100 years ago, May 30, 1917

MATTOON -- Lt. O.J. Troster and a detachment of five members of the military companies on duty here, armed with picks, shovels, axes and crowbars, are cooperating today with Mattoon citizens in a search of the devastated district for bodies of possible victims, four persons still unaccounted for, and in improving sanitary conditions. Search for bodies of dead animals is being made at the same time. Privy vaults are being limed and filled to prevent contagion... MATTOON -- The subcommittee of the appropriations committee of the Illinois House viewed today the devastated sections of Mattoon and Charleston. At noon today, about 20 members of the Legislature accompanied state Rep. Robert Howard of Mattoon to unofficially look over existing conditions. Rep. Howard said they expect to gather data with a view of having the amount named in the appropriation bill increased from $275,000 to $500,000. Gov. Lowden, according to members of the visiting delegation, said he stood ready to do what was right, but he did not want to put the state in the place of an insurance company... MATTOON -- According to Red Cross officials supervising the local relief work, 500 new cases of families affected by Saturday's cyclone have been reported, making a grand total of 725 families. Of this number, 172 families have been visited and a complete list of their losses has been secured. Red Cross officials, making a rough estimate, state that the average loss per family, will be $900.

50 years ago, 1967

Memorial Day holiday. No paper.

25 years ago, 1992

MATTOON -- Edna Farris will be getting her check in instead of checking out, thanks to state Rep. Mike Weaver. Farris sadly passed away on May 13 of this year, according to a letter she recently received from the U.S. Treasury Dept. “I was very worried about it,” the Mattoon woman exclaimed yesterday from her easy chair. “I have some trouble with asthma and my arthritis, but I’m not dead.” Active, lively, and, most important, alive at age 88, Farris recently received a letter from the federal government informing her of her death and the immediate end of her Social Security checks. A phone call to the Social Security office in Champaign was met with skepticism from the agent there, so she contacted Rep. Weaver who was able to convince the feds that Farris indeed is alive and her monthly checks will continue… TOLEDO -- The Cumberland school board voted last night to hire a new elementary school principal, filling a nearly five-month vacancy. Board members hired Gary Calvert of Newton at Cumberland Elementary and Junior High School. Calvert replaces Diane Ettlebrick of Greenup who held the position after Leon Gobczynski resigned the job in January to take a position in Olney.

100 years ago, May 31, 1917

MATTOON -- Mrs. Martha Smith, a colored woman more than 103 years of age, became the 56th victim of the recent tornado, when she died at 2 o'clock this morning in the hospital of the Old Folks Home. Mrs. Smith, whose residence was at 1800 DeWitt Ave., sustained a fracture of the skull from the visit of the storm. Mrs. Smith and her only surviving child, William Smith, now a resident of Larned, Kansas, who is 76 years of age, were slaves during the Civil War. According to the Red Cross, the number of injured from the storm is 262, with 850 Mattoon families affected by the storm. Of that number, 559 families are staying with other residents... CHARLESTON -- With the exception of a portion of one of the stables, every building on the grounds of the Coles County Fairgrounds was swept to the ground by the tornado of Saturday afternoon. Both of the grandstands were wrecked and thrown onto the race track. The art hall, the assembly hall and all other buildings and fences were leveled. Hundreds of shade trees were reduced to splinters by the cyclonic winds. The list of the dead remains at 33. Forty-seven people injured in the cyclone are being cared for at the sanitarium. Seventeen horses were killed. The number of destroyed and damaged homes north of Monroe Street is 486. Damage to property is estimated at about $800,000... SPRINGFIELD -- The joint legislative committee that visited Mattoon and Charleston this week to investigate the need for cyclone relief returned to Springfield today convinced that the $275,000 provided for in the draft of a bill is sufficient. Dr. C. St. Clair Drake of the State Board of Health said there is no danger of an epidemic or contagious diseases.

50 years ago, 1967

MATTOON -- Mail which was in two pouches and stolen from Monday night from the New York Central Railroad depot has been found. The mail, which had been torn open, was found along North 19th Street Road yesterday morning. Postmaster Leonard Finnegan said the mail will be sent to the addressee or returned to the sender. A third pouch, also thought missing, has not been located, and possibly was put on a Cleveland-bound train... ARTHUR -- A burglary early yesterday netted thieves about $625 and caused an estimated $1,500 damage to the Arthur State Bank. The theft of the money from a cashbox was discovered by a bank employee about 10 a.m. yesterday. According to E.L. Jurgens, bank president, entry into the building was made by cutting a hole in the roof above a restroom. Burglars then pulled out a ventilator and concrete blocks to enter a storage vault which contained the cashbox.

25 years ago, 1992

Sunday. No paper.

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