"Red" Yates first started his radio and repair business in 1928 in his father's coal office which was located in the elevator between Hixon's Garage and the railroad. For some time Mr. Yates was in various locations in the block where Dr. Montagnino has his office. In October of 1954 Mr. and Mrs. Yates purchased their present building on the south side of the square and are still in business at this location.
For the past few years Allen Lientz has operated a TV repair business at his home on 602 E. Jackson. During the summers, AL is assisted by his two sons.
Chrisman was fortunate in having the two railroads which were responsible for the location of the city. Each railroad had its own station and the controlling tower was located at the south west corner of the intersecting railroads. The tower was known as M. A. on the B and O and Rose on the N. Y. C. The Tower was closed Jan. 4, 1961. Walter Skinner served as agent for the C.H. and D. for many years; W. E. Boone served as agent for the N. Y. C.
Frank Walls was the last telegraph operator to work at the tower. He retired in 1961 after 51 years of service, 35 of which were at the tower in Chrisman. J. S. Bishop and Floyd Richards both served as station agents for the N.Y.C. after Mr. Boone's death.
Some of the operators who spent several years at Rose Tower were Vaughn Benson, John Hobbs, J. S. Bishop, Floyd Richards, Frank Walls, C. F. Horn, Frank Drake, Roy Hamm, Roy Wade, Fred McGown, Ben Compton, Sam Jenness, Don Johnson, Gene Postlewaite, Grover Johnson, Fred Pulliam, Call Richards, and Joe Mason.
Chrismanites have always had the opportunity to eat out. Restaurants have through the years been operated singly, or in conjunction with hotels, bakeries, pool halls, taverns, service stations, groceries and dance spots. In the early decades of our history the Frank Stickles restaurant on the east side of the square was a popular place for young folks to stop for cheese and crackers and oyster soup, and people kept track "when they would be making a fresh freezer of ice cream."
Moses Henderson combined his restaurant with a bakery. This establishment was burned out in the west side fire of 1891 as was the Charlie Ellis eating spot. The latter revived and was still doing business in the early 1900's and serving Thanksgiving dinners one resident can remember.
About this same time there was an Orahood family with a restaurant-bakery and a Parks' delicatessen. The Chrisman Cottage at 304 E. Monroe had a lovely dining room run by Mrs. Cash Chrisman. The large hotel on West Monroe, owned by John Dalrymple, had a fine dining room operated by the Hull family. This building burned in 1908 and soon after the Hull family located on the north side to continue their trade.
In World War I days a Mr. Wyant was serving especially tasty butterscotch pies here and in the thirties, Carl Hutson served delicious banana splits here. Ray and Frankie Haws ran the last one at this spot, now occupied by The Chrisman Leader.
In the late twenties, eateries were combined with rooms or groceries. By 1937 Max Newlin was operating the Campus Lunch next to the high school grounds, then he went off to World War II and W. D. and Ada Daugherty cooked for the students for six years until 1948.
Route 36 was constructed in 1932. Where it intersected with Route 1 H. P. "Po" Perrin paid $1,000 for a triangular shaped acre on the north west corner. Here, he constructed a restaurant and service station which the family operated many years. In the late sixties Dick Joseph remodeled the facilities and now operates Poor Richard's Cafe in conjunction with a filling station and service garage. The south east corner of this intersection has had taverns, restaurants, service stations and combinations of these businesses. At present, John Harris has a restaurant and service station here.
A popular spot with the teenagers in the forties was the Blue Room on the north west corner of the square which combined a small cafe area with counter and booths with a large dance floor and booth area. This site, vacant for several years, has just been completely remodeled and decorated. In July, 1972 the Vermillion Steak House opened. It is operated by George and Shirley Vermillion who also operate the Sad Sack which specializes in pizzas on the south side of the square.
Punkin Center has had eating spots on the west side of the highway, Chet's, Haw's Cafe, Knight's Cafe. In 1955 Route 1 was rerouted and in the fall John Blakeney opened the Chuck Wagon. The following spring he sold it to Don Woods who operated it for a year and then sold to Lester Vanscoyk. Other proprietors have been Leonard Hoult, Mr. and Mrs. Francis DeBolt, the Crabtree Sisters, the MacMasters and the present owners are Mr. and Mrs. Tom Lack.
In 1955 the Frostop also started business on the newly routed highway. The E. O. Tates built this establishment, Chrisman's first drive-in, and ran it until 1959. The Vandevanters owned and operated it for two years and the Robert E. Riggen family purchased it in 1961 and continues to do a thriving business from April through October.
In 1951 the Shady Rest Motel, restaurant, service station area was developed by Merrill Wayne in part of Ellsberry woods west of Chrisman. Wayne Blakeney was the first restaurateur in the new facility. In the early sixties Margaret Lindley and Carver Frazier managed such a successful smorgasbord at the location that after two years they built their own, much larger facilities at the intersection. They opened the Colonial Kitchen on Mother's Day, 1965 and are hosts to many travelers as well as the local individuals and party groups.
In the 1950's Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Lund operated a tea room in their home featuring delicious dinners with homemade breads Starting in the mid-sixties Kay Crispin is operating Hardy Hall in her country home north of Cherry Point. With so many fine establishments, featuring so much variety, it is no wonder people drive for miles to eat at Chrisman.
Telephone service was inaugurated in Chrisman seventy-nine years ago this spring. In 1893 the Holden and Schance Telephone Company was organized. At that time there were about 22 telephones working on one line and the "Central" was in the Holden Drug Store. This was previous to the installation of a switchboard. In the fall of 1893 G. W. Fair acquired the interest of C. Q. Holden and the name of the company was changed to the Schance and Fair Electric Company. During 1894 three switchboards were installed in the old Wallace house. This house, the first house built in Chrisman, was located on the site of the Chevrolet garage and faced Iowa Street. The new switchboard contained a 25, 50, and 100 drop capacity, with Miss Lora Wallace and her mother in charge.
In 1895 the company was incorporated; the stockholders were G. W. Fair, J. G. Schance,
Byron Ash and James Hoult. The exchange was then moved from the Wallace house to a house across the street (the present home of Mrs. C. J. Dalrymple) on October 31, 1899.
Mr. Schance retired from the company and sold his interest to the Fair brothers, George and Charles. The name of the company became the Fair Telephone Company and a new switchboard of 200 drop capacity was installed. The office was across the street in the present Arrasmith building. Mr. James Hoult was bookkeeper. The workshop and supply room were on the second floor. It was while working here that John Haworth fell from an outdoor stairway, breaking his neck. He died shortly afterward.
In 1901 the company consolidated with the Paris and Marshall companies and took the name of Wabash Valley Telephone Company. In July 1905, the Kinlock long distance company purchased a controlling interest. Mrs. America Beck, Mrs. Pearman and Mrs.
Verta Laughlin were exchange operators in the early times. Miss Jennie Hollingsworth began working at the switchboard in 1901. She took over the duties of bookkeeper and collector about 1919. The office and switchboard had been moved to the second floor on the northwest corner of the square.
The Wabash Telephone Company, successor to the Wabash Valley Company, operated nine exchanges and maintained general offices in Bloomington. Miss Hollingsworth, with Mrs. Martin Dalrymple as assistant, managed the Chrisman and Metcalf exchanges. Automatic equipment was installed in Chrisman in 1930. This was many years before such service was available in most small towns. The community is furnished telephone service today by the General Telephone Company with local offices at Paris. During the time Mr. Hill Moss was manager of the Wabash Valley Company here, Mrs. Walter Brothers (Lola Miller Brothers) was secretary and collected the telephone bills in Chrisman and Metcalf. She also worked under Mr. Farwell who succeeded Mr. Moss when he became manager of the telephone company in Charleston, Illinois.
A Variety Store was started about 1937 on the south side of the square, in a room now added to the First National Bank by Mr. Amos Tucker. Mrs. Lolita Pritchett and Mrs. Muriel Fulton were employed there.
Mr. Tucker sold the store to Mr. Cloyd Trout in the early 1940's. Mrs. Lolita Pritchett and Mrs. Dorothy Ann Vanscoyk managed the store for Mr. Trout. The store was moved to the west side of the square at its present location when the American Legion bought the building it had occupied on the south side of the square. Mr. and Mrs. Escoe Groff bought the Variety Store on the west side in 1949. They operated it as the Groff Variety Store until 1954. The Groffs sold the store in 1954 to Mr. and Mrs. Roy O. Robins. It was operated as Robins Variety Store for 17 years at the west side location.
In January 1971, the Robins sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Sam Scott III, and is now being operated by them as the Chrisman Variety Store. The store has had a part in the growth of Chrisman by carrying a good stock of staple merchandise needed in the community.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN CHRISMAN
This new subdivision is in the process of being developed now. It will consist of twenty-eight large lots, many with large trees. All utilities will be underground and city water will be provided and there will be new sanitary sewers to accommodate basements. There will be eighteen protective covenants for the benefit of the homeowners. This pleasant setting for many beautiful homes is being developed by Bernie Morris and Benton Caldwell.
Pleasant Meadows Christian Village
The Pleasant Meadows Christian Retirement Village will be located on the northwest side of Chrisman, four blocks from downtown Chrisman. The Village will include 30 to 40 one and two bedroom retirement apartments for independent living. Also included will be a 100 resident long term care Home which will include shelter care and nursing care. The entire village complex will be surrounded with a beautifully landscaped and well developed site.
Residents moving into the retirement apartments will be able to have the assurance of lifetime care in the village. The Home will include Activity rooms, crafts, therapy, chapel and other ancillary areas. These services, plus meals and some medical care or treatments will be available to the apartment residents, if they so desire. The Home will be a one story, brick and fire resistant structure. The Village is a non-profit corporation sponsored by the Christian Churches and the Churches of Christ in Illinois.
FARMING IN THE CHRISMAN AREA 1872-1972
"Of all occupations from which gain is secured there is none better than agriculture, nothing more productive, nothing sweeter, nothing more worthy of a free man." (Cicero)
Speaking of Ross Township the 1879 History of Edgar County says, "This is one of the richest and most productive sections of land in the county; some portions that in early times were considered the best, as it is the richest land in the township. Corn, wheat, rye, oats and other grains common to this latitude are produced in abundance. Considerable attention is given to the raising of stock, and hogs are raised in large numbers."
Farming has always been the most important occupation in the community. Since Abraham (spelled Abram in Edgar County History) Smith ventured out on the prairie before 1840, farming has grown and prospered. Mr. Smith sold the land where Chrisman now stands to John Chrisman, father of Mathias Chrisman, in 1851. In those days two or more yoke of oxen were used to break sod. Horses could not be used on account of the enormous number of green head flies.
Wooden mold boards were used having iron cutters made by a blacksmith at Ft. Harrison, Indiana. As time passed all the government land in the township was taken up. Through the years farming methods improved. The era of the steam threshing machine led to increased grain acreage. Threshing time was a cooperative time not only for the men but the farmers' wives as well. Threshing dinners were real social affairs and each housewife tried to have the best dinner on the "threshing ring." Often there were forty to fifty people for dinner and sometimes they stayed for supper. The threshing crew remained over night.
Corn was picked by hand and it was not unusual to still have corn in the fields after Christmas. Many farmers concentrated on raising cattle and hogs. Large barns were built. In the early 1900s many still used earlier methods of construction and had "barn raisings." The framework for the sides of the barn was constructed on the ground with the timbers fastened together by wooden pegs. Then neighbors assembled and pulled or raised the skeleton erect. Work continued on the barn all day and a social time was made of the affair.
Grain was usually taken from the fields to elevators and then shipped by rail. (In earlier days Chrisman had small mills.) At one time Chrisman had three elevators -- one on the east-west railroad and two on the north-south railroad. Mr. Oscar Jones owned several elevators in the area. One was on the north side of Madison Avenue just east of the railroad. Hartley and Waldruff, Hartley and Johnson and others owned and operated elevators through the years. Later Mr. Jones operated the Henry Woodyard elevator for several years. Later the Chrisman Grain Company owned by W. B. Swank. R. P. Morris, John Wasson, Frank Coe and J. B. Lindley operated elevators at Chrisman and Scottland and at Scott's Crossing north of town.
Today there is one elevator in Chrisman owned by B. C. Christopher and Company with Mr. Leonard Fuel in charge and one elevator at Woodyard Station owned and operated by Eugene and Donna Taylor d/b/a Taylor Grain Co. Much of the grain is transported by trucks. The Illinois Cereal Mill at Paris and Lauhoff Grain Company at Danville uses a large part of it.
With the ever increasing improvements brought about through the years, farming has held its number one position in the community. Many farmers today farm as much as one thousand acres of land. The works of the IL Agriculture Department, Universities, the Farm Bureau, Farm Advisors, and Soil Conservationists have all played a part in this development. It has been brought about largely by the understanding and use of fertilizers, insecticides, hybrid seeds and improvements in farm machinery, and expanded credit.
In a century we have gone from the single plow share to the six to ten bottom plow, from the horse powered thresher and the steam thresher to the large combines that cut and thresh the grain in one operation, and from hand picking to the corn picker that picks and shells the corn in one operation. These large combines have air conditioned cabs -- heated or cooled as desired. Two-way telephones keep those in the field in touch with their homes, etc.
We were unable to locate the first implement store in Chrisman, but Mr. James Earhart had an implement store on the north side of the square in the early days. It was a large frame building and stood where Dr. James Reader's office is today. Later Mr. Mike Remley owned and operated this business. William Sayre had a hardware and implement store at one time. Since the twenties, the John Deere Implement business has been run by Harry E. Yates, H. E. Bollar, Adams and Tucker, Newlin and Robison. For the past 30 years Francis Robison has operated this business on West Monroe Avenue, on the site of the Holden and Tucker garage and location of the Jarred Skating rink of the early 1940's.
The Chrisman Farm Center, Inc., (located on Route 1), deals in Massey-Ferguson Farm Equipment; it is owned and operated by J. L. Foor and John Craig. This business was formerly owned by the Culton Brothers who moved their implement business from the south side of the square.
On January 30, 1953, a new modern feed and seed mill was opened by the Lime Service Co. owned and operated by John R. Collins, The mill is located on East Grant Street. Mr. Collins served the farmers of this community with lime, phosphate and fertilizer for five years before opening the new mill. The new, modern mill serves the people with a wide variety of feed and seed products. Mr. Collins retired about five years ago. The mill is now owned by Robert Cox of Paris, Illinois under the new name, Chrisman Feed Service.
CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
VESPERIAN CLASS OF THE METHODIST CURCH
The Vesperian Class of the First Methodist Church was in existence as early as 1909. The class consisted of the young married matrons of the community. The group prepared and served many dinners and held bazaars to earn money for the benefit of the church. They helped sponsor many worthwhile projects in connection with the church such as the orchestra organized by Mrs. Fern Anthony. Mrs. John Lewis is the only living member of this club.
HESPERIUS REBEKAH LODGE #503
The Hesperius Lodge was instituted June 30, 1897. The first officers were: Noble Grand, Lena Hartley; Vice Grand, Nellie Johnson; Secretary, Nannie Stephenson; Treasurer, Jessie Welch; Warden, Julia Boles; Conductor, Lula Schnitker; Outside Guardian, John Boles; Inside Guardian, J. T. Johnson; Right Supporter to Noble Grand, A. K. Hartley; Left Supporter to Noble Grand, A. E. Schnitker; Right Supporter to Vice Grand, Jennie Scott; Left to Supporter to Vice Grand, Victoria Tucker. There were 25 members.
This lodge has always met the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month and in the same place it was constituted, above the First National Bank of Chrisman. At present time there are 39 members, with Mrs. Edna Calhoun as Noble Grand.
THE ODD FELLOW LODGE
The I. O. O. F. met in 1874 in the Masonic Hall at Chrisman for the purpose of instituting Chrisman Lodge #541 at Chrisman. Soon after the lodge was instituted, the following officers were elected and installed: Noble Grand, C T. Caraway; Vice Grand, E. W. Hartley; Secretary. A. B. Gibbs, and Treasurer, William S. Cairnes.
They initiated the following brothers: B. L. Basley, J. P. Crawford, Charles Mitchell, F. M. Earhart, William Kenton, Robert Minor, James B. John, E. V. Stanfield, William Livett, J, P. Price, and C. D. Crawford. The Noble Grand then appointed the following officers: Warden, J. B. John; Conductor, F. M. Earhart; Inside Guardian, Charley Mitchell; Outside Guardian, Anthony Mark; Right Supporter to Noble Grand, J. P. Crawford; Left Supporter to Noble Grand, William Livett; Right Supporter to Vice Grand, B. L. Basley, and Left Supporter to Vice Grand, C. D. Crawford.
The meeting night of the lodge has always been on Wednesday of each week. At present they have nineteen members.
The Willing Workers Club was organized in the fall of 1894 and was known as the "WWC." The purpose of the organization was for social and literary past-time. The meetings were held at the homes of various members. The charter members were: Osa Mitchell Bacon, Ora Mitchell Thomas, Ella Dillton Thompson, Dollie Dillon Inskip, Maggie Koons Carson, Ida Glick Rork, Ella F. Wasson, Dollie Russell, Ola McPheeters, Louise McPheeters, Arminta Lawther Moss, who was president of the club for 17 years.
When the "Indians" were formed, they gave the WWC the nickname of "SQUAWS" which name has persistently clung to the club.
EASTERN STAR CHAPTER
In January of 1894 a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing an Eastern Star Chapter in Chrisman. The Charter was granted on October 4, 1894 with forty-eight charter members. Mrs. Emma Swank was the first Worthy Matron and Mr. W. T. Watson was the first Worthy Patron of the Chapter which was to be known as the Glendora Chapter Order of Eastern Star. The Chapter has one member, Mrs. Vertie Laughlin, who has been a member sixty-nine years. There are, also, eighteen fifty year members. Mrs. Hazel Clark has served as an officer for the organization for forty years, starting in the station of Esther. The meetings have always been held in the Masonic temple located on the northwest corner of the square in the third story of the building.
BLOOMFIELD MASONIC LODGE
The Bloomfield Masonic Lodge was organized in 1853 and chartered in 1854. In 1873 permission was granted by the Grand Lodge to change the place of meeting from Bloomfield to Chrisman. John Hartley was the Worshipful Master at this time. The membership was seventy-five. The lodge built the present lodge room, the third story on the Camerer Building.
The Shakespeare Club was organized February 16, 1893. Some of the town ladies expressed a desire to study Shakespeare, so this meeting date was set. At the meeting they decided to form a club. Since their main aim was to study the works of Shakespeare, it was agreed to name this club the Shakespeare Club. This club today is known as the oldest club in the county.
CHRISMAN HOUSEHOLD SCIENCE CLUB
The Chrisman Household Science Club, now in its 66th year, was organized on March 4, 1916 in the Methodist Church. The First meeting was held in the Domestic Science Room of Chrisman Township High School. There were 20 members present. Mrs. C. L. Kerrick was elected president and the hostesses were Mrs. Kerrick and Mrs. Ellis. Mrs. R. L. Waldruff gave a paper "What constitutes a balanced meal." Mrs. J. M. Heidrick had prepared a paper "Best Kitchen Costumes" which was read by Mrs. Lee Moss. It is their custom to have roll call, program and a demonstration concerning the home. At the present time there are twenty-four members.
The first Home Bureau unit in Ross Township was organized in September of 1936 at the home of Mrs. Harry Haworth. In 1937 the group joined the Edgar County Home Bureau, after one year with the Vermilion County organization. Helen Harrison Hurt was the home advisor. It was her duty to give the major lesson at the meetings and a local leader was in charge of the minor lessons.
The aim of Home Bureau is to have every home: economically sound, mechanically convenient, mentally stimulating, morally wholesome, artistically satisfactory, socially responsible, founded upon mutual affection and respect. A night unit was later formed for the younger group. Both units are still very active in the community.
The Indian Club was organized as early as 1899. It consisted of a group of local young men who loved a good time. It was purely a social club.
CHRISMAN - 100 YEARS OF PROGRESS - 1872-1972