FOUND NEWS TREASURES
This page contains articles of interest to Chatsworth, contributed to this site, from new found old newspapers
or found online.
From an unknown newspaper
Contributed by Jan Arnold Donaldson
Dec. 2, 1931
From the Pantagraph
Forrest--Two 17 year old girls were drowned in the Kankakee river a short distance south of Kankakee at 3 am Sunday when the car in which they were riding enroute to the city crashed through a "danger" sign and plunged into the icy water.
Miss Clarice Lillian Miller, daughter of Carlos Miller, Forrest.
Miss Gertrude Bryant, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bryant, of near Chatsworth.
Flick Teeter, 24, driver and owner of the auto, who lives in Kansas, but who has been employed near Chatsworth husking corn, is in St. Joseph's hospital at Kankakee suffering of exposure. Mrs. Minnie Putman, 35, 35, of Bradley, mother of four children, is also in the hospital receiving treatment for exposure after she had been rescued by Charles Hinkle, 32, a fifth member of the party, who was not injured. The latter has been employed on farms near Chatsworth.
The accident occurred on Route 49 at the Kankakee river bridge. The five persons were riding in a small automobile coupe. They were said to have been going from Piper city to Kankakee.
At the hospital Teeter said he did not see the warning sign at the curve in the road. The auto ran almost 100 yards to where the road ends at the river's edge.
When the car hit the water it settled level and the top was almost level with the surface of the river. Hinkle was the first to crawl out a side window and he aided Mrs. Putman through the same exit to safety on the car roof. Teeter climbed out of the opposite side. The girls were dead before they were taken from the auto by Kankakee firemen, who rushed to the scene with pullmotors. They were called by Teeter, who swam ashore with Hinkle. Mrs. Putman was taken off the miniature island by members of the department.
The inquest was held at 1 pm Sunday at Kankakee by Coroner O.J. Carter. The bodies were returned by J. W. Brown, Forrest undertaker. The Miller girl was taken to the home of her father and the Bryant girl to a mortuary at Chatsworth.
Miss Miller had left home a week ago, according to her father, who said she was going to Kankakee in search of employment. The family heard nothing more about her until word was received Sunday morning of the drowning.
She was born Jan. 27, 1914, near Cyclone, Ky. Her mother preceded her in death. Surviving are her father and stepmother, one sister, Ruth, and a brother, Wilmer, both at home. The funeral was held at 2:30 pm Tuesday at the Church of God in charge of the Rev. D.F. Nelson. Burial was in Forrest cemetery.
The funeral of Miss Bryant was held at the home of her parents seven miles northwest of Chatsworth, at 1:15 pm Tuesday and at 2 pm at the First Presbyterian church, Chatsworth. Burial was in the Chatsworth cemetery.
Besides her parents, Miss Bryant is survived by two sisters and three brothers.
From the Mayville, Michigan Monitor
Story and photo on S.J. Porterfield
Photo and caption on Leo Hubly at age 18
From an unknown newspaper, recopied by the Pantagraph
Contributed by Jan Arnold Donaldson
DROWNING DUE TO LARGE FISH
CHATSWORTH-A lively fish of reputed large size was held responsible Friday afternoon for the drowning of Dr. Franklin W. Palmer, prominent local physician, in the Kankakee river, eight miles above Wilmington. Two of his companions, Harry Miller of Chicago, a son-in-law and Jack Lannon, Saunemin, narrowly escaped the same fate.
The trio had gone to Wilmington early Friday on a fishing trip. They were in a row boat in the middle of the river. The day was uneventful until 2:45 pm, when a strong jerk on a line denoted action.
Dr. Palmer and Lannon struggled with the line and as they grabbed for the fish as it neared the surface of the water, the boat shipped water and almost immediately capsized.
Dr. Palmer became entangled in the fishing line, and unable to free himself, sank. Lannon went under twice while struggling shoreward. Miller grabbed an oar and was able to stay afloat until help came.
The doctor's body was recovered an hour later.
At an inquest held at the O.L. Addleman funeral home in Wilmington Friday night a verdict of accidental death by drowning in the Kankakee river was announced by a coroner's jury. The body was removed to the P.L. McGuire funeral home in Chatsworth where it remained until the funeral hour.
He was born at Sandwich, Ill., June 11, 1873. In September, 1911 at LaSalle he married Ellen Fitzgerald. The couple first resided in Peoria, later removing to Roberts and then to Chatsworth where he had since conducted his practice.
Surviving are his widow and two daughters, Mrs. H. Miller and Miss Frances Palmer, of Chicago, and son, Gerald, Washington, D.C.
The funeral was held Monday morning at SS. Peter-Paul's church.--Pantagraph
Note: This would be Dr. Franklin W. Palmer and the year of the death is listed on findagrave as July 5, 1934 and he is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Chatsworth. Memorial is here.
Contributed by Jan Arnold Donaldson
FOUR CHATSWORTH MEN KILLED IN AUTO ACCIDENT
Three men were instantly killed and a fourth fatally injured, dying soon after an accident which occurred at 9:15 pm, Friday, February 3, one mile and three quarters south of Chenoa on Route 66. The three instantly killed were Paul Trunk, Sr., Carl Weymouth and Nelson Francis, all having broken necks. The fourth was Claud Sea who was taken to the Fairbury hospital where he died from a fractured skull and other injuries. A fifth passenger was Roy Entwistle who suffered bad bruises and shock. All were from Chatsworth and were returning home from Bloomington.
The owner and driver of the Chatsworth car , Mr. Weymouth, had gone to Bloomington to undergo an examination for an insurance company. He had been injured in an auto accident last year. Mr. Trunk accompanied him on business. Mr. Entwistle had visited his mother who is a patient in the hospital in Bloomington. Mr. Francis and Mrs. Sea had gone to Bloomington to report at the Social Securities office.
According to the McLean County coroner, the truck driver, M. Spaulding, said that the accident occurred when he swerved to avoid running into a snow bank which extended three or four feet over the pavement. The car then stuck the front end of the truck.
Mr. Trunk was the head of the Trunk-Marr Company, later called Trunk Oil Company. He was well known in Roberts. He is survived by a wife and one son, Paul, Jr, a student in business college.
Mr. Weymouth was an employee of the Shell Oil Company, He leaves a wife. Mr. Francis leaves his mother and two sisters. He and Mr. Sea were employed by the T.P.&W. R.R. Mr. Entwistle is a dealer in used cars.
Claude Sea was a young man who has visited Roberts frequently. He is well known to many of our people. Mr. Entwistle also is quite well known here. Mr. Weymouth and Mr. Francis were not so well known here but were acquainted with several of our people.
This accident happened at nearly the same place that Roy Stutzman was killed a few weeks ago.
Note: I will add the articles relating to this story from the Chatsworth Plaindealer as soon as possible.
Contributed by Jan Arnold Donaldson
Frank Bangs, of Chatsworth, a member of troop K, First Illinois Cavalry, died at Chickamauga, August 12. His father, H.M. Bangs, arrived at Chickamauga just before his son's death. The remains were brought to Chatsworth for burial.
From The Aberdeen-Angus Journal
Built Good Herd in Eleven Years
While Christ Shafer of Paton, Iowa is not very old in the Aberdeen Angus business, he has collected a very good herd of cattle of about 40 head of the Erica and Blackbird families. The bulls in service are Entainer and a son of Eursus of Fairfield, out of Erica 20th of Plateau Farms. On this farm can be seen an Enchantress Trojan, Erica Sr bull calf by Everon and out of Erora R that is in a class by himself. Mr. Shafer has a 600 acre farm six and one half miles southeast of Paton having lived there for the past eleven years. He formerly lived at Chatsworth, Illinois.
Froebe Brothers -Pioneers and their Homebuilt Aircraft/Royal Aviation
Doug Froebe and his brothers built a Heath Parasol in 1927. They later went on to build Canada’s first
helicopter known as the Froebe Helicopter.
Both Nicholas and Theodore met misfortune in the 1940s; the latter was killed in a Heath Parasol the
brothers had acquired.
Heather Emberley interviewed Doug Froebe in July, 1979. This is an excerpt of that
Doug Froebe: I was born February 7, 1912 in Chatsworth, Illinois. We lived there until 1921, when we
moved to Canada and bought a farm in Homewood, Manitoba. While living in Illinois during the First World
War, we saw many old aircraft flying over the farm from Rantoul Field, and I guess that’s where I became
interested in flying machines to start with.
There were Jennies and de Havilland airplanes, and all kinds flying over. They trained at Rantoul Field
about 50 miles north of us. Of course, I was eight years old when we left Illinois. I’d always been making
model airplanes out of shingles and whipple trees and things like that.
After we moved to Canada we continued to build things – snow sleds and snowmobiles, but always had the
airplane idea in the back of our heads. Heath Parasol came out with a kit – build your own – which we sent
for and built.
What year was that?
Doug Froebe: Oh, that’s hard to say… 1927 maybe.
You mentioned flying yourself. Where did you learn to fly and how did that come about?
Doug Froebe: Well, I talked to Konnie Johanneson and told him we had tried to get the thing (Parasol) off
the ground at the farm. He said I’d better go up in his (DH.60 Gipsy) Moth and see what an airplane feels
like when you get it in the air. So I went up with him for 20 minutes, and I followed him on the controls while
he took off and flew it around.
The second time he said: “OK, you take it off”. So I pushed the throttle open, but he said: “Clear open”.
Seemed like it was ready to jump out the front end as it was. I was going along on the wheels, and he said:
“Well, when are you going to take it off? We’re going 60 miles per hour now”. So I hauled back on the stick
and the thing jumped in the air. He said: “Take it between your two fingers, you’re not handling a plow now”.
He corrected me all the way around and the third time I took the thing off and flew it, chopped the throttle
and brought it in and landed it and he didn’t say a single word. I thought I’d made a pretty good landing, but
I guess it was par for the course.
From then on I felt confident enough to try to fly the Heath. We always had a tail-heavy problem with it, so
we moved the landing gear back in order to get the tail off the ground. This time I turned it loose on a
timothy patch. The tail was up and it was moving right along. I looked down and the wheel was off the
ground about three feet, so I chopped the throttle and came down on one wheel and on the other. I had to
hold the stick clear over to the right to keep the wing up. We warped the wings to counteract for the engine
The next day we tried it again and this time I took it off, cleared the fence and went over the neighbour’s
barn. When I looked out over the barn I was lost. The country was so different from the air. I started to make
a slow turn and went behind some trees. I would say I was 100 feet high and things seemed to be sinking
right down towards the road. Of course I had been reading all the instruction books on flying; to be sure
and maintain flying speed, so I shoved the nose right down at the road. I thought I must be headed
downwind, so I started a turn in the direction from where I had taken off. I’d made a complete 180-degree
turn by the time I got the wing up and straightened out. I plunked right down on a three-point landing right in
a wheat field. The ground was so soft it wouldn’t even roll. I jumped out and was so happy the thing would
My brothers kept looking for me. When they heard the engine go silent, they came chasing after me. They
said: “The last time we saw you, you were headed this way. How come you’re heading the other way?” They
couldn’t figure out that I could make a 180-degree turn at about 100 feet altitude.
In the building of the Heath, how did you get the experience needed to construct an
Doug Froebe: We had the plans from the Heath Parasol people in Chicago, and it was the Mechanics
Illustrated magazine that had the instructions on how to go about fabricating an aircraft. I think that was
where we got most of the information on wing coverings and things like that which the blueprints didn’t cover
very thoroughly. It did cover the airframe and ribs, wings, etc.
The fourth time we were going to fly, the wind was in the west. I took off in a westerly direction this time,
cleared the fence and was about as high as the telephone wires, waving at the neighbours going by. At the
other end of the field, which was a mile away, there were high tension wires and telephone wires below the
high tension wires. About the time I got up to the high tension wires, they were level with the windshield, so I
just shoved the stick ahead and the Parasol came down. This experience discouraged us from trying it
What about your two brothers, Nicholas and Theodore?
Doug Froebe: Well, during the War they acquired the Heath Parasol that Art Brazier had built at MacDonald
Brothers. They’d bought the thing and it had a two-cylinder Aeronca (C2) engine, 35 horsepower. They had
taken flying lessons at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. My younger brother, Theodore, had about 40 hours in
it, so did my older brother. One of the neighbours was watching him and said it looked like he was trying to
loop the Heath and on the third attempt he was just too low to the ground and it hit the ground after he
pulled it up into a stall.
My older brother, Nick, became interested in spraying crops and he flew an Aeronca Champion with a $600
spray outfit on it. I guess by the looks of the accident he must have made a turn and pulled the thing up in a
hammerhead stall turn of some kind – trying to save a little time or something. I guess he had 60 gallons of
chemical in the tanks and it stalled and just rolled the thing over in a cartwheel and that’s the way it cracked
up. It burned up. That was in 1942, I guess.
This article originally appeared in the Summer, 2006 edition of Altitude; the quarterly publication
of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
The top image is of the Froebe brothers helicopter. The second image if of the three Froebe
brothers, Theodore, Douglas and Nicholas. Both images are from the museum’s archive.
A Thesis written by Sister Colette Garrity in 1947
From the Pantagraph
November 7, 1984
WRECKING BALL TAKES AIM AT "THE GRAND"
Chatsworth--Once the huge building was alive with the sound of music. People came from all around to dance in the elegant ballroom. It was, for many years, the place to be in Chatsworth on a Saturday night.
Now the building stands quiet and empty in a state of deterioration and will fall prey to a demolition crew this month.
The building, located at the corner of Fourth and Locust streets, was first call The Grand Opera House and later The Grand Ballroom.
J.C. Corbett and T.E. Baldwin began building the Grand in 1901. On October 17, 1902, a grand opening was held with the play, "A Ruined Life," by E. Lawrence Lee playing to a full house.
For many years, there was a play nearly every week. Some plays were performed by companies. Tickets for reserved seats were always sold at Haberkorn's Store.
Actor and sign painter Tom Fletcher's theatrical company was in financial difficulty so he decided to remain in Chatsworth. With his sign painting, he did much of the advertising for the owners of the Grand. Fletcher also took part in hometown plays.
Burch's Orchestra, a popular group during that time, presented musical programs in the Grand. According to Louise Stoutmyer of Chatsworth, "If you could get Burch's Orchestra, you really had something."
Commencements and other community events were also held in The Grand. The stage was elaborately decorated, for instance, with many green plants for the commencements.
Because there were only two or three graduates many times, they might be seated in rocking chairs. The graduates themselves were the speakers for the occasion, speaking on complicated subjects.
Political orators, such as William Jennings Bryant, also spoke at The Grand.
In the early 1930's, dancing was stressed at The Grand, and it became known as The Grand Ballroom. Many of the big bands of the era played there to huge crowds. Appearances were made by Tiny Hill, Dick Jurgens, Eddie Howard, Cab Calloway, Hush O'Hare, Jan Garber and others.
Once elegant chandeliers still hung from the ceiling of the ballroom with some of the pieces missing. What once must have been a beautiful wooden floor is now warped and sagging.
The walls are deteriorating, destroying the murals painted there by artist Paul Zorn, whose mother had inherited The Grand from her father. Zorn pained South Seas scenes on all the walls in the huge ballroom, with the figures larger than life.
He finished the painting in the summer of 1943, just before he entered the armed service. Zorn died in World War II.
The lower story of the Grand has housed many different businesses. For instance, in 1912, Charles Rosensweet gave up his rooming house in the Gardner Building and started a picture show in one of the storerooms of The Grand.
In 1915, J. A. Leggate opened a lunchroom in one of the storerooms and William Lavenstein had a confectionery and ice cream parlor in another. P.L. McGuire began an undertaking business in rooms in The Grand in 1927.
The last business to operate in The Grand was the Junque and Antiques Shop of William Durante, who leases the building. Durante's business was recently sold out because of illness.
A storm this spring ripped time roofing from The Grand building and scattered it causing a potentially hazardous situation.
Due to the building's rapid deterioration, the Chatsworth town board has filed suit against the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company, present owners of the building, and Durantee, leasee, claiming that the building is a public nuisance.
"Their purpose is to abate the public nuisance and bring it up to meet the standards of the town of Chatsworth." said Steve Weeks of the Harvey Traub law office, who is handling the suit.
Note: See the original building here. Note: Read about the William Jennings Bryant appearance here.
On Friday, February 3, 1939, four area men were killed in a late evening automobile accident on U.S. route 66, about 2 miles south of Chenoa. The crash took the lives of Carl Weymouth, owner and driver of the car, Paul Trunk, Sr., Nelson Francis, and Claude M. See. A fifth passenger, Roy Entwistle, was slightly injured. The men had left Bloomington and were on their way back home to Chatsworth.
A Missouri truck driver, E.J. Spaulding, was southbound when he swerved to avoid a snowdrift extending into the road. Weymouth's car then struck the truck and rolled some 140 feet. Spaulding was not injured.
Join Dana on Saturdays and Sundays, Noon-6 as she helps you to enjoy your weekends!
Dana resides in Pontiac and has lived in the surrounding area (Chatsworth) her whole life. She is a graduate
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Her job at WJEZ is her first experience in radio, but that hasn’t stopped her from diving head
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