kindergarten. 

OPERA HOUSE 

The Opera House was an institution in the early 
days. It superceded Clark's Hall as a center of all 
civic activities. The churches held suppers, musi- 
cals, and fairs in Clark's Hall in the earliest days, 
but everything had to be carried up the stairs and 
they were delighted to hold their meetings in the 
larger and better equipped Opera House after it 
was built. 

Here every strata of the town's social life must 
have passed at some time or another. The big 
events of the year were the stock shows that 
came to town and played to an audience starved 
for entertainment. Basketball games were held 
here so all school children frequented its halis 



often and found special joy in watching the pro- 
ceedings from the dark and sometimes hot and 
stuffy gallery. The Mogul basketball team was well 
known in the area before World War I and for a 
long time afterwards. Their fame as an independent 
basketball team was known all over Central 
Illinois and some very important "name" teams 
came and played the Moguls on the Opera House 
court. 

In 1907 the Opera House was remodeled and 
lost its distinctive cupola that marked the early 
era of its architecture. It is not known just when 
the Opera House was first built, but we know it 
housed the Masonic Lodge on the second story. 
The Lodge was chartered in 1868. 

FARMERS INSTITUTE 

The Farmers Institute was held here for many 
years and besides the exhibits of grain and pro- 
duce brought in by the farmers, there were all 
kinds of blue and red ribbons given in the culinary 
arts to the farmers' wives. School children sub- 
mitted hand work and themes to be judged and re- 
sultant winners were published in the paper. 

The afternoon and evening program con- 
sisted of "pieces" and songs and entertainment 
by school children with a "special" speaker brought 

Page Fifty-nine 



Congratulations Piper City! 

IT HAS BEEN OUR PLEASURE AND OUR PRIVILEGE 
TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU FOR THE LAST 

20 lOOths 

OF YOUR FIRST CENTURY 




SHEPHERD FLOWER SHOP 



MODERN AND DISTINCTIVE FLORISTRY 



Phone 265-7342 GILMAN, ILL. 



520 S. Crescent St. 



Compliments of 

HOME GUARANTY SAVINGS ASSOCIATION 

Piper City, Illinois 



Page Sixty 



in who could entertain and enlighten his farm 
audience. 

It was a time of fun and good natured rivalry 
and families attended together and enjoyed ming- 
ling with other families. Usually Farmers Institute 
was held in February and bad weather often mar- 
red the event, although they dared not hold it any 
later in the spring for the mud roads became im- 
passable after the spring thaw. 

In later years dances were a regular event 
and some people approved and others did not. The 
dances usually drew a good crowd, however, and 
Falletti's orchestra from Kankakee was one of the 
most popular dance bands in the 20's and early 
30's. 

Other more staid events also took place in the 
Opera House including the senior class's gradua- 
tion and the eighth grade honor night. 

After the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches 
built dining rooms, their suppers and meetings 
were usually held within their own walls. And 
after the school built its gymnasium, the basketball 
games, graduation and even the alumni banquet 
were all held there. The Farmers Institute, like the 
county fair that preceded it became a thing of 
the past. Farmers could hear better speeches on 
their radio sets and certainly the entertainment 
was better than anything that could be mustered by 
local talent. 

In the late 40's it became obvious that the use- 
fulness of the old Opera House, as people had 
known it for many years, was a thing of the past. 
A group of interested citizens got together and 
decided to put in a bowling alley in its place and 
in 1947 the Opera House was razed. 

AGRICULTURE MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRY 

Agriculture has always been the most important 
source of income for Piper Cityans, and even 100 
years after the beginning of our town, the econo- 
my still responds to the pulse of the farm com- 
munity. 

One of the first businesses was the buying and 
selling of grain and was begun on a very small 
scale by Dr. William Piper and John A. Montelius, 
Sr. The grain was stored in a small shed in bags 
and then carried to the railroad tracks to be sent 
to market. This was started in 1866. 

The Montelius family remained in the grain 
business until 1924 when Joseph K. Montelius sold 
out to Bloice W. Cunnington, completing around 
60 years in the business. 

When the bank building was built in 1895, the 
grain office was in the southwest corner with the 




Another view of Corn Day. 

scales on the west side, later used by Jesse John- 
son as a cream station. 

Since the Monteliuses owned a lot of land, es- 
pecially north of town, it was nautral that their 
tenants would bring their corn to the Montelius 
grain elevator to be sold. 

"Corn Days" became a by-word and some time 
during the winter it would be agreed that a cer- 
tain day would be "corn day" and all the tenants 
would bring their corn to the elevator that day. 

It was necessary to do this in the winter time, 
otherwise the roads might be impassable if they 
were not frozen. Usually the men walked beside 
their wagons to keep warm and it was often a 
severe hardship for both man and beast. It was not 
unusual for the teams and wagons to be lined up 
from the scales to the north end of town. 

Fist fights sometimes broke out between men 
waiting their turn to dump their corn and return 
on the long cold trek home. 

In 1914 the Monteliuses built the large cement 
elevator which fronts on Green Street. At the 

Page Sixty-one 



Congratulations 



to 



Piper City, Illinois 



'Gas does it better — for less' 



Northern Illinois Gas Company 



Page Sixty-two 




^tV^Q-^XY*'^ G^OSJyTSAV 



" ^^VZ-A. 



When this large cement elevator was built by the Montelius Grain Co. in 1917 it 
was the biggest and best in the state outside of some grain terminals. 




Elevator owned by James Walsh from 1908 and later sold to Alvin Crede who sold 
it to Farmers Grain Co. in 1918. 



Page Sixty-three 



Congratulations 
Piper City 

on Your 



100 



T H 



Anniversary 

ANNE and MARTY 

CORAL LOUNGE 

Where the fine people of Piper Meet 



Page Sixty-four 




Shown is the Farmer's Elevator and the Electric Light Plant at around 1900 or later. 
The occasion seems to be a horse sale. 




In 1904 the bronze plate with 33 names of Civil War veterans was placed on the 
soldiers and sailors monument in the village park. 



Page Sixty-five 



Compliments of 



ROBERTS GRAIN COMPANY, INC. 



"The Complete Grain Handling Facility" 

WE ARE PROUD TO BE A PART OF 
THE CENTENNIAL ACTIVITIES 



(coop 

THE FARMERS' GRAIN COMPANY 
OF CHARLOTTE 

Grain and Farm Supplies 
CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 60921 

Since 1907 
BILL STERRENBERG, Mgr. 
JIM FLESSNER, Asst. Mgr. 



BEST WISHES 
on 

100th Anniversary 

J. C. KELLY COMPANY 

Chatsworth, Illinois 



Page Sixty-six 



time this was considered the finest and the largest 
elevator in the state outside of some terminal ele- 
vators. This replaced a wood structure. 

Mathew Soran, Sr., was another early grain 
dealer, dealing in grain as well as general merchan- 
dise at the site of the present post office. His scales 
were on the east side of his building. 

When Bloice Cunnington bought out J. K. Mon- 
telius he leased the brick office on Main Street and 
the cement elevator, at first from Mr. Montelius, 
but later from the LaHogue Grain Company who 
bought Montelius out. 

Mr. Cunnington was killed in an automobile 
accident November 22, 1938, and E. P. Wilson and 
his sons, John E. and Edwin E. Wilson, effected a 
purchase from E. H. Houk, executor of his estate, 
and the Wilson Grain Company formally opened 
for business December 2, 1938, with Edwin E. 
(Chub) Wilson as manager. John E. was in the 
First National Bank at the time. 

Wilson Grain Company continued the lease 
with the LaHogue Grain Company for the facilities 
of office and elevator. The ground was leased from 
the railroad company. 

Both John and Edwin served in World War II 
and while away in service the elevator was man- 
aged by their uncle, John Elmer Wilson, with E. P. 
Wilson assisting. 

The Wilson Grain Company was one of the 
earliest grain companies to move into the trucking 
of grain on a large scale and the initial step was 
made through necessity. The TP&W Railroad Com- 
pany was on strike and in order to move the grain 
to the terminals and sub-terminals it became neces- 
sary to move it by truck. This was done prior to 
Chub's return from service in 1946. 

The LaHogue Grain Company decided to sell 
the office and elevator at public auction April 19, 
1946. Both Farmers Grain Company and the Wilson 
Grain Company were spirited bidders, but Farmers 
Grain Company was the successful bidder and 
Wilson Grain Company vacated the premises about 
July 15, of that year. 

Wilsons then moved to 17 East Peoria having 
contracted with J. W. Hickerson, local carpenter, 
to build an office and some storage space for feed. 
They began to go into the trucking business in 
earnest as they had no elevator in which to store 
grain. They eventually owned four trucks and 
sometimes supplemented with others that they hir- 
ed for larger jobs. 

Morris was the main market for the grain for 
many years, although some of it moved to Kanka- 
kee, Chicago and Gibson City as well as other 
points. During the 1950's Lew Walker of Gilman 




The water tower built in 1913 after several disastrous 

fires made it easier to fight fires and also ushered in a 

new era of indoor plumbing. 

handled a lot of corn from Piper City. Mr. Walker 
had prevailed on a Chicago company to build a 
sub-terminal at Gilman and he did his best to give a 
good market to his neighbors in the business. 

Wilson Grain Company's direct handling of 
grain from farm to the market was new to Piper 
City and it created quite a stir, but it was not en- 
tirely without precedent in the area. Herb Sterren- 
berg of Crescent City had operated successfully 
this way for a time, and his experience was the 
incentive needed for Wilsons to go ahead. 

This all happened back in a day when employ- 
ees worked hard for their employers and a fine 
group of men worked long hours and hard to suc- 
ceed at this new venture in grain merchandising. 
Sometimes Theron Boma, who operated a corn 
sheller at that time, would start at midnight if 
that's what it took to get the job done. 

In 1958 Wilson Grain Company sold out to 
Virgil and Ray Wilkey and it became known as the 
Wilkey Grain Company and has been in business 
since with Virgil Wilkey as the manager. This 
grain company was sold at public auction June 

Page Sixty-seven 



ROBERTS STATE BANK 

ROBERTS, ILLINOIS 

Stop in and See Our New Home 



Congratulations to the Piper City Community 
from the 

Cullom Junior Fair Association 

The Junior Fair is to be held 

AUGUST 15-16, 1969 

The Steer Auction Sale will Start at 

6:00 p.m. — AUGUST 16, 1969 



Page Sixty-eight 




C. B. SWITZER USED THIS RIG TO CARRY MAIL. 



7, 1969 to Farmers Grain Company so for the first 
time since Piper City was started there is only 
one grain company in operation. 

FARMERS GRAIN COMPANY 

The Farmers Grain Company has been in opera- 
tion over 50 years. 

James Walsh built or acquired an elevator in 
1908 at the west end of Main Street. He later sold 
to Alvin Wrede. 

In 1917 the farmers of this area organized a 
Farmers Grain Company. Shares of stock totaling 
$25,000 were sold at $50 each. The first meeting 
of the shareholders was held February 16, 1918 in 
the Masonic Hall. On the first board of directors 
were Frank Reising, William Quick, E. E. Bishop, 
Baltz Weber, James P. Glass, Hugh Hawthorne, 
John Klehm, John Shaughnessy and J. A. Berlett. 

C. T. Hupp was the first manager of Farmers 
Grain. In 1921 C. E. Miller was hired as a manager 
and served until his retirement in 1954. 

Claire McClain was another individual who 
gave years of service to the grain business. He 
served as bookkeeper for Bloice Cunnington and 
also for the Wilson Grain Company. 

AGRIBUSINESS 

Agribusiness has grown to be a common ex- 



pression in 1969 although our ancestors would not 
have the faintest idea what was meant by the term. 
Businesses related to agriculture have grown fast 
in the past 10 years and one well known to area 
farmers is the fertilizer and herbicide business. 
Farmers have learned how they can boost yield 
and control weeds and these products are much in 
demand. 

There are two fertilizer plants in Piper City, 
and both have been built in the past five years. 
What is now Custom Farm Services, Inc., began in 
1964 as Schofield Soil Service. Glenn Mogged 
started with them as manager and is still their 
manager. He recently was named top manager of 
his district. 

Monsanto Agricultural Center was built soon 
after the other fertilizer plant and Lon Ash was 
their first manager. Howard Myers is now acting 
as manager. Both plants do a big business and have 
the confidence of the farmers as both managers 
are local people and have farmed. 

F/S SERVICES, INC., SEEDS DIVISION 

Another business closely aligned with agri- 
culture and one of great importance to Piper City 
is F/S Services, Inc., Seeds Division. It is the larg- 
est business in Piper City. It started back in 1937 
when an organization known as the Ford County 

Page Sixty-nine 



Corn Growers was carrying on a seed testing and 
germinating program in various parts of the county. 
Hybrid seed corn had just begun to catch on and 
farmers who had for years been saving a few bush- 
els of their best corn for planting were beginning 
to buy hybrid corn. 

Nobody had ever heard of a seed company. If 
a farmer needed seed, he bought some from his 
neighbor. The development of hybrid corn changed 
all that and the pollination and breeding of corn 
was no longer left to nature and chance. 

Seeing the need of area farmers, it was decided 
at the annual meeting of the Ford County Corn 
Growers on January 21, 1937 to organize a Ford 
County Crop Improvement Association and to 
grow hybrid seed corn. 

On May 23, 1937 the Ford County Crop Im- 
provement Association was incorporated and A. B. 
Schofield was made the first business manager. 

In March, 1938, it was decided that the corn 
processing plant would be built in Piper City. The 
name of the organization was then changed to 
Producers Crop Improvement Association and it 
became an important addition to the business and 
commercial growth of Piper City. 

In April, 1939, the association planned its hy- 
brid seed corn production at approximately 700 
acres. This was the first crop processed through 
the Piper City plant. 

L. R. Downs, present manager of the company, 
came to Producers upon the resignation of Mr. 
Schofield in January of 1940. In 1947, the Black- 
hawk Hybrid Seed Corn Association of Polo was 
merged with Producers and the company was re- 
organized as Producers Seed Company in April, 
1949. 

On February 7, 1952, a fire destroyed all the 
facilities at Piper City except for the office build- 
ing. There was some talk, at first, about moving 
to a different site at another place, but local people 
worked very hard to persuade them to rebuild 
here and soon plans were being made to build the 
plant bigger and better than before. The new plant 
was approximately three times the capacity of the 
old one when completed a short time later. 

In 1966 Producers Seed Company merged with 
Farm Service and it is now called F/S Services, 
Inc., Seed Division. 

The company employs many Piper City people 
and it has brought in many well educated, inter- 
esting people to live in this community. 

LOCKER PLANT 

The Piper City Locker Plant was organized on 
a cooperative basis in September of 1943. Two 

Page Seventy 



hundred and fifty-six shares of stock were sold at 
$25 a share. In October of 1943 the land and build- 
ing on its present site was bought from Walter 
Opperman. The locker was incorporated under 
the Agriculture Act on February 22, 1944. Clarence 
Pearson is the one and only manager the locker 
plant has ever had. 

The first officers of the locker plant were 
George Ficklin, president; W. R. Crandall, vice 
president and W. F. Weber, secretary and trea- 
surer. 

In 1969 the future of the locker plant looks a 
bit dubious. Almost all the locker plants in the area 
have closed due to stricter regulations by state 
and national government. 

HENALD'S MANUFACTURING CO. 
Piper City's only factory, The Henald Manu- 
facturing Company, was begun September 27, 
1954. Previously it had been located at St. Anne. 
The factory was begun in the back room of what 
was then the David's Economy grocery store and 
is now the Overacker Show Room. The employ- 
ment rose from eight to 50 before it was moved to 
its present site in February, 1956. At the present 
time about 100 are employed. Sometimes employ- 
ment has reached almost 250. Transformers for 
radio and television are produced here. Chester 
Kraft, Watseka, is the present manager. 

PIPER CITY JOURNAL 

The Piper City Journal is the oldest Piper City 
business to have remained in continous operation 
under the same name. At its beginning in 1897, it 
had competition in another newspaper called the 
Pan-Handle Advocate which was edited by Judge 
H. P. Beach. 

The Journal was founded in 1897 by B. W. Kin- 
sey and continued under his management until 
May 14, 1900, when it was bought by E. S. Pike of 
Chenoa. Charles E. Gilpin moved to Piper City 
from Windsor and was in charge of business and 
editorial management under Mr. Pike. Later that 
same year, Mr. Gilpin bought the Journal and co n- „.„ 
tinued as its editor until his death in 19e*r~when'" 
his daughter, Mrs. George Perry, took over and 
was editor until May 1, 1966. The Journal was then 
purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Johnston who 
still publish it once a week on Thursdays. 

Another early newspaper was the Piper City 
Advertiser edited by Richard Alnutt and begun in 
1876. The Advertiser went out of existence some 
time between 1885 and 1900. 

EMORY HARFORD AND SONS 

Emory Harford and Sons is a business of long 




-• • - th. fair was to load your family and friends into a wagon 
One way of -MM the *£•-* ^e/wa.le is man in front. 




The C. B. Switie 



r family advertises the fair when they go for a ride. 



Page Seventy-one 



A Symbol of 

PROGRESS 




For Illinois . . . 



Symbol Of The Electric Cooperatives - And 
The Half-Million Illinois Citizens They Serve 

SALUTES THE CITIZENS OF 

PIPER CITY 

in Their Observance of 
A Century of Progress 




May the Next 100 Years Be 
Equally Successful 

• 

:AsraM mluinods mwm £@@mMw\ 

PHONE: 379-2326 - 330 WEST OTTAWA, PAXTON, ILLINOIS 

Owned And Controlled By Those Served 

PROVIDING ADEQUATE, LOW-COST ELECTRIC POWER TO RURAL 
FORD COUNTY AND ADJACENT COUNTIES OF EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS 



Page Seventy-two 



standing in Piper City. It still carries on business 
under this name even though Mr. Harford died in 
1967. 

Emory Harford came to this area from West 
Virginia in 1912. He engaged in blacksmith- 
ing at the Dannewitz blacksmith shop in 
South Brenton. When he was married in 1916, he 
built a shop at the west end of Main Street which 
is still the site of the business, although needless 
to say, there is no more blacksmithing done there. 

In 1931, Mr. Harford added an implement line 
and after World War II his sons, Merle, Donald and 
Wayne came in with him to run the implement 
company and Harford's Oil Co. 

PIPER CITY LANES 

Piper City Lanes is the only business in Piper 
City to offer recreation or diversion. There have 
been movie theaters and pool halls, but at the 
present time the bowling alley is the only business 
of its kind. It is a nice modern center used by 
young and old. 

In 1947 when the old Opera House was to be 
torn down, six men formed a board of directors in 
order to build a bowling alley on the site with 
Piper Lodge 608 A. F. & A. M. using the second 
floor for its lodge hall. 

The directors were Jesse McKee, P. L. Kelly, 
Dr. C. E. Branch, Fred Weakman, Dr. W. G. Rauda- 
baugh, J. J. Lyons and R. R. Roberts. Officers elec- 
ted were Dr. Branch, president; Kelly, vice presi- 
dent; Lyons, secretary and Dr. Raudabaugh, trea- 
surer. 

In 1967, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Myers, who had 
been managing the alleys for the past 11 years, 
bought out the business from the board of direc- 
tors. 

FOXY'S TELEVISION SERVICE 

Mr. and Mrs. Reynard L. (Foxy) Hayslette were 
for many years associated with the restaurant busi- 
ness in Piper City and ran Foxy's Corner Cafe on 
the north side. 

In the 1950's, Mr. Hayslette began to branch 
out by working at repairing television and radio 
sets and in 1961 they sold their restaurant and he 
concentrated on selling and repairing television 
sets. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hayslette have been very gener- 
ous in catering for churches and organizations as 
well as individual parties and dinners since retir- 
ing from the restaurant business. They do much 
of this without charge whether they are affiliated 
with the church or organization, or not. This has 
been an appreciated and worthwhile service to 
the community. 



HOME GUARANTY 

The Piper City Home Guaranty Savings Asso- 
ciation began business in 1956 with a state charter 
and occupied the building the State Bank is now in. 

On March 9, 1959, the Federal Home Loan 
Board granted federal insurance which was an 
important step in the growth of the Association. 

They had offices in the Eugene E. Doran build- 
ing for a time and in January, 1963, they moved 
into their new building at 116 South Pine Street. 

The original board of directors was made up 
of Howard Stuckey, Samuel Martin, C. E. Miller, 
L. E. Overacker, Harald Hemb, Karl Kielsmeier 
and R. F. Goodyear. The first officers were Stuc- 
key, president; Martin, vice president and Miller, 
secretary. 

Stuckey and Martin are present president and 
vice president of the Association. J. H. Francis 
is the present secretary and treasurer. 

Mrs. Howard Stuckey was the office secretary 
from 1956 until April of 1969, when Drell Stuckey 
became office manager upon her retirement. 

L. E. OVERACKER 

L. E. Overacker has been a Piper City business- 
man for about 40 years. He started as a mechanic 
at the age of 18, working for D. B. O'Donnell at 
the Central Motor Co. He also worked for Gus Zar- 
buck, Carl Lemons and others. 

Mr. Overacker bought out Aloise (Alley) Reis- 
ing at the present site of Overacker, Inc. in 1930. 
J. W. Holmes is now the president and manager 
of this enterprise. 

Mr. Overacker has been a Pontiac dealer since 
.1935 and has a large show room on Main Street. 
He also has had the agency for the Chicago Motor 
Club for 35 years. 

He has lived during an era when selling cars 
and servicing them was one of the biggest busi- 
nesses in a small town, and each town had several 
car dealers and garages, not to mention gas stations. 

PEOPLES COAL AND LUMBER COMPANY 

Since 1867 there has been a lumber company 
on the corner where Peoples Coal and Lumber 
Company now stands. 

The business was started by John A. Monte- 
lius, Sr. and Dr. Piper and employed John McKin- 
ney. In a year or two, Mr. McKinney bought out 
his employers and for over 60 years the lumber 
business was in the hands of the McKinney family. 
The first business under their ownership was John 
McKinney and Brothers. In the beginning the com- 
pany handled lumber and a little hardware. Later 
furniture and undertaking were added. 

The business later passed into the management 

Page Seventy-three 



Compliments of 
SCHMOHE GRAIN CO. 

RIDGEVILLE, ILLINOIS 

THAWVILLE GRAIN 
& LUMBER CO. 

THAWVILLE, ILLINOIS 



GULLETT & TREES AGENCY 



ROBERTS, ILLINOIS 



INSURANCE IS OUR 

BUSINESS, NOT A 

SIDE LINE 



Compliments of 

CITY GROCERY 

Jim and Janice Shaughnessy 



KUIPERS' SALES COMPANY 

"AFTER THE SALE - IT'S THE SERVICE THAT COUNTS" 

Phone: 265-7288 215-223 South Crescent Street 

GILMAN, ILLINOIS 60938 



SAUERBIER DRUG STORE 

Compliments of 
THE SAUERBIER FAMILY 



Compliments of 

A. L. JOHNSON 

Your 

Pioneer Seed Corn 

Salesman 



MSATOMIE 



HICKSATOMIC 
STATIONS, INC. 

Tom fhon. 635.3371 Ken 

CHATSWORTH, III. 



CLOOS BODY SHOP 
Piper City, Illinois 

Wrecks Rebuilt and Refinished 
DUANE CLOOS, Proprietor 



Page Seventy-four 



of Mr. McKinney's son, W. 0. McKinney, and be- 
came known as W. 0. McKinney & Company. Be- 
sides lumber, they stocked tile, gravel, sand, con- 
crete building blocks, fence posts and other items 
reflecting the needs of the times. 

H. G. Flessner was the manager for the McKin- 
neys for many years and later for the Miller Lum- 
ber Company. The business was owned for a short 
time by "Red" Hubert of Bondville and in 1945 
was sold to Peoples Coal and Lumber Company. 
They have branch offices in Watseka, Kentland, 
Indiana and Grant Park. Ray Martin, who worked 
for the company for the past 14 years, has been 
manager for the past three years. Managers be- 
fore him were Ersle Quick and Ray Wilkey. 

BRADBURY AND COMPANY 

R. E. Bradbury, now retired, was a farmer be- 
tween Piper City and Roberts who began plumb- 
ing around 1918, as a side line to his farming, one 
of the earliest farmers to do this. He had always 
been inventive and ingenious about fixing and re- 
pairing things. He had kept the country telephone 
lines in working order and had also patented an 
umbrella holder for tractors. 

His son Herb started with him in 1925 and 
worked for just 25 cents an hour. They built the 
modern brick shop on Main Street in 1946 and 
Mrs. Madge Ristow has worked in their office since 
1947. 

Herb's son, Ronald Bradbury, has been an 
apprentice for the past four years and since get- 
ting out of service has been actively engaged in 
the work with his father for the past year. 

RHODE MOTORS, INC. 

Harold Rhode came to Piper City November 1, 
1945, and opened an implement store in the bank 
building. He moved to the north side in the shop 
now occupied by L. A. Reynolds in January of 
1947. 

In May, 1953, he bought out the Joe Holmes 
car agency and for a time ran both places. In March, 
1954, he sold the implement agency and has since 
been in business at 27 W. Main, where he sells aid 
services cars. His son, Floyd, is associated with 
him. 

TRIPLE "H" CO., INC. 

Mr. and Mrs. Warren Hanna became affiliated 
with the Triple "H" Company in 1958 as whole- 
sale distributors of allied farm equipment with 
a warehouse in Piper City. 

Mrs. Hanna has been carrying on the business 
since Mr. Hanna's death in 1968 and employs Mrs. 
Andrew Froelich Jr. in the office. She has three 



salesmen who visit dealers in the three states of 
Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. 

Triple "H" has been at its present location of 
222 South Green since the early 60's. They incor- 
porated in 1964. 

SORAN'S CAFE 

M. J. (Jim) and Vera Soran have operated 
Soran's Cafe for about 25 years. The combination 
of Mrs. Soran as the "perfect cook" and Mr. Soran 
as the "perfect host" has been hard to beat and 
they have a large clientele of local and out of town 
diners who look forward to dining at Soran's. Then- 
Harvest Room is much in demand for wedding re- 
ceptions, luncheons and meetings. 

The Sorans also combine two pioneer families. 
She was Vera Bishop before her marriage and is 
a granddaughter of the L. T. Bishops, one of the 
earliest farm families to settle here. Mr. Bishop 
arrived here from New York in 1858. Mr. Soran is 
a grandson of M. J. Soran, Sr., who arrived here in 
1870. 

TAVERNS 

Piper City was "dry" for many years and the 
only way you could buy liquor in town was at the 
Drug Store with a doctor's prescription. There are 
now two taverns in operation. Citizens voted to go 
"wet" shortly after prohibition was repealed. 

Pat's Tap on the north side is owned and opera- 
ted by Malcolm (Pat) Lionberger. The Office is 
owned and managed by Mrs. Ruth Fagan, who 
has been running the business by herself since the 
death of her husband, Jack Fagan, in 1966. 

There are a few stories that have been passed 
down about the good old days when Piper was dry 
and Chatsworth wet. It is told that many Piper 
City men got on the evening train to go to Chats- 
worth and then came back on a late evening one, 
and almost all of the returning townsmen would 
be carrying a shoe box. Of course, it was pointed 
out that they could not be buying a pair of shoes 
every night. 

Then there was the man who got in the barber 
chair to be shaved. When the barber was just half 
done, the train, bound for Chatsworth, tooted into 
town. The man jumped out of the chair, wiped off 
his face and said he'd be back in the morning for 
the rest of his shave. 

FUNERAL DIRECTOR 

Justin K. Reilly is the present funeral director 
in Piper City, having bought out the business in 
1951 following the death of Ernest H. Houk. He 
and Mrs. Reilly and their three children lived in 
Piper City until his father retired as funeral direc- 



Page Seventy-five 




E. H. Hook was a funeral director here for over 41 years. 

tor in Gilman. The Reillys then moved to Gilman, 
but continued to operate the Reilly Funeral Home 
in Piper City. Mr. and Mrs. James Gilvin are the 
occupants of the home at the present time. 

Mr. Houk had been Piper City's funeral director 
for 41 years. In 1910 he began his mercantile ca- 
reer by working for W. 0. McKinney and Daniel 
Kewley. Mr. McKinney was the funeral director 
and was also in the lumber business. In 1915 Mr. 
Houk bought out his employers and was launched 
on a long and successful career in the furniture 
business. He also was a dignified and efficient fun- 
eral director, kind and sympathetic. 

He kept pace with the times and in 1929 was 
operating a Studebaker DeLuxe Motor Funeral 
Coach and Ambulance. 

In the early days, perhaps a bit before Mr. 
Houk's time, Fred Ristow had a team of matched 
black horses that he used to pull the hearse to the 
cemetery. They were trained to walk very slow 
and when he drove by the men would remove 
their hats and stand bare headed in respect to the 
dead, a contrast to our modern motorized corteges 
that are hardly noticed unless they interrupt the 
flow of traffic. 

CITY GROCERY 

The City Grocery has perhaps the longest his- 
tory of any Piper City business. Certainly the 
building is the oldest and most colorful. It was 
built in about 1867 and housed a general store 
operated by John A. Montelius, St., who took grain 
and farm products in exchange for items in his 
store. 

When the dress patterns came in, the women 
would first lay the pattern on the material to see 
how much "goods" it would take. They often cut 
the pattern out right in the store and by this simple 

Page Seventy-six 



little routine savored the pleasure of the new gar- 
ment for several minutes where others might see 
and perhaps envy them a bit. 

Mrs. Montelius worked in her husband's store 
and made millinery for the ladies. 

In 1876 John Clark, from the very interesting 
Clark family that had come here from Patterson, 
New Jersey in 1867, purchased the store from Mr. 
Montelius. 

The Clarks were strong believers in education 
and their children attended Wabash College at 
Crawfordsville, Indiana. One son, Alexander, was 
a railway attorney and worked out of Chicago until 
his tragic death, of a heart attack, in an Evanston 
station; another son, William J. Clark, worked with 
a Grain Company in Chicago, but came back to 
Piper City at the death of John in 1885, after which 
he ran the general store, sometimes with the help 
of others. 

A daughter, Maggie, a teacher in the local high 
school, married Ammon Coomes, a high school 
principal, who stayed here for several terms in 
about 1880. The Coomes moved to Paxton, where 
they established Coomes Drug Store. 

It was during the time that the Clarks were 
the proprietors of the store that Clark's Hall be- 
came the meeting place for all kinds of functions 
and gatherings. The churches met here and this 
was where the dinners and socials were held. It was 
the forerunner of the Opera House. 

Early history is sprinkled with many references 
to Clark's Hall which was on the second story of 
what is now the City Grocery. 

The three Opperman brothers, Charles, Au- 
gust and Ernest bought the store in 1897. In 1907 
they traded the store for some land in Mississippi. 
From that time until 1915 when Charles Opperman 
returned, the store was operated by Perry Brothers, 
the Walrich Brothers and others. 

David or "Jerry" Opperman came into the busi- 
ness as a young man and operated it until he sold 
out to Mr. and Mrs. James Shaughnessy in 1956. 
Mrs. Shaughnessy is a granddaughter of Charles 
Opperman, one of the original owners, which 
makes the Opperman family in ownership of the 
store for 64 years of its long and interesting his- 
tory. 

COOK'S IGA 

The Cook family is another family that has 
been in the merchandising business in Piper City 
for many, many years. Ronald Cook owns and oper- 
ates the modern supermarket of Cook's IGA on the 
corner of Peoria and Pine Streets. 

His father, George D. Cook, worked in the gro- 
cery department of a hardware and grocery store 



operated by Henry and Ed Strasma in a building 
which was located where the Piper Hardware and 
Variety is now. In 1920, Mr. Cook bought the gro- 
cery stock and Joe Lundy bought the hardware 
stock. Dudley Moore worked for Mr. Lundy and 
Jack Rice worked for Mr. Cook. 

After a short time Mr. Cook moved the grocery 
store into a separate building where the Legion 
Hall now is located, and later moved to about the 
middle of the block where Soran's Restaurant 
stands today. 

Some who worked in the store over the years 
are: Fred Kemnetz, Ira Still, Frank Bouhl, Glen 
Christian and Claude Hogan. Mrs. Cook, the former 
Helen Bishop, also assisted her husband. The store 
gave credit and also delivered groceries in the ear- 
ly days before the streamlined cash and carry of 
today. 

In 1947 the Central Hotel was sold to the Cooks 
and the building razed to make room for the new 
IGA Foodliner. Ronald had come home from ser- 
vice in the Navy and went in as a partner with his 
father. In 1960 he bought out his father and is now 
the owner and operator. 

PIPER HARDWARE AND VARIETY 

Piper Hardware and Variety now operated by 
Mr. and Mrs. Duane White is from the business 
begun in 1927 by W. L. (Bill) Quick. After the dis- 
astrous fire in 1926 that destroyed the Tayar Dry 
Goods Store, the Overacker Restaurant and the 
Berghouse Meat Market, Mr. Quick built the mo- 
dern brick building that is there today, and opened 
an outstanding store in this area. 

One of the innovations that Mr. Quick adopted 
was to display all merchandise on open waist-high 
counters. There were no high shelves and every- 
thing was in easy reach of customer and clerk. This 
was an entirely new departure in stores of that day 
and there was no similar store anywhere in this 
section of Illinois, none even in Kankakee or Dan- 
ville. 

Mr. Quick was a life-long resident of Piper 
City and had engaged in farming up until he went 
in the store. Besides the thousand-and-one articles 
of cutlery, gifts, housewares, electrical appliances, 
crockery, toys, hosiery and notions, he also stocked 
bigger items of hardware, farm implements and 
stoves. 

The business was later sold to Bernard Hitchens 
and Frank White. Hitchens sold out to White and 
now it is operated by Frank's son, Duane and his 
wife, Betty. 

MANY BUSINESSES IMPORTANT 

Each business in Piper City is important to it 



and none should be slighted, but space does not 
permit a long history of each one. 

The Corner Cafe on the north side of Piper 
City's square is operated by Mrs. Marion Butler, 
who serves fine food and is well patronized. 

Allen Day writes insurance and his company is 
called familiarly Daisy's Insurance. 

Robert Zorn is the local barber and is also the 
town clerk. 

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Dornfield operate the 
Western Auto Associate Store and keep a nice 
modern line of goods on hand. 

Sauerbier Drug Store has been operated by 
Mrs. Helen Sauerbier since the death of her hus- 
band, John, in 1967. The Drug Store was run for 
many years by F. A. Thomas and Mr. Sauerbier 
was the druggist. 

L. A. (Jack) Reynolds operates a Standard Oil 
gas truck and also a farm store on the north side 
where he sells tires, batteries and other farm needs. 

There are several beauty parlors in operation. 
Mrs. G. L. Switzer operates one in her home, as 
does Mrs. Donald Jackson, Mrs. Ellis Martin, Mrs. 
Charles Shoemaker and Mrs. Andie Evans. Mrs. 
Ogreda Tammen and her daughter, Mrs. Bea La- 
Voie, operate Bea's Beauty Shoppe on the north 
side. 

Duane Cloos came here shortly after World 
War II and established Cloos Body Shop where 
the bodies of cars and trucks are straightened 
and painted. 

The Pirate's Den, an antique and used furniture 
shop, is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. A. W. 
Opperman. They also own Montelius Manor, the 
home built in 1871 by John A. Montelius, Sr., which 
is filled with many of the ancestral possessions of 
the Montelius family and of that era. The Opper- 
mans open the Manor each Sunday afternoon 
through the summer for touring. 

Eugene E. Doran runs a general insurance 
agency and is an auctioneer and realtor. At one 
time he worked for D. A. Klothe in his grocery 
store. 

George Kemnetz owns and operates the Stan- 
dard Service Station which has been mentioned 
elsewhere in this history. 

Marvin Hitchens operates the Sinclair Station 
and also drives a Sinclair gas truck hauling gas to 
the area farmers and also supplies them with var- 
ious other agricultural needs. 

Dan Rogers is owner of the Phillips Service 
Center. This is on the corner of Main Street and 
111. 115, where the old theater used to be in the 
days of the silent movies. 

C. E. (Patsy) Rice has long been associated with 

Page Seventy-seven 



COMPLETE LINE OF HERBICIDES 
FERTILIZERS • ANHYDROUS AMMONIA 

MONSANTO AGR. CENTER 



Monsanto 



Piper City, Illinois 



HOWARD MYERS, Mgr 

686-2200 



JAKE BARGMANN, Plant Opr. 
686-2530 




HH 



1874 - 1969 



ANNIVERSARY 




FARMERS PIONEER MUTUAL 

ONARGA, ILLINOIS 60955 



SEE LOCAL AGENT 

CLIF BOMA 

Piper City, 111. 

686-2587 



Phone: (815) 268-7300 
Page Seventy-eight 



movies both inside and outside a theater. He and 
iiis brother, John (Jack) Rice, operated the Ace 
Theater in the 1930's where Pat's Tap is now loca- 
ted. 

They also went from town to town showing 
"free movies" in the railroad park or some other 
central location. These movies were free to the 
viewers as they were paid for by the merchants, 
who contributed as a token of good will to their 
customers, or in the hope that those who came 
in to see the movies would also "trade" in their 
stores. 

Jack has not been affiliated with the movies 
for many years, but Patsy is still showing free mo- 
vies on Saturday nights in the summer time in 
Piper City, following a custom that must have been 
started over 40 years ago. Each one brings a fold- 
ing chair or a blanket on which to sit and the park 
is soon converted into an outdoor theater. 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Delap are agents for the 
Lyons Insurance Agency. 

Floyd Donley is a dealer in scrap metal and 
also is bus driver for the school. 

W. D. Miller and Son are sanitary engineers and 
clean septic tanks and drains. W. D., or Durell as 
he is called, was injured in a truck accident in 1966 
and his son Allen carries on the business. They are 
descended from William Miller, one of the earliest 
settlers. 

B. N. Stephens and Sons are painters and have 
been in business for many years. 

McKee Home Service is headed by Forrest Mc- 
Kee and they sell and service gas furnaces. 

John R. Keefe has a welding shop a mile west 
of town. 

McMillan Fertilizer has offices in the home of 
Howard McMillan, Jr. 

Ron Weibers is the agent for F/S Petroleum. 

Robert Van Antwerp is a contractor and car- 
penter. 

Robert Mogged and Thees Sterrenberg are ce- 
ment contractors. 

Walt Miller is chief of Miller Electric and they 
wire homes and businesses and do other electri- 
cal work. 

Floyd Stumph has an apiary. 

Ivan Weber and Robert Hewerdine operate a 
car wash. 

Raymond Mylcraine is postmaster. 

PROFESSIONAL MEN 

Piper City, from the early days, has been bless- 
ed with a high caliber of professional men. Dr. 
R. J. Piper was one of the earliest physicians. Dr. 
S. D. Culbertson was another early doctor and 
druggist and was active in civic affairs. He was 



reportedly the first doctor at the scene of the 
tragic train wreck west of Piper City in 1887. 

In later years Dr. Tieken was a faithful care- 
taker of the health of the citizenry. He called on the 
sick, driving a horse and buggy that became famil- 
iar, and sometimes, a most welcome sight. 

Dr. L. C. Diddy was another physician who serv- 
ed the community in the early part of the 20th 
century. 

Piper City has also had some fine dentists, in- 
cluding Dr. Frederick Erhardt shortly after 1900 
and Dr. R. E. Squires until his retirement in the 
1950's. Dr. W. P. Mabry is the present fine dentist, 
having come here 15 years ago. 

Many present day "old timers" can recall the 
colorful and highly respected veterinarian, Dr. P. 
C. Ballou, who always seemed to be in a hurry, 
hustling about with a big chew of tobacco in his 
mouth. 

He was one of the first men in town to own an 
automobile, and if you saw a cloud of dust on a 
country road you might guess that it was "Doc" 
hastening to the stable-side of one of his patients. 

He was a connoisseur of fine horseflesh and kept 
a stable of spirited and gaited thoroughbreds. He 
also had a Negro trainer, Leslie Carpentier, who 
came from Kentucky. In accord with the custom of 
the day, Les ate and slept in the fine stable, and 
was cordially accepted by Piper City town folks 
because of his dignified and courteous manners. 

Sometimes Doc and his step daughter, Effie Mil- 
ler, would go out riding in the evening and Les 
would usually ride with them, keeping a discreet 
distance behind and people would murmur how 
well he knew his place. 

Piper City is now served by a veterinary clinic 
with Dr. W. G. Raudabaugh, Dr. W. L. Hay and Dr. 
James Finnell caring for the animal population. 
Because of the changes in agriculture and the 
sparsity of farm animals their practice is now 
much concerned with pets and small animals. 

Dr. Raudabaugh came here in 1938 and Dr. W. 
L. Hay in 1950. Dr. Finnell, who resides in Gilman, 
was the last to join the clinic staff. 

Dr. Raudabaugh has been a Ford County Super- 
visor for many years and it is interesting to note 
that all have served on a school board, Dr. Rauda- 
baugh and Dr. Hay in Piper City and Dr. Finnell 
in Gilman. 

Dr. C. E. Branch came in 1934, buying the 
practice from Dr. H. C. Sauer. Dr. H. A. Mcintosh 
joined him in 1947 and their practice includes 
many people from the outlying towns, as many 
small towns do not have a doctor in 1969. Piper 
City is unusually fortunate in having two fine 
doctors. 

Page Seventy-nine 



We Wish You A 
Successful Celebration 

BALTZ SALES & SERVICE 

CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 



A. and J. 
TAP 

AL and JANET HONEGGER 

WHERE FRIENDS MEET 

CHATSWORTH, ILL. 

635-3037 



SHELL BULK TRUCK 

CURT STOLLER 
Chatsworth, Illinois 



DENNEWITZ BROTHERS 

REPUTABLE SERVICE on 

REPUTABLE PRODUCTS 
City Route 24 Chatsworth, Illinois 

635-3316 



BOB & JUDY'S TAVERN 

Chatsworth, Illinois 

Tuesday Thursday 

Fried Chicken Spaghetti $1.00 

$1.20 Giblets $1.50 

Friday — Fish and Catfish 

Saturday — Steaks and Chicken 

Looking forward to Serving You any nite 



(jt)cJbUlA 

Jo/id Scda& 

ChaiAwoJdth, SUinoii 



Page Eighty 




Craftsmen were proud of their work in the "good old days" and harness makers were 

no exception A. A. Long worked in the Cooke Harness Shop for several years. 

He left Piper City shortly after 1900. 







r-*Ci 







Duffy Fortier used to drive a huckster wagon through the countryside. He is shown 

in the yard of the Joseph Mitchinson farm. The Mitchinsons were grandparents 

of Mrs. George Vaughn. 



Page Eighty-one 




FICKLIN FARMS 

PIPER CITY, ILLINOIS 

George Florence Skip 

EAT HEREFORD MEAT, CAN'T BE BEAT 



Page Eighty-two 




'■4 f 






Peter Jensen, like other men of his day, was proud of his matched team and rig. 




Some farmers liked mules better than horses for farming. H. W. Bargmann got a 
lot of work done with this team of mules. 



Page Eighty-three 



FOR A GOOD TIME 



COME TO 








Known as PAT'S TAP 



SINCE 1947 



Page Eighty-four 



Until the death of John Sauerbier in 1967, 
Piper City also had a druggist, which made a full 
complement of professional men. 

Marmion Scott was a native son who returned 
to his home town as a lawyer and was acclaimed 
one of the finest lawyers in the area. He was well 
known for his accuracy and precision. He served 
this community's legal needs for many years. His 
death occurred August 13, 1959, at the age of 88. 
He was the son of pioneer John A. Scott. 

After his death Piper City was served by anoth- 
er native son, Durwood Hummel, who made his 
home in Paxton but had office hours in Piper City 
once a week. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl 
Hummel. 

For several years Faraday Strock has been 
coming to Piper City from Pontiac one day a week, 
with his office in the State Bank. 

THREE SERVE IN STATE LEGISLATURE 

Three men have gone from here to represent 
their district in the state legislature. John A. Mon- 
telius, Sr., served in three General Assemblies, 
being elected first in 1900. 

A. C. (Abe) Thompson was another Piper Cityan 
who had enough of the confidence and support 
of his fellow citizens to send him to the Illinois 
House of Representatives. 

More recently Joseph W. Russell served sev- 
eral terms as a state representative, retiring in 
1968. 

PERSONAL GLIMPSES 

There have been many people living in Piper 
City during the last 100 years who were outstand- 
ing or interesting for one reason or another. We 
cannot mention them all, but here are a few per- 
sonal glimpses. 

JOHN CULVER 

One of the earliest druggists was John C. Cul- 
ver, who was here in the 1870's after he had rid- 
den the pony express from Fort Wallis to Denver, 
served as an Indian Scout and had been chief scout 
for William F. Cody, or "Buffalo Bill", as he was 
called. In 1880 John went into the grain business 
for a time and was also an early Ford County cor- 
oner. 

FRANK WALRICH 

Captain Frank O. Walrich was a general mer- 
chant in Piper City, after having served in the Civil 
War. He was in charge of the prisoners at Fort 
Donelson and also took part in Sherman's cam- 
paign. Captain Walrich was drill sergeant for Com- 
pany C, a section of the militia that met regularly 



for drill in Piper City from after the Civil War until 
after 1900. Mr. Walrich replaced William C. Baugh- 
man, who moved from Piper City to Kansas. 

1880 MILLER 

One Piper Cityan was written up in "Ripley's 
Believe It or Not" because of her unusual name. 
1880 Miller was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. B. 
Miller. The family lived in the north part of town 
and Mr. Miller operated a corn sheller and other 
machinery. 1880 attended the local grade school 
until the family moved away. She was called 
"Eighty." 

BOB WOLSEY 

Bob Wolsey was a musician of some note; a 
harmonica player and clog dancer. His greatest 
accomplishment was playing the "bones" and in 
the 1920's no public gathering was complete with- 
out a few numbers by Mr. Wolsey. 

JOHN THOMISON 

John Thomison grew up on a farm just north 
of town, but he could hardly wait to become a bal- 
loonist. He was a great admirer of Ben Anderson 
of Ashkum and when he was only 10 or 12 he rode 
his bicycle all the way to Watseka to begin his car- 
eer as a balloonist. He came back to his old home 
town many times, later on, to appear as the fea- 
tured attraction in the regular balloon ascensions 
that highlighted almost every fair or celebration. 

About 10 years ago he made his final ascension 
to mark the 50th anniversary of his start in the 
business. Unfortunately he did not get off to a 
good start and drifted into some wires and the ride 
was soon over. He was one of Piper City's sons who 
had a long and successful career in a job that he 
loved. 

AL KOESTNER — BIG TIME BALL PLAYER 

Piper City has had several athletes who have 
stood out as "memorable", the most noteworthy of 
whom is Al Koestner. He was the small town boy 
who made good playing in the big leagues. He was 
the idol of every small boy and even many of the 
big boys. 

He pitched for teams around Piper City where 
he was undisputed champion on the pitcher's 
mound. No one in these parts could match him 
or even come close. This was in a day when young 
men loved to play ball for recreation, and one 
team that had uniforms and played a regular sche- 
dule with neighboring towns, was the Hills Indians. 
Sand Ridge also had a team, the Swamp Angels, 
managed for years by Frank (Spec) Lyons. Who- 
ever had Al for their pitcher was usually the win- 
ner. 

Page Eighty-five 



Compliments of 



G. S. CONIBEAR 



Ss^§H 



CHATSWORTH 
ILLINOIS 60921 



PHONE 635-3435 



CULKIN HARDWARE 

HARDWARE HOUSEWARES 

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES 
SPORTING GOODS PAINT 

CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 

Phone 635-3430 



Furniture and Carpet 

Phone 635-3481 
CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS 60921 



PEOPLES CLEANERS 

Phone 635-3660 

Chatsworth, Illinois 

GLENN and MARGARET HEMINOVER, 
Prop. 



Page Eighty-six 




The Mogul basketball team had quite a reputation and was active before and after 
World War I. Shown are seated, John Kelly, Fred Koestner, Al Koestner and Joe Burger. 
Standing: Jerry Opperman, Walter Gibb, Pete Kelly, Elmer Chafey, Jim O'Mara, and 

Joe Kelly. 



Al kept going up higher in the leagues until he 
'as earning as much as $400 a month and expenses. 
or his day and age (about 1910-11-12) this was 
huge sum considering that farm hands were paid 
20 a month plus board and room. 

Al first pitched successfully for Los Angeles, 
'hen he was brought up to the Cub's organization 
l Chicago. He pitched several games for the Cubs 
nd was later traded to Cincinnati. 

After he retired from baseball he came back to 
'iper City, where in the 1930's he ran a pool hali 
nd sometimes on Sunday he earned some extra 
loney pitching for a team that needed the ser- 
ices of an ex-professional. 

More recently Doug Harford gained consider- 
ble recognition for playing varsity football at the 
Iniversity of Illinois. Harvard (Bud) Johnson play- 
d football at Bradley University at Peoria and 
)avid Keefe was starred as a pitcher at Illinois 
Vesleyan at Bloomington. 

Don, Ted and Dave Read all pitched for college 
sams. 

NELS PLANK, AUCTIONEER 

Not everyone has the gift of gab necessary to 
e an auctioneer, but G. P. (Nels) Plank was one 
f those rare souls. He was a distinguished looking 



man with shaggy hair, heavy eyebrows and a flow- 
ing mustache. Erect of bearing, he carried with 
him an air of authority. 

There was no one better with words when it 
came to a farm sale or auctioneering off a yard 
filled with household items. His words ran to- 
gether in a singing chant that fascinated all lis- 
teners and brought quick results. He was called 
"Colonel" after the custom of the day. 

He was also a justice of the peace, performing 
marriages and hearing trials of a small nature that 
would come up in a small town. 

D. A. KLOETHE, MERCHANT 

D. A. Kloethe was a Piper City merchant in 
the early 1900's who is best remembered for his 
"fire sales" and "line rings." 

He himself had several fires and whenever there 
was a fire in a nearby town, or even at quite a dis- 
tance, Mr. Kloethe would often buy out the stock 
and have a fire sale where people drove for miles 
to get the bargains. 

The line ring was given whenever fresh rasp- 
berries arrived for canning or if something came 
in that he wanted all farm ladies to know about. 

The operator, who was called "central" in those 
days, rang a series of long and short rings so that 
everyone knew that they were to listen in on the 

Page Eighty-seven 



Eat Beef Every Day 7 ' 



GIBB ANGUS FARM 



PIPER CITY, ILLINOIS 





Ph. 686-2457 


GLENN 


DIANNE 


EMILY 


DAVID 




DON 



ANITA 
JIM 



It's Better If It's Black 



PLANT 

DEKALB POWER PLANT 

JOHN T. KERBER 

Piper City, Illinois 



PIRATES DEN 

ANTIQUES & 

USED FURNITURE 

Piper City, Illinois 



EV'S PRIM and TRIM SHOPPE 

LADIES' READY-TO-WEAR 

Lingerie — Jewelry — Hosiery 

Phone 265-4301 Gilman, Illinois 



MILLER ELECTRIC 

ELECTRICAL WIRING and 
CONTRACTING 

WALTER H. MILLER, Proprietor 
Phone 686-2491 



Page Eighty-eight 




Neighbors enjoyed getting together for work or for fun. Sometimes they combined a 
little of both. Pictured is a barn raising at the Abe Thompson farm. 




Women sometimes got together for an afternoon of visiting as in this picture. 



Page Eighty-nine 



KUM TO KERBER'S 
KUNTRY KURL 

R. R. No. 1 Piper City, 111. 

Phone 635-3206 

THERESA KERBER, Prop. 



SEARS CATALOG MERCHANT 

MR. KEITH D. MILLER 10543 
Chats worth, Illinois 



THE REDWOOD INN 

"The Home of Homemade Bread" 

Motel - Restaurant - Lounge 

Color TV — Swimming Pool 

Rt. 136 East - RANTOUL, ILL. 

ROBERT & MAXINE CHAMBERS 

Owners and General Managers 

Phone (217) 892-2121 



BRADBURY PLUMBING & HEATING 

LENNOX HEATING 

and 

AIR CONDITIONING 

LICENSED BONDED 

CERTIFIED 



Page Ninety 




Fred (Mickey) Kemnetz retired in June 1969 after over 30 years in law enforcement 
in Piper City. He and Mayor Merle Harford are shown with new police car in 1968. 




Cook's IGA Foodliner was boilt on the corner where the Central Hotel had stood. 
Eugene E. Doran built an office building next to it. Both were built in 1947. 



Page Ninety-one 




fa* 









&*t 



fV*4U^ 













Page Ninety-two 



lessage. When the operator had heard several 
icks signifying that several receivers had been 
fted off the hooks and that everyone on the line 
as listening she would deliver a message some- 
hat like this: 

"A shipment of Michigan raspberries has just 
[rived at D. A. Kloethe's. Red raspberries $2.75 

case, and black raspberries for $1.75. There will 
e no more until next Friday". 
For this service Mr. Kloethe paid the operator 

small sum and it was a cheap and effective way 
f advertising. 

LAW ENFORCEMENT 

Many have been called upon to enforce the law 

I Piper City. Sometimes the high spirited farm 
ands got ahold of some bottled spirits and would 
ave to be locked up over night and fined. 

There was a small "calaboose" down about 
here the entrance to the junk yard is today and 

was not unlikely for it to have one or more 
ccupants almost every weekend. 

Jess Barnstable was the village magistrate or 
anstable about 1910-11 and 12. He was a tall, lean 
lan with a friendly smile that didn't always seem 
) go with his job. 

He was the first police officer in Piper City to 
rder a uniform from Sears, Roebuck & Co. Others 
ad worn everyday work clothes and there was 
othing to distinguish them from any other citi- 
in except the star they pinned to their vest. 

Not so with Jess. He dressed up in his uniform, 

II spick and span, and wore it proudly and well, 
specially Saturday nights when Main Street was 
rowded. He would stroll quietly around the square, 
uieting down rowdy young fellows, settling dis- 
utes, and always took time to visit with friends. 
Ie was always friendly, but strict, and was treated 
dth respect. 

Once he gave a leading citizen a summons for 
riving his car up town without lights after the sun 
ad gone down, which was forbidden by a city 
rdinance. Jess enforced the ordinance even 
tiough the leading citizen was furious. A small 
ne was paid. 

Fred (Mickey) Kemnetz, who retired July 1, 
969, has been the village constable off and on 
or over 30 years. Weighing over 200 pounds, his 
ize and strength have helped him "speak with 
uthority." 

One of the most exciting happenings during his 
areer was the time the escaped robbers of the 
tuckley Bank stalled their car four miles south 
nd east of town and fled into a corn field. One of 
he robbers had been injured in a gun battle at 
hickley. This happened in July of 1931. 



It was not long until ail the law enforcement 
agencies of the area were represented here, but 
since Mick was on the spot he organized the local 
men and they armed themselves with whatever 
weapons they had and proceeded to the abandoned 
car and branched out from there. 

Someone circled the field in an airplane in 
hopes of sighting the fugitives. 

They finally felt reasonably sure that the ban- 
dits were in a small crib a half mile south of Alva 
Mylcraine's and taking cover as best they could 
the men pretty well surrounded the crib and or- 
dered the robbers out. 

The story is told that after the desperadoes 
were ordered out that Mick called to a companion 
to "turn that machine gun on 'em." The compan- 
ion, not used to playing cops and robbers asked, 
'What machine gun?" 

Perhaps it was fortunate that the wounded man 
was needing the attention of a doctor and the men 
soon gave themselves up and were taken into Piper 
City where the wounded man was treated and both 
were placed in the village jail, one of the last, if 
not the last time it has ever been used. 

People simply poured into Piper City to get 
a look at these men and men, women and children 
filed by the jail and peered in through the bars to 
see what manner of men these were, anyway. 

THE GENERAL STORE 

There have been several outstanding "mer- 
chandisers" in the history of our town. One of the 
most interesting merchants around 1910 was W. H. 
(Bill) Roberts, who operated one of the finest and 
largest department stores in Central Illinois. He 
had clothing, shoes, drygoods and groceries all 
under one roof — everything the family needed 
to feed and clothe them. This was in the days 
before the family had been "let out by the auto 
and the world let in by radio." Shopping was all 
done at home in local stores. 

Roberts' store was the first in a small town to 
install a system of overhead trolleys to carry bas- 
kets filled with the items purchased to a balcony 
where it was checked and wrapped. This was quite 
a spectable and no doubt many items were pur- 
chased just to see the conveyor work. 

Bill was a bachelor and lived in the hotel at 
the west end of Peoria Ave. which was run by the 
Schuylers at that time. 

Bill cut a fancy figure riding around the coun- 
try in his red Rambler and made many hearts 
flutter, but he remained single and after he sold 
his store he worked by the hour as a carpenter. 

MANY VETERANS HAVE LIVED HERE 

Many have served their country from this corn- 
Page Ninety-three 



munity in the little over a century since the first 
settlers came. There is no evidence that any went 
directly from here to the Civil War, but many vet- 
erans settled here afterwards and for many years 
there was an active unit of the Grand Army of the 
Republic. 

James McBride, who was active in civic affairs 
and president of the fair board, was a Civil War 
veteran who marched in Grand Review before Pres- 
ident Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D. C, be- 
fore being mustered out of the Union Army. He 
was a large landowner and a director of the First 
National Bank. 

Another young man who passed in review be- 
fore President Lincoln, and later settled here, was 
William M. Dick, grandfather of Mrs. John Ark. 
A colorful figure, he ran away from home in Niles, 
Mich, when he was 16 and joined the Union Army. 

He served under McClellan, Burnsides, Grant 
and Sherman. He fought in the battles of South 
Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and took part 
in the siege of Vicksburg and of Knoxville. 

At the close of the war, he returned to Niles 
and shortly thereafter came to Ford County. He 
had read in the Chicago Tribune that land was 
for sale in this area very cheap. He bought land 
northeast of Piper City, and he and his wife, the 
former Sophronia McLain, lived on the farm sev- 
eral years before moving to Piper City. He sold 
the farm to the Anderson family, who still own 
it. 

In 1930 the American Legion Gibb Post No. 588 
honored him with a banquet, he being the only 
remaining Civil War veteran in Piper City. He 
died Nov. 21, 1933. 

John C. Wilson, who has many descendants in 
Piper City, but few by the name of Wilson, died 
in 1922 and was one of the last of the "old sol- 
diers." There were many others. 

WORLD WAR I 

Many of Piper City's sons went off to war in 
1916 when the United States joined the Allies in 
fighting Germany to "Make the World Safe for 
Democracy." One of the first to go and also one 
of the first to get back was T. E. Jeffries, and 
there were many who followed him. The only one 
who didn't return was Waiter Gibb, who used to 
play basketball on the Mogul team and was well 
known throughout the area. Gibb Post of the Amer- 
ican Legion was named for him. 

MISS ANDREWS GOES TO ENGLAND 

Miss Agnes Andrews caught the imagination of 
the townspeople when she went into full time 
overseas work for the Young Men's Christian As- 

Page Ninety-four 



sociation. Her jobs were varied and one of them 
was to sell cocoa, tea and cakes to the servicemen. 
She traveled in England and on the Continent. 
The Piper City Journal carried long letters she 
wrote back to the townspeople telling of her ad- 
ventures in a strange land. 

She was overseas after the signing of the Armis- 
tice and as the American boys were being mustered 
back to the United States. In England she attended 
the first Grand National held after the war and it 
no doubt was impressive to a Midwesterner to see 
the horses jump the hurdles and hedges in the 
big race. 

She also attended the big Peace Parade in Lon- 
don with General Pershing leading the parade, 
followed by a large band and troops of hand picked 
soldiers in full dress uniforms from all the allied 
countries. There were caterpillar tanks and guns 
and, all in all, it was very impressive. Miss Agnes 
wrote back to Piper City friends, "The U. S. men 
were the best looking in the whole parade." 

ARMISTICE SIGNED 

The end of World War I came with the signing 
of the Armistice on November 11, 1918. This news 
had been looked for for several days and even 
weeks, and when it came everyone everywhere 
celebrated wildly. 

In Piper City, Mayor Sowers announced early 
in the day the expected signing of the armistice 
terms by the German envoys, and said the cele- 
bration proper would begin at four o'clock in Piper 
City, giving the school children and the country 
people a chance to get in and join. 

At four o'clock everyone had turned out and 
was armed with whistles, bells, pans and "clack- 
ers." Automobile horns were kept going, whistles 
were blown, bells rung, guns fired and anvils 
struck — in fact about anything that would make 
a noise was brought into use. 

A parade was formed, headed by the Piper City 
Cornet Band and marched through the streets and 
many times around the "square." A feature of the 
parade was a casket for the Kaiser hauled on Bob 
Melvin's big truck and upon which were seated 
a number of young ladies representing their friends 
or sweethearts "Over There." After the parade an 
effigy of the Kaiser was dragged through the streets 
trailing an automobile. 

With a short intermission for supper the cele- 
bration continued. The band played several num- 
bers, the Kaiser was burned in effigy in the Rail- 
road Park, after which a huge bonfire was built 
and the band, followed by hundreds of men, wo- 
men and children, circled around it while hundreds 
of others kept up an incessant noise, blowing horns 




*§B& 






Mk h. 




MEMORIAL DAY 1969 



r whistles. About nine o'clock the festivities be- 
an to subside and people started to leave for their 
lomes, but still jubilantly happy over the termina- 
ion of the great struggle which had caused so 
auch bloodshed and anguish in the world. 

Alfred Montelius, who was a small boy at the 
ime, got a bullet in his shoulder from the gun 
if a happy celebrant, so the day, though a joyous 
ne, was not without its mishap. Fortunately Ai- 
red was not seriously hurt. 

Again when World War II broke out, there was 
lardly a young man left to carry on the work of 
he farms and businesses and many went overseas 
o serve in the long hard struggle that ended in 
.945. This time Piper City was not so lucky. James 
Soma, William Williams, and James Delap never 
eturned. There were others who were close to 
*iper Cityans who died in service. It was a time 
if great strain and sadness and when peace finally 
:ame the victory celebrations were mild in com- 
>arison to the frenzied reaction at the end of 
Vorld War I. 

TELEPHONE COMPANY 

In the early 1900's, Piper City, like many other 
owns and villages, began to get organized for 
elephone service and through the efforts of John 



A. Montelius, Jr., Page Glass, J. A. Cooke and others 
the Piper City Telephone Company was formed. 

The first operator worked night and day and 
although she may not have handled many calls, 
the pay was small and the work confining. 

For many years Miss Anna Hancock was the 
night operator. About that time the operators re- 
ceived just 10c an hour. 

The office was in the corner of what was then 
the First National Bank building or where the 
State Bank is now located. 

Early linemen and trouble shooters for the 
company were J. C. Lampkin, James Steadman, 
John Drilling and John (Pinky) Boyle. Mrs. Boyle 
was also an operator and secretary of the com- 
pany for many years. 

Laura Moore Wilson was another early oper- 
ator. Miss Esther Moore was a chief operator for 
many years, following Miss Inez McClain. At the 
time, in 1963, that the telephone company went to 
dial service, Mrs. L. A. Reynolds was the chief 
operator. 

The telephone service has been under three 
companies. The Illinois Commercial Telephone 
Company bought out the privately owned original 
company and later the General Telephone Com- 
pany bought them out. 



Page Ninety-five 






















Page Ninety-six 





& 

1 



_ ' naif-'; * 




^$&&* 




T**iJK ■;1.\ '' -Ki. 



virfs^tt ...» , 



Harry Hill operated several threshing 
threshing 

There is hardly a home in Piper City without 
i telephone and every business probably makes 
everal long distance calls every week. Several 
lave talked to loved ones in service half way 
iround the world and have been able to hear and 
o be heard very well. 

A far cry from the contrary instrument of the 
;arly days that tried men's patience and cowed 
nany a man into asking his wife to talk over the 
'thing" when an important matter came up. His 
vife would fearlessly (almost) engage the monster 
vhile he stood beside her and told her what to 
ay. 

Women took to the telephone with more en- 
husiasm than did the men. They soon learned 
hat here was an excellent way to break the mon- 
>tony of the long days and also to organize club 
neetings and to do all kinds of planning and 
)romoting. 

EARLY FARM STYLE 

One of the big delights for country kids was 
he day when the threshing machine moved into 
he yard for a few days of threshing. 

The big steam engines belched black smoke 
rom the smoke stack and as it came slowly up 



machines and shelters. This is one of his 
machine rigs. 

the road pulling its separator and water tank, it 
was a sight to thrill young and old. 

Threshing was not only a time of harvest, it 
was also a time of feasting. All farmers had their 
threshing ring. This meant that each man in the 
ring helped every other man and if he had more 
oats than the others, he furnished an extra hired 
hand. 

The men all ate at the place where they were 
working that day and every meal was a banquet. 
Farm wives "laid themselves out" to set a good 
table. There was usually two kinds of meat, mashed 
potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, sliced toma- 
toes, salads of all kinds and a choice of pie and 
cake. 

The combines that began to automate the har- 
vests in the 1930's brought an end to the era of 
the threshing ring where neighbor helped neigh- 
bor and women helped each other in minding the 
children and doing the cooking. 

GRAIN AND CHAFF 

A barn raising was another community effort 
that was once common and is gone today. When 
a man got ready to build a barn and many of the 
farmers built them big in order to hold lots of 

Page Ninety-seven 



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Page Ninety-eight 



livestock, they got the lumber on hand, then sent 
for all the farmers in the area to come with their 
hammers and help build it. Huge barns were built 
in almost no time as many hands made a quick 
job of it. 

When the barn was built and before the live- 
stock was put in, they would have a barn dance 
and everybody that helped would come back for 
an evening of dancing and gaiety. The music was 
furnished by several fiddlers and someone who 
could chord on an organ or piano. Wilbur Gourley 
was one of the most popular callers for square 
dancing and many are the "do sa dos" and "alle- 
mande lefts" he has called in his time. 

Another harvest custom was that you should 
have oyster stew for supper on the night you finish- 
ed shucking corn. It was a treat that was looked 
forward to and no one ever weakened and had 
it before the harvest was finished, either. 

OUR FOUNDERS 

A book in itself could be written about the 
founders of our town and their descendants, some 
of whom still live here, but we will have to satisfy 
ourselves with a brief review. 

Dr. William A. Piper, for whom Piper City was 
named, has been somewhat a figure of mystery, 
without very much known about him. I am in- 
debted to Mrs. Robert Chambers, Sr., who through 
family research has supplied us with a short bio- 
graphy. She is the granddaughter of John A. Mon- 
telius, Sr., nephew and close associate in the early 
days of Dr. Piper. 

Dr. Piper was born March 5, 1820, in Miiton, 
Pennsylvania, the son of Frederick A. and Mary 
Cubberly Piper. He died July 6, 1896 in Philadel- 
phia. He is buried in Laurel Cemetery nearby. 

He married Mary Bibighaus, a daughter of Rev. 
and Mrs. Henry Bibighaus, December 21, 1844. 
They had two daughters and a son: Elizabeth, 1845- 
1876; Milton A., born 1847, and Emma Louise, 
born 1847. 

Elizabeth married J. D. S. Gast, a brother of 
Mrs. John Montelius, Sr. 

Two sisters of Dr. Piper married Piper City 
men and figured in Piper City history. Rebecca, 
born August 14, 1816, married Charles Montelius, 
February 16, 1841. Their children were William 
Piper Montelius, 1841-1865; John Augustus Mon- 
telius, 1844-1920, and Harry Gast Montelius, 1858- 
1900. Rebecca died May 1, 1866. 

Another sister, Maria Louise, married James 
Madden. Their daughter, Rebecca married Nels 
Plank. Their children were Laura, who married 
Elmer Lansdale (daughter, Mildred); Rebecca 



(Reba) married Lester Sowers (daughter Margaret); 
Esther married Phil Scott (son John and daughter 
Edna). 

It seems clear that although the town was 
named for Dr. Piper, he never lived here. He did 
have large land holdings and he made large in- 
vestments of capital in the early businesses with 
his nephew, John A. Montelius, Sr. 

There was a Dr. Richard J. Piper, who prac- 
ticed medicine here for several years. He left in 
the 1880's and some who have heard about him 
believed him to be the Dr. Piper for whom the 
town was named. 

JOHN A. MONTELIUS, SR. 

The town owes much to John A. Montelius, Sr., 
whose business acumen and ability made him one 
of the founding fathers to be highly respected and 
remembered. 

He came to Piper City after the Civil War in 
which he served, even though at first rejected 
because of his small stature. He came with only 
$1200, but built a large fortune in land and other 
assets. 

He was engaged in the grain business, in bank- 
ing, in the general store, in lumber and many 
other businesses and made a success of every 
venture. He and Dr. Piper were often partners and 
it is supposed that Dr. Piper put up much of the 
money in the early days and Mr. Montelius sup- 
plied the management skill. He came to Illinois 
originally to look after the large land interests 
of his uncle. 

He went back to his home in Mifflinburg, Penn- 
sylvania, to marry his childhood sweetheart, Kath- 
arine Gast. When they arrived in Piper City in 
1867 there were just five houses. They at first lived 
in a house owned by Dr. Piper that later was 
known as the Culbertson house. They built their 
fine home in 1871 which is known today as Mon- 
telius Manor. 

Descendents of Mr. Montelius living here are 
Alfred and Miss Ruth Montelius, Mrs. Robert Cham- 
bers, Sr., Mrs. Edwin Read and her children. 

HIAWATHA DAVIS 

Mrs. J. J. Lyons' grandfather, Hiawatha Davis, 
was brought here at the age of nine months by 
his parents, Joseph and Rebecca Davis. They came 
from Ohio in a covered wagon in 1858. Settling 
between what is now Piper City and Chatsworth, 
their nearest neighbors were the L. T. Bishops and 
Franklin Oliver. 

On the night of the terrible train wreck in 
1887 survivors made their way to the Davis home 
where many lanterns lighted up the yard for a 

Page Ninety-nine 







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Page One Hundred 



summer party. The wounded were cared for in 
the home and a baby was left there for some time 
after the wreck. 

DANIEL MARBLE 

Daniel Marble met an untimely and tragic death 
in 1869, when he drowned while trying to ford the 
Vermilion River. He was just 36 and left three 
daughters. Mr. Marble probably has more de- 
scendents in this area than any other early settler. 
His daughters were Malvina Read (Aunt Viney), 
Grace Perkins and Nettie Serene. 

George Perry and Mrs. Margaret Brown are 
descended from two pioneers, Archibald McKinney 
and William Corey. 

Robert Wells, great grandfather of Duane 
White, settled north of Piper City. 

Rebecca and Robert Chayer are living on the 
same farm settled by their great, great grand- 
father, Robert Hevener. 

Notice should be taken of the Read boys who 
moved onto land north and east of town. The 1884 
atlas names five — Charles, Arby, Thomas, Butler 
and Ed. There are still Reads farming land origin- 
ally farmed by these so-called boys. 

Thomas Cue, a native of England, came to 
America in 1853, settling in . Woodford County. 
He moved to Brenton Township in 1870. His de- 
scendents include the Wayne and Dean Jensen 
families. 

Debbie Kane, 12 year old daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. William Kane, is the fifth generation of her 
family to live on the same farm. Some of the ori- 
ginal house from her ancestor, W. Gardner, is 
still in the present home. 

Leslie and Greg Herriott are the fifth genera- 
tion from Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Clark, who moved 
here in 1890. At one time Mr. and Mrs. Herriott, 
Greg and Leslie, lived on the family homestead, 
which is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Gene Froe- 
lich and family, in Section 22 in Brenton Town- 
ship. This is especially interesting because this 
is the section to which John R. Lewis first came. 

The Ronald Cook family is descended from 
at least two early pioneers. Ronald's great grand- 
father on his mother's side was L. T. Bishop, who 
came here in 1857. E. E. Bishop, son of L. T., mar- 
ried Dora Carpenter, who was the daughter of 
H. S. Carpenter, who came here in 1867. 

J. A. COOKE, HARNESS MAKER 

J. A. Cooke, who came here from Pennsylvania, 
was one of the leading pioneers. He was a skilled 
craftsman in harness making and his business was 
as important to the early settlers as the implement 
shop is to modern farmers. 



A fine team of horses was no stronger than its 
harness and the farmers had confidence in Mr. 
Cooke's work. A few families still treasure a bit 
of harness that Mr. Cooke made in his shop for 
their forebears so long ago. 

Mr. and Mrs. Cooke were both prominent in 
civic and church affairs and both served on the 
school board. 

They had two children, Delmar and Geraldine. 
Dr. Delmar Cooke came back to the Cooke ances- 
tral home in Piper City after his retirement as a 
professor of English at the University of Texas. 
Miss Geraldine is an accomplished musician and 
photographer in New York City and spends quite 
a little time here with her brother. 

Dr. Cooke is Piper City's only author, having 
written, "William Dean Howells" in 1922. The 
book is a critical study of the life and works of 
Mr. Howells. 

Joseph Miller worked for Mr. Cooke in the 
harness shop and later bought him out. As tractors 
replaced horses the shop was converted into a 
shoe repair shop in the 1930's and now stands emp- 
ty on Main Street. 

JUDGE H. P. BEACH 

Judge H. P. Beach has no descendents living 
here, and perhaps none at all, but he was one of 
the most interesting and influential of the pioneers. 
He served in the Civil War and was a strong op- 
ponent to slavery. For more than four and a half 
years he served continously, in both the infan- 
try and heavy artillery. He served successively 
in about all positions from private to commander 
of his company. He participated in some of the 
most important military operations of the Missis- 
sippi valley, under Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, 
Banks, McClerndand, and others. 

While in service he raised $715.30 for the 
Lincoln monument at Springfield, and received 
a personal letter of acknowledgment from Gover- 
nor Oglesby. 

Judge Beach's grandmother was Mary Tomkins, 
a near relative of Daniel D. Tomkins, who was 
prominent in the early history of our country, 
one time governor of New York and vice president 
for eight years under James Monroe. 

Judge Beach and his young southern bride 
came to Piper City following the Civil War and 
he resumed the study of law which had been inter- 
rupted by his service years. He was admitted to 
the bar in 1870, and for three years, was engaged 
in private practice. In 1873 he was elected to the 
County Board of Supervisors and in later years 
was elected County Judge for three years. 

He was considered one of the best orators in 

Page One Hundred One 



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Page One Hundred Two 




This picture was taken of several ladies from north of town. Shown at right of 

picture are Mrs. Pat Gallahue (in dark dress with white scarf), just back of her is 

Mrs. Pat O'Mara and just right of her is Mrs. John Pool, Sr. 



Eastern Illinois and did much political speaking 
and campaigning. He was editor and publisher of 
the Pan Handle Advocate, a weekly newspaper. 
It is a matter of concern to some people that 
Beach Street, which was named after Judge Beach, 
has somehow by the year 1969 got changed to 
Beech Street, as though it were named for the 
tree. This one mark of respect given the Judge by 
the early townspeople has almost been erased ex- 
cept for old maps and records. Done, no doubt, 
through error and without malice. 

BI-COUNTY 

Bi-County was a thriving little community that 
flourished in pioneer days and then died out more 
than 50 years ago. It was located in the Sand 
Ridge area. It was said you could buy anything 
from pins to a threshing machine at Bi-County. 

Everything was hauled in by wagon, even the 
mail which came from La Hogue. Albert Lamb, 
father of Elmer Lamb, was the first mail carrier 
and fixed up a one-horse cart so that he could 
carry the mail bags. 

Joe Bagley and E. E. Plummer drove a huckster 
wagon around through the country with supplies 



from the general store. There was also a black- 
smith shop. 

There were lots of young hired hands working 
on the farms in this area and they had a baseball 
team called the Bi-County Red Sox. Al Koestner 
used to pitch for them sometimes when he was 
just starting out. 

Saturday night in Bi-County was always a big 
night as many of the men preferred to gather there 
than in Piper City where it was "dry." These men 
worked hard and liked to blow off steam on Satur- 
day night. 

Will DeMoure, uncle of Ralph DeMoure, ran 
the general store for many years. 

PIPER CITY HAS MANY CLUBS 

There are many clubs and civic organizations 
thriving in Piper City, some of which go far back 
into history. Piper Lodge 608 AF & AM is the 
oldest organization. It received its charter October 
1, 1868. The first master of the lodge was Wilson 
Ong. There are six living 50-year members. They 
are Victor Pearson, John Boyle, R. C. DeMoure, 
J. J. Lyons, George Perry and Otis Kirkham. 

Piper Order of Eastern Star Chapter 578 was 
chartered November 12, 1906 and they have eight 

Page One Hundred Three 




Congratulations 

Piper City 
on your 
100th anniversary 



The year was 1919. The Treaty of 
Versailles was signed in Paris, the 
18th Amendment became law, such 
entertainment notables as Liberace, 
Tennessee Ernie Ford and Nat King 

Cole were born, the famous French artist Renoir died and Jack Dempsey 

KO'ed challenger Carl Morris in the third round. 

That was the year CIPS began serving Piper City with electricity. 

In 1919, the average use of electric service by a Piper City home was 
170 kilowatt hours. Today, the average is almost 33 times as much. 

While the use of electricity in Piper City continues to increase year after 
year, the unit cost has been going down. In fact, the average cost per 
kilowatt hour of electricity is 24% less than just 10 years ago! 

To meet the growing requirement for electric service . . . now and in 
the future ... we at CIPS are constantly planning ahead so that ample 
power will always be available to the homes, businesses and industries 
in Piper City and other communities we serve. 



CENTRAL ILLINOIS PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY 



Page One Hundred Four 



living 50-year members, Mrs. Margaret Brown, Mrs. 
J. W. Hickerson, Mrs. Mae Rohrbach, Mrs. R. E. 
Squires, Mrs. Jean Leiser Scott, Mrs. Jean Burger 
and Mr. and Mrs. Otis Kirkham. The first worthy 
patron and worthy matron were George Montelius 
and Mrs. Mae Long. 

In 1900 there were the Modern Woodmen of 
America, Odd Fellows, Forresters, Royal Circle and 
the Grand Army of the Republic, all of which are 
gone. 

MONDAY NIGHT CIRCLE 

The first social club was the Monday Night 
Circle organized October 4, 1899 with ten charter 
members. Miss Clara Bishop, daughter of E. E. Bis- 
hop and granddaughter of L. T. Bishop, was one of 
the charter members. She was graduated from 
Normal University, Normal and had come back 
to teach Algebra, Physiology and Physical Geogra- 
phy, the first that these subjects had been taught 
here. 

She missed the stimulation of study and the 
joy of shared knowledge so prevailed on some of 
her friends to start a study club. The first year 
they ambitiously covered the vast continent of Rus- 
sia and for many years followed a prescribed 
study course. 

The club is still active, but is now a social group, 
interested in literature and topics of interest. Mrs. 
John Lyons is president of the club in 1969. 

One of the club's major contributions to the 
town is the founding of the library in 1927 which 
later became tax supported. The club still contri- 
butes to the library and often has a coffee hour to 
raise money for its benefit. 

MOUNT MELLICK CLUB 

The Mount Mellick Club was started in 1903 
and was primarily a needlework club. When Mrs. 
S. M. Erskine visited Scotland, she saw some beauti- 
ful embroidery originating on Mount Mellick. After 
she arrived home she started a club with 13 mem- 
bers. 

In order to belong to the club, each member 
had to make a piece of work and show the others 
how to do it. They turned out some very fancy 
stitches. 

Piper City Camp of Royal Neighbors of America 
was instituted May 25, 1908. Mrs. Mary E. Carr of 
Piper City is one of the 25 charter members who 
is still living here. 

SERVICE CLUBS 

Piper City has two service clubs which are very 
active and have done much for the betterment of 
the community. 




Flying Farmers were much in vogue from 1949 to '55 and 
several local people got their pilot's license and were 
members. Among them were Durelle and Lorraine White 
who once were hosts to a Fly In Breakfast. Bob Bradbury 
is probably the most avid flying fan at present. 

On April 6, 1939, 18 leading business and pro- 
fessional men affiliated with Rotary International 
and established the first service club in Piper City. 
Some of the worthwhile organizations the Piper 
City Rotary has backed and helped to develop are 
the Parent-Teacher Association, the Community 
Betterment Club which is now called the Council 
For Progress, the Fire Protection District, the 
Piper City Locker Association, the Piper City Fair 
Association (which sponsored the Horse Show 
for many years), the Home Guarantee and Loan 
Association and the Pella-Brenton United Charities. 

This year the Rotary has an exchange student, 
Helen Ford, from Australia who has attended the 
high school here. 

Another student, Mesfin Mariam, of Ethiopia 




Mrs. Harold Bork is local weather observer and keeps 
records in 1969 for the United States Weather Bureau. 

Page One Hundred Five 




ADDITIONAL 

SCENES 
OF THE 
GREAT 
TRAIN 
WRECK 




Page One Hundred Six 




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Mark and Danny Froelich wrote a letter to President 
Richard M. Nixon inviting him to the Centennial Celebra- 
tion and received a letter from the White House. Each 
received a card with a facsimile of his signature. 



The official start of the Centennial observation was held 

in March with the ceremony of burying the razor. Taking 

part were Mrs. Eugene Froelich, Mrs. Robert Zorn, 

Mitchell Johnston, Mayor and Mrs. Merle Harford. 




Piper City's Peoria Ave. as it looks in 1969. 



Page One Hundred Seven 




I < 






One of the worst storms to hit this area was the cyclone that demolished the buildings 
at the S. E. Wells home and of others on April 21, 1912. 




A 1969 view of the north side business section. 



Page One Hundred Eight 



came to Piper City under the American Field Ser- 
vice plan and stayed with Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Mc- 
intosh for the school year of 1965-66. 

Helen Ford has visited the Everett Thorndyke 
family and is now staying with the J. D. Somers. 
She may visit other families before returning home 
next January. 

The Lions Club received its charter from Lions 
International on January 24, 1956 and has been 
very active in raising funds for the community in 
its 13-year history. 

It has put up street signs, trash receptacles, and 
marked parking spaces on the main streets. Mem- 
bers have helped in erecting the park pavilion, 
have conducted auto safety checks, have had sev- 
eral community sales and sponsored the Little 
League baseball. It also helped with the Council 
For Progress. 

The Home Extension Clubs are popular with 
Piper City women. They were at one time called 
Home Bureau Units. The Pella Home Bureau Unit 
met for the first time with Mrs. Howard Stuckey 
in 1928. This unit sponsored the first 4-H Clubs, 
and through their efforts the first hot lunch pro- 
grams were served at the Piper City school. 



The Brenton Home Bureau Unit was establish- 
ed October 7, 1936. The first president was Mrs. 
Clair Bishop. There is still a Brenton Home Ex- 
tension Club and there is a Modern Mrs. Home Ex- 
tension Club. 

The 4-H Clubs and the Scouting program for 
both boys and girls are flourishing in Piper City. 

Some clubs have come and gone and some that 
have gone are the Senior and Junior Woman's 
Clubs, the Ever Ready Club and the Parent-Teacher 
Association. 

"NOW GENERATION" 

As we come to the conclusion of our account of 
past events and move into the present, trying to 
keep abreast of the "Now Generation" we cannot 
foresee the future for our town or for our citizens. 
The land is filled with great hope and great despair. 

We can only savor the good of the past and 
work toward a future here that seems to be filled 
now with a bright promise. 

This is a history, not of one person or of one 
family, but of a community that has learned to 
live in relative harmony with love and support for 
each other. Couid we ask more for the future? 



Page One Hundred Nine 




Page One Hundred Ten 



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State Bank of Piper City 

Piper City, Illinois 





A FULL SERVICE BANK 
Established 1908