Editor’s Note: Cathy Parish Skura may have left Momence to live elsewhere as an adult, but she didn’t leave fond memories behind. The Paris Bank, founded in 1914, was private until it became state-chartered in the 1920s as Parish State Bank. You can read in the Documents section how the Parish Bank survived the Great Depression and help make Momence “A Wonderful Town.” In gathering content for The Families: Vol. 2 website, Cathy Parish Skura wrote to me these recollections of her father, Momence and the Parish Bank:
“My father, William Joseph Parish used to recall that when he was 10 or younger, sometime between 1895 and 1900, he joined his father, William Wallace Parish, Jr., driving cattle from Momence to the Chicago stockyards. He told me it took two days and they would camp along the way in what is now Chicago Heights.
He also recalled that during prohibition bootleggers, the “bosses,” had hideouts along the Kankakee River in Momence because a getaway to Indiana was only six miles away.
He told me that before he went to Notre Dame and then the University of Chicago Law School, that he didn’t know what he wanted to do in life. He said he ended up in California for a while working as a stunt man on a Charlie Chaplin movie. He said Chaplin told him in a kind enough way to find another career.
What I remember myself about the role of the Parish Bank in Momence is that from its founding by my grandfather William Wallace Parish, Jr. in 1914, until the death of his brother Anthony Parish 1n 1987, loans were always done with a handshake and not paper.