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News stories from the past

compiled by Barth Weistart

These stories were compiled from old issues of the Minonk News and the Minonk News-Dispatch by Barth Weistart for use by in connection with the Minonk, Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration 1854-2004.

The Minonk News May 20, 1892

Neatly Trapped In Minonk Saturday Night

By Policeman Jack Ryan–Had Escaped From the Reformatory in Lansing, Michigan–They Escaped From the Minonk Jail, But Are Caught--Taken Back to Michigan. Saturday night as Policeman Jack Ryan was patrolling the streets of our city he ran across a gang of four men and two boys, one of them having only one arm, at F. S. Horneman's corn cribs near the Illinois Central round house, and after considerable trouble locked them up in the iron cages at the city jail.

In the meantime he had received a tip from one of the tramps that wore an iron sole on one of his shoes that the boys had escaped from the reform school in Michigan. Mr. Ryan stayed around the jail after locking them up and overheard them talking. The two boys were talking and one of them said the first thing they knew they would be back in the school in Michigan. Mr. Ryan at once wired Chicago for information concerning the Michigan reform school, and was informed that it was located at Lansing. He then wired the officials of that institution a description of the two boys, and in ten minutes a telegram came from Superintendent J. E. St. John to hold them and an officer would come after them.

Sunday morning the four tramps were released with the promise that they would leave town at once. Two of them did so, but the other two remained in town, and becoming disorderly were again arrested and locked up Sunday afternoon. While locking the tramps up, Mr. Ryan discovered someone running out of the jail. Telling Marshal Wendland to guard the jail, Jack took after the escaping prisoner. The boy carried his coat under his arm, and ran across the street into Barton's yard, thence over fences and across lots until he was caught two blocks away by Mr. Ryan and Wm. Gant, near Jack Farrell's residence. When captured, he was winded, and said, "You just came in time old man, or I would have been gone." Upon taking him back to the jail the other boy was discovered under the bed.


The Minonk News March 1, 1895

Wm. Hammill Injured.

Last Friday morning about 4 o'clock, Wm. Hammill, employed in the coal shaft, was caught in a collision between two coal cars, and badly injured. It was thought at first that he could not survive his injuries, which consisted of severe bruises in the lower part of his stomach. His brother in Philadelphia was telegraphed for, and arrived Tuesday. The injured man is improving and will no doubt get well.


The Minonk News November 1, 1895

Are Shy of Minonk

Osborne & Howard's Minstrel troupe of twenty-two people, passed through Minonk Wednesday, en route for La Salle. Their agent had contracted to play at the Grand in Minonk to-night, Nov. 1st, but when they found out it would cost $15 for their band to play on our streets, the contract was cancelled, and they will not appear here. Messrs. Osborne & Howard stated that the facts relating to the $15 license for band parade in Minonk, had been published in Chicago and New York dramatic papers, and that it would result in first-class companies keeping shy of the town. That ordinance is a nuisance, and should be abolished at once. There is no penalty attached for violation of said ordinance, therefore we believe the city would be defeated in attempting to enforce it.


The Minonk Register September 29, 1904

Badly Hurt in Runaway.

Shortly after noon today while Carl Oncken and Miss Lizzie Hinrichs were driving to town the team took fright at a road grader about a mile south of the city. One of the horses began kicking and Mr. Oncken lost control of the team. Both occupants were thrown from the buggy and Miss Hinrich struck her head rendering her unconscious. She was taken to Dr. Wilcox office where Dr. Fred on examination found a concussion of the brain, and while the doctor thinks she will recover from the accident in due time, there is a possibility that it may take a serious turn. She was taken to the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Chris Hinrichs 7 miles southeast of this city this afternoon.

Mr. Oncken escaped without injury. The buggy was demolished.


The Minonk Register October 27, 1904

Injuries Prove Fatal.

Michael Greskoviak who was hurt in the mine last Thursday by being caught between two loaded coal cars died at St. Joseph's hospital in Bloomington Sunday where he had been taken for treatment.

The deceased was 32 years old. He was married and leaves a wife and three children besides his parents and six brothers.

The remains were brought to this city Monday and the funeral was held Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. The Catholic Order of Foresters of which he was a member had charge of the funeral.


The Minonk News-Dispatch August 8, 1918

Steve Ketchmark and Joe Greskoviak
Find it in Miners' Hall.

There was quite a sensation around town last night when it was learned that Steve Ketchmark and Joe Greskoviak had found a dynamite bomb in the miners' hall over Frank Halfman's saloon.

The miners were about to hold their meeting when the men found the bomb. It was made of iron casing and was full of shot, powder and dynamite, the cap being made of a copper cartridge.

Mayor Simater was notified and he and Postmaster Ryan secured the bomb and locked it up in the vault at the city hall. The mayor is non-committal as to what steps he is taking in the matter.

Speculation takes all manner of form as to what purpose was meant by the bomb. The miners are a patriotic body of men, have sons in the army and have subscribed liberally for liberty bonds and thrift stamps. Mr. Halfman, who occupies the room below, has a son in the army and supports all war drives.


The Minonk News-Dispatch September 5, 1918

Goodwin Bros. Have Begun to Dismantle
Plant South of Town.

Goodwin Bros. Have begun to dismantle their brick and tile yard south of town and soon it will be but a memory and with it the last brick and tile yard in Minonk disappears.

Joseph Stonier opened up these yards about thirty years ago, later selling out to T. P. Clarke and Joseph Pickard. The latter then sold his interest in the plant to Daniel Nellinger and the firm name was Clarke and Nellinger. The Goodwins purchased the plant in 1909, expending considerable money on improvements, and conducted it until a few years ago, when the clay gave out.

The old Goodwin brick yard east of town has long been out of existence and where once stood the kilns, the pile of old bats and the general debris of such a yard, now stands a fine crop of corn.

The brick and tile factory at the coal mine disappeared many years ago and where many a man sweat his strength away boys are now playing ball and mules are eating weeds.

It is said that once upon a time there was a brick yard in the triangle formed by the Stoddard highway and North Chestnut street, but that was long before our day.