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1962 final: trains, 21 tractors and undefeated Mohawks

Submitted by Jari Lynn Oncken - November 1, 2017

Nov. 8: Twenty-one tractors made short work of plowing 75 acres of farmland east of Minonk Wednesday morning.

Friends and neighbors of La Vern Fewell and Russell Sulllivan came to plow 40 acres for Fewell and 35 acres for Sullivan, who are both unable to do the work-Mr. Fewell because of illness, and Mr. Sullivan because of a broken leg.

Nov. 15: MDR defeated Eureka in the season's finale. For the first time, the Minonk-Dana-Rutland Mohawks finished out a season of tough football action undefeated.

Kent Lumber and Coal Co., with Henri, Nick and Don Mohar as official hosts, held its annual turkey dinner for the MDR High School football players at the high school cafeteria.

There were approximately 100 persons present to devour 100 pounds of turkey.

Following the meal, Coach Jim Lee thanked the fathers for their interest in the team this year, after which pictures of this year's football games were shown and comments made on them.

Nov. 22: The News- Dispatch was reminded by Fred and Harrison Parks that the 1962 football team was not the first Minonk team to have an undefeated season, although it was the first undefeated team of Minonk-Dana-Rutland Unit School District. Minonk High School was undefeated in 1902, 60 years ago.

The 1902 team, coached by Harry Thom, who had played on the Cornell University team, won all games that year. Minonk played Peoria, Bloomington, Normal, El Paso, Pontiac, and Eureka.

All players played the entire game, having had only one substitute.

The games were played on Friday afternoons in the Fuller pasture (now residential Elm Court in Minonk) and some merchants closed their stores to attend the games and traveled by train to out-of-town games.

Front row left: Tjark Gerdes - LG, S. Wardle - QB, James McGrail - LHB. Second row left: Aaron Parks - LE, Prof. E. L. Mills - Mgr, george McNally - Captain and FB, Henry Hewitt - RE, L. Falk - RG, , Brainerd Wilcox - C. Third row left: Arthur Spires - Substitute, Frank Garrett - LT, William Parks - RT, Harvey Parks - RHB, Frank Goodrich.

At that time there were 14 trains a day through Minonk on the Santa Fe and the Illinois Central.

Nov. 29: The Minonk Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring free matinee movies for children on the three Saturdays preceding Christmas.

Shop in Minonk. Stores full of Christmas goods.

For the first time in many years, a passenger train passed through Minonk Monday night.

The train on the Illinois Central tracks picked up several of the cars from the Santa Fe line through Minonk.

Two hundred and thirty-seven Farm Bureau members enroute to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, went through on the special train.

In years long gone by, there were 14 passenger trains a day passing through Minonk, both on the Santa Fe and Illinois Central. Now there are none.

The MDR Mohawks will initiate their basketball season this Friday when the Roanoke Rockets meet the Mohawks here at home.