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Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 16, 1853

The reader will please take notice and bear in mind that in the northeast part of Madison County, there is a town called Alhambra on the state road from Alton to Vandalia. It is one of the healthiest, most beautiful and desirable locations for a town that the eastern part of the county affords, and the country adjoining is not surpassed for farming, and is settling up very fast; consequently those wishing to locate either in the country or town will do well to make an early investment while property is cheap; tradesmen and mechanics will find it a desirable location.  Any or all property will be sold on terms that can but be satisfactory to the purchaser, if application be made soon, and the sooner the better bargain. Texas gold fever the cause. For further particulars, call on or address (post paid) the undersigned, at Alhambra, Madison County, Illinois.  Larkin C. Keown.




Source: The New York Times, New York, NY, July 19, 1903

Two boys averted a terrible wreck with the probable loss of dozens of lives by flagging the early morning express on the Illinois Central before it ran on the bridge across Silver Creek, which had been partially burned away, three miles north of here yesterday. The boys John and William Bilf, twelve and fourteen years old, respectively, who live on a farm near the creek, were on their way to a neighbor's when they saw smoke issuing from the bridge some little distance from them. About middle way out they discovered that forty feet of the structure had been burned away and the  bridge was still in flames. They knew that the fast express would be along in a few minutes, and if it were allowed to run on the bridge it would surely go down in midstream, with great loss of life. It must be stopped, they both knew it, and they set about their important task. They had no flag, but that trifle was soon mended. John tore up his shirt and tied it to a staff. Then together they ran to the track to meet the train. About half a mile from the bridge they heard the oncoming train, so, taking their position in the middle of the track they began to wave the flag as the train came in view. The engineer was quick to perceive the signal and threw on the brakes stopping the train within a few yards of the bridge. The engineer, conductor, and many of the passengers thanked the boys for their heroism. The two boys are members of a family of thirteen children.  It is supposed that the fire was caused by coals from the firepan of a passing engine.



Source: Ogdensburg, New York News, September 13, 1907

Sept 12. - Charles W. Hosto, a farmer living near Alhambra, walked into the office of Sheriff Jones here and surrendered himself, saying he had killed Charles Heal, who lived on a farm adjoining his. Hosto's story was not believed at first, but was found to be true. Hosto was arrested on the charge of manslaughter and released on bond pending his preliminary hearing. The two men quarreled Monday. Hosto declared he cut Heal with a pocket knife in self defense. He put the man in a wagon and drove him home. Heal died that night.




Source: Troy Weekly Call, September 14, 1907

Alhambra had two tragedies during the past week - a suicide and a murder. William Homan, a young farmer, crazed by drink, attempted to murder his wife and four children by standing them in a row and leveling a shotgun at them, but suddenly changed his mind and fired in the air, and shortly afterwards hung himself in his barn. The second tragedy was the killing of Charles Hesi by Charles Hosto in an altercation in which the former was stabbed. The men were neighbors and had been bitter enemies for a year over the drainage of a piece of land. Hosto gave himself up at Edwardsville and was released on a bond of $5,000, signed by T. E. Rinkle and Thomas Koch of Edwardsville




Source: Troy Weekly Call, October 19, 1907

Charles Hosto, the Alhambra township farmer charged with killing Charles Hesi, a neighbor, in a quarrel some weeks ago, was given a preliminary hearing before Justice Joseph Edmonds at Edwardsville last Saturday, and was acquitted of the charge. The dispute arose over a boundary line, and Hosto claimed he acted in self-defense. The attorneys for the defense asked that the charge be dismissed, which was done with the consent of States Attorney Gillham.







Source: Alton Telegraph, January 19, 1872

E. Nevill & Co. have always on hand at their sample rooms in Edwardsville and at the Wood River Driving Park Hotel, a choice selection of genuine imported wines and liquors. They will give due notice of all races at the Driving Park.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, February 4, 1875
The young men, James Smith and William Clayton, committed by Squire Benbow on two charges of arson, have been transferred to the county jail to await their trial, Judge Baker having refused to grant the writ of habeas corpus sworn out in their behalf. The arrest of these young men, the circumstances of which we have narrated, is regarded as of great importance. The charges upon which they were committed are for burning the Wood River Driving Park Hotel, and for attempting to burn the residence of Jacob Koch. But it is believed that they are connected with several other mysterious incendiary fires that have occurred in the same vicinity the past year. So bold have been these incendiary operations that a perfect reign of terror has existed for months in the neighborhood of Alton Junction, no man knowing when his property would share the same fate. There seems to have been a gang of desperate men in the vicinity who avenged private grudges by destroying the property of those against whom they had conceived a dislike. Among the supposed incendiary fires we recall in this connection are: Depot buildings at the Junction, burned on the 12th of last April; residence of George Smith (father of one of the prisoners), burned the same month; Driving Park Hotel, burned May 4th; residence of John Cook, burned in same month; Brushy Point school house, burned Dec. 25th. There is also the attempt to burn the residence of Jacob Koch. In addition, a stable and one or two straw stacks have been fired by unknown parties. It is believed that the arrest of Smith and Clayton will lead to important developments in regard to these other fires. It is certainly to be hoped that the guilty parties have, at length, been caught, and that the citizens of that locality will, in future, have more security for their property. One thing that has a bad look for the defendants is the fact that several important witnesses for the prosecution have been mysteriously spirited away since the arrest, and cannot be found. The credit for swearing out the warrant in this case is due to Major Roper, and his action in the matter is justified by the decision of the court in committing the prisoners for trial.


[Note: On February 25, 1875, James Smith and William Clayton were taken to Belleville for a hearing for their crime. I could not find if they were convicted of arson.]







Source: Alton Telegraph, May 9, 1838

From the St. Louis Saturday News - There is no spot on the globe more fertile, or more productive, than that tract of alluvion on the left bank of the Mississippi called the American Bottom. This district of country commences at a point near to, and below the City of Alton, extending almost an hundred miles along the Mississippi to the mouth of the Kaskaskia river. Its width varies from two to six miles, and is contracted probably - in some instances to only one mile. The rank growth of herbage upon this extensive bottom has hitherto produced an insalubrious effect, which has prevented settlements in it to such an extent as might have been anticipated. The fatness of the soil, the fine growth of timber which it contains, and its vicinity to the market of St. Louis, are inducements which must ere long produce such cultivation as will present in the American Bottom, for a considerable distance above and below a point opposite this City [St. Louis], continuous gardens and meadows, with occasional harvest fields to variegate the richness of the scene. There is not, perhaps, any where, a fairer prospect for investment in land for the purpose of cultivation. Present prices are low, and the improvement which is going forward will render the location healthy. A railroad from the St. Louis ferry landing to the coal banks, about six miles from the river, is so far finished as to admit the running of cars upon it, and a large stock of fuel and coal is already deposited on the bank of the Mississippi. The Legislature of Illinois has given a lottery privilege for the purpose of draining, by its net proceeds, the ponds in the American Bottom; and some of the public spirited citizens of the State are about to render this liberal enactment effective. Countless numbers of human beings will be benefited by this operation, and every philanthropist should give countehahes(?) [sic] and encouragement to it. The principal mosquite manufacture, so annoying to this city, will be thus broken up, and the local causes of disease, which impose suffering in apprehension, if not in reality, will be removed. This is one of the felicitous improvements which the age of reason will rejoice in. If the City of St. Louis were not directly interested in this enterprise, we indulge none of those narrow views which would confine benefits to nay(?)  particular locality.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 12, 1839

On the 10th ult., Mr. Young introduced into the Senate a resolution, instructing the committee on the Public Lands to inquire into the expedience of coding to the State of Illinois a certain portion of the unsold public lands in the "American Bottom," to aid said State in improving the public health by draining the lakes, ponds, and marshes in that section of the country. Mr. Y. explained the object of the resolution in a brief but pertinent speech, after which it was agreed to.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 29, 1902

The most gigantic land deal ever recorded in Edwardsville was made Wednesday. It comprises practically the entire tract known as the "Louisiana Purchase," and extends from Wood River on the north to the Gulf of Mexico on the south. It required a trust to make the deal of course, and the transfer is not generally known, it being in fact one of the exclusive, mammoth-sized "scoops" of the x cut-fold and pasted, and its reliability has never yet been publicly question by its managers. Friday's issue says:  "The formal transfer of the American Bottoms to the Chicago Title and Trust company has been made at Edwardsville."




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 18, 1906

Hon. J. H. Yager said today that he will in a short time open a 70 acre tract of land owned by him just this side of Nameoki for settlement by home builders, and that he will have the tract divided into lots and blocks with streets, alleys, etc., running through it, and will probably name the new town Yager Heights. The site of the proposed town is the first high ground in the American Bottoms this side of Venice and was never known to be submerged by high water no matter how high the water got to be. Three steam railroads and the Alton, Granite and St. Louis Traction company are adjacent to the place, and transportation facilities will be splendid. Mr. Yager laid out one town in this vicinity some years ago, and today Yager Park is a flourishing village, and there is no reason why his new town should not prove even more successful. He says that in order to give anybody a chance to get a home he intends to sell lots on the $5 a month plan, when the farm is ready for sale in lots.


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 3, 1907

The new town of Benbow will be laid out and platted in a short time by A. E. Benbow, near the Standard Oil refinery site. Mr. Benbow laid out a town here several years ago at Glassboro. He now has taken the old plat and will rearrange it and add some more land to it, making the new town of Benbow. The owner says that he expects to have a thriving village there before long. The site is three quarters of a mile from the Mississippi river.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 15, 1907
From the East St. Louis Journal
At Benbow City, formerly Wood River, Ill., just sixteen miles from East St. Louis, and about seven miles from Alton, the Standard Oil Company is now erecting the largest oil refinery plant in the world, and a city of tents and frame shacks has sprung up as if by magic out of the wheat fields, along the tracks of the East St. Louis and Alton street railway company, the Chicago and Alton, the Big Four, the C., P. and St. L., the C. B. and Q., and the Illinois Terminal railway, all of which run parallel with the new town, while the Illinois Terminal connects with the Illinois Central, Clover Leaf Route, Wabash and the Litchfield and Madison, and will soon connect with the B. and O. at Maryville.

The big plant, in course of construction, now employs 700 men, and within a short time the construction force will be increased to 4,000 or 5,000 men, and the greatest need of the new city at present is living accommodations for this army of workmen, as hundreds of them are now obliged to sleep in tents and some of them at present are even sleeping out by the side of campfires.

A. E. Benbow, who originally owned all of the land on which the new city now stands, has sold over fifty lots for business and residence purposes in the past few days, and the business people are starting the erection of business houses immediately, and there will be work at Benbow City from now on for hundreds of men in the building trades.

Another feature of this great Standard Oil plant will be that they will not only refine oil, but they will manufacture their own cars for shipping, also all their barrels will be made at the big cooperage now being erected at Benbow City, while a large eastern chemical concern will erect a plant adjoining the refinery to utilize the waste product, making vaseline, paraffin and wax, while the Standard Oil company will erect a plant to manufacture candles from the wax residue.

Four large cold storage plants will be erected at Benbow City, one by the Anheuser-Busch Co., one by the East St. Louis and New Athens Brewing Co., one by the Wagner Brewing Co., and the Columbia Brewing Co. will also erect one, while the East St. Louis and New Athens Co. are preparing to erect a large two story hotel building.

From all indications, Benbow City will soon be a city in fact, as well as in name, and Mr. Benbow in an interview yesterday stated that the city would be incorporated within the next ninety days. Real estate prices in the new city are advancing rapidly, and within the next six months Benbow City will assuredly have a population of over 5,000 people.

The magnitude of the plant being erected by the Standard Oil company is so great, that words cannot describe it, and the visitor to Benbow City, with its white tents and rude new buildings hastily erected, its hundreds of workingmen pushing on the great plant, is impressed by the spirit of hustle and energy, and the way the town has sprung up in a night reminds one of a page from the Arabian Nights, but the spirit of American energy displayed in this future great city shows it is no dream, but a reality.

Anyone wishing to spend a profitable half-day can get on the Alton car at Third and Broadway, and in less than an hour's time he can alight in Benbow City and see a big manufacturing city budding from out of the wheat fields. Many people think there are oil and gas in Benbow City. We know there is ginger there.



Source: Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, May 5, 1908

Benbow City, the first town which has grown up around the Standard Oil Company's new refinery, eight miles south of Alton, Ill., began its corporate existence as a village, Monday, with eighteen registered voters and twenty-three saloons. Within the corporate limits there are 300 persons. So there is one saloon for each thirteen inhabitants. In addition to the twenty-three saloons, there are seven brewery agencies, and each have $500 a year licenses. Payments for the licenses have already been made, and the little village starts out with a $15,000 nest egg. It will probably not vote against license for some time.




Source: The New York Times, May 5, 1908

Benbow City, the flat town, which has grown up around the Standard Oil Company's new refinery, eight miles south of Alton, is the "wettest" town in Illinois, and because it is the wettest it is also the richest. It began its corporate existence as a village Monday with eighteen registered voters and twenty-three saloons. Within the corporate limits of Benbow City there are 300 persons and one saloon for each thirteen inhabitants. In addition to the twenty-three saloons there are seven brewery agencies, and each dram shop and each agency pays $500 a year license. Payments for the coming year have already been made, and the little village starts out in life with a $15,000 nest egg. The liquor interests have paid $50 for each man, woman, and child in the village, the per capita wealth of which by reason of this revenue from the liquor interests is greater than that of any town or city in the United States.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 31, 1917

One of the first real acts in the work of cleaning up the dives which infested Benbow City came today, when the Circuit Court jury, which tried the case of Mrs. Alice Bligh, charged with harboring females under 18 years of age in a place conducted for immoral purposes, reported a verdict finding her guilty. Her punishment will be from one to five years in the penitentiary, unless the court sets aside the jury's findings. The woman testified in her defense that she had nothing to do with the dance hall where the girls were taken and kept. However, the girls had told their own story of how they were persuaded to go to the dive where they were kept for a few weeks. A. E. Benbow was among the witnesses. He told of renting to Mrs. Bligh a house in which she lived, but was not called upon to testify as to the character of the place. Just as the jury was finishing making its report to the court, another jury was just accepted to try the husband of Mrs. Bligh on the same charge as the wife defended herself against. Mrs. Bligh had told the court that she has seven children ranging from 5 to 28 years, and that five of them were with her.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 5, 1917

There was a grand farewell in Benbow City Saturday night, a sort of a turning backward of the "Spirit of '76." The well known historic painting which shows three figures marching to martial strains illustrated a patriotic protest against British misrule. The parade Saturday night was a protest against the beginning of decent rule. According to stories which came from Benbow City, the work of the Circuit Court jury last week, which convicted three persons and gave them penal terms for running vice resorts in Benbow City, made a deep impression down there. Everybody in Benbow City felt that the lid was on and it was no joke either. The falling of the curtain on the revels of Benbow City is sure, and the bell had rung for the curtain to drop. Between the time for the curtain bell and the dropping of the curtain on the last act which will be the winding up of Benbow City as a municipality, it was resolved to have a big time. A party was organized which paraded from saloon to saloon. None was missed, and there were plenty of places to be visited to make sure that everybody who was in the party could get plenty to drink. It was a wild sort of a farewell party. In every place the crowd visited there was a big time, and it is said that the number of the people celebrating had grown to 23, which is the greater part of the population of Benbow City now.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 8, 1917

The Red Onion, one of the characteristic places of Benbow City, owned by Alton former gamblers, has been closed. The shock given by the recent Circuit Court convictions of Benbow City denizens, and the failure of the gang to get new trials, threw a cold chill into the hearts of the Red Onion _abitues. So the Red Onion is no more. It has been closed tight and the legions of levity, the friends of follies, have departed for good. It is said to be a forecast of an early suspension by some of the other places in Benbow City. According to those who know, some of these places had some of their prosperity from money spent by some Alton people of more or less prominence, who found the Red Onion and similar places resorts where one could do about as he pleased.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1917

A get together meeting of the officials of Benbow City and Wood River was held last night for the purpose of finishing up all the legal formalities necessary for the annexation of Benbow City to Wood River. The meeting was held in the Wood River village hall, and was attended by the mayors of both villages, Mayor Beach and Mayor Benbow, and by the councilmen and officers of both villages. All of the books, papers and documents of Benbow City were brought into the Wood River council chamber by Village Clerk William Beers, and were turned over to Village Clerk Fred Shoemaker of Wood River. With them was $665.35 in cash, which was the balance in the treasury of Benbow City after all bills were paid. Also a deed for three lots on the Benbow City baseball diamond, owned by the village of Benbow, was made over to the village of Wood River.....The best of feeling prevailed and the two villages, which had long been rivals and whose officers had been many times at outs with one another, were joined together in a strong bond of friendship. It was a big affair for Mayor Benbow. He came wearing his high silk hat and a Prince Albert coat and carried a gold headed cane. He remarked to his friends after the meeting that he was now free of official worry with the passing of Benbow City.....







Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1857

We take great pleasure in making room in our columns for the following letter and accompanying certificates, which we think will satisfy any one who is conversant with such machinery, that our Alton made mills are "hard to beat."   From the Forks of Wood River, Madison County, May 20th, 1857, to Messrs. Johnson & Emerson, Piasa Foundry, Alton, Illinois:  "I now have the Circular Saw Mill I purchased of you in operation, and can say without any hesitation that I have the best Circular Saw Mill in the country, anywhere. Day before yesterday I run it from sunrise to sunset, lacking two hours, making twelve hours steady running; and in that time cut fifteen thousand six hundred and ninety-four feet of three quarter inch stuff, of which thirteen thousand five hundred feet was ____, [linn?], and the balance was white oak, from two to four inches thick. Forty logs were used, of a small average size. My mill is a single mill, and is fitted with a fifty-eight inch saw. Should any one doubt the correctness of the above, I will here state that I will wager my mill against its cost, that I can cut on it twenty thousand feet, surface measure, from sunrise to sunset. If you hear of any one that wishes to take the bet, send him along. My mill is about four miles northeast of Upper Alton."  From L. T. Hamilton.  "I certify that I saw the above lumber cut, and measured it myself, and that is the actual net measurement.  Joshua Wood."  "We, the undersigned, certify that the above is a correct statement, having seen the mill do the work ourselves. Elder John Brown, Alexander Hodge, John Murphy, and D. J. Titchenal."




Source: Cleveland, New York Lakeside Press, October 11, 1879

A very pathetic suicide was that of Miss Emma Patterson at St. Louis, a few days ago. She was from Bethalto, Ill., where her remarkable beauty and accomplishments made her the belle of the place. Her father was poor, but she moved in the best society, and most of her associates had far more money to spend on personal adornment than she had. One of her suitors was John Shelton, and he recently left a watch and $130 with her while he went on a short journey. On his return she made trivial apologies for not giving them back. He learned one day that she had engaged herself to marry Mr. Montgomery, and he peremptorily demanded his property. She had spent the money dollar by dollar in buying bits of finery, and as she could get no help from her father she was unable to repay Shelton, who threatened her arrest. She went to St. Louis and tried to get employment, but failed, and committed suicide.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 23, 1882

Our neighboring town of Bethalto was visited last night by the greatest calamity in its history - the burning of the President Flour Mills, and several other buildings. The mill was one of the largest and most complete in Southern Illinois, having a capacity of from 500 to 600 barrels of flour per day. It was owned by John W. Kaufman of St. Louis. It cost him $74,000.  It had been repaired and refitted within the last two months, and equipped with the patent rollers process, at a further cost of $35,000. The fire broke out about 9 o'clock last evening while the mill was in operation, and spread so rapidly that nothing could stay its progress. The cause is supposed to have been the heating of the machinery. The mill, elevator and adjoining buildings covered a large acreage, and soon all were a mass of flames, and the citizens were soon obliged to bend all their energies to save the main part of the town from destruction. In spite of all efforts, the flames soon communicated to W. F. Neisler's large agricultural warehouse, B. Picker's saloon, and Pat Conley's saloon, all of which were destroyed. It was only by superhuman exertions on the part of citizens, under direction of Mr. C. H. Flick, that the remainder of the block was saved.


The elevator connected with the mill contained 20,000 bushels of wheat, all of which was lost. There was also a large quantity of flour destroyed in the warehouse, representing 5,000 bushels of wheat. The loss on building and machinery was $109,000; on wheat and flour at least $25,000 more. The losses of Messrs. Neisler, Conley and Picker we have not heard estimated, but we understand that most of Mr. Neisler's stock was saved. The mill was insured to amount of $50,000 or $60,000 in various companies. The calamity is a very serious one for Bethalto, and will have a prostrating effect, for the time, on the business of the place. We trust the mill will soon be rebuilt.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 24, 1882

August 22, about 9:45 o'clock, a fire broke out in the upper story of the President Mills. It was discovered first in the smut machines, and was conducted to the bran duster. It was seen at once that nothing could be done to save the mill, which with the elevators, warehouses, Ben Picker's dwelling house and saloon, Pat Conley's Saloon, ice house and barn, and Neisler & Randle's machine depot, together with a lot of machinery, were consumed. With great difficulty and hard work Cooper's Hotel, Neisler & Randle's large business house and the Custom Mills were saved. If either of the two former buildings had burned, no doubt more than four blocks would have been in ashes at this time.


Much credit is due Messrs. Flick, Woodley, Hamp, Montgomery, Ralph Henderson, Louis Bauer, Nick Smith, H. Bowman, H. D. Burcham, Mish and Henry Meyer, and others, for the active work performed. Messrs. Neisler & Randle had a great many good damaged by moving. W. H. Battles moved about half his stock, and was somewhat damaged thereby. Conley lost everything except one barrel of whiskey and his horse and buggy; no insurance. Picker saved most of his furniture and stock; no insurance on building. Cooper's Hotel and J. A. Miller's business house were somewhat damaged. W. H. Battles' dwelling would, no doubt, have burned had it not been for Messrs. L. J. Lawrence, Louis Wood, Sam Luman and Miss Addie Smith, who kept it pretty well soaked with water.


Thus, one of the best and finest mills in the State of Illinois is in ruins. Nothing remains except the tall smokestack, which stands as a monument to the once prosperous and magnificent mill. Mr. Weidmer, the Superintendent, went to St. Louis this morning, and it is expected J. W. Kauffman, the proprietor, will arrive here this evening. At this writing we have not learned the total loss, but it is estimated to be nearly $200,000, perhaps more. The mill, Neisler & Randle, J. Cooper and J. A. Miller, were insured. Neisler & Randle's loss is about $500; Cooper's $100; and Miller's $50. There are several other small losses. This is the best site in Southern Illinois for a mill of this kind, and no doubt it will be rebuilt soon. There were about 25,000 bushels of wheat consumed, and a large amount of flour, we have not learned how much. Many amusing incidents happened while the fire was burning, one in particular was when the steam from the boiler commenced to escape. A great many started on a run down the railroad, but they need have had no fear of explosion, for Weaver and Smith, the engineers, had made everything safe. Xavier Stark, millwright, had all his tools and sixty dollars in cash burned.





Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1894

The ladies of the M. E. church will give a box sociable at the residence of Mrs. J. T. Ewan on Wednesday, February 14th. Rev. Allison Hunt will fill his regular appointment at the C. P. church next Sunday. Mrs. Lena Starkey is quite ill at her father's residence on Sherman street. Mr. Harry Picker is convalescing after a siege of several weeks sickness. Mr. James McDonald visited Edwardsville twice this week. Mr. S. R. Hudnall and lady are entertaining a lady friend from Rosemond. Mr. and Mrs. Brant, of Upper Alton, were the guests of Mr. Fred Ackerman and lady Tuesday. Mrs. Chas. Dude, of Nokomis, who formerly resided east of our city, was a welcome visitor at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Jackson, of Fort Russell. Tally another boy for our friend, Fred Ackerman. The big break at the President mills was patched in double quick time, which enables them to start up again today. The company has ordered a splendid new engine, which is now in process of construction and will be placed some time between now and harvest. The outlook for our little city is brightening and we are led to believe that in the next few years we will notice more growth than we have witnessed in a number of years past. There is no reason why a large coal mine would not do well, and enterprises of other kinds would find perhaps no better location in the State. We are close to large markets, have fair railroad facilities and prospects for better, and by the way, we are to have a new postmaster at the beginning of the next quarter, in the person of Andrew Jackson Canipe.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 7, 1895

Bethalto News - On the night of August 22, 1882, our citizens witnessed the burning of the President Mills, and on the 2d inst., they were called upon to look at a similar conflagration. About 12:30 o'clock Saturday everybody was startled by a shock and a rumbling sound, and before the fire bell rang out the streets were full of people running towards John W. Kauffman's large mills. It was soon learned that there had been a terrible dust explosion, and the sound had hardly died away before the flumes were leaping from every window. Notwithstanding the company had expended several thousand dollars for protection against fire, it was so sudden that nothing could be done, and the mill burned in less than two hours. The large elevator burned longer. About 35,000 bushels of wheat was stored in the bins, which is still burning. At the time of the explosion, Messrs. Thomas Scott and Otto Ostendorph, employees, were in the fourth story of the mill. They were both thrown to the floor with great force. They were up in a moment, and crawling and feeling their way between timbers, spouting and machinery - they managed to get to the door which led downstairs, losing no time in getting to the open air. Scott is now suffering from a dislocated shoulder; Ostendorph was slightly burned. They did indeed have a miraculous escape. Three other employees were on the lower floor but escaped with slight injury. There might have been fatalities to report had it not been so soon after the dinner hour, and the employees had not returned to work. The loss to the Kauffman Milling Co. will be about $200,000, partly covered by insurance. The large warehouse in which was stored several thousand barrels of flour was saved by very hard work. The two large smoke stacks fell about 7 o'clock Monday night, which made another crash. The public is warned away from the standing walls. The C. P. church standing east nearly one-quarter of a mile took fire from chunks of fire, some of which traveled a mile before going out. Mr. Ewans' custom mills were with difficulty saved, as was J. A. Miller's grocery store. Ohley's saloon stock and fixtures was a total loss. Mr. Picker's house on the corner was quickly consumed, and for a time the ice house and barn and Mr. H. A. Ewan's new residence was in great danger. The front of Philip Schoeppet's saloon was considerably damaged, and the sidewalk for some distance was burned. Mr. J. S. Thrailkill moved his furniture right quick. Mr. Klein's folks were also hustling valuables to a safe distance. The large safe which was in the mill office, and contained the books and papers, has not yet been opened. The loss is a large one to the company and also to the town, but we hope to see another mill and elevator in the near future. This is one of the best points for a milling business in Southern Illinois, and many milling men know this and if Mr. K. does not rebuild, others will grasp the opportunity.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 4, 1895

The destruction of the large flour mills at Bethalto on Saturday last is a disastrous blow to that thriving and enterprising village. It is hoped that Mr. Kauffman will rebuild, and no doubt he will, as he now has no flour mill. The mill was, it is thought, very fully covered by insurance. Bethalto is one of the best locations for a flour mill in the country. It is in the midst of one of the best wheat sections in the State, has excellent shipping facilities, and what is better, mills have always made money in Bethalto. Therefore, taking all things into consideration, the chances are excellent for the rebuilding of Bethalto's mill, possibly larger and better than ever before. The owner of the mills, Mr. D. W. Kauffman of St. Louis, was on his way to Boston to attend the funeral of a relative when the fire occurred.


Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, March 3, 1895

Fire started in the Kauffmann mill here today. The large elevator adjoining the mill was in flames in an hour and is a total loss. The flames then spread to another flour mill adjoining the elevator and that was reduced to ashes. The elevator destroyed contained 40,000 bushels of wheat. It is believed the fire was caused by an explosion of flour dust. Loss $200,000. Insured.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 25, 1901

Hugh Speir's blacksmith shop and G. Klemm's hardware store on Prairie street took fire Friday night about 8:30 and burned to the ground. By heroic work, the Duffey house was saved. Mr. Speir only had $200 insurance. Mr. Klemm carried none. His loss will be $1,000. A large portion of his stock was saved, and he takes this means of extending thanks to his friends for saving much of his goods. The buildings belonged to Mr. Klemm. Mr. Speir, who is a wide-awake business man, immediately rented Squire Piggott's building, opposite the post office, and is fitting it up and will be ready for business the latter part of the week.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 9, 1904

It has been some time since the Indian creek panther caused dwellers along that classic stream in the vicinity of Bethalto to stay at home of nights, and it has been several months since the panther invaded barnyards and carried off lambs, pigs and calves, but the animal is back again, it is reported, and can scream more loudly and viciously than ever. John Kruse was returning from Edwardsville late Thursday night, and was jogging along on horseback at an easy gait, and as he entered a strip of woods in the creek bottom through which the wagon road winds, and was about half way through this strip of timber, when all at once there was a crash through the leaves and limbs above him; the horse frightened, jumped and swerved, and a huge body descended from a tree and alighted on the ground just where the horse had been a moment before. Kruse and his horse were both badly frightened and lost no time in putting space between them and the spot, and the equine's speed was accelerated immensely by the unearthly and agonized screams of the disappointed panther - for it was the panther. Now again will the men of that section become confirmed stay-at-homes of nights, and there is likely to be a boom in the sale of big steel traps which will be set in barnyards and in woodland in hope that the panther may be caught by one of them.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 27, 1917

For the second time within the past few months, schools, churches and other public places in Bethalto have been ordered closed by the mayor on account of diphtheria. An order was given today that all the churches and the school be closed and that the people should stop congregating on the streets as much as possible. A new case has broken out, which is very severe and a general epidemic is feared if precautions are not taken at once. The Rev. Alfred Kortkamp of Upper Alton, who has been holding a series of revival services in the Bethalto Baptist Church, received word today not to hold any more meetings until after the fear of the diphtheria epidemic had subsided, which will be in about a week or ten days.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 9, 1920

Joseph Kitzmiller, the ninety year old resident of the Bethel neighborhood, nine miles from Jerseyville, who was buried Saturday, was the last of a band of fifty farmers organized about 56 years ago to buy ground for a cemetery, and for a site for a church, according to his son, Richard Kitzmiller, the Belle street [Alton] barber. Joseph Kitzmiller followed forty-nine of the original band of fifty to their last resting places in the cemetery they bought jointly more than half a century ago. All did not live and die in that vicinity, but all who moved away and died were brought back for burial in the cemetery, which the purchasers named the Pruitt cemetery, a name it has kept since. The first building erected as a house of worship by the fifty was a log one, but the Bethel church of today is the development of the pioneer church organized by the majority of the fifty. "He helped bury forty-nine of the original fifty," Richard Kitzmiller says, "and their descendants helped bury him, the last of the fifty."







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 15, 1914

Henry Telgman, A. B. Davis, and F. R. Roberts, the picnic committeemen of the Bethany Horse Detective society, announced today that they had arranged to give a picnic this year in Tolle's Grove in the Afternoon and evening of July 29. The picnic was held in Tolle's Grove last year also, and the location gave great satisfaction to everybody. It is being arranged to make the picnic this year the biggest and best ever given by the society, and to do this the committees in charge will have to work unceasingly. The society is in a flourishing condition, has several hundreds of dollars in the treasury, and have scared horse thieves and horse tail clippers out of the township. They turned their attention last season to ____ thieves also, and succeeded in ______ a stop to some of the depred_____ least. The picnics of the society are usually attended by several hundred of people, and they must be satisfied with the pleasure received for they attend the affairs year after year.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 26, 1916

At a meeting of committees of the Bethany Horse Thief Detective Society, it was decided to give the annual picnic this year in Tolle's grove on August 16...John Ulrich, one of the wheel horses of the society, was in Alton today looking up some matters, and he told a Telegraph reporter that the intention is to make this the biggest and best picnic ever given by the society....The Bethany Horse Thief Detective Society in the days when it was first organized did a great deal of good work running down horse thieves and punishing them, and this vigilance and persistence resulted in complete immunity after a while. It has been a long time since a horse was stolen in that township, and even poultry thieves have been doing less work in that vicinity than ever before. The society is made up of leading farmers and citizens, and the treasury is becoming a very well filled one, such a one as Madison county ought to have.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 25, 1910

The record for the new town of Blinn, east of Silver Ridge addition to East Alton, was filed with the county clerk yesterday, and the lots in the new place will be put on the market at once. The property is part of the Job estate, and will be in charge of Joseph Heins, who will act as agent. One house has been started there by Charles Glass, the ground being broken yesterday, and others will be started within a few weeks. The lots are 50 feet by 130 deep, and are all fronted with a four foot concrete walk.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1910

Charles Glass has started the construction of a new house in his property in Blinn. This is the fourth house to be started in Blinn.




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Source: Alton Telegraph, May 25, 1836

The owner of the Clifton Steam Flour and Saw Mill, being desirous of engaging in other pursuits, would dispose of the same on liberal terms. The above mill is situated on the Mississippi, 4 miles above Alton at a good landing where logs can be received as convenient as of any other mill on the river. The quantity of land attached may be from 10 to 50 acres to suit the purchaser. Refer to William Martin, Esq., Attorney at Law, Alton, or to the subscriber on the premises. D. Tolman.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 8, 1837

The town of Clifton is situated on the East bank of the Mississippi river, four miles above Alton, in Madison county, Illinois. The surface of ground upon which the town is located is much more regular and better adapted for improvement than Alton. The lots were surveyed and plated in the Fall of 1836, previous to which time the property, on account of some difficulties, was beyond the reach of speculators. Clifton, at all stages of water, has a good natural steamboat landing, and it can be improved and extended at a very small expense. Its means of communication with the back country are unsurpassed, scarcely equaled by any other point between the American Bottom and the mouth of the Illinois river. Its advantages for building are not common to new towns. A steam saw mill has been in successful operation of the premises for three years. The neighboring country affords a supply of excellent timber, limestone of the best quality is at hand, and an extensive bed of free stone, a quarry of which has been for some time nocued(?), and large quantities exported to St. Louis, is on the premises.  This stone is of a superior kind and is in demand at 37 1/2 cents per cubic feet. Beds of stone coal, of an excellent quality, with a strain of from five to eight feet, are in the vicinity and owned by the proprietors. An extensive steam flouring mill is erected on the premises and in full operation. The situation of Clifton is healthy, and having an abundant supply of excellent spring water, it is believed it will continue to be so. The proprietors know not a point on the river that can compete with Clifton in the quantity and excellence of the spring water. An aqueduct for the conveyance of the water through the town has been contracted for and is now in progress towards completion - its elevation is eighty feet above the high water mark of the river. These are a portion of the advantages possessed by Clifton. It may not be improper, however, to say that the route of the Cumberland road, as surveyed in 1820, passed but half a mile North of this place. But should the National road strike the river at Alton, we submit to the judgment of all to say whether there is not a strong probability of its taking the northern bank of the Mississippi on its way to a point opposite to Portage de Sioux, which it must make in preference to the Missouri bottom. The distance is shorter and would be greatly less expensive in construction. Although Clifton was laid off but last fall, it already comprises, besides the improvements named, one store, a school house, ten dwelling houses, a blacksmith's shop, and a population of 67 persons. The proprietors will be liberal to these who may locate at Alton - to such persons lots will be given gratuitously on condition of making permanent improvements upon the property, and they pledge themselves to give a large portion of the proceeds of actual sales to the improvement of the streets and of the landing. To emigrants who find lots at St. Louis and Alton too high for their means, we beg to remember that lots can be had at Clifton, only 4 miles above Alton, for nothing but an obligation to improve them. A plat of the town can be seen at the Piasa House, Alton. For further particulars, apply to the undersigned.  Hail Mason, Monticello, and D. Tolman, Clifton; Proprietors.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1837

The Alton Lumber Company, having purchased the above establishment, give notice to the farmers and other citizens of the vicinity that they have set apart Wednesday and Friday nights for the purpose of grinding grain for the accommodation of the neighborhood, at which times they intend running the mill whenever there shall be 20 bushels in the mill to commence with. They also give notice to the citizens of Alton and its vicinity that they intend carrying on the lumber sawing business. To the utmost extent that the mill is capable of, and as they intend pursuing a regular system in their business, and will not enter into contracts beyond what they can reasonable calculate on accomplishing, they hope to be able punctually to comply with their engagements. Orders left at the Mill or with William P. Jones, carpenter, Lower Alton, will be promptly attended to.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1906

Louis Young, who resides upon "Scotch Jimmie's Island" across from Clifton, has felled the great, tall cottonwood tree on the north side of the island, which has stood as a sentinel of direction to river men as long as the oldest can remember. The Chicago Chronicle several years ago printed a story of this tree, with measurements taken by a government official from one of the government boats, and showing it to be the largest tree in both height and girth in the Mississippi Valley. The tree was struck by lightning three years ago and had gradually died. One log was taken out of the base of the tree, measuring seven feet, eight inches in diameter on the large end. The stump of the great forest giant is large enough to sit a dining table on comfortably. The tree was undoubtedly many hundreds of years old, and towered no less than seventy-five feet higher than the other trees on the island. For many years when the crossing on the steamboats up and down the river was on the Illinois river side of the island in the narrow channel, the big tree was a valuable landmark to the steamboat pilots. Before being injured by the stroke of lightning, the tree had an abundance of foliage, and was visible for many miles from up and down the river. It has for many years been one of the sites of interest pointed out to passengers on the bluff line trains. The bark on the tree was nearly three inches thick in places, and was roughed and creased by the several hundred years of time it had stood. The great giant stood on high ground, and was seldom caught by the floods which washed out and undermined so many of the trees on the island. For the past few years the great limbs of the tree whitened by the burning sun, rose above the forest on the big island, a scarred but silent master of the great forest up and down this big valley. It was a pity to have removed this tree, even though it was dead.






Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 6, 1854

The coal diggers on Coal Branch will resume labor today at 5 cents per bushel, with the understanding that this rate shall be permanent. Our informant (one of the diggers) says there will be a supply of coal in town this afternoon.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 29, 1858

It is with pleasure we announce that operations in the Coal Branch Mines were resumed yesterday, the difficulty upon which the "strike" of last winter occurred having been satisfactorily adjusted. At the time the "strike" first occurred, we expressed the opinion that the miners were acting indiscreetly, and that they would regret their action. The result has proved that we were correct, for the miners have resumed labor at precisely the wages that were offered to them, and from which they struck. We were yesterday informed by two gentlemen connected with the mines, that during the time they have been idle, the strikers could have taken out coal to the value of about twenty thousand dollars! This coal is there yet, and can yet be taken out and sold, so that the owners of the mines have suffered but a trifling loss; but the money which the strikers could have earned during the time they have been out of employment is forever lost to them. "Strikes" never injure the employer as much as the employee, and should never be resorted to by the latter, unless in peculiarly aggravated cases.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 3, 1859

Those who have mourned, in times past, over the wickedness of that section of the County known as the Coal Branch neighborhood, will be heartily rejoiced to learn that a good work has been going on there for some time. It commenced with an effort at temperance reform. Meetings were held, speeches made, personal effort given, and in a word, nothing spared to bring about a change in the habits of the miners. After much labor, those who labored beheld their toil crowned with success of the most gratifying character. He who cares for the Sons of Men was with those who sought to do good there, and blessed them abundantly. Finally, when the temperance movement had accomplished a great deal, religious meetings were opened, and all invited to come in and hear of the things pertaining to the higher life. The call was accepted, and a Revival commenced which has known no languishing for more than four weeks. "Now" has proved itself to be the accepted time; and the walls of many houses in that neighborhood have lately echoed to the songs of rejoicing which no man sings more than once in a lifetime - even those new songs that he sings when he first realizes what life is, and what relation this world bears to the one of which death is the gateway. The meetings have been held by day and night, have been attended to overflowing, and have resulted in the hopeful conversion of a large number and the outward reformation of many more. Through all the bad weather of the last month, they have been thronged by earnest inquirers, and the final result is that now an effort is being made to establish a Church there. It is proposed, we believe, to erect a building of two stories height, the lower room of which shall be used for religious services, and the upper for Temperance services. We know not, but presume that a call will be made upon the people of the surrounding country, and of this city, to assist by contributions, in erecting the building. If such a call should be made, let it be favorably met by our citizens - not coldly and grudgingly, but heartily and cheerfully; nay, gladly and welcomingly.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 21, 1859

In this paper was noticed a short time ago that the original plan of one Church at the Coal Branch was likely to be supplanted by a plan for two. This consummation has been effected. The Baptists have already commenced the erection of one edifice, and the Methodist Society have taken the intiatory steps for putting up another. By all means, let them be encouraged to go on and carry out their plans.



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 3, 1864

The Illinois Journal of Saturday last says, that it learns "that the first regiment of one hundred days' men, Col. Phillips, are to be mustered into the service today at Camp Butler." This is the regiment to which the Upper town [Upper Alton] and Coal Branch boys are attached, and we know they will be rejoiced to get into active service, for they had become very tired lying idle at Camp Butler.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 30, 1875

A number of the prominent citizens of Coal Branch, among them Messrs. David R. and William R. Jones, Mitchell, Robinson, Rutledge, Malloy, White and others, were in town Friday and had a conference with the County Commissioners, Messrs. Kinder, Bardill and Crawford, who are also in town, in regard to the condition of the Coal Branch road. This important thoroughfare was never built in a substantial manner, and is now utterly impassible. The prosperity of the Coal Branch is greatly dependent upon this road being kept in good repair. The county authorities owe it to the taxpayers of that section to give prompt attention to the condition of this thoroughfare. They have already examined it and acknowledge that the representations of the citizens in regard to it are correct. We hope they will act promptly and thoroughly in the matter.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 12, 1904
Rees D. Jones of Chicago has made arrangements for the complete remodeling, practically the rebuilding, of the historic old Jones building on the Coal Branch, at the corner of Alby and Elm streets in North Alton, and it will be converted into three modern flats. Two of the flats will be on the ground floor and one of the second floor. If walls had a tongue as well as ears and could talk, many an interesting story could be told of happenings in that building which is one of the oldest of the coal branch edifices erected at the time that section was one of the most populous and prosperous coal mining sections in southern Illinois. The head of the Jones family conducted a saloon and boarding house there for years, and many politicians of state and national reputation partook of its hospitality on every recurring campaign. Fred Hoffmeister, the real estate agent, is looking after the remodeling business for Mr. Jones.





Source: Alton Telegraph, May 16, 1838
Combined attraction! Menagerie and circus, under the direction of H. H. Woodward & Co. will be exhibited at Lebanon on Friday, May 10; at Belleville on Saturday, May 19; at Collinsville on Monday, May 21; at Edwardsville on Tuesday, May 22; at Upper Alton on Wednesday and Thursday, May 23 and 24; at Carlinville on Saturday, May 26; and at Carrollton on Monday, May 28. A military band accompanies the exhibition, which will announce their arrival by playing some of the most popular National Airs, &c. The proprietor have united their extensive menagerie and equestrian circus company for this season, and in offering this to the public for exhibition, are determined to give such a variety of entertainments as cannot fail to meet the approbation of all classes of the community. To effect this, they have engaged some of the most talented and celebrated equestrian and gymnastic performers, which together with their fine collection of living animals, will afford a very rich and rare treat to the Naturalists and lover of equestrian and gymnastic exercises. Among the animals are the following: A full grown female elephant; royal tiger; Arabian dromedary; spotted hyena; Brazilian tiger or Jaguar; three leopards in one cage; a pair of panthers; Asiatic lion; African zebra; Peruvian llama; and a variety of monkeys. Mr. Lewis, the Keeper, will enter the lion's and the leopards' cages at the hours of three and eight o'clock, p.m. The entertainments will commence with the animals; directly after which performance the equestrians will make their appearance, mounted on their fine and highly-trained stud of horses, and will introduce their wonderful feats of horsemanship with a grand entree. In the course of their performance, they will exhibit a variety of pleasing and laughable scenes, most celebrated in their profession. Admittance 50 cents; children under 10 years of age, half price.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 16, 1855

Collinsville, Aug. 6, 1855 - - Last Friday morning, the 3rd instant, our village was quite stirred up by the news that during the preceding night, a fine horse belonging to Dr. Henry S. Strong had been stolen, the thief taking off at the same time, a saddle and bridle belonging to Dr. George H. Dewey. While this news was passing around, a new excitement came into the field; a young man was arrested for attempting to pass counterfeit money; he made several attempts to dispose of the bill, and finally, thinking perhaps that he had tried it a little too often, he went to a livery stable, and tried to get some one to take him to St. Louis, but he was too late. Mr. Huffy, to whom he had offered the money, with the aid of others, took him before Justice Nelson, who committed the rogue to jail, and he was safely lodged at Edwardsville before night. He gave his name as _______ Ferguson, and said he was from Fairfield, Wayne Co., in this state. The horse-thief and horse have not been heard from. Dr. Strong has offered a reward of $50. The same night, in a quarrel between Charles Pabst, a German tavern keeper, and a boarder named Joseph Sheerer, Mr. Pabst received a severe blow upon the side of the head with a heavy hickory club. Had the blow been direct instead of glancing, it would have probably broken his skull. Sheerer thought proper to leave forthwith next morning. A beer carouse was at the bottom of the quarrel.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1857

An action of trespass; damages, fine $25; toll $3.78; total, $28.78.  Hunter, having refused to pay toll, was stopped from passing the gate; he then and there assaulted the gatekeeper, and attempted to pull down the gate; whereupon the Company brings suit for damages. Tried before Judge Snyder. Defense proved that it was impossible to travel from Collinsville to Troy on the old County road, without passing over part of the plank road, then wished to prove that the plank road was out of repair. Testimony objected to by plaintiff. Question argued - the purport as follows: Are individuals or the public justified in refusing to pay toll and in attempting to tear down the gates, because the Company do not keep their road in repair? Sloss and Rutherford for defendant; Underwood and Gillespie for plaintiff. Decided that, persons must pay toll for passing over the road, and are liable for any trespass against the Company, and the remedy against the Company for neglect in keeping a good, passable road, must be by quo warranfo. Defence [sic] abandoned the suit, and the Court gave Judgment for plaintiff for $28.78. Court was in session from 71/2 to 101/4 yesterday evening. Judge Snyder is working, and so are the rest of the officers.




Source: Buffalo, New York Evening Courier and Republic, 1873

On Saturday last a terrible murder was commuted at Collinsville, Madison county, Illinois. On the farm of a Mr. Mair lived a married colored man, George Burke, and a woman, also colored, named Maria Bowman. Burke had paid her considerable attentions, which she had refused to receive, thereby exciting his jealousy. He had threatened her life several times, but no attention was paid to the threats. On Saturday he returned from St. Louis very drunk and violent and assaulted Maria with an axe. After stunning her by a blow that fractured her skull, Burke cut off the unfortunate woman's head and right hand and threw the trunk into the creek near by; then, sobered by his crime, fled, taking the axe with him. He has not yet been apprehended.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 15, 1879

A terrible storm from the northwest struck Collinsville about 2:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon [April 14], playing havoc and destruction though, fortunately, but one life was lost, that of Annie Reynolds, daughter of John Reynolds, a girl of eleven years who was crushed to death instantly. In the same house where this little girl was killed, a son of Patrick Doner had his leg broken. The other casualties were but slight, comparatively. The storm was attended by a large quantity of hail, and came up with but little warning, the noise before it struck the place being like that of a train of cars. The Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches were badly damaged, the steeple of the Presbyterian Church being blown off. A horse and buggy were caught up forty or fifty feet in the air, carried two hundred feet, the animal crushed and the vehicle torn to pieces. There were many almost miraculous escapes from death. The total loss is estimated at $50,000.


Source: Utica Daily Union, June 15, 1896 (in an article regarding past tornados and their "work")

April 14, 1879 - 1 man was killed and 60 buildings destroyed in Collinsville, Ills. This tornado struck a cemetery and leveled every tombstone.


Source: Belleville, Kansas Telescope, April 24, 1879

A terrible cyclone from the northwest struck Collinsville, Illinois at a quarter to three o'clock on the afternoon of the 14th. One hundred houses were more or less damaged, 10 of which were leveled with the ground. Only one person was killed - a little girl named Annie Reynolds. Many persons were injured and about thirty of the houses were totally destroyed. The storm lasted only two or three minutes, but was frightfully severe. It moved easterly from Collinsville. The cemetery, just outside the town, was laid waste, nearly every tombstone in it being leveled to the ground. The total damage done in Collinsville is estimated at fifty thousand dollars.


Source: Cambridge, Ohio News, April 24, 1879

From the Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri - A terrible cyclone from the Northwest struck the town of Collinsville at a quarter to three o'clock this afternoon, and taking a zigzag course, with the general direction almost due east, tore through the place, demolishing ten buildings, ruining about thirty others, and damaging more or less some seventy-five residences and business houses. A slight rain preceded the storm, and nearly everybody was indoors when the cyclone struck. But, notwithstanding, ten houses were leveled with the ground, only one person was killed -  a little girl named Annie Reynolds, and one or two others were badly injured. The storm lasted but two or three minutes, but was frightfully severe. After it passed, people rushed out of their houses in all directions; mothers looking for children and husbands; fathers and brothers who were away from home hastening to their houses to see who was killed or hurt.


The greatest excitement and confusion prevailed for some time, but upon the appearance of Mayor Wadsworth and several other prominent citizens on the streets, quietness began to prevail, and ready hands and strong arms went to work to search the ruins for those who might have been caught by falling houses. From a double tenement house occupied by John Reynolds and Pat Dovan, a six year old boy of the latter was taken in an unconscious condition and with a broken leg. He was soon removed and placed in charge of a physician. Little Annie Reynolds was also taken from this house dead, and crushed almost out of resemblance to a human being.


Among the houses destroyed or damaged were the following: A two-story frame dwelling of Mrs. Griffiths, demolished; a row of four houses owned by Fred Metz and occupied by four families, badly wrecked, two of them being totally destroyed; a large tenement house of C. L. Roberts, occupied by eleven person, twisted from its foundation, carried about ten feet and nearly gutted of its contents, but the inmates received but slight scratches and bruises; a tenement house, also owned by C. L. Roberts, occupied by Reynolds & Dovan, previously mentioned, completely demolished; the residence of Mr. Roebuck, occupied by William Johnston, editor of the Argus, roof carried away; the handsome two-story brick residence of Fred Metz, roof lifted off and front and side walls blown down, but the rear of the house in which the Metz family lived was uninjured; the two-story frame, occupied by James Combs, almost totally wrecked. The roof of this house was dashed against the residence of M. C. Heedly, smashing its rear rooms into splinters. The residence occupied by Charles Hennecke and William Hass was nearly torn to pieces, but the inmates were unhurt. The blacksmith shop of Mr. Wendler was torn to shreds, and the wagon shop of John Gronour, a large two-story frame well filled with wagons, carriages and material, was totally destroyed and the contents torn to pieces. A cluster of tenement houses owned by Richard Withers was badly damaged, but the occupants were unharmed. The carpenter shop and residence of W. W. Nilson was wrecked, and Nilson, his wife, and two small children more or less hurt.  A large two-story frame occupied by Henry Huffenbeck as a saloon and boarding house, having a porch about seventy-five feet long, eighteen feet high, carried away. The residence of Louis Heck had the roof lifted off all four walls, and was crushed in a total wreck. The millinery store of C. A. Sengletary was badly damaged and stock nearly destroyed. The principal church was badly shaken up. Funeral services were being held in the church at the time, and falling plaster and flying window glass bruised and cut nearly all the people present, but none seriously. Numerous other shops and dwellings were damaged, fences, plank sidewalks, trees, outhouses and stables blown to pieces or carried away, gardens destroyed, etc. 


The cyclone, as usual, was rotary in its movement and struck and bounded from the earth three times during its passage through the town. Its width was only from sixty to eighty feet. One of the evidences of its force was the picking up of a horse and buggy and carrying them at a height of twenty to thirty feet distance about fifteen rods, dashing them to the earth, crushing the horse to a jelly and the buggy to splinters. The cemetery just outside of town is laid waste, nearly every tombstone in it being leveled to the ground. The storm disappeared in the east, and there are reports that it did damage elsewhere, but these reports are not yet confirmed. The total damage in Collinsville is estimated at $50,000.


Source: Auburn, New York New & Bulletin, March 28, 1883

J. N. Peers, editor of the Herald, was publicly horsewhipped here by Mrs. Marshall, the wife of a well known business man, for the publication of an article reflecting upon herself, husband and mother. Peers was badly marked about the face and neck.




Source: Waterville Times, New York, Abt. 1890
Collinsville, Ills., is a great place for cattle bells. That cow bells are made and do not grow on trees or elsewhere seems to surprise some people, but there are four establishments in the United States which are exclusively devoted to manufacture of that article, and two of these are in Collinsville. One hundred and fifty dozen are turned out daily and thousands of them dangle from the necks of unfortunate cows all over the prairies of North and South America. The manufacture of cow bells is entirely distinct from that of other bells. Instead of being molded the metal is rolled into sheets, cut into symmetrical polygons, which when folded are pressed into their well known form. Having been riveted they are next packed in clay and brought to a white heat. When suddenly cooled these steel bells are found to be not only tempered but also beautifully brazed. - St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 


Source: The Auburn, New York Bulletin, March 13, 1891

One of the bright and shining lights of the St. Louis "Browns" last season was Catcher William Kane. Kane is a six footer, and few balls get by him, He was born at Collinsville, Ills., about twenty three years ago and has developed into 170 pounds of manhood. His first work as a ball player was as an amateur in his native town. After playing with a number of good clubs Kane joined the Madison club, of Evansville, Ind., and did such excellent work with this team that President Von der Ahe soon snapped him up for the "Browns."



Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, September 30, 1891

The Illinois House, five miles west of Collinsville on the St. Louis plank road, was destroyed by fire Saturday evening. The flames were discovered about 7 o'clock, and two hours afterward the whole building, which was a large frame, was a heap of smoldering ashes. Part of the contents were saved. The loss is about $4,000; no insurance. The building was within a few hundred feet of Monks Mound and was known far and wide. For over half a century it has offered hospitable shelter to the traveler. Before the days of railroads, it was a popular stopping place for the stage coach drivers and teamsters going to and returning from St. Louis. The building had a dance hall connected, in which were held many joyous social reunions of the neighborhood, and which, in election years, afforded, accommodations for political meetings. Singular as it may seem, a ball was to have taken place Saturday evening, for which everything was in readiness, and as the hour for guests to arrive grew night, the fiery element did its work. Captain John Schmidt was the proprietor of the place. Since his death, his widow and son, John, have been conducting the business. The post office of Brooks was in the building. The books and papers were saved and have been removed to Henry Seebode's, a near neighbor, where Uncle Sam's affairs will be conducted until otherwise ordered.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, September 17, 1895

The west-bound train No. 9, known as the milk train of the Vandalia railroad, was wrecked at Collinsville at 7:31 Sunday morning as a result of a misplaced switch. Charles Sandifer, the fireman, was killed almost instantly, and H. A. Bauers, the engineer, received injuries which may result seriously. Ed Canfield, the baggage car porter, received slight injuries. There were ten passengers on the train, but none of them received more than a good shaking up. The train was running along at a good rate of speed, and as the switch was only half turned, the engineer saw the danger too late to bring the train to a stop. He bravely stayed at his post and tried his utmost to slow up. When the train reached the fatal obstruction, the front trucks of the engine flew to the side track, but were turned almost entirely around by the swift momentum. The engine was dragged a distance of about 30 feet along the track, throwing it to one side as the coupling pin broke from the immense strain. The three cars passed the engine, coming to a standstill about 20 yards down the track. The baggage car was derailed and it stopped the two remaining coaches. After the shock had passed, the passengers and crew searched the debris for the missing engineer and fireman.


Source: Oswego, New York, Daily Times, September 16, 1895

A westbound passenger train on the Vandalia line was wrecked at Collinsville, Ill., yesterday by a misplaced switch. Fireman Sandifer was crushed beneath the engine and instantly killed. Engineer H. A. Bauers, who was working with the lever as the engine turned over, received fatal injuries. The opening of the switch was undoubtedly the work of some miscreants bent on plunder or revenge.



Source: Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle, January 8, 1897

The zinc works at this place were destroyed by fire this morning. The works were owned by Meister Bros., and the damage is estimated at $50,000 with partial insurance. The fire was of unknown origin.



Source: The Waterville Times, New York, February 16, 1900

The town of Collinsville, Ills., on Thursday narrowly escaped destruction by a tornado. Many persons were injured in the immediate vicinity of the village, some of them fatally, and there was much damage to property.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, April 29, 1916

The first annual Easter egg hunt was given under the auspices of the businessmen of Collinsville in Mauer Park in the West End Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock. The affair drew several hundred spectators, all in Eastern toggery to the scene and at the stated hour all children over thirteen years of age were turned in to hunt for the eggs. There were about 93 marked eggs hidden and 155 prizes were offered by the businessmen for their recovery. The prizes ranged from a show ticket to several dollars, and included everything from an ice coupon book to a pound of candy. Needless to say the youngsters had a fine time and brought all the eggs in, and the grown folks too declare it was real pleasure to watch them.




Source: Auburn, New York Citizen, April 5, 1918

Kneeling with his arms crossed, Robert P. Prager, who was lynched by a mob last night at midnight for alleged disloyal utterances, prayed in German for three minutes before he was strung up, according to statements today by members of the lynching party. Prager was a coal miner and yesterday at Maryville, Ill., in an address to the miners on Socialism, is said to have made remarks derogatory to President Wilson. Miners became angry and when they threatened to do him bodily harm he escaped to Collinsville, his home. Some of the miners, however, followed him, collected a crowd, took him from his home and led him barefoot through the streets waving an American flag. The police fearing violence took him from the crowd and placed him in the City Hall. Later a mob gathered in front of the hall and demanded the man. Mayor J. H. Siegel counseled calmness but the police force of four was overpowered and Prager was found in the basement of the hall hiding beneath a pile of tiling. He was dragged down the street and beyond the city limits, the crowd threatening to shoot if the officers approached. One mile west of the city the rope by which Prager had been led was thrown over the limb of a tree. He was asked if he had anything to say. His answer was to drop to his knees and with arms crossed to pray in German for three minutes. Without another word he was pulled into the air and allowed to hang. The mob then dispersed. The police said that while in their custody Prager had stated he was registered as an enemy alien, that he was born in Germany but that he had taken out his first naturalization papers and had hoped to become an American citizen. Collinsville is 12 miles east of St. Louis and is in that section of southwestern Illinois that of late has been active against disloyalists. Walter Clark, mine superintendent at Maryville said today he was convinced there was no truth in charges that Prager had hoarded powder while employed at the mine. Miners have expressed fear that German spies would get into a mine and attempt to blow it up. Before the rope was placed about his neck, Prager, wrote the following note in German:  "Dear Parents: Carl Henry Prager, Dresden, Germany: I must on this, fourth day of April, 1918, die. Please pray for me, my dear parents. This is my last letter and testament. "Your dear son and brother. "ROBERT PAUL PRAGER." In Prager's pocket was found a long, "proclamation" in which he stated his loyalty to the United States and to union labor, and told of his difficulty in entering the Miners Union. Prager, yesterday afternoon put up posters' at the Maryville mine, proclaiming his loyalty to the government. When the miners left the workings they were incensed by the proclamations and began to hunt Prager.




Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, May 13, 1918

The trial of eleven men on murder charges growing out of a lynching on April 5th at Collinsville of Robert Paul Prager, enemy alien, was begun today in Madison county circuit court in Edwardsville. Sixteen men were indicted, including four policemen. The date for the trial of the four policemen has not been set and the twelfth civilian has never been apprehended.




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Source: The New York Times, February 9, 1903

Two distinct earthquake shocks were felt in St. Louis and vicinity between 6:20 and 6:25 o'clock tonight. The first shock was of almost twenty seconds' duration. It was not severe in St. Louis, but in the western suburban towns and in Alton, Belleville, Edwardsville, and other near-by towns in Illinois, it was sufficiently forceful to rattle dishes and swing doors. The second shock followed within two minutes, and was slight and of short duration.









Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, Wednesday, January 20, 1892

An assault occurred near Alton Junction on one of the farms of Z. B. Job, Sunday, in which William O'Neil hacked John Williams while asleep with a meat ax. The farm house was occupied by John Gardner and family, Willis Davis, Patrick O'Brien, William O'Neil and John Williams. Sunday morning a quarrel took place between davis and O'Neil about the feeding of the cows. O'Neil drew a knife and threatened David. Bystanders interfered and Davis, to avoid trouble, went to Alton Junction. Williams afterwards told O'Neil that he was in the wrong. Everyone let the matter drop with this except O'Neil. He got a revolver and loaded it. Gardner found the weapon and hid it. O'Neil and Williams then started for the Junction. There O'Neil drank freely. Williams returned home about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. On the road to the Junction O'Neil told Williams that he intended killing O'Brien. Williams on his return told O'Brien to be on his guard. All the men got home before O'Neil. O'Brien went to bed and Williams laid on a bench, thinking to quiet O'Neil when the latter returned. He fell asleep and when O'Neil returned was sleeping soundly. O'Neil was blood thirsty and when he saw Williams became enraged. He went to the kitchen, got an ax that had been used for cutting meat, returned to where Williams was sleeping, and without warning struck Williams across the face, cutting a huge gash from the eat to the chin and breaking the jaw bone. Williams fell to the floor, when O'Neil struck him several more times. When Williams groaned the infuriated man cried, "Now, I'll cut your legs off." On Williams' head, body and legs the ax did its dreadful work. The noise awakened O'Brien. He came to the stairway and O'Neil came towards him and threatened to kill him. Just then Williams moaned again and O'Neill, with the exclamation, "Ain't you dead yet," rushed to Williams. He again struck him and attempted to repeat the blow when O'Brien came up from behind and shoved him sprawling on the floor. Here O'Brien held him until Gardner came up and together they tied him. A telephone message was sent to Alton, and Deputy Sheriff Ferd Vollbracht went after him. He was taken to Alton and bad a preliminary hearing Monday. His bond was fixed at $1,000, in default of which he was brought to the county jail. Dr. W. Fisher attended Williams, whose injuries left little hope of saving his life. He presented a horrible sight. If Williams dies, as seems probable, another will be added to the list of murders in the county.







Source: Alton Telegraph, May 18, 1893

Mr. Marion Squires, while ploughing in a field near Wann yesterday, found a silver souvenir medal that had evidently lain in the ground for several years, as it was quite black. The medal is commemorative of the unveiling of Gen. Frank P. Blair's statue in Forest Park, St. Louis, in 1885.




Source: Auburn, New York Argus, 1895

Five thousands pounds of giant powder exploded at the Equitable Powder Mills, Alton, Ill.  Thomas Keff, Henry Ragus, and William Roetgess were killed.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 21, 1895

On March 24th, the Big Four [Railroad] will change their station name here to East Alton instead of Wann. This change will make everything straight East Alton, and does away with the two or three different names for the village.


NOTE: The Big Four Railroad was the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad. The Wann Station was originally called Alton Junction, and existed as early as 1864 in the town of Emerald (later named East Alton). There was a hotel at Alton Junction called Hotel Wann, and I believe this is where the name of Wann Junction came from. Hotel Wann, a 2-story brick and frame building, was owned by George Y. Smith, and was destroyed in January 1886 by fire.




60 Men Dumped Into the Wood River

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 5, 1895


At 4:15 o'clock this morning, a southbound C. & A. freight train on the cut-off between Godfrey and Wann, went over Wood river bridge and was converted into kindling wood, causing death to five men and badly injuring fourteen others. The dead are:  David Hefty, Watertown, Wisconsin, aged 25 years, mangled.  Frank Harreman, Philadelphia, aged 30 years; head crushed.  Unknown man, died on relief train from internal injuries. Unknown man, a laborer, who has until recently been employed at Sag Bridge, Illinois. Unknown man, body not recovered from the wreck in Wood river.  The fatally injured are: Edward Albursched, a Prussian laborer, head crushed, back injured, internal injuries.  Otto Schmidt, home unknown, internal injuries. C. W. Schroeder, Argentine, Kansas, right arm broken, legs mashed, internal injuries, back hurt.  Thomas Cote, chest and side injured, head badly cut, right arm broken, internal injuries. John Moran, Massachusetts, side and back crushed, internal injuries. Henry Glass, Pennsylvania, shoulder, jaw and collarbone broken, head injured.  Others injured: Willis Willets, Dallas, Texas; head and shoulder cut.  James Hart, no settled home, cigar maker, head, legs and back cut and bruised. Charles Custer, Lima, Ohio; hip crushed, back injured. Robert Seal, New York, ankle crushed, kneecap broken.  Martin Pickens, 368 West Madison Street, Chicago, back injured, head cut. John Carr, Cincinnati, Ohio; head cut, slight injuries. Harry Williams, Toledo, Ohio; ankle crushed. Theodore Hunt, no settled home, foot crushed to pieces. 


The accident was caused by an old flat car and the use of the air brakes. The train of eighteen cars was running at a high rate of speed, and at Wood river bridge, the air brakes were applied. The front end of the train was light, the rear end heavy, and the momentum caused the flat car to collapse. The entire train, with the exception of the engine and three cars, went over the twenty foot embankment. The middle of the train fairly raised, and then pitched to either side of the track into the river below and to the foot of the embankment. There were, it is stated, about sixty men on the train, mostly workmen from the Chicago drainage canal, and tramps. A box car with eighteen men on the inside fell to the bottom of the ditch, and nearly every man was injured. It was like a flash of lightning. Two cars went into Wood river, and one car remained suspended to the bridge by the trucks. Not a member of the train crew sustained injuries.


the members of the train crew commenced the work of rescue. The men were pulled out from among the wreckage, and a relief train was dispatched for. The train left this city and returned with the wounded men about 10 o'clock, making the trip via Godfrey. The train was boarded above the city by a representative of the Telegraph. Fourteen mangled, cut and bleeding men were in the car. They tossed about, moaning and calling for water. One of the number died on the way to this city.


Edward Albusched, one of the fatally inured, presented a sickening sight. The left side of his head was crushed, and the blood fairly oozed through his hair. His left hand was smashed, the flesh being nearly all torn off. He tried to ease the pain in his head with the shattered member, while he constantly uttered in broken English, "Please give me water."


One of the injured gave a graphic description of the suddenness of the accident. He had been asleep, and awoke first at one end of the car and then at the other, striking men and splinters in his flight. One of the men was standing on the rear end of the train, when the break came. He went off like a rubber ball and was tossed thirty feet, alighting on the ground.


Upon the arrival of the relief train, the injured men were removed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where the work of attending their injuries commenced under the supervision of Dr. W. Fisher, the roads local physician. The body of Frank Harreman was brought to the police station here [Alton]. The unknown man who died on the relief train is at the hospital. Arrangements were made for the interment of the other two at the scene of the wreck.


The wreck was not as costly to the C. & A. as the appearance would indicate. About five of the box cars were all that were entirely destroyed, and every one of these were empties. Several cars containing merchandise were damaged, but the contents were not materially effected. The total damage will probably not exceed $5,000. A wrecking crew with track clearers were put at work and the track was cleared at once.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 1, 1896

About eight o'clock this morning, two distinct and severe concussions were felt by the people of Alton. Some imagined that it was an earthquake, but the general opinion was that an explosion had occurred at the powder works at East Alton. This was soon verified by telephone reports, indicating that two of the houses had been blown up, and three men killed in the explosion. The first explosion occurred in what is called the press mill, where the men killed were at work. A few seconds afterwards the corning mill exploded. The fire and smoke ascended into the air at least several hundred feet and were seen plainly in Alton, the smoke remaining in the air for ten or fifteen minutes. The shock was felt for miles around. Telephone messages were received from East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Collinsville, and other places, inquiring if Alton had experienced an earthquake. The shock was not felt as much at East Alton as at Upper Alton, because the buildings are situated behind a hill, which separates the village and the works. The Telegraph's East Alton correspondent gives the following account of the explosion:


At 7:50 o'clock this morning, the press mill and corning mill of the Equitable Powder Milling Company blew up, instantly killing William Roettger, Henry Rages and Thomas Keffer, all employees. The cause of the explosion is a mystery. The men killed all have families. G. H. White was slightly injured and was just leaving the press mill when the explosion occurred. Roettger and Rages were employed in the press mill, and Keffer had gone to the mill for something and was just in the door of the press room and coming out when the explosion took place. Herbert White, being a short distance ahead of Keffer, escaped any serious injury. The remains of Rages and Roettger have not been found, nor likely never will be. The biggest part of their remains found so far was a thumb and a piece of flesh the size of a hand. Their bodies were blown to fragments. The Press mill exploded first, and a minute later was followed by the corning mill. The corning mill was in charge of George Scott, who made his escape without injury. Mr. Scott saw the press room was going, and well knowing that his mill would also go, ran for his life, and none too soon, for in scarcely a minute from the time the press mill went up, the corning mill did likewise. Windows were shaken, glass broken and chimneys knocked down everywhere in the town, and pictures shaken from the wall. The report was heard at Bunker Hill and East St. Louis. The damage will amount to many thousands of dollars. The engine room was also wrecked. The men killed had been working with the Equitable Powder Co. ever since the mill has been here. William Roettger had made application to the A. O. U. W. and had been examined by the local physician, but his medical papers had not been returned from the Grand Medical Examiner, and he was to have been initiated Saturday evening, September 5. Mr. Olin was in St. Louis. He was notified by wire and arrived here on the Burlington at 9:30.  An eyewitness who saw the explosion from near Milton bridge says he saw a timber blown at least 1,000 feet in the air. A telephone message from East Alton at 3 o'clock states that up to that time a portion of the skull and a part of the shoulder of Rages had been found. Coroner Kinder came over from Edwardsville and held an inquest. The jury was unable to learn the cause of the explosion, and returned a verdict of death by explosion.


An ex-employee of the powder works was seen this afternoon, and explained that the press room is where the powder is pressed into cakes by hydraulic pressure. Usually 60 kegs or 1410 pounds are here at a time. Being so compact is what produced the terrible concussion of the first report. The powder which filtered out of the buildings settled on the ground, and this explains how the corning room exploded. The latter is 100 yards away, and here is where the cakes are cut into the sized grain desired. This powder being in grains did not make such a report. This informant states that the two magazines have a capacity of 60,000 kegs.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 2, 1896

No further fragments of the bodies of Henry Rages and William Roettgers, who were blown to pieces by the powder mill explosion yesterday morning, have been found, and all that remained of the men was a few pieces of flesh, picked up in different places. The funeral of Thomas Keffer, whose body was not badly mutilated, took place in Upper Alton today. The funeral of William Roettger took place at Brighton today, and the remains interred there. The funeral of Henry Rages will take place tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Baptist church in East Alton.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 18, 1899

The entire plant of the Western Cartridge Company at East Alton was destroyed by fire Tuesday evening, shortly after the men had stopped work for the night. The buildings destroyed are the main building where cartridges are loaded, a structure about 40x60 feet and two stories high in places, also the blacksmith shop and the old stable building, at the time used as a powder store house. While the buildings themselves were not a very heavy loss, the machinery and other contents of the building were quite expensive and are ruined. One cartridge machine recently installed cost $8,000, and three other machines were valued at about $2,500 each. Beside this loss, the cartridges and powder in the buildings together with the buildings themselves will aggregate $2,500.


It was stated today by a representative of Mr. Olin that no one but Mr. Olin, who is absent and will return tonight, could state the amount of damage, as he alone knows the cost of the machinery. The insurance was $5,200 with companies represented by G. H. Smiley, and $3,000 by Edward Yager.


The fire was discovered at 6 o'clock when the flames burst from the roof. All hands at the cartridge factory had stopped work at 5:30 p.m., and there was then no sign of fire about the place. All employees are ordered from the building at the closing hour, and the doors securely locked. The first flames seen were leaping from the roof of the main building, and before many minutes the entire building was wrapped in flames. The fire soon spread to the blacksmith shop and the old stable used as a storeroom. In the stable were two reservoirs for powder which contained seven or eight kegs of powder at the time. The powder exploded, but did no damage as the reservoirs and buildings are loosely constructed in anticipation of just such occurrences. The explosion of powder was distinctly felt in Alton in two sharp shocks that were the first intimation received here that anything was wrong at the powder works.


It has become an established rule that whenever earthquake-like shocks rock the earth from the direction of East Alton, everyone jumps to the conclusion it is the East Alton powder works going off, if it is nothing else. In the main building was fully fifty cases of cartridges, and these added to the uproar and confusion.


The fire is supposed to have been started by electric light wires. The plant is lighted with electricity supplied by an independent dynamo. No other theory can be given than that the wires in the roof set fire to the woodwork a short time before the closing hour. By chance it happened that there had been quite a demand for cartridges, and most of the stock had been shipped out so that the loss was comparatively light in that respect. The buildings of the Equitable Powder Company were too far distant from the fire to be affected, and no damage was done to them.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 23, 1899

The loss of the Western Cartridge Company by the destruction of its plant by fire is practically settled. Part of the machinery of the plant which is quite expensive can be used again, and it is to determine just how badly the machinery is damaged the adjustment has not bee completed. Mr. Olin requested that he be allowed to make a thorough examination first and the adjusters agreed, setting a day after February 1st to return and close up the business. Mr. Olin left for New York last evening.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 1, 1900

The Western Cartridge Co. is pushing work on its new factory for the making of shells used in the manufacture of cartridges. It is said the company is putting in the finest machinery at its new factory at a great expense, and that the factory will be one of the finest equipped in the country. When the Western Cartridge Company has finished its improvements, it will be an active competitor for the cartridge and shell business of the country.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 2, 1900

East Alton had a close call from being wiped from the face of the earth by fire early Sunday morning. The fire originated in a double store and dwelling house of J. B. Vanpreter, and spread to the double store and dwelling house of William Clarke, thence to two dwellings in the rear owned by A. E. Benbow, and from there across the road to William Henry's saloon building, a barber shop, and a shed where farm machinery was kept. All of these buildings were destroyed, and only the heroic efforts of the East Alton people saved the fine building of William Henry, from which the fire could easily have spread and destroyed the entire village. Several hundred people worked for hours passing buckets of water to be poured on blankets which were spread over the threatened side and roof of the Henry grocery and saved the building. Three times the side next to the burning saloon caught fire and was extinguished by the villagers. Wood river saved the town. Usually no water is nearer than the river, but a large pool was left in the rear of the Henry property when the flood in Wood river subsided, and from this pool water was carried to keep the blankets wet and to keep the clothes of the firemen from burning. In the Vanpreter building was J. W. Robinson's grocery store and Joseph Cooper's saloon, and upstairs lived J. B. Vanpreter and Neil Shannahan with their families. In the Clarke building was Clarke's drugstore and the post office, David Ellman's dry goods store, and upstairs lived the Clarke's, Ellman's, and J. A. Hamilton's families. In the two dwellings of A. E. Benbow, the families of Ralph Douglas and Joseph Cooper lived, and all of these lost everything in the houses, escaping in some instances only partly dressed. The crackling of flames awakened Neil Shannahan who was asleep in his home with his two young children. Mrs. Shannahan was not home. He caught up his two children and rushed from the house just in time. The flames were burning fiercely from the outside, and the breaking of a window caused him to awaken. He saved none of his clothing and all of his wife's clothing was destroyed. The fire spread to the Clarke building and the inmates had but short time to leave their burning homes with what little clothes they could hurriedly gather up. The entire grocery stock of J. W. Robinson was destroyed, and there is little insurance. The contents of the drugstore were destroyed, and also of the Ellman dry goods store. Mr. Clarke estimates his loss at $6,000 and insurance at $4,500. Mr. Ellman's stock of dry goods valued at $1,500 is a total loss with no insurance, and the same is true of the saloon fixtures of Joseph Cooper. The loss in the Benbow dwellings with the furniture, and to the families living over the burned stores, is almost total, as fire insurance rates in the village are high because of their being no fire protection, and as a result but little insurance was carried by property owners. Mr. Vanpreter estimates his loss at $3,000, and says he could have sold for that amount a short time ago. Across the road was a vacant barbershop building that was set afire by the intense heat, although the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. From this building the flames spread to a storehouse which William Henry was using to store farm machinery for which he is the agent. A binder was in the burned building and with a lot of extra supplies was ruined. From this building the flames leaped to the Henry saloon building which was owned by Z. B. Job Jr., and in a short time this was a complete loss. The East Alton people thought the Henry grocery was doomed and all of Mr. Henry's household goods and his stock of groceries was carried to the outside and piled up in the roadway, but the fierce fight of the amateur firemen at last conquered the flames. Mr. Henry places his loss at $500, and Mr. J. B. Job's loss is about the same. A new brick building in course of erection for James Chessen was slightly damaged by fire, but was saved by the wind. The total loss is estimated at $15,000.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1900

East Alton had the most exciting election in her history Tuesday. When the contest between the license and anti-license forces took place and resulted in a barren victory for the "drys," a riot occurred in the village hall where the polls were located, and the injured are:


Riley P. Owen, scalp severely cut

F. G. Brooks, badly bruised and cut

Joe Cooper, arm broken

Sam Hunter, scalp wound


Besides those injured many had a narrow escape from being wounded with a double charge of shot fired by Frank Devanny from a shotgun. Stones were hurled through windows and into the struggling mass of men in the polling place. The trouble was brewing all day, feeling being to the point of frenzy on both sides. The temperance people were determined to carry the election and the saloon people were more determined such should not be the result. Shortly before the polls closed the clash came. Around the polls in the city hall a crowd of workers for both sides had gathered to watch the last few votes go in. The four saloons in the village had been bending every energy to carry the day, and every vote counted heavily. James H. Chessen, the village clerk, offered to swear in five challenged votes for the "west," and the votes were accepted. Then someone said he would not believe Chessen under oath, and someone else silenced the doubter with a blow, so an eyewitness says. Then the mix-up began, and the fight was furious and bloody for a few minutes. Someone outside hurled a stone through a $20 plate glass window in the town hall, and F. G. Brooks ran into the room from the outside and hurled a stone at Village Attorney for the "drys," R. P. Owen, and struck him on the head. Mr. Owen is ordinarily quiet enough, but frenzied with pain and blood pouring from his wounded head he bore Brooks to the floor, and the consequences might have been serious but for interference of the other men there. Mr. Owen hurt Brooks badly. In the melee, Joe Cooper, father of a candidate for trustee, suffered a broken arm, Sam Hunter sustained a bad scalp wound, and to heighten the confusion, Devanny fired his shotgun but no one was hurt. The total vote on president was 114, and the total vote on the license proposition was 92. It is said Bright, Chessen and Cooper were elected by the biggest majorities ever given at an election in the village.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1900

The Equitable Powder Company is preparing to make extensive additions to their plant at East Alton. A big powder magazine will be built and additions to the manufacturing capacity of the plant will be made. The powder mills near East Alton are fast becoming one of the most important industries in this vicinity, and the rapid increase in business of the institution is an effective comment on the push and business methods of the company.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 25, 1900

The fine new store building of William Clarke at East Alton has been completed so far as the foundations. The building will be of stock brick and will be a handsome structure.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 10, 1900

The office of the Equitable Powder Company and the Western Cartridge Company at East Alton was destroyed by fire this morning, and little of its contents were saved. The fire was discovered by Night Operator Robert Rodgers of the Big Four, at 2:45 o'clock, and in a short time after the fire alarm had been given by firing of firearms, the entire male population of the village had turned out and was engaged doing its utmost to prevent the flames spreading to a magazine, only a short distance away. The office building destroyed was a two-story frame structure, almost new, and substantially built. It contained all the papers and books of the two companies, some of which are very valuable. In the middle of the building was a brick vault in which the papers were stored, and it is supposed they are in good condition, as the brick work was standing after the fire. The origin of the fire is not known, as no one was near the building when it broke out. The damage was covered with insurance.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 13, 1900

One ton of gunpowder was exploded last night at 9:45 o'clock in wheel houses 3, 4, and 5 at the mills of the Equitable Powder Company at East Alton. Wheel house No. 3 exploded first, and the other two were set off by detonation from the first. Not a man was hurt by the explosion, although the force was so great it distinctly shook buildings in Alton and was plainly heard in all parts of the city. The shock was felt at Edwardsville also. Fred Kauffmann, Sam Hunter and Munsey Palmer were the watchmen at the wheel houses last night, and their escapes were narrow. It is the duty of the men to visit each of the six wheel houses once every 20 minutes to keep watch on the explosive, which is being ground under 10-ton crushers, and is kept constantly wet to prevent heating by friction. The men had started on the rounds, and No. 1 had been entered when the explosion in No. 3 occurred. The watchman in No. 1 lost no time in escaping, but Nos. 1, 2 and 6 did not explode. The roofs of the solid stone wheel houses were blown to pieces, being loosely laid on to furnish no resistance. It is not known how badly the machinery is damaged.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1900

The Equitable Powder Company and the Western Cartridge Company is building a fine brick office building on the ruins of the office that was destroyed by fire one month ago. The building is the most substantial one in East Alton, and is a credit to the place. The damages caused by the fire and explosion at the wheel houses of the powder mill have been repaired and the plant is again in running order.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 17, 1901

Ten tramps who had been hanging around the railroad yards at East Alton Wednesday, all day, started out in a bunch this morning between 12 and 1 o'clock, and held up and robbed everybody they met. Just how much they got is not known. Some meetings were going on last night, and several men were abroad at that hour. Marshal Hank Feldwisch and Ollie Harris were hunting in the yards after the robbers had dispersed, when they were met by a small boy who said he knew that the hold-up men were in the Big Four sandpit camped by a fire, and that he heard them planning the robberies. The officer and Harris slipped quietly into the pit, covered the crowd with guns, and the ordered them to surrender. The robbers broke away, shots were exchanged and one of the "invincibles" fell, but got up again and escaped with seven others. Feldwisch and Harris captured three, and the wounded man and two others of the gang were captured by East St. Louis officers as they emerged from a freight car in the East St. Louis yards this morning. People of the town - those of them who had been aroused - were thoroughly alarmed, armed themselves hurriedly it is said, and barricaded themselves in their houses. They tell today that Charley Henry, the barber, was discovered this morning in his shop, surrounded by eight revolvers and one breech loading shotgun, defying all the thieves that ever was, and daring them to come on and receive his treatment, which he guaranteed to cure thieving, free of cost. The good work of Marshal Feldwisch and Ollie Harris is evoking many works of commendation, and increases the feeling of security people down there have had since "Hank" put on the star.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1901

Fire destroyed the passenger station of the Big Four and the C. B. & Q. at East Alton this morning. Within one hour after the fire was discovered in the shingles of the roof, the building was level with the ground and only heaps of charred wood remained. The loss was not heavy, as the building was lightly constructed and all the valuable papers in it were saved by the office men when the fire broke out. At 10 o'clock the flames were discovered in the roof, and an effort was made to extinguish the fire after valuable books and papers had been removed to places of safety. The water supply at East Alton would have been sufficient to have saved the building, but no ladder to reach the roof could be found and the pressure was not sufficient to throw water up there. The building was old and dry and made quick fuel for the flames. Temporary accommodations for the office force and passengers will be provided, and the Big Four will at once build a new and better depot.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 14, 1901

East Alton has again got the wonders, and the village is guessing what sort of a man wore on his shoulders the skull found yesterday afternoon on Job's ranch, just east of the town. Mr. Job had a force of men engaged in leveling down a hill near the old ranch house, and one of the scrapers brought out with its load of dirt the skull of a man. Investigation unearthed the rest of the skeleton, but it speedily crumbled into dust. The skull, however, was made of sterner stuff and is still intact. The jawbones are massive and the teeth are formidable looking masticators, and if the rest of the owner was formed in proportion, he must have been a giant in stature. Mr. Job has owned that place for 60 years or more, and he does not known of any man having been buried there. In fact, he gave the Milton cemetery to the public for burial purposes, and in earlier days Milton was the place where all deceased persons were laid to rest. Mr. Job inclines to the belief that an Indian wore the skull and appurtenances and this appears reasonable. He brought the skull to Alton and says he will give it to Dr. W. Fisher to put in his cabinet. Charles Henry, the East Alton barber who is an archaeological crank, a pre-historic Pundit, and an antediluvian Mahatma, says the find is the face of an ape, but he does not explain how the Simian got there or how he buried himself that far down in the ground.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1901

A man, who appears to be James Rayburn of St. Louis, aged about 34, was found dying in a boxcar this morning at East Alton, his head crushed in by blows from a piece of heavy iron and his body covered with bruises and with blood. The body was found by a harvest hand named Lou Barber, who was passing the car in the Big Four yards and heard the dying man's groans. Making an investigation, he discovered the body in the car covered over with straw. Rayburn lived one hour after being carried to the town hall at East Alton, and died at 7 o'clock. He did not regain consciousness, and the identification was by means of papers in his pocket. The head of the man was beaten almost into a shapeless mass. On the back of the head was a big hole and the skull above the left eye was crushed in. The ear was knocked off and a hole made in the bone. On top of the head was a hole and a heavy blow had been struck over the mouth, knocking out Rayburn's teeth. All but one of the pockets in Rayburn's clothes were turned inside out, and the motive of the murder was apparently robbery. In the one pocket that had not been searched by the murderers were three silver dollars, and in his sock was a paper dollar bill. Rayburn's clothes were of good texture and his body was clean. He wore silk underclothes, a stiff hat, blue check suit of clothes, blue tie, blue shirt and tan shoes. In the clothes was a check for baggage, and he was evidently going from East St. Louis to Kansas City and was beating his way. It is said at East Alton that two suspicious characters boarded a freight train for St. Louis at 5:30 o'clock this morning. The murder was probably committed at 5 o'clock, as the blood on him was still fresh and the wounds were new. No one knows how the murdered man happened to be at East Alton, nor had anyone seen him there before. Deputy Coroner Streeper held the inquest this morning and a verdict was found that Rayburn came to his death by blows inflicted by unknown persons.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 2, 1901

William Henry and James Chessen Sr. have opened a new saloon at East Alton, and are moving the saloon building to the west side of the Henry store.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 17, 1902

Plans for the Big Four East Alton Depot have been accepted by the Big Four, and it is said that work of construction will be started soon. The plans adopted show a neat little structure, which will be both convenient and comfortable, and will furnish cozy quarters for Agent R. D. Patton and is East Alton office force. The baggage room will be detached from the main building, and will be connected by a shed. The Big Four is now relaying the tracks in its East Alton yards, preparatory to installing a complete new interlocking plant there. An electric power plant is being built now, which will furnish power to operate the electric systems controlling the interlocking plant from East Alton to Venice, along the double track system.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 30, 1902

Wood river's work in 1902, June 29, will long be remembered as the worst rampage that stream ever went upon. It is estimated that ten thousand acres of land on both sides of the river, covering a strip a mile or more in width on each bank, was laid waste. Thousands of acres were denuded of their wheat crops. The wheat was standing in the fields after the harvest and the shocks fell easy prey to the torrent that was sweeping down the Wood river valley. Wood river, ordinarily a peaceful stream, converted into a destroying torrent by the thirty-six hours continual downpour of rain, rose out of its banks Saturday night, spread over the rich low-lying farms and rose eighteen inches higher than ever before known. Water stood in East Alton avenue eighteen inches deeper than ever before known, and three feet of sand was deposited in the main street by the flood. Barns and other buildings were washed away. At one time the men of the village went out to the Big Four embankment, south of the town, and cut it through to allow the water to escape. A trestle formerly allowed the water to flow off there, but the railroads put in two 30-inch drain tiles and supposed that would carry the water. The drains did not work fast enough, and East Alton people will sue the Big Four for obstructing a water course and backing the water into their village. At Chessen's, Clark's and other stores in the vicinity of East Alton avenue, water stood in buildings at a depth of two feet, and people carried their goods from the buildings. A barn belonging to William Henry was floated off, and in it were three tramps who had taken refuge there from the storm. The barn was carried down in the whirl of waters, finally lodging down the river. The tramps screamed for help, but none could be given them and they stayed in the barn until the flood subsided. The Big Four, Chicago and Alton, Bluff Line and Illinois Terminal suffered heavily. The damage of the Big Four was the worst. Three miles of track was washed out, bridges were wrecked and the road was impassable. Orders were sent out for every section man west of Terre Haute to go to East Alton and assist in repairing the track. Four work trains were put to work and 500 men. Both main line and branch were washed out, and not a train passed over the Big Four Sunday. At the Job farm, four horses and 20 head of cattle were drowned and five horses escaping from the torrent were mired in quicksands. The five horses were rescued about noon after hard work by a big party of men who gathered to help them. The powder works was inundated and much damage was done there. In some of the new buildings constructed there, the floors were forced up by the water, and the floors were flooded to a depth of three feet. The watchmen were penned up in the second stories of the buildings and had to stay there until the water subsided. The plant of the Stoneware Pipe Company at East Alton was destroyed by fire as the direct result of the flood. The loss is $40,000 on this building alone. The plant consisted of a three story brick building, 80x120 feet, which was surrounded by large kilns, ten of them, for burning tile. These kilns were in operation and in No. 4 the last heat was being put on to glaze the pipe. At that time, Wood river came up and flooded the place. Water filled the underground cut leading from the kiln to the chimney and cut off the escape of vapor in the kiln. Steam generated by the water coming in contact with the hot kiln filled the place, and an explosion occurred which drove flames out of the kiln and set fire to the main building. The machinery and building are totally destroyed. The loss is covered by insurance. The C. B. & Q. station was carried away, switch-stands were snapped off and buildings overturned by the swirl of waters in the mad torrent. The flood subsided about noon Sunday and the farmers began counting up their losses. Charley Ferguson, East Alton's postmaster, lost everything in his fields. Joshua Frankfort also suffered total loss. Wheat from all the fields choked the natural water courses and dammed up the water worse than it would have been. Wheat was carried down the Mississippi to St. Louis, and the surface of the river there was covered with floating sheaves. The Reuter brothers lost about $9,000 worth of wheat and many others lost nearly as heavily. Along the Wood river bottoms there will be great losses resulting from destruction of corn and the wetting of wheat not carried off by the flood. One tinner says he got 45 different telephone calls Sunday to repair leaky roofs. Other tinners got numerous calls also. The village of Wanda is under water, and hundreds of acres of growing melons and other garden truck are covered with water and mud.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 16, 1904

Messrs. Long and Swift have just surveyed and platted for Hon. Z. B. Job another addition to East Alton, which Mr. Job has christened Niagara, in honor of the falls in Wood river over the powder mills dam. The addition is directly east of the Wood river bridge on the Milton road, and extends eastward two blocks. There are 35 lots in the tract.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 27, 1904

The construction of the Charles Beall Shovel factory at East Alton is progressing rapidly and another whistle of industry will be soon calling men to work in this vicinity.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 12, 1904

Friday night Herman Schultze, John Farris, and Dan Scott, three well known residents of East Alton, went on a possum hunt in the Wood river bottoms, and the hunt was pretty much like other hunts of that kind until about 1 o'clock this morning. They were in Bradley's woods, back of the powder mills, when they were startled at first and then panic stricken by a series of yells that came apparently, now from above their heads, now from the underbrush beside them, and occasionally from the path in front. The screams and cries are described as being of the most blood curdling character, and at first the men thought some woman was being killed, as the voice sounded like that of a woman in the greatest of agony. Then it dawned upon them that the noise was caused by a panther or a wild cat, as did the fact that the animal, or whatever it was, was approaching them and they stampeded. They did not know which way was safety; they only knew they wanted to get away from those cries and they ran in any direction. They became separated from each other in their flight, and each lost his way. Just how many miles they ran during the hours between the beginning of their panic and daylight cannot be estimated they say, but they are satisfied that if daylight had postponed its coming a little longer, they would have made a century run. As soon as it became light enough to see, the frightened men found their way out of the woods and returned to their homes in an exhausted condition. A party will be formed and a hunt made for the sound maker, which is believed to be either a wild cat or the Indian Creek panther.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 24, 1905

One man was killed, Addis G. Chaplin, of Upper Alton, and about twenty persons were injured in a wreck on the Illinois Terminal railroad that occurred near the Illinois Terminal roundhouse just east of the Alton city limits, Tuesday morning. January is said to be the unlucky month of the Illinois Terminal, nearly every return of the month bringing around some bad accident. The train was running about 15 miles an hour when the accident occurred. The cause of the accident was that yard engine No. 8 was standing on a switch so close to the main track that it was not in the clear. Engineer Thomas Maloney says that he went out on the main track to sand the switch so he could pull out a heavy drag of cars, and thought he was clear of the passenger train which left the Alton depot at 7:10 a.m. loaded with passengers. Every seat in the coach of the train was occupied. About a dozen men were standing up in the baggage room, and most of them were hurt by trunks falling on them. Engineer Thomas Magee could not see the yard engine was obstructing the way by projecting over on the main track, as he was on a slight curve at the point where the wreck occurred. Engine No. 6, drawing the passenger train, struck the side of No. 8 and immediately left the rails, turning over on its side the whole train consisting of the engine, tender, and one coach. Engineer Magee stayed in his cab and did all he could to stop his train, to which fact he probably owes his life. Fireman Chaplin jumped from the cab on the engineer's side, and before he could rise from the ground the coach turned over on him crushing him to death. Magee was thrown out of the side of the cab when the engine stopped and seemed to escape serious injury as by miracle. He was only slightly bruised. Passengers in the coach give descriptions of the accident which indicate that the wildest panic prevailed among them. When the car turned over on its side, a rail which was torn up ran through the bottom of the car. The passengers all fell to the south side of the coach, and some of them were hurled forward and piled in a heap. About fifty passengers were in the passenger end of the car and were piled up on top of one another, many being hurt in the crush and others being hurt by seats coming loose from their fastenings and falling on them as the car laid on its side. Many were injured by broken glass from the windows. In the baggage end of the car the passengers were piled up in a confused heap with baggage on top of them. Sidney Ingham of Godfrey was hauled out from under the trunks and sustained injuries on his body and legs. Sheriff G. F. Crowe was hurt there but was able to complete his trip to Edwardsville. Many of the passengers were going over to attend court. Col. J. J. Brenholt, F. Volbracht and many others were piled up in a heap against the side of the car. Mr. W. H. Gridley of Springfield was injured by a woman passenger in the car falling on his chest. She was on her way to Decatur.  M. Rubenstein sustained a bad gash on his hip from a piece of glass. Mrs. Sarah Ward of Godfrey was injured on the hip.  F. Volbracht was hurt on the side, and Col. Brenholt's leg was hurt. Frank Hyndman was slightly bruised. He was riding in the cab, and had as fortunate an escape as the engineer. Thomas L. Collins was badly cut on the hand by broken glass. Rev. S. D. McKenny was bruised about the body, but not seriously. John Henry of East Alton was cut on the head, and William Henry was cut on the leg and hurt about the body. Oscar Lightner of East Alton was slightly hurt. Frank and Will Newman of Washington street were cut and bruised. L. L. Pidcoe of Chicago was cut about the head and hands. James Smith of penitentiary plat, colored, was hurt about the body. John Foley of Bloomington was cut about the head. Joseph Williams, C. & A. roundhouse foreman, sustained a fracture of the left ___ and a finger was crushed.  ___ Williams of Springfield was ____ at the head. Constable W. A. Batterton was slightly injured. Among the other passengers on the train were T. M. Long, Felix Fortin, William Hardy of Upper Alton, John Kane, all of whom were injured but only slightly.....The big heating stove used to warm the car was suspended on the upper side of the car as the coach laid in the ditch on its side, and under the stove was piled a heap of men and women thrown into a badly tangled mass. If the stove had fallen many would have been injured as it was full of fire, but not even a coal fell from it. The coach dregged along on its side about forty feet before coming to a standstill. As the windows were broken out, it is a wonder others were not hurt by being caught under the coach.....Chaplin's body was taken in charge by Coroner C. N. Streeper of Upper Alton and prepared for burial. He was 40 years of age and leaves a wife and several children in Upper Alton. He had been working for the terminal but a month, having formerly worked as car repairer for the Bluff Line.....




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 18, 1905

East Alton has come to the front with the star snake story of this or any other season. A snake was killed yesterday in the Wood river Bottoms near the Equitable Powder Mills by John McKinney, an employee of the powder company, with an ax after a fierce fight in which the snake attempted to assimilate benevolently Mr. McKinney. The snake, according to East Altonians who were in town Thursday, was about 14 feet in length and "big around as an ordinary telegraph pole." They say further that his snakeship, when stretched out, resembled a fallen telegraph pole in the grass very much. A postmortem examination was held and the autopsy revealed the fact that the snake's stomach was one of the greatest collectors of bric-a-brac in the county, and the contents also explained the mysterious disappearances of pigs and calves from the farms of the neighborhood. The stomach or storeroom of the reptile contained several hoofs of small pigs and a couple of small calves' horns were found also.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 26, 1909

O. W. Foster is moving into his newly completed residence in Silver Ridge.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 2, 1909

Silver Ridge addition to East Alton is in the midst of quite a building boom, and bids to be the most thickly populated part of East Alton within a few years. Houses are now being built for Charles Chessen, Ed Doerr, Ed Walls, Frank Eudy, and Jesse Jones. Houses have just been completed for Lee Bracken and Ed Doerr in that addition. Mr. Doerr has finished three houses.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 23, 1910

There is considerable talk of the annexation of Silver Ridge addition to East Alton. It is known that East Alton and the residents of the addition are willing for the annexation, and it is probably that petitions for the annexation will be circulated soon.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 29, 1910

The Beall Bros. mining tool factory at East Alton was completely destroyed by fire this afternoon. The fire started at 3 o'clock and within a half hour the entire plant was destroyed. It was said that the fire got out from under the furnace and mounted up to the roof. With inadequate fire fighting equipment, the plant was soon destroyed. James Gleason was badly hurt by the roof falling on him. The destruction of the paint by fire is the second heavy loss the firm has suffered in the past six months. The loss may be near to $75,000. At the late hour the fire was discovered it was impossible to ascertain about the insurance. The whole of East Alton was turned out to fight the fire, but could do little. The plant employed about 75 men, and was rushed with orders. The destroyed plant was a large frame building, and an addition to it was just about finished. The destruction was quick. The buildings housed costly machinery, all of which will be badly damaged. Mayor Beall said this afternoon that he did not know of the fire until it was over, as he was at a barber shop being shaved. He estimated that $75,000 would not cover the loss if the destruction was as complete as he was told.


(In 1872, Edmond Beall joined with his brother Charles to start a small firm in Alton, IL named Beall Brothers to manufacture mining tools. With continued expansion of the company, Beall Brothers Mining Tool Company was incorporated in 1900 with Charles Beall as president. In 1904, following continued business expansion, Charles Beall started his own company C. L. Beall Manufacturing Co. in East Alton producing a variety of tools. The next year, all the Beall interests were consolidated into Beall Bros. Inc. This company was sold in 1917 but the Beall brothers continued to start and consolidate companies that continued to manufacture shovels, mining and railroad tools, and automobile accessories. The Beall Tool Co. ceased manufacturing operations of mining tools in 1928.)




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 19, 1914

The glazing mill at the plant of the Equitable Powder Co. at East Alton exploded Wednesday evening about 6:20 o'clock, with a shock that was felt for one hundred miles. Within a distance of fifteen to twenty miles the shock was so violent that in many places in the eastern part of Madison county it was believed that the explosion was close at hand. In East Alton there was a general smashing of glass windows and there was wild consternation when the mill went off. The violence of the explosion indicated at once that it was the "glaze" mill that had gone off. The glaze mill consists of ten huge barrels in which powder is polished, the final process of preparing it for market. These barrels have a capacity of about 1,500 pounds of powder each, and there are ten of them. The whole battery of barrels exploded. The system of polishing powder is regarded as rather dangerous, though every precaution is taken. The friction that would be caused that might produce an explosion is minimized by the use of graphite which is poured into the powder and is afterward sifted out when it has served its purpose. It was in this department that the explosion occurred. The building was about 25x80 feet, constructed of wood with sheet iron covering and resting on concrete foundations. The night inspector, Henry Miller, aged 56, had just started on his rounds. He had reached the glaze mill, lantern in hand, and it is supposed he had just entered the door to investigate the temperature of the bearings on the machines, when the explosion occurred. Search was immediately made for Miller, but no vestige of him could be found, and it was concluded that he had been blown to pieces. The building containing the machinery had been blown to the winds, and even the concrete foundations were wrecked by the discharge of near eight tons of high efficiency powder. The jar was plainly felt all over Alton, and everywhere inhabitants of Alton thought that there had been a sudden jar very close to them. Down on Second street a policeman and a gang of men made a rush for the site of the destroyed Stanard-Tilton elevator, thinking that it had taken place there. The echo rebounding from the tall grain tanks had given the effect of a local blast being fired. In East Alton there was general terror. The crashing of falling glass made the first impression in the minds of those nearby, that a terrific earthquake was on. Large plate glass windows in the village of East Alton were smashed, though the glaze mill is almost two miles from the village, and is close to the eastern line of the insane hospital site. After the explosion a search was undertaken to find the missing attendant who had been blow up. Though a search was continued until late into the night for fragments of his body, none could be found. Fragments of the body of Miller were found scattered all over the vicinity of the exploded glaze mill. The fragments were collected and a coroner's inquest was held this morning. It was officially stated today by Powder Co. that the loss to the company, exclusive of the powder, which was not counted, would be in the neighborhood of $5,000. The pieces of the building and machinery, almost all of them small, were ______ 900 to 1,000 feet. The explosion will cause no interruption of the manufacture of powder, as the company keeps duplicate departments and when one shuts down the other is started up. This morning at daybreak the searchers for the remains of the missing body, among whom was Harry Hatton, succeeded in finding small pieces of the arm bones 200 feet away from the mill. Scattered fragments of the body were found at distances from a quarter to a half mile away, and it was said that some of the clothing was picked up on the James Ferguson farm, over across the Big Four railroad track. Coroner's Undertaker, John Berner, went out this ...[unreadable] -tended the picking up of the remains which he deposited in a sack and put in his undertaking wagon. An inquest will be held. This morning a committee of Ed James and Mr. Berner went around in East Alton, stopping at every place to see what windows were broken and offered to replace the windows. About one fourth of the windows in East Alton were broken, and some large plate glass windows in business houses. The death of Mr. Miller reveals the fact, according to an intimate acquaintance, that Miller and his wife Alice had been separated and divorced, but that for convenience sake both had been living in the Miller home, but not as husband and wife. The wife, it is said, had been working at the Cartridge works and the husband at the powder mill. They have three children, two married daughters who married a year ago at the same time to husbands who boarded at the Miller home, and a son about sixteen years of age. Miller filed the divorce suit in the Circuit court about 9 months ago, and is understood to have secured a divorce. It is believed that the husband and wife would shortly have compromised their troubles. Mrs. Rebecca English, 74 years old, of Worden, Ill., about 30 miles east of Alton, dropped dead when the force of the powder explosion shook the home. She was a widow, living with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. George Chapman, in Worden, and had been in feeble health for some time. She was alone in the sitting room when the explosion shook the house. When other members of the family who had left her for a moment immediately went into the sitting room, ... [unreadable].




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 1, 1915    

James Colburn, Louis Murphy, Elmer Kortkamp, Gus Volz and Clyde Davis were killed instantly at nine o'clock this morning when the press house at the Equitable Powder Co. at East Alton exploded from a cause which at present is entirely unknown. The shock was felt at Mattoon, 100 miles away, and hundreds of windows in East Alton were shattered by the explosion. The five men who were at work in the place at the time of the accident were blown into many pieces, and their bodies were scattered for a distance of several hundred yards about the place. According to the officials of the company, this is the first time in the twenty-four years of the company's history that the press house has been destroyed. The men in the house went to work as usual at seven o'clock this morning and everything was running smoothly as ever. Some of the men in the employ of the company who were in the building but a few minutes before the explosion reported at the office shortly after that everything was running in perfect condition when they left the building. It is likely that the cause of the accident will never be known. The press house is a frame building fifty by twenty-five feet containing a single hydraulic press, which is used in the manufacture of blasting powder. The grain powder is placed between the leaves of the press where it is put under several tons of pressure and pressed into blocks twenty-four by twenty-four inches, and one inch thick....At this time of the year the hydraulic press is operated with oil instead of water, and this burning oil was scattered over the grounds, causing small fires among the leaves in various sections....Orders were given to all the employees at once to keep outsiders out of the yards....Hardly had the sound of the explosion and the smoke died away before hundreds of people from East Alton, who had relatives at work in the plant, rushed to the gates to find out what had become of them. Some of these people when they were refused admittance walked nervously up and down the track looking for a chance to get into the grounds, but they found none. It soon became generally known on the outside of the plant which of the buildings had been destroyed, and as fast as this became known the people acquainted with the workings of the plant knew what men had gone to work there at seven o'clock this morning and therefore who had been killed....After the explosion and the small fires had been extinguished, a party of men were put to work searching for parts of the bodies of the men who had been injured in the accident. A trunk and head of a man which was later identified as that of Colburn was found across Wood River several hundred yards from the explosion where it had been thrown. One arm was still on the trunk of the body, although all the clothing had been torn off. The body was identified by a stiff finger....This is the first explosion which has occurred at the plant since the state insane hospital at Alton was started, and there was some interest as to how this would be affected. A report from the hospital this morning indicated that no damage whatever had been done there. Officials in charge said that the shock had been felt, but not a window had been broken and no damage had been done....Windows in nearly every third house in East Alton were broken. All the windows in the powder works hotel were broken out and one of the front walls in the Beall factory at East Alton was damaged. ...Clyde Davis is 22 years of age and unmarried. He boarded at the home of Mrs. William Crawford on Church street in East Alton. Louis Murphy is 28 years of age, is married and has two small children. He lives in East Alton. Mrs. Murphy rushed to the powder works on hearing of the explosion and fainted on the grounds and had to be brought back in an automobile and put under the care of a physician. Elmer Kortkamp is 23 years of age. He is single and has been living with his widowed mother, Mrs. John Kortkamp in East Alton, and is her sole support. Gus Volz is __ years of age, and has a wife and one child. He is said to be known as Miller, and came in East Alton from Ohio. J. A. Colburn, superintendent, is about 50 years of age. He came to East Alton about seven years ago from Connecticut, and is a high salaried, first class powder expert. He has been in that business all his life. He made a high salary and lived in a handsome home in Blinn, which he and his wife had built about a year ago. They have one grown son, Nordell Colburn, who is a telegraph operator at Alexandria, L. 


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 2, 1915

...Nine persons, it is said, have been killed in the Equitable Powder works at East Alton since it was built about twenty-five years ago. The number is small considering the hazard of the occupation. Two were killed in the Western Cartridge works in the fulminite department. Yesterday's explosion was the worst for the number of men killed. On one other time, three were killed at once, and that was in 1892 when William Rodgers, Thomas Keffer, and Henry Ragus were killed in the press. Yesterday's explosion was the second explosion in the press. Later on John Voss and George Scott were killed together in the corning mill, then Frank Newhause was killed in the wheelhouse, Charles McGinnis in the glaze room, Jeff Bright, East Alton councilman, in the corning mill, and Henry Miller in the glaze room. Harry Mills was the first killed in the fulminating department, and Mr. Beachey was the second killed there.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 11, 1915

It was a wild night after the storm in the vicinity of the Bowman stock yards near East Alton, where 7,200 horses belonging to the British commission, bought for use in the army in France, escaped from the stockyards Thursday night before midnight. The horses romped over the whole country, terrifying people, delaying trains, and in at least one case, caused personal injuries. Herman Wuestenfeldt, who was returning home from Alton after being out on the Elks excursion, sustained fractures of three ribs when the horses coming down the road encountered the automobile in which Wuestenfeldt was carrying Nola, William, Gussie and Loretto Carstens. Eight of the horses were killed by a fast freight train on the Chicago & Alton, two were shot to admit of the Midnight Special passing on, after a delay of more than one hour. Hundreds of the horses were penned up by property owners who will have damage claims against the stock. Some of the stock was recaptured during the night, but the most of them were not found until during the day. The cause of the stampede is not quite certain. It was said at the stockyards this morning that nothing definite was known about it, and that an investigation would be made....The village of Wood River suffered heavily from damage done to young trees which were set out last year along the streets. The horses, after escaping from the corral, did not run very far. They are all well broken animals, and tractable, and after the first burst of speed on regaining freedom, the animals settled down to grazing along the roads, on lawns, in fields and many of them took to the railroad tracks.....The whole country was overrun with animals that are destined for slaughter on the battlefields of Europe.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 23, 1915

The commissions which made the tour settling claims filed by landowners and tenants for damage to crops after the stampede of the horses from the stockyard on the Bowman farm near East Alton, have completed their work and they have settled with all but one claimant, it is said. That one claimant was offered $65 for his loss, and he demanded $500. The difference was so great that no settlement was made with him. Some of the farmers, the Telegraph is informed, are preparing to file additional claims against the keepers of the stock on the grounds, they claim, that the shipping fever from which the horses suffered was spread about among the livestock on the farms where the stampeded horses took refuge. Whether or not a suit could be maintained against anyone whose horses gave a sickness to the horses of the claimant is a question of doubt. If there is any precedent for such a claim, it would probably be hard to find, it is believed by stock-raisers. It is cited that no one can sue for damages if he contracts a disease from another person. It is therefore believed by some horse owners that if there is any instances of the shipping fever being spread in the country, it would be hard to get such a claim established. The stampede which occurred at the Bowman Horse Farm east of the city some time ago, will not effect the number of horses which are to be kept at the barns there, according to information received by the Telegraph. Plans are under way at present for increasing the yards and making a roof to care for many more horses. A gang of one hundred men have been put to work on the farm, building more fences and new runs for the horses. The barns which have been erected will serve the purpose of caring for the extra horses which are to be kept at the farm, because the weather will be warm enough for some time to make shelter unnecessary. How much it has cost to secure the return of the horses and how much money they have paid out in damages will probably never be known. It is understood that the sum was enormous, but the officers at the farm are making efforts to keep it from being made public. Rewards were paid for the return of many of the horses. All but six horses have been accounted for. A compilation of the sums of horses brought in after the recent stampede at the corral because of the lightning storm of ten days ago, shows that only thirty-two are yet out. Of this sum, 25 were killed by trains or died from over eating. One of the missing horses is now in the Gus Burjes pasture in Moro. Mr. Burjes found the horse in the pasture yesterday when he went out to look at his stock, and promptly notified the barn. The work of the cowboy riders has been completed, and most of them have gone back to the East St. Louis stockyards. They did good work, and proved very effective rounders of horses, doing much better work than the inexperienced men who were assigned to the job.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 28, 1917

The East Alton stockyards will come back again in full swing. Preparations are now being made for the care of more horses than ever at the East Alton stockyards for the French and English. The stockyards has been practically deserted for the past year, and only a few of the horses which were left ill at the time of the last shipment out was made, have been at the stockyards. The rest of the ground was rented out to R. J. Hoeckstra, a farmer, who has been living there and has been tilling the land. Hoeckstra has received notice to cut his corn and stop his fall sowing and vacate as soon as possible. This is worrying Hoeckstra to some extent, as he says he has no place to go, but he must obey the orders to make way for improvements. The fences are being rebuilt and many of the sheds on which the roofs were worn are being recovered. Next Monday a shipment of several hundred horses is expected over the Big Four. Orders have been given that all trains routed to East Alton with horses should reach East Alton by daylight, so that they may be unloaded in the daytime. On account of the many accidents to horses which happened when unloading was done in the night. This possibility will be avoided under the new ruling and much better care will be taken of the horses. Probably five or ten thousand horses will be accommodated at the stock yards this winter, and all the pens and buildings are being enlarged for this purpose. Dr. Ed Enos has been in charge since the British and French officers left about a year ago, and he will probably continue in some official capacity at the stockyards. Orders have been given for the employment of a large number of men for caring for the horses.





More Than 7 Inches of Rain in 30 Hours Causes Worst Damaged in Valley

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1915

The Wood River's very worst rampage was the one that followed and attended a rain of 24 hours duration, and reached its climax Friday afternoon about 4 o'clock. The breaking of the costly drainage district levee that cost over $100,000 so far, was the most disastrous feature of the flood. The levee system worked fine up to and far beyond a stage of water ever know in the Wood River valley before, but the effectiveness of the levee system ended.


Down at the lower end the channel of Wood River has not been straightened out. The water still piled up in the huge reverse bends of the stream that winds like a huge snakelike scar through the earth, making a tortuous channel which delays and holds back and piles up the water, destroying the efficiency of the straightened channel farther up. It was only when the volume of water racing down the channel became more than the winding channel below could take care of, that the flood piled up, leaped through the levee of the drainage district and then came disaster.


The plants of the Western Cartridge Company and the Equitable Powder Company were put out of business. Men fled for their lives before a tidal wave of water that swept out of the dammed-up course of the Wood River, and poured down into the lower lands the levee had been built to protect. About 4 o'clock the girls working in the Cartridge Plant were told to go home, as it was feared that the water would come over the levee, and that there would be great difficulty in getting so many people out. The men who were willing to stay were told to do so and aid in getting property up where it could not be wet. The gang of men were working hard and doing good work when the factory whistle was sounded as the warning for everybody to run, and they ran. They got out in time to save themselves.


When the water poured through the first break in the levee, it came as a huge wall which broke against the high board fence surrounding the grounds. The fence went down, the wall of water rolled over and in a tumbling, destroying torrent, filled up the lower lands where was situated the factories of the Western Cartridge Company, and flooded the office building. The loss entailed by the water going into the Cartridge Plant will be immense. The waters seized upon large quantities of materials and carried them off with a rush down toward the river. Lying loose in the yards were hundreds of the great glass carnoys in which sulphuris acid is contained, and there were piles of lumber and much other material, all of which was borne on the crest of the flood in a mighty jam that went off downstream. The current was terrific. No skiff could be driven against that stream at its full. Power boats would have been in danger in the boiling, surging torrent that piled down toward the Mississippi, destroying all in its path. The stream took its course through the village of East Alton, spreading out to Benbow City on the one side, and as far as East End place in Alton on the other.


Much railroad track was washed out. Not a line was left intact across the Wood River district, and Alton was entirely cut off from railroad communication to the south. The last train that went over the c. & A. tracks was the Prairie State Express, which went down at 5:30 p.m. The last train on the Big Four was the plug, which came in about 6 o'clock. Then the tracks were covered, the bridges over the Wood River were menaced, the chances appeared too great for a train to cross. Then the track began washing out. The interurban cars were shut off at 6 o'clock, and all service annulled. The Big Four annulled its trains on the old main line this side of Hillsboro because of the flood. The Flyer tried to get through, but failed. It got as far as East Alton and went over to the station. Then it was to have backed down to a cross over and go on to the C. & A. tracks and take the cutoff route to Godfrey, and thence to Alton, as the earlier C. & A. did, arriving here after 7 o'clock. However, while the Flyer was at East Alton, the track washed out behind her and was already washed out in front, and there the train had to stick. The passengers were given lodging in East Alton homes and at the village hall.


The seventy-five Altonians who spent the night on the Big Four Flyer kept things interesting. When some of the members of the party were certain that all of the ladies aboard the train had been cared for in the hotels of East Alton, and there was no prospects of rest on the Flyer on account of the uncomfortable sleeping accommodations, they proceeded to enjoy the night. Many played cards, but the majority spent the time singing sons. there was little sleep on the train. This morning the party left the train and were rowed to C. & A. cutoff in skiffs, and then walked to a street car in Upper Alton.


In East Alton was the center of excitement during the flood of Wood River. Mayor Henry Eckhardt became alarmed about 4 o'clock, and he telephoned his daughter, Miss Elinore Eckhardt, to go and warn the people in the threatened district that the levee was about to break. She did so, and the people were ready for it when the catastrophe did occur. Some families did not get out of their houses in time in the levee district at East Alton, and had to be assisted out. Telephone messages were sent for skiffs and proper boats, but the boats that were available were snapped up quickly for rescue work. 


The water, when it overflowed and went into the Cartridge Works grounds, got into the buildings to a depth of three or four feet, according to their elevation. The basement and first floor of the office building were flooded too. All night F. W. Olin and his sons, John and Franklin, were on the ground, and they returned home this morning. Skiffs had been rushed out from Alton to do what could be done, but it was little. The water had effectually damaged everything it touched, and naturally there is much of the company's stock that is subject to water damage.


The water ran down through East Alton and got into the grounds of the Standard Oil Company Refinery, and there it stood at such a depth that it was necessary to shut down the whole plant, the fires being put out in the stills and passage about the grounds being impossible because of the depth of water covering the grounds.


There was great fear in East Alton that some of the buildings in the worst flooded part would be collapsed by the water undermining the foundations, as it did ten years ago when Wood River went on her last destructive rampage. The people in the houses which were threatened were taken in by their more fortunate neighbors, and everybody was doing what could be done to relieve distress. On every side in East Alton was the wild tumbling waste of water that had a menacing look for everything that it came in contact with. The Beall plant was not caught in the flood, and the men were saved from being driven from their work.


At the Cartridge Works, only one person, George Eckhardt, a son of Mayor Eckhardt, was left through a misunderstanding, and he climbed on top of the concrete roof of the machine shop and called for help. Efforts to rescue him could not be made immediately because there was no boats to be secured. The only boat known was a steel boat which was locked up in one of the sheds at the Cartridge Plant and could not be got. Finally, E. Hill, an East Alton boy, came forward and offered a small, unstable canvass boat. It served the purpose in a pinch, however, and in this boat, men rowed to the Western Cartridge plant and got out the large steel boat. Eckhardt's son was then rescued, and the rescue work was carried further to the Powder Works Hotel, where the Apple family marooned by the water were taken out and brought to town. Then the Russell family in the lowland near the C. B. & Q. station were rescued and several other families.


George Barber was the only man employed on the construction gang at the new State Hospital who was able to return to his family in Alton last night. The other fifty workmen remained at the farm and spent the night. When they went to work yesterday morning the stream was little more than a foot in depth and was very meek looking. By evening, the stream had covered the railroad tracks and tipped the track on one of the bridges on end. Barber held onto the higher end of this track with an iron hook, and walked on the lower rail. Several times his head went under in the swift current, and the men watching him believed that he would be drowned, but each time he recovered and continued on his trip over the mad stream.


Shortely before midnight last night, an appeal came to the police station for help in the eastern part of the city. Two skiffs were placed on a stake wagon and hurried to that section at once. Night Captain John Nixon and E. L. Rose took charge of the rescue work. Here the police found that one family containing a woman and her four children were in the attic of their home with the water threatening them every minute. These were quickly taken to safety. Another case faced the police. In this home was a family with the smallpox. They demanded to be taken from the home. After looking over the situation, the night captain decided that it would be safe to allow the family to remain in the house if the water did not come up over 18 inches more. Two men were left in charge of the skiff with the orders that the family with the smallpox be rescued if the water rose eighteen inches more. The water did not rise this much, however, and the family was left in their home.


After passing through the yards of the Powder Mill, the water rushed through the streets of East Alton at the depth varying from five to seven feet, and thence down the St. Louis Road to Benbow City, which was also submerged, and then the river joined the waters of the Mississippi. Many of the people left their homes and places of business last evening, fearing that they would be washed away by the waters. According to measurements made by some of the residents of East Alton, the water was forty inches deeper than it was in the flood of 1903.  The East Alton wagon bridge, and the three C. B. & Q. railroad bridges in the vicinity of East Alton were down. East Alton was shut off this morning without any break or meat. They are supplied from Alton, and none of the Alton merchants were able to get these supplies to the city this morning.


The Kulp (Culp) levee was the first to give away. This levee which has been constructed in the vicinity of Bethalto gave away yesterday afternoon at two o'clock. Word was sent at once to the Cartridge Plant that this levee had broken. It was then that the men in charge realized they had little chance of saving the East Alton levee. All of the girls and women were sent home, and the men were put to work moving goods from the flood. In the loading room of the Cartridge Plant, all of the machinery with the exception of a single motor was saved. The men carried all of the machinery to the third floor of the building, and some of them had to wade out when the water was over waist deep about the yard.  All of the other buildings, including the storage room and the metallic department, were covered to the depth of three or four feet by the flood. In the metallic department a large part of the machinery will be seriously damaged by the flood.


With the seven hundred employees of the Western Cartridge Company not working, and the hundreds of spectators from this vicinity who made the trip to see the flood, the streets of East Alton were crowded this morning. The water, still to the depth of several feet, under the viaduct and along the St. Louis road, but there was no current and the sidewalks were cleared. The damage to the Jones and the Clow grocery store had been figured and they were again open for business. The demand for bread was heavy, and this afternoon the A., B. & C. Company of Alton sent a truck load with a skiff for the city still marooned. The truck carried the bread and skiff as far as the water, and then the skiff was used to take the bread into the town.


Ed Hauser had a trying experience this morning while driving the Central Brewing wagon from Wood River to East Alton. His horses became mired in the water and mud south of East Alton, and for a time it looked as if they would be lost. Several kegs of beer rolled from the wagon, but the outfit was rescued by the men standing about the streets. Hy. Hines was caught in the same place and came near losing his life. People standing on the main streets saw two men attempt to go under the viaduct on horseback. The horse with the man in the lead encountered a step-off that was several feet deep, and both horse and rider were forced to swim to safety. The other rider turned back.


The flood was subsiding rather slower today than was hoped for. Such a tremendous volume of water had to come down, that while Wood River went down considerably, it did not leave the streets of East Alton nor drain the territory between there and the village of Wood River as fast as would have been satisfactory to everybody.


The East Alton wagon bridge was badly damaged, and a number of the planks and some of the woodwork has been torn away. The C. B. & Q. bridge at East Alton has been twisted around so that it will be impossible for a passenger train to make the trip over it. Two other bridges on the C. B. & Q. are washed out between East Alton and Woods Station.


Sidewalks were torn up, a part of the C. B. & Q. platform was washed away, some of the smaller buildings in the Cartridge Plant were turned around on their foundations, and a number of others were washed away entirely. The Big Four track suffered greatly from the flood. Every few feet the roadbed is washed away so that four or five ties were without support, and at places there are stretches of track three hundred feet in length which have been washed away. The Parks buildings damaged and the harness shop of H. H. Wenges suffered greatly from the flood.


Extra freight train number 364 of the Big Four railroad went into a ditch in the vicinity of Wann. The train was composed of an engine and five cars. When it was seen that it would be impossible to go father and the water was threatening them, they left the train before it tipped over.


Offers of work were made this afternoon by the officials of the Cartridge Company. All of their employees who desire to do laboring work can start tomorrow morning, helping to clear up the wreckage and get the plant back in operating condition.




Source: Poughkeepsie, New York Daily Eagle, November 25, 1915

Two wheel houses at the plant of the Equitable Powder Company, East Alton, blew up this afternoon. No one was hurt. The concussion was felt for 27 miles. Eight thousand pounds of powder were in the building. The cause of the explosion is not known. The Equitable Powder Company is making war supplies for the allies.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 18, 1916

The new addition which will be subdivided and sold in lots on the Alton-Edwardsville road will be known as the Ben Cooper addition. The property was purchased last week by Mr. Cooper, who says he will market it himself. Sixteen lots have already been sold, most of which are for building purposes. The property was formerly a part of the Fox farm.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 3, 1917

The Landau Company of Alton, trustee for the creditors of the V. F. Waldschmidt store in East Alton, is rapidly selling out the stock and will soon vacate the building. They will turn the building over to its owner, James H. Chessen, who announces that it is for rent. The closing of the store marks the closing of the old stand which James H. Chessen conducted for many years and made a handsome profit out of it. Since Chessen left the place, it has changed hands frequently. The Clow company held it the longest and for a while made money, but at last they too were obliged to give up the business and sell out. Waldschmidt took it from the last Clow proprietor, Jesse Clow, in exchange for a farm at Peoria, Ill.  Waldschmidt told people in East Alton he was beaten in the deal, and as he had gotten his Peoria farm off of his hands, he would move to another farm he owned in Wisconsin. He and his family have been gone for some time, and it is supposed that he is in Wisconsin, leaving his creditors to handle the business affairs alone.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 20, 1917

The finding of a human skeleton in the ground that is being plowed up for lots in the Cooper and Hoehn addition to East Alton has aroused considerable interest in East Alton and vicinity. A few days ago while Joseph Heins and Robert Kennedy were engaged in plowing up the ground to level it off for lots in the new addition, the plow share turned up the skull of a human being. The skull was perfect and gave indications of having lain only a few years. They dug farther down into the ground and found all the rest of the bones, which put together would make a perfect skeleton. The bones appear to be those of a woman, although that point is not positively established. Considerable speculation is rue as to how the skeleton got there. Whether it is the skeleton of some one murdered by his fellow man, or by the Indians who once tramped over the county, there is probably no way of finding out. The nearest cemetery is the Milton cemetery, a mile away, and it is hardly probable that the skeleton could be that of a person buried in the Milton cemetery.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 8, 1918

The dry weather and a minor explosion at the Western Cartridge Co. caused a fire which resulted in the complete destruction of the trench mortar shell department at the Western Cartridge Co. this afternoon. The damage will run over $100,000, although a complete valuation of the property destroyed had not been made at a late hour this afternoon. Six frame buildings burned. There were five explosions, none of them large, and any one of which would have been of no consequence if it had occurred by itself. The department destroyed was originally the shotgun shell department. Recently it has been turned over to be used as the trench mortar shell department. The Allies are badly in need of these shells, and orders were given to rush the work in this department. Fifty men and girls were working at the loading machines when one of the machines clogged. Half a second later there was an explosion. This was quickly followed by the fire which spread through the building so fast that the people fled without taking with them their coats or hats. Six buildings arranged in a semi-circle in the rear of the old office caught fire one at a time. The buildings that burned were the loading room, 125 by 40 feet; the box department, small; the box storage department, 75 by 50 feet; the paper box manufacturing department, small; the wad building and all of the stables; two powder magazines filled with powder. The heaviest loss was the eleven machines in the loading department. These are all there at the plant for the manufacture of the trench mortar shells. It will take considerable time to replace them. One hundred and fifty thousand mortar shells which had been accepted and passed and were to have been shipped to the Allied armies today were in the fire. The employees of the plant turned out with buckets and hose to fight the fire. When it was seen that there was danger of the flames spreading to other departments, the Alton fire company was called out. Fire companies 1 and 3 were sent to East Alton and Chief William Feldwisch directed the efforts of the fire fighters. Lieut. Jules Arturo and Lieut. Glastino, of the Italian army, helped with the fire fighting. Arturo mounted one of the warehouses and with a handkerchief over his face he held the hose and fought off the flames until the Alton fire department arrived. He saved several thousands of dollars worth of explosives. The wind blew the fire away from the main part of the cartridge factory. It also scattered the fire into the outlying parts of the plants and small groups of men were kept busy fighting this with buckets of water. Officials of the company said this afternoon that the explosion which caused the fire was of little consequence and nothing would have been thought of it had it not caused the fire. They said that this was the first time in the history of the plant that such an explosion had been the cause of a fire. They were inclined to believe that the hot weather and the dry conditions of the buildings were the cause of the fire. Officials refused to make any estimate of the damage, but it is understood that it will be more than $100,000. Only a very small part of that is covered by insurance. The wonder of the fire was that no one was injured. A large amount of explosives went up during the afternoon, but the fighting was conducted so that no one was allowed to get into any unnecessary danger.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1920

Frank Hamilton, while out hunting yesterday, discovered almost buried in the sands of the Wood River creek bottom, about 1 1/2 miles southeast of the state hospital, the skeleton of a woman which he reported and the skeleton was taken in charge by Deputy Coroner W. H. Bauer. The skeleton was devoid of flesh, but clinging to it was still the remnant of some clothing, including a dark colored coat, and the shoes were those of a woman. The body had evidently been buried in the Wasson Stanley farm long ago, and had been partially uncovered of late. Mr. Hamilton saw the skull protruding from the sands and made an investigation. As no one living in the vicinity was reported to have been missing, it was supposed that the body was that of one of the wandering patients of the Alton State Hospital. The theory advanced, is that one of the hospital patients, wandering at large, either deliberately or accidentally got into the waters of Wood River when the stream was at flood, and was deposited where found and covered by the sands, remaining there until the flesh had decayed from the bones.  Dr. George A. Zeller was consulted and he said that over a year ago there was one woman from Jersey county who had disappeared from the institution and whose relatives made search for her and she was never found. It is not positive that the skeleton is her remains, nor is there much possibility of effecting an identification because of the bad condition of the garments, which have rotted and discolored until there is little chance of knowing what the original ______ was. The bones and fragments _____ clothes were gathered by Deputy Coroner Bauer, who will hold them until hope of identification is given up completely. Dr. Zeller declared that there was enough of the garment to make it possible for a negative identification, that is that it was not the remains of any former inmate of the State hospital at Alton. The reason why the body was not discovered earlier is that the land where it was found was not cultivated last year. The assumption by some is that the body was interred by someone where it was found, not deep in the ground, and the mystery started by the discovery of the skeleton was deeper as the inquiry proceeded.



EAST ALTON - CROWD ATTENDS BIG CELEBRATION - Thousands on Hand for Event Which Marks Completion of Village's 2-Mile Paving Project

Source:  Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1921

East Alton celebrated the completion of its two-mile paving project last night. Mayor Jameson, for the village, yesterday said East Alton would be host to the entire Alton district, and would care for the crowd, no matter how great it might be. Two blocks of the newly-paved street were turned over to dancers. No automobiles were permitted to be parked in that section, and when the street was swept and cleaned it made an admirable dancing floor. At one time 300 couples were dancing, presenting an unusual sight. The dancers were given full sway, no traffic being permitted in the two blocks. Two band concerts were given, one by the White Hussar Band and the other by the Western Cartridge Co. band. There was a special movie show. Members of the fire department were in charge of the refreshment stands. Cake, the product of East Alton ovens, was the big feature. East Alton gained a reputation for progressiveness by completing the big paving project, but last night East Alton gained a reputation for the cake baking ability of its housewives. Big cakes, little cakes, white cakes, pink cakes, all kinds of cakes were for sale. And all the cakes were good glorious examples of the pastry art. And for ten cents a great big slice was given. The firemen, dressed up in brand new blue shirts, with accompanying white ties, were in charge of the refreshment stands, and sold the cakes. Proceeds of the refreshment sales will go toward the fund to provide a truck for the fire department. The speakers included Mayor Jameson, former Mayor Cruse, and John D. McAdams of the Telegraph. Mayor Jameson quit the East Alton band long enough to make the opening speech. He welcomed everyone and urged them all to have a good time. He was followed by former Mayor Cruse, who thanked the members of the village council which voted with him to launch the paving project, he thanked and congratulated Mayor Jameson for carrying out the project and he thanked the people of East Alton for their cooperation. Mr. McAdams congratulated the people of East Alton upon the completion of the paved road. "When this project was brought up in the courts for confirmation, there was not a single objector. East Alton is to be congratulated," Mr. McAdams said. "But East Alton has done more than merely completed a big paving project and has done more than complete another link in the paved road to St. Louis. East Alton has carried out the spirit of public improvement. You have brought contentment and joy to people, who, when they use this road, will never know of the hardships you have endured that it might be a reality." Mr. McAdams then traced the local history of the automobile. "Fourteen years ago," he related, "there were seven automobiles in Alton and two in East Alton. John Vanpreter owned the first car in East Alton. It was a one-lung (one cylinder) International. It did not even have a horn, but it didn't need a horn because it made so much noise. Then James Chessen bought a car, a two-cylinder Buick. This car had a fine nickel-plated horn, but it is said that the horn did no good because you couldn't hear it, either. Now, 4,000 automobiles pass over this road every day. From 2 to 4,000 in 11 years is the growth of the automobile."




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 12, 1921

Four masked bandits at 10:30 a.m. today entered the Illinois State Bank at East Alton, tied one official and forced another to crawl under a table, and escaped with $8,000 in cash in an automobile, held in readiness by a fifth. H. V. Greene, cashier of the bank, estimated the amount taken at $8,000. He said the cash had not been checked up, and he could give no definite figure. All money in the bank, with the exception of a small amount of silver, was taken. The loss is covered by insurance with the Aetna Company. The bandits were in a green automobile. Conflicting reports were heard as to the direction from which the men came. It was said at first that they came from the north and later it was said that the car was an Alton machine. The automobile came through the streets of East Alton at a rapid clip, it stopped in front of the bank and four men jumped out and went into the bank. Three men then pointed _________ [unreadable] the muzzles of the guns through the screen of the cage. One of the bandits came in back of the counter and soon was followed by the other three. Greene was ordered to crawl under a table. He hesitated, and was pushed under the table by one of the bandits. Larton was told to stand close to the wall. One of the bandits pulled the telephone loose and bound him with the wire. One of the bandits carried a wheat sack and in this all cash in sight was thrown. The safe and drawers were rifled. The bandits left checks, and threw aside some War Savings Stamps. Checks were strewn over the floor. The bandits left the bank hurriedly, one of them keeping the officials covered. They climbed into the automobile and speeded away. Posses scoured the surrounding country in search of the bandits. Police officials of surrounding towns and cities were notified to be on the lookout for the bandits. This afternoon no trace of the bandits had been found. The license number of the bandit's car was Missouri 213630. The bank was cleaned of all available funds by the bandits. A messenger was immediately dispatched to Alton to secure funds and at 12 o'clock, an hour and a half after the holdup, the first customer came in and the bank was again doing business. There were no bonds of large denomination in the bank. These are kept in vaults of Alton banks. Mr. Greene, the cashier, was signing a bond when the bandits entered. Mr. Greene, who is an Alton man and who was formerly bookkeeper for the local agency of the Anheuser Busch Brewing Co. of St. Louis, described the holdup to a Telegraph reporter. "I was standing right here signing this bond," Mr. Greene said and pointed to a bond on the counter. "One of the bandits shoved a gun at me through the screen there," and he pointed to the spot. "Two others covered Mr. Larton and me, while a fourth one came in back followed by the other three. I was commanded to get under the table and then shoved under. Mr. Larton was tied with the wire from the telephone not far from me. Then a sack was produced and the cash thrown into it." The bandits left the bank, Mr. Greene said, still covering the officials. The bandits, Mr. Greene said, were all young men, and each, he said, seemed to weigh about 175 to 180 pounds. He expressed the belief that the bandits put on the masks after entering the bank and took them off before leaving. East Alton was stirred by the robbery. The street in front of the bank, St. Louis Road, was crowded and the holdup was the chief topic of conversation. Many wild stories were in circulation, early reports having it that the two officials of the bank were slugged with the butts of revolvers, and that the amount stolen was $30,000, with many bonds included. The Illinois State Bank is the same institution at which a holdup was attempted in the summer of 1919. At that time bandits entered the bank and ordered the cashier, E. F. Zoernig, to throw up his hands. Zoernig, as related in the Telegraph at that time, dropped behind the counter and came up with a revolver in his hands. The bandits were scared off. The Illinois State Bank has a capital stock of $50,000. John M. Olin of the Western Cartridge Co. is president of the bank.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 14, 1921

Search up to noon today had failed to reveal a trace of the five bandits who last Saturday held up and robbed the Illinois State Bank at East Alton. After a daring holdup of officials, the bandits made their escape in a green Essex automobile, bearing a Missouri license tag. The bandits' automobile was seen passing through Wood River and was later sighted on the detour road at Mitchell, headed in the direction of Edwardsville. Although several posses prosecuted the search, and police of cities and towns for many miles around were notified to be on the lookout, the car was not seen after that. The bandits, H. V. Greene, the bank's cashier, said Saturday, were young men, all of them well built. He expressed the opinion that each weighed about 170 or 180 pounds. Four of the bandits entered the bank, and after forcing Mr. Greene to crawl under a table, and tying M. W. Larton, assistant cashier, with wire from a telephone which they tore loose from the wall, placed all cash in sight in a sack, and made their escape in the automobile held in waiting by a fifth. The four who entered the bank were marked. It was said today at the bank that the amount taken by the bandits was $7,736.66. The Telegraph Saturday said the amount secured was about $8,000, quoting Mr. Greene who said the figure at the time would not be definitely determined. It was pointed out that checking up might show a change in the figure. The loot of the bandits was all cash. The bonds of the bank are kept in Alton vaults. The bandits threw aside checks and war savings stamps.



The bank robbers were never captured, although Charles Chessen and Robert Dooling were implicated for the robbery by a private detective agency. Their case was dismissed for lack of evidence. East Alton Mayor Jameson set out to stop the St. Louis "crooks" who were coming into East Alton to "ply their trade." The first order for the mayor's anti-crook campaign was to organize a shotgun squad. The squad was composed of ten men, all capable of handling a shotgun with "telling effect." The mayor also arranged for the installation of a fire and burglar alarm system in East Alton, at the home of each member of the shotgun squad. The mayor vowed to pick up every person who looks suspicious, and he didn't care "a rap who they are."




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 21, 1922

A blast in the corning mill at the plant of the Equitable Powder Co. today caused the death of Edward Owens, aged 37, who was at work in the mill alone when the explosion occurred. The mill building was destroyed and the machinery badly damaged. The explosion occurred just a few minutes before 7 o'clock this morning. Owens had gone to work only a few minutes before it happened. His duty was to feed the big cakes of powder into the mill for them to be ground up. It is the practice in such mills to have one man working there alone. A few months ago, a similar blast occurred in the corning mill and the man in charge of it was killed. The mill had been rebuilt and put into service again. Owens was brought here from a powder plant at Marlow, Ky., to take charge of the job. He was an experienced powder mill hand. He leaves a wife and six children, who did not accompany him to East Alton when he came here to take the job, a month ago. There was in the mill at the time of the explosion about a ton and a half of powder. The explosion shook Alton. Immediately after the explosion, it was distinguished from the blasts across the river which frequently rock this territory, by the great umbrella shaped cloud of smoke which rose and hung suspended over the powder works. The corning mill is a wooden structure covered with sheet iron, and houses machinery in which one of the near final steps in powder making is done. The work is known as dangerous, yet explosions there have not been numerous. The two which have occurred recently are the nearest together in a long time. The one that occurred today will never be explained, and will remain a mystery, just as the preceding one remained. The body of Owens will be taken back to Marlow to the family there. The wife was notified immediately of the death of her husband, and that the body would be brought to her.








Source: The Daily Evening Herald, June 13, 1835

...The [Alton] Spectator adds, that the disease [cholera] prevails, more or less, in various parts of the State, in Edwardsville, in the American bottom, and through the towns on the Illinois River, and St. Louis also has its full share.....




Source: The Alton Telegraph, April 13, 1836

I will offer for sale on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the premises, the following property to wit: one hundred acres of good land, about 40 acres under improvement with an apple orchard of 150 trees of superior fruit, with a highly cultivated garden, the mansion house is spacious, being about 50 feet front, two stories high, 6 rooms in front, situated near the town of Edwardsville in Madison county, Illinois, being the Into [sic] residence of James Mason, deceased; there are several out houses, a good barn, a good well of water and ice house. Also, lots No. 183 and 185 in the town of Edwardsville, lying on Main Street, with a large two story house. All of the above property is sold by the following order from the court of chancery of the March term.  Paris Mason, Attorney, for Sarah Mason, Guardian.  March 19, 1836.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1837

The Fourth of July was celebrated by the citizens of Edwardsville, with appropriate exercises at the Baptist Church. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Darrow of the Episcopal Church of Collinsville. John Adams' letter of the 5th July, 1776, respecting the Declaration of Independence, was read by Mr. Allard. W. E. Starr, Esq., read the Declaration of Independence, and Hon. A. M. Jenkins pronounced an Oration. When the exercises at the church were concluded, the company repaired to a dinner prepared by Mr. C. Hasket in a grove near the church.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1838

For the Telegraph - Mr. Editor: Unfortunately for the first time in my life, I am called upon, through the medium of the public prints, to defend my character as a citizen and honorable man. It is with reluctance I yield to the urgent necessity of coming forward to refute certain low-minded and ungentlemanly attacks upon my reputation, so dear to me and to those connected with me by the ties of relationship, and to every conscientiously honest and honorable man.


I am not called upon as a politician, but come voluntarily before the public as a honorable individual citizen, in defense of a reputation, heretofore unimpeached for honesty and probity in all my intercourse with men, from a foul and wanton slander, falsely and maliciously asserted, and as I understand, fabricated and put in circulation by an individual who lays claim to respectability; which circumstance, however false the report, is calculated to give it some semblance of truth. In order that the public, and all such as may be reached by those reports, may be enable to judge how unfairly I have been treated, it becomes necessary that I should state all the facts out of which the reports originated, together with the infamous charges alleged against me. 


I understand from the most credible authority, and have repeatedly been informed, that Col. Buckmaster has charged me with fraudulently and dishonestly appropriating to my own use property belonging to a deceased prisoner under my charge while jailer of this county. It is of little consequence to me what statements go abroad among those who know me. I have no fears or apprehensions that my character can be prejudiced among that class of citizens who are acquainted with the author of such reports. But if they are circulated to effect selfish and ambitious purposes - if they are the outpourings of a base and malicious heart; and if they are the manifestations of feelings of revenge by a man whose motive too obviously is to cast from himself a charge of a similar or equally dishonest nature, by destroying the fair character of others to effect his own political ends; then I say his designs ought to be unmasked and laid open to the world.


In the fall of the year 1836, and while I had charge of the jail in this place [Edwardsville], a man by the name of Williams was arrested for theft, carried from Alton here, and placed under my charge in confinement. He was taken sick on the same night, which I think was Wednesday, and died on Saturday succeeding. I had no opportunity of an interview with him after he was taken sick before he died; but after his death was told by the other three prisoners in the same cell with him, that when he first was taken sick he expressed a fear that he should die, and repeatedly told them that when he should die he wished me to have him respectably buried, and after defraying that and all other expenses attending his sickness, he wished the balance, if any, to go to me. It was ascertained after his death that the whole amount of money he had in his possession was but $25, and no other property but his wearing apparel, much worn, worth not to exceed $12 in all. The amount I paid out of my own pocket for necessaries, and all things attending his sickness, including the burial, was to Dr. Stark $10 for medical attendance; Mr. Gibson for coffin $6; Isaac Prickett for burial clothes, &c., $8; and the services of others for digging grave and attendance in sickness $11.25; making in all $35.25, besides my own trouble and services, which I have never received anything for from the public fund. In the spring of 1837, Jacob Smith, while here attending court in the May term, informed me that the man who died at the jail in the fall had left property at his house consisting of a pair of saddlebags, a pistol and two coats - one a homespun coat, much worn, and the other a broadcloth coat, half worn. Smith then informed me that he had not been paid for his services as constable in arresting and taking the prisoner to jail, and proposed that as I had not been fully compensated for my services and expense, that he should take the saddlebags and pistol and send me the coats, which he accordingly did.


The above statements can all be corroborated by the persons alluded to. I have considered myself no more than reasonably compensated by what I received of money and property. And it may perhaps be still more satisfactory to the public to state that a brother of the deceased has since called on me, and after hearing the above facts stated, and adjusting my accounts with him, expressed himself fully satisfied that I had no more than been paid, and poorly paid, for my services and expense. This interview was witnessed by James Willson, the present jailer, and by him will be corroborated. These are all the facts connected with the charge, every iota of which I am ready and willing to prove when called upon to do so. These ignominious charges are degrading to the dignity of the man who uttered them, and wholly uncalled for from Col. Buckmaster. He has done me great injustice, inasmuch as he has shown that he has been actuated by a spirit of revenge, prompted by mistaken information that I was the author of a report calculated to blacken deeply his own honor, and tarnish his reputation for honesty.  Signed Thomas R. Willson, Edwardsville, July 25th, 1838.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, April 3, 1840

The Madison County Harrison Convention to be held at Edwardsville, Monday, April 6, 1840. The Upper Alton, Monticello, and Alton Delegations will assemble on State Street, on Monday morning at six o'clock precisely; when a procession will be formed under the direction of Geo. T. M. Davis, as Marshal of the day; and Joseph Gordon, William B. Little, Calvin Riley, John C. Young, and Henry C. Caswell, as Assistant Marshals. Marshal of the Day. Citizens on Horseback. Upper Alton Delegation. Ship - North Bend. Music. Monticello Delegation. Alton Delegation. Drays! Wagons. Carriages, and other vehicles. Citizens generally. Banners and other insignia will be arranged by the Marshal. By order of the committee. Alton, April 3, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1841

We confess we have been much surprised at the apathy which has been exhibited by the people of that rich and flourishing county, in relation to their public buildings at Edwardsville, the county seat. The courthouse and jail have long been a reproach, and we perceive that the Alton Telegraph has an excellent editorial article upon this subject, urging on immediate improvement. When we have had occasion to visit the beautiful village of Edwardsville, and noticed the many improvements which have been lately made by private citizens, the courthouse square has forcibly reminded us of the anecdote of the Illinois backwoodsman, who stood within the door of is roofless cabin diligently and complacently amusing himself with a fiddle, under the peltings of a severe storm. When the stranger, who happened to be passing by asked, "Why, my lazy fellow, do you stand there fiddling without a roof over your head?" "Oh my good sir," he replied, "When it rains it is too wet to work upon it, and in dry weather I have no need of it." Those shabby, ill-contrived public buildings at Edwardsville cannot be changed while the court is in session, and when closed, the inconvenience is not realized. We trust that none of the inhabitants of this vicinity will have occasion to taste the fruits of any improvement of courthouses or jails, either in Madison or any other county. But we do hope that all may feel sufficient interest in the good town of Edwardsville to induce, if possible, some decided action in procuring this improvement.  Signed by the Grafton Phoenix.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 19, 1842

It will be observed by a notice in another column that a "Temperance House," for the accommodation of travelers and the public in general, has been recently opened in the neighboring town of Edwardsville, the seat of justice for this county, by Mr. C. Roberts. Not having visited Edwardsville since the opening of this house, we are unable to speak of its accommodations from personal observation, but we learn from authentic sources that it well deserves the patronage of the friends of Temperance and good order.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1843

The ladies and gentlemen of Edwardsville and vicinity are respectfully informed that "Old Jake," the great Indian hunter of the West, will address them on the Fourth of July next, at the courthouse in that place; when he will relate to them some of the thrilling and trying scenes through which he has passed in his solitary rambles through the Rocky Mountains and head waters of the Missouri. Also, the particulars of the fight between himself and the great and fierce Chief of the Blackfoot tribe, whom he conquered after a long and bloody conflict. He will also describe the country with all of its advantages with which he is well acquainted. Ladies and gents! Turn out and hear the old warrior, for he is both amusing and interesting. Turn out and hear the old veteran.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1843

The grand jury of this county, during the present term of our circuit court, presented the jail and courthouse as a public nuisance. They also strenuously urged certain improvements in regard to the jail, which the public safety of the prisoners absolutely requires. We hope the Clerk of the Circuit Court will comply with our request, and furnish us with a copy of this presentment for publication. Every citizen of Madison should see and read it, and then determine whether they will longer permit one of the most populous, enterprising, and wealthy counties in the state, such as 'Old Madison,' is know to be, to rest longer under the well-merited imputation of having not only the meanest public buildings in the whole state, but such ones as jeopardize the health of all who are compelled to remain in them in discharge of their duty. His Honor, Judge Shields, upon the reception of the presentment from the Grand Jury, remarked that he was gratified they had brought the subject to the notice of the court, and through the court to the public; and that he sincerely hoped, for the credit of the county, it would have the effect of arousing the commissioners at the next term of their court, to take some prompt and efficient steps towards remedying the evils complained of in their presentment.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 11, 1843

The committee beg leave to state that they have discharged the duties assigned to them according to the best of their ability, and they would present the courthouse and the jail as a disgrace to so large and respectable a county as the county of Madison. But in the present embarrassed condition of the county in general, and the low estimate put upon our county orders, we are of the opinion that it is inexpedient to make any repairs upon the courthouse at present. But we would recommend that some considerable repairs should be done to the jail. In the first place, to take up the floor in the south cell, and in lieu thereof, to procure seasoned timber, not less than eight inches square, and after first filling up the hole through which the prisoners recently made their escape, with suitable stone prepared for that purpose, to joint said timbers and lay the floor with them. In the second place, to procure a flag rock, eight feet long, four feet wide, and not less than six inches thick, and sink said flag at least three feet in the ground at the end of the jail, in order to prevent the digging out as before. In the third place, to take off the ceiling from said cell, and joint the plank well and put the same back so as to make the joints tight and spike them securely. In the fourth place, to procure large pots of copper, or some other metal, with lids and handles, for the prisoners to use, which may be taken out by the keeper without danger or stench. And in the fifth place, to cut a door through the wall in the front room upstairs on the south side, and to erect a small piazza with a flight of steps to the ground, for the benefit of the keeper and his family, as in the present arrangement, we are of the opinion they are in danger both from the prisoners and from fire. And we would also recommend the walling up of the well dug upon the square by James Willson, and we are of the opinion that said Willson should be remunerated or reimbursed for the money which he has laid out in digging said well. We are satisfied that the prisoners are well kept. All of which is respectfully submitted.  Signed by H. Arthur, Chairman, William G. Pinckard, William B. Penny, Moses G. Atwood, Foreman, William L. Harrison, Stephen Johnson, William Otwell, Jacob Kinder, John G. Jarvis, Matthew C. Garey, Isaac Renfro, William Kell, James Glenn, G. B. Woolbridge, Lewis J. Clawson, Charles Trumbull, Henry Morrison, and Edward Norton.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 25, 1845

Two men named William W. Pulliam and John Smith, alias John Anderson, were apprehended on Monday night at their lodgings, about 17 miles east of Edwardsville, by our active and vigilant Sheriff Andrew Miller, Esq., under the following circumstances. Some time in the course of the day, having taken dinner at different houses in the vicinity of Edwardsville, and had their horses shod at a blacksmith's shop, they offered payment in every instance, even where the sum due amounted to a few cents only, in bills of the Northern Bank of Kentucky of the denomination of one dollar, under the pretense that they had no smaller money, while at the same time they took care to pocket the change. This course having become know, exciled suspicion, and the bills, upon being compared with those known to be genuine, were at once discovered to be spurious. The Sheriff immediately set off in pursuit, accompanied by Messrs. John F. Gillham, Uzzell Suers, and C. C. Gillham, and came up with them at a late hour in the night, at the houses where they had put up, and took both of them into custody. They had both retired to rest, when Mr. Miller arrived and offered him no resistance. Nothing of a suspicious nature was found about Smith, except a large and sharp, but coarsely-made bowie knife, the blade of which is thickly covered with spots resembling blood. But as Pulliam was getting up, the Sheriff discovered under the bedclothes, and promptly secured $144 in bills precisely similar to those they had passed in the neighborhood of Edwardsville. Among their effects were a few dollars in silver, probably the proceeds of their operations during the day. They were immediately taken back to Edwardsville, and committed to the county jail to answer for the offense with which they stand charged, before our Circuit Court, which commences its fall session on Monday next.


These men are both young. Pulliam, with whom the money was found, was genteelly, and the other coarsely, dressed. When putting up for the night or stopping to take refreshments or to transact their peculiar business, they did not appear together, probably to elude suspicion, and when taken, pretended to be unacquainted, but when on the road, they traveled in company. Pulliam rode a dark bay horse, six or seven years old, something over fifteen hands high, all four feet white, a star in his forehead inclining towards the left eye, some white spots on the near side of his back; and was provided with a good saddle, covered with a black sheepskin, and a bridle and martingal nearly new. The other had a chestnut sorrel stallion, supposed to be nine or ten years old, about fifteen hands high, heavy made, both hind feet white, some white about the pastern joints, and a small star in the forehead; and had an old saddle, bridle, martingal, and halter. Both horses are low in flesh, and supposed to have been stolen. They are now in the possession of the Sheriff, who will detain them until severally claimed by their owners, or proved to belong to the prisoners.


The bills found in Pulliam's bed, as well as those passed by both the men, are all exactly alike, and very well executed. They bear the date of May 4, 1844, are payable at the Lexington Branch of the Northern Bank of Kentucky, to D. Boon or order, Letter C, with the name of M. T. Scott, Cashier, evidently engraved on the plate. The engraving is somewhat coarse, and the paper shorter than that of the genuine bills, as well as inferior in quality, but it requires a pretty close examination to detect the difference. In reply to the questions put to them by their landlords and others, the men stated that they had been on a visit to Nauvoo or the vicinity, and were on their way back to Kentucky. Much credit is certainly justly due to Sheriff Miller and his assistants for their capture.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 26, 1847

By request of your honorable body, I hereby submit to you the following statistics of the poor house of Madison County in Edwardsville, from its establishment, January 1, 1844, to the present time - a period of three years and two months. There have been admitted into said house, and received medical treatment, since its establishment, 23 of intermitting fever, 17 of bilious fever, 15 of chills and fever, 13 of primary or secondary syphilis, 8 of pneumonia, 6 of congestive fever, 0 of typhus fever, 4 of fever sores, 4 of diarrhea, 4 of dropsy, 4 of paralysis, 4 of rheumatism, 3 of neuralgia, 3 of dyspepsia, 3 of scrofula, 2 of convulsions, 2 of epithalamia, 2 of hypochondria, 1 of nasal hemorrhage, 1 of powder burn, and 1 of cancer of the stomach - in all 126. Of these, 83 were males and 43 females; 71 were Americans, 19 Germans, 14 Irish, 12 English, 5 Norwegians, 3 Africans, 1 Swiss, and 1 Italian.


In consequence of the inundation of the American Bottom in 1844-5, several families were compelled to resort to the poor house, which very much increased the number of the American paupers. Since January 1, 1846, there have been received into the poor house 23 foreigners and 17 Americans, which is about the usual average. Of the whole number of paupers above mentioned, 15 were under ten years of age; over ten and under twenty, 24; over twenty and under thirty, 26; over thirty and under forty, 19; over forty and under fifty, 25; over fifty and under sixty, 12; over sixty, 5.


There have been in the house fifteen deaths - 2 of pneumonia, 2 of congestive fever, 2 of dropsy, 2 of diarrhea, 2 of intermitting fever, 1 of syphilis, 1 of scrofula, 1 of cancer of stomach, 1 of paralysis, and 1 of convulsions.  105 have been discharged, and 6 are yet under medical treatment in the house. Most of those who died were received into the house in the last stage of their disease, some living only one or two days after their arrival, and little or no medical relief could be given them. since the March term of the County Court 1846, forty-three different persons have been supported in the poor house, some for a longer, and some a shorter length of time - making in all 2,496 days, nearly 7 on an average for the whole year. As far as I can ascertain, at least one half of the whole number of paupers received into the poor house have been brought to their dependence, directly or indirectly, by intoxicating drinks.


There have been some complaints relative to diet in the poor house, and here I deem it due to the Superintendent to say, that I have found it very difficult to restrain patients in a convalescent state, from over eating, and thereby causing relapses. Many are not satisfied if they are not permitted to indulge freely in any article of food they desire. A bill of diet was made out two years ago, under the direction of the County Commissioners, and approved by them, and since sanctioned by the new Commissioners, and to which the Superintendent has strictly adhered, unless restricted by myself to patients under medical treatment, and as individuals are not permitted to remain at the house long after they have recovered their health, there is, of course, but a short time that anyone can be indulged in the free use of food with impunity, and I am confident that this is the whole ground of complaint, though intended for the gest good of the individuals.


I am, gentlemen, respectfully yours, John H. Weir, Physician to the Poor House, Edwardsville, March 1, 1847.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 11, 1846

On Saturday morning last, at an early hour, three men named Ford, Holly, and White, confined in one of the cells of the jail at Edwardsville in this county, to await their trial at the next term of the Madison Circuit Court, made a desperate attempt to effect their escape, which was very near being successful. It seems that while the jailer, Mr. Yates, with two assistants, was engaged in cleaning out the cells, Ford suddenly knocked one of the latter down, and picking up a stick of wood, immediately struck at the head of the former. Mr. Yates parried the blow with his hand, which was pretty badly cut, and fired at his assailant from a revolving pistol, with which he happened to be provided, but Ford, contriving to throw up the barrel, remained uninjured. In the meantime, Holly sprang to the aid of Ford and attacked Yates, while White, their comrade, rushed towards the door. But instead of profiting by the opportunity thus afforded him for making his escape, he became alarmed and returned to the cell, where he hid himself under the bed. The jailer's second assistant, a colored man and a cripple, took no part in the conflict, but ran off to give the alarm, leaving Mr. Yates to content alone with Ford and Holly, who dealt him some severe blows and prevented him from using his pistol with effect, but fortunately did him no serious injury. Finally, after a severe contest, they succeeded in reading the door and made off. Mr. Yates followed and fired at and wounded Holly, just as he left the jail, who fell, but immediately recovering himself, continued to run, as also did his companion. The jailer started in pursuit, and following Ford, who happened to be the hindmost, finally came up with him, knocked him down and secured him. By this time the alarm had been given, but Holly, being then out of sight, was not overtaken. He continued running for some time, till discovering that he was wounded, and gradually becoming exhausted, he stopped at Mr. Edmund Fruitt's, about five miles from Edwardsville, and surrendered himself. Upon being brought back and examined by a surgeon, it was discovered that the ball from Mr. Yates' pistol had taken effect in his back, below the shoulder blade, and , it is supposed, penetrated into the body, as it has not yet been extracted and may cause his death. He is under arrest on the charge of stealing money from some person in this place a few months since. Ford, his accomplice, and the projector of the attempt, is an old offender, having recently completed a term of service in the Penitentiary. The jailer, Mr. Yates, deserves much credit for the gallantry and coolness he displayed in resisting alone the desperate efforts of these two ruffians, both of whom are much stouter men than himself. His first assistant, Mr. Hilliard, did not recover in season to take part in the struggle, but was able to close the door after Mr. Yates had started in pursuit of Ford and Holly, and thus prevented the other prisoners from effecting their escape.




[During the Mexican-American War]

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1846

We understand that a full company of volunteers has been raised in Edwardsville, and was organized on Tuesday last by the election of the following gentlemen as its officers:  Messrs. Erastus Wheeler, Captain; George W. Prickett, First Lieutenant; and Joel Foster, Second Lieutenant. Captain Wheeler is an old and experienced officer, having served in the same capacity during the last war with Great Britain. A third company, we learn, is fast filling up in the eastern part of the county, and a fourth is in progress of enrollment in Alton. When these companies shall all be organized, which will probably be in the course of a few days, "Old Madison" will have furnished nearly 400 men, or about one out of every ten of her male population over twenty years of age, to aid in the defense of the country, and the vindication of the national honor. Will any county in the state exceed or even equal this?




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 3, 1852

Yesterday afternoon, seven prisoners, confined in the county jail at Edwardsville, escaped, being all that were there confined. Two prisoners of one cell tore their bedding into a rope, and by throwing the end, to which a book was attached, out of the hole for ventilation over the cell door, which caught and drew up the bar across the door, and then, by punching off the lock of the door, they got into the hall. Then using the bar of the door, they opened the other cells. The prisoners assembled in the hall, and when the jailor came in to feed them, they made a rush and escaped. Two of them were soon caught in the woods west of Edwardsville, but the remaining five are at large. We get these facts very late, and may not be exactly correct. Further particulars tomorrow. [The next day's paper was missing.  The Madison County jail was a log cabin, located in the 1200 block of North Main Street in Edwardsville.]




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 9, 1853

Edwardsville, August 31, 1853 - "Mr. Editor - After supper last evening, quite a commotion was excited by the discovery that a fine, young and high-spirited horse belonging to Gov. Koerner had disappeared from the hotel stable, and various conjectures were hazarded as to whether it had strayed, or was feloniously taken. All who had horses ran to the stable to see if their property was safe, when it was discovered that a venerable roadster belonging to the junior editor of the Telegraph was left in the stable, although it was known that the young man had departed for Alton an hour or so previous. Further inquiry elicited the fact that he had gone to the stable with the hostler, selected the horse himself, and was so occupied with his pleasant thoughts, that he did not discover he had exchanged an "old fogy," capable of three miles an hour, for one of the "Young America" stamp, capable of ten miles, without 'blowing.' After a good deal of consultation as to what ought to be done under these alarming circumstances, it was finally determined to organize a self-constituted tribunal and try the young man; whereupon, Esq. Arthur of Six Mile, was unanimously elected judge, William H. Turner of Alton, clerk, L. B. Sidway of the same place, sheriff, and Martin T. Kurtz of Collinsville public prosecutor. The defendant not being present, the court appointed John H. Shipman, Esq., to defend him, and at once proceeded to examine witnesses. One witness thought he was excusable, on account of the large amount of money he had collected. Another thought his mind was entirely engrossed by the City Election. Another thought he was cogitating how to save the present County Court - but the majority of the witnesses thought he was in love with some young lady, and one intimated that he knew such to be the fact. After an elaborate argument in which the books, recent cases not reported, and personal experience were freely quoted, the jury retired, and after an anxious season of deliberation, returned into court the following verdict: 'We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of the latest case of absence of mind, but, on account of its being caused by love, we recommend him to the mercy of the Court.' The verdict was received with marked sensation, the young men particularly feeling very much relieved. One of them, D. Gillespie, Esq., paid a high tribute to the good sense displayed by the jury, in an exordium prompted by the excitement of the occasion. His Honor, Judge Arthur, then arose, and putting on that black beaver, honored as an emblem of judicial authority, and a constant terror to the evil-doers of the Bottom for the last fifty years, proceeded to pronounce upon the defendant - who had in the meantime been brought into Court - the extreme sentence of the law. The sentence was solemn and impressive, and delivered in the following words: 'Wretched young man! You have done the deed! - and now you see what you have come to. But for the merciful recommendation of the jury, there is no telling what I should have done. Have you nothing to say for yourself? what! - nothing! Listen then wretched youth while the sovereign people through me do speak. The judgment of this Court is that you be taken to the place from whence you came. That you are no judge of democratic horse-flesh. That you pay the expenses of this Court, amounting to a half bushel of peaches. That you marry the girl who has caused all this trouble, and may the Lord have mercy on your soul!' The Rev. John Gibson of Troy, who was present and watched the proceedings with great interest, immediately stepped forward to the prisoner, and offered his services, remarking, by way of consolation, that he ought to be thankful that the Court had not condemned him to marry a woman with half a dozen children, in whose origin he had no agency."




Source: The Evening Chronicle, Syracuse, New York, July 26, 1854

A drove of sheep numbering eleven thousand head passed through Edwardsville, Illinois, on the 8th inst.  They were from the state of Tennessee, and are to be wintered in Missouri, when they will be driven to Salt Lake.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1857

Yesterday, between nine and ten o'clock a.m., sentence of death was pronounced upon Robert Sharpe, George W. Sharpe and John Johnson, for the murder, on the 12th inst., of Jacob Barth. The sentence is that between the hours of ten o'clock a.m. and six o'clock p.m., on the 19th day of June, proxime, the prisoners are to be hanged by the neck until they are dead.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 25, 1857

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Source: The New York Times, June 28, 1857

The trial in the case of the People vs Gipson, Barber and Watson, for the murder of Jacob Borrk, was closed, and the case given to the Jury at 8 1/4 o'clock yesterday evening. After being out just forty minutes, the Jury returned and rendered a verdict of "Guilty!" Mr. Sawyer entered a motion for a new trial, which after argument, was allowed by the Court. The Germans from Highland and vicinity, and other friends of the deceased, were very much incensed in consequence of the new trial being granted, and the attack from the mob, for the purpose of seizing the prisoners and hanging them, in Judge Lynch's summary manner, was confidently expected last night or today.


Upon hearing of the gathering of a mob in Edwardsville for the purpose of administering summary punishment to the three murderers of Baird [note: above paragraph spelled the name Borrk], and of the likelihood that they might be arraigned before the Court of Judge Lynch, we dispatched one of our assistants to the scene of action for the purpose of gathering all the particulars of events as the occurred. It appears that several hundred of the citizens of the southeastern part of this county, friends and acquaintances of the deceased, hearing that the prisoners were about to take a change of venue, determined to take them from the jail and hang them without trial. This body of men was composed principally of Germans, fellow countrymen of the murdered man, and were led on by two men named Smiley and Savage. Between ten and eleven o'clock Monday, the mob entered the town from the south on horses, in wagons, and on foot to the number of four hundred. The leaders and some of the other members of the gang bearing red and black flags, with which they marshaled on their blood thirsty companions. As soon as Sheriff Job received intelligence of their approach, he proceeded to take steps for the protection of the jail. He had placed some twenty or thirty men in and about the jail, and provided them with such arms as could be procured, when the mob made a rush towards the building, headed by the leaders, Smiley and Savage, who each bore a flag. When the two leaders had approached as near as it was thought proper they should, the officers and some of the citizens who had resolved to sustain the law at all hazards, headed by Sheriff Job, rushed upon and unhorsed them, taking from them their flags and their arms. Several others of those foremost in the ranks were unhorsed. This determined and bold action appeared to intimidate the remainder to some extent, though threats were still made and continued for a number of hours (the mob neither advancing nor retreating), during which time speeches were made by Messrs. Gillespie, Metcalf, Job and others, in English, and Mr. Krafft in German. These speeches appeared to have a good effect, for soon after, the threats of the rioters began to be less frequent and less savage, and in half an hour the whole gang had left town.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, June 12, 1869

Major Ninian Edwards, of Springfield, Ill., is preparing for the press a volume entitled "The Life and Times of Governor, Ninian Edwards." It will give a history of Illinois from 1789 up to the year of the Governor's death, in 1833. [Note: Edwardsville is named for Ninian Edwards]




Source: The New York Times, November 16, 1869

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Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, October 27, 1870

Daniel B. Gillham - This gentleman, who was nominated by the late Democratic convention for representative to the General Assembly, was born in this county in 1826, and is consequently 44 years of age - the prime of manhood. His father came from South Carolina to Madison County in 1802, and devoted the whole of his life to the pursuit of agriculture, from which he amassed a considerable fortune. The subject of this notice received a fair education and by perseverance and industry has risen to prominent notoriety as a successful agriculturalist and horticulturalist. He has been a member of the State Board of Agriculture for the last four years, and was re-elected by acclamation, at the last meeting, to serve two years longer. Mr. Gillham is just the man to send to Springfield the coming winter, and the party did wisely in nominating him. Always a Democrat, always working for the good of the agricultural community, he is just the man for the place. Col. C. F. Rodgers and Theodor Miller are equally worthy of the support of the Democratic party.




Source: Utica, New York Daily Observer, July 29, 1872

The Bots Newspaper, Edwardsville, Ill., a German newspaper, and Republican strong, hoists the banner of Greeley and Brown at their masthead.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1880

From Edwardsville, Ill., Aug. 29 - The mysterious disappearance yesterday morning of Joseph P. Seip, the eight year old son of Nicholas Seip, one of Edwardsville's prominent German citizens, still continues to be the main subject of conversation. The only theory advanced by parties working on the case is that he was kidnapped by a band of movers who were camped on the roadside, about midway between here and his home.




Source: Canton, New York St. Lawrence Plain Dealer, 1887-1890

The Kohler Brothers mill and several other buildings were destroyed by fire at Edwardsville, Ill.




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Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 2, 1892

Last night about 9 o'clock the Cincinnati Night Express on the Big Four, going east, met with an accident at Edwardsville Crossing that was most disastrous in its results. At the time mentioned, the train, which runs at a very high rate of speed, ran through an open switch at the Crossing, causing the death of the engineer and fireman, and the probably fatal injury of a tramp who was riding on the front of the mail car. His name is Samuel Cosgrove of Newport, Kentucky.  When the engine ran onto the switch, it plunged into a string of freight cars, smashing them and the engine badly. The engine then veered to the west and crossed another sidetrack, pulling it up and dragging it to one side, torn and distorted. A telegraph pole was in the way, and this went off like it was a straw. On the engine went, until it struck the ditch on the right of the C. & A. track. Here it overturned, and was rendered a mass of old iron.  Wheels were distributed around in all directions. The trucks of freight cars were knocked out. The cab was rendered into kindling. No one could have recognized that the boiler and the heap of ruins was once a model locomotive. The mail car, dismantled and stone in, was tilted in the air across the main track of the Big Four. The baggage car was thrown in almost the same position across the Alton track. In this car was a valuable horse belonging to F. D. Comstock. When the crash came, none of the occupants of these cars were hurt, strange as it may seem, and when the cars stopped, the horse walked out as if accustomed to such performances. The baggage car was stove up, but was not so badly injured as the other cars. None of the passengers were hurt. The engineer and fireman were buried under the wreck of the engine, but they were dead before the monster came on them. As the engine started to plunge, Engineer Edward Hoffman, who was in charge of the train, was struck on the left side of the head and then badly scalded, resulting in his death. Fireman W. A. Barrett was also instantly killed, having one side of his head completely torn off. Both bodies were brought to this city, and prepared for burial by Undertaker Howell, and were this morning shipped to Mattoon, the homes of the deceased. Engineer Hoffman is about 44 or 45 years of age, and has a family living in Mattoon. He was a member of the Masonic order, being a Knight Templar. The fireman, Bartlett, was a young man, only 23 years of age. It is supposed that the switch was left open by a freight train which had preceded the wrecked train. The tramp, who had both limbs badly crushed and was otherwise injured, was brought here and placed in St. Joseph's Hospital. He is so badly hurt that there is but little hope of his recovery. The wreck, which consisted of the engine and mail car of the passenger train and the box cars into which the train ran, was scattered over both the Big Four and C. & A. tracks, delaying the Chicago and Kansas City mail trains of the latter road several hours. Work on the wreckage began at once and continued all night and a good portion of today.




Source: The New York Times, October 1, 1897

While the miners employed in the Madison Coal Company's shafts at Edwardsville, Ill., were going to work today, they were attacked by a mob of strikers, who were influenced by thirty or more women sympathizers. The strikers threw stones and cayenne pepper and beat their opponents with clubs, but no shots were fired, and nobody was killed. One miner, however, had his skull crushed and numerous others were cut and bruised. A clerk of the Madison Coal Company was blinded by pepper. The strikers far outnumbered the workers, who were guarded by a force of Deputy Sheriffs on their way to the mine. T. W. McCune, a Deputy Sheriff in the escorting posse, was disarmed and dragged to one side, where a crowd of irate strikers beat him with their fists and clubs until he was almost unconscious. Though heavily armed, the Sheriff's officers took their drubbing without making any attempt to use their guns. They were outnumbered ten to one, but they fought with their fists. Had a shot been fired, the consequences would have been fearful, as the strikers were frenzied. The miners, who fought as best they could with their tin dinner pails, were finally allowed to go to work. After the attack the strikers and the women formed in line and marched through the streets of Edwardsville, shouting and singing. No arrests were made. The riot resulted from a partially successful effort to work the Madison Mines. The delegation from Glen Carbon brought thirty women with them, and these were the leaders in the riot. It is rumored that more strikers will reach here during the night to help intimidate the non-union men. Superintendent Glass of the mines said today that the force of deputies would be increased tomorrow to a number sufficient to protect the miners, and that the workers would be escorted to the mines in safety.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1900

The Madison County Circuit Court was the scene of a sensational knockout fight this morning between Judge A. W. Hope and Ansel Brown of the Edwardsville Democrat. The case of Henry Brueggeman vs. the Mayor and the City Council of Alton was being tried when the fight occurred, a short recess having been taken to allow time for the bailiff to go out of court for a prisoner. The court had just decided that the answer of the city to the allegations of the plaintiffs in the case were good, holding that the exception of the plaintiffs to the answer were not good. Judge Hope took part in the conduct of the city's side of the case to assist the Corporation Counselor, saying that he was personally interested in the case and desired to take part.  Brown was talking to the court stenographer and Judge Hartzell had left the courtroom for a few minutes, until the witness summoned could be brought into court. While Brown was talking to the stenographer, Ed Scheer, Judge Hope crossed the courtroom and struck the editor a stinging blow in the face that knocked Brown down. He jumped to his feet quickly and was after his assailant, but was unequal to the task of defending himself against the rain of blows of the Judge. Brown went down again and Judge Hope was on top, raining blows on the face and head of his victim. Dick Mudge, secretary for Judge Burroughs, attempted to separate the two men and received a blow in the face that was aimed by Judge Hope at Brown. Bystanders interfered and the two men were separated before either could inflict severe bodily injury to the other. The feeling between the two men has been very bitter several years, they being representatives of the opposing factions of the Democratic party in this county. Brown has been the sharpest critic the Judge has had in his political career, and the bitterest invective has been hurled at the Judge through the columns of the Democrat. Brown has interested himself to a remarkable degree in the fight on the Alton City court, and by his attacks on it has stirred up the bitterest feeling toward himself in the friends of the Alton Court. It was Brown who took out an injunction to restrain the county board paying the grand jury and petit jury warrants, and he has at all times been a most active partisan in opposing anything that pertained to Judge Hope. The story told by Judge Hope regarding the fight is that it was provoked by Brown whom he said was talking about him to Ed Scheer. Brown denies that he was saying anything about the Judge, notwithstanding what he might have thought. The fight caused great excitement in the courtroom. The injunction case was laid over until another suit had been disposed of, and it was thought it would come up this afternoon and would be tried on its merits.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 8, 1900

The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association has purchased from McClure Bros. the piece of property on Front and Alby street where their shop was located. The old building is being torn down and it is supposed the new owners intend to erect a building upon the property. The McClure's and their father had occupied the old carpenter shop 35 years. They are erecting a new shop on Ninth street, between Langdon and Ninth. The price paid for the lot was $1,600.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 31, 1901

The prisoners confined in the county jail, including five murderers, made a desperate effort to escape Friday night. They had previously demolished their iron beds and supplied themselves with the heavy pieces of iron, intending to knock the jailer in the head when he opened the door to lock them up, and make a rush for liberty. The cells are locked from the outside by levers, there being only one door leading to the jail proper. The prisoners in the upper tier of cells had been locked, when the jailer's young son happened to notice one of the prisoners standing by the door with a bar of iron in his hand, looking through a small hole. Assistance was summoned, but it required several hours to get at the prisoners. The iron railing at the side windows was finally cut away and men stationed at each with rifles, when the door was opened and the officers and others, with drawn revolvers, rushed in an secured the prisoners. The electric light wires had been cut by them previously, and the jail was in total darkness. Much excitement was occasioned by the attempt to escape, and the jail was surrounded by hundreds of men. The attempt to escape was led by Johnston, the murderer of James Ryburn, and the plot was overheard by Miss Catherine Hotz, the jailer's daughter, who informed her father.




Source: Auburn, New York Weekly Bulletin, April 21, 1903

Edwardsville, Ill.. April 21. - Rural telephone service made It possible for two farmers to call an armed posse in a short time to hunt down thieves who had plundered their farmhouses, and after a chase two suspects were overtaken in a buggy. In the fight that followed Frank Charles of Mobile, Ala., one of the supposed robbers, was fatally wounded by Charles Glass, a farmer. The other man left the buggy when his companion was shot and escaped after the posse had followed him three miles. Charles Glass and Henry Hendricks were the men whose houses had been entered. When they discovered their loss they immediately notified the nearest constable and their neighbors, who responded at once, all heavily armed. Among the things stolen was a tent. It was known the raiders had escaped in a buggy, and the trail was a hot one. The posse overtook a buggy, on the outside of which a tent was strapped. There were two men in the vehicle. They were ordered to surrender, but laughingly refused to do so. Glass removed a shotgun from the buggy and one of the pair drew a revolver and fired at Constable L. J. Lawrence of East Alton, who returned the fire. Neither shot was effective. Glass then fired the shotgun and struck the man in the buggy in the jaw. The other man then escaped.


Alton Evening Telegraph, April 21, 1903

In speaking of the robber wounded by Constable Jack Lawrence of East Alton, near Wanda Sunday, and who was taken to the county hospital at Edwardsville for treatment, the Intelligencer of that place says: "The greater part of his lower jaw was carried away cleanly by the charge of shot and the throat was torn. There is scarcely and support for the tongue, and the man's condition is regarded as dangerous. That view of it is not taken by him, however. At 10 o'clock this morning he surprised Superintendent John Ost by demanding the morning papers. Then he got out of bed and rolled a cigarette, and although he has scarcely enough of a mouth to handle the latter, seemed to get some enjoyment out of it. He is described as the gamest patient in the hospital. The man's identity is not clear. Last night when he could not talk, he replied to questions as to who he was by scrawling on a sheet of paper, "Frank Charles, Mobile, Ala., age 19 years." Later he told the doctor his name was James Edward, but the initials tattooed on his arm are "J. I. B."


Alton Evening Telegraph, April 24, 1903

Frank Charles, the robber dangerously wounded last Sunday by Constable Jack Lawrence of East Alton, is recovering at the county hospital and Sheriff Crowe will remove him to the sick ward in the county jail. The wounded man says his name is not "Charles," but that no one will ever know his real name. He says he is a "black sheep," and that his family will never know how black.


[NOTES:  Charles Glass and Henry Hendricks were well-known farmers who lived south of East Alton, off of the Old St. Louis Road. The robbers fled south, and were overtaken near Wanda, in the Hartford area. I could find no further information on Frank Charles, the robber who was shot, or on the robber that got away. He was probably never caught.]




Source: Utica, New York Herald Dispatch, March 18, 1903

March 18. - Dr. A. B. McKee, a leading physician of Madison county, and his twin brother, Charles, committed suicide together in in the stable of Dr. McKee's residence, in Edwardsville. The two brothers were found side by side yesterday. It is not known at what time Dr. McKee and his brother took the poison, but the general impression is that they went into the stable during the night. Going to one of the stalls they reclined upon a bed of straw -and then, swallowed the poison. The double suicide has created a profound sensation here, coming as It does on the heels of another sensation in which Dr. McKee was the central figure. Dr. McKee was to have appeared in court next Saturday to answer a charge preferred by Miss Emma Rowekamp, a servant employed in the residence of Charles Otter, of Edwardsville. Dr. McKee and his brother were close companions. One theory advanced is that Dr. McKee told his brother that he intended to kill himself, and that rather than be separated Charles also agreed to join him. Dr. McKee was thirty-eight years old. He leaves a widow and one child. He enjoyed a large practice. Charles McKee. his brother, was formerly a traveling salesman, but lately had been helping his brother as an office assistant. He seemed to feel the disgrace of his brother's arrest almost as much as if he were the accused party. Mrs. McKee is prostrated over the tragedy.



Source:  The New York Times, New York, March 7, 1905
Victory Bateman Burned in Hotel.   Actress Nearly Lost Her Life in Hotel Fire. condition Serious.
St. Louis, Mo., March 6. -- Miss Victory Bateman, an actress, narrowly escaped burning to death in a fire at the Leland Hotel in Edwardsville, Ill., today. It is said to-night she is in a precarious condition. Miss Bateman was visiting friends in the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" company which is under the management of Oscar Dane and played in Edwardsville tonight. Miss Bateman was with Mr. Dane in a stock company of which the latter was manager and intended to watch the rehearsal at the Tuxhorn Opera House this afternoon. She had gone to her room to take a nap after dinner and about 3 o'clock a member of the company, who had gone to the third floor to summon her saw smoke coming from beneath the door. The proprietor broke in the door. A cloud of smoke and flame surged into the hall. The proprietor crawled in on hands and knees and encountered the form of the unconscious woman lying on the floor. She was dragged out and medical attention was given her.


Source: Syracuse Herald, New York, March 7, 1905

Victory Bateman, the well-known actress, has been seriously burned by an unexplained fire in her room at the Leland Hotel at Edwardsville, Illinois. She had complained of not feeling well and had retired to her room. A messenger who later opened the door found the bedclothes on fire and gave the alarm. The landlord and others succeeded to rescuing Miss Bateman with difficulty, but not before she had been seriously burned about the legs. She had inhaled a great deal of smoke and did not recover consciousness for some time.


Source: Boston Daily Globe, March 7, 1905

From Edwardsville, Illinois, March 7 - Victory Bateman, the well-known actress, has been seriously burned by an unexplained fire at her room at the Leland Hotel here. During the day she had complained of not feeling well and had retired to her room. A messenger who opened the door found the bedclothes on fire and gave the alarm. Mr. Clark, the landlord, and others, rushed to the room and succeeded in rescuing the woman with difficulty, but not before she had been burned about the lower limbs. Miss Bateman had been lying in bed with her clothes on, and the bottom of her skirts were burned in several places. She evidently had felt the fire burning her limbs and she had attempted to escape, as she was found lying unconscious on the floor a short distance from the bed. A physician found that Miss Bateman was burned about the legs from foot to knee, and her hands were scarred. She had inhaled a great deal of smoke, and did not recover consciousness for some time.


[NOTE:  Victory Bateman (April 6, 1865, Philadelphia - March 2, 1926, Los Angeles) was an American silent film actress. Her father, Thomas Creese, and her mother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Creese, were both actors. She was born nine days before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, but was named Victory because of the North's eventual win over the Confederate South, finishing the Civil War.]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 15, 1905

A disgusting state of affairs, one that merits strongest condemnation, is reported from Edwardsville and citizens of the county seat telegraphed Friday evening to the State board of Health asking that immediate steps be taken by that body to put a stop to the matter complained of. The county board of supervisors some time ago, it appears, gave a right of the way through the cemetery at the poor farm to a railway company or coal company, wishing to construct tracks to a coal mine through that territory.  The graders, according to reports, have been unearthing bodies by the scores with their steam shovels, and Charles Buenger, who owns and lives on a farm adjoining the poor farm, says that dozens of dogs from all parts of the county gather nightly and feast on human flesh and pick the bones. Friday after dinner it is said a man was scooped out of the grave with all of his clothing intact, and the body in a fair state of preservation. At first, according to Mr. Buenger, the graders would re-inter a body when it was exhumed by the steam shovel, but soon quit the practice and just tossed the remains of human anywhere on the right of way to be disposed of by dogs and the elements.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 6, 1906

Farmers in the vicinity of Poag, below Edwardsville Crossing, are wondering considerably and worrying some over the identity of two skeletons of humans found a few days ago near that place, buried in the sandy banks of the Cahokia creek. No one is missing from that immediate locality whose absence has not been accounted for, but the impression is that they came from above and not a great distance either. Fred Archer, who purchased what was known as the Busch place on the electric line, two miles below Poag, decided to strengthen the levees against possible inundation from the creek. It was while engaged in excavating in the timber close to the edge of the stream that the remains were found. The bones were about four feet under ground, and the fact that the skeletons had the arms in a close embrace leads some to believe that they are the remains of persons drowned in the overflow and swept to that place, being covered with sand by the current. Others believe that they are evidence of a murder, and show a hurried burial.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 30, 1907

An Edwardsville press dispatch says: "Three men were frustrated in an attempt to steal bodies from potter's field, Edwardsville, early Sunday morning by Mrs. Otto Wolf and Mrs. Langwisch. The couple saw the robbers' lanterns in the graveyard and heard the men's subdued conversation. At their approach the body snatchers fled. Three men engaged a livery rig earlier in the night from an Edwardsville livery. One man wore a gray coat and pearl colored hat, and the others were dressed in black. The men seen on the poor farm answered the general description. When they were discovered they fled to their buggy, leaving two old spades behind. The earth had been freshly turned in several spots, and there is no doubt of the men's mission. The grave robbers seemed quite nervous, and their hose was flocked with foam when they reached the livery to return the horse and buggy. The police are trying to learn the identity of the men."




Source:  Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, IL, January 13, 1909

The first train from Alton this morning over the Wabash-Terminal had a disastrous wreck just west of town. The train consisted of two cars, the first a combination baggage and smoker and the second a passenger coach, pulled by engine 405. At 7 o'clock this morning the train was speeding for the Junction to make the early morning connection from Chicago. It whirled around the curve at the intersection of the Alton road near the place of Martin Drda, and crashed into four cars of coal. The front end of the engine was smashed, and the first coach [ineligible] in the air and reared across the tender of the locomotive. The first coal car was crushed by the impact and the others were driven a hundred yards down the track. How the cars came there is a mystery, but it is supposed that they escaped from the yards south of town. It was said at the Litchfield & Madison office this morning that one of the yard crews had probably been switching there last night, but the office force did not know whether any coal was left for transfer. At any rate the runaways traveled over the "High Line" past Woodlawn, out across the Wabash main line and then across Cahokia creek to the Alton road, where they came to rest. Today's wreck lies directly across the wagon road. Engineer Andy Herrick, who was on the 405, was painfully hurt, but according to reports received here none of the other members of the crew were hurt, nor were the passengers more than bruised. Inquiry at the main office of the Terminal in Alton failed to develop the fact that they even knew there was a wreck. There was only one chance of saving the train and it came too late. Martin Drda, who lives in the neighborhood, went out of the house and saw the coal cars just a moment before the passenger struck. He heard the latter coming, but before he could get to the place the crash came. Ben Bernius, carrier on Route Six, found the road blocked by the wreck, so he drove back to the junction and brought the accumulation of mail up town to the post office. Express matter remained at the Junction until noon, when it was secured by means of sleighs.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 17, 1914

With the presence of representatives of the Supreme Court of Illinois, and of all the lesser courts, the Mayors and other officials of Madison county municipalities, and past and present officials of the county, the cornerstone of the new courthouse at Edwardsville was formally laid this afternoon. The 2,600 pound block of Georgia marble, hollowed out for the reception of its copper container, arrived yesterday, and had been swung above its appointed place at the northeast corner of the building. Fred Tegtmeyer, the last survivor of the men who worked on the old courthouse fifty-seven years ago, took part in the ceremonies, and his photograph was placed in the stone. A parade at 2 o'clock and a chorus by seventy-five male voices took place in the afternoon. Chief Justice William M. Farmer of the Supreme Court made the principal address and will lay the stone.




Source: New York, New York Clipper, December 19, 1915

Simon Kellermann Jr.. the showman's friend and counselor, of Edwardsville, Ill., dropped into Chicago during the carnival and fair manager gathering and met many friends of former days. He was once with 'em. He is a mighty fine fellow. He is the clerk of Madison County Circuit Court at Edwardsville. Drop in and see him.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 18, 1922

Three men were killed this morning when a McKinley line train struck a Ford sedan, three miles west of Edwardsville, at the Center Grove crossing, near the home of Frank McCormick. The victims were Thomas Naylor, aged 70; John Peterman, aged 60; George Naylor, aged 22. All were on their way to work in the coal mines from their homes, and had taken the St. Louis road as a short cut to their place of employment. They had the Ford sedan closed up and evidently did not hear the warning blast blown by the interurban motorman as he approached the crossing. The train, consisting of a combination motor and chair car and two sleepers, hit the automobile carrying the three men squarely in the center and dragged it 300 feet. The two old men were instantly killed. The young man lived about one hour. All died from skull fractures and internal injuries.


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1895

Charles Isenberg, late proprietor of the saloon at "Forkyville," will move to Bethalto soon and start a butcher shop.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 26, 1904

C. A. Wildi, who conducts a saloon at Forkeyville, east of Upper Alton, was arrested on a capies issued from the county court on information filed in court July 21, that Wildi was conducting a saloon without a license. All the illicit saloon keepers in the county have been similarly dealt with and their cases are set for hearing before Judge Hillskotter, August 2. The saloon keepers will be fined on a plea of guilty, will pay their fines and costs and escape with a very light penalty. The saloon keepers in the county throughout Madison find it much cheaper to pay a fine biennially or even annually than it is to take out the county license. This is an evil the county board has been trying to correct, but so far without any success whatever. The state's attorney should see to it the fines of these saloon keepers are made commensurate with the amount of the license fee.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 19, 1906

This morning C. A. Wildi, the operator of the "Forkeyville" saloon, agreed to quit business and close up the place. Charges were preferred against Mr. Wildi by Rev. C. C. Hall and Prof. H. C. Tilton, and he was indicted for selling liquor without a license. Upon agreeing to quit business, the gentlemen who preferred the charges had the indictment quashed. Warrants were sworn out by the same persons against the proprietors of the Fritz saloon and the O'Leary and Purvis saloon at Yager park, and these men were given a hearing this afternoon in Justice W. C. Elder's court in Upper Alton.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 12, 1906

The residence of Peter Edsall, opposite the "Forkeyville Saloon," east of Upper Alton, was destroyed by fire about 3 o'clock this morning. Mr. and Mrs. Edsall lived in the house, which was a two-story structure, alone. They were wakened this morning by smoke in the house and upon investigation found that the kitchen was on fire and that almost everything in it was burned up. Mr. Edsall immediately began to remove the furniture from the other room upon seeing that the house was doomed. He succeeded in saving most of it, but valuable papers were destroyed. Nothing was saved from the kitchen. He attributes the fire to a wall lamp which was left burning in the kitchen. The house was owned by C. A. Wildi of Upper Alton, and was insured. Mr. Edsall had no insurance on his household goods.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 10, 1910

The property at the forks of the road east of Upper Alton, known as "Forkyville," has been sold to the Birch Brothers of Upper Alton. The Birches intend to start a poultry farm on the place, and will take charge of it immediately. Mart Smith has been living in the property for some time, and he moved out today, coming to Upper Alton to a cottage on Park Avenue.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 25, 1913

The prospects of starting the insane hospital work has stirred up much activity in Upper Alton real estate, and also in the vicinity. Yesterday the old building occupied for years as a saloon of "Forkyville" was sold to Barr Dailey by C. A. Wildi for $2,000.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 28, 1913

William Dailey, who recently bought the triangle property at the forks of the road east of Upper Alton, sent some men out there this morning to start work. The first job to be done is some wrecking in the old house, where the Forkyville saloon was formerly kept. William Oswald has taken the contract for the wrecking to be done on the interior of the building, and he was at work there today. Mr. Dailey will improve the property and start a saloon there. He kept a saloon in the place before starting one in the East End.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 7, 1913

The fears that there would be a saloon started in the territory formerly comprising the old village of Upper Alton, or even in the out building known as Forkyville, have been dashed, by the statements of the authorities. State's Attorney J. M. Bandy has authorized the public statement that he will not, under any circumstances, allow an illicit saloon to be conducted in the Forkeyville saloon building recently bought by Barr Dailey for that purpose.  Mayor Faulstich is quoted as saying that Dailey cannot start a saloon within the limits of the old village of Upper Alton. A building was recently purchased in the north end of the old village, over a mile from Shurtleff College, in which it was planned to start a saloon. The mayor declares he will issue no license, as long as he is mayor, to any person for a saloon in what was Upper Alton territory. Thus two buildings have been acquired for the purposes of starting saloons and neither can be used for the business.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 19, 1913

Will Dailey has sold his saloon in the East End to his bartender, Ed Young, and Mr. Dailey plans to re-open the "Forkeyville" resort in big style. Some time ago the State'a Attorney, J. M. Bandy, gave his word that the "Forkeyville" saloon would not be opened. It is within a mile of the city limits of Alton and no license for the place can be granted. Barr Dailey, father of Will Dailey, told a Telegraph reported today that his son would start at once fixing up the Forkyville place he recently bought. He will do some more building, erect a dance pavilion, have a merry-go-round, and will sell beer and other liquors there. It is said that the Forkyville saloon cannot be closed unless the Yager Park saloons are closed, they, too, being within a mile of the limits of Alton. Dailey plans to build a concrete dike around the place from Wood River's floods. It is very probable that the attempt to open the saloon will be resisted by persons interested, as the Western Military Academy is strongly opposed to any saloon at "Forkyville," and there are others who are opposed, too.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 17, 1914

William H. Dailey purchased the property at the forks of the road known as "Forkeyville." Since purchasing this real estate, Mr. Daily has greatly improved it. All the old out-buildings have been torn down and some new and up-to-date buildings have been put up in their place. The main building itself has been put up in their place, and Mr. Dailey and family are living in it. He is also building a new house across the road on some of the ground that originally belonged to this piece of property.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 23, 1914

Once more the building at the forks of the road will be a business house, but the business to be conducted there in the very near future will be entirely different from the kind of business "Forkeyville" got its reputation from. Dry goods will be handled there instead of wet goods. William Dailey, the new owner of the famous Forkeyville property, is getting ready to open a general store there, and he will handle a complete line of groceries, dry goods and general produce. Contractor O. M. Elder is at work in Mr. Dailey's building putting in the shelves in the storeroom and otherwise getting the place ready to accommodate the new business line that will soon be opened there. This store will be a great convenience to the residents of the country east of Upper Alton, which is rapidly building up. When the state decided upon this location for the insane hospital and finally purchased the site east of Upper Alton, Mr. Dailey at once recognized the fact that Forkeyville would be a valuable location for business purposes, being located between Upper Alton and the hospital site, and he bought the place, improved it and is living there.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 13, 1919

Daniel Hartnett Jr. will operate a grocery store in the building at the forks of the roads just east of Upper Alton, which was for many years a saloon, and which was known as Forkeyville. Mr. Hartnett Sr. has purchased the property from William H. Dailey, and he will turn it over to his son who will conduct the business. This piece of property has had a history owing to the saloon which was run in it at many different times in years gone by. Henry Vahle leased the property some years ago from Mr. Dailey, and the latter continued the business in their property that Mr. Dailey had started. Since the Alton State Hospital has been in operation, this location has become quite a good business spot, and Mr. Vahle has been doing well. When he vacates the building, Mr. Hartnett will take charge and will continue in that line. Mr. Vahle owns a couple of lots on the south side of the road on the "Q" hill, and he will at once commence to build a residence and a business building upon these lots. When he leaves the "Forkeyville" location, he will conduct the same line of business in his new property that he is about to commence. College avenue between Upper Alton and the State Hospital is becoming a real business way judging from the new stores that are to be started upon it.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1921 Upper Alton Businessman and Former Owner of Forkeyville Dies
William H. Dailey dropped dead this morning about 12:45 o'clock in his home about five minutes after coming in from his place of business and locking the door. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Barzilla C. Dailey, were asleep upstairs and they heard him enter the house at the usual time when he closed his place of business. Only a few minutes after he locked the door they heard him fall to the floor. Mr. Dailey hurried to the light switch and turned on the lights and ran downstairs, finding the son lying on the floor in a corner between the wall and the bed where he had fallen head first. The aged father was satisfied that his son was dying and he ran out into the street calling for help. The entire neighborhood was aroused. The Dailey home is located on Merchant street, just off of Washington, in the rear of the College Avenue business houses. B. C. Dailey, the father who is about 78 years old, ran all the way from his home to the residence of Dr. L. L. Yerkes in an effort to get help for his son when he was dying. Dr. Yerkes got out as quickly as possible and hurried to the Dailey home. He said that death had been instantaneous when Mr. Dailey fell to the floor. A slight mark over one of his eyes gave evidence of the fact that he had struck his face on a window sill as he fell forward. Will Dailey was one of the best known men in the city of Alton and he was widely known outside of the city. He was 51 years old and was born and reared in Upper Alton. All his life was spent here with the exception of a few years he was in the West. During his boyhood days his father was engaged in street car work for the company that operated the horse car line in Alton for many years. With his brothers and father he worked for the company and was well known as a street car driver. Later he did the same kind of work for several years in Omaha. For the last twenty years he had been in business either in Alton or on the outskirts. He owned the famous "Forkeyville" property at the forks of the road east of Upper Alton for several years, and he was the first man to convert the business of that place from a rural saloon to a merchandise store. After establishing the merchandise business there where a saloon had caused much trouble to educational institutions in Upper Alton for many years, he sold the property and engaged in business in Upper Alton. He bought the property at the corner of College and Washington avenues from D. M. Kittinger and last year he put up a fine new business building on a part of the ground. He had been planning many other improvements for this valuable piece of real estate which he would not doubt have brought about had his life been spared. Mr. Dailey was a man whose appearance would indicate perfect health. He was never ill to any extent, and he weighed about 240 pounds. Yesterday all day he had complained of indigestion. We went home at noon yesterday for his usual meal, but his family say he ate very little. He again complained of indigestion and requested his aged mother to give him a small quantity of baking soda, which was an old remedy of the family. In the evening he still complained of pain, but he did not think his case at all serious. He was in his usual jovial mood all evening while in charge of his pool hall on Washington avenue, and he played billiards all evening with some young men. He closed his place of business about the usual time and remained outside for some little time, talking to some boys before he went home. When the word became circulated in Upper Alton that he was dead, it was a surprise that was really hard to believe. Mr. Dailey leaves besides his aged parents, Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Dailey, a little daughter whom he and his deceased wife adopted when a baby. He also leaves one sister, Mrs. Rose Williams, of Upper Alton, and one brother, Charles Dailey of Los Angeles, Cal. The late J. A. Dailey, whose tragic death occurred some years ago while he was assessor of Wood River township, was the third brother of the family. The death of Will Dailey in the prime of life is a sad blow to his aged parents. The sympathy of the community is with the bereaved father and mother. While 51 years of age, in years he would have been considered a person past middle age, but to those who knew him well he was more of a boy than a man who had lived a half century. He was a man who never got old, and the chances are he never would have if he had lived many more years.



[NOTE:  In 1929 the State decided to build a new bridge over the Wood River at Forkeyville on what was then Route 160. During its construction, due to faulty workmanship, the bridge collapsed and fell into the river. The superintendent of the company was fired, and construction continued.  Later, in June of 1929, the bridge, more than two thirds completed, fell in the river again. Blame was placed on heavy rains and flooding which swept out the supporting piling.]




[Note: (Description of the location of Smooth Prairie)  Smooth Prairie is in Madison county, in the forks of the Wood river, eight miles east from Alton. It is three miles long and about two wide, level and rather wet.]


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 14, 1853

Horse stolen from the stable of the subscriber in Smooth Prairie on last Thursday night, a good sized Bay horse, five years old, the left fore foot white with the mane lying on the left side, and a Bay mare, three years old, of good size, branded with the letter A on the left shoulder and left hip, and right hind foot white; also, a saddle and bridle and two rope halters were taken at the same time. A liberal reward will be given to any person who will return said horses to their owner as above, and apprehend the thief or thieves.  Signed, John H. Smith.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 7, 1854

To George T. Brown, Esq., Editor:  Dear Sir - Knowing that you, with the great body of the readers of your widely spread and valuable paper take a deep interest in the advancement of the Temperance cause, which is now considered the great and leading topic with the American people, I would inform you that the citizens of this part of old Madison are actively engaged in rolling on the Temperance ball. In proof of which I would give you a brief account of the temperance movement in this vicinity. A beautiful grove near the schoolhouse, belonging to Mrs. Eaton, having been previously selected and properly prepared, was the place of general rendezvous. And Sir, they came! They came not only from the counties of our own State, but also from the State of Missouri, and from her great metropolis. The invited guests were the Woodburn Division of the Sons of Temperance, the Sunday School of that place, and that of Mount Olive, and the community in general. They came, and continued to come till a multitude, clad in their respective badges and regalia, had assembled on the common near the schoolhouse, where they were formed into ranks by the proper officers of the day. From thence the procession, accompanied by an excellent band of music from Shipman, took up the line of march, which was continued for some time, when all were conducted to the cool and beautiful grove, to witness the presentation to the Woodburn Division of the Sons of Temperance and to the Smooth Prairie Temperance Alliance, of two beautiful banners which were made by the Order, and at the expense of Mr. W. Wilson of the city of St. Louis, now residing in this neighborhood, and erecting a splendid mansion to serve as a rural retreat during the summer season. I would further remark that one of the banners cost one hundred dollars, and is indeed a superb article; probably unrivaled in the state. The other one is also beautiful, and cost a trifle less than the first. After an appropriate prayer by the Rev. L. S. Williams, the one designed for the Sons was presented to them by Miss Hewitt of the city of St. Louis, who made a short address, heroic, energetic, patriotic, beautiful and chaste, which was happily responded to by a distinguished member of the Order. The other was presented by Mr. Bolton of St. Louis, and received by Mr. L. Olden, who severally made suitable addresses. The company was then conducted to four long tables to partake of the sumptuous repast, which had been prepared and tastefully arranged by the ladies of the neighborhood, and I must say that I have never seen it excelled on any similar occasion. Truly, both great and small, did ample justice to the subject then before them. After all had eaten and retired to the stand, the President, Mr. W. Wilson, introduced to the audience John A. Chesnut, Esq., of Carlinville, who spoke for the space of an hour to a deeply interested audience on the subject of a Prohibitory Law. Mr. Chesnut spoke as a philanthropist, a patriot and a Christian. His speech throughout was such as it is seldom our good fortune to hear. The address being concluded, several toasts were announced, and some choice songs were sung by the choir in attendance, headed by Mr. Carson, teacher of music. The balance of the time was spent in social conversation, hilarity and general good feeling. In conclusion, I would remark that no accident or disturbance whatever occurred during the day, but that peace, harmony and brotherly kindness appeared to be the ruling principle with all. You may calculate that the Temperance eat will receive from Smooth Prairie a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together.  Signed by W.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 13, 1855

By the advertisement in this paper, it will be seen that Mr. Oliver P. Foster of Smooth Prairie, in this county, offers $200 reward for the detection of the robber and the recovery of the money taken from his house on the night of the 1st December, or he will pay $100 for either. We sincerely trust that Mr. Foster will be able to discover the wretch who thus suddenly deprived him of his hard earnings, and that he will not only recover his money, but teach the robber a lesson which will last him for a few years.




Source: The Daily Observer, Utica, New York, February 26, 1869

At a ball in Fosterburg, near Alton, Illinois, given a few nights since, five or six persons drank poisoned liquor, two of whom are reported this morning as having died.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 20, 1885

Our merchants are doing a large business in the way of buying country produce, which is sent to Alton once a week. Mr. John Roloff and family have been spending a week or so in Alton. The bridge contractors, Thos. Titchenal and Ollie Foster, have just completed a bridge in the western part of the township. Mr. John Uzzell of Bethalto was in the burg last week. Miss Jessie Waggoner of Godfrey is the guest of Miss Lillie Dillon. Miss Lydia Lobbig has returned from a visit at St. Louis, where she has been spending a week. Mr. J. S. Culp was in the burg last week on business. Mr. Charles Titchenal left for Springfield, Mo., last night. Mrs. S. Holt of Upper Alton paid her parents a visit last week. Mrs. M. Dillon returned to Springfield last week. A. L. Foster took a drive to "pie town" last Tuesday evening. Mr. J. J. Luft is back on the bench again. Rev. A. Vogle has gone to Racine, Wisconsin.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, June 24, 1886

Harvest is in full blast at present. Mr. John Haag's span of mules ran away yesterday with his binder; fortunately the driver was not injured. As Louis states, "he does not know how he did manage to get clear." The binder was broken up badly. Say, John, is an assessment made on Sunday legal? Mrs. Hodge is making an improvement on her residence, in the way of a new porch. Miss Polly Kipper, of christian county, is visiting at Mr. Chas. Graner's. Mrs. Hellie Holt of Upper Alton is visiting at O. P. Foster's. Mrs. C. Titchenal is visiting her parents this week. Miss Tillie Ost of Upper Alton visited home Sunday. Mr. E. Griable has the best shade trees in town. Wanna Frankford met with quite an accident yesterday, but is getting along all O.K. 




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, July 1, 1886

The rain of last Saturday did a great deal of damage to bridges in this township by washing them away. One near Samuel Williams' residence was washed away, one near Mr. Klinkey's and one near Mr. E. Doolings and one at Mr. Wm. Manns, also the filling at the bridge near Wm. Baker's. Thomas Titchanel left his tent and tools at the bridge near Mr. Gell's in Wood River Township where he had a force of men repairing the bridge. To Tom's surprise, Sunday morning he found that his "tepe" had floated down and was hanging in a tree; of course Tom and Ollie had the right idea that the "tepe" was ripe, so they just picked it and returned to hunt for the tools which they found near by. Among others who suffered from the high water, Mr. Thomas Dulanty, 27 acres of wheat washed away, and Mr. John Wortman had near 100 bushels carried off. Mr. John Krieg suffered a loss in the same way; also Mr. Wm. Baker. Misses Lydia and Rosa Lobbig are visiting in Alton at the present writing, the guests of Miss Emma Hummert. Mrs. E. Grieble made a business trip to St. Louis last week. Mr. John Roloff, of Upper Alton, has been plastering the saloon belonging to John Rammes. Mr. Henry Lobbig bought a fine horse from Mr. Kenecht for $145 and has been offered $250, but says he will not sell as he likes to drive as fine an animal as any person. John Heuis, Jr. is talking of leaving - he will go to Minnesota. John has a great many friends who are sorry to see him leave, but all wish him much success. Mr. John Graner will soon bring out his threshing outfit. As he is a first class thresher any person having any threshing to do will do well in calling on him. We are glad to state that John Paul is able to be out on the street again. Mr. Charles Wortmann will leave for Springfield soon.  Miss Nellie Holt, who has been visiting relatives at the burgh, returned to her home in Upper Alton yesterday. Mr. L. Falkenburgh, who has been on the sick list, is improving. The hour for the A. M. E. Sunday school has been changed from 2 o'clock p.m. to 9 o'clock a.m.  Prof. E. B. Young is Superintendent. "Let every body turn out and make it the leading Sunday school in town."  Rev. A. Byer has returned from a visit to Indiana.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 4, 1887

Hurrah for our daily mail. As Mr. Sam Williams was leaving with his traction engine and separator from Mr. Weaver's last Thursday, a spark from the engine set fire to Mr. D. H. Warner's meadow, and the fire spread over the dry stubble at such rapid rate that the men could not check it until it had burned several shocks of oats and part of the fence of J. D. Dillon, and part of Mr. Warner's hedge.  The moonlight hop given in Foster's grove was a very enjoyable affair; good order was maintained. Quite a large number were present from Alton and Upper Alton. They will give another "hop" in the grove sometime in the near future. Mr. Tom Titchenal has been fixing the break in his mill pond and will start the mill as soon as it rains. "You never run the engine unless you have the steam." Rev. S. P. Dillon of Litchfield, Neb., is visiting at his uncle's, J. D. Dillon.  Theo Foster of Harvel, Ill. spent a few days at his old home. Theo is one of the boys and is always welcomed back to the burg.  Miss Florence Robinson of Gillespie, Ill., who has been visiting friends at the burg, returned to her home last Thursday. Mr. E. Jinkinson and family of Dorchester spent a few days with relatives and friends at the burg last week. Deputy Sheriff Crowe was in town last week on official business. Mrs. R. V. Jinkinson spent last week with relatives at Bethalto. Mrs. J. Vannatta of Dorchester is visiting relatives at the burg this week. The trustees of the Fosterburg Cemetery have had the weeds and grass mown, which makes quite an improvement in the looks. The sidewalk leading from Rev. Vogel's to the Baptist church needs fixing very badly. Another grand moonlight hop in the grove next week. Our mail carrier has a new horse now, and of course, the mail will be on time hereafter.  -Spavin.



Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1887

The old mill started up last week. They are sawing out bridge lumber as there are several bridges in this township which are in need of repairs. No doubt but what our bridge contractors will have lots of work this fall.  Mr. F. Petters and brother, Samuel, will leave for Chicago next Thursday where they are going to spend the winter. They have many friends here, who wish them much success. Mr. C. C. Brown, who has been dangerously sick for the past two weeks, is, we are glad to say, so much improved as to be able to be out on the streets again.  Mrs. S. Titchenal, we are sorry to say, is very sick, but is improving. Miss Rosa Lobbig spent last week with friends in Alton. Mrs. John Dillon is visiting her son at Springfield at the present writing. Mr. Mose Thompson and family will start for Kansas about the 20th of this month. Mr. T. has purchased a farm there and will make it his future home. Miss Lillie Steizel, of North Alton, is the guest of Miss Linda Newhaus.  L. Pfister has improved his store by putting up a new porch.  Mr. Geo. Norris has the agency for Wm. Flynn's marble works. If there are any persons wishing anything in that line it would be well to give him a call.  Mr. Theo. Hossner, of Jerseyville, was in our town last week. The coal miners are not having very good work now, as so very little coal is used since the threshing season is over.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 3, 1889

Fifty two years ago the traveled road from Alton to Springfield, Illinois passed through Upper Alton and on the Edwardsville Road, east past the Cyrus Edwards farm until it reached an ox tread mill on the left of the road, on the farm, and belong to Mr. Abel Moore. Here the travel took the Hillsboro Road, passing round east of the Moore farm, through the woods on by the Roads farm, and past the Wood River schoolhouse. A few rods beyond the schoolhouse it left the Hillsboro road, and bore northwest and joined the present Springfield road at the farm of John Deck. Mr. Deck, about that time or a little before, sold his farm to Hon. Robert Smith of Alton, traveled several hundred miles, returned, bought back his farm paying one hundred dollars more than he sold it for, and also consenting that the Springfield and Alton road should run diagonally southwest across his farm back of his house. This road, from Decks to the Edwardsville road at the bridge, was established, but in such a bad state that the travel mostly went as here described. Mr. Deck's brother-in-law, Mr. Sherfey, lived on the farm east of his. Mr. Brooks, a soldier of 1812, lived on the next farm north, on the west side of the road and opposite to him lived Mr. John Young, who had at that time a number of grown sons. One was John C. Young, who late was Justice of the Peace and a preacher.


A mile further on lived Mr. Olford. This was about six miles from Upper Alton. Two miles further, without a house or farm, Smooth Prairie was reached; eight miles from Upper Alton, ten miles from the city of Alton. The first farm here was that of Mr. Martin Chandler, a Carolinian. Mr. Chandler was buried March 31, 1843. The ground was still frozen that day as solid as mid-winter. Either that day or the next, April 1, 1843, a steamboat came from St. Louis to break the ice out of the Alton harbor. April 2, 1843, was Sunday, and it snowed all the day long. The town of Fosterburg stands on the Chandler land. A body of timber extended along on the west side of the road and of the Chandler farm, and the next farm to the (then) new brick schoolhouse, which stood nearly in the center of the Smooth Prairie. The farm north of the Chandler farm belonged to Mr. John I. Ellet, a brother of General Ellett. It was occupied 52 years ago by Mr. Abraham Isaacs, who has lived near Gillespie, Illinois fifty years, and is still living.


The next farm on the west, on the southeast corner of which stood the schoolhouse, where there is now a garden, belonged to Mr. Mark Crowder, a Kentuckian. His wife's given name was Rose. They raised fifteen children to manhood and womanhood. The names of the daughters were Sarah, Betsy, Ellen, Caroline, Appeline, Rose Ann, Eliza, Mary (eight). The sons were: Thomas, William, James, Mark, John, Luther, Alexander (seven).


Opposite the north end of Mr. Crowder's farm the Springfield road swung round to the east, and then northeast to Woodburn, passing through the farm of Mr. Oliver Foster, a New Englander. This family raised ten children to manhood and womanhood. Yet, Southern Illinois had the reputation of being an unhealthy country. Fifty-two years ago, when Mr. Crowder's fifteenth child was about two years of age, Mr. Crowder said he had never had a doctor in his house! Mr. Foster kept entertainment. The next farm east, near to the fork of Wood river (a creek), known as Blackburn fork, lived Mr. Ross Houck, who at that time kept a store.


Oliver Foster Jr. married that spring, and settled on the creek north of Mr. Houck's. Mr. Foster afterwards bought the Chandler farm, where he and his wife still live, and after whom Fosterburg takes its name.


Beyond the creek from Mr. Houck's, northeast on the road, lived Mr. Aaron Hussong, son-in-law of Oliver Foster Sr. On the creek mentioned, going south from Hussong's, were the Drennans, Esquire Hart, Michael Gore (father of Hon. David Gore, now of Carlinville, Ill.), two Hunt families, William Dillon, John Dillon and their father, and Captain Little. These had bottom farms extending along the creek some three miles. However, Mr. John Dillon was engaged in blacksmithing, and his father built a water sawmill. William Dillon was a cooper, John Dillon built later on, the Springfield road.


Southwest of the Smooth Prairie schoolhouse, on the west fork of Wood river, about two miles distant, lived John Vanatta, an Ohioan. Halfway between him and the schoolhouse, lived Mr. Richard Jinkenson, a Yorkshire Englishman. Between him and the schoolhouse lived Mr. Thomas Eaton, a Pennsylvanian. Some two miles northwest from the schoolhouse, on the creek, lived Mr. James Miller. Of all the persons named in this paper (excepting Mr. Crowder's children, several of whom still live), Oliver Foster Jr., John Dillon and Abraham Isaacs are the only persons living.


There were at that period six families living in Smooth Prairie, and including those on each creek, there were about twenty families all told. The county between and all round them was in a state of nature and beautiful. These families were honest, quiet, plain, thrifty, peaceable, and kind people. They had the best country schoolhouse in Madison County. Occasionally, 52 years ago, a howling of wolves could be heard. Deer were frequently killed, prairie chickens abounded, as did wild geese, ducks, and cranes in the spring time. 


Signed, "From Memory"




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 16, 1893

There was quite a number of stock hurt in this township during the time that Mother Earth was covered with ice. We hear of several horses over in the west part of the township that fell and were so badly injured that they had to be killed. Also, some cattle, over in the east part that fell and had to be killed.....It is surprising how much coal is hauled from here to your city [Alton]. The teams from Alton come out to our coal mines almost every day and there have been several teams from here that have hauled coal to your city every day. This winter has been splendid for the miners. Good roads and cold weather cause the miners to smile. They have had all the work they could do and then could not get out coal fast enough....The children of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Thompson who have had the scarlet fever for a couple of weeks are almost fully recovered....The school in the primary room will close in two weeks, or the first of March. The attendance in room No. 1 has not been very large. Prof. Churchill informs us that the average in his room during the past month has been only five, the scarlet fever causing many to stay away. Mr. T. C. Dillon, who was so badly burned at the Wann disaster is improving as fast as could be expected. His face is almost well, but it will be a long time before his hands are well again. Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Hunt and Miss Mollie Rinker have gone to Minnesota, where they will make their future home. Their many friends here wish them much success in their far northern home.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1894

There was a rag tacking at Mrs. Luft's one evening last week. Some of the boys made a record. A party of young ladies hied themselves off to a hillside and took a slide, but would prefer not to have their mishaps recorded. There was a party at Harry Clayton's south of town Thursday evening last week. Dancing was the principal feature of amusement. Harry Ashlock, of Alton, is visiting his grandfather, Capt. Ashlock, at present writing. Miss Tillie Ost is visiting with her sister in St. Louis. Miss Sarah Thompson, instructor at the Hines school, spent Saturday and Sunday with Mrs. E. K. Pruitt, of Dorsey. John Schafer came up from St. Louis to visit his parents on Sunday. William Kramer, of Brighton, manufacturer of the Blue Label cigar, was at the burg one day last week on business. Theodore Hossner "formerly connected with the Jerseyville nursery and as salesman stands in first rank" is at the burg interviewing old acquaintances. Albert Haag, of this place, a very worthy gentleman is his successor. Mrs. R. V. Jinkenson is spending a few days with her son, John, at Bethalto. Amos Challengeworth's little boy, Harvey, has been quite sick. Am sorry to state that Mrs. Wm. Baker's condition is no better. Her condition is serious. John Dingerson has returned from a visit with his uncle at Mt. Olive. I am requested to announce that on Feb. 18th there will be a meeting at the English M. E. church at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. also. State Lecturer Alex. Kearly and others will be present. All farmers and especially the ladies are invited, for they are eligible to membership as well as men. The tax collector wants to see you. He will be at the Buckstrop school house Feb. 17 and at the Ingersoll school on the 24th. At any other time than the above named, he can be found at his store. The regular quarterly meeting of the Fosterburg Horse Thief Detective Society meets at the hall on next Saturday evening, Feb. 10th. All members are requested to be present as there is very important business left over from last meeting. The organization is in good condition, consisting of about sixty members. Zero weather has put new life into our coal industry. Wm. Challengsworth has quite a force of men at work in his pit this winter. Thos. Titchenal reports an air shaft in the shape of a land slide. The coal at each mine is of superior quality always to be had at very reasonable figures. It you will try it you will buy it and have no other.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 31, 1896

Mr. Addison McKnight is now in Alton where he has a situation. We hear that several of our citizens will go to Springfield to the inauguration of the State officers, Jan. 11. Mr. W. E. Dodd, who returned from Iowa a few weeks ago, is talking of starting a weekly newspaper in our town. It will be a non-partisan paper and be independent of any political party - devoted to the general news of the day. Mr. Dodd will make his paper a farm journal and subscription price on $1 per year. We hope that all our citizens will aid the enterprise all they can, and let the subscription list have most, if not all their names thereon, for if the citizens do not lend their help in some way or other, it is very evident that Mr. Dodd can not start a paper here. Although our town is quite small, we have a splendid location for a wide-awake newspaper, and such a paper cannot do otherwise than help the town. When the subscription list is circulated, let all sign for the paper, and then subscribe for some friend, thereby helping the paper and at the same time help our town. The dance given by the Fosterburg Social Club Christmas eve was a most enjoyable affair, it being the first of the season. There was quite a large attendance, there being about forty couples present. The music was furnished by Bunker Hill talent; and at twelve o'clock, Mrs. Pfaff furnished a splendid supper for the merry-makers. It was the small wee hours of morning when the last of them left the hall. We understand the club will give a ball every two weeks at Pfisters Hall. There will be a call meeting of the Fosterburg G. A. R. Post on Wednesday 6th, 1897, for the purpose of making arrangements for the instigation of the newly-elected officers. It is requested that all members of the Post be present. Mr. Wm. Meeters spent Christmas with friends in St. Louis. No doubt but what William saw the sights in city, at the other end of the bridge. Miss Cassie Titchenal, who has been in poor health for two or three months, is much improved. Messrs. C. Osh and Frank Mason visited relatives in St. Louis. The Fosterburg National Band are coming to the front, and are keeping up the practice twice a week. The new blacksmith shop of John Ost's is nearly under roof, and it will be one of the best construct shops in town. The old historical shop, corner Wain and Seminary ave., has been torn down, and that corner looks very much as though a cyclone had visited it. Deputy Sheriff John Dillon spent Christmas with friends at the Burg, returning to Edwardsville Sunday evening. Mrs. E. Burger and children, of Alton, are spending the holidays with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. V. Pfaff. Mr. August Faderly and wife, of Alton, drove out last Sunday and spent the day with relatives. The coal miners have been having steady work all fall and winter, the roads having been in such fine condition that those who have had any hauling to do have had no reason to complain. We hear that there will be a supper given in the near future for the purpose of raising money for the sidewalk fund. The three Sunday schools had Christmas trees last Christmas eve, and it is useless to say the hearts of the little ones were made glad. F. C. Dillon has been spending the past week visiting relatives and friends in Springfield, Ill. Prof. J. U. Uzzell and family of Bethalto, are visiting relatives here, west of town. The Prof. has many friends who will be glad to know that he is in our midst again. Miss Lizzie Whitlow of Jerseyville is the guest of the Misses Thompson during the holidays. We hear the farmers say that dry, freezing weather we have been having is very hard on the growing wheat and the prospect for a good yield next year is not as good as it was four weeks ago, yet some say that the roots of the wheat have not been injured by the freeze. The Fosterburg school is having no vacation this year. It is not often that we have school here during the holidays. Our doctors report that there is but few cases of sickness in this section.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 24, 1897

Wheat harvest will be on hand next week. Clover harvest has failed to bring the usual and much needed rains. A few more days will put an end to the harvesting of this crop, which has been quite a large one. Mrs. Lydia Meisenheimer was very sick on Tuesday evening and found the services of Dr. Hall necessary. Mr. A. L. Foster spent Sunday in Kirkwood, Mo.  Mr. H. G. Bassett draws the lines over one of the best driving horses in the township. Miss Minnie Seiler came up from St. Louis and made a short visit at the residence of Mr. August Seiler. Mrs. Peter Schan and family left Wednesday to join Mr. Schan in Iowa. Geo. Deckert, traveling salesman for the Liggett & Meyers' Tobacco Company of St. Louis, was around Monday looking after the wants of his customers. The Grangers at their festival on the evening of the 12th, cleared $20, which was quite satisfactory. Rev. Hussey, State Missionary of Upper Alton, occupied the pulpit at the Baptist church Sunday morning and preached to quite a large audience. Mr. E. Griebel has been seriously afflicted with throat trouble the past week. Under the treatment of Dr. Moore he has improved in a manner that is pleasing to his many friends. Mr. Samuel Peters has been on the retired list for a few days on account of sickness. Mr. Amos Brueggeman and wife, of East St. Louis, are visiting with relatives. The ladies of the Baptist church will give an ice cream festival on the church lawn on Tuesday evening, 29th. Everybody is invited to attend and enjoy the evening. Besides refreshments, there will be plenty of music.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1900

Spring weather in January seems somewhat out of place, and zero weather to any extent in the future will certainly do much damage to wheat should there be no snow as a protection. A continuance of the present warm weather will make an end of the fruit crop for next year. Mrs. Mollie Handlon, of Alton, spent Sunday with friends. Stella Wood, of Alton, is home at present writing. Mrs. Gus Dodelins and sister, Julia, of Centralia, are guests of Miss Lila Newhaus. Wm. Herman, our collector, has filled out his bond of $11,500 with security as follows: Isaac Shurfey, C. F. Lobbig, J. S. Culp and Frances Herman. He went to Edwardsville on Wednesday and did business with County Clerk Riniker. Joseph Heines has found employment at East Alton and is thinking of moving his family to that town. Frank Vanatta and Robert Allen, of Gillespie, are visiting relatives at the Burg. John Culp, Jr., had his hay press at work Monday baling hay for Mrs. C. C. Brown. N. T. Wood's daughter, Nettie, is quite sick. Thos. Whyres returned two patients that had escaped from Dr. Smith's sanitarium at Godfrey one day last week. Lawrence Segrist's child died at Godfrey and was buried Sunday. Rev. Morey conducted services at the Wood River church. John Roloff and John Burns, the two Johns, put in part of one evening last week searching in the school house. Well, for John Jacob Luft, it was rather a hilarious search, full of fun and nothing serious. Making no find, they proceeded to kick in one side of the curb and otherwise disfigure the same to their own amusement.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 26, 1901

The American M. E. church building that has stood idle for a long time, was sold by Mrs. R. V. Jinkinson (the owner) last Saturday to John Barrow of Upper Alton, for the sum of $200. The building was erected about seventeen years ago [Abt. 1884], and for a time there was quite a large congregation, but the members are nearly all gone from here, and in March 1900 the church was sold by conference. Mrs. Jenkinson being the purchaser.  Mr. Barrow will tear the building down and use the lumber to build a barn on his lots in Upper Alton.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 5, 1906

Fosterburg is in distress, for the want of tobacco to chew and smoke. A Macedonian cry came into Alton today from our neighbors in Fosterburg that is full of the saddest import. The supply of tobacco has run short in the village, and unless there is relief or the roads dry up or some hardy burger comes in and carries out a supply, the residents of that mud-bound village will have to swear off the habit of chewing and smoking "Scrap." Since the roads became so deep there has been practically no means of getting anything out to Fosterburg. The farmers could not come to town and replenish their stocks so they fell back on the two little stores at Fosterburg conducted by Valentine Pfaff and C. F. Lobbig. These stores were not stocked with the expectation of having to supply the country with oil, gasoline, tobacco and flour and bread for any long period, and the shut-in people at Fosterburg have just about exhausted the supply. The supply of "scrap" tobacco was clear out today. There was not a drop of oil for sale in Fosterburg, and the people who did not have candles were in darkness, the electric light plant not being in operation. As Fosterburg has no steam railway or electric line or any other road that would carry provisions, the people there are suffering. The wagon roads are said to be over three feet in depth all the way from Fosterburg to Alton, and one cannot get through with a wagon. One grocer got in a supply of sugar last week or he would have been short on that. The stores at Fosterburg have been almost sold out for several days and the distress of mind among the male population is painful. One man who came in today carried out a small lot of tobacco with him, but as he had to walk he could do but little toward supplying the needs of the community.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 14, 1906

The Fosterburg post office, unless someone applies for it, will be discontinued within a few days. Postmaster C. F. Lobbig has tendered his resignation. The office was established there in 1858, and Mr. Lobbig was the first postmaster and has served continuously with the exception of the two terms under Cleveland. Forty years service as postmaster is not surpassed by many. From the beginning, for a number of years, our mail came from Alton once a week when it was changed to Dorsey and was carried by O. P. Foster, tri-weekly. After Foster's term as carrier, it was changed to a daily mail and carried by Fred Peters.  C. R. Besser succeeded Peters, and C. R. Besser was succeeded by Ferdinand Rammes about two and a half years ago. The route to Dorsey gave the best of satisfaction, and a rural route from Bethalto was established which brought the Fosterburg mail. The county system of rural delivery makes the post office unprofitable to the holder.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 3, 1906

According to residents of Foster township in Alton Monday, they intend to make it so hot for conductors of saloons in that township in future that there will be neither pleasure nor profit in the business. A saloon has been in operation in Fosterburg since the death of T. Challengsworth, but no license is paid, and yesterday, it is said, steps were taken to have the proprietor arrested every day that he keeps the place open after notice has been served on him, and a time limit given. The saloon, it is said, is directly across the street from a church and is run wide open Sunday and every day, although no license to conduct the place was ever given the proprietor by the county or any other authorities. The saloon must go or the conductor will be arrested and fined daily. Another resident says the proprietor of the place refused to contribute anything towards picnics, etc., and this adds to the determination to put him out of business or cause him to engage in it legitimately.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 9, 1906

The last of the Fosters has left Fosterburg, and today that township had to be without a member of the Foster family for the first time since 1825. In eighty-one years there has always been someone of the Foster family there, since Oliver Foster settled at Fosterburg in 1825. He gave the name to the township and raised a family of children, who in turn had their duty in the line of populating the sparsely settled territory of Madison county. The families moved away, however, and as the little ___ks grew their pin feathers, they ____ the parental roof and as a rule they drifted away from Fosterburg.  Decatur Foster was the last of his tribe, and he has left that place to move away permanently. The passing  of Decatur Foster from the list of citizens of Fosterburg caused only ____ comment, and few realized that his departure Fosterburg township is losing the last of the family of its old namesake of the place.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 28, 1907

While moving the old barn on the former home of O. P. Foster, the founder of Fosterburg, the other day workmen found near one of the corner stones a ball and cap six-shooter of the old style Remington make. Taylor Foster, who moved the building, says the handle of the revolver had rotted away and the steel had rusted considerably. The barn was built in 1858, Mr. Foster says, and it is supposed the revolver has rested near the corner stone since. The revolver is now in possession of Tom Jones, the new owner of the Foster barn.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 24, 1912

"That fellow will never set the river on fire," is an old saying frequently heard in this world, but it cannot be said truthfully of Phil Kennedy, the well known Foster township dairyman and farmer and Charles Ducommon, another prominent farmer who lives close to Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Ducommon met a Telegraph reporter this morning and told of how the water in the west fork of Wood river is covered with oil, or gas or grease of some kind, and he said that the boys who have been going in swimming in the river that runs through the Kennedy farm have been in the habit of lighting matches and with them set the river on fire. The gas or oil on the top of the water ignites readily, he says, and blazes merrily for some time, the flames mounting to a height of six or eight inches. Conditions are similar in the water further up on the Ducommon farm and in other places. Later, a Telegraph reporter met Mr. Kennedy, and asked him about the matter and he hemmed and hawed quite a bit before finally admitting that all Mr. Ducommon had said is true. He went further and said that boys last winter could indulge in a warm bath in Wood river very readily by setting fire to the oil floating on top, thus heating up the waters below. Taking good hot refreshing baths in the dead of winter in the open air and in running water, is something new under the sun and adds one more achievement to the long list of things accomplished by Foster township. It is the belief of very many Foster township farmers that oil or gas, or both, can be found in paying quantities under the surface of the earth in that section, but they hesitate about spending the money necessary to do the prospecting. Mr. Ducommon brought in a lot of fried chicken today, which he was taking to Tolle's grove where an all day picnic is being given by the Foster Hard Roads Association. Other farmers and their wives will bring in more fried chicken and home made pies and cakes this afternoon for the delectation of guests of the picnic this evening.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 6, 1916

Dan Cupid proved too strong for the promoters of the Fosterburg band. After fighting for years to keep the band together, Charles Harrison and Phil Paul have given up the effort, and the Fosterburg band will be formally disbanded following a big banquet of all of the old members which is to be held on Saturday evening, March 18. An effort has always been made to keep the membership of the band up to the fifteen mark. Recently it was cut to ten members. Finally, Phil Paul, the leader, was unable to get any clarionet player or anyone to take charge of the bass drum. Many of the young men in Fosterburg were married and their wives refused to remain at home alone while they attend rehearsals. A number of the other band members were coming to the city to obtain work and they dropped out of the band. Among those who have been married lately and have dropped out of the band are Emil Voumard, Herb Paul and Phil Paul. Then Joe Auer and Nelson Challengsworth left the town to go to work in the city. Several others are planning to leave the town and it was finally decided that as the membership could be raised to over ten members that it would be the best for everyone if the band would disband. The record of the band is remarkable. It was organized twenty-four years ago and during all of that time there was never any strife, which is so common in other bands. Fosterburg is very small, and for that reason most of the players lived on the farm and many of them had to come considerable distance to practice. For a time the practices were held twice each week, but recently they have been cut to a single practice per week. There are three charter members of the band at the present time: Charles Harrison, Phil Paul, and John L. Culp. Paul has been the director of the band for a great many years. The band was very well known in this vicinity. The members had played at almost every town within twenty-five miles of their home, and had won considerable comment by their ability at picnics held in the neighborhood of Fosterburg. The band is in very good financial condition, there being over $200 in the treasury at the present time. Many of the members of the band own instruments valued at over one hundred dollars, and all of these will be put away on the shelf.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 9, 1917

At a meeting of the residents of Fosterburg township and the vicinity last evening a hard road association was formed. The following officers were elected: Walter Thompson, president; Ed Gvillo, secretary; Ben Hermann, treasurer; Committee, Frank Scheurer, Frank Schaum, Ben Budde, Herb Gvillo, Dr. W. A. Day. They will push the hard roads in that township and towards Alton. The plans for the present are to raise money for the construction of better roads and to oil the roads between Alton and Fosterburg.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 22, 1921

Aloysius Drumleve, eleven year old son of Philip Drumleve, was operated on for gangrene poisoning at St. Joseph's Hospital yesterday afternoon as a result of being dangerously mangled by a binder with which the boy's father was cutting wheat on his farm near Fosterburg. The older Drumleve said his son accompanied him on the rounds of the wheat field, and started to help when the harness of one of the horses became unfastened. The boy re-hitched the horse, he continued, and moved aside, thinking he was out of the path of the mower. His father also thought the boy was out of the way and started his team. The youngster, however, had not moved far enough aside, and was struck down by the sickle, the teeth of which clutched his left leg just above the ankle. Quickly stopping his team, the father jumped to extricate his son, whose leg had been badly cut by the mower, all the blood passages being severed. Despite medical attention, gangrene set in, and an operation was deemed necessary. The boys' leg was amputated just below the knee, and this morning he was pronounced somewhat relieved.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 16, 1921

Fire destroyed a barn on the place of Harry Maggos on the Fosterburg road beyond the State Hospital, about midnight last night. In the barn were burned five horses, nine cattle, about 30 tons of hay and a number of pieces of farm machinery. The barn was about 50 feet long and 45 feet wide. On one side was a machinery shed under which the machinery was stored. Near the barn and close enough for it to have been damaged but for a favorable air current that carried the flames away from it was a new Moon automobile valued at $2,800. It escaped with no damage to speak of. Sotir Durato of East End Place said that one of the horses destroyed belonged to him, and that he was keeping it on the place. Durato said that the owner of the place was in St. Louis where he went to undergo treatment for an injury he sustained while at work on the place. Two hired men were left there to look after the property and beside was another man who owned the Moon car, and was spending the night there. The cause of the fire is unknown, according to Durato. When the fire was discovered, neighbors went there to do what they could, but the inflammable contents of the barn made it impossible for anything to be done toward saving any of the property that was burning. J. A. Giberson said today that his agency carried $1,000 on the barn in favor of Miss Annie Spurgeon, who owns the farm, and rents to Maggos. He also had $3,000 on the contents of the barn which covered also the horses and some of the hay, and he also had a special policy on the five horses and $300 on a stack of hay near the barn. The total is over $5,000 the one agency had involved in the fire, and it is assumed the loss is total.




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Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, April 16, 1895

The St. Louis Press Brick Company plant was entirely destroyed by fire. The fire originated in a kiln near the center of the plant. It was discovered in the afternoon about half past one by workmen of the yards. The men began work earnestly to subdue the flames, but despite their efforts, they spread, and soon three kilns were on fire. The alarm was given to residents of the neighborhood, and these hurried to lend assistance. Shortly afterwards, the whistle at No. 2 mine of the Madison Coal Company gave the alarm to the village, and men and boys, young and old, hastened to the scene. The wind was blowing strong in the direction of the Glen Carbon hotel, owned by the Brick Company, and it together with the office, blacksmith shop, and other buildings, were threatened. The hotel furniture and other articles were removed to a place of safety across the street. Within a half hour after the fire was discovered, the entire plant was ablaze. Fortunately the wind changed, and nearly all the buildings, save the plant proper, were saved. Several streams were playing on the fire constantly, and everything possible with the means at hand was done. The damage is estimated at about $200,000. It was insured for half that amount. The plant was the leading industry of the live little city on the south line of Edwardsville township. It, together with the Madison Coal Company's mines, furnished employment to the residents. The plant was built by the company, which is controlled by the Messrs. Niedringhaus, in 1891, and has been in operation almost constantly since. It gave employment to as high as 300 men. Recently, about 100 men have been working 13 hours a day. The product of the concern was equal to the Galesburg brick. Fifteen flatcars on a switch of the St. Louis & Eastern railroad were also burned. It is reported that the plant will be rebuilt at once.




Source: Buffalo, New York Morning Express, April 16, 1902

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.. April 15- - In order to raise money to defend Joseph Machutis, charged with murder, the people of Glen Carbon, Ill., will hold a fair. Machutis was brought here last night by Chief Jones, who arrested him there on Saturday. He is charged with the murder of Stanley Molensky two months ago in this city. He fled and was traced through the coal regions until he was located at Glen Carbon. He had been there two months when caught on Saturday and he had made many friends. They believe he is innocent and as he has no money, they are preparing to hold a fair to raise money for his defense and to send his wife on here to engage lawyers and do her best to get him freed. The fair will be held next week. The trial will occur In a short time.




Source: Syracuse, New York Telegram, June 15, 1905

Glen Carbon, Ill., June 15. - With one side of his face mutilated with a charge of buckshot, Gustave Mergel, who murdered Mrs. Josephine Keller and fatally wounded her husband at their home near here on Tuesday, was captured by a posse yesterday afternoon in a school house two miles south of this town. He was brought here in a dying condition. The shooting of Mergel was done by a member of the posse. Mergel had been pursued and tracked to the empty school house. With all doors and windows barricaded he held his pursuers at bay for several hours, firing upon them whenever they approached.







Source: Alton Telegraph and Review, May 29, 1841

On Sunday last, we witnessed at Monticello, five miles from this city, the most violent hail storm since our existence. It commenced about three o'clock, and lasted from twenty to thirty minutes, many of the hail stones being as large, some larger, than a hen's egg. It was succeeded by a tremendous gust of wind, accompanied by a severe rain, which lasted for upwards of an hour. The damage to the foliage of ornamental trees, small shrubbery, currant bushes, and fruit trees, occasioned by the hail, was extensive; and the glass of the various dwellings within the range of the storm must have suffered materially. In this city, but little if any hail was seen, though the wind must have been as high, if not higher, than where we were. One house was unroofed, and several sky lights blown off the roofs of stores in this city; beyond that we have heard of no other damage. We also learn that Smooth Prairie, in this county, on the same day was visited with a hail storm as severe as the one we witnessed, and that the damage to dwellings was far greater than at Monticello.




Source: Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, July 31, 1841

The Monticello settlement [Godfrey] is the right arm of our strength in this end of the county; and to them we look for a general turn out on Monday. Among them are a few whose bosoms were bared to the bayonet of the enemy in that conflict which gave birth to our nation's independence. Though their frames are bent with years, the fire of their zeal in their country's cause burns in their bosoms as brightly and fervently as ever. At our last election, they were the foremost in exercising the inestimable right of Freemen, and voting against the enemies of our country. That they will be so on Monday next, we entertain no doubt; and we urge upon every young and middle aged man in the settlement to emulate their noble example and follow them to the polls. It may be the last time you will be marshaled by these veterans of the Revolution.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 11, 1841

We are gratified to learn that a Post Office by the name of Godfrey has been established near the Female Seminary at Monticello, four miles from this city, of which Timothy Turner, Esq. is the Postmaster. This will be of great benefit to the inhabitants of that thriving settlement, who have heretofore sustained considerable inconvenience in being compelled to travel several miles in order to get their letters and papers.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1842

Monticello is now a precinct, and will hold an election among themselves. No truer set of Whigs ever lived, than is to be found in that excellent settlement. Her report on the evening of Monday next will be a loud one, and we hope not a single r vote will be lost in that precinct. There is no splitting tickets among them. They are as true as the polar star, and will give nearly a unanimous vote for the whole Whig ticket. Success to Monticello and her citizens!




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844

We understand that the post office at Godfrey, four miles north from this city, which was established about three years since, has been discontinued by order of the Postmaster General. The reason assigned is its proximity to Alton, but as the two places were nearly as close to each other at the period referred to, as they are now, we are unable to perceive any new motive for the discontinuance. Time will perhaps disclose the moving cause.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 27, 1844

Last week we noticed the removal of this post office, and expressed our surprise at it. Since then some facts have come to our knowledge which we feel bound to lay before the public. Two reasons, we are informed, were urged by those engaged in this small business, for the discontinuance of this post office. One was its proximity to the Alton office; the other a charge that its estimable Postmaster had abused the franking privilege [franking is the act of putting on postage stamps or markings shown that a fee was paid for mail service - this includes a Postmaster writing "free" on the envelope for soldiers during wartime]. The first is fallacious in the extreme. The office is no nearer Alton now than it was when it was first established, and the distance was well known to the department at that time. As well, yes, even with fare more propriety, could they discontinue the Upper Alton office, which is only two miles from the one in this city, while the population accommodated at the Godfrey P. O. is equally as large as that at the Upper Alton office. And the inconvenience to which the Godfrey community is subjected is more than double, that which would be felt by the Upper Alton people, if the same injustice was done them by discontinuing their office. In regard to the Postmaster at Godfrey having abused his franking privilege, we know the charge to be false, and defy the remotest proof to sustain it. So scrupulously guarded has Mr. Turner been in this respect, that he has even refused to frank a letter written by his own wife, and we venture they assertion that there is not a Postmaster in the state of Illinois who has made less use of the franking privilege than Mr. Turner. This much we feel bound to say in defense of an unexceptionable officer, who has been grossly traduced.


The real cause, however, for the withdrawal of the office, was to increase the emoluments of the office in this city [Alton]. And how much, reader, do you think that would have been? Judge Martin has examined the books of the office carefully, and the most the Postmaster's commissions have ever come to in one year was forty five dollars! And for the sake of this paltry sum, a large community have been deprived of the benefits of a post office, and that too, when the continuance of the office was without a dollar's expense to the government. The Jacksonville mail passed directly by the door of the Godfrey P. O., and was a watering place for the contractor. So that there was neither inconvenience nor expense attending its continuance. If pecuniary gain was the object of the very liberal and magnanimous persons who procured the discontinuance of the Godfrey P. O., we are assured that the community by subscription would have made up double the sum of the emoluments of the office, rather than have had it discontinued. And we cannot but believe that when the department know the facts, they will restore the office to the community from which it has been improperly and unjustly taken. There is a large female Seminary, numbering from 90 to 100 persons in the immediate neighborhood of the office, and the inconvenience to them is vast. If the department were subjected to a dollar's expense, either in carrying the mail to this office or in sustaining it, there might be a shadow of an excuse for the wrong inflicted. But when the contrary are the facts in regard to both, we feel as if it was right the public should know them, and endeavor to correct the injustice inflicted on their neighbors.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 7, 1845

Two houses to rent in Monticello [Godfrey].  A good two-story house within one mile of the Seminary, having a garden and good well of water near the door. Also, the house recently occupied by Mr. Munson, near the Seminary, with 4 or 8 acres of good improved land, or without the land, as shall best suit the tenant. These tenements would be very convenient residences for persons who might wish to send their daughters to the Seminary or the Preparatory School. Immediate possession will be given. Apply to Benjamin Godfrey, near the premises.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1845

Our late celebration passed off so delightfully and afforded so much gratification to those who participated in it, that some of our worthy citizens have expressed a desire that a brief account of it should be furnished for your paper, which I take the liberty herewith to send you, with the respectful request that you will give it a place in your columns.


The festival was projected and managed by the Sabbath School Teachers and Temperance Societies of our precincts, united. At 10 o'clock a.m., the Sabbath Schools were assembled at the places designated. The Godfrey school, preceded by a select band of musicians, marched in procession to the district schoolhouse - three young ladies bearing the beautiful banner, presented some fifteen years ago by some S. S. teachers in New York to the Illinois S. S. Union - where they were joined by the school from the prairie. The united schools then marched back to the front of the Seminary, and formed an escort for the young ladies, who took a place assigned them in the procession. The whole procession then marched to the grove, northeast of the Seminary, where spacious arbors had been prepared. Everything being arranged, our venerable and worthy friends, N. Scarritt and John Mason, Esqrs., were conducted to the platform - the one as President, the other Vice-President, of the day. The exercises consisted of an address to the throne of Grace, by the Rev. George Pyle, chaplain to the Seminary; interesting addresses, successively by Messrs. Corey, Pyle, Mason, and Scarritt, interspersed by some half dozen songs - spiritual, patriotic, and temperance - sung most sweetly by the children, led by Mrs. Pyle, who had, with commendable zeal, and entire success, trained them for the purpose, and with frequent interludes of music by the band.


The festive board, which was spread at length under an arbor, expressly fitted for the purpose, almost groaned under the luxuries and dainties, which had been so bountifully provided by the ladies, all of whom seemed anxious to contribute their share to the festivity. On the announcement of dinner, the whole assembly took their places around the table - the Sabbath Schools occupying one end and the citizens generally the other - and more perfect order, as well as social enjoyment, we have seldom witnessed on any occasion.


After the repast, all returned to their seats, where the exercises continued till between two and three o'clock, when, after the benediction had been pronounced, all adjourned to their homes in a quiet and peaceable manner, reflecting, no doubt, with much pleasure on the scenes and enjoyments of the day, and saying in their hearts, "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."


Our ladies provided so abundantly that, although between three and four hundred had eaten and were filled, "many baskets were taken up," and by direction of the committee of arrangements, and under the supervision of some of our excellent ladies, were distributed among those families in our vicinity who, though not rich in this world's good, are rich in interesting children, whom they send to our Sabbath Schools. We all feel that the day will have been productive of much good - unmingled with any evil - in promoting neighborly intercourse and social enjoyment, and will doubtless be long remembered, especially by the children and youth who honored the occasion by their presence.


Signed by "G"   (Benjamin Godfrey?)




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1847

The attention of gentlemen of fortune is invited to Captain Benjamin Godfrey's advertisement, offering for sale his splendid farm at Monticello [Godfrey], a few miles from this city. A more desirable property, in every respect, is not to be found in this state, perhaps not in the Union; and those wishing to invest funds in the purchase of well improved real estate could not ask for a better opportunity than is now afforded them to effect this object.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 8, 1853

July 1 - The Annual Anniversary of this excellent institution took place on Wednesday last. The day was exceedingly warm, with occasional showers. The number of visitors was larger, we think, than ever before, and the Chapel was not only crowded to its utmost capacity, but every place opposite the doors and windows of the Chapel, where there was a possibility of hearing the exercises, was crowded with listeners, and many were denied even that privilege, and had to go away disappointed. The exercises of the day consisted of the alternate reading of the compositions of the young ladies, and vocal and instrumental music, and were of a character which fully sustains the high reputation the institution has attained. A portion of the time we found it impossible to obtain a good place for hearing, and cannot therefore speak as fully of some of the compositions as we would wish, or as they deserve. The present Chapel is entirely too small for such an occasion. With a ceiling exceedingly low, and the presence of several pillars supporting the roof, make it exceedingly difficult to speak so as to be heard perfectly, and in music, some of the finest and most effective passages are entirely lost. It is in contemplation, we understand, to erect a church in the immediate neighborhood, which will be built with a view, among other reasons, to obviate the difficulty now experienced. The reading by the young ladies was generally sufficiently loud to be heard throughout the Chapel, and the enunciation clear, distinct, and firm - not hurried, but natural; and their attitudes while reading or singing, very easy, graceful and unaffected....[compositions listed by Ellen E. Prince, Marilla S. Tolman, Harriett M. Lyons, Amy Chandler, Isabella Hurlbut, Rosa J. Teasey, Joanna E. Rice, and F. S. Van Arsdale, ] .....Diplomas were awarded to the Senior Class, which was composed of the following: Misses Chandler, Rice, Lyons, Godfrey, Van Arsdale and Teasey.... [music listed]....The Annual Address was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Gassaway of St. Louis. The address was an eloquent one, replete with beautiful thoughts, elegant extracts from the poets, and gave a fine exposition of what constituted woman's true education, which he contended, would invariably fix her position. He had no sympathy for the sticklers for the so-called "woman's rights," and expressed himself as much opposed to "petticoat" government. The address abounded with encouragement to the young to persevere in the paths of duty and rectitude, thereby ensuring to themselves happiness in the future. The speaker closed with a well merited tribute to the generosity and benevolence of Capt. Godfrey, for his exertions in behalf of female education. Altogether the exercises were of a very interesting character, and were highly enjoyed by those present. May many more such anniversaries gladden the hearts of parents and the friends of education, and throw out an influence through the land to purify, exalt, and refine.




Source: The New York Times, June 20, 1856

Mr. A. W. Corey, the agent of the Monticello Seminary in Illinois, has been highly successful in his efforts to raise a fund for the enlargement of this Seminary. At the present time about $10,500 have been subscribed by the people of Alton and vicinity, and there is every prospect that the amount will be raised to $15,000.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 17, 1857

The Seminary at Monticello when completed will be one of the finest buildings in the West. Not only will it be noble and palatial in its outward appearance, but also elegant, tasty and convenient within. Among other things, water will be carried into all the stories, thus obviating the necessity of carrying it by hand. Workmen are now busily engaged in erecting works for the manufacture of gas, with which to light the building. It is expected that the arrangements will be completed in about a fortnight, and the gas will be used for the first time on Christmas night.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1885

Whitmore & Disbrow, proprietors.  The Godfrey Creamery is a fine, two-story building, 20x40, with an engine house 10x20 at the north end. On the south end is the ice house, 16x28, well filled. The milk is received in the milk room in the second story, 20x22 feet, into a large tank to warm it up to right temperature for separating, then is conveyed below in pipes and to a small tank, thence to the De Laval separator, which is supplied with small tubes, and the cream is thrown out into the top, while the milk flows out from the centre. The separation is done by the revolution of the separator, which makes about 7,000 revolutions per minute, and has a capacity of from 650 to 800 lbs. per hour. About 600 to 700 pounds of milk per hour are now worked; receipts of milk at present about 1,200 pounds per day, the receipts of cream about 150 gauges per day. The cream from the separator is sold in Alton and St. Louis, or made into butter as the demand requires. The gauge cream is all made into gilt-edge print butter and finds a ready sale; in fact, the demand is larger than the supply. A large cooling tank is stationed in the separating room, filled with ice water and supplied  with one hundred feet of one inch pipe which the milk passes through preparatory to shipping. It is cooled down from 70 degrees to 50 degrees, and is put in this cool state into wood-bound cans, and in this condition is delivered to customers, perfectly sweet and fresh.


The Churning Room

In this room is the churn, which is of a square form run by steam, and has a capacity of one hundred and fifty pounds of butter, the average make is about 100 pounds per churning. Also in this room is the butter worker run by steam power, a large revolving table with two fluted rollers, which the table on which the butter is placed passes under, and it does its work complete, requiring one man to attend to it. Two large tanks in the butter room are used for the reception and preparing cream for churning. The cream is collected from the farmers under the supervision of R. B. Disbrow, who is from Elgin and understands the business. It is brought in the afternoon, and the next day is made into golden butter.


The Butter Room

This room is 10x10, is the room of all rooms; it is made in the style of a refrigerator and kept at a temperature of 50 degrees. Here, the butter is placed, each churning by itself, after coming from the worker, when it is salted, each lot is reworked and weighed in pounds, then passed through the printing machine and comes out just "good enough to eat" without bread; or is packed in any shape required by customers. Of all the many lots in this room, each was equally good; for summer shipping of print butter, large boxes are used with shelving on the sides and a tin tank in the center filled with ice, and it is kept hard and nice, the neatest way known to ship butter. A five-beam scale is used, and any number of cans can be weighed. The water supply is taken from a well, large and capacious, 8 feet wide by 25 feet deep, kept clean and clear, and is pumped into the building by a four horsepower engine, which besides does all the work inside, heats water, runs the churn and butter worker. The building is pleasantly situated and everything is as finely arranged as any creamery in the country, with none to surpass it in neatness and order.


Individually, Mr. J. J. Whitmore has a farm of one hundred acres, all under cultivation, the creamery and a large barn being the only buildings on it. There is stable room for 37 cows; at present has 18 cows, the product of which goes to the creamery, and intends filling all his stalls in the fall. He has one silo with a capacity of 250 tons ensilage, and is looking forward to a good business in the future. All the gentlemen connected with the establishment are pleasant and agreeable, and would be happy to see friends and visitors at any time.  That Dutch cheese was just awful nice.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, July 1, 1886

Miss Cynthia Mason is visiting in Brighton, with her uncle, Mr. Frank Stewart. Miss Belle Walker of St. Louis is visiting at Mr. Walter Merriman's. Mrs. Alex Crawford and Miss Anna were in Brighton last Sabbath. Mr. Lee Townsend of St. Louis called on the Misses Gregg last week. Miss Tolman of Kane, last week, visited her cousin, Mr. John Tolman. Prof. E. L. Waggoner and family, of Lebanon, are here visiting. Miss Holbrook, who has been visiting here for some weeks, has returned to her home in Brighton, accompanied by her cousin, Mrs. Chas. Virden. Mr. Willie Waggoner is quite sick.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1887

Rev. W. G. Waggoner and daughter, of Upper Alton, called on friends here last week. Rev. E. E. Waggoner leaves today to attend school at Lebanon. Mr. T. C. Ingham and mother went to Shipman one day last week. Prof. E. L. Waggoner, of Lebanon, came to see his mother last week. Mrs. E. B. Waggoner, of the same place, is now here. Miss Lue Darlington visited relatives here this week. Miss Mollie Fink, of Carlyle, commenced teaching in Mason school this week. She is a lady of fine ability and promises to add much to the social and literary enjoyment of the neighborhood. Anthony Young, who had his foot so badly cut while bathing in the Godfrey pond last week, and who has been very sick ever since, is, at present, much better.  Mrs. W. F. Waggoner is still very sick with rheumatism. Rev. J. W. Baine started for conference today. Rev. Wycoff, an evengelist, will preach at the Godfrey church next Sabbath.




Source:  Jersey County Democrat, November 8, 1888/Submitted by:  Bev Bauser

 A bevy of pupils of the institution, comprising Misses Nellie McConkey and Myrtle Kimberly of Kansas City; Anna Blair of Ottawa, Kas.; Ollie Travis, Pleasant Hill, Mo.; and Clara Parish of Chillicothe, Mo., awaited the outgoing train tonight under the charge of MR. O. W. Maxfield, the outside superintendent.


"We were not frightened a bit," they said, in chatting chorus. "Most of us saved a few things and when we got out safely and saw how slowly the building was burning, we went back and secured a great many of our valuables, but many of the girls lost their clothes, money and jewelry in the flames. Our teachers went quietly from door to door and marched us out and down the three stairways with the precision of veterans. Most of the Alton girls went home today, and we are going out on this train." The seminary numbered pupils from St. Louis, Alton, Chicago, Denver, Shreveport, Springfield, Milwaukee, Belleville, Fort Smith, Otta, Kas., and many other towns throughout Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Among the St. Louis girls attending the school this year were the daughters of O. J. Lewis, Misses Edwards, Travis; the daughters of Phil Chappel of Jefferson City, the two daughters of Joel Rickey, and Miss Curd of Fulton, Mo.; Miss Bertha Brownlee of Lebanon, Ill., were also in attendance. Chicago and Milwaukee had an unusually large number in the school, which depended mainly upon Chicago, St. Louis and Alton for patronage and its alumni numbers many of the society leaders of these cities. Among the prominent members of alumni from St. Louis are the three Misses Sneed, Mrs. Anna Sneed Cairns of Kirkwood, Mrs. John M. Allen, Mrs. Judge Shephard Barclay, Mrs. Pat Dyer, Mrs. Judge Denison, the two daughters of Judge Hunt, the daughters of Gen. Burnett, Mrs. Geo. W. Parker, Mrs. Isaac Sturgis, two daughters of O. J. Lewis, Miss Lottie Willis, the daughters of John Nixon, Mrs. Julia Blow Webster and Mrs. Webster Loughborough. A flourishing alumni association, numbering 240 members, has been in existence in Chicago for a number of years, and a similar organization was affected in St. Louis last spring with a membership of 60. The late Rev. Dr. Truman Post of St. Louis was president of the board of trustees for 35 years. Dr. J. B. Johnson is now the St. Louis member of the board. The building was of stone, four stories and a basement, and contained about 150 rooms. The dormitories were on the second and third stories. The contents of the art studios and music rooms on the fourth floor were completely destroyed, the losses, including some 20 pianos and model casts and valuable paintings. The oil portrait of Capt. Godfrey, the founder of the institution, was saved, much to the gratification of Miss Haskell and her assistants. The opera chairs, carpets, piano and organ in the anniversary hall on the first floor were saved and lie stored in the basement of the little village church opposite the ruins of the institution. About one-third of the library of several thousand volumes was saved and is preserved at the residence of Mr. James Brown, of the firm of Dodd, Brown & Co., of this city. The burning seminary was a beacon for the towns of Jerseyville, Shipman, Alton, Godfrey and the entire surrounding county, thus preserving its dignity as an educational light to the last. The flickering flames from a winter's supply of coke still lit up the desolate walls at a late hour tonight. The residence of Mr. Brown is but a few rods from the seminary and caught fire several times, but was saved through the watchfulness of the spectators.


Miss Haskell's Story

Miss H. M. Haskell, the principal, was seen in the seminary cottage, which stands about 700 feet from the fire. Her costume illustrated most forcibly the general ruin caused by the early morning flames. She was seated in the parlor, which was filled with masses of blankets, all varieties of clothing, trunks, chests, dressing cases and other articles that had been hurriedly saved. Miss Haskell's attire was the dress which she had hastily thrown on Sunday morning when escaping, and a blanket was thrown about her, giving her quite a primitive appearance. She received the Republic representative with excuses for her appearance, stating that she was but one of the many who were forced to adopt such wear. Miss Haskell told the story of the fire as follows:


"Every soul in the building had retired at 10 o'clock, and were asleep at 11. Shortly after 1 the matron, Mrs. Pendleton, who sleeps on the first floor in a room nearest the kitchen department, was awakened by partial suffocation from smoke, and springing up discovered that the northwest portion of the building was filled with smoke. She at once awakened the men servants and then aroused me. About the same time the fire was discovered by a teacher sleeping on the third floor, Miss Strachlin, who aroused the rest of the teachers. The 425 scholars asleep on the second and third floors were awakened by the teachers, who directed them how to escape. Of course they were frightened badly, but behaved splendidly, and there was no panic. There were two stairways leading down from the upper floors, and in 20 minutes after the first fire was first discovered everyone was out of the building. The men, under the charge of Mr. Maxfield, went to work to fight the fire. It had originated in the bake room, near the oven, which had no fire in it since noon on Saturday. A defective flue is the only explanation possible for the origin of the fire. The kitchen is in the northwest wing and was a frame building. The rest of the seminary building was of stone. It was five stories high and had sixty-four sleeping rooms. By fighting the fire with buckets of water the flames were gotten under control, and although the kitchen was destroyed we thought the rest of the building was saved. Suddenly the flames began to leap from the roof of the seminary. The fire had communicated under the tin cornice and unperceived until too late to be checked. We had to sit and watch the dear old place burn. It was a curious scene. The teachers, scholars and servants of course, had thrown on whatever garment was nearest, and as many blankets and other bedding had been hastily thrown out we all arrayed ourselves in these and thus, wrapped in all sorts of parti-colored blankets and coverlets, out in the campus, sat on trunks, mattresses and chests until daybreak, with the flames lighting up the scene so vividly. It was a wild picture. No one, of course, could think of sleeping, and we talked of the sudden awakening and escape and watched the seminary being so swiftly destroyed before our eyes. The citizens of Godfrey turned out in a body and were at the scene half an hour after the fire began. They did everything possible to aid, but it was then too late. I regret to say that thieves, during the excitement and confusion, stole several articles, a gold watch, jewelry and money belonging to various scholars and teachers. This morning the citizens of Godfrey did everything possible to alleviate our discomfort. We all had to breakfast, of course, and accepting the many invitations extended, were distributed among various homes by the two seminary omnibuses, for breakfast and dinner, afterward being gathered again at the seminary cottage. I telegraphed at once to the parents of my scholars and also applied by wire to the authorities of the Chicago and Alton railroad for free transportation home for the scholars, but receiving no response, I paid the fare of 85 pupils who went. The loss was $150,000, the insurance $70,000, placed with Alton agents, Dr. McKinney and Whipple & Smiley. The seminary will be rebuilt at once and will issue a circular to all trustees, alumni and patrons of Monticello Seminary, also to the governors of various states, soliciting aid in rebuilding. The seminary was the pride of several states having large alumni associations, notably one in St. Louis of 60 and Chicago of 240. I have received telegrams today from all quarters and especially kind attention from the people of Alton and Godfrey. I am sure the grand old seminary will soon be rebuilt." Two frightened fathers from Duquoin, Ill., who had just alighted from the train, were seen by the Republic reporter. Their names were A. C. Brookings and L. B. Skinner, and although they had been telegraphed by Miss Haskell that everyone was saved, they were very apprehensive until met by Mr. Maxfield at the depot and assured that their daughters were saved. Their trip was in vain, as Miss Haskell had already sent the two young ladies home on the afternoon train.


A Thrilling Experience

Otto W. Maxfield, the outside superintendent, who looks after a farm of 120 acres belonging to the establishment, was the only one who had a thrilling experience during the fire. He had rushed to the third floor to save everything possible, and sprang into a closet, when a Negro assistant, not knowing he was there, closed the door and ran hurriedly on, also intent on saving valuables. Maxfield found to his horror that there was no knob on the inside. He threw himself against the heavy door, but it refused to yield, and he shouted and kicked against it vigorously, knowing that the flames were approaching that room. "It was a frightful moment," Maxfield said, "and I was panic-stricken, but fortunately the Negro man heard my cries and released me. He asked me how I felt locked up in there, but just then I had neither time nor breath to answer him, as the fire was entirely too near us."




Source:  New York Times, New York, November 5, 1888

Godfrey, Ill., Nov. 4.-The famous Monticello Seminary was destroyed by fire at 1 o'clock this morning, and 125 young ladies had a narrow escape from a frightful death. The night was clear and cold, and at 10 o'clock every inmate of the college was in bed or preparing to retire. At midnight the fire broke out in the basement, directly beneath the kitchen, and burned for a considerable period before the danger was discovered. The smoke ascended through the halls of the main building, and, pouring through connecting doors into the halls of the dormitories in both wings, aroused the girls and teachers. By this time the fire had taken possession of the first and second floors of the main building and was reaching out to the wings. The teachers showed rare presence of mind at this terrible crisis. Many of the girls were yet sleeping soundly, unconscious of danger, though the smoke was suffocating and the panic widespread. The women and older girls struggled bravely through the smoke, pulling the terrified girls out of their beds and instructing them to leave everything and run for their lives. The stairways at both ends of the wings were not yet in possession of the flames, and the frightened girls, clad only in their night clothes, rushed pell-mell into the blinding smoke and escaped down the stairs. Some carried their clothes in their arms, some carried souvenirs of affection in the shape of books, birds and correspondence. All were dreadfully frightened by the awful glare in the rear, and yet many refused to move until assured that loving companions were safe. The girls huddled in groups in front of the building and remained until all the students were reported safe. They were then distributed among the neighbors in the town of Godfrey, and every effort was made to soothe their distress. Before the escape of the students two servant girls, who were sleeping in an apartment over the kitchen, jumped from the windows and are believed to have sustained fatal injuries. Mrs. Haskell, the principal, was almost crazed by the casualty. As the little town of Godfrey is practically helpless in case of fire, telegraphs were sent to Alton to asking for engines. Meanwhile the fire had taken entire control of the old college that has one of the most illustrious alumnae in the United States. The building was of stone, five stories high and 110 feet front. It was built in 1845 by Benjamin Godfrey, its founder, and was the oldest seat of learning of its kind in the West. Before 3 o'clock in the morning it was in ruins. The flames swept through the wings, chapel and all the school rooms. A fine gallery of paintings was destroyed, and a library that was the pride of the seminary. Valuable collections of souvenirs and gift from the Alumnae met the same fate. The outhouses and stables went down before the march of the fire, and the total loss is estimated at $250,000. Most of the young ladies lost everything except their night dresses and lives. Money, baggage and everything of value was abandoned. They take their loss good-naturedly, and are thankful for their fortunate escape.



Source: Buffalo, New York Morning Express, October 4, 1890

Mrs. S. V. White of Brooklyn, the wife of Deacon S. V. White of Wall Street, has presented the Monticello Seminary of Godfrey, Ill. with $5,000 to endow a scholarship to be named in honor of her husband.




Source: Auburn, New York Daily Bulletin, May 17, 1894

Several weeks ago the principal of Monticello seminary learned that some of the students were receiving notes and packages left at the store of John Roberts. She therefore prohibited the young women from going to the store. Roberts has sued the principal for $5,000 damages.



Source: Utica, New York Saturday Globe, May 30, 1896

....At the time the Vandalia train was blown off the track on the Merchants' Bridge, the Chicago & Alton limited was having an even more narrow escape on the Eads bridge. Not more than 15 seconds after the train had passed the east span the storm came and wrecked that very portion of the structure. Naturally the loud crash immediately at the rear of the train frightened the passengers, and there was a panic for several minutes. But there was one young woman in that train who maintained her presence of mind. She was Miss Harriett Haskett, who attends the Monticello Seminary, at Godfrey, Ill. She immediately set out to reassure the other passengers that there was nothing to be frightened about. "We are safe," she said in commanding tones, standing upon her seat, "and every one of you should take your seats and be quiet." The cool manner and heroic voice of the pretty young woman had its effect, and within five minutes after the accident happened, the car over which the young woman took command was in a state of quiet. She was declared heroine of the day.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, June 24, 1897
The fifty-ninth anniversary exercises of Monticello seminary were held last week and a class of fourteen young ladies who have completed the four years' course received their diplomas The school was founded In 1833 by Captain Benjamin Godfrey, who gave the lands and erected the buildings as his own expense, the cost being about $110,000. It is the oldest school for the higher education of women in the West, and, with the exception of Mount Holyoke, the oldest in the country. It was built in a primeval forest, four miles north of Alton, Ill., and all the material used in the construction of the building was brought from the East. In 1888 the buildings and all their contents were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $300,000. Miss Haskell, who has been principal for thirty-one consecutive years, at once had a temporary structure built, and the studies of the pupils were interrupted for only two months. She then laid the plans for a more capacious building, and in two years the present beautiful edifice, one of the most complete and adequate for educational purposes in the United States, finished and dedicated. Since that time a memorial chapel has been added, and during the present year a large annex, four stories in height, has been finished.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 12, 1899

The C. & A. yards at Godfrey last night was the scene of a fatal shooting affray, in which the C. & A. watchman, Mr. H. H. Sattgast was shot in the leg by a stranger, and the officer in return put two bullets into the man's body, from the effects of which he died at 5 o'clock this morning. The affair happened at about 9:30 o'clock. The man was put off a freight train by the conductor. He was in an intoxicated condition, and the conductor asked Officer Sattgast to take care of him. His hat was lost and the officer had a hard time to keep him from falling under the train while searching for it. Sattgast pushed him away several times, when suddenly he started to run, and when about ten feet away, opened fire on the officer with a 38 caliber revolver. The bullet struck Sattgast in the left leg. Quickly drawing his revolver he fired four shots at the form of his assailant. Two of them took effect, one passing through the side of the head, and the other striking him in the hip. Both men were rendered assistance. Officer Sattgast's wound was found not to be serious; the stranger's injuries were fatal, and he lingered unconscious until 5 o'clock this morning when he died. Not a scrap of paper nor anything else was found on his person to identify him. He was well dressed, looked like an Italian, had $21 in his pocket, and besides the revolver carried a dirk knife strapped to his body by a belt. The only reason given for his attack on the officer was because of his intoxicated condition. Coroner Bailey went to Godfrey this morning, empanelled a jury and held an inquest on the body. A verdict of justifiable homicide was rendered by the jury.  Mr. Sattgast's wound is not a serious one, and it is hoped he will recover from the effects in a short time. He is a son-in-law of Mr. C. H. Warner, of this city, and has held the position of C. & A. watchman at Godfrey for several years. The place is a difficult one to fill, as much trouble has been experienced with tramps and other dangerous characters stealing goods from box cars.  The body of the dead man was brought to Alton late this afternoon and will be buried here.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 10, 1900

Improvements on the C. & A. Railroad at Godfrey are going on. Besides the electric lights which the engines have for headlights, they are putting in an underground pipe from their pond to the end of the switch below Godfrey, so trains coming from the north will not have to stop twice. They will get water from a stand-pipe while passengers and baggage are being cared for. Passenger trains will not be coaled at Godfrey now, but elsewhere, as it will save time.




Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, November 9, 1900

The students of Monticello Seminary celebrated McKinley's election with a special programme. The young ladies, attired in curious costumes and carrying oddly-figured and shaped banners, held a parade on the campus. After the parade they repaired to the Ean Eleanor Reed chapel, and campaign addresses were made. Miss Ruth Bryan, daughter of the Democratic nominee, delivered an address on the silver issue.




Source: Skaneateles, New York Free Press, June 15, 1906

Miss Mabel B. Stackus, musical instructor of Monticello Seminary, Godfrey, Ill., arrived in town yesterday, and will spend the summer with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Stackus.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1911

A car load of mules was shipped from Godfrey yesterday by Amos Jones for J. B. Forward, a mule raiser there. This is not the first car of mules to be shipped from Godfrey or the last, there being a great demand for these Godfrey mules. A full car of mules - numbers about twenty-five, and they must be well fed and fat before they will be accepted on the market. They are taken to the East St. Louis stock yards, where there is always a ready sale for this Godfrey mule. For many years it has been an established idea that mules to be mules must come from Missouri and it was printed from one side of the world to the other that the Missouri mule made possible the good showing of the Boers, of Africa, before John Bull outwitted them. Hereafter, this fame of Missouri must give away to the Godfrey mule, he is just as big, as wise and promises to become just as famous as the Missouri mule.




Source: Richfield Springs, New York Mercury, 1913/1914

A quart of corn, yellow and perfectly preserved, was found in a glass jar in the foundation of the old school building at Godfrey, Ill. Workmen who were tearing down the walls got to the cap of the jar. They worked carefully to get the jar out intact, believing It might contain money. The corn is perfect In color, is not shriveled or discolored and seems to be perfectly preserved. It is believed the germ is alive, though the corn has been in the wall 75 years to the knowledge of living men.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 7, 1917

Seven or eight young men living on the Grafton road in the vicinity of Alton and in the immediate neighborhood in Godfrey township were scared into conniption fits last night between 9 and 10 o'clock while skating on the pond at Godfrey. That is all of them were scared stiff, except their legs. These were electrified as it were, and although the youths had skates on, they succeeded in beating down the running record of Godfrey township by many points. Just how rapidly they ran is a matter of conjecture, but according to one of the young men whose legs gave out, with the remainder of him all of the others were out of sight in less than three minutes, which means they went some. Leslie Kitzmiller is the one who remained on the pond after the others departed hurriedly, and he admits that he remained because his legs refused to do business for a few minutes after the fright froze him. "We were all skating merrily enough," he says, "when all at once a long streak of fire came tumbling down from somewhere and struck the ice with a sound that resembled the beating of a million big sticks on a drum head. Then the fire disappeared through the ice, and a lot of steam and water burst through the hole and flew all around. I was frightened worse than ever before in my life, and couldn't move for a few minutes, nor could I take my eyes off the spot where the streak of fire hit the ice. When I did look around to see if any of the other fellows were hurt, I found myself alone on the pond, and no one in sight in either direction. After a bit I skated towards that hole, but did not go too close to it. It is about as big around as a large candy bucket, and appeared to be clean cut through the ice. The ice all over the pond was cracked in a dozen places, and I skated for the shore. Later, I found all of the other fellows seated on a bank some distance from the pond, and they still had their skates on. We all struck out for the A. J. and got back from that country as soon as possible."  The "streak of fire" was probably a meteor, and it must be resting in the mud at the bottom of the railroad pond at Godfrey, and could possibly be gotten out. All doubters are invited by Leslie to visit the pond and see the big hole made in the descent; also view the cracked ice on the pond.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 28, 1920

Will Waters of Godfrey township has just completed installing a complete outfit of electrical apparatus and wiring in his house to illuminate the place. To do so he had to run the lines 2,000 feet at his own expense, to connect with the electric line that extends from Alton to Godfrey. The home Mr. Waters lives in was the old Godfrey home, and was built in 1832. In another year the house will be ninety years old, but in its youngest days it was not so comfortable nor so well equipped as now with its hot water heating plant and its electric lighting system installed by the present owner, Mr. Waters. It is one of the finest, if not the finest, country homes in Madison County, being built of stone and finished in fine style inside.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1921

Another coal mine - practically within the city limits - will be operated this winter by James Vermillion and his son, Arthur. They have sunk a shaft on some land known as the "Old Smith Farm" at the northern end of Humbert street, on what is commonly known as the Brighton road, and they found a three foot thick vein of coal of fine quality. They are now busy installing apparatus, erecting necessary buildings, putting in scales, and doing other work, and expect to begin getting out fuel for the public about December 1st. They have engaged six coal miners, and expect to get out 300 bushels or more of coal daily from the start. Three hundred bushels a day is the minimum and they expect to increase the output and their mining force steadily as room is made for more men. The owners of the coal mine say the probably prices for coal from the Vermillion mine will be 15 cents a bushel at the mine; 19 cents per bushel delivered. The Tom McNally mine on Rozier street, was opened a few months ago, is being worked steadily, seven miners being employed there at present. The output is being increased right along, and the quality of the coal is being praised by users. The McNally mine and the Vermillion mine combined should be able to supply 1,500 or 2,000 bushels of coal daily by the last of December, and possibly more than that.







Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1838

We learn that a post office has been lately established in the precinct of Six Mile, in this county, and placed under the charge of J. Squire, Esq. as Postmaster. This will be of great utility to the people of that settlement, who have long been subjected to much inconvenience from the deficiency of mail facilities.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1900

The officers and directors of the National Enameling and Stamping Company, whose general works are at Granite City, were the guests yesterday of Mr. F. G. Niedringhaus, the president of the great concern. The gentlemen met for the purpose of inspecting the several plants at Granite City, including the addition to the big rolling mill. During their trip over the town yesterday, the gentlemen witnessed the starting up of the eight new rolling mills, which are now a part of the company's plant. These mills, in connection with the other portions of the plant, enable the company to turn out the finished article of commerce from the raw material. The latest addition to the mills will supply sheet steel and tin plate for the factories of the company located at Granite City, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Md., and Bellaire, Ohio, and the product will be worked into all kinds of tin and enameled ware. The output will be 300 tons of thin sheets every twenty-four hours, valued at present at $20,000. The addition consists of thirty-four, thirty-ton basic steel furnaces and twenty-two finishing sheet mills. The buildings are of steel and brick, and cover over five acres, employing an additional 1,500 skilled men and 1,000 unskilled laborers. The average pay of the skilled men will be over $5 per day [Equal to $140.05 in 2014], and the unskilled $4.50 per day. This great industry in our neighboring city, in this county, is the direct result of the protection to American industries, fostered by the administration of William McKinley. Twenty-four hundred men added to the manufacturing industries of Granite City will add much to the county's prosperity and population. It is a different condition from that left by Grover Cleveland, the last free trade Democratic administration. And it ought to be the last for fifty years. Democracy and free trade are the enemies of prosperity and manufacturing institutions.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1909

His eyes destroyed by the accidental discharge of a shotgun, and crazed with heat and thirst, Gregory Buginsky, 14 years old, of West Granite City, Illinois, wandered about over an uninhabited island in the Gabaret Slough for two days and nights. The lad was found yesterday afternoon by a party of hunters. His arms were clasped to a tree, and he was gnawing viciously at the bark. While the shot had entered only one eye, the sight of the other had been ruined. His face was covered with clotted blood and his blackened tongue was hanging from his mouth when the hunters found him. He had been bitten and tortured by mosquitoes and insects until nearly crazed. While he was being carried to the boat, he fought fiercely, muttering incoherently. His clothes were torn to shreds by the brambles, and his body had been burned almost black by the sun. At the Granite City Hospital last night, it was said that there was little hope for his recovery. His eyesight is gone. Gregory sought to get a number of his companions to go hunting with him Wednesday afternoon. When they refused, he got his father's gun and rowed alone to the island in the slough to hunt for snipe. At the hospital, the boy was able to give a disconnected account of what happened on Gabaret Island.  "When I got in the middle of the island," he said, "I got the trigger caught in the branch of a tree. The gun went off. I fell to the ground. When I got up - I guess it was a couple of hours afterwards - I couldn't see anything. The pain in my head was awful, and I was so thirsty. I was afraid to move because there is water all around the island and it is deep, I was afraid I would fall in. But I got so thirsty after a while that I couldn't stand it any more, and my head began to hurt more and more every minute. I got on my hands and knees and began crawling around, looking for water. I must have crawled around in a circle, because I did not get near the water. After crawling a long time, I found some tule weeds and sucked them. The sun had dried them out, and they did not help me much. After a while I got under a rock and it was a lot cooler, but my head hurt me awfully and I was thirsty. I think I went to sleep for a little while. When I woke up I was burning. My head was hurting worse and I was so thirsty. I bit my arm to get some blood to drink, but it hurt so much that I stopped."  It is thought the boy became crazed after this and did not know what he was doing. When the first drop of water the hunters gave him touched his lips, the lad laughed wildly. He fought with the men when they took the cup from his lips. He was allowed to drink only a small quantity of water at a time.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 11, 1911

From Granite City comes the information that the Granite City Lutheran Hospital, which has been closed since April 29 on account of financial troubles, was sold yesterday to Father P. Kaenders, pastor of the Venice Catholic Church, for $55,000. It was announced that the institution will be opened within a week as a hospital, under the supervision of Father Kaenders and in charge of the Sisters of Charity. The deal for the purchase of the institution was in progress for four months. By the terms of the sale, the creditors will receive about 10 cents on the dollar of the original investment. The hospital was dedicated by the Lutheran church in 1905. According to the contract of sale, Father Kaenders will assume the bonded indebtedness and accrued interest, which amounts to $47,000, and in addition will pay $3,000 in cash. It is planned to make the institution free. A bathouse, chapel and sisters' home may be erected as additions to the building.



Clarence Lile, Granite City druggist



Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1912

Granite City, Sept. 18 - Though for six years he had withstood the courting of 3,000 women and had turned down approximately 1,000 proposals of marriage, the charms of a little school girl he met ten years ago have proven too much for Clarence Lile, druggist of Granite City and founder of its once famous Bachelor Club. The little school girl is Miss Gertrude Alexander, daughter of J. C. Alexander of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Lile admits he "popped" the question this time. The couple are to be married September 25 at the bride's home. The ceremony will be performed by Rev. E. Holt of Centenary M. E. Church of Cape Girardeau.


The bachelors' club, which Lile organized, and of which he was the first president, threw the glove at the foot of unmarried womanhood in the form of a matrimonial ball about seven years ago. Three thousand women attended, coming, it is said, from all parts of the country. St. Louis and the Tri-Cities sent the greatest representation. Mistaking his intention in forming the bachelors' club, old maids, grass widows, and real widows alike flocked about Lile to congratulate him for conceiving the idea. Some became profuse in expressing their thanks and admiration. Almost every woman at the ball wanted to marry, or at least to dance with Lile. After the ball was over and the husbandless women had returned to their homes apprised of the real purpose of the bachelors' club, the one-sided matrimonial correspondence between Lile and the women began. The druggist received an average of one proposal a day for three years. But the membership of the bachelor organization remained intact until the spring of 1911. At that time, Lile, without giving any reason, dropped out, and soon after the club disbanded, several of the "boys" marrying.


With the announcement of the coming wedding, Lile last night recounted a little personal history, which threw great light on his sudden desertion of the ranks of the bachelors' club. When Lile had just begun the study of pharmacy in 1902, he met a little 13 year old schoolgirl, whom he called "Gertie." About the time he organized the bachelor club, she departed to enter the normal school at Neosho, Missouri. About eighteen months ago, the spring of 1911, or the time of the disbanding of the bachelors' club, she was graduated from the school.


After the ceremony the couple will spend their honeymoon in Minnesota. They will return to Granite City to make their home there about the middle of October.


[Note:  Clarence Lile established a drugstore in Granite City in 1907 at 1901 Edison Avenue. In 1916 he moved his store to 1402 Niedringhaus Ave., and the last location for his store was 2101 Delmar  Avenue. Shown in the photo is Clarence Lile in 1946.]




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 17, 1920

The inquest over the body of an unknown man found yesterday on Chouteau Island near Granite City was held last night at Granite City. The verdict of the jury was that death was due to "an unknown cause, probably drowning." Dr. J. H. Wedig of Granite City, who was foreman of the Coroner's jury, said the body is that of a man. The body was in such a state that it was almost impossible to determine if it were that of a man or woman. Dr. Wedig said it was very difficult to tell without a post mortem. Examination of the body showed that the left leg had at one time been fractured and was two inches shorter than the right. This is believed to be the only means of identification. The body was headless. Both hands and feet were also missing. One of the legs had been severed at the knee. It is not known if the head, hands and feet had been cut off, or if the long stay in the water had caused them to fall off. The body was nude. The fact that there were no clothes was the only ground for a theory of murder. The body, it was believed, had been in the water about three months, and if the body had been clothed when thrown into the water, it is not believed the clothing would have disappeared.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 18, 1921

A disastrous fire, originating in the basement of the Julius Rosenberg store in Granite City this morning caused damage to the extent of about $40,000 according to estimates made by the owner of the store. The building is located at the corner of 19th and State Streets, and was a landmark of the city, since it was the first brick building to be erected in Granite City, and is said to be worth about $75,000. Rosenberg was on the second floor taking stock when the fire was discovered about 8:30 this morning. His only escape down the stairway was cut off by flames, and his rescue was effected through the efforts of Constable Nelson, who incidentally weighs about 250 pounds and is six feet four inches tall. Nelson took Rosenberg from a window on the second floor by means of a ladder. Mr. Rosenberg is a former mayor of Granite City, and has been operating a store there for some time. In the basement where the fire originated, considerable china was stored in excelsior, and this is considered responsible for the destructive flames. The loss is said to be covered by insurance.


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Alton Evening Telegraph, June 22, 1911

Gus Smith, aged 27, was wounded in the right shoulder, the ball going clear through the young man, and his two brothers, Frank and Berthold Smith Jr. were shot at by William Schorrs, a farmhand, Wednesday afternoon on the farm of Berthold Smith Sr. near Wood River. The shooting was done from ambush to satisfy an old grudge.  Three weeks ago Gus Smith, the oldest brother, had quarreled with Schorrs, who is a relative. Schorrs worked on the Hockstra place about a mile from the Smith place. The three Smith brothers were plowing, and late in the afternoon as they were rounding the end of their furrows, Gus Smith was shot at by Schorrs who was lying behind a shock of wheat. The would-be-assassin was so close to his victim that Smith's shoulder was powder burned. The shooting was done from behind, the ball entering the right shoulder and emerging in front. Schorrs carried an army rifle, and after shooting at Gus Smith, he turned the gun on the two other brothers. Gus, after being wounded, started to run, and so did Frank. Schorr shot once at Frank and twice at Berthold Jr., his revenge evidently taking in the whole family, and he doubtless intended to kill all three of the brothers so there would be no evidence of his crime. The three boys got to the house, then called for help. The assassin was not seen again, as no attention was paid to him and he was allowed to escape. Word was sent to Alton for a surgeon, and for the deputy sheriff to go to Wood River to help hunt for Schorrs, but too long a time had elapsed and no trace of Schorrs could be found. Berthold Smith Sr., the father of the boys who were shot at, came to Alton today with A. T. Head to swear out a warrant for the arrest of Schorrs. Mr. Smith was very quiet about the cause of the trouble, but it developed that some time ago Schorrs had been staying at the Smith home. Schorrs is a cousin of Mrs. Smith. He was not known for industry, and preferred to dress fine and shine in society. Mr. Smith, who is a hardworking, industrious man, and believes in hard work, did not approve of Schorr's way of living, so he let him know his presence there was not desired. This led to the ill feeling that Schorrs bore to the Smith family, it is supposed, in the absence of further information that Schorrs determined to be revenged upon his cousin by slaughtering the three sons who were at work in the field plowing. According to Mr. Smith, Gus Smith was not over 20 feet away from Schorr when the shot was fired. It happened that Gus was stooping over in the act of turning his plow around at the end of the row, when Schorrs fire, and but for the fact that Gus did stoop, he would probably have been shot in the head. The ball which pierced the young man's body ranged upward after entering just below the shoulder blade. The size of the hole indicates it must have been a 44-calibre ball. Then Gus started to run, after almost falling to the ground. Schorrs then took a shot at Frank Smith who was a short distance away and missed him. Berthold Smith Jr. was a half mile away and did not know what was going on. Schorrs ran toward him, and when about 200 yards distant he took two shots at the boy. Berthold hurriedly drove his team away, but the other two teams stood in the field until near 8 o'clock, when A. T. Head went after them. The shooting happened at 5:30 o'clock, and it was almost 9 before Dr. Shaff arrived and dressed the wound. The wounded man had lost much blood, and the greatest danger lay in his exhaustion from blood loss.  Mr. Smith offered a reward of $250 for the arrest of his son's assailant. The warrant charges assault with intent to murder the three Smith boys. It was learned from relatives of the family that Schorr was in love with one of the daughters of Berthold Smith Sr., and the girl being his second cousin, Schorr's suit was discouraged. He wanted to marry the girl and finally was forced to leave the place. It is said that Schorr made a threat that he would kill the whole Smith family and that he made no secret of his enmity. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have six sons and five daughters, and while the report was somewhat disquieting, they did not worry much over the threats of Schorr. When the shooting occurred Wednesday evening there was wild alarm in the family, and none of them would even go out to bring in the teams which had been left standing in the field.


Skeleton of William Schorrs Found - Suicide is the Theory

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1911
The fleshless skeleton of William Schorrs was found Sunday afternoon in tall grass of what was once the bed of Grassy Lake, by Frank and Berthold Schmid, two of the sons of Berthold Schmid Sr., who were shot at by Schorrs on the afternoon of June 21 from ambush. Gus Schmid, the young man wounded by Schorrs at the time of the shooting, and who is recovering from the wound in his breast where a Springfield army rifle ball pierced his body, was not with the other two brothers when the skeleton was found. It was a strange fate that led the two brothers to the place where their assailant had ended his own life, and that they should find his skeleton and identify it, seems remarkable to all who learned about it. A price on his head, aggregating $700, $500 of which was offered by Berthold Schmid Sr., and the other $200 by a brother, John Schorrs of Sunbury, Iowa, who believed his brother could be vindicated by showing just cause for the shooting, William Schorrs, the fugitive, probably concluded to end his life rather than face trial on a charge of attempted murder and perhaps murder. He was supposed to have taken refuge in the tall grass and thicket that surround the lake, and it was known that if he was there, a desperate man, armed and ready to defend himself, his capture would be difficult. None of the county officers would make the attempt. Cards were sent out broadcast bearing his picture, and his escape would be very difficult. He disappeared completely, although what now appears to have been false information came from Fidelity that Schorrs had been seen there at the home of a relative. The finding of the skeleton Sunday afternoon came as an incident of a hunt for blackbirds on the part of the two Schmid brothers. They went armed everywhere since the shooting, as Schorrs had threatened to exterminate the family because Berthold Schmid Sr. refused to countenance the suit of Schorrs, for Miss Ida Schmid, who was a second cousin of Schorrs. The boys stumbled over the skeleton lying in grass that was man high, where water had formerly been two feet deep. The lake having been drained revealed the body. It is supposed that Schorrs, despairing of escaping, waded into the shallow water shot himself and then lay down in the water to drown if he did not kill himself instantly. His rifle was about five feet distant. All the flesh had disappeared. On the backbone of the body was lying a shell watch charm, which the boys identified as one Schorrs had owned. On the waist was a belt with a large metal buckle they also identified. In the pocket of the garments was a watch which the Schmid brothers did not touch, as they preferred to wait until Coroner Streeper had been called to take charge of the skeleton. However they were satisfied that the skeleton was that of the fugitive. Others who were called to the scene were satisfied of this also. Owing to the difficulty in getting to the place because of the tall grass and brush, the coroner did not go down until today. Ever since the shooting on June 21, the Schmid place has been guarded and members of the family in a state of terror. Someone was on guard against night attacks for a long time after the shooting, and it was feared Schorrs would return to work his vengeance on the family because of his failure to find favor for his courtship of Ida Schmid. Berthold Schmid Sr., the father, never relaxed his efforts to find Schorrs, and refused to converse about the matter with anyone. He heard reports several times of Schorrs being in various places. However the finding of the skeleton seems to set at rest all doubt of what really happened. The skeleton was about fifty yards from the wheat shock where Schorrs hid when he shot Gus Schmid from ambush on the afternoon of June 21. It is believed that Schorrs killed himself soon after he shot at his cousins, the fleshless condition of the bones indicating that death occurred long ago. There are some who think he may have gone away, and afterward returned to the scene of the shooting to fulfill his threatened vengeance, and that he found too strong a guard and that he, failing in his purpose, determined to end his life. coroner Streeper held an inquest Monday morning and a verdict of suicide was found. The body was positively identified further by a memorandum book containing Schorr's name, also that of his father, Jacob Schorr of Sunbury, Iowa, to whom the coroner sent a telegram asking instructions as to the disposition of the skeleton. The jury consisted of J. A. Hend, John Henry, Dr. L. L. Yerkes, Will Yenny, Al Dixon and R. F. Hoeckstra. The place where the body was found was about 100 feet from the old bank of the lake, and 50 feet from the water edge at present. It was lying in a mat of water lilies and willows. A hole in the skull showed where the ball had passed through. In the clothes was found 40 loaded cartridges, and four more were found in the handkerchief. They were forty-five calibre. The rifle lying under Schorr's leg had an empty shell in it. Richard Westerholt and E. F. Hoeckstra said that they heard a report of a gun after the shotting at the Schmid boys, and believed that was the shot that killed Schorrs.







Will Employ 1,200 Men.  $8,000,000.00 Plant.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 16, 1916

The details of the plans of the International Shoe Co. for the tannery which it will erect at Hartford indicate that this will be one of the greatest industrials that has ever located at Alton. It is not only the tannery that is to be considered, but a host of cut leather industries which will follow in the train of the coming of the tannery. It has been announced that the details of the option were closed up Monday in St. Louis by H. J. Bowman. The plan is for a plant that will produce 5,000 hides every day. The magnitude of the plant may be realized when it is said that some of the tanning processes of some kinds of leathers require eight months. The tannery will furnish the leather to be used in all of the twenty-three shoe factories of the International Shoe Co. The tract which will be bought belongs to Mrs. Virginia Bowman. It is situated in Wood River township, south of the Illinois Terminal railroad and east of the Big Four railroad, and is one-half mile south of the Wood River Refinery. The amount of money to be spent on the plant is said to be in the neighborhood of $8,000,000.  The plant will be built in separate units, and it is said it will require three years to complete it. When finished, the plant will employ 1,200 men, and no women or children. It will be made the nucleus of a number of plants for the fabrication of leather, and a settlement will be established there. Part of the employees will live in the city of Alton, and part of them in the vicinity of the plant. To accommodate the company, assurances have been given by the Clark Syndicate that ample electric interurban transportation facilities will be provided, and if necessary, the line between Alton and Hartford will be doubled-tracked. With the growing strength of the other industries and the increased demand for labor from Alton made by them, the addition of this large army of helpers will make necessary the double-tracking of the interurban line. It has been assured that to take care of the new business, the Alton, Granite and St. Louis Traction Co. will establish a five-cent fare from Alton to Hartford. The statement is made on authority of the International Shoe Co. that this tannery will be the biggest in the country - in face, will have the capacity of any three of the largest tanneries in the United States. R. D. Griffin, who will be general manager of the plant, lives at Edwardsville. He has been conducting the negotiations for the purchase of the plant. Mr. Griffin says that the purchase of the land is conditioned upon the finding of the same quality and volume of water as is found on the Standard Oil Wood River Refinery grounds. Of this there is no doubt. Water is found in great volumes under all this land by the sinking of drive wells. For a tannery, there is needed an immense amount of water and also good facilities for disposing of the sewage taken from the tanning process. The fact that on the land on all sides of the site selected for the tannery, manufacturing industries were relying on wells to furnish them with millions of gallons of pure filtered water every day, and the further fact that the river was so close that it would be easy to get sewage disposed of counted heavily in the decision coming to Alton. Arrangements have been made for the giving of an easement over the Bowman land from the site to the river, also for a sewer to pass over the land and for wharfage privileges at the river. The Bowmans will build a cinder road from the site to the river. In this connection it may be said that the Bowmans have given an option on the land at a very low price, H. J. Bowman Jr. acting for his mother, put a price on the land that was a very attractive one, and many times less than the best prices given elsewhere. There were about fifty seekers after the plant. East St. Louis and the Hartford site were the final contenders, and the Hartford site won because of the numerous advantages offered. The Alton Board of Trade has been the principal factor in securing the plant. For four months the Board of Trade was working on it. The former secretary-manager, W. H. Joesting, had made out the brief of Alton and had done much work toward convincing the International Shoe Co. that the best place for the factory is the Alton industrial district. He was engaged on this work when he resigned his position, and on condition that he would finish this work he was given his release by the Board of Trade at the time he took the position with the Equitable Powder Co.  The Board of Trade was therefore entitled to the credit of landing the industry. The locating of the tannery on the extreme edge of the Alton industrial district will be a big thing for the whole district. The possibilities of this plant are great. It is expected that it will be in course of construction within thirty days. All the financial arrangements have been made by the International Shoe Co. to go ahead with the tannery project. The shoe company has been experiencing much difficulty in procuring the leather it needs for the making of shoes. Most of the big tanneries are in the East. In the West is the place where hides come from, and much can be saved in the freight on the hides by having a tannery near the center where the hides originate. The shoe company will press work of construction on its new plant. It is said that the new industry is the greatest that has been located at Alton inasmuch as it will draw others of allied trades to it. The state aid road leading to Alton will give Alton a good advantage, as will also the interurban line, in getting benefits therefrom. The people of the village of Wood River think that their village will be greatly benefited by the new industry. They expect that there will be a much greater demand for new houses in Wood River than there is now, and that the village will increase largely in value. The moral value of Alton capturing this industry will be great. It will be much easier now for the Board of Trade to win over some other industries which are about ready to make a decision and which have been urged to come to Alton district and settle down because of the many advantages here that have already proved alluring to such big corporations as the Standard Oil, Federal Lead, Alton boxboard and Paper Co., and which developed such home institutions as the Western Cartridge, Equitable Powder, and the Beall Bros.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 20, 1916

The first construction work of the big tannery down at Hartford is starting in real earnest, and the first building constructed will be the main factory building and will be the biggest factory building in this section of the country. The building as planned calls for six stories and will be 800 feet long and 100 feet wide. The materials for the construction of this building are coming in, and the tool shed is already constructed. The work on this building will take a long time because of the great amount of brick laying and because of the great amount of material to be used.







Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1846

According to previous arrangements, the citizens of Highland and its vicinity met at Mr. Durer's(?) tavern, as a point to form a procession at 11 o'clock a.m.  The procession was formed in regular order, composed of both sexes, all ages and various nations - presenting in proper places splendid banners, and also a good band of instrumental music, skillfully and delightfully employed to lead the people to the new church for the purpose of hearing read the Declaration of Independence and of listening to the expected address from William Martin, Esq., of Alton city. Our number of people was great and imposing, and (by the way) well calculated to bring the reflecting ____(?) imperceptibly to praise and adore that Divine Providence which rules the destinies of men, and especially of our happy nation. After the church was filled to overflowing, the Declaration having been read, the people sat with perfect ______ and gladly listened to the ________, and at the close, they _____ manner expressed their approbation of the sentiments and approval of the man. The address throughout was of the plain common sense kind, not bombastical in the least, entirely original, well arranged, full of patriotism, and presented to the audience so as to be intelligible to the most ordinary capacity. I could but wish that the whole might be published in pamphlet form for the sentiments contained, and for the benefit of our young and rising generation.


After the usual preliminaries, the Judge took up first our Republican form of government, and showed wherein it differs from all others preceding it. Secondly, those events in the history of the United Colonies that resulted in giving us this political and religious existence. In this connection, the orator carried us back to the period when we seemed to have ___ political rights, according to the interpretation of the English Parliament, and faithfully set before us those principles and circumstances which tended most to bring about our happy confederation. After producing the immortal Declaration drawn by our worthy patriotic fathers, and giving the instrument an eloquent touch by way of dress, he proceeded to exhibit in pathetic style the history of the Revolution, and the triumphant success of Washington and his coadjutors; also the adoption of our great Constitution, and the safeguards thrown around it. Just about this moment a sacred flame seemed to burn insensibly in his bosom, which burst forth in extemporaneous strains of eloquence, that fired up every auditor with the same spirit of Liberty.  Our minds were now invited to contemplate our country and its advantages, natural political, and religious. These United States were surveyed in every respect, and the speaker caught the spirit of prophecy, and he was enabled to say many glorious things concerning her. The closing portion of the effort was splendid indeed, was in proper place, and well timed, viz: the principal instruments by which to perpetuate our happy Union, which were shown to be virtue and intelligence; and I really suppose that no expression ever dropped from his lips that contained more truth, as he fully demonstrated to our satisfaction. At the close of the address, we marched to the arbor and sat down to as grand a dinner as heart could wish. Each individual seemed to enjoy himself to the life, and no drunkenness nor profanity was found amongst us.


After dinner was over, an address was delivered to the Germans (as a great portion were present) by S. Keepfly, Esq., which seemed to interest them, as I imagined from their attention, for I was so unfortunate as to listen to an unknown tongue (to me at least). Then came another address in our own language, &c &c.  After we had our fill of speeches, music, and enjoyment, our attention was called to several excellent toasts, and the people responded in the old fashioned way, hats off and bands up, crying, huzza!! Everything was interesting, and Messrs. Editors, I do wish you had been present so that you could have furnished the people, through your most excellent paper, all about our excellent celebration. There was but one sentiment manifested, i. e. "Our country, right or wrong."  Signed by Asa McMurtry, July 7, 1846.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, October 20, 1868

At the great shooting festival at Vienna, a leading prize has been taken by a rifle man from Highland, Ill. The Swiss rifles have proved to be by far the best in use at the festival.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, July 2, 1883

A pickle factory at Highland, Ill. has contracted for over 400 acres of cucumbers with farmers, and expects to ship about 15,000 barrels.




Source: Troy Record, August 27, 1885

The Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. is laying pipes to M. J. Schott's artesian well, which will furnish them about 25,000 gallons of water daily. Next week work will be commenced on an artesian well on the grounds of the company. Business is increasing daily, and orders for 200 cases (800 dozen cans) are ahead. Their largest shipments go to Texas and Louisiana.




Source:  Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, October 17, 1888

The boiler of a traction engine exploded Monday evening on a farm [unreadable] north of Highland, Ill. Christ Rafferman, the proprietor and engineer, was instantly killed. Hugh Rice received serious injuries. William Hansel had both legs and one arm broken. William Arbert had one arm and one leg broken. Julius Schneider was seriously injured on the back of the head.




Source: Poughkeepsie, New York Daily Eagle, April 11, 1894

Gen. Frye's industrial army, 300 in number, reached this place last evening, walking on the railway track. They camped twenty seven miles east of the city. The city has sent a wagon load of provisions to the camp.



Source: Troy Star, September 6, 1894

Adolph Kuntzmann started a restaurant, bakery and confectionery in Highland today, and has an excellent location. He is a hustler, and we wish him success, though we are sorry to lose him, both as a business man and citizen.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 13, 1912

Hop Hollow has a saloon. It is located in a very plain board shed building, about one fourth of a mile back from the river by the side of the first springs. The place of refreshment is designed mostly for the public who haunt the hollow on Sundays and for the fishing and picnics that abound through the warm weather in that region. The saloon building has no windows, but in place of such open necessaries there are boards hung on hinges that are dropped down to afford the necessary freedom of light and air.


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Source:  Jersey County Democrat, January 8, 1883

In the year 1723 the state of Illinois was bought of ten Indian chiefs representing ten tribes by twenty-two white men in Pennsylvania and England. The territory was in two tracts, one called Southern Illinois and the other the balance of the state and a portion of Southern Wisconsin. The consideration was "200 stronds, 260 blankets, 360 shirts, 150 pairs of stroud breach cloths, 500 pounds of gun powder, 4,000 pounds of lead, one gross of knives, 30 pounds of vermillion, 2,000 gun flints, 200 pounds of brass kettles, 200 pounds of tobacco, two dozen gilt looking glasses, one gross of fire steels, 16 dozen gartering, 10,000 pounds of flour, 500 bu. of Indian corn, 12 horses, 12 horned cattle, 20 bushels of salt and 20 guns, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge. These articles have been paid and delivered in full counsel." The deed was signed and executed before a French notary public at Kaskaskia village.




Source:  Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1862

To the Editor of the Alton Telegraph - Within the last few days some fifteen thousand emigrants from Tennessee have arrived in Illinois, seeking a location in our State, perhaps to settle for life. It is understood that these emigrants are merely a committee, representing many thousands, who will follow them if they will send favorable reports back. They have left their baggage wagons south of the Ohio river, with instructions for them to congregate at Cairo, and await further orders. They are generally respectable in appearance. Many of them frankly acknowledge that they prefer the old national flag to that of the C. S. A. (Confederate State of America).  It is hoped that our people will treat them well, and that they may prove to be worthy citizens of the (justly denominated) Garden State.      Citizen.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1918

By United Press - The influenza epidemic in Illinois has claimed 22,563 lives in the state to date, C. St. Clair Drake announced today. A total of 350,000 cases were reported. This is believed to be about one fourth the number of cases existing. The death rate was two thirds less than in Pennsylvania.


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 21, 1912

While excavating near Long Lake for the Alton, Granite & St. Louis Traction Company yesterday, Foreman Edward Ward of the repair crew unearthed what is believed to be a loaf of petrified bread. The formation is perfect, and has the appearance of having been sliced on one end. What appears to be fingerprints in the bread show in several places. It weighs about 10 pounds, says the Edwardsville Intelligencer. Several days ago while working in the same vicinity, Ward unearthed a pot containing about 200 beads, evidently placed in the pot by people who inhabited that section of the county many years ago. Ward will have the formation examined by experts, in an effort to discover whether it really is a loaf of petrified bread or a stone of curious formation and size.


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Source: Alton Telegraph, April 11, 1840
At the meeting of the Delegates from the several precincts of Madison county, which assembled at Edwardsville on the 22d of February last, it was voted that the business of the Convention be deferred till the first Monday in April, to which time that meeting was adjourned. In the meantime, measures were taken so to equalize the number of delegates from each precinct that all parts of the county should be fully and equitably represented, for the purpose of making choice of candidates for the various county officers to be elected in August next.

At a meeting of the citizens of Alton, held on the 31st ult., it was resolved that the citizens should escort the delegates to the Convention to be held at Edwardsville on the 6th of April. This resolution was communicated to Matthew Gillespie, Esq., of Edwardsville, on the first of April, and by him to several of the other precincts. Notwithstanding the time was very short for information to be disseminated through the county, that any except the delegates were expected to be in attendance, yet although the day was very unfavorable, it raining after nine o'clock a.m. incessantly, at least 700 of the bone and sinew of Old Madison were on the ground. Many estimated the number present at over one thousand! And such enthusiasm and determined zeal has never been witnessed in the county since many of these same men rallied in defense of their liberties and their homes. By this prompt answer to a call as sudden, they showed themselves to be minutemen now, as well as in former campaigns. But, to give a sketch of the whole proceedings of the day, we will commence with the early notes of preparation on the morning of the 6th, by the citizens of the two Altons and vicinity.


The following order of procession was issued on Saturday, the 4th, viz: The Upper Alton, Monticello [Godfrey], and Alton delegations will assemble on State Street on Monday morning at six o'clock precisely, when a procession will be formed under the direction of George T. M. Davis, as Marshal of the Day, and Joseph Gordon, William B. Little, Calvin Riley, John C. Young, and Henry C. Caswell as Assistant Marshals.  Order: Marshal of the Day, citizens on horseback, Upper Alton Delegation, Ship - North Bend, Music, Monticello Delegation, Alton Delegation, drays, wagons, carriages, and other vehicles, citizens generally, banners and other insignia will be arranged by the Marshal. By order of the Committee.


In accordance with this order, at early dawn, horsemen, carriages, and all kinds of vehicles were seen moving towards State Street, the rendezvous for starting, and continued to assemble till about half past eight o'clock, when the Marshal made the following arrangement for the procession, viz: (1) Escort of twenty-six citizens on horseback, bearing banners - "Let the Government take care of itself," and "Let the People take care of Themselves."  (2) Upper Alton Delegates with banner - "Upper Alton Delegation."  (3) Ship "North Bend" and music. (4) Monticello Delegates with banner - "Monticello Delegation." (5) Office holder, bearing the banner - "To the Victors Belong the Spoils." (6) Four serfs with banners - "Perish Credit," "Perish Commerce," "Hard Money," and "Seven Pence a Day." (7) A standard bearer, with the motto - "This is the Way it Works." (8) Alton Delegates with their banner - "Alton Delegation" in front. In the centre of the delegation, the carriage containing the banner of the Fourth Ward. (9) Dray, with banner - "Our Wheels Want Greasing." (10) Bark Canoe (11) Citizens generally, with the banner - "One Currency for the Government - Another for the People."


Under this arrangement, the procession began to form down State and through Second Street [Broadway]. The ship "North Bend" moved forward in gallant style, decorated with banners, and bearing the identical flag that General Eaton planted upon the walls of Derno. On one side was the motto - "Freemen, Rally." On the other side, the motto - "Union for Union." On the sterm, its name - "North Bend." The ship was well manned with officers and crew. At the helm was the venerable Thomas Nichols, an old soldier, and at the bows floated a banner with the motto _ "One Term." The whole drawn by eight elegant white horses, and managed by the skillful hand of Mr. J. L. Bingham.


The "Office Holder" was decked out in all the regalia of his station, and although he had not "followed in the footsteps" of the long line of illustrious log-treasurers, whose names

are upon the railroad to immortality, yet he presented to the people, in his personal appearance, an excellent sample of one of the "victors" who had grown fat upon the "spoils."


The "Four Serfs" had mules and dresses in perfect keeping with the situation they represented. The admirable manner in which they acted their parts was a subject of merriment to many, but the startling truth that the Van Buren policy will, if carried out, reduce the great mass of the people to a condition not less abject, was a subject for serious consideration.


On the banner from the Fourth Ward was portrayed the Sub-Treasury in its various connections. It represented the interior of one of the Government buildings, proposed to be erected, presenting two pillars, in the foreground, upon the right and left. In the centre of the room was a large iron chest, covered with strong bolts, upon the door of which was a huge padlock, and the inscription upon the front - "Sub-Treasury." In back of the iron chest stood Mr. Van Buren, the presiding genius of the place. Over his head were the words - "I follow in the footsteps" of "22 out of 27 foreign governments." Before the chest were the words - "Office Holders Rank of which the Executive is President, Director, Cashier, and Teller." Upon the right hand pillar was the inscription, "$68.50 per day for the President, and 10 cents per day for the People." Upon the left hand pillar was inscribed the declaration made by the Globe in 1834, in reference to the Sub-Treasury scheme, in these words - "It will subject the Treasury to be plundered by 100 hands, where one cannot now touch it." The painting was executed by Mr. C. G. Mauzy, and in a style highly creditable to his taste and skill as an artist.


The canon was drawn by four fine bay horses. In it was seated the worthy Mayor of the city of Alton, William G. Pinckard, Esq., and B. Clifford Jr., Chairman of the Whig Executive Committee, bearing a banner with the motto - "Old Tip." On one side were the words, "Our First Governor," and on the other, "We have proved him honest."


A barrel of the log cabin beverage, "Hard Cider," duly labeled, was espied in the procession, drawn by one horse in a homemade vehicle. The hospitable owner was supplied with the necessary utensils to impart his "old orchard" to such of his fellow travelers as might need.


As half past 8 o'clock, orders were given by the Marshal to "move forward." The music struck up "Hail to the Chief," the cannon roared its thunders - the streamer and flags were flying from the mast head of the ship - and the multitude of banners were waving in the breeze - all was life and animation. The procession passed on through Hunter's town and Upper Alton, amid the shouts and plaudits of those necessarily detained at home.


At Milton, the company were saluted by a delegation from the Loco-foco ranks, who had previously arrived and stationed themselves at the entrance of Wood River bridge, in the roof of which was suspended a red flannel petticoat, to which, as the company passed under, their attention was called, and as in duty bound, paid. It is with due deference suggested to our Loco-foco friends (who, by the way, are rather inclined to disregard the consequences of their measures) that when they next feel disposed to show their emblems, so to place them as to make the angle of vision such as not to endanger the necks of the spectators.


The company proceeded on through a cold rain, but with warm hearts, towards Edwardsville. About a mile this side of the town, they were met by a delegation of the citizens of that place, under the direction of J. T. Lusk, Esq., and escorted by them thro' the streets of Edwardsville to the place of meeting. This escort bore the following banners - "Democracy Without Corruption," "William H. Harrison, the American Cincinnatus," Old Madison - good for 500 majority," and "Harrison and Tyler - Retrenchment and Reform."


The reception at Edwardsville was warm and cheering, amid the roaring of cannon and the shouts of the people. The star spangled banner was floating in the breeze, with the motto attached - "This is Tip's Petticoat."


[Next the meeting was held, with the following speakers:  Mr. Hogan, Mr. Edwards, George T. M. Davis, Col. Alexander Botkin, Rev. Mr. Trabue (an old soldier in 1812-1813 under Gen. Harrison), Dr. J. Giles, Joseph Gillespie, Esq., and Mr. Ross (who fought under Harrison and revealed the story of the petticoat:  "General Harrison said that if it should be the misfortune of the British commander to fall into our hands, her person should not be hurt; on the contrary he should be dressed up in a petticoat and delivered to the squaws, as being unworthy to associate with men.").


William Henry Harrison won the election, and became the ninth President of the United States. He took office March 4, 1841. However he died on his 32nd day in office from complications from pneumonia. John Tyler became his successor.]




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1842

Although the late anniversary of the Declaration of our National Independence was not publicly celebrated in this city [Alton], the day was nevertheless not suffered to pass unnoticed - many of our fellow-citizens having joined with those of different places in this vicinity for the purpose of commemorating it in an appropriate manner. In some, if not all of these, the celebration was conducted not only on strict Temperance principles, but in connection with, and under the direction of the Washington Temperance Societies of the respective neighborhoods. This was particularly the case with the celebrations at Salem and Madison, which the writer had the gratification of attending.


The first of these, which for reasons unnecessary to be stated here, was held on Saturday, took place in a beautiful grove adjoining the residence of Charles Gillham, Esq., about eight miles from this city on the Edwardsville road, and was attended by a large and highly respectable concourse of people of all ages, sexes, and conditions. The table was most abundantly supplied with good things, gratuitously provided by Mr. Gillham and his neighbors; several Temperance addresses were delivered; many names were added to the Salem Washington Temperance Society - which, we understand, already includes nearly every individual in the settlement - and the company separated at an early hour, highly pleased with the festivities of the day, which were interrupted by no accident or disagreeable occurrence of any description.


The Madison celebration, which was held in the lower part of the settlement, on one of the finest and most suitable spots that could have been selected for the purpose, equaled any in which we have ever participated - whether the number in attendance, the interesting nature of the exercises, or the excellent order and good feeling which prevailed throughout, be taken into consideration. As this celebration, like that at Mr. Gillham's, was conducted on pure Temperance principles, no toasts were drank, nor was anything stronger than good coffee provided for the occasion; but, apart from intoxicating drinks - which, we trust, will never again be used to desecrate a day that should be devoted to rational festivity, and not to riotous dissipation - everything which the palate could desire was most abundantly supplied by the liberality of the worthy inhabitants, and all cordially invited to partake "without money and without price." Here, as well as at Salem, sundry interesting addresses - some political and some on the subject of Temperance - were delivered; and perhaps in no part of the Union has the great moral reformation now in progress made greater advances than in this populous and highly respectable settlement.


The day was likewise celebrated in Middletown, Upper Alton, Marine, and perhaps some other places in this county; and we understand that in all of these, the exercises were highly interesting, and that the day, which was very fine, passed off quite pleasantly and to the entire satisfaction of those present.  In the evening, a concert was given in the Baptist church in this city [Alton], by the members of Mr. Munson's Juvenile Class, which was numerously attended. The performers, although very young, acquitted themselves extremely well; and sang a number of pieces with a skill and good taste highly creditable to their own proficiency, and the professional abilities and attention of their worthy instructor.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1846

Messrs. Editors:  Two men in our neighborhood have died lately of the cold, and another came so near his end that it was with difficulty he was rubbed into warmth and life. A fourth was dragged through the snow for miles, holding by one arm around the hinder beam of a sled. It is a wonder he did not share the fate of the first two. Want of whisky was no doubt the cause of their freezing, for if they had drunken enough, they might not have frozen, though it is true, a little more would have extinguished life without the aid of old hoar frost. I understand you are making ample preparations about Alton to keep a portion of your population from freezing. Your remedy does the business, or will do it, before the refrigerating process has time to make an impression. Money will be abundant in Upper Alton, as I learn your Coroner resides there, when your anti-freezing system gets into warm operation, for he will probably pick up one or two every morning between the "Brag City," Milton, Wood River Bridge, and the Buck Inn. If the victims are too poor to remunerate the Coroner, the cash comes in the shape of County Orders, so that the Upper town will be greatly enriched.  Signed Toxication.  From Our Prairie, March 1846.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, December 15, 1852

All the prisoners in the Madison County jail, Illinois, seven in number, recently made their escape.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 3, 1854

We learn from J. Chapman, Esq., one of the County Judges, that the County Court has completed the purchase of the farm of Andrew Miller, Esq., near Edwardsville, for a County Farm for the poor. The price is $4,000, the place containing twenty acres, and the house being sufficiently large for all immediate purposes. It has lately been put in complete repair. We are glad the County Court has completed this purchase. It is much better than any attempt to build, and will be a saving of several thousand dollars to the county.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1846

Messrs. Editors: In a March number of the Telegraph, I saw a request made by "An Inquirer" to the old settlers of Madison County, for answers to several questions therein propounded, and as I have not seen them answered, I submit the following.


The first settlement in this county was made in Judy's Prairie, south of Cahokia Creek, 1801, by twelve heads of families, viz: Nathaniel Carpenter, Isaac Gillham Sr., Isaac Gillham Jr., Samuel Gillham, Peter Castaline, William Porter, William Grotz, Widow Knox, William B. Whiteside, Uel Whiteside, Samuel Judy, and Henry Cook. The first Magistrate was Uel Whiteside; the first Constable was Isaac Gillham Jr.; the first Sheriff was Isom Gillham; the first County Commissioners were Samuel Judy, George Barnsback, and Rev. William Jones.


The first legal trial was at the residence of Uel Whiteside (now owned by Robert McKee), and the first suit at law was plead by William Mears of Cahokia. The first resident lawyer was Palemon Winchester, residing in Edwardsville. The first preacher was Rev. Hozea Rigs (local) and Rev. Benjamin Young, the first itinerate. The first church was formed at Isaac Gillham's by Benjamin Young, A. D. 1803.


The oldest meeting house was built in the edge of Ridge Prairie, three miles southeast of Edwardsville, called Bethel. The date of the oldest deed I cannot answer, it being recorded in St. Clair County. The first child born was James H. Gillham Jr., at the present residence of David Nix, March 8, 1802. The first marriage was solemnized at the residence of Isaac Gillham Sr., between Miss Polly Gillham and Mr. Robert Whiteside, by Uel Whiteside, Esq., in 1803.  Signed Samuel P. Gillham.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 10, 1858

At a meeting of the members of this Company, held in Edwardsville on the 29th ult., an election of officers was held, with the following result: Joseph H. Sloss, Captain; J. G. Robinson, 1st Lieutenant; I. R. Dunnigan, 2d Lieutenant; Joseph Newsham, 3d Lieutenant; T. J. Newsham, Ensign; J. M. Brown, Orderly Sergeant; G. C. Lusk, 2d Sergeant; J. A. Dunnigan 3d Sergeant; Henry Putnam, 4th Sergeant; Henry Wilder, 1st Corporal; J. Bartlett, 2d Corporal; J. H. Gillham, 3d Corporal; Edward Friday, 4th Corporal.  A change in uniform from the Jacket to the Frock coat was agreed upon. Captain Sloss presented the company with an invitation from the citizens of Edwardsville to join them in the celebration of the next Fourth of July in full dress uniform, which was unanimously accepted. Several persons were received as members of the Company.




Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, December 11, 1874

At a recent Old Settlers' meeting in Madison County, Ill., Hon. Joseph Gillespie said St. Louis, in 1820, contained about 2,000 inhabitants, each of whom would winter on a handful of hazelnuts.




Source: Buffalo, New York Evening Courier, April 18, 1875

The spelling mania is taking queer shapes. A Madison county, Illinois, girl has offered herself as a prize to the one of her four suitors who out spells the other. The trial is to come off next Saturday, in the district school house, and twenty-five cents admission is to be charged, the money to go towards furnishing a house for the young couple.




Source: Troy Star, June 21, 1894

Editor Troy Star - Dear Sir - One of the oldest inhabitants of this county stated today, June 18, that for fifty years we had never had such hot and dry weather as we are having at this time. I will state that the year 1854 surpasses this year so far, in both respects, that from the 10th of April to the first of July there was not even a shower of rain - only a few drops in any portion of this county; that many days in June the mercury was 100 in the shade; that on Thursday, June 24th, with my family we started from Troy to Terre Haute in the old four-horse stage coach, and the dust in the road was from two to four or five inches deep the entire route; that while on the cars from Terre Haute to Baltimore several children died, being overcome by the intense heat and dust. Yours Respectfully, Thomas H. Bell.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 11, 1900

Edwardsville is putting on her most becoming airs in preparation for the county centennial celebration to be held there the last of the month. Judging from the preparations that are being made, the celebration will be a big success and one of the most praiseworthy features will be the elimination of all the indecent features that have made street fairs a stench in the nostrils of decent people. All vulgar and indecent exhibitions will be barred and there will be nothing but that which will be elevating and will redound to the credit of Madison county on her one hundredth birthday, and to the credit of the managers of the centennial celebration. The county seat is putting on new airs and is fixing up a new dress to wear on the occasion of the big celebration. Alton people will no doubt attend, as they are as much interested in our century birthday as any other part of the county, and the celebration cannot be seen again by the present generation. It will be a big event, and Edwardsville will no doubt do herself great credit in entertaining the visitors at the county seat.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 16, 1901

Madison county is now free from the small pox scourge, the last patient being discharged Friday, and the pest house on Gabaret Island closed. Out of 48 patients, the doctors lost only six and succeeded in suppressing the disease. It is considered a remarkable victory.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 14, 1916

A meeting was held this morning by the special committee named some time ago, to organize the Madison County Historical Society. A special room for this society was provided in the new court house at Edwardsville, and it was there the meeting was held today. The room will be furnished, and at the disposal of the society. The officers chosen today were: B. R. Burroughs, president; Harry Hall, secretary; Mayor Beall, president of the Old Settlers' Society of Madison County; and a member of the committee attended the meeting and assisted in the organization. The next meeting will be at Alton.







Source: Alton Telegraph, December 14, 1839

Mr. Thomas H. Kimber of Belleville offers through the newspapers a reward of one hundred dollars for the apprehension of a man calling himself Eli Dyer, who came to the Marine Settlement, in this county, about the last of July, with the avowed intention of seeking a home in the West, and by means of forged letters of recommendation from the Hon. Levi Woodbury, as well as from the Rev. Albert Barnes and other clergymen, succeeded in defrauding sundry individuals of money and property to the value of several hundred dollars. This individual represents himself as a Minister in the Presbyterian Church, is apparently between 50 and 60 years of age, about five feet seven or eight inches high, very stout built, dark complexion, strong features, with deeply set grayish eyes. In preaching, he is fluent, earnest, and solemn, and usually wears a brown or auburn wig, his own hair being quite white. He was accompanied by a young woman who went by the name of Matilda Ann Jones, and passed for his niece. They left Marine together on the 2d of October last.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 21, 1855

Marine, IL - To the Editor, Nov. 10, 1855 - - I assume the unpleasant task of announcing to the public the destruction this morning by fire of the residence and outbuildings of Mrs. Catherine Butler, widow of the late Rev. Calvin Butler, of this vicinity. The fire originated in some unknown way, in the dwelling house, about three o'clock this A.M., and completely destroyed the same, with almost every article of furniture, clothing, &c.  Extending from the dwelling to the stable, the fire consumed the latter, some three or four hundred bushels of oats, the entire supply of hay, some harness and farming utensils. The horses, three in number, were forced, uninjured, from the stable. Mrs. B. and six of her children - all then at home - escaped in their night clothes, with no other bodily injury than a severe cut received by the oldest daughter in the left wrist, completely severing the radial artery. The older pair of twins, girls, aged thirteen years, ran barefooted and in their night clothes, a mile to the village, to obtain a physician and arouse the inhabitants. Although bereft of a comfortable home, and of almost every necessary just at the commencement of winter, and thus thrown upon the attention of friends and neighbors, the escape of the entire family with life, enables Mrs. Butler fully to retain her usual cheerfulness. This is a case which appeals to the liberality of a Christian community.   Signed George T. Allen




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 1, 1874

The quiet little city of Marine, with its nearly a 1,000 inhabitants, is making a grand stride toward improvement. In addition to several new dwellings erected this season, the Lutheran Church has been remodeled and a beautiful spire added that would be an ornament to any city of larger pretentions. The new public school building, in course of erection, will cost the sum of $10,000. It will be furnished with all the modern improvements, and will be a monument to the enterprise and prosperity of the citizens.  (From the Troy Bulletin)







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 9, 1904

There are very few Illinoisians now living who remember the booms enjoyed by certain points in this vicinity 75 years ago and longer. To look at those sites now no one would suspect that they had been the scenes of striving humanity to suddenly become rich. But such is the fact. Go to the former site of the little town of Milton, a few miles east of Alton, and no one could imagine that spot the place where the busy hum of industry, manufacturing and merchandising had its home. An epidemic of fever put an end to the prospects of that town, and the hopes of its projectors to be a great city. The inhabitants, or most of them, were laid away on the top of the hill now known as the Milton Cemetery, and the balance fled to other places, and Milton with its deserted houses became a memory only.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 6, 1905

There are now thirteen dwellings in course of construction in Milton Heights, which lies just east of Upper Alton.  Mr. E. A. Burris is building 7, Charles Huskinson 2, William Draper 1, John Wickenhausen 1, and W. H. Gibbs 1.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1905

Highway Commissioner George T. Henry was in Alton Wednesday and stated that the board of highway commissions of Wood River township have found it necessary to tear up the wagon bridge across Wood river on the Milton road, and that for three days, July 17, 18 and 19, no vehicles will be able or allowed to cross. Mr. Henry says the wooden joists placed in the structure when the steel bridge was built there have rotted, and that bridge, while not absolutely dangerous, is liable to become so at any time, and the substitution of steel joists for the wooden ones makes it necessary to tear up the entire bridge.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 24, 1912

The residents of Milton Heights, adjoining Upper Alton, are arranging to have their territory incorporated in the spring election. Milton Heights is located southeast of Upper Alton and northeast of Yager Park. Several years ago attempts were made to incorporate Yager Park and Milton Heights and Federal, but the incorporation fell through because too much territory was taken in the proposed corporation. The name of the village was to be South Alton. It will now be Milton Heights. Yager Park will not join Milton Heights this time, and the mistake of too much territory being taken in will not be repeated.






NOTE:  The town of Mitchell is located north of Interstate 270, and between Rt. 3 and Rt. 111. Most of the settlers in Mitchell were hardworking German farmers. Two of these settler were James Gillham and Andrew Emmert. The founders of the community were two brothers, John Jay and William H. Mitchell, who dreamed of creating a cattle ranch. They came from Chicago, and in 1870 purchased 4,000 acres. They drained the land (which was mostly swamp), and began growing crops to feed cattle. During this time the Chicago and Alton Railroad was planning their railroad through the area. After moving to St. Louis, John Mitchell promoted the construction of the railroad, and established Mitchell Station. The Mitchell brothers donated sites for construction of two churches, Catholic and Protestant, and a one-room public school. By 1882, Mitchell had two general stores, a blacksmith shop, a grocery store, and a meat market.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 15, 1895

Louis Bancker shot Phillip German and Andy Welsh and then killed himself at Mitchell yesterday evening. William Gillham and Louis Banker went to Michell yesterday morning. They remained around the place all day, visited the saloons and drank freely. Toward evening they went to the Lake Park hotel, conducted by Fred Martin. Someone proposed to play a game of cards and a table was made up. A quarrel ensued and the game broke up. Gillham and Joseph Henk continued to wrangle and a combat seemed inevitable. German interfered when Bancker stepped to one side, drew a revolver and shot at German, the bullet entering the latter's throat. Mrs. Martin had come into the room and begged the desperate man to desist but this infuriated him still more and he pointed his revolver on the woman. Andy Welsh, a helper about the place, stepped up to defend the woman when Bancker leveled the revolver at him and fired on his second victim, the bullet entering Welsh's arm. German, who was shot first, had dropped and when Welsh was hit he also fell. Bancker, seeing his victims on the floor and blood flowing freely from their wounds, presumably concluded that he killed both. He went out on the porch and immediately another report of the revolver was heard. Several ran out and saw Bancker just as he sank. He still grasped the revolver which was smoking. Blood oozed from the right temple of his head. He had fired a bullet and killed himself. The Wabash west-bound train was drawing up to the station which is just opposite the scene where the tragedy occurred. Coroner T. W. Kinder and Supervisor Frank Troeckler were passengers, returning from the board meeting here yesterday. John Vogt, knowing that they usually returned on that train, hastened to meet them, and excitedly told the story of the deed. Coroner Kinder and Supervisor Troeckler went to the hotel and found evidences of the bloody work. A jury was impaneled by the Coroner and an inquest held. The jury consisted of M. S. Link, foreman; Oliver Pettingill, clerk; Barney Meinerling, Martin Nagel, Mike Noonan and Mat Marcum. The evidence of eye witnesses was taken. The verdict of the jury is that Banker came to his death by a shot from a 38 calibre pistol fired by his own hand. German, the first victim, is a blacksmith at Mitchell and is in a critical condition. Welsh, who is the second victim, has a dangerously shattered arm.


Tragedy at Mitchell

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1895

The little town of Mitchell is full of excitement on account of a fatal tragedy which occurred there Monday eve, resulting in the death of Louis Bancker, and the serious injury of Philip German and Andrew Welsh. Louis Bancker, a resident of Mitchell, well known and heretofore not given to quarreling, was the chief actor in the scene. Bancker, accompanied by W. J. Gillham, went into a saloon to drink. While there, Charles Moritz began a game of cards with a man named Philip German and his stepson. Gillham was by this time quite full of liquor, and began to quarrel with Joseph Hancks. In a fight which occurred, Gillham was worsted, as Hancks got on top of him and began pounding him severely. Louis Bancker went to the assistance of his friend Gillham. He attempted to pull off Hancks, when others were about to interfere. Bancker then drew his revolver and threatened to shoot anyone who interfered. Philip German advanced to take a hand in the affair, intending to take the pistol from Bancker. As he approached, the latter discharged his revolver at him, shooting him in the neck. Ferdinand Martin is the proprietor of the saloon, and his wife stepped forward to separate the fighters. Andrew Welch shouted out to Bancker not to shoot the woman, and tried to get between Bancker and Mrs. Martin, and received the ball in the arm intended for the woman. Welch at once fell to the floor and laid there, thinking he would be safer than anywhere else. Bancker, thinking he had killed Welsh, and knowing that he had mortally wounded German, went outside, and putting his pistol to his forehead, blew out his brains, dying instantly. Bancker, who is 26 years of age, was held in high regard by all who knew him. He has not been considered quarrelsome or a bad man in any way. He was led into the difficulty through the quarrelsome nature of Gillham, who was intoxicated. Phillip German was supposed to have been mortally wounded last night. But the representative of the Telegraph saw him after dinner today, when he was sitting up, and it is thought that, unless hemorrhage sets in, he will recover. German was shot in the neck. All the parties live in or near Mitchell. The Coroner's inquest over the body of Louis Bancker was held this morning. A verdict of suicide was rendered. The funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon.


[Philip German and Andrew Welch both recovered from their wounds.]




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 5, 1911

H. E. Knolle and a young woman named Miss Maud Reed, both of St. Louis, were instantly killed Sunday night by being struck by an interurban car on the A. G. and St. L., which was on its way to Alton carrying a party of Granite City members of the order of Moose. The couple attempted to cross the track ahead of the car at the Long Lake trestle, just below Mitchell. The couple were hit so hard that Knolle, who was an officer of a chair factory in St. Louis, was hurled off the trestle down into the deep water of Long Lake. He doubtless was instantly killed. His woman companion was dragged about 200 feet, her body dismembered, her head cut off, and she was otherwise horribly mutilated. At first it was reported the motorman was drunk, but this was denied. The motorman, John Ball, did flee immediately after the accident, but he said that he was warned that he had better make his getaway while he had a chance, as threats were being made to lynch him, and the friends of Knolle were in an angry frame of mind. Ball walked back to Granite City and the car was brought on to Alton by John Bowers. The mother of Knolle identified him, but it was not until today that the body of his female companion was identified. It was said that Knolle was engaged to marry her. Coroner Streeper was summoned and he took the bodies of the man and woman to Granite City, where an inquest will be held this evening. A searching inquiry will be made into the facts in the case, with special reference to the statements made that the motorman was not in proper condition to handle the car. Traction officers explained the car running such a long distance before being stopped by saying the car was going at a high rate of speed. This, however, is disputed by some of the passengers who were on the car. A second woman, who was with the couple, became hysterical, refused to tell her name or that of the dead woman, and she left very soon after the accident.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 8, 1913

Word came to Alton today that fire had destroyed the old time Mitchell home at Mitchell, which was on the farm sold by the Mitchell family to an Alton syndicate, headed by S. H. Wyss, C. H. Seger. The origin of the fire is unknown. The house was insured for $1,000. Fire broke out while all the tenants, who are employed on the farm, were away from home. They had in the house considerable money, all the clothing except what they were wearing, and other possessions. The family of Edward Corey occupied the house and kept the farm hands. Corey lost $120, and each of the men working there had small sums of money in their clothing stored in the building. Whether or not the fire was due to someone having robbed, then fired the place, is not known. C. H. Seger said the building was over fifty years of age. It was erected by William H. Mitchell, who lived there for a time many years ago. The house was a well known old landmark. Since the purchase of the farm by the present owners, the house was used as a place for the housing of the farm hands.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 7, 1916

The big frame building at Mitchell, owned by Charles Hackethal, was destroyed by fire about 2 o'clock Friday morning. The loss was about $7,000, about half covered by insurance Mr. Hackethal said. Shortly before 3 o'clock the members of the family were aroused by the sound of something falling, and Mr. Hackethal, believing a burglar was in the house, rose, got his revolver, and started to make an investigation. He then noticed the smell of smoke and discovered the building was afire. The building was occupied as a hotel, a grocery store, and a saloon. Beside, there was connected with it barns and stables and warehouses, all of which were destroyed. In the hotel there happened to be just one boarder, Andrew Luchesi. He was overcome by heat and was about to fall from the second story window to a concrete walk when he was rescued by men who climbed a ladder to get him down. All Luchest, a barber, saved out of the fire was his trousers, vest and undershirt. Even his shoes and hat were burned, and all the barber tools and equipment he kept in the shop. Very little could be saved by the Hackethals. Mr. and Mrs. Hackethal and their child escaped from the building before the danger became very acute. The fire was witnessed by some Altonians. The Bell Telephone Company maintains a monitoring system over its lines to guard against wire thieves. The system adopted is, when ever a break appears in the lines, to start automobiles in the direction where the break occurs to be. The break was noticed in the telephone lines between Alton and St. Louis....Instead of finding that wire thieves had been at work, they discovered the Hackethal Hotel was being destroyed by fire and that every line of the Bell and Kinloch between Alton and St. Louis had been burned in two....During the time the fire was going on, it was said that the popping of vinegar barrels and other tight containers in the building as they would explode, caused considerable noise. The heat became so intense that the buildings across the road were set fire. It is said that when the fire was reaching its climax that bats estimated to number many thousands which had been staying in and around the eaves and garret of the hotel, flew away. The men at the fire declare, however, that there was not a single bat observed to leave the building and whether the rats all perished or got out before the fire started, as some of the spectators verily believe, is not given.


NOTE:  Charles Hackethal, born in Nebraska in 1886, came to Mitchell with his parents when very small. He attended public schools in Mitchell, then engaged in railroading in the offices of the Frisco railroad in St. Louis. In 1910 he began his hotel business in Mitchell, which burned down in 1916.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, June 28, 1899

The funeral of Hon. T. J. Ramey, the owner of the famous Monk's or Cahokia Mound, took place today from the family home to Collinsville. For several years Mr. Ramey, as the agent of a number of scientific institutions, has been digging and delving in the old mound, and the results of his labors will soon be published. He was a great student of Indian character, and always claimed that the Indians had nothing to do with the great mound, or its prototypes in Ohio. He claimed that these mounds were erected by a people of a much higher order of intelligence, and that they were intended for several purposes and not alone as burying grounds, as was universally believed. He held that the parties who constructed the big earthwork had a distinct knowledge of geometry, as all the figures on the inside are constructed on geometrical lines. The mound, although made of earth, bears some resemblance to the Egyptian pyramids. It has terraces, rooms, halls and anterooms, courts, etc., all of which contain relics of the times and specimens of the handicraft of the constructors of the mound. Mr. Ramey also proved that the mound was not built from earth taken from the adjacent low places or hollows, but nearly all the inside material, thousands and thousands of tons of it, was brought from the bluffs many miles away, supposedly in boats, the river then being several miles wide. The old gentleman contended for years that he would have a monument to his memory which would last longer than any gravestone that the local artists could construct. He held that his investigations in the mound would live in history and would add much to the learning of the age. He also said that he did not wish his papers published until after his death, and then not until they had been edited by members of the highest scientific institutions of the country. The farm upon which the mound stands will now pass into the hands of younger members of the family, but it is understood that there is a clause in the will preventing a sale of the premises until the whole inner structure of the mound is explored. Some time ago Mr. Ramey was offered $100,000 for the tract upon which the mound stands, but would not sell. He said he took as much interest in the mound as anyone else, and as he did not need the money he would not permit it to pass into other hands. About ten years ago a delegation from the Smithsonian Institution visited the mound, and spent several days exploring it and taking notes of Mr. Ramey's work. Many of the party agreed with him that the mound was not the work of the Indians who have occupied America since Columbus' time, while others held that it was purely one of the bigger class of graveyards erected by the Mound Building Indians. How this class of people could construct perfect hexagons and other figures so mathematically correct was not understood by any of the party.







Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois, July 13, 1892

An accident occurred at Moro, Friday, which cast a pall of sadness over the entire community. Miss Alice Bivens, a popular young lady who was living in the family of Mrs. M. B. Mitchell, who lives on the west side of the Big Four track, west about 10 o'clock to the east side to a garden to get some vegetables. When she was returning, freight train No. 43, Frank Carens conductor, was coming from the north and as she stepped on the track the train struck her, breaking her neck and instantly killing her. She wore a sun bonnet and a shawl, and it is presumed, did not notice the train approach. The train was running at a speed of 18 to 20 miles an hour, and every effort was made to stop it when the lady was noticed, but it was too late. Coroner Bonner held an inquest at which the facts brought out showed that the train men were in no wise to blame, her death being one of those sad mishaps beyond the ken of human powers. The young lady was 24 years old and a daughter of Dallas Bivens, of Ft. Russell, who died in 1867. Her mother is living, and is the wife of George Morgan, of Moro. The funeral took place Saturday, and was largely attended. Rev. Webb, of the Baptist church, of Bethalto, conducted services.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 26, 1922

Fire destroyed two big barns and other outbuildings on the John Hoemm place near Moro this morning. The fire broke out with great violence shortly after midnight, and nothing could be done to save any of the buildings. Fortunately, the big house on the place, occupied by the family of William Manns, was saved from destruction. The barn contained a large amount of hay, grain and feed. The house was the old homestead of the N. S. Day family. Included in the destruction by fire were five straw stacks, 600 bushels of wheat, 150 bushels of oats, all the harness for the horses on the place, sixty loads of clover, alfalfa and timothy hat, a large amount of machinery and small tools, a corn crip containing 100 bushels of corn. The family were out attending a dairymen's meeting at Moro, and got home about 11 o'clock. Everything was all right at that time. Soon after midnight, Joseph, the 10 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Manns, was awakened by the sound of the crackling of the flames and the glare of the light from the burning barn. He gave the alarm and roused the other members of the family. His father rushed and saved one wagon out of a shed that stood between the barn and the house. That was all that was saved out of the shed. The family have a telephone, and they called John Gueldner, who was the first one to answer the telephone call. Mrs. Gueldner called everybody on the line, about 25 families, and in 25 minutes there were fully 75 people on the ground all ready to help, but the fire gained too fast for them to do much good. A barrier of high green trees separated the house from the burning. The trees caught fire, but they protected the house from the worst of the heat and to this fact is attributed the saving of the farm home. Mr. Manns had not been carrying any insurance, but not long ago he took out a policy for $1,100 on his personal property in the Northwest Mutual Fire Insurance Association. Mr. Hoemm carried $800 on the buildings destroyed. The insurance will not near cover the loss. The farm was being operated on shares and part of the destroyed contents of the barn belonged to Mr. Hoemm. The lease arrangement called for part cash and part in crops. Yesterday Mr. Hoemm, recognizing the smallness of the crop, had made a present to Mr. Manns of half the cash rent, rebating it to him. This afternoon a mass meeting of the residents in that neighborhood was held for the purpose of making presents to Mr. Manns of articles he will need to continue farming, as their way of showing their sympathy for an unfortunate neighbor.

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NAMEOKI (including Nameoki Township)



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 5, 1857

A passenger informs the Missouri Democrat that when the cars coming west reached a point one mile this side of Nameoki, about eleven o'clock on Tuesday, the engineer observed a man lying on the track at a short curve, and immediately reversed the engine and caused the brakes to be put down, but too late to prevent a fatal accident. The cars ran over the body which proved to be that of an Irishman, who is supposed to have laid himself down on that perilous spot while intoxicated. The fragments of a bottle, smelling of liquor, were discovered, mixed up with the terribly mutilated remains of the unfortunate man.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, November 24, 1870

Monday evening, a well-to-do farmer living in the American Bottoms, and more generally known as "River Bill," was found near the crossing of the Madison County railroad in an insensible condition, with his head beaten and cut up almost past recognition. He was brought to Edwardsville on the six o'clock train and taken to the Union Hotel for medical treatment. Mr. Emmert lives about half a mile from the crossing, and it appears that he had just arrived from St. Louis and was on his way home from the crossing when two men attacked him with clubs, beating him in a most shocking manner. Supposing him to be dead, they then rifled his pockets, but the booty they got did not repay them for so foul and dastardly a deed. A watch and three or four dollars in money was all they gained. A pocket book containing fifty dollars in the back pocket of his coat was overlooked. It is supposed that the two men followed Mr. Emmert from St. Louis, thinking that he had a large amount of money on his person.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 5, 1920

Fifteen masked men this morning held up Wabash passenger train number 6, two miles south of Nameoki, and secured $500 in cash and valuable jewelry from the passengers. The masked men had six automobiles waiting for them and after securing their loot dashed off. It is believed they came in the direction of Alton. According to information obtained today at Nameoki, the men first held up freight train 91 of the Wabash. The watches and money of the crew were taken, and the crew were forced to extinguish all lights on the train. This was at 4:10 a.m. It was shortly afterward that the fast passenger, number 6, one of the Wabash's finest trains on this division, came through Nameoki. The train was stopped and the passengers searched. According to reports about $500 in cash was taken from the passengers, in addition to jewelry and other valuables, the value of which was not learned.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 17, 1874

Edwardsville News - Last Thursday night the store of Wesley Reaves in New Douglas was entered by burglars, and about five or six hundred dollars worth of goods stolen. An entrance was effected by boring augur holes through the back door and removing the bolt with which it was fastened. Suspicion at once rested upon a man who had arrived in town late in the evening previous, and who had departed during the night. He was traveling in a one-horse buggy, and owing to some peculiarity in the shoes with which his horse was shod, but little difficulty was experienced in tracking him. He returned through Alhambra, where it was ascertained he had taken dinner the day before, and thence by Hamil's corner to Balser Heinemann's, a saloon and tavern on the Hillsboro road, two miles from this city [Edwardsville].  It was previously discovered that he had left the road in a circuitous manner in Silver creek timber, and packed and tied up such of the goods as suited him best, and destroyed a quantity of others by burning them, a few remnants of which partially burned, and some paper boxes with Mr. Reaves' mark upon them being found there. He was arrested at Heinemann's by Charles Borman, constable, living at Hamil, and taken back to New Douglas before Martin Jones, a Justice of the Peace, who upon hearing the testimony, committed him to the county jail in default of seven hundred dollars bail. He gave his name as R. R. Johnston, and had a good horse and buggy and a small carpet sack containing several dozen patent glass cutters, which he had been peddling, using in payment of traveling expenses, &c., and also a revolver. The goods recovered from him and identified by Mr. Reaves were valued at about four hundred dollars, and are sufficient to send him up, but as his bail is small, he may have friends able to assist him. He says his mother lives at Rocksprings, St. Louis County, Mo.  The horse and buggy have been attached by Mr. Reaves with a view of partial compensation for expenses and unrecovered goods.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 1, 1900

Tuesday night Olive's store at New Douglas was burglarized. This morning two men entered Edwardsville and raised a disturbance, and when City Marshal Barnsback attempted to arrest them, they whipped out two brand new Colt's revolvers and struck the marshal on the head. They then started in the direction of Glen Carbon. At that place they were headed off by a crowd of people. One succeeded in getting away. The other was captured by Night Policeman Moriarty, and he placed the prisoner in the keeping of a man named Webber. While Webber was holding the desperado, a blast of wind blew the policeman's hat off, and in an effort to catch his hat, his hold was loosened on the prisoner, when the latter suddenly pulled a Colt's revolver from his pocket and brandished it in the faces of the men surrounding him, and made a dash for liberty, escaping from his captors. Chase was immediately given. The country was being scoured in all directions for the men. It is believed that these two desperados were the men who burglarized Olive's store at New Douglas, and that the weapons were taken from the store. They were too heavily armed for their captors to hold. At the time City Marshal Barnsback arrested the two men in that town, he had not heard of the burglary at New Douglas, but made the arrest for a disturbance in the county seat.








BUCK INN (the name of an inn and the settlement) - was at the corner of Delmar and State Street

GREENWOOD - was to the south of Buck Inn, between Delmar and Elm Streets

COAL BRANCH - located further to the east, toward Elm and Alby Streets



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 1, 1839

The reader is requested to take notice, that the sale of lots in the new town of Altonia will take place on Monday morning at ten o'clock at the Buck Inn, a short distance from this city, on the road to Monticello.  The town of Altonia, about a half a mile north of Alton, is laid out on the highland, north and south of the Upper Alton and Grafton road, and east and west of the State road leading from Alton to Jacksonville; thus having two of the most important roads in the State crossing at a right angle in its centre (at which stands the Buck Inn), the road leading to Smelzer's ferry running through it on the south, and the Alton and Hillsborough railroad running through it on the northeast.  The concentration of these roads in Altonia most greatly lead to render an interest in it desirable, did it possess no other advantages. But in addition to this, it has a salubrious [healthy] atmosphere; an abundance of stone road within its bounds; a good landing on the Mississippi river, within the distance of three-fourths of a mile on the Smelzer's ferry road, inexhaustible quarries of lime and free stone in its vicinity, an easy access to Monticello Seminary, one and a half mile north of it, which is perhaps the best institution of the kind in Illinois, and a regular plan for its future growth. The streets are wide and cross each other at right angles, and the blocks large, with alleys through them to be closed in any given block so long as one individual may own an entire block, at his option. By this plan, any person who may wish to have a few acres for his private residence can be accommodated, and the works of art he made to unite with the natural beauty of the town, to render it worthy of the union which must soon take place between it and Alton. A public sale of lots in Altonia will take place on the first Monday in June next, at ten o'clock a.m. at the Buck Inn aforesaid, at which sale some lots will be sold for the most they will bring.  Terms: Ten percent, cash, the balance on nine and eighteen months credit, unless the purchaser will improve them, in which case a credit of one and two years will be given for the balance. Until the day of sale, any of the above mentioned lots can be had at private sale; and to any person who will build on them the price will be low, and the credit long. Plats can be seen and terms ascertained by application to Messrs. Willard and Carpenter, W. S. Lincoln, Esq., or C. L. Frost, Auctioneer, Agents for Proprietors.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 30, 1843

Mr. Strong of the "Buck Inn," about two or three miles north of Alton, has decidedly the finest peaches I ever saw or tasted; he has several varieties, among which are a large yellow freestone of a very delicious flavor, and a very large white cling, two of which weigh a pound down weight. He informed me, however, that they are not as large as they were last year - the circumference of some of them being ten inches.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 3, 1852

We regret to learn that the property known as the Buck Inn, situated about two miles north of this city and owned and occupied by Mr. James Strong, was entirely destroyed by fire about one o'clock yesterday morning. The family were aroused from their sleep by the glare of the fire, and had barely time to escape with a portion of their clothing and bedding, before the building was consumed. About one hundred bushels of potatoes in the cellar were also burnt. The loss is estimated at about $1,500, on which there was no insurance. It was doubtless the work of an incendiary.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 15, 1853

Sullivan is now in jail in Edwardsville for arson (burning the Buck Inn).




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1871

A small storehouse, belonging to E. Picard & Co., at the Buck Inn, was burned yesterday. The loss, we understand, was small.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1875

The miners employed at the principal coal mines at Coal Branch and Greenwood are on a strike, occasioned by a notice from the proprietors that wages would be reduced on the first of the month from five to four cents a bushel for digging. The proprietors were obliged to take this course because at former rates they were losing money. In St. Clair county, we understand, miners are paid but 2 to 2 1/2 cents per bushel. If this is the case, it is easily seen that proprietors here cannot afford to pay five cents a bushel for digging.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 11, 1893

Yesterday morning Messrs. John Molloy and Samuel Ball, commenced work on the new shaft at North Alton. They got down some 15 or 16 feet by evening and will push the work until they find the "lost vein," or its twin brother. Both of the men engaged in the enterprise are experienced miners, know how to proceed in order to make every move a movement of progress, and their past success in locating veins warrant the confidence their friends feel in ultimate victory now. The shaft is being sunk on the land of A. T. Hawley, just off Elm street, and to the left of the Presbyterian mission. Coal has been found and mined successfully all around the new prospect hole, and the projectors of the hunt depend on striking the "black diamonds" in paying quantities at a distance of 90 or 100 feet. The Telegraph wishes the gentlemen every possible success in their undertaking. The "lost vein" is there: of this there can be no doubt: may it soon be advertised in the "Found" columns of all the papers.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 28, 1896

Work on the North Alton electric line is being pushed vigorously by President Porter. The men who struck are still working peaceably enough and are making rapid progress with the work. To comply with the terms upon which the bonus is given, the line must be in operation on the first day of June. The completion of the road on time will require fast work, but it is thought that cars will be running by the specified time. President Porter stated yesterday every rail will be spiked on the entire line to Fourth street by Saturday night. Mr. Porter also stated that nothing had been done in regard to changing the route from Third and Piasa street, and that he expected to go along with the work on that route. A force of men began setting the poles on Third street this morning for the trolley wire.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1900

Work will be started next week on the new Temple to be erected by Greenwood Lodge I.O.O.F., at North Alton. The new Temple building will cost $2,200, and will be a handsome structure and an ornament to North Alton. Some time ago the lodge bought a piece of property in the main part of the village for the purpose of making a lodge home that would belong to the Odd Fellows. They have had plans prepared for rebuilding the property, and will make it a profitable investment for the lodge. Rooms for lodge purposes and entertainments will be made on the second floor, and downstairs will be devoted to business rooms. The building will be one of the prettiest little Temples in the country owned by a lodge the size of Greenwood.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 14, 1901

John Rain has leased the north half of the store part of the new Odd Fellows building on State, near Elm street North Alton, for a term of five years, and is fitting the place up with shelves, etc., preparatory to putting therein a large and assorted stock of groceries, etc. Mr. Rain is a good business man with hundreds of friends, and it is thought will make a complete success of his new venture.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 15, 1901

One of the oldest, if not the oldest building in North Alton was destroyed by fire last night, and four families were made homeless temporarily at least. The building was a double brick, owned by Mrs. Catherine Kolb, and occupied by Mrs. Kolb, Mrs. Overstreet, W. W. Calvey and Thomas Swift and families. The fire broke out in a closet in one of the rooms occupied by the Swifts, about 9 o'clock last evening. That fire was extinguished, it was thought, and after a time folks went to bed. About 11 o'clock members of the Swift family were awakened by smoke and flames. The room was ablaze from the ceiling. The closet fire had not been extinguished, only smothered, and had worked slowly up the laths between the wall and plastering to the ceiling. The alarm was given, the fire bell was rung, and did the best it could, then the rope broke and the bell quit. The volunteers got out the fire fighting apparatus but could not save the building. They did save the adjacent buildings and the store of Mrs. Annie Hennessey, and they saved all of the furniture and effects of the different families in the doomed building excepting that of Mr. Swift's. Everything he had except a sewing machine was destroyed. The building was insured, but the amount of insurance could not be learned. It was an old building, however, and its destruction will probably entail very little, if any loss. Years ago when the Buck Inn was in its prime, this old building, which was located on State street a short distance north of the Custom mill, was the scene of many a joyous gathering and hilarious time. It was a place that good "refreshments for man and beast" were kept constantly on tap, and where romances were born, tragedies conceived and big heads produced - by the stuff that cheereth some but inebriateth more. The old "Greenwood Hotel," or "Gast House" or Cupid's Bower, or whatever term you may please to call it, awakened all kinds of memories in recollection's balls of the older citizens last night as they watched its finish and "peace to its ashes" was muttered by some, while "it got what was coming to it" was said by others. Thomas Swift, one of the men burned out last night, is followed by a determined demon of ill-luck. Sickness fastens often on his family, accident after accident has happened to himself, until it is a wonder he is alive or has a whole bone in his body. He works hard when he can; so does Mrs. Swift, and they are deserving of sympathy much more substantial than saying, "it is too bad." They have several children and are destitute of furniture, clothing, etc., by last night's fire. There is a difference of opinion as to the origin of the fire. Some say rats gnawing at matches in the closet ignited them; others say one of the children went into the closet with a lighted lamp, chimneyless, and that this set fire to something there, but this does not explain the 11 o'clock or destructive fire as it was early in the evening when the girl is said to have entered the closet. Besides, the fire was between the wall and the lathing, and the rat theory is probably the correct one. A great deal of the furniture of the people so rudely deprived of shelter, is still out in the yards exposed to sun, dust or anything that may happen along. It is impossible to get vacant houses, and while the people themselves may be given shelter by neighbors, these latter have no place to store furniture. The engine house where the truck and ladders are kept will be used probably until something better can be done.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 16, 1901

Mrs. Kolb, owner of the Greenwood House at North Alton which was burned down last Wednesday night, states that it was insured for only $500, instead of $2,000 as rumor on the streets had it.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1901

Somewhere in the Hop Hollow caverns, a black wolf- maybe more than one - is in hiding, coming forth only when he wants a tender lamb, juicy ig or yellow-legged chicken. The wolf has been seen by several citizens, among whom are some expert hunters, men who are familiar with wild animals and who declare the North Alton animal to be a sure enough black wolf - the kind that has built up a great reputation for fearlessness and savageness. John Mullen and James Wannamaker, both well known farmers living just west of North Alton, are the latest to hold a session with his wolfship, who visited their barnyards in the early morning in quest of a breakfast. They gave chase with their dogs and they shot several times at the animal, but he succeeded in getting into Hop Hollow and losing himself. He showed fight too, until he realized that he was clearly outnumbered and outclassed, when he led a retreat with ability and success. The boys are talking of organizing a big hunting party and of bearding the wolf in his den if they can find the den, some day soon, and some of them are of the opinion that they will unearth a family of the varmits. Black wolves in this section of the country are about as scarce as white blackbirds, and many people are inclined to the belief that the one now in hiding in the bluffs is an escape from a menagerie or circus.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 25, 1901

From time to time the Telegraph has published accounts of the pleasing progress being made by North Alton; of the many commodious and sometimes costly dwellings erected there the past year; of the rapid building up of the Lockyer addition on State street, and today it has the pleasure to announce that the long delayed development of the Turner tract, just north of Alton city limits, is at hand. The credit for breaking the deadlock - for such it practically was - is due to Charles F. Steizel, the enterprising cashier of the Citizens National Bank. Recently he purchased nine choice lots in the tract from Eugene Lee Benoist and Edith Turner Benoist of St. Louis, and secured control of many more. He refused to sell to would-be-purchasers, unless development was intended by them. In other words, speculators were not encouraged, and to those who wanted to purchase for home building purposes, he sold a lot in this, one of the loveliest and most convenient and desirable additions to Alton, at very reasonable rates. Papers have been made out by him transferring lot 3, block 3, of the addition to Mrs. Anna Michelbuch, and lot 4, block 3, to Ed S. Cotter. These lots are on State street near the old Wise brick hotel and farmhouse. Architects are now drawing plans for houses to be erected by both purchasers to be occupied by themselves as homes, and construction work will be begun as soon as contracts can be let. Mr. Steizel has negotiated the sale of a couple more lots, the transfer papers of which will be completed this evening or tomorrow morning, and what is now a fine farm, will speedily become the site of many beautiful houses, the homes of happy people. When he secured possession of the acre and a half of the tract, and control of a great deal more of it, a big stride was made towards development, for Mr. Steizel is not a believer in the "setting hen" theory as against the incubator process, as a producer of spring chickens. He is a developer himself and believes in development by others and is willing to help in the work of converting the raw material into the beautiful and useful.  With the terms and inducements offered, the Turner tract will speedily be covered with comfortable homes, beautiful streets and sidewalks, and yard improvements, and there will be a solid street of houses from the river almost to the Godfrey line on State street. Annexation or amalgamation will follow, and the Altons become one in fact as they really are now in interests and in ambitions.






Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 7, 1901

This morning at an early hour the broom factory of E. S. Newson, on the Godfrey road near North Alton, was completely destroyed by fire, together with several tons of broom straw, several dozen brooms, machinery, etc. Broom straw is worth $150 per ton, and Mr. Newson had just stocked the factory with straw enough to run the factory all winter. There must have been between 25 and 30 tons, or about $4,500 worth of straw besides the machinery, building, etc., which will make the damage close to $7,000. There was some insurance, it is said, but not nearly enough to cover the loss. Mr. Newson's little girl, it is stated, went to the factory before 7 o'clock to start a fire in the stove. She dropped a lighted match, it is supposed, into the dry, inflammable straw, and the flames spread rapidly and uncontrollably until all was destroyed.    [Note:  The Broom Factory was covered with insurance.]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 25, 1903

The Newson Broom factory here is turning out an unusually large number of excellent brooms, and is flooding the country with literature appealing to the people to assist in destroying the trade of the convict-made brooms of Arkansas and other places, which have entered into competition with union-made articles, outside of penitentiaries. Union-made brooms sweep clean and are clean, and should be given the preference very time and everywhere over the convict manufactured kind.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 23, 1905

Mr. E. S. Newson, the broom factory inspector who has been in poor health for some time but was thought to be improving nicely, was taken suddenly worse last night and his condition is reported to be alarming.


NEWSON, EDWARD S./Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1905

North Alton News - The body of Mr. E. S. Newson, proprietor of the Alton broom factory located just north of here, was brought home from St. Louis Sunday and the funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Mr. Newson suffered intensely for months before his death, and battled bravely with disease, but the odds were too great. He was once an officer in the British Navy, but gave up the position voluntarily to become an American citizen.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 9, 1905

George Miller will move the machinery of the Newson broom factory to Alton tomorrow and will resume business at once in his new factory on Madison avenue.

[See Alton newspaper clips for further information.]





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 6, 1901

It is stated that a fine new building will be erected in the spring on the site of the old Greenwood hotel and adjacent ground several months ago.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 10, 1903

The Chappell Brothers, who purchased the custom mills here Wednesday, will at once proceed to improve and enlarge the plant. Steam will be abandoned and electricity used instead to operate the machinery. A 20-horse power electric motor was received and is being set up today.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 5, 1903

Henry Camp, the well known North Alton farmer and coal miner, while working in his coal mine recently unearthed a deposit of petrifactions - shells, small animals or insects, and a perfect figure of a human. The arms are crossed on the breast of this latter, the shoulders are broad and prominent, and there is a deep cavity in the back between the shoulder blades. It is asserted that this is a petrified prehistoric man or baby. If true, prehistoric man was a midget, and a one-legged one at that, as the figure found only displays one leg. Prehistoric man must have been colored too, if Mr. Camp's find is a specimen, for it is black in the face and its body is as black as a tar kiln also, a condition that it would not obtain - unless mortification had set in before death - if the original were white. It is a curious formation anyway, and the petrified shells are real and the find has attracted considerable attention. Mr. Camp brought the "man" and some of the shells to town and left them with Henry Buckstrop of the Cole Hardware Company, and he is thinking of mounting the lecture platform this summer and giving some chalk talks on antediluvian [period before the Flood] subjects.



Petrification is the process by which organic material becomes a fossil through the replacement of the original material and the filling of the original pore spaces with minerals. This process occurs when groundwater containing dissolved minerals fills pore spaces and cavities of specimens, particularly bone, shell or wood. The pores of the organisms' tissues are filled when these minerals precipitate out of the water.

I could find no more information on Mr. Camp’s find, and if, indeed, it was a petrified human, but it’s not hard to imagine that this process could have taken place, given the amount of mineral deposits in this area. I wonder what else lies beneath the ground - yet to be discovered?




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 6, 1903

Mrs. Lucia I. Priest, who is continually doing good in a quiet, unostentatious way, has just presented to the North Alton Board of Education for the free use of North Alton children generally, a library of fine books, with book cases, etc.  There are more than six hundred volumes in the library, and the books are all of the interesting, instructive and elevating kinds. She has said also that she will add to this library from year to year until the North Alton library will be a splendid one. The Board of Education has secured the large, well lighted hall in Odd Fellows' Building, and the bookcases, desks, books, etc., will be placed there which is about the most central place, and the best adapted for the purpose in the village. The books now in the public school will be added to Mrs. Priest's gift and together they give North Alton a library of more than 1,000 volumes. Principal George H. Osborn is greatly elated and so are all who know of the substantial gift of Mrs. Priest. Mrs. Priest was instructress in the North Alton schools some years ago, and she has never lost interest in them or in North Alton people, and these latter will certainly never cease to hold her in grateful esteem.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 6, 1903

G. F. Long says in regard to the old well on McPherson street ordered filled up by the village board at its last meeting, that it [the well] never furnished water for travelers; that in fact the old brick house known for years as the "bee hive," and popularly supposed to be the remains of the old Farmers' Home, never was a hotel or tavern at all. The old Farmers' Home, he says, was a frame structure situated on the Wise farm (the Turner tract) just across the street from where the Episcopal chapel now is, and it was wiped out by fire years ago. The old brick house remodeled and now occupied by Grocer Waldron was erected many years before the war [Civil War], by John Fitch, editor of the Alton Democrat, and used by him as a country residence. During the war it was occupied by the family of Doctor Breckinridge, relatives of Mr. Long. After the war it fell from its high estate and became a tenement house and finally was abandoned altogether.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 17, 1903

North Alton News - One of the rural routes started out of Godfrey traverses the Grafton road for quite a distance west of Melville, and leaves the Grafton road at the intersection with the Rocky Fork road.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 22, 1904
Mrs. Eleanor Kohler, widow of Frank Kohler, died Sunday morning after six years illness with acute stomach troubles at the home of her brother, Joseph Ein____, on East Third street. She was 77 years of age and had lived in the Altons since 1854. The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the home to City cemetery. Rev. Theo. Oberhellman officiating. Mrs. Kohler was one of the original settlers of Greenwood, now North Alton, where she married in 1857 and resided until the death of her husband in 1888, when she moved to Alton. She leaves four children, Mrs. Frank Gissler, North Alton, Mrs. B. Burl of St. Louis, Miss Josephine Kohler of Alton, and George Kohler of St. Louis.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 11, 1904

North Alton is to have a new addition - the World's Fair Addition, and in it will be several desirable sites for homes. John E. Rodger, the well known real estate dealer, purchased the tract of more than 8 acres of Thomas Adams of Bloomington, and will have it surveyed and platted at once. He already has two purchasers for portions of the tract, and he intends to erect two dwelling houses at once to suit these two purchasers. The tract will be divided into lots containing two acres each, and this will give plenty of ground for beautiful front yards and lawns, with a large enough space for an orchard or garden in the rear. In addition to the two acre tracts, there will be three lots on Elm street _00x120. The tract is north of Elm street and directly south of Alby, and only a short distance from State street and the car line. The location is a good one from all points of view.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 8, 1904

Anheuser Busch Brewing Company has leased the Kolb property near the park on the opposite side of the street, for a term of five years, and with the privilege of purchasing during that time. The company will erect a building on the site of the old "Greenwood Hotel," destroyed by fire a few years ago.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 13, 1904

Mr. John Ingersoll has secured the right of way from North Alton to the Jersey county line for the proposed electric line to be built by the Central Traction Company, and there is no doubt that the supervisors will today grant the permission necessary for the company to have before beginning work of construction of that part of the line running along the public road. Work of construction will begin this fall, Mr. Ingersoll says, at the North Alton end and possibly at the Jerseyville end also. A power house and car barn will be built either at North Alton or at Godfrey. If the power house is built at North Alton, the village board will endeavor to negotiate with the new company for electric lights, or secure better terms from the present company. Godfrey township people are giving the new road and its projectors a warm welcome and substantial encouragement, and the pupils, patrons, and teachers of Monticello Seminary are said to be delighted with the prospects of soon having a trolley line in front of the Seminary.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 21, 1904

According to G. L. Glassbrenner, the North Alton saddler who was down town Monday morning, a new kind of dairy was started in that village today by Ed Riehl, the well known horticulturist and farmer of the Grafton road. Instead of using milk wagons to make deliveries, the cows themselves are taken along and the pint of milk for Mrs. Fuss-and-feathers or the quart for Mrs. Goodmeasure is milked from the cow right in front of the purchaser, who can see that if there is any water in that milk the cow drank it and mixed it herself. Each purchaser tells the amount of lactated fluid wanted and it is milked into the measure and delivered on the spot before there is any chance to secure help from the town pump or any other pump. In Cuba, the Philippine Islands and tropical countries generally this method has been in vogue for centuries, but it is entirely new here, and ought to become immensely popular.






Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 19, 1906

The Walter's apple jack [apple brandy] distillery has a capacity of 40 barrels daily, and is pressing about 500 bushels of apples into cider every day the apples can be procured. Apple jack must have hot weather to reach perfection, and so far the weather has been hot enough even for apple jack.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 25, 1911

If Judge Dyer of St. Louis, who complains that he cannot get a jug of pure apple cider in that city, will come to Alton, he can be supplied with many jugs of undoubtedly pure apple cider. It is here and in the surrounding country in barrel lots and farmers say it never before was so plentiful and never was any better or purer. Michael Walters, who operates a distillery in Mather street, has just finished filling a large cistern at his place with sweet cider. Barrels could not be obtained several weeks ago because every man who had an orchard wanted a barrel or two for cider for home use, and Mr. Walters concluding an emergency existed, pumped all of the water out of the cistern, cleaned the cistern thoroughly, and began pouring in the cider. The capacity of the cistern is two hundred and twenty barrels of forty-five gallons each. That makes nine thousand, nine hundred gallons of cider in the cistern. Mr. Walter has made many thousands of gallon of apple cider this year, and is still making it. Some of the cider is sold to dealers, sweet and fresh; more is made into cider vinegar, while lots more is converted into apple jack [apple brandy]. The Walter's distillery has long been famous for the good quality of the apple jack made there, and this year Mr. Walters will have a larger quantity to dispose of than ever before. He has sent another lot of barrels of apple jack to Louisville, Ky., where it will be bonded and aged. He has more than forty-five barrels there now, and the end is not yet. Unless he sells the lot in Kentucky, it will be brought here later and disposed of to dealers in this section of the country. He has never had any trouble disposing of the products of his distillery close to home, and expects no trouble this year either. It is undoubtedly the first time in the history of Madison County that 10,000 gallons of cider went into a cistern for want of other receptacles.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 8, 1917

North Alton undoubtedly will take the lead of all parts of the country this year in the manufacture of apple butter - one of the most healthful of substitutes for "bull butter," or any other kind of butter for that matter, at the present time when real butter is so scarce and so high priced, and Fred Kranz will take on the title of "Apple Butter King of Madison County." He will manufacture close to 700 barrels of the butter this winter, 500 barrels being for a St. Louis concern. The Landau Grocery Company has placed a large order with him, and he has countless smaller orders. He is getting apples from various parts of the country - not too remote - and will receive some large consignments from Calhoun County next week. He used sweet cider in manufacturing his apple butter, and he has some process, all his own - which makes the butter leave a taste in the mouth that won't come off, and that you don't want to come off. He is making and selling large quantities of sweet cider too, and will have more or less cider vinegar to dispose of later in the year. He will make no apple jack at all. In former years, before he bought the M. Walters' distillery in Mather street, cider and apple jack were the only products of the plant. Fred has halted the apple jack business altogether, and has added a grist mill equipment to the plant and will make corn meal, rye flour or wheat flour for farmers when they desire the service.



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Source:  Alton Telegraph, Thursday, March 25, 1897

Dr. L. C. Taylor, who was sent by the State Board of Health to investigate and report upon the outbreak of pneumonia at Prairietown, this county, which has resulted in numerous deaths, has made his report to Secretary Scott. The infected district was about six miles square, with Prairietown as the center. Dr. Taylor states that the clinical history of the cases which caused the alarm is that of an extremely severe and fatal type of croupous pneumonia, associated with the peculiar matter attributed to la grippe. Several cases presented the attitude of direct contagion. From 50 to 60 cases were treated during the scare, most all being accompanied by distinct chills. Many deaths occurred during the past month, some dying within 48 hours after being stricken. Very few children died. Dr. Taylor concludes his report classifying the disease as an epidemic of croupous pneumonia.


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C & A Railroad

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 12, 1900

The C. & A. has completed strengthening the bridge over Wood river on the Alton branch, and is now strengthening the bridge over Shields branch near the glassworks. When these improvements are completed, it is said the Alton will begin running its heavy fast trains via of Alton.





(Located in Moro Township, near Rt. 159 and Renken Road)



Source: Alton Telegraph, February 12, 1847

We learn that a post office has lately been established at Ridgeley, in this county, and R. W. O'Bannon, Esq. appointed Postmaster. It is situated ten miles north of Edwardsville on the post route from St. Louis to Springfield, and will accommodate a large and thriving settlement.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, August 4, 1871

Yesterday was the anniversary of emancipation in the West Indies, and was generally celebrated by the colored citizens of this vicinity. A procession, headed by a brass band, paraded in the morning, and the other observances of the day took place at Rocky Fork. A grand dinner was served, and several prominent colored speakers addressed the assembly.



Source: Alton Telegraph, January 31, 1873

Smallpox is reported to have made its appearance at Rocky Fork settlement.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 21, 1917

That the deal for the sale of a large tract of land to the Roxana Oil Company, which has been forecasted is about to be closed, is indicated by the presence in Alton of two representatives of the Roxana Oil Company. From their representations to contractors whom they have been consulting with regard to erecting buildings to serve as a nucleus of the big refinery that is to be erected somewhere in the vicinity of Alton, it is indicated that the Roxana company plans to build a refinery that will be as large, if not larger, than the Wood River refinery. The men in charge here are seeking homes for their families. The statement is made that the tests of the ground where it is proposed to erect the plant have been made, and the ground was found satisfactory. It is expected that the deal for the purchase of the land will be closed very soon. The site selected is on ground belonging to the Bowman family, and is said to be similar to the ground that the Standard Oil Co. bought for the Wood River refinery. The Roxana company operates a subsidiary company known as the Shell Oil Company, and it is cards of the Shell company that are presented by the representatives who have been interviewing Alton building contractors. It is intimated that there is hardly a chance of the deal falling through, and that before very long work of constructing the big refinery will be under way. The site will be not far from the site of the new tannery that is in course of construction. Still another oil company, it is reported in the St. Louis papers, the Indiahoma, has its eyes on a site near Alton. It is becoming evident that Alton, as an oil refining center, is to become a very important place, with one refinery established at Wood River, another about to buy a site, and a third having its attention glued to the Alton situation. R. B. High, who is here representing the oil company, has opened an office in the Mineral Springs hotel. He said to a Telegraph reporter today that he will spend at least a month here looking over sites. He said that no deal had been closed as yet.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 11, 1918

A burial place of the original old settlers, antedating the American Indians in Madison county, was today affording interesting study to students of ethnology and archeology. Workmen excavating on a small hill just inside of the Roxana Oil Refinery at Roxana yesterday unearthed the bones of fifteen skeletons. On previous occasions other skeletons were uncovered in that vicinity and the discovery of the additional skeletons yesterday helps to demonstrate that at some future time there must have been many people buried on that neighborhood. Many of the skeletons were found almost whole, in an upright posture in the soil. The skeletons appeared to be both male and female, and of old and young persons. The skulls were well preserved, and the teeth were in good condition. On each of the skulls on the right side there appeared to be a small dent, which might have been made by a savage's war club. The skeletons are not of Indians, for the large jaw bone of the Indian and the large joint bones, which characterize the Indian skeleton are lacking. Ethnologists have frequently declared that at one time a highly developed race lived in America before the Indians, and that they were slain by the Indians. The finding of the skeletons gives rise to the belief that there must have been a massacre of an entire tribe of highly civilized prehistoric men at that place by the Indians, and that they were all buried together in a heap, which is now the site of the Roxana oil refinery. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that in the memory of the old settlers at Roxana, no cemetery was ever located in that vicinity. Frank Smith, whose grandfathers secured the Smith land, which was sold to the Roxana oil refinery, says that his grandfather secured the land from the government on a homestead claim, and that in her remembrance there was no cemetery there at that time. The fact that the bones are not those of Indians would prove apparently that the skeletons belonged to some prehistoric race, which evidently were later killed off by the Indians. On numerous occasions specimens of the finest pottery made of pulverized mussel shell and cemented with a substance, the nature of which chemists of today can not duplicate, have been found in that neighborhood, and this lost art of mussel shell pottery is believed to belong to that prehistoric race. H. H. Clark, cashier of the First State and Savings Bank at Wood River, who is interested in ethnology and archeology, went to Roxana this morning and secured a number of the skull and thigh bones found at the refinery. He also took along several well preserved specimens of teeth found in the jaw bones, beside several specimens of the mussel shell pottery, which was found near by. The find was made just inside of the Roxana gate, where six of the fifty houses to be erected for workmen at Roxana are being put for the foremen of the plant. At that place there is a small hill which rises up inside of the gate, and it was in the side of the hill that the skeletons were found. The discovery has attracted a great deal of interest, and many from Alton and Wood River went down to Roxana today in automobiles on learning of the finding of the skeletons. Many of the bones were taken away as relics and will be carefully preserved.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 6, 1921

A blast of fire which accompanied an explosion in a new department of the Roxana Petroleum Co. refinery at Roxana, last night at 6:20 o'clock, caused the death of one man and the burning of four others, who were taken to St. Joseph's hospital for treatment. Other men suffered minor burns. The new still which blew up was wrecked. The dead man, H. C. Prochazka, of Milwaukee, a few days before had come to take employment in the place. He was 32 years old. His body was frightfully broken by the explosion, as well as burned by the flame and oil. The more seriously injured were J. S. Miller of Upper Alton; C. P. Dubbs, president of the Universal Oil Products Co., L. E. Nackus and T. L. Harvic, also of the same company. The explosion occurred in a new high pressure still in which a patented process of refining gasoline is done. The Universal Oil Products Co. has the patent rights on the process and had interested the Roxana company in trying it at their plant. For more than six months the Universal company has had a force of employees there building the still and it has been in operation. It was being given its final test last night when the explosion occurred that wrecked the still and caused the injury of perhaps a dozen people and the killing of one. Standing around the still at the time of the accident were about two dozen men. The test seemed to be progressing satisfactorily when, without any apparent warning, there was a blast, and burning oil and gas flames were blown about while fragments of the still went in all directions. Fortunately the still was remote from any other property and no damage was done except to it. The still had a large capacity and there was a large amount of oil in it when the explosion occurred. One story had it that hot oil was being drawn off and cold oil was being admitted rapidly to the still and some attributed the explosion to that fact. The process was being watched intently by the men connected with the company which had set up the still, which was known as the Dubbs plant, being named for the inventory, Mr. Dubbs, who was one of the men burned. Prochazka was closer in than the others which accounted for the fatal effects of the explosion in his case. Aside from the four men who were hurried to St. Joseph's hospital, there were perhaps three others who were badly burned and others who had minor burns or whose hair was singed by the blast. Mr. Dubbs departed for Chicago on the 10 o'clock train to get into a hospital there. He wished to reach his wife before she would be informed of the accident, but it is doubtful that he succeeded in reaching home before she learned of it. The three other men remained in the hospital at Alton for treatment. It was said today that the new still had not been accepted by the Roxana Company. Deputy Coroner Streeper took charge of the body of the dead man and will hold an inquest. The body of the victim of the explosion will be shipped to Milwaukee tonight. The inquest will be deferred until the other men injured by the explosion are able to testify.


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Source:  Jersey County Democrat, November 8, 1867/as printed in the Springfield Republican

William Thompson, a telegraph repairer along the line of the Pacific railroad, has had a novel experience. He has been scalped by the Indians, and yet lives to tell the tale. He lost his hair just before the capture of the train at Plum Creek Station, recently reported, and this is the story he tells to the wondering citizens of Omaha, where he now is:    About nine o'clock Tuesday night, myself and five others left Plum Creek Station, and started up the track on a handcar to hunt up where the break in the telegraph was. When we came to where the break proved to be, we saw a lot of the ties piled upon the track, but at the same moment Indians jumped up from the grass all around and fired upon us. We fire two or three shots in return, and then, as the Indians pressed on us, we ran away. An Indian on a pony singled me out and galloped up to me. After coming to within ten feet of me, he fired, the bullet entering my right arm. Seeing me still run, he "clubbed his rifle," and knocked me down. He then took out his knife, stabbed me in the neck, and then making a twirl around his fingers with my hair, he commenced sawing and hacking away at my scalp. Though the pain was awful, and I felt dizzy and sick, I knew enough to keep quiet. After what seemed to be half an hour, he gave me the last finishing cut to the scalp on my temple, and as it still hung a little, he gave it a jerk. I just thought then that I could have screamed my life out. I can't describe it to you. I just felt as if the whole head was taken right off. The Indian then mounted and galloped away, but as he went he dropped my scalp within a few feet of me, which I managed to get and hide. The Indians were thick in the vicinity, or I might then have made my escape. While lying down, I could hear the Indians moving around whispering to each other, and shortly after placing obstructions on the track. After lying down about an hour and a half, I heard the low rumbling of the train as it come tearing along, and I might have been able to flag it off, had I dared.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 28, 1905

The preliminary steps necessary to incorporating what its people confidently expect will become the greatest manufacturing city in Madison county were taken Saturday morning in the County Court by Attorney B. J. O'Neill, acting for the incorporators. There are more than 600 people residing in the territory to be incorporated, and the territory includes Priest's addition, Loehr & Lowe's addition, the Gilham place, Milton Heights, Yager Park, Federal and all the territory adjoining Alton and Upper Alton, west to the Mississippi river and eastward to Wood river - an area of about 2 square miles. The petition to the County Judge is signed by very many property owners in the district affected, and the petitioners christened the new town "South Alton." Complying with the request of the petitioners, Judge Hillskotter issued a call for an election to be held at the Gillham schoolhouse in Yager Park on the 18th day of November, 1905, prescribed by the law of Illinois governing elections, and he named as judges of such election, Messrs. E. W. Burris, F. E. Sawyer, and F. M. Brazier.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 20, 1905

The election in the territory east of Alton, Saturday, to pass upon the question of whether or not the place should be incorporated as South Alton resulted in a majority of 16 in favor of incorporation, out of 79 votes cast. There was considerable opposition to the proposed incorporation on the part of the representatives of manufacturing interests and other corporations in the territory. The manufacturers located there partly because of the fact that they could escape municipal taxes and at the same time be close enough to Alton to enable them to secure hands for work. Most of the 31 votes against incorporation came from this opposition.....The new village should have no difficulty in raising plenty of money by taxes for municipal purposes. It has so many railroads and such valuable property within its limits that it should be able to be on easy circumstances. The new town will include Milton Heights, Gillham addition, Loehr and Lowe's addition, Priest's addition, Yager Park, and some farming land, comprising in all about 1,100 acres, and extending to Wood River on the east. The town name of South Alton is a misnomer, but it was impossible to select any other combination of the name Alton, with the cardinal points of the compass, as all others had been preempted by other villages.







Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, April 10, 1894

St, Louis. April 9. - With rain coming down in torrents and a cold raw wind whistling through their improvised storm houses, Gen. Frye and his discouraged army have sat and shivered around their campfires at St. Jacobs, Ill.. 25 miles east of here, for the past 24 hours. The men are scantily clad and as the last few days have been cold and stormy, many of them have contracted severe colds. Others are suffering from diarrhea and kindred ailments, due to rapid changes in food, water and climate. Owing to the isolated condition of the army, it is almost impossible to secure medical attention and the sufferers are dependent upon the charity and care of the people in the neighborhood. The men have become quarrelsome and mutinous and dozens of them are hourly deserting the camp. When the army went into quarters Sunday night it numbered 678. This morning's roll call showed only 407 present.



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Source: Alton Telegraph, November 1, 1837

At a meeting of the citizens of Madison county, held at Troy on Saturday, the 7th inst., Maj. Isaac Ferguson was called to the chair, and George B. Judd appointed Secretary pro tem. After the object of the meeting was explained by the President, the following Preamble and Constitution were adopted:



Whereas, it is evident from the frequent accounts of horses and other property being stolen, that our country is infested with a clan of men whose practice it is to live on what they can filch from the honest and industrious citizens of the country. And whereas, for want of united action on the part of the citizens, they are too often suffered to commit their acts of villany with impunity. How, therefore -


Revolved, That we, the citizens of Madison county and State of Illinois, in order that we may be the better able to act in concert and with success in detecting and punishing villains and restoring stolen property to the proper owners, agree to form ourselves into a society, to be denominated "the Madison County Patriotic Society;" and adopt the following Constitution for our government:


Article 1. Any person may be a member of this Society by subscribing this Constitution, and paying one dollar, and an equal part of any further sum which the Board of Managers may order for the benefit of the Society.


Article 2. The officers of this Society shall consist of one President, one Vice-President, one Secretary, one Treasurer, and five Directors, chosen by the Society, who shall form a Board of Mangers, and hold their offices for one year and until their successors are elected and perform the duties of their respective offices gratuitously, five of whom shall form a quorum.


Article 3. It shall be the duty of the President to call a meeting of the Society or Board of Managers whenever the interest of the Society demands it, and preside in said meetings.


Article 4. The Secretary shall take a minute of the proceedings of the Society and Board at their meetings, and enter the same in a book to be bought with the funds of the Society and kept for that purpose; and also make a report of the proceedings of the Board to the Society at its annual meeting, and to deliver over to his successor in office all the records and documents belonging to the Society.


Article 5. The Treasurer shall receive and safely keep the funds of the Society, and pay them out to the order or direction of the Board of Managers, and report the state of the funds to the Society at its annual meeting, and to the Board when called on, and deliver to his successor in office all the funds and other property in his possession belonging to the Society.


Article 6. It shall be the duty of the Board of Managers to employ as many suitable persons, members of this Society, as they may think the interest of the Society demands, to be denominated Pursuers, whose duty it shall be to hold themselves in readiness at a minute's warning, with a fleet, substantial horse, to pursue any thief who may steal a horse or other property from any member of this Society, or widow within its bounds, and use due diligence to detect and bring the thief to justice, and restore the stolen property to its owner.


Article 7. When any member of this Society, or widow, within its bounds, shall have a horse or other property stolen, it shall be his or her duty immediately to give all the necessary information to the Pursuers, or a sufficient number of them, to enable them to make pursuit; and any person giving such information without good and sufficient grounds in the opinion of the Board of Managers, to believe that such horse or other property was actually stolen, shall be taxed with the cost of pursuit, and on refusing to pay the same, shall receive no further aid from the Society.


Article 8. It shall be the duty of the President, when informed by a Pursuer that he has unadjusted claims against the Society, to call a meeting of the Board of Managers, at which time and place all persons having claims shall present them for adjustment; and it shall be the duty of the Board to examine the account of each claimant, and to require satisfactory evidence to substantiate the same, and to grant an order to the Treasurer in favor of each Pursuer entitled thereto, for a sum which shall be a fair and reasonable compensation for the services performed; and a premium of $25 for each thief detected and brought to justice; and any member who may be successful in detecting and bringing a thief to justice shall receive a like compensation.


Article 9. There shall be a meeting of this Society at Troy, on the 1st Saturday in September, annually, at which time this Constitution may be altered or amended by a majority of the members present, the officers of the Society elected, and any other business transacted; and any member failing to attend said meeting shall, without a good excuse, forfeit and pay fifty cents for the benefit of the Society; and any member of the Board of Managers failing to attend a meeting of the Board, shall also, without a good excuse, forfeit and pay one dollar for the benefit of the Society.


Article 10. Any member of this Society accepting an office, and neglecting or refusing to discharge the duties of said office, shall forfeit his rights and benefits as a member.


The Society then proceeded to the election of its officers, which resulted as follows:  Major Issac Furguson, President; Josiah Caswell, Esq., Vice-President; Thomas S. Waddle, Secretary; Jesse Renfro, Treasurer; and James Sackett, Elijah Ellison, Edmund Fruit, Jubilee Posey, and Archilus Walker, Directors. After which the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:


On motion:

1st.  Resolved, That, as the present crisis seems to demand a simultaneous effort in order to rid the country of a set of horse thieves and highway robbers who are continually harassing the honest community by their acts of villainy, and are corrupting the morals and characters of the youth of our fair and flourishing country; this Society recommend the getting up of similar Societies in other counties in the State, to hold correspondence and to act in concert with the one now in existence.


On motion:

2nd. Resolved, That the Secretary be requested to make out and transmit a copy of the proceedings of this meeting to the Editors of the Alton Telegraph and Spectator, for publication; and other Editors who are friendly to the object of the Society, are requested to give them a place in their columns, accompanied with such remarks as may be thought proper.


On motion, the Society adjourned.  Signed by Isaac Furguson, President; Thomas S. Waddle, Secretary




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 13, 1844

The 69th anniversary of the Independence of the United States was celebrated in an appropriate and felicitous manner at Troy on Thursday last. About 1,000 persons, including a large number of ladies and several citizens from Edwardsville, Collinsville, and other neighboring villages, partook of the festivities of the occasion. At 11 o'clock a.m., a procession was formed under the direction of Capt. Gonterman, the marshal for the day, in the following order:  1st, Clergyman, Reade4r of the Declaration, and Orator. 2d, Music. 3d. The Committee of Arrangements. 4th, the ladies. 5th, the gentlemen. 6th, the boys. The procession then marched to the seats which had been provided for them in a pleasant grove, adjacent to the Methodist Church, when after a few appropriate remarks to the audience, the Throne of Grace was addressed by the Rev. Jesse Renfro, The Declaration of Independence was then read by Mr. Thomas McDowell; and an admirable extemporaneous address pronounced by N. D. Strong, Esq., of Alton. When it is stated that Mr. Strong received but a few hours' notice of his appointment by the Committee of Arrangements, the public will appreciate the ready talent and enviable act which enabled him to give entire satisfaction to so large an audience, composed, as it was, of members of all the different political parties. A brief address was then delivered by Mr. W. A. W. Gault, the President of the day.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, November 17, 1884

William Vanderburg stabbed and killed Michael Gibbons, in a political altercation on Friday night. He was captured yesterday.




Source: Troy Star, June 21, 1894

I desire to announce through the Star that I have opened a cigar factory in Troy, and will make only first-class cigars. I have competent union workmen, and the tobacco with which I manufacture my cigars is of the best quality. I will not retail cigars myself, but sell only to dealers. Hoping you will call on your grocer or other dealers and try my manufacture. I remain Very Respectfully, Adolph Buscher.




Source:  Syracuse, New York Evening Herald, November 25, 1899

The Troy Exchange bank at Troy, Ill., eight miles from St. Louis, was wrecked by safe blowers. about 2:e0 A. M. and everything of value that was in the bank was taken. The robbers secured between $3,000 and $5,000 in cash and a large amount of bonds and other securities and escaped.




Source: Buffalo, New York Morning Express, May 25, 1890

A terrible railroad accident is reported on the Vandalia line near Troy Ill. Trains with help and physicians have been sent to the scene of the accident. Reports are very meager. The railroad officials acknowledge there will be no train in over the road before noon tomorrow. 12.45 A. M. - It is now reported that six or seven passengers were killed. It is impossible at this time to get anything definite.


Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, May 26, 1890

On the Vandalia railroad today a, fast freight train, laden with cattle collided with a local freight. Both engines and a dozen freight cars were demolished. William Butler, a brakeman, was killed and horribly mangled. Five others were injured.




Source: Troy Star, September 13, 1894

Henry Ritcher, a son of Aug. Ritcher, intended to take a drive out on the Marine road Sunday morning, but as he was driving west on Market street his horse became unmanageable and he decided to turn to the right on the St. Jacob road. A high rail fence around the Zenk pasture at this corner completely shuts off the view of the St. Jacob road. As he turned this corner trying to hold his horse, he collided with Jac. Hoenig's team, Mr. Hoenig and family being on their way to church. One of the latter's horses was instantly killed by the collision, the shaft of Ritcher's wagon entering its breast. Mr. Ritcher immediately offered $50 to make good Mr. Hoenig's loss, but the latter refused, saying he wanted $65. It is the general opinion that Mr. Hoenig is acting unwisely in the matter. In the first place, it was not entirely Mr. Ritcher's fault, and $50 cash will buy a first-class horse these days. It would be a good idea if the street committee of this city would look into the matter, as this place of accident has a very short turn; with the high fence lowered the danger would be nine-tenths less.




Source: Troy Star, September 20, 1894

The old frame building between the Commercial hotel and M. F. Auwarter's store has been purchased of the latter by John C. Gebauer, who is tearing it down for the use of the lumber, which, despite its old age, is still in first-class condition. This is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built in 1838 by John Brede, and has done good service ever since. Mr. Auwarter will immediately erect a one-story brick business building on the site. One by one the old buildings are giving way to new and better ones. Boom 'er up, an investment in Troy real estate is a "sure thing."




Source: Troy Star, November 22, 1894

The cornerstone of the new Catholic church, now in process of erection, will be laid on Thanksgiving day - next Thursday. The ceremonies will be opened at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Revs. Aug. Schlegel, of Edwardsville, and J. Meckel, of Highland, will deliver appropriate sermons. Solemnity will be added to the occasion by the splendid music, which will be furnished by the celebrated Black Jack brass band. Everybody is invited to attend the celebration.




Source: Weekly Call, May 23, 1895

The Troy Cemetery Association will hold memorial services Saturday, June 1st, at 2 o'clock in the Presbyterian church. Gen. Benj. P. Runkle of Ohio will deliver the principal address, with short addresses by the pastors of the different churches. Music suitable and familiar will be selected. A cordial invitation is extended to all to come and join in with the association in making this our first memorial exercises a success. The church will be open from 9 to 11 o'clock Saturday morning, June 1st. All friends are requested to contribute flowers and send them to the church in the morning of the above named day. A committee will be at the church to receive the flowers. After the exercises in the church, the friends will march to the cemetery and engage in the beautiful and impressive service of decorating the graves of the fallen brave. There are 25 or 30 graves of soldiers in the Troy cemetery who fought in the Black Hawk, Maxican and Civil wars. These graves on Decoration Day will be designated by a small American flag, and a paper containing the name of the soldier and the war in which he fought.




Source: Troy Call, January 1, 1900

Otto Bress, while shucking corn last week in a field near the residence of John M. Riebold in the Blackjack community, found an old Spanish silver coin which is 113 years old. It is about the size of a half dollar and in a fairly good state of preservation. On one side is the bust of a man and the words "Carolius IIII, Dei Gratia, 1805," and on the other "Hispan Et. Ind. Rex. 2R. F. J." and a coat of arms. No one seems to know the value of the coin. The history of how it got where found and how long it has lain there would doubtless be interesting.




Source: The Otsego Farmer, Cooperstown, New York, September 10, 1887

A mud turtle with "1820" burned on its back was recently found in Horse Creek, Madison County, Illinois.




Source: Troy Weekly Call, July 17,1914

After negotiations extending over a period of six months, the Alton Glove Company has finally decided to locate in Troy. This information was received here this morning by Edward H. Klein from L. S. Carter, superintendent of the concern. Mr. Carter stated that the plant at Alton is now being dismantled. The machinery and equipment is being loaded in cars and will arrive here Monday. The glove factory will occupy the second floor of the shoe factory building. The machinery will be installed at once, and the factory is expected to be ready for operation at an early date. A line of cheap canvas and leather gloves and gauntlets will be manufactured for which there is a steady demand. The inducements offered by Troy for the removal of the factory to this city was the payment of moving expenses and a guarantee of free rent for a period of five years. The company is said to have been dissatisfied with Alton as a location, on account of its inability to secure help, the other industries there having offered greater inducements to the working girls. Superintendent Carter stated that with the factory in full operation, as high as sixty girls would be employed nine months in the year, besides the other help. Edward H. Klein, owner of the shoe factory building, was instrumental in getting the glove factory to located .... [unreadable]....The glove factory should prove a valuable and important addition to the industries of Troy. It will not only offer employment to the working girls of Troy and vicinity, but will contribute to local business and should have the encouragement of citizens generally.



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Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1862

We learn there was a very pleasant picnic at the "old Stone Spring," between Middletown and Upper Alton yesterday. There can be found no more pleasant place in our vicinity; and we are informed that the day was spent most pleasantly and delightfully in dancing, strolling, singing and other pastimes, by those so fortunate as to be in attendance.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 7, 1896

Mr. Harry Marsh yesterday sold to Mr. Joseph F. Porter, for the Alton Railway and Illuminating Company, a tract of land comprising 16 acres located at Rock Spring on the route of the Middletown line. The price paid was $1,600.  It is the intention of the Alton Railway and Illuminating Company to lay out a park on this site and to make it a place of resort during the days and evenings of the summer months. Special excursion cars will be added to the company's rolling stock to carry pleasure seekers to the grounds. There is no prettier place around Alton than Rock Spring. It can be made more beautiful yet. In years gone by it was a delightful spot for picnic parties, and many happy days have been spent there.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1896

Arbor Day was not very largely observed in Alton. President Porter, of the Electric Line, set out 200 trees of various kinds in Rock Spring Park. He is very much pleased with his purchase. The oftener he visits the spot, the prettier it appears to him. He proposes to fix it up handsomely so as to make it an attractive resort. He will run the cars through on Sunday in order to give all who wish to look at it a chance. If possible, Mr. Porter will have a lake, even if he has to bore a well to get it.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1896

In order to give all who desire an opportunity to visit Rock Spring Park, the new purchase of the Electric Street Car Company, cars on the Highland Park route will run through to Upper Alton tomorrow (Sunday).



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1896

President Porter of the electric lines, Monday afternoon invited the City Officials, Councilmen and other citizens to a trip over his lines. He first took his guests, of whom there were two car loads, over the new State street line and return, then out to Rock Spring Park over the old Middletown line, and from there to Upper Alton and back to City Hall, via Second Street [Broadway].  Nearly an hour was spent at Rock Spring Park, the grounds recently purchased by the company for a pleasure park. Naturally of great beauty, President Porter has added to them very materially. A road is now being built east of Mr. William Eliot Smith's grounds to the park. A switch is also being built, and the cars will be running by the latter part of the week so that passengers will be carried directly to the park. The grounds have been carefully cleaned of weeds and leaves; blue grass and clover has been sown, flower beds laid out, trees planted, and shrubs of all kinds are set out in every conceivable shape and in all places where they will add beauty to the already varied scenery. Here, a bed of brilliant geraniums; there another in the shape of a crescent, another star-shaped, and others in various parts of the grounds. Beds of roses greeted the eye at various points. The work is still going on. On the top of the hill the ground plan of a pavilion has been laid out, where dancing and other amusements may be indulged in. The wonderfully beautiful and romantic spring still gushes out of the almost solid rock at the foot of the hill. These limpid [clear] waters for a generation or two have been the delight of many of Alton's citizens. No more delightful spot for picnics and real enjoyment in the woods can be found anywhere within many miles of Alton. Forest trees of immense proportion still adorn the hills and vales, and give to all a charm of country life, while the sweet odors of the flower garden are wafted on every breeze. The visitors were all charmed with the place, and are eulogistic of the indubitable energy and enterprise of President Porter, who is transforming the rare spot of Nature into a place still more delightful. When completed according to the plans, it will be difficult to find anywhere a more pleasant place to spend a few hours than Rock Spring Park.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1899

The new stone dam at Rock Spring Park to continue water in the lake there, is almost complete. A heavy wall that will not wash away is being built and a fine body of water will be continued in the hollow to form a lake.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Thursday, June 22, 1899

One of the attractions at Rock Spring Park on July 4th may be a skirmish drill or sham battle if the Naval Militia accept the invitation of President Porter of the electric lines. The boys will meet on Tuesday evening next when the invitation will be considered. There are about 80 members in the division at present. If they accept the invitation they will appear at the park in their new white duck uniforms, with Lee rifles, the Hotchkiss gun [cannon] and other paraphernalia. The battle line will be formed in the afternoon with part of the naval boys as Spaniards, Tagals or Mugwumps, along the hillsides, with the valley between. The guns, while only loaded with blank cartridges, will be fired with all the earnestness that could be inspired if real Tagals were on hand. The only Hotchkiss will be in the hands of the party assaulting the stronghold of the Tagals, and the way it will make the welkin [sky or heaven] ring will be frightful to the natives. It will be almost real, and will be a grand fight. President Porter will stand all expenses and will treat the boys right royally, as he is so capable of doing. In the evening there will be a grand fireworks exhibition, of which the navy boys will be in charge. It is hoped that the navy boys will accept, as everybody wants to see them in their new uniforms, and at least smell the powder and hear the noises of battle.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 1899

Last evening, at Rock Spring Park, a very large crowd of people was present to enjoy the fine music rendered by the White Hussar Band, and the beautiful scenery which nature and the proprietors of the park have united in making. The music of the White Hussars is always superior, and last night it was more than enjoyable. A gentleman was in the park last evening who is familiar with the smaller parks in Chicago, and he says he knows of none of them that will compare in beauty with Rock Spring, and as to the music, Alton's band was far ahead of anything he heard there. President Porter is entitled to credit for the excellent taste displayed in beautifying the park, until he has made a resort that is really delightful. He has now a lake, about 1000 feet long and of varying width, which he will stock with game fish, and which will no doubt be a pleasant place not only for boating but also fishing in another season. Mr. Porter has steadily set his face against allowing anything in the nature of intoxicating drink to be sold in the park, or permit questionable amusements. He determined at the outset that Rock Spring Park should be a place where he could invite the citizens of Alton to go without meeting unpleasant sights and placing before the young people temptations that would be injurious. Mr. Porter has firmly kept this determination when possibly a little laxity would have netted more revenue for his cars. He is entitled to sincere thanks for Rock Spring Park and the music.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 17, 1900

The cottage and one greenhouse at Rock Spring Park are complete, and the second greenhouse will be furnished within a few days.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1900

Mr. W. M. Sauvage and Mr. J. F. Porter today announced they will establish a summer theater at Rock Spring Park to be opened about June 1, where plays will be given during the summer. A theater to seat 1,000 people and with standing room for as many more will be built on the east side of the lake and will be approached by way of a rustle bridge over the lake. Tables will be provided where ice cream and soft drinks can be served and the place will be handsomely fitted up. Mr. Porter has leased a strip of ground east of the park to make room for the theater.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 26, 1900

There will be a big picnic at Rock Spring Park in this city on Fourth of July. The Knights of Pythias of Alton and St. Louis will celebrate the day at the park, and the picnic will probably draw thousands of people as it is to be widely advertised. The two Alton Lodges have been arranging to hold the picnic in connection with Red Cross lodge of St. Louis, and it was finally agreed upon yesterday. President Porter of the street railway system has promised to furnish a fireworks display excelling that of last year, and will offer other attractions at the park. There will be several bands there and competitive drills by uniform rank. Pythians invitations will be sent to lodges at Belleville, East St. Louis and Springfield, which have uniform ranks, and the St. Louis Pythians promise to bring almost one thousand people from St. Louis.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 15, 1907

Rock Spring park was formally opened to the public today. It is a great surprise to people visiting the park that such a good class of entertainment is afforded. The park is almost like a continuous street fair. The vaudeville shows to be given will be of a high order. The opening program, for the first week, in the new theater, will be the complete bill from the Columbia, and hereafter the entertainers will be brought from the Delmar and Forest Park Highlands in St. Louis. Many new buildings have been erected to house the entertainment features and they are brilliantly illuminated. Dancing every evening will be another entertainment, with Mathle's orchestra to furnish the music. Supt. Bailey, in speaking of the opening, said that it is the purpose of the street railway company to interest an orderly, well behaved class of people, that the park will be conducted in first class way, and that if it develops that disorderly people alone patronize the park, the place will be closed up. It will be made a place of refined amusement, he promises, where men can take their families and spend a few happy hours or a day whenever it is desired, with no fear of unpleasant incidents.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 18, 1907

It is estimated that over two thousand people visited this beautiful spot Sunday and Sunday night. The park begins to look like a real White City. The theatre, the electric theatre, the Arcade, the Merry-Go-Round, the Dance Hall, the Wonderland, the Shooting Gallery, the Parlor Bowling, the Novelty Balls, the Ring Stand, the Curio Shop, the Studio, the refreshment stand, were all well patronized, affording all kinds of amusement for the visitors. Hundreds of people witnessed the free balloon ascension at 5:30 p.m. This daring ride by Professor Hill is considered to be one of the best ascensions ever seen in Alton. The electric wire walking is a great feature. Professor Hill's daring feat, the slide for life, is a sensational act and should be seen by everybody. The slide for life, the balloon ascension, the electric wire-walking and many other high-class attractions are free.


The Rock Spring Theatre presented one of the strongest and best vaudeville performances ever given in Alton, every performer handling his part very cleverly. Radcliff and Belmont, the world's greatest rifle shots, do a very clever act, shooting at small objects in every position imaginable. Their equal has never been seen in Alton. Stemm and La Grange, musical comedians, present an exceptionally good repertoire of musical selections, playing on various different kinds of instruments, bringing forth applause from everybody who hears them.   The Great Wagner, clown, trapeze and contortionist, does one of the best trapeze acts ever seen in this country, introducing something entirely new and never before seen in this city. Miss Helen Stewart, lightning change artist in singing and dancing specialties, brings down the house. The Deizell sisters, song and dance artists, are very clever indeed and present the audience with a unique and up-to-date sketch of real good songs and clever dances. Francisco and Crosse do a very clever sketch entitled, "Morning Exercises." It is funny, especially the dancing feature, which is exceptionally good. The Majestic Trio, in a roaring afterpiece, "The Dutch Judge," hold the audience in real tears of joy and laughter. All in all, the performances given in this theatre by the above people are really recognized to be the best vaudeville attraction ever placed on the stage of any theatre at such a small admission price.


The theatre is built on a large scale, amply able to take care of the best attractions, and the management assures the public that there will be no time lost in securing at all times the very best attractions obtainable. The theatre was filled to its seating capacity at the matinee and night performances yesterday. The seating capacity of the theatre is 950 people, and there was a little room left, which was also filled. The Temple Theatre orchestra is engaged to render music for the theatre for the season.


J. Edgar Collins, owner and general manager of the Rock Spring theatre and other concessions, including the Electric Theatre and the Wonderland, is a manger of years of experience and seems to know just what particular kind of attractions suit the public. Judging from the comments passed on the performances given in Mr. Collins' theatre. It is an ideal spot to spend the evening, cool breezes and plenty of attractions is the talk of Rock Spring Park.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 16, 1907

The proposed city park project has taken a very promising appearance.  If the owners of Rock Spring park will deed the property to the city of Alton as a permanent park site, property adjoining it will be given also to make the park bigger. William Eliot Smith, who has favored a public park and a more beautiful Alton for four years, has announced his purpose of giving a beautiful tract of 60 acres to the city, on condition that the Rock Spring park tract is given by the street railway company. The piece of ground which Mr. Smith would give adjoins Rock Spring park and would make a fine improvement to the property and a very valuable acquisition for the city. The following letter was received today by Mayor Beall from Mr. Smith, who is at Colorado Springs, Colorado:  "Dear Sir, As we grow older the wish grows to leave some sweet memorial which shall not perish. May not the Beall administration be handed down to time for establishing the park system in the city of Alton? You will remember I began in this line over four years ago and must confess frankly I have been a complete failure. To this date there seems little encouragement. Possibly we went at it wrong. I feel sure you can make a success and should be glad to help you in any way I can. If the electric line gives their present park, and proper restrictions can be had, I shall be glad to deed to the city of Alton say sixty acres of land for a permanent park. I have written to my friend, Mr. Hatch, of Springfield, Ill., to advise Mr. C. A. Caldwell the restrictions which they place on a park given their city, and have also written Mr. Caldwell more fully with regard to the real estate. I shall return to Alton in about ten days and have the honor to remain. Your most obedient servant, William Eliot Smith."    Corporation Counsel McGinnis says that a park could easily be maintained at city expense. He says that under the most recent enacted state park law, municipalities are allowed to levy a tax of 2 mills on the dollar for park maintenance purposes. He cites the law on this point and says that with the present valuation of Alton property about $5,000 per annum could be raised. With this sum a park could be maintained in fine condition and no one would feel the burden of taxation, as the amount would be very small for each $1,000 valuation of property, about 20 cents. The Park Commission was called this afternoon by Chairman P. W. Coyle, to be held Wednesday evening to consider the propositions and will try to arrange some plan whereby the offer can be accepted and a guarantee given that the property can be kept in good condition permanently as a city park. C. A. Caldwell has also received a letter from Mr. Smith, telling him of his plans.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 21, 1907

And now Rock Spring park belongs to the city. The deeds will be transferred soon, the attorneys for the East Side lines and the City of Alton having been authorized to draw up the necessary papers at once. A meeting of the board of directors of the Alton, Granite and St. Louis Traction company was held yesterday afternoon, and it was unanimously voted to make the transfer. The F___ Commission was present, and Mayor Beall also was there, and the gift was acknowledged. General Manager Haynes instructed the attorney for his company to prepare the necessary deed which will be given as soon as possible, and Corporation Counsel McGinnis was instructed by the Mayor to look after the city's interests. The conditions attached to the gift will be few. The most important one is that the safe or use of intoxicating liquors or beverages within the park be forever forbidden, or as long as the city controls it. Another condition is that the place must be maintained as a place of public resort and that during at least two months every summer there must be weekly concerts in the park, by not less than ten-piece bands or orchestras. None of the conditions which have been named are unreasonable. It is expected that they will be put in the deed with the condition that the park will revert to the street railway company in event of a failure of the city to comply with the terms of the gift. It is expected that the gift of William Eliot Smith of an adjoining tract will be made at the same time, and under the same conditions as the city will agree to in accepting Rock Spring park. Mayor Beall has invited the Parks commission consisting of Chairman P. W. Coyle, J. N. Drummond, H. M. Schweppe, C. A. Caldwell, William Eliot Smith to remain in office permanently. It is expected that the city will be able to dispose of the refreshment and amusement privileges at the park for enough to maintain the park in its present condition and to pay for the concerts.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1908

The formal opening of Rock Spring park to the public attracted many people there Thursday evening, but before the program was over the crowd was dissipated by a shower of rain. The park was in fine condition. It was the first time many Alton people had seen the new part of the park, given by William Eliot Smith, yesterday afternoon, when a number of people visited the place. The program at the park began at 7 o'clock last evening. Rev. A. A. Tanner of the Congregational church, who has always been deeply interested in the park, and who helped clean up the place on the park cleaning day, delivered the opening address. It was a splendid effort. Rev. Tanner hurried through with his talk and hastened away to get to his church by 8 o'clock so he could attend the last prayer meeting he will be with his congregation before his departure on his vacation trip.  He is going for a tour of chautauquas, delivering lectures. After the address the White Hussars band, always a popular entertaining organization, rendered a fine concert. The band was paid for only twenty pieces of music, but the members contributed the services of ten others to help make a success of the concert. When the shower of rain came up, many people hurried to the street cars and went home, but others arrived later and there was a fairly good attendance, but not what it would have been with fair weather.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 6, 1916

I. D. Shepler, candy man, announced this morning that he would have his annual Easter egg hunt for the kiddies of Alton on April 22, at Rock Spring Park. This time he is planning to make the affair bigger than it has been in the past. Over 10,000 candy Easter eggs will be distributed over the park on the morning of April 22. The time for opening the hunt and other details will be announced later. It will probably start at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning. The children from all parts of the city will be invited to the park, and will gather at the front entrance of the park to start the hunt. When the word is given, the children will start on what promises to be the biggest Easter egg hunt ever held in the city of Alton. Over one thousand children attended the hunt last year, which was a big success. At that time, three thousand eggs were hidden in the park and almost every one was found by the children who took part in the hunt. Distributing the eggs for the Municipal Easter egg hunt will be no small matter. Mr. Shepler and a crew of men will go to the park early in the morning, carrying the eggs in automobiles, and most of them will be hidden before daylight. Mr. Shepler may find it necessary this year to have some of the police of the city of Alton aid him in conducting the hunt, so there will be no trouble with the children. He is expecting over two thousand children from all parts of the city to take part in the Municipal Easter egg hunt.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1917

That people don't believe in signs is evident, since they paid no heed to the sign placed over rock spring - the spring from whence Rock Spring Park gets it name. It has been about two years since the park commissioners first placed the sign over the spring, announcing the water unfit for drinking. People who had been drinking water from the spring for many years gave no attention to the verdict from the Illinois State University, pronouncing the water unfit for drinking, and they kept on drinking it. Boys defaced the sign many times. They erased the "un" from the word "unfit," so that the sign read: "this water is fit for drinking." Numerous new signs were put up by the park superintendent, but each time it was changed to read differently from the original lettering. The park superintendent took away all the cups many times, but others would carry cups there and leave them. Empty soda bottles were used for drinking out of, and old tin cans were gathered up left at the spring where the water continued to flow in its usual quantity from the tile that had been placed in the hillside some years ago by the park workmen to carry the water out to the public instead of allowing it to run out through the little stone basins that were supposed to have been cut out by the Indians many years ago. The park commissioners have at last given up trying to stop the public from drinking the water by persuading, and they have blocked the water from the tile by completely closing it up with concrete. The tile itself is covered up with a mound of concrete, and the flow of water has ceased. The water again runs out by way of the little stone basins in the creek. If the public insists on using the water, they will find it a little more inconvenient now to get at, but they can still get it by dripping it out of the basins.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 16, 1921

L. M. Taggart has decided to start work on a pavilion which will be erected on his property adjoining Rock Springs Park. The pavilion will furnish a good place for dancing and also a refreshment stand. It will be of large capacity and capable of accommodating a great number of dancers. The property is situated outside of the city of Alton, just over the line. Mr. Taggart plans to conduct the pavilion as a high grade amusement place, with the best of music. Work is to be started by the park commissioners in a few days on a brick building to be used as a toilet room for men and women, and also as shelter house. This is to be finished in time for the American Legion picnic to be given on the Fourth of July.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 31, 1922

That spooners will have to be a little less public in their show of affection in the city parks is an edict that has gone forth to the watchmen in the parks, or they will be arrested and held for action by the police judge. This became known today after the arrest of a man and a woman and the hearing of their case in the police court this morning. J. H. Dailey, a deputy sheriff with powers in the park, said today that he wanted it known that he was going to begin making arrests right away of all who make public display of "spooning" in the parks. He said that it had come to be "fierce" in Rock Spring Park, broad daylight, bright electric lights, or crowded places seeming to make no difference to some of the lovesick couples. Dailey says they are going to be sicker than that henceforth. He says that summer time may be a time for making love all right, and it may be romantic to seek parks, but that the love makers will have to seek places where they won't be obtruding themselves on the public gaze. Dailey is no kill joy, but he thinks there is a time and place for all things and that secluded nooks always were the proper thing for lovers, and he proposes to educate some who don't seem to know it, or had forgotten about it. He proposes to make Rock Spring safe for anybody, and girls cannot sit on the laps of their fellows in the park, anyhow not where folks are going to see them.







Source: Alton Telegraph, March 30, 1836

The subscribers would respectfully inform the public that they have recently opened a Livery Stable at the west end of Seminary on College Street in Upper Alton, where they will keep constantly on hand horses, saddles and carriages; horses will also be kept on reasonable terms, and they hope by a careful attention to the accommodation of the public to receive a share of its patronage.  J. S. Nutter and J. L. Bingham.  Upper Alton, March 18, 1836.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 9, 1836

Below we give the proceedings of a meeting of the Young Men of Upper Alton, held for the purpose of forming a Lyceum. In another place also will be seen a notice of the proceedings of the Young Men of Alton in relation to a similar object. These things speak well for the present and future welfare of the two towns. We cordially approbate this effort of the young men of Upper Alton, and trust they will enter upon the undertaking with that determination to persevere, which is certain to ensure success.


"Thursday Evening, October 20, 1836.  Agreeably to a previous notice, the Young Men of Upper Alton convened at the Seminary Hall for the purpose of forming a Lyceum. Meeting was organized by the appointment of the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, Chairman, and Mr. Zenas B. Newman, Clerk. After prayer by the Chairman, the business being stated by W. L. Sloss, Esq., the following persons, namely: W. L. Sloss, Esq., G. Smith Esq., J. C. Martyn, M. D., Mr. Richard Randle, and Z. B. Newman, were appointed to draft a Constitution. Voted to adjourn till Thursday evening next to this place, for the purpose of adopting the Constitution, and transacting such other business as may be requisite to secure the object of the Association. By order of the meeting, Zenas B. Newman, Clerk."



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 17, 1837
"This is a proud day for Alton," would have been the declaration of one whose eyes were directed to the evidence of prosperity, merely, which was exhibited by the celebration in Upper Alton on Monday last. And there was enough to elicit the remark. For instance, if any one had visited Alton in 1829, and had wandered over all the hills and ravines and valleys and plains that are now occupied by its various portions and suburbs, and numbered the people, he might have found some twenty families, it may be, of all descriptions. Previously to that time, indeed, Upper Alton had contained many more, but litigated titles had ___ and wasted it, and that it is believed our statement is nearly accurate. On Monday, May 8th, 1837, a portion of the children were collected together by invitation, and a procession is seen stretching along the street for a quarter of a mile, including between five and six hundred of our youthful population.


But our thoughts ran in a somewhat different channel. The feeling was, "What a happy day for Alton." The procession was formed, not for the purpose of training men to _____, nor to excite unholy ___tion or pride or vanity. It was to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers;" and thus, not only avert the threatened cures, but bring down a rich and lasting blessing, according to the promise of God.


Agreeable to previous arrangement among the conductors of the several Sabbath schools in Upper Alton, Monday last was observed as a Sunday school celebration. Invitation had been given to the Sabbath schools of Alton to attend, as ____ practicable, though from the shortness of the notice and the difficulty of conveyance, it was found that few, besides teachers, could be present. The day was a delightful one. At half past nine the three schools met at their respective churches, and were brought together at the Methodist meeting house at a common __________. Here they were joined by members of the schools from Alton, of whom it was pleasant to see more than 160; only a small part of the whole indeed, but more than had been expected.


At ten o'clock, the signal was given by the bell of the Presbyterian church, and the schools were formed under their respective and appropriate banners, each school attended by its superintendent and teachers; the whole preceded by the President and Master of Ceremonies of the day, immediately after whom came the speakers of the day and other ministers, and then the Bible Class of Professor Leverett.


The procession was led, under the direction of Major Moore, Dr. Long and Mr. Sterns, who cheerfully acted as marshals of the day, through several streets to the Baptist church, where they listened with evident interest to several addresses, and united in singing several hymns, selected for the occasion. Although the house was crowded by children, leaving room for few who were not directly connected with the schools even to stand, yet good order prevailed, and the impression was most _____.  It would be improper to omit entirely the order of the exercises in the house. After some remarks from the President of the day, Rev. John Hogan, delivered in his happiest manner, an appropriate prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Rodgers, after which Professor Newman and Rev. Messrs. Howard and Spaulding each spoke with animation and effect. Rev. Mr. Ives excused himself on account of the length of the exercises.


After the final hymn, the procession was again formed and the whole company was marched a short distance, where under an awning a table had been spread with abundant but simple refreshments for the whole company. This part of the service was performed under the direction and by the hands of the ladies, with the assistance of several gentlemen who planted around the whole exterior of the hollow square a grove of dogwood, redbud and plum bushes, in full bloom. The scene was beautiful.


At the table, the cakes, the raisins &c. disappeared with no small rapidity, and several students of the college and others were kept actively employed in furnishing the simple, healthful beverage which God has supplied to quench the thirst, and no other was desired.


When the young guests had all been sufficiently regaled, the schools were conducted to the college square, where the President of the day, after a few well timed commendations, dismissed the whole to return to their houses, to think on the events of the day, to feel that their teachers loved them, and wished to see them happy, and to tell in future days of the first Sunday school celebration in Upper Alton. It may be added that the individuals who, in 1819, only two miles from the present scene, made the first little attempt at Sunday school instruction in Illinois, and he, who in 1820, made the second and more enlarged and successful effort in this place, were present and actors on this occasion, when five hundred and fifty scholars were collected together.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1837

The Fourth of July was celebrated in this town in a manner creditable to our citizens. At half past ten o'clock, a respectable number of the citizens assembled at the Presbyterian meeting house. After appropriate music by the choir, and prayer by Rev. Mr. Loomis, the Declaration of Independence was read by Professor Newman, and a short oration delivered by A. Cowles, Esq. A procession was then formed and proceeded a short distance, where a bountiful repast had been provided by Mr. David Miller, in good style. The whole was conducted on strict temperance principles, and formed a striking contrast with the manner in which this anniversary is too often observed. After sufficiently regaling themselves, the company dispersed, conscious of having observed our national anniversary in a manner worthy of a free and intelligent people.   From the Western Pioneer.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 16, 1838

Combined attraction! Menagerie and circus, under the direction of H. H. Woodward & Co. will be exhibited at Lebanon on Friday, May 10; at Belleville on Saturday, May 19; at Collinsville on Monday, May 21; at Edwardsville on Tuesday, May 22; at Upper Alton on Wednesday and Thursday, May 23 and 24; at Carlinville on Saturday, May 26; and at Carrollton on Monday, May 28.  A military band accompanies the exhibition, which will announce their arrival by playing some of the most popular National Airs, &c.  The proprietor have united their extensive menagerie and equestrian circus company for this season, and in offering this to the public for exhibition, are determined to give such a variety of entertainments as cannot fail to meet the approbation of all classes of the community. To effect this, they have engaged some of the most talented and celebrated equestrian and gymnastic performers, which together with their fine collection of living animals, will afford a very rich and rare treat to the Naturalists and lover of equestrian and gymnastic exercises. Among the animals are the following:  A full grown female elephant; royal tiger; Arabian dromedary; spotted hyena; Brazilian tiger or Jaguar; three leopards in one cage; a pair of panthers; Asiatic lion; African zebra; Peruvian llama; and a variety of monkeys. Mr. Lewis, the Keeper, will enter the lion's and the leopards' cages at the hours of three and eight o'clock, p.m.  The entertainments will commence with the animals; directly after which performance the equestrians will make their appearance, mounted on their fine and highly-trained stud of horses, and will introduce their wonderful feats of horsemanship with a grand entree. In the course of their performance, they will exhibit a variety of pleasing and laughable scenes, most celebrated in their profession. Admittance 50 cents; children under 10 years of age, half price.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 4, 1842

The publishers of this paper were, a few days since, presented with a handsome pitcher and cream pot, from the stone and ___, then ware manufactory in Upper Alton. Although made of common stone, they are very neat and smooth, and reflect great credit upon the skill and ingenuity of Mr. Crockston, a young Englishman, regularly brought up to the business, who has recently connected himself with Mr. James Harrison's old establishment, with a view to superintend this important branch of domestic manufactures. We understand that he will shortly be joined by his father and other connections now in England; upon whose arrival their present business will be extended so as to embrace the making of ware of all kinds, the finest included. Pipe-clay, of a superior quality, together with the different materials used in the manufacture of ware, are found in great abundance within a mile or two of this city, and we hope the time is not far distant when dinner and teapots, _____ enough to be placed on the table of any citizen of Illinois, will be manufactured in ____ neighborhood.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 4, 1848

We learn that a Banded Lynx, or American Tiger Cat, was shot some days since in the forks of the Wood River, three miles from Upper Alton, by Mr. Stephen Woolridge. It was a female of a light black color, slightly mingled with white, ears erect and tipped with a long pencil of black hair, and powerful claws. This animal was 16 inches high and measured three feet in length. Its remains are in the office of Dr. F. Humbert, Upper Alton.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 25, 1901
In 1838, the Illinois Conference, which then included the entire State, met in the Methodist church in Upper Alton. At the same time, a camp meeting was held in a grove near a good spring of water, between Upper Alton and Middle Alton. On Sunday there were multitudes present. How many there were from Upper Town, and Middletown, and Sempletown, and Lower Town and Hunterstown, no man knows. And they were there from the American Bottoms, and from Edwardsville, and Liberty Prairie and Rattan's Prairie, and Smooth Prairie (there was no Bethalto or Fosterburg then), and from Brown's Prairie and Brighton, and from Scarritt's Prairie and the regions of Jersey county and Macoupin county, and round about. Steamboat men from the rivers were there. A steamboat load of people from St. Louis was there. Travelers, speculators, adventurers, besides the dozens of preachers were there. After dinner on Sunday, a half-dozen persons, men and women, began promenading. There was a space perhaps of twenty-five feet all around the seats and pulpit inside of the camp. The numbers of promenaders increased as they walked on until there were dozens, scores, a multitude walking, talking, laughing, and many of the men smoking. A horn blew for the congregation to assemble for worship, which many did. A second horn blew for services to begin, but the marchers marched on. Peter Cartwright read the hymn, then gave it out two lines at a time (hymn books were scarce on this continent sixty-three years ago), and it was sung. Prayer was offered and another hymn was sung, and Peter Cartwright rose to announce his text. The promenaders were still walking and laughing and smoking. They were having a good time, and were swinging round the circle as though they cared neither for the pulpit, the worshiping people, or the consequences. Mr. Cartwright stood and eyed them a moment and then suddenly he cried out: "Every man that hasn't a sore head will take his hat off." Instantly every head was uncovered and everybody was laughing. He next said: "Every gentleman," with emphasis on the word gentlemen, "will find a seat." Then the male dissolved. Hot haste was made to gain seats, and to escape the public eye. Ridicule and sarcasm were terrible weapons in the hands of Peter Cartwright, and he did not hesitate when they were needed to use them. In two minutes he had everybody seated, announced his text and preached.
[NOTE: Peter Cartwright, the legendary backwoods preacher (1785-1872), was largely responsible for the rapid growth of Methodism in the Ohio River and Mississippi River valleys. He helped start the Second Great Awakening, personally baptizing twelve thousand converts. Opposed to slavery, Cartwright moved from Kentucky to Illinois, and was elected to the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly in 1828 and 1832. In 1846 Abraham Lincoln defeated Cartwright for a seat in the United States Congress. As a Methodist circuit rider, Cartwright rode circuits in Kentucky and Illinois, as well as Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio. His autobiography in 1856 made him nationally prominent.]



Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, February 8, 1839

Notice: At the next regular meeting of the Upper Alton Lyceum, to be held on Tuesday evening, February 11, at the Seminary Hall, the following question, by order of the Society, will come up for debate: "Has Congress power to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, without the consent of the inhabitants thereof?" Gentlemen and ladies are respectfully invited to attend. M. H. Abbott, Sec. pro tem. Upper Alton, February 8, 1839.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, 1840?

Attention!! Whigs! Democrats!! and Conservatives!!! All who want to put their horses in a good English grass pasture, can be accommodated by applying to the subscriber in Upper Alton; or to James Strong at the Buck Inn, near where the pasture is situated. There is first rate feed, and a stream of pure water running through the lot. N. B. - There has been nothing pastured on the lot this season; and the lot contains 40 acres. The fence is good - and great care will be taken to prevent escapes and accidents, but will not be responsible for either. Price per week, 37 cents; or $1.50 per month - payable when taken out.     L. S. Wells.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, , April 17, 1840

Notice!! Taken from the subscriber on the night of April 16th at Nutter's Tavern, in Upper Alton, a calfskin pocket book, containing various notes and receipts, but no money, to wit: A receipt given by J. H. Randle, J. P., for notes left with him for collection; one given by Julius L. Barnsback, J. P., for the same purpose; one given by Thomas Rattan, J. P., for the same object; one on Lott, J. P., for the like purpose; and one on Isom Cranfield, J. P., for the same: all in favor of C. N. Henderson, except that of Cranfield, which is given in favor of the undersigned. Also, a note on Samuel Sanner for $128; one on John Irvine for 27 or $29; and one on C. N. Henderson, payable to William H. Hungerford, for $403.30; and various other small notes and other papers not recollected. The above named Justices are hereby notified not to pay any money on their respective receipts; as also those persons whose notes are here mentioned, to disregard any holder of them until further orders, as they have never been assigned; and that they were feloniously taken from my possession. Any person finding said pocket book, who will leave the same, with the contents, in the hands of J. H. Randle, Esq. in Upper Alton, shall be suitably rewarded.  William H. Hungerford, April 17, 1840.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, March 27, 1841

Rev. A. Chandler will preach at the brick school house, in Upper Alton, on Saturday evening, March 27th, 1841, at half past 6 o'clock. Also, at half past 2 o'clock p.m. on Sunday, the 28th instant, at the same place, he will reply to a discourse to be delivered in the forenoon, at the Baptist Church, Upper Alton, against Universal Salvation. Also, he will preach at the above place, on Sabbath evening next, at candlelighting.  March 27, 1841




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, April 1841

Farmers - - - Look Here. Wool Carding! The undersigned wishes to inform the public in general, that he is now establishing himself in the above business, in the town of Upper Alton, And will, in a few weeks, be ready to manufacture wool into rolls. From his long experience, having his machines in complete order, clothed with a set of the best quality of Eastern Cards, together with his paying strict attention to the business, he hopes to merit and receive a liberal share of public patronage. He warrants all work intrusted to his care, to be done with neatness and dispatch, and equal to any in the western country, or no charge. Persons from a considerable distance, by staying over night, may depend on having their rolls home with them. The wool must be well washed, and picked clean of burs and trash, with one pound of clean grease with every seven pounds of wool. Being a stranger, and wishing to establish himself permanently, he solicits the farmers generally to call and see his work before going farther. His prices will be reasonable, and terms good. April, 1841.  J. A. Montgomery.



Source: Alton Telegraph, July 10, 1841
The anniversary of our National Independence was appropriately celebrated at Upper Alton on Saturday last, the 3d inst. The Rev. Mr. Leverett officiated as Chaplain of the day; the Declaration of Independence was read by George T. M. Davis, Esq.; and a most excellent oration was delivered by George B. Arnold, Esq. After the exercises were concluded, about 150 persons sat down to an excellent dinner, spread under a bower erected upon the public square, at which S. G. Bailey, Esq., presided, assisted by Dr. B. K. Hart and A. Miller, Esq., as Vice-President. The most perfect good feeling prevailed, and nothing, that came under our observation, transpired to mar the festivities of the day. After the cloth was removed, toasts were drunk, upon the announcement of each of which a gun was fired and an appropriate air played by the band of music that was in attendance.



Source: Alton Telegraph, October 2, 1841

Sir, Believing that you feel deeply interested in the Temperance reformation now going on in our country, and more especially in the Altons and vicinity, I hope you will permit, through your columns, to present to the public some of the operations of the Washington Temperance Society in this place. It is a fact, sir, and I am happy to be able to make the statement, that there are but very few men in Upper Alton who have not subscribed their names to the pledge of said society, and are not strictly living up to the obligations under which they have brought themselves (I mean such as were not members of other Temperance societies); and what, sir, has been the result? Why, reason has resumed its throne in the mind; and men who were not long since entangled in the close-wrought meshes of intemperance, have become redeemed and disenthralled, and are walking erect in the dignity of their nature, testifying to all who behold them that man can and will be free. And more than this, the heart of the loving wife and tender mother is once more clinging with confidence around the regenerated affections of the husband and father; the domestic hearth has again become a delightsome place, where tender sympathies and affections have taken the place of the dark-growling murmur of the intoxicated husband, and the heart-broken sigh of the neglected and desponding wife; the transparent flash of the very significant mode of the striped pig, has ceased to present any charms to those men; the twelve o'clock flicker of the grocery lamp no longer sends forth its pale light in our streets; all is peace and harmony.


And this is not all, sir. These men are not content with the peace they thus enjoy; they are not willing to enjoy it alone; they are determined that their fellow men, who are so unfortunate as to be laboring under the same dreadful disease, shall have the same remedy applied, and that if anything they can do or say will be the means of reclaiming them, they are willing to undergo almost anything for that purpose. And, sir, these gentlemen, instead of being now found reveling round the grog shop at the late hour of twelve o'clock at night, are found sometimes fifteen or twenty miles from Alton, making some of the most impassioned and thrilling appeals to their fellow men, persuading them to refrain from that which is ruining them and beggaring their families. Nor is all this uncalled for. The Macedonian cry of "come over and help us," is pouring in upon them from almost every quarter; request after request is presented to them, and sir, you have never seen a more willing set of men to attend to such requests. They go around forming societies, and through their instrumentality are doing much good. Their last meeting was at Ompghent in this county. Seven delegates from the Upper Alton Washington Temperance Society attended by request. Mr. Frederick Hanchy was called to the chair, and Samuel L. Miller, Esq., appointed Secretary. After the delegates had severally addressed the meeting, some giving the plain and unvarnished narrative of their sufferings and infatuation under the influence of King Alcohol, others making the most solemn appeals to the better feelings of their fellow men, contrasting in vivid colors the difference between their present feelings while sober, and their past feelings while under the influence of intoxication, twenty-seven persons signed the pledge at this meeting. Thus, sir, they are drying up the channels of intemperance, happifying families and neighborhoods, treating every man with respect and kindness and doing good to all as they have opportunity.


~Signed, A Friend to Temperance, Upper Alton, September 15, 1841




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 6, 1841

Mrs. Hurlbut commences her winter term the first Monday in December, in the building formerly occupied by Mr. Gardon as a store. Instruction will be given, if wished, in any of the following branches:  Orthography, reading, writing, geography, grammar, history, arithmetic, natural, moral and mental philosophy, composition, rhetoric, logic, botany, chemistry, astronomy, &.  Latin, French, and Italian languages; ornamental needlework; linear drawing; painting in various styles on paper, velvet, wood, mezzotinlo, oriental tin, &c.  Children under 8 years of age, per quarter, $2.00.  Over 8 and under 12, $2.50.  Over 12 years of age, $3.00.  Mrs. Hurlbut proposes, Providence permitting, to teach a permanent school, and has so graduated her prices as to enable parents who have a family of daughters of different ages to enter and continue them in the same school, till their education shall be completed. Every attention possible will be paid in the morals and manners of her pupils. As her course of instruction will be systematic, it is requested that scholars should be enrolled at the commencement of the term.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 9, 1842
There will be a meeting of the Mechanics at the brick schoolhouse in Upper Alton, on Saturday the 23d inst., for the purpose of taking into consideration the good or bad policy of carrying on mechanical business in the Penitentiary by the convicts. The Mechanics of the Altons, the neighboring towns and their vicinities, are earnestly requested to attend. Signed by several Operating Mechanics.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 16, 1842

At a meeting of the citizens of Upper Alton, holden at the brick schoolhouse in said town, on Wednesday evening, April 6, A. D. 1842, for the purpose of taking into consideration the unequal bearing of the administration of the Road law - as ordered by the County Commissioners of Madison County.  Elias Hibbard, Esq., was called to the chair, and R. R. Randle, appointed Secretary. The objects of the meeting were then fully made known by Mr. Peter Merrill. On motion, it was voted that a committee of three be appointed by the Chair, to draft and report resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting. Whereupon, the Chair appointed Peter Merrill, Josiah Little, and John A. Maxey, said committee. The committee, after due deliberation, reported the following:


Resolved, That, in the opinion of this meeting, the County Commissioners' Court, in the exercise of the discretion and power, which a just and wise law of the Legislature has given them, to assess a tax of ten cents on a hundred dollars on all the real and personal property of the county, in their neglect or refusal to tax the same, have disregarded the best interests of a large majority of the people in the county; inasmuch as a large proportion of the property that is benefited and enhanced in value by the labor done on the roads, is held by non-residents, and by residents over fifty years of age, who pay no tax in labor or money for the benefit of the same.


Resolved, That the order of the County Commissioners' Court of March last, which makes no distinction in its requisition of labor, between the poor man, who is destitute of property, and surrounded by a large family, dependent on the labor of his hands for their support, and the rich man, who is surrounded by property, luxury, and ease, is in its operation, oppressive to the poor and feeble, and is unjust and unwise.


Resolved, That, in the opinion of this meeting, each individual over the age of twenty-one and under the age of fifty years, without regard to property, should be required to perform one day's labor on the road, and that the other necessary expense to keep the roads in good repair should be assessed on property; and that the County Commissions' Court be requested to so alter their order at the June term, if practicable, as to comply with the above principle of taxation.


Resolved, That, as the right of suffrage was conferred upon freemen for the purpose of self-protection, we, therefore, pledge ourselves to support no man for office at the ensuing August election who will not give an unequivocal pledges that he will carry out, if elected, the principles of the foregoing resolutions.


Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the President and Secretary, and that the same be published in the Telegraph, and a copy delivered to the Clerk of the County Commissioners' Court of Madison County.  Signed by Elias Hibbard, Chairman; R. R. Randle, Secretary.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 7, 1843

John Cooper of Upper Alton lost a corn crib, with a large amount of corn, by fire, on the evening of the 4th last. No insurance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 21, 1844

Messrs. Editors: Would you confer an act of kindness on the public by calling the attention of the proper authorities, the Common Council, County Commissioners, or the corporation of Upper Alton, to a bridge on the line between Middletown and the last named place. It is really in an awful condition. The culvert, a few rods toward Upper Alton, being very fearful to look at, having a chasm about twelve feet deep, and nothing to prevent passers on from falling into it.  Signed by X. Y.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 28, 1844

The subscriber respectfully informs the public that he will be ready by the 1st of October next, to slaughter beef and swine, by the 10th of November following - all done in the best manner and at the shortest notice possible, every day in the week, the Sabbath excepted. He will have in his employment steady and temperate hands, who have had much experience in the above business, and will neglect nothing in his power to give entire satisfaction to his customers. The establishment will be found in the graded road leading from Upper Alton to Middletown, near the subscriber's present residence. All he asks of the public is to give him a fair trial.  Signed by Thomas Stanton.




[Note: The Wood River refers to the body of water just east of Upper Alton, not the city of Wood River.]

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1845

Agreeably to previous arrangement, the citizens of Upper Alton and Wood River celebrated the Fourth of July by suitable exercises and a free barbecue in the beautiful grove of sugar trees near the residence of Captain Abel Moore. A more lovely day never dawned upon our country, and at an early hour, the roads leading to the grove were thronged with the smiling faces of men and women, lads and lasses, all wending their way to the scene of the proposed festivities, for the word had gone forth that two of our most talented citizens were to address the people that should there assemble. Ample preparations had been made by the committee of arrangements - Messrs. Abel Moore, William Gill, Isaac Cox, Hugh Jones, D. M. Kittinger, Robert Harrison, David Miller, and M. Williams - for their entertainment and refreshment.


At 12 o'clock, the exercises commenced by the reading of the 8th chapter of Deuteronomy by the Rev. Ebenezer Rodgers, and a few pertinent remarks, showing the applicability of the advice therein given to us as a nation as well as to the Jews, and an address to the throne of Grace, in behalf of our nation, in a fervent and very appropriate spirit. The Declaration of American Independence was then read in an impressive manner by George Smith, Esq., which seemed to be listened to with uncommon interest. When he concluded, the Hon. Cyrus Edwards delivered an address, which, for chasteness of language, patriotic sentiment, and appropriateness, could not well be surpassed. His description of the landing of the pilgrim fathers from the Mayflower on Plymouth rock, their toils, privations, and hardships, with a savage foe to contend against, and the comparison between their condition and that of the early settlers of Illinois, describing particularly that Spartan band of Rangers, so justly and universally celebrated for their patriotic devotion to their country and their toils and hardships, in their able and prompt defense of the same against a savage foe in the War of 1812, and in the relation of the Indian massacres that took place in this state, particularly describing the sad and melancholy tragedy which happened in 1814 near the spot where we were then assembled, and the loss of several of the friends and relatives, as well as two of the children, of the venerable citizen under whose shade of lofty elm and maple we were then assembled, by Indian cruelty, was truly eloquent. A deep feeling pervaded the whole assembly, while the tear of sympathy for our venerated friend and neighbor glistened in many an eye.


A well written, patriotic, and appropriate address was then delivered by E. C. West, Esq., which was listened to with marked attention. The orator was most happy and felicitous in tracing the history of our country, from the landing of a feeble band upon the cold rock-bound coast of New England, up to the time when we were able to throw off our allegiance to the mother country, and take our stand and place as an independent nation, and thence down to the present period, numbering as we now do, twenty millions of people, our commerce extending through every clime, our sails whitening, and flag floating on every sea. Still it is said of us by other nations that we are a growing people, but when the descendants of that feeble band of wise and good men, who disembarked from the Mayflower and landed upon Plymouth Rock, in the early part of the seventeenth century, shall have extended their improvements to, and settled the Oregon, where the waters of the Pacific shall have their feet, then, they may not only say that we are a growing people, but most emphatically exclaim that "we have grown!"


After the delivery of the addresses, a procession was formed under the direction of J. C. Young and Isaac Cox, Esqrs., and marched to the beautiful lawn of Mr. Edwards and back, when the company sat down to a sumptuous repast, got up in true western style. While the procession was marching, a nation salute was fired under the direction of Captain Briggs. Elias Hibbard, Esq., presided, assisted by Col. Solomon Pruitt. The Upper Alton band was upon the ground, and the pleasures of the day were much heightened by their music being interspersed through the exercises. After dinner, toasts were given, commemorative of the day, in honor of Generals Washington, Warren, Mario, Harrison, and Jackson; and also of our country, Oregon, Texas, &c. &c., but being able to procure only a few of them, it is thought best to omit all. The day closed as it commenced, with a clear sky and joy and gladness depicted in every countenance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 11, 1846

In the early part of October 1844, a person calling himself James Seixas came to this place, and remained in this town and vicinity about five months. He said his residence was in New York City, which he left early in the spring to travel for his health, and that he had spent the last three or four months in St. Louis, Missouri. His pretensions were unrivaled scholarship in the Hebrew language (acknowledged by the great Grsenius [sic] second only to himself), and unparalleled skill and patronage in teaching in it for 10 or 12 years - extensive knowledge also of Greek, Latin, French, German, &c - a vast fund of general information, obtained by extensive travels during the last two years in Europe, Asis, the United States, &c., an extensive acquaintance with the Literati of the Eastern and Middle States, Ohio, and some of the Southern States, especially with the clergy of several denominations, a professorship of Hebrew in the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, the possession of an estate in Brooklyn, New York worth $80,000 or more, and a large share in a mercantile house conducted by his two brothers in Pearl Street, New York City, eminent piety and membership in a Presbyterian Church in New York City, a deep concern for the promotion of religion and education, donations to several benevolent societies for several years, still continued, to the amount annually of $4,000, &c.


His real character, as developed while here and ascertained by the undersigned before and after he left, was a compound of eccentricity - extreme vanity of his knowledge of Hebrew and of his scarcely mere smattering of some other languages, a ready, ostentatious and ingenious use of his general information, impoliteness, censoriousness, bold and ingenious lying, base hypocrisy, artful deception, adroit and brazen-faced villainy and lewdness, and vile seduction, &c.  He declared his age to be but 30 years, though it was probably 40 or more. His height is about 5 feet 8 inches, of large, muscular frame, very plainly clothed while here, excepting when he wore borrowed articles of dress. When he left this place, he wore a snuff-colored frock coat, nearly new, a fur cap, and some other articles not belonging to him.


After repeated efforts to gain the affections of young females, connected with promises of marriage, he finally succeeded in seducing a virtuous and unsuspecting young lady of 15 years of age, the circumstances and result of which are too painful to be made public. The subscribers consider it their duty, though at this late day, in order to guard the public against his wily impositions and deception, to expose thus publicly this lying and deceitful villain, imposter, and seducer, especially as he is said now to be in this region. Abundant facts to prove the foregoing charges may be obtained from the undersigned.  Signed by Ebenezer Rodgers, Adiel Sherwood, Washington Leverett, Benjamin F. Long, H. A. Gardiner, Warren Leverett, and Isaac Long (of Woodburn). from Upper Alton.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1852

We are glad to see that Upper Alton is up and doing. From all we can learn the road labor has never been of that advantage which its normal amount would lead the public to expect. The gentlemen who have been appointed to act for the citizens in that matter are energetic and practical business men, and we hope soon to be able to announce that the building of Plank Roads leading to Upper Alton, is in successful progress. Would it not be well for our citizens to turn their attention to building a Plank Road from this city [Alton] to Upper Alton (who will be the first to move in the matter)?




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 2, 1852

The customary anniversary of "St. John" was observed yesterday by the Masonic Society of Upper Alton, and many members of the Order, as invited guests, from this city [Alton]. A procession was formed at the Masonic Hall, numbering over 150 persons, and preceded by a band of music, marched to the Methodist church to listen to an address by Rev. W. F. Boyakin of Carrollton. We wish we had more room to enlarge upon the Address, than we have at this time. It was a complete thing, throughout. Many strong points were made in it, that were new and novel; so much so that we made a minute of them, but time and space forbid their publication (Oh! this publishing a morning paper, when all our best copy comes in at sundown!). His illustrations and anecdotes were very interesting and entertaining, and the historical knowledge evinced by the Orator, in making so good a case for the order, as regards its origin, its great age, and its usefulness in the past, was most commendable. We have since learned that a move has been made, that this Address shall be printed. We hope, considering it as a fine literary and historical production, that the information is correct. After the Address, the procession formed, of members of the Order, ladies, and invited guests, and marched to an adjacent grove, where an elegant repast was in waiting. We are informed that over 300 persons sat down to the tables, and that everything passed off harmoniously and to the satisfaction of all.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1853

We notice in Saturday's Telegraph an account of the Annual Hunt, of the sportsmen of Upper Alton, which took place last Thursday. Two parties were organized of twenty-five hunters each, and the defeated party was to give a barbecue and ball to the victors - one party commanded by Capt. Stocker, the other by Capt. Carr. Capt. Stocker's company was victorious, their game counting 730; while Capt. Carr's company only counted 536. It is proper to state, however, that several who were chosen on the latter side did not attend. The barbecue and ball took place last Friday, and went off in good style.




Source: The New York Times, December 24, 1853

The new College buildings at Upper Alton, Ill., are now completed, and ready for use. The 29th inst. has been appointed for a general gathering of the friends of this institution, on the occasion of the opening of the rooms for congratulatory and dedicatory services.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 13, 1854

A horse and valuable quilted Spanish saddle were stolen from the stable of Dr. John James, of Upper Alton, on Thursday night. The villains take advantage of the absence of officers, who are attending Court, as they have a better chance to get the start. They are evidently masters of the art, as none but those hardened in crime could exercise so much apparent forethought. We say they, because other horses have recently been stolen from this vicinity, and the thieves have made good their escape. An organized gang is probably operating among us, and we would recommend organized efforts to detect them.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 24, 1854

Several sudden deaths have occurred at Upper Alton within the past few days. We have reason to believe that some of the deaths were from cholera. The family of Robert Dunlap, Esq., has been deeply afflicted. First the wife and mother died; next a nephew residing in the family; next a child; and next a young lady who had a home with them. Another child was quite low yestereday, and the father has been seriously sick. Four deaths in one family, in less than a week, is a fearful mortality. Such times as these are a severe test of the friendship of relatives and neighbors, and those who shrink not from the calls of humanity under such circumstances may be counted as friends indeed.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 9, 1857

The "glorious fourth" was appropriately celebrated by the Sabbath Schools and friends of Temperance, in the beautiful grove near Shurtleff College. At 9 a.m. a procession was formed of some three hundred Sabbath School children and teachers, and proceeded to the grove. The services were opened by singing the National Ode by the children, followed by prayer by Rev. W. Barnes. The Declaration of Independence was read by President Read. The Rev. W. H. Woodward of St. Louis followed in a chaste and beautiful address in response to the following sentiment. "The Youth of our Country, the patriot's hope, the patriot's pride. Upon their proper moral and religious training depend the future glory and welfare of our beloved country."  We have never listened to an address more happily adapted to the occasion and the audience. President Read then delivered an impressive address directed more particularly to the Sabbath Schools, and in his happiest style. The audience then adjourned for dinner, bounteously provided by the Ladies of Upper Alton. After dinner, Judge Thompson of Indiana, and Mr. Woodward, spoke briefly and pointedly on the subject of temperance. It was a subject of common remarks that the singing by the children under the direction of Prof. Castle had never been equaled on a similar occasion. The good order manifested by the large audience present was also a subject of gratifying remark. Taking it as a whole, it was a delightful convocation, nothing having occurred to mar the harmony and innocent hilarity, which seemed to animate every heart.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, December 1, 1857

The Alton, Ill., Democrat gives an account of an elopement at Upper Alton, which terminated rather seriously. A young man (name not given,) from northern Illinois, won the heart of a young lady by the name of Carter, in that city, against the will of her friends. She got into the buggy, and they were driving away to the nearest magistrate, when the father started in pursuit on horseback, and soon overtook the couple. The young lady jumped out. The father leveled a. shooting iron at the young man, who raised his foot and arm to shield his face. The contents of the gun or pistol passed through the foot into the wrist, and a part of the loading entered the right eye of the young man, below the pupil. A shot passed to the depth of a couple of inches and has not yet been removed. No legal steps have been taken in the matter, and the young man refuses to arrest the old gentleman.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 13, 1867

We this morning took our first trip to Upper Alton on the far-famed streetcars. As we rolled rapidly along we entirely forgot that Alton was a city of only some 15,000 inhabitants, and imagined that it had attained the colossal proportions of its sister city St. Louis - so metropolitan appearance was given to every thing from a real street car. The road-bed is as yet somewhat rough, but is daily becoming smoother and more settled. At Upper Alton station there is a side switch to enable cars to pass each other. The long hill at this point, which many supposed would be an almost insurmountable obstacle to the building of the road, is ascended without difficulty - and without the need of an extra horse. The cars stop at Hewit's store, but the track is being laid to the Post Office, which will be the terminus of the road. We advise any person who is skeptical in regard to the success of this road to take a trip to our neighboring town, and he will be convinced of his mistake. Two cars have been running all day. On our up-trip, the car was only comfortably full, but on returning there was hardly standing room for the passengers - there being about forty-five persons aboard. We learn that on one trip fifty-two persons were carried. The Upper Altonians have an abiding faith in the road, and are sustaining it nobly. It is certain to have an iportant influence in increasing the prosperity of both places. It needs only a hasty survey of the place to discern the rapid stride Upper Alton is making in wealth and importance. During the past year a great number of buildings have been erected - many of them being handsome and substantial edifices. The whole aspect of the place, indeed, is that of growth and prosperity. There was a large number of teams on the streets, and the merchants seemed to be doing a prosperous business, as doubtless is the case. Since the opening of the year, College Avenue has undergone quite a transformation - several new buildings having been erected upon it. The completion of the street railway has undoubtedly had much to do with this impetus to the growth ..... [unreadable] ...largely increased value of its property.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, February 9, 1872

The passenger train going to St. Louis, on the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis railroad, which was due at Alton Junction [also called Wann Junction in East Alton] at 6:10 Wednesday a.m., when about three-quarters of a mile below Upper Alton Station, collided with the freight train going north, the first two cars, i. e., the baggage car and the first coach "telescoped," and then almost instantly took fire. The scene that ensued was most appalling. The unfortunate passengers were most of them caught between the car seats, and egress from the car was almost impossible. The flames enveloped the doomed cars almost instantly, and the terrified passengers were left to be slowly roasted alive. Up to 11 o'clock a.m., the charred, blackened and still smouldering remains of four victims of their fearful accident, had been recovered, and were lying on the snow awaiting the "Coroner's Inquest."


The names of the killed, as far as we know, are as follows:  Joseph Tweesin [also reported as Tweissel] and Mrs. Reuben Rains [Susan Elizabeth Rains, aged 18]; the two other bodies which up to this time have been found have not been identified. The four passengers mentioned were all burned to death.


Wounded: Reuben Rains, badly cut on the head and body; Isaac Barnhardt, badly burned and head cut; August Maube, late of Rock Island, ankle broken; M. Cannon, leg broken; Frederick Bugle of St. Louis, badly burned; Mina Bugle of St. Louis, bruised; Franklin Groves, bruised; Karl Foss, severely bruised; Train Boy, severely injured; besides five others, slightly wounded, making altogether, four killed and thirteen wounded. The "working party" are still at work on the ruins, and more casualties may be reported.


The freight train was behind time and should have side-tracked at the Junction, but instead of doing so, it kept straight on, causing the most frightful accident that it has ever been our lot to report. The conductor of the freight train jumped off when the trains collided, and sought safety in flight, his name was Baker. We also heard that his engineer and fireman followed his example, this report, however, lacks confirmation. The whole responsibility of this terrible affair rests upon Baker's shoulders, as Mr. Fitzgerald, the conductor of the passenger train, was running his train on time and supposed that he would pass the freight at the Junction.


When the collision occurred, Mr. Rains, his wife and child, were sitting together on one seat, the child between its parents. The force of the collision was such that the seats were jammed together, and these unfortunates were caught in the wreck. Mr. Rains finally succeeded in extricating himself, although terribly burned. Mr. Franklin Grover tried his utmost to rescue the unfortunate Mrs. Rains, and almost tore her clothes off in his efforts, but all in vain. Seeing that his exertions to save her would not be successful, he next tried to save the child, and succeeded in doing so, though at great personal risk.


The train-boy was badly injured. We were unable to learn his name.


The baggage car and first coach of the passenger train were totally consumed, while the second coach and sleeping car were not materially injured. The forward freight cars were badly jammed, but can be repaired, the fire did not extend to the freight train. The engines were locked together, the engine of the passenger train, the William Green, was badly wrecked, the Astoria, the freight, was not seriously damaged further than losing her headlight and cow-catcher.


At the time of the accident, the passenger train was running about fifteen miles an hour. From appearances about the wreck, we should judge that the freight train was running at a still higher rate of speed. Everyone seems united in laying the entire blame of this terrible calamity on Mr. Baker, the conductor of the freight train, as his train was behind time, and furthermore a passenger train has always the right-of-way over every other train, and as the passenger train was on time, there seems to be no possible shadow of an excuse for him to shield himself, or to justify his case. Later reports say that the fireman of the freight engine remained at his post, as did also the engineer and fireman of the passenger engine. Hundreds of people are hourly visiting the wreck, most of them urged by curiosity, but some in search of friends. A large crowd stopped to gaze upon the poor buried, blackened and burning fragments of humanity which so lately had been thus violently hurled into eternity.


Later - Altogether up to this time, thirteen wounded have been reported instead of eight.


Baker's Statement:

Mr. Baker, the conductor of the train, says that in the arrival of his train at Alton Junction [in current East Alton], he compared time and told his engineer that he had 15 minutes in which to make the next switch, and so he started with the result of colliding with the passenger train going south. Baker says he made a mistake in his time: that is, he thought he had 15 minutes to spare, when in fact, he had scarcely four.



The bodies of the unfortunates, who yesterday perished in the R. R. disaster, were brought in to Mr. Connor, the undertaker, over Platt & Hart's stable, yesterday afternoon, and an inquest is now being held over their remains.


Source: The New York Times, February 13, 1872
The St. Louis Democrat of Friday publishes the testimony taken at the Coroner's inquest at Alton, Ill., on the day before, in the case of the persons who lost their lives by the collision between a passenger and a freight train, on the Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad. The Democrat says: At a few minutes past six o'clock, Tuesday morning, the north bound freight train of the Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad entered the cut which is situated about half way between Upper Alton and Alton Junction (which they had just left), and the next moment struck the locomotive of passenger train No. 4, coming to St. Louis, consisting of two sleeping cars, one coach and one baggage car. There was a crash. The engines reared in air, settled and struck again. By the first crash the baggage car was telescoped through the coach a distance of ten feet, by the second a further distance of fifteen feet. Seats and passengers were crushed by the avalanche into the rear of the car, which was overturned, and soon ignited from the stove, which had also been sent whirling into the midst of the scattered fragments. There were, it is believed, fifteen persons in the car. Of these, it is thought, four were either killed instantly or scorched to death, and nine were injured, the rest escaping with their lives. Notwithstanding the darkness and the shrieks of the wounded and dying, officers and passengers united in extricating the victims. The remains of two individuals only were recognizable - Joseph Tweissel, a man about forty-five years of age, a citizen of Leclaire, Iowa, and Susan Elizabeth Rains, aged eighteen, who was traveling in company with her husband and a baby about eighteen months old. In addition were found a charred bone, which the physicians thought from its size belonged to a woman, and a blackened mass which has not yet, and probably never will be, identified. The few battered and scorched victims remaining were taken to Brighton. After a brief parley with the conductor of the passenger train, Conductor Baker, in command of the freight, left hurriedly for Alton Junction, where he dispatched the following telegram to the Assistant Superintendent, which throws a flood of light upon the cause of the accident, and fixes its responsibility beyond a doubt:

Alton Junction, 7 a.m.:
H. Loosely: I collided with Number Four, 6 a.m. at one mile north of here. I was mistaken in time card. I thought their time was 6 1/4 at Upper Alton, instead of 6:09. Baker.

The movements of Baker from that time are only partially known. Leaving Alton Junction, he fled to St. Louis, where he has been seen and spoken to, but has since, probably, sought safety in flight from the verdict of the coroner's inquest hanging over him.

The wounded, as before stated, were transported as soon as possible to the town of Brighton, about eleven miles from the scene of the accident, and were lodged in boarding houses, where they were attended by physicians and nurses, who were employed by the railroad company for that purpose. Their names were M. Canmann, St. Louis, his leg twice broken; Reuben Rains, bruised about the head and shoulders; Isaac Barnhart, baggage master, injured internally; August Mowby, train boy, left leg broken; Fred Booker, hurt in the leg; Mrs. Mina Booker, ankle sprained; Franklin Groves, slightly injured in the jaw, not fatally; Charles Foss, right leg broken and contusions about the head. Most of these lay in agony upon the little cots that were prepared for them throughout the night. In the morning, Mr. Canmann, who is a prominent wholesale liquor dealer on South Main street, was brought to the depot and transported to St. Louis by the 11 o'clock train. Mr. Foss was sent early in the morning to his home in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The wounded are for the most part expected to recover, and will be removed as soon as it can be safely done. The charred remains were brought to Alton, and the preparations made to consign them to their last resting place. The bodies were deposited in a little room over Hart's stable; four rough board coffins constructed, in which the remains will lay until recognized by friends, or "unwept, unhonored and unsung," will be consigned to an unknown grave.

Meanwhile, in an adjoining building, an inquest was held. The first witness was Dr. Etz Williams, who testified to finding, soon after the accident, the remains of four persons, two of them males; what the other two had been he could not say; of these latter one was a charred bunch, about the size of two fists, and the other a long bone, which, from its small size, he supposed to be the femur of a female. Dr. W. A. Hazlitt, of Alton, a partner of Dr. Williams, testified to the same general effect. Henry W. Hart testified to the general appearance of the wreck. He assisted in getting the bodies out of the debris. The conductor poked them out with a long piece of iron; he took out the remains of a woman with a shovel. The next witness was Mr. E. J. Fitzgerald, conductor of the passenger train, who testified substantially as follows:

My train was due at Alton at twenty minutes past six; left Upper Alton at eleven minutes past six; the train consisted of one baggage car, one coach and one sleeping car; at the time of the accident, I was in the front end of the sleeping car; the distance from Upper Alton to the Junction was one and three quarter miles; I had thirty-five passengers on the train, of whom fifteen were in the front coach, immediately behind the baggage car; there is no telegraph office between Brighton and Alton Junction; the collision occurred at twelve or thirteen minutes after six; I was in the front end of the sleeping car at the time, and went to work to extinguish the fire and help the passengers escape. The number of passengers who escaped from the wreck was seven; there were three I know of who were not got out, one a middle-aged man, a German, from Iowa, and a lady about twenty or over; I do not remember the appearance of the others; I passed in and out of the cars three or four times before they were destroyed; they were splintered up considerably; the coach caught fire from the stove which was placed in the forward end of the car; when I first saw it the fire was about fifteen feet from the rear of the coach; the cars were telescoped twice, the first time about ten feet, the last time about fifteen feet; that is the baggage car telescoped about fifteen feet through the coach; I first observed the fire about four minutes after the collision occurred; there were two collisions, and I saw the fire after the second crash; the reason I was not able to rescue all the passengers was owing to their being caught in the timbers by the telescopic action of the collision, which knocked the baggage car stove to about the centre of the coach following it; the stove was full of wood; it opened and scattered the fire all around; the fire broke out almost immediately after the collision; it appeared to be small at first, and then broke out over the whole car at once. The passengers were fastened in the seats by the telescopic action of the car; I had to climb over the seats to get into the car. The reputation of the freight conductor was good, and he was said to be competent; don't know what the reputation of the engineer and others on the freight train was. It is the duty of the freight train, when behind-hand, to wait indefinitely for the passenger train, so it is on its own time; I was running on the time card. The rails were frosted. The accident occurred in a cut about twelve feet deep, on a curve; he could see ahead for a distance not exceeding two hundred yards; the grade runs up to about the centre of the curve where the ground was even and where the accident occurred. The engineer of the passenger train whistled down breaks, and in a few seconds afterward we struck. The freight engine was also found reversed. This lady that was burned was on the other seat from the front; two men were in the seat facing her, and some others on the opposite side of the car. The conductor and engineer of the freight went to St. Louis on my train; they left for there at 1:40 in the afternoon. If all the men on my train had been at their posts they could not have stopped my train. Baker said to me he had made a mistake in the time card; that he thought the passenger train was 6:15 instead of 6:09 at Upper Alton. Baker had his watch at the time of the collision, and we compared watches together. Four physicians were sent for by the Company immediately after the accident. Andrew Cessford, engineer on the passenger train, was next examined, and testified corroboratively as to the time and incidents of the accident. Other witnesses were called, and the jury in about half an hour returned the following verdict:

We, the jurors summoned, sworn and impaneled by Patrick F. Regan, Justice of the Peace of Madison County and State of Illinois, to diligently inquire into and true presentment make, how, or in what manner or by whom the dead bodies of Joseph Tweisel and Susan Elizabeth Rains, and two other, names unknown to us, came to their deaths, do find, from all the evidence adduced before us, that they came to their deaths by a collision on the Rockford, Rock Island and St. Louis Railroad, near the Alton Junction, County of Madison and State of Illinois, by a passenger train going South and a freight train going North, on the morning of Feb. 7, 1872, and the above named persons came to their death by said collision, through the criminal negligence of Frederick Baker, conductor of said freight train, and Patrick Halpine, the engineer of the same train, as accessory thereto.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1874

Mr. Ed Rodgers (whose extensive farm and fine residence, east of Upper Alton, attracts the attention of passersby) often finds large numbers of Indian relics, especially arrowheads, upon his premises. A portion of the farm lying in the Wood river bottom is very fruitful of antiquities, and Mr. Rodgers there raises quite a crop of relics whenever he plows. The neighborhood of a large spring on the place seems to have been a favorite camping ground of the Indians. Mr. R.'s farm was also an early pioneer battleground, and the ruins of an old fort can still be seen on the brow of the hill, nearly opposite his residence.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 22, 1875

Dr. E. C. James, who has been visiting in Vermont, and part of the time attending lectures in New York the past few months, returned home one day this week. The Dr. looks as if the Eastern climate was a congenial one.




Source: Alton Telegraph, Thursday, November 8, 1877

The report of principals of Upper Alton public schools, for the month ending October 31, makes a good showing. The enrollment, Oct. 1, was 245. Number now belonging, 290. Average daily attendance for past month, 225 - a marked increase over September. The college literary societies are doing good work this year. Last evening an excellent programme was presented by the Alpha Zeta Society. The hall of the Sigma Phi Society is undergoing repairs, and no literary meeting was held by them last night. Mr. Das. R. Kendall was, last night, elected President of the latter society, and Mr. Amos Marshall, Vice President. Mr. Mark Dickson, agent for C. B. & Q. railroad, at this place, on Wednesday evening was married to Miss Mamie, daughter of Oliver B. Ground of Madison Mills, Bozzatown. Welcome Mark!




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 21, 1878

A man from North Alton named Motley, yesterday boarded Conductor Maxey's car at Bozzatown, and being considerably the worse for whisky, he caused serious annoyance to the passengers by repeated and disgusting profanity. The gentle words of the conductor availing nothing, he spoke with more authority and, in the event of a repetition of the insult to the ladies present, announced that he would have to abate the nuisance by putting Mr. Motley off the car. The only effect of his words being a renewed and more offensive flow of oaths, the obstreperous passenger found himself landed without the car. This aroused the belligerent spirit of the man and he commenced a target practice on the conductor with McAdam stones. As this proceeding was endangering the lives of his passengers, Mr. Maxey promptly gathered a piece of chain, hanging on the platform, and "went for" the man, inflicting several serious wounds, but effectually silencing him. The car passed on, the man crawled into a passing wagon and went to Upper Alton where his wounds were dressed by Dr. Yerkes and medicine (purchased by Maxey) was administered and he was sent home. The universally testimony of the passengers was to the effect that the action of the conductor was perfectly justifiable since he was really dealing, not with the man, but with the demons that had possession of him. Orville Y. Lowe was also victimized last evening by whisky. He came up from Alton perfectly crazy with liquor, and ere the delirium had passed off, he visited the Fisharty house and caused serious damage by breaking windows and sash, even shooting through the windows with his revolver. A warrant was sworn out against him, but the young man had left town. It is a specially sad affair as the youth is not habitually intemperate.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 13, 1883

F. L. Vogelpohl, baker and confectioner, Upper Alton, Illinois, has removed to P. Robertson's new building, where he will have an opportunity to establish a more superb business in plain and fancy productions. He will also introduce his New Process Bread, which will be found more palatable, nutritious and healthy than any before the public. Also, his New Process Dry Hop Yeast, kept dry, will keep in the hottest and coldest climate; always reliable and not subject to change. Superior to any yet before the public. A full display of plain and fancy crackers, candies, &c, ice cream and refreshments, fancy cakes in great variety. He also thanks the public for past patronage, and hopes for future favors. All orders will be promptly attended to.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, October 19, 1888

About 7:30 o'clock last evening, the Alton marching companies gathered at headquarters and started on the march to Upper Alton to attend the Republican rally. The famous Pioneer club led the way under Capt. Glen and Lieuts. Magonigal and Linsig. Next came the stalwart Glass Workers' Protective club, Capt. Galbally and Lieut. Synar, and the Glass Workers colored club, Capt. Charles Bell. Then the Alton Flambeau club, Capt. Tarbet; next the Harrison and Morton Cadets, Capt. Herb., Alton colored club, Capt. Townsend.


In all, 300 strong, headed by the Standard Band, Capt. Herb was Marshal of the Alton delegation. The Alton boys made a magnificent display as they marched down Second street [Broadway] and on to Upper Alton. Their delegation was four or five times as large as the one the Democrats sent to Upper Alton at their last rally.


The Alton companies were met by the other delegations near the residence of Mr. Labee and all united in one grand procession. The line of march in Upper Alton was as previously published excepting a deflection from the corner of Main and Edwards street to Manning, and thence to College avenue. The illuminations along the route were an index of the sympathy of the citizens with the cause represented, while the troops were cheered on by the flutter of flags and kerchiefs from old and young as they passed along the brilliant streets. Among the houses illuminated were the residences of the following persons:  J. C. Cox, J. A. Bradley, Mrs. F. Hewitt, L. Ehrler, H. A. Morgan, S. F. Bell, Dr. E. C. Lemen (office), Mrs. Dr. Yerkes (house), G. W. Dudley, I. H. Streeper, A. R. Howard, W. W. Bell, J. Synar, E. H. Labee, A. E. Mills, F. Schwartsbeck, C. Simon, Mr. Burnside Sr., W. E. Bell, J. VanFossen, W. C. Lowe, H. W. Harting, Mrs. C. Rodemeyer (one half the house), E. G. Webster & Co. (store), A. H. Hastings (store), I. H. Streeper (store), John Leverett (store), H. T. Burnap, J. L. Johnson, L. J. Clawson, J. R. Kirkpatrick, J. H. Weeks, J. C. C. Clarke, Mrs. W. S. Judy, E. Marsh, O. L. Castle, G. B. Dodge, Dr. H. Judd, W. E. Gray, D. A. Wilkerson, Dr. E. C. James, J. M. Owen, G. M. Levis.


Dr. Burnap was Grand Marshal; Aides - Maj. Moore, A. H. Hastings, S. F. Bell, F. Sargent and George R. Johnson.


A careful county at the College corner placed the number of torches at 575. A large number had dropped out to accompany their families to the stand, so that 700 is a very moderate estimate of the number of torches that were carried in honor of the occasion, while the musicians and those riding on horseback and in wagons would swell the procession to 700. A wagon load of young ladies from North Alton, one from Upper Alton and one of damsels from Salu, vied with each other in singing and added greatly to the interest of the occasion.


Delegations were present from North Alton, Godfrey, Fosterburg, Bethalto and Emerald, besides the Alton clubs, also the Woodburn drum corps. Miss Pearl Hewit made the presentation speech on the $50 silk company flag which the ladies of Upper Alton gave the Upper Alton club, and I. H. Streeper responded.


The stand where the speaking took place, and around which the marching companies clustered with flaming torches, was elaborately decorated with flags and bunting. On the stand were: Capt. Worden, Mr. I. H. Streeper, Dr. Lemen, Hon. J. M. Pearson of Godfrey, Capt. Butler of Alton, Mr. A. D. Metcalfe of Edwardsville, and other prominent Republicans. Capt. D. R. Sparks, the speaker of the evening, was introduced and delivered one of the best speeches of his life. It was a splendid effort and was received with warm manifestations of favor. The Captain spoke for an hour and would have continued longer, but a storm was threatening and he brought his remarks to a close. The audience present was a magnificent one, numbering from 2,500 to 3,000.  The meeting was a grand gathering, surpassing any political gathering ever held in our neighboring town. The Republicans of Upper Alton should be proud of their success. The Alton companies were much admired for their fine marching, showy uniforms and splendid appearance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1893

While Dr. E. C. James and wife and two children of Upper Alton, accompanied by Mr. Theo Sims, were driving in a carriage to attend a meeting of the Alton Horticultural society Saturday at Godfrey, when going down a hill the breeching on the horse gave way and allowed the carriage to run onto him. The animal began kicking and knocked the dashboard out. Dr. James was thrown out and was seriously hurt, although it is not thought fatally. The two children were also hurt, but less seriously than their father. Neither Mrs. James nor Mr. Sims were hurt. Dr. James was resting as comfortably as could be expected this afternoon.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1895

About 9:30 o'clock Tuesday night, the two story, 10 room brick dwelling house, the property of Mr. George Cartwright of Upper Alton, was totally destroyed by fire, together with a portion of its contents. The house is occupied by the families of Mr. Cartwright and that of his son, Mr. John Cartwright. The fire originated in a summer kitchen adjoining the house, but from what cause could not be learned. It spread with rapidity, and as there was no way of fighting it, the flames soon enveloped it from the garret to the ground. A determined effort was made to save the contents, and a large portion was removed. It lighted up the vicinity, and considerable aid was rendered from outsiders. The loss is not known, but will probably be in the neighborhood of $3,000, insured in the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company. This place is historical as being the site of the Moore homestead, where the famous Indian massacre occurred, known as the Wood River Massacre, in which a number of pioneers lost their lives at the hands of the Indians.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 21, 1895

Upper Alton was thrown into a state of excitement last night, unusual to that quiet town. Charlie Nevlin, the well known horseman, was fatally shot, and "Dode" Dailey had two fingers mangled by the pistol of John Nixon, a glassworker residing in that town. About 7 o'clock Nixon came downtown, it is stated, with the intention of resenting an insult offered his sister by Burt Nevlin. They met in Burton's store, and a bitter fight followed. They were separated, and Charlie Nevlin and "Dode" Dailey followed Nixon to the post office. The fight was renewed, and Nixon fired three shots into the crowd of aggressors. The first ball flew wild, the second broke two fingers of Dailey's hand, and the third struck Charles Nevlin in the left breast in the region of the heart. Nevlin uttered a cry and rushed to Barnard's drugstore, where he was stripped, and the bullet hole showed the wound to be dangerously near the cavity of the heart. Nevlin was removed to his home, and Dr. Lemen was summoned. The ball entered just above the heart and to probe for it meant death. It is possible that its course changed sufficiently to lodge the bullet in a harmless spot, but the chances are slim for his recovery. Dailey's fingers were dressed and the crowd dispersed. Nixon came to this city [Alton] and gave himself up. To a Telegraph reporter last night he refused to make any statement, saying: "I have no statement to make."  Nevlin was a quiet man when sober, but when fired by liquor was extremely aggressive. His family is grief-stricken and fear that he cannot recover.  Nixon is known to be high-tempered and has been in numerous troubles. From the facts gleaned, however, the sympathy seems to be entirely with him, owing to the number of men that attacked him. He was struck in the face with rocks and had his head and face bandaged last night so that he could scarcely talk. The trouble has been brewing for some time. Threats passed, and Nevlin and Nixon were bitter enemies. Nixon was placed under $500 bonds to await developments before his trial. The preliminary hearing has been set for next Monday. At last reports, Charlie Nevlin was resting fairly well, with the chances against his recovery.


Charlie Nevlin did survive his wounds, and refused to prosecute John Nixon. In April 1895 the case was dismissed. Nevlin was a native of Upper Alton, and a member of one of the pioneer families of Upper Alton. His father, Nick Nevlin, was a butcher who had a “stall” in the old Union Market on Market Street in downtown Alton. Charlie Nevlin worked with livestock and the butcher business all of his life. He died July 25, 1936 from heart problems at the age of 75. He still carried the bullet in his body from being shot by John Nixon.

John Nixon died in July 1947 at the age of 79. He worked for the Illinois Glass Company and was the former night captain of police under the Mayor Beall administration.



Source: The New York Times, December 1, 1897

No word has been received from W. L. Gillham, the missing Postmaster of Upper Alton. The United States authorities today took possession of the Post Office through his bondsmen, who have instructions to withhold the books from him should he return. Members of his family express the utmost confidence that Gillham's affairs, both in the office and in his private business, will be found perfectly straight. They profess to have little fear lest he will return and explain, but the fact that he has sent no word since the matter has been published broadcast, where it must have met his eyes, if alive, is in itself alarming. There are rumors abroad that tend to reflect upon his character and temperament, but these are so utterly at variance with his previous life and habits that they are given no credence, and the theory of foul play seems the most tenable.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 27, 1897

Jefferson Parks of Springfield is dangerously wounded by George Mack Clayton. The trouble began over a woman, formerly the wife of Clayton but who later left him and clave unto Parks. It seems that the then Mrs. Clayton became enamored of Parks, and at the last term of the City Court obtained a divorce from her husband. Later on she married Parks, and from that time on the feeling between the successful and rejected husbands was anything but cordial. Mr. and Mrs. Parks went to Springfield to live and came down to eat Christmas dinner with Mr. Samuel Nichols, Mrs. Parks' father. After eating dinner, Mrs. Parks bethought herself of certain household goods that she had when she left her first husband, and she sent her present husband after them. When Clayton saw Parks, he began to revile his successor, and then, 'tis said, the successor threatened to use a knife. Clayton pulled his revolver and began a fusilade which lasted as long as cartridges lasted. Then Clayton went into the house to reload his weapon, and Parks, who had been hit by the two bullets, started to walk away. He had gone but a short distance when he fell unconscious and was picked up by passersby. Dr. Yerkes was summoned and the wounded man taken to the Nichols home, where he still lies in a dangerous condition.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 30, 1897

Jefferson Parks, the victim of the shooting, is getting along nicely at the Nichols home in Upper Alton. Parks, it seems, was not so badly hurt as was first supposed. One of the bullets that struck him did not penetrate the skin, and raised only a blister on his shoulder. The other bullet entered his abdomen, but did not perforate the intestines. He is in a fair way to recover, as his injuries are not necessarily dangerous. There will be no prosecution of Clayton by Parks, as he is satisfied that the causes of provocation were about even.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 14, 1899

The Alton Railway and Illuminating Company today started up the incandescent light system in Upper Alton, after meeting with a mishap on January 1, the date when it was first planned to start the system. The lights were tested today, and they worked to perfection. They will be lighted tonight, and it is calculated that the entire system - 60 lights - will work perfectly. This light will be better, it is thought, than the arc system, for the reason that they will not be shaded by trees.




Source: The Alton Telegraph, Saturday, February 11, 1899

The Western Military Academy was the scene of a brilliant social event Friday evening which eclipses all other social events in the history of the academy. It was a banquet and reception tendered by Col. and Mrs. A. M. Jackson to the cadets and graduates of the institution and their friends. No expense or trouble was spared by the host and hostess to make the event one altogether worthy of the institution and in keeping with the prosperity of the school. Some time ago, Col. Jackson promised the boys a handsome treat when the enrollment reached 80 cadets, and true to the promise, preparations for the reception were begun when the goal was reached. There were present a hundred guests from the Altons and St. Louis, who with the cadets and officers, made a brilliant company. During the reception from 8 to 9 o'clock the parlors presented a most attractive appearance, gaily decorated in the academy colors and thronged with beautifully dressed girls and cadets in full dress uniform. Promptly at 9 o'clock, the company was summoned to the dining rooms. Here the brown and gold had again been used with charming effect. Ropes of evergreen intertwined with colors were festooned across the rooms, and dainty yellow shades diffused the light over the well appointed tables. The banquet was one of many courses, and elegant in every detail. For two hours the dining rooms were filled with the merry hum of voices and laughter. One of the pleasant features was the music, discoursed throughout the evening, by the St. Louis Philharmonic Quartette. After the banquet, the young people danced in the gymnasium, which was prettily draped in the national colors. Much taste had also been displayed in several handsome military decorations of guns, swords and sheaths on the walls. The evening passed and the hour for the home-going came all too quickly. The guests were loath to end an evening which had furnished such delightful entertainment, and departed reluctantly, showering Col. Jackson and his faculty with congratulations on their successful management of the school, and on the event which had so fittingly celebrated it.  Among those present from abroad were: Mrs. W. F. Parkerson and daughter, the Misses Carroll, F. W. Shapleigh, R. H. Green, Mrs. Major Morgan and daughter, Mrs. R. W. Green and daughter, E. R. Handlan, F. H. Humphrey, R. G. Hager, Miss Brubaker, Miss Markell, Mrs. Pauline Hill and Miss Hill, Chas. F. Jones, wife and three daughters, of St. Louis; R. H. Handlan, of Terre Haute.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1899

James Logsden, a saloonkeeper who has a saloon near the C. B. & Q. station east of Upper Alton, was arrested on a warrant sworn out by Col. A. M. Jackson of Western Military Academy, charging him with selling liquor to minors. The case was originally set for trial next Monday, but through a mistake as to the date, the plaintiff and defendant with their lawyers and witnesses appeared at the council room this morning. The case was dismissed at plaintiff's cost until Monday.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, May 31, 1899

Memorial Day in Upper Alton was observed with appropriate services at Oakwood cemetery in the morning. The hour of exercises was set at 9:30 o'clock, and at the hour a large number had assembled at the cemetery. A drizzling rain began falling and continued throughout the exercises. The crowd did not seem to mind the wet, but stood under umbrellas or gathered under trees for shelter. At 10 o'clock the procession which had formed at the school house, entered the grounds. Mr. Emory Dixon, Officer of the Day, of the G. A. R., accompanied by Rev. James Osborn, the speaker of the morning, led the procession. Next came the Juvenile Band, followed by several hundred school children carrying flowers and flags. The old soldiers with their wives followed last. The school children were marshaled in a hollow square, in the center of which stood the G. A. R.  The exercises were opened by the reading of the decoration prayer by Post Chaplain William Reeder. The band played several selections, and the school children, led by Supt. Lowry, sang America and other national airs. Mrs. Demuth made a short talk, after which Mr. William Loehr, Post Commander, introduced Rev. James Osborn, who held his auditors in rapt attention. The decoration of graves concluded the exercises. The procession marched back to town, breaking ranks at the post office.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 4, 1900

What might have been a very serious runaway occurred near the C. B. & Q. station in Upper Alton New Year's day afternoon. A horse attached to the milk wagon of William Roberts started to run away on the road leading to the depot, and became so wild the boys who were in the wagon, a son of S. H. Culp and a nephew of Mr. Roberts, Alvin Deen, could not control it. The horse dashed down the road and the Deen boy jumped from the wagon, but the door slammed shut after him, penning the Culp boy in. The Culp boy was badly cut about the forehead and was severely bruised. His father, S. H. Culp, was standing near when the runaway occurred, and saw his son thrown out when the final crash came, but did not know it was his son. The horse freed itself from the wagon, and running to the riverbank frantically leaped into the Wood river, fifteen feet below. The river was covered with ice and the horse broke through, sinking in the freezing water until only his nose was above the surface. The animal with almost human instinct kept its nose above the water until ropes were procured and fastened about its body. Then the shivering creature was dragged from the water.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1900

The town council held their meeting last evening. They passed two grading ordinances, the paving ordinance and curfew ordinance. At a recent meeting the curfew ordinance was amended so that the bell on the village hall might be rung for the curfew, but trial showed that the bell was not satisfactory for the curfew, so they amended the ordinance again and now the school bell will be rung at the curfew hour as heretofore.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 7, 1900

An old oaken barrel was found yesterday, buried six feet in the ground where the excavation is being done for the Upper Alton paving on Manning street. In the barrel were papers, the writing on which had become illegible, and the nature of the documents is not known. The barrel shown indications of having been buried a long time, and it is probable it was placed there long before the days of the street railway.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1901

Flames were seen issuing from the barn of Aaron Alred in Upper Alton about 10:30 Monday night, and although a big crowd of people collected immediately, the barn was completely destroyed together with all contents, including two horses, one valued at $300, the other at $50. The winter's feed, hay, corn, bran, etc., went also, as did some harness, a road wagon, and other things which run the amount of the loss up to about $500. There was no insurance. The work is thought to have been that of an enemy of Mr. Alred. About two weeks ago someone, through a crack of the barn, shot the mare, but did not inflict a serious injury. The perpetrator was never discovered, although strong suspicions are entertained concerning his identity. somebody set fire to the barn last night. No one up there appears to have any other theory, and a determined effort will be made to run the fiend down, who in order to "get even" with Mr. Alred, caused animals to suffer the awful agonies of a death by fire. Mr. Alred lives in the old Hasting's place.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1901

The Laclede Hotel, which for many years was conducted by Mrs. M. A. Bridges in Upper Alton, and became famed for providing a good table, was reopened today by Mrs. Bridges after a severance from hotel duties for over two years, during which time Pie Town has been without a hotel.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1901
Halloween pranks went on with a vengeance in Pie Town last night. Street crossings suffered the usual up-turnings, and all loose boards, in fact most everything which could be moved, found itself in a new location this morning. Mr. William Schroer, janitor of the public school, stayed in the school building to look after things. A party of boys visited him and found trouble. One of them, Charles Kortkamp, struck Mr. Schroer on the side of the head with a sling shot. This morning Mr. Schroer swore out a warrant before Justice I. H. Streeper for the arrest of young Kortkamp, charging him with assault and battery. The arrest followed this afternoon. The college dormitory and recitation rooms were not neglected. All the chairs were taken from the recitation rooms and placed on the flat roof of the library building. The dormitory halls were barricaded so securely that it made breakfast late. At 10 o'clock pupils were still standing in the recitation rooms. These things are certainly very, very funny, and those who indulged in such fun must be enjoying themselves very much today.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 12, 1901

Upper Alton News - Charles Wade will open a stone quarry at Rock Spring Park, where stone will be obtained to be crushed into macadam for the Upper Alton street paving. Mr. Wade has secured the contract for furnishing 600 squares of macadam, and will move his crusher to Rock Spring Park where it will be set up to crush the stone. The macadam will be hauled in wagons to College avenue, where it will be used as a bed for the paving.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 10, 1901

Twelve or fourteen years ago, one cold winter morning, a ten year old boy was found in a straw stack near Upper Alton, nearly frozen and half starved. He said he didn't know to whom he belonged, that he was always an outcast and that he had no relatives. He was taken in charge by a woman named Woods, and he worked on her farm several months when he disappeared. Last Wednesday, a fine looking, well dressed, prosperous looking gentleman appeared in Upper Alton and announced that he was "Ceon" Woods, the boy who was found in the straw stack. He had gone west and had prospered, until now he is able to reward everyone who was kind to him in the time of need. That is the reason he came back.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 15, 1902

Much interest is being taken in the new Upper Alton brass band that was organized last fall, but never did much in a progressive way until this summer, and now the boys are making up for all the time they have lost in the past. When the band was organized, about thirty boys and young men were taken in as members, and all were much interested and very enthusiastic, but by the time the boys got their instruments and began taking lessons, there were about eight or ten members that stuck to the organization. The remaining boys made good headway during the winter and now are able to play together. The boys about town all want to join now, but the membership will be held down to about twenty, which number they now have and are progressing rapidly. The town council has given the band the free use of the village hall two nights a week, and the boys will practice there on Monday and Friday evenings. Last night when the band boys arrived at the hall for rehearsal, there were about two or three hundred interested spectators gathered around the village building. The business men are going to give the boys a new bass drum and will do everything possible to help make a success of the organization.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 4, 1902

A car load of whisky was spilled on the ground in a wreck back of the Western Military Academy last evening. Train No. 84, loaded with stock, ran into train No. 80, loaded with general merchandise, while the train was stalled on the grade and was trying to make another start. The second train came up behind the first one and crashed into the rear end, the engineer being unable to see the train ahead on account of the drizzling rain and fog. The caboose of the forward train was thrown from the track, and the trainmen inside had wonderful escapes. A car ahead of the caboose was loaded with expensive whisky. The barrels were thrown out of the car and many were broken open. The ground was saturated with liquor, and the fumes were intoxicating to the men who were clearing the wreck. The Western Military boys obtained permission to view the wreck, and they went over to the place, but when Maj. Lowe discovered the nature of the contents of the car, he quickly lined the boys up and marched them away. The Upper Alton people soon learned of the accident, and many carrying buckets went to the wreck to "save" some of the whisky. It is said enough was saved to last the town for some time to come. Afterwards someone touched a match to the whisky and alcohol spilled on the ground, and it burned fiercely. A large part of the contents of the car was lost to the railroad company.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 14, 1903

A bad wreck with only one fatality occurred on the C. B. & Q. tracks two miles north of the Upper Alton station on a steep grade there. Engineer Frank Horn was instantly killed while trying to jump through his cab window. His fireman was not even scratched. The entire train left the track at a broken rail and leaped down an embankment ten feet high. The engine turned over on its side after running a quarter of a mile on the ties, dragging the mail, baggage, express and day coaches down the embankment with it. The chair car was tottering on the verge of the bank and the sleeper was just a little way off the rails. The day coach, containing about 25 passengers, was dragged from its trucks, thrown out in a cornfield and landed right side up. The passengers stayed in the coach until the relief train was sent and strangely enough, not a single passenger was injured. Among those in the car were Harry Bray, a traveling man, and Ed Thornton of Alton, both well known in this city. The fireman says that the last thing the engineer did was to set the airbrakes to stop the train, and he saw him try to leap through the window of the cab. Just then the engine turned down the embankment on the engineer's side and crushed Horn. The fireman escaped without an injury. The mail clerk's car was overturned, almost upside down, when the wreck occurred. G. L. Mitchell of Rock Island, and E. W. Ebey of Winchester, were the two mail clerks. They chopped their way out of the car with axes and were only slightly bruised, although their position was a bad one. Conductor Pollard was slightly bruised, and his brother, the baggage man, Amos Pollard, was also slightly hurt. The mail car stove was overturned and fire started in the car. Passengers carried snow and threw it on the fire, extinguishing it. The wrecked train was the one that formerly went through Alton to St. Louis at 4:10 p.m.  The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m., just before the train reached a steep grade and a sharp curve. The wonder is that many of the passengers were not killed, and that the wreck was not more serious. The body of the engineer was taken from under his engine, No. 1163, at 2:30 o'clock Wednesday morning. The body was cared for by Deputy Coroner Streeper, who held an inquest and a verdict of death from the accidental overturning of engine No. 1163 was found. Horn's body was crushed in a horrible manner, and it is said there was not a whole bone in it. He was 55 years old and leaves a wife and one son. The body will be sent to Beardstown this evening for burial. The track has been cleared but the overturned engine and cars have not been picked up.




Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, February 6, 1903

Fire of supposed incendiary origin destroyed the Western Military Academy at Upper Alton last night, causing a loss of $30,000. The fire was a fourth one in 17 days in the academy. All the fires were started while the cadets were at supper. No explanation can be given for the persistent attempts to destroy the academy.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 25, 1904

As evidence of the rapid growth of the Altons, attention is called to the many additions, divisions and subdivisions being opened up in Alton, North Alton and Upper Alton, and the fact that the lots in these additions sell rapidly and sell to actual home builders should be conclusive proof that the Altons are "spreading themselves" greatly. Milton Heights addition to Upper Alton is the latest, and consists of 32 acres of land formerly owned by the late James Rixon, and which was purchased yesterday by W. W. Lowe, who has made several additions to Upper Alton already and has disposed of almost every lot in all of them. The tract is just southeast of Upper Alton and adjoins the Loehr & Lowe subdivision on the east. The location is high and healthful and commands a splendid view, river scenery, and of the surrounding country. Mr. Lowe set men to work Thursday clearing the land of all undergrowth, etc., and will have it surveyed and platted at once, and the lots will be ready for purchasers early in April.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 27, 1904

One of Upper Alton's oldest landmarks was removed when the old locust tree at the corner of Locust street and College avenue was cut down this week. The tree was a very large one and has been there for almost one hundred years, according to the oldest residents. This old tree gave the name to the street many years ago. The new brick sidewalks to be laid on that street made it necessary to remove the old landmark.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 1, 1904

Contractor A. Kleinschnitger has a force of men engaged excavating for the foundation of a building to be put up for William Stork on Manning street, Upper Alton, and these men Friday evening were startled badly when their spades uncovered the jawbones and grinning, ghastly-looking teeth of a human. Other bones were found, but the above were the only ones very well preserved, and it is thought the skeleton was that of a woman because the teeth were small and the jawbones smaller than is usual with a man. "The oldest inhabitant" does not remember of anyone ever being buried there, publicly, and is certain the place was never the site of a cemetery. Speculation is all there is concerning the identity of the remains, and speculation of that kind is not better than speculation generally is in other matters.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 17, 1904
The Upper Alton Band has almost become an Alton organization now. When the band was organized it was composed of Upper Alton boys only. Now the band has a new name (the Colonial Military) and there is nothing in the name that would make it give the impression that the organization was an Upper Alton institution. The band has an Alton leader, also several players, and has arranged for a rehearsal hall in Alton, which the band will begin using next week. The boys say that they were not given as much encouragement by Upper Alton business men and people generally as they might have been.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 5, 1906

Two freight trains on the C. B. & Q., No. 13 and second section of No. 80, came in head-on collision one mile and a half north of Wood station, near Upper Alton, this morning at 8 o'clock. Fifteen cars of merchandise and two monster locomotives were demolished and immense damage was done to the two trains. The injured are:  Engineer Gove. Hinderer of No. 13 of Beardstown, left finger fractured, dislocated shoulder and bad burns about the face.  Head brakeman, George Anderson of Beardstown, perhaps fatally hurt, left ankle broken, bad burns about the face and internal injuries. Fireman W. A. Anderson, a brother of the head brakeman, on No. 13, suffered only slight injuries to his chest. Engineer John Mason and Fireman Lee Franks, both of No. 80 and living at Beardstown, jumped and suffered only slight injuries. They were not brought to St. Joseph's hospital with the two Andersons and Hinderer.  An incident of the wreck was the blowing up of a car of powder in No. 13 when the collision occurred. The report was terrific, and when the powder went up it blew the car to fragments, sending pieces high in the air and they came down in a rain, which threatened to kill the trainmen who had escaped from the wreck and were hurrying to help their less fortunate comrades. There were 400 kegs of powder in the car shipped from East Alton to Beardstown. The wreck was due to a misunderstanding of orders. Engineer Hinderer had orders to meet the second section of No. 80 at Wood station. He told the Telegraph today that he saw a train on the siding at Wood station, and thinking it was the train he was to meet, he went on. It turned out the train he passed was an extra train. About one mile and a half out of Wood station, No. 13 met the second section of No. 80. Both trains were running about 30 miles an hour when the impact occurred. The two trains were heavy ones and were being drawn by mogul engines. When the locomotives touched each other, they reared in air and fell backward. They were demolished and reduced to heaps of scrap iron. The engineer and fireman on No. 80 jumped and saved themselves, getting out on the side of the train that was safest. Engineer Hinderer and Brakeman Anderson leaped toward the side where the wreckage piled and were buried under the wrecks of their engine and the cars. Fireman Anderson, brother of the brakeman, was more fortunate, getting out on the safe side. Engineer Hinderer was able to talk at the hospital, after his injuries were dressed by Drs. Pence and Bowman. He told the Telegraph the details of the wreck, which are thrilling enough. When he recovered from the shock of the collision and the roar of the powder explosion, he found himself buried under the wreckage of the cars. Some heavy car timbers were underneath his shoulders and a pair of truck beams were across his stomach, wedging him in. Some heavy truss rods were across his legs and he was held a secure prisoner. With his thigh bone broken and his shoulder dislocated, he struggled with frenzy to release himself. The other men came to his assistance with axes and saws and tried to get him out, but could make but little progress. He called to the men to give him a saw, and with the saw he cut one of the heavy timbers which was holding him prisoner, and in the meantime the men were plying axes and saws to make an opening so he could be taken out. When the engine tumbled over, Hinderer says, he was just at the gang-way of the cab and the hot coals from the firebox fell out of the fire door and tumbled in his face. He could not move his head and was slowly cooked about the face. His burns are frightful. He is burned about the body and face. "If that explosion of powder had set fire to the train," he said, "we would have burned to death in the wreck." Fortunately the explolsion did no further harm than destroy the cars and blow big chunks of wood and iron dangerously close to the trainmen. Brakeman George Anderson was pinned down with a flat-car bumper on his side and firmly fastened under a mass of wrecked car beams. He was lying a car length away from Hinderer, and was rescued after considerable labor. He received many burns about the face from steam and hot coals. Fireman Anderson, who was only slightly hurt, gave a good description of the wreck. Fifteen cars were piled up, he said, about five of them being part of train No. 13, and the remaining ten being from train No. 80. The cars which were demolished on No. 13 were loaded with merchandise. There was one car of sewer pipe, three carloads of muslin, and one filled with iron nut-locks and bolts. The contents of the cars were scattered over the country for a long distance, and muslin was being blown around freely. When the trains came together there was a terrific shock and everybody jumped. The two big engines reduced each other to scrap iron and then began blowing out scalding water and steam, and strewing fire around. Fortunately none of the coals set fire to the wreckage, and the powder explosion was almost harmless. When the powder went off, several cars near the powder car were blown to fragments and their contents were sent up in the air with great force. Fireman Anderson said it seemed that the downpour of fragments lasted a half hour, whereas it could have lasted less than a minute. It kept him dodging big chunks of metal and wood and pieces of the contents of the cars, to save his life. He accompanied his brother to St. Joseph's hospital and attended at his bedside in the ward room, watching as the brother gave signs of needing any attention. The injured Anderson is 23 years old and married. The injured engineer is 30 years of age and has a wife and child at Beardstown. Dr. Pence said that George Anderson would probably die, as he gave symptoms of very serious internal injuries. The cars which were demolished were piled high in places and strewn around in others. The cost of the wreck is enormous, as a vast amount of property was destroyed. The work of clearing the wreck will require several days. The wrecked locomotives present the worst obstruction on the track, as they are in such a condition they can't be moved only in sections. The two men were in a bad condition at the hospital at noon. Anderson, the injured brakeman, was very ill from his internal injuries. Hinderer was suffering much pain from his hurts, but his condition was better than that of the brakeman.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 6, 1906

George Anderson, the head brakeman on the wrecked C. B. & Q. train No. 13, died at St. Joseph's hospital last night from internal injuries he suffered in the wreck. The immediate cause of Anderson's death was abdominal injuries caused by him being caught between the bumpers of two of the wrecked freight cars. He suffered intense pain from the abdominal injuries and the attending surgeons could give no hope of his recovery from the beginning. Fireman W. A. Anderson, his brother, who escaped with slight injury, stayed with his brother's bedside until the end came. The body was turned over to H. J. Klunk and will be shipped to Beardstown tonight for burial.....






Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 18, 1906

The large Crawford amusement hall will be opened up a week from tonight by a chicken pie supper and festival to be held there by the ladies of the Upper Alton M. E. church. A mixed program will be rendered. This will be the first social function held in the new amusement hall, which will be completed and ready for occupation the first of next week.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 28, 1906

Go into the roller skate egg-race at the Crawford hall in Upper Alton tonight. Those who enter for the race will each carry an egg in a spoon. Come and see the fun, and get into the race.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 1, 1909
Tomorrow evening will be the grand opening of the Crawford Hall for dancing and everything is being arranged to make the opening night a great success. The interior of the hall has received a thorough cleaning out and is being beautifully decorated today. Skating has been discontinued for the summer, and the furnishings of the building have been rearranged so as to accomodate an immense crowd of dancers. Music will be furnished by an orchestra of three pieces. One thousand invitations were issued to the opening event, and a big attendance is expected. Dancing will be continued through the summer in the new hall on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1910

Just like it is the custom in the country to have a barn dance in a new barn before any of the stock or implements have marred the floors, has the Crawford hall in Upper Alton been worked before it's being changed into a livery stable. Parties that would never have been given were pulled off just to have one in this hall before it was wrecked. Speakings, pictures, basketball games, twenty or thirty farewell roller skating events, and several oyster and church suppers have made the hall the most popular spot in Upper Alton the past month. Everyone was clamoring for it to give some sort of a farewell, and had Patti and Sarah Bernhardt heard of the hall, Upper Alton would have heard them at ten cents a ticket just as sure as these two celebrities love American farewells. Coroner Streeper, however, has decided that he will not encroach on Manager Sauvage in the amusement business, and that he is not a show man but an undertaker. Thus the repairs have been started and where hilarity and laughter have ruled, the most quiet of all work will be carried on hereafter.


[The Crawford Hall was located on Washington Avenue in Upper Alton, in the 1600 block. Coroner Streeper opened his funeral home on the property when the hall was razed.]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 19, 1906

Upper Altonians last night were taken back to the old days when that village was known far and wide as Pietown, by the pie-eating feats performed by scores of small boys and girls and grown up men and women. There were hundreds of pies of all kinds and all full size, and it was a comical sight to witness a very small boy tackling a very large pie and turn it around and around wondering where to sink his teeth in first to get the most lusciousness quickly. The pies were furnished by Crawford Bros. free of cost, and lemonade in large quantities was provided also.




Source: Utica, New York Observer, March 7, 1907

College President Refused to See Him When He Called Incognito
Andrew Carnegie's conditional gift  of $15,000 to Shurtleff College In Upper Alton. Ill., has revealed the fact that John D. Rockefeller had previously visited the school, incognito, while efforts were being madeto obtain a donation from him. The gift of Carnegie is expected to cause Rockefeller to contribute again. He gave Shurtleff $15,000 a year ago. His later denial of support to Shurtlefff, which is a Baptist Institution, is believed to have been due to his experiences while inspecting the school.  When Rockefeller visited Alton he registered at The Madison Hotel as John Davidson," using his middle name for the last. He rode to Shurtleff College and asked to be shown through the buildings. The president was busy and didn't greet Rockefeller or accord him an interview. None learned until long afterward that the quiet man, whom they had regarded as a curious visitor, was the millionaire. Rockefeller's identity was learned through a letter that came to the host addressed to John D. Rockefeller.



Source: The New York Times, January 25, 1908

From Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 24 - Not having fitted himself to become owner of a big educational institution, J. C. Felom, a brick mason of this city, discovered today that he had an elephant on his hands in Shurtleff College of Upper Alton, Ill., to which he is heir. One of his wealthy ancestors, to spite his immediate heirs, bequeathed all his money to found this college, providing that after a certain number of years it should revert to his lineal descendants. The time has elapsed. Mr. Felom, the bricklayer of this city, is one of eight descendants.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 5, 1908

An Upper Alton correspondent to the Telegraph voices the sentiment of a large number of the Upper Alton people in expressing a note of dissatisfaction with the frequent use of the term "pietown" by an Alton newspaper in referring to the village of Upper Alton. "Pietown" was the term used years ago when Upper Alton had little else to recommend it to the public than the ability of the ladies of the town to make good pies. They demonstrated their ability on more than one occasion, winning the hearts of men and making marriages possible in a community where pretty girls were having a hard time in offering attractions for young men to visit, wading through deep streets and long, dark highways. Today, however, Upper Alton has achieved a position in the world as a village unsurpassed for physical beauty as well as for other attractions as a residence place, and it is with the earnest desire that the one time tribute to the culinary ability of the ladies be laid aside and a more dignified appellation be used, that the protest is sent to the Telegraph in order that the widest publicity may be given it. Upper Alton is deserving of more consideration than to be referred to slightingly as "pietown," and any person who has any sympathy with the village in its aspirations to enhance its natural beauty and make it more dignified as well as more pleasant as a home, will join with the plea that the people who continue calling Upper Alton "pietown" cease it at once.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 7, 1910
Probably the oldest frame building in Upper Alton was destroyed by fire Saturday night at the corner of College and Washington avenue. According to old men who have lived in the village since they were young boys, the building was erected sometime about 1833. It was originally built near Shurtleff college, according to M. A. Lowe, and moved from there to its location, where it was burned [sic] [this is probably an error ... since it didn't burn in 1835] about 1835. This would make it about 75 years on one site. It was used for fifty years as a hardware and tin store. The fire started in the Streeper Bros. place. It was discovered by some Upper Alton boys who had been attending the skating rink, and after the closing of the rink had taken a lunch at the Stalder bakery on Washington avenue. They were starting home, and on going around the corner at the Streeper store, discovered the interior ablaze. They ran to the Henry stable for help, and the hose cart was hurried from the village hall to the place where the fire was raging. The Streeper building being a frame structure, burned so rapidly that nothing could be done to save it, and the entire building burned without anyone entering it. The fire spread into the adjoining building occupied by Frank Sargent as an office, and later into the building on the other side occupied by Enos Johnson's bank and insurance office. These three buildings, all belonging to Edward J. McPhillips, were destroyed in a very short time. The fire spread to the double two-story brick building, also belonging to Mr. McPhillips, and occupied by John Leverett, L. M. Taggart, The Star Telephone & Telegraph Company, and B. C. Dailey. This building was saved, but all the tenants suffered some loss by fire and water, the telephone company being the heaviest loser. On the three buildings totally destroyed, Mr. McPhillips had $2000 insurance besides $50 plate glass insurance on the Streeper front. He estimates the value of the three buildings at $6000. The damage done the double brick building is covered by insurance. The fire started a few minutes before 11 o'clock when scarcely anyone was on the streets, but within a half hour a crowd of six or seven hundred people were watching and fighting the fire. Hose house No. 3 in Alton responded to a call for help, and upon the arrival of the department a hose was attached at the corner of Main street and College avenue, and more water pressure was telephoned for. The pressure at the beginning of the fire was very poor, but when the extra force came it was more than sufficient. When the North side of the building fell over into the street, the Upper Alton hose was burned in two. Then it was so hot  at the plug no one could shut the plug off, but finally Frank Loehr braved the heat and turned off the water. He had one of his ears severely burned. When it became evident that the three buildings would be destroyed, the attention of the fire fighters was turned toward saving the adjoining property. The hardest fight was made in saving the double brick building adjoining the fire on the east side. The second floor of the building on the side next to the fire is occupied by the farmers telephone company, and two of the rooms were burning rapidly on the inside. Miss Marian Sweatenham, the night operator, stayed at the switchboard until the fire got into the building, when she hurried down the stairway into the street and did not go back again. The heat made it very difficult to fight the fire in this. The telephone company was badly damaged, but the fire was kept from spreading to the front room where the switchboard is, and the board was uninjured. B. C. Dailey, who runs a grocery store in this same building and lives on the second floor over the store, had no insurance, and his household goods nor grocery stock, and for a time he was threatened. The back porch and doors were burned but the fire was kept from damaging his place further. While the _____ building was burning a large consignment of shotgun shells and rifle cartridges which had recently been received started to explode. The shells flew in every direction, and the crowd of spectators scattered. The noise made by the shells was like a Fourth of July celebration, and some of the shells went a block away from the fire. The rifle cartridges numbered five thousand, and they kept up a noise for a half hour. Soon after the fire started, the gasoline tank which fed the lights in the Streeper store blew up and the report shook the entire town. Sunday was a quiet day in Upper Alton as far as telephone conversation was concerned. Both the telephone companies doing business in the town were heavy losers. The big Kinloch cable at the corner of Washington and College avenues was burned a distance of several hundred feet, and the pole at the corner on which was a cut-off box, was also burned. The fire at the Star telephone central office burned all the cables going into the exchange. Men worked hard all day Sunday, but telephone service was not resumed until today. How the fire started or just where it started will never be known. When it was discovered the flames were running up between the Streeper and Sargent buildings, consequently it is supposed the fire commenced in the wall between the places. Both places had a stove at that wall, and both stoves were operated by the same flue. Streeper Brothers recently took an invoice of their stock, and they estimate the value of it at the time the fire commenced at $8500. They have $6500 insurance. Enos Johnson's loss was in office fixtures which was covered by insurance. On account of the banking business he carried a large amount of money in the safe, which was not injured. The safe was opened Sunday afternoon and the money was taken out and removed to the vault at the First Trust & Savings Bank in Alton. There was said to be about ten thousand dollars in the safe. In the offices of Frank Sargent, John Leverett and Luther Taggart, there was no insurance. The loss by the Star Telephone Company is about a thousand dollars and is covered by insurance. The plate glass fronts in the drug stores of Barnard & Kerr and The Clark Drug Company were broken out by the heat from the burning buildings across the street. The Valentine Reininger house was saved by a hard fight, although it caught fire several times. The buildings of C. W. Leverett and W. C. Stork were also slightly damaged by the heat, but being brick structures they were saved. All these losses are covered by insurance. In the office of Frank Sargent, which is used as a polling place in Wood River township, all the election booths, tables and other elections supplies were burned up. E. J. McPhillips informed the Telegraph that he would erect a modern two-story brick building within the next few months to take the place of the Streeper building.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 5, 1910

The old fence in front of the Laclede hotel property on Washington avenue, Upper Alton "resting place," collapsed last evening under the weight of a crowd of "resters" who were leaning against the fence, and when the crash came it was so sudden that all the crowd fell backwards with the fence. The fence has served as a leaning post for the loafers in Upper Alton many years, and there always has been plenty of loafers. B. C. Dailey, who conducted business in the Laclede hotel many years ago, says the old fence must have been built almost fifty years ago [1860]. It was well put up and was made of the best material and certainly lasted as long as it was intended to do. The collapse of the fence was a very amusing event. The fence did not stand up straight, but leaned in from the street a little, and from one end to the other it was lined up with loafers who were leaning on the fence and talking about the V. I. A. trip around the world, and the "airships" that were to be connected with the trip. Suddenly, someone shouted "there goes the airship," and pointed into the air. Everybody looked up, and as they did the fence collapsed, letting the whole crowd fall back into the hotel yard. Everybody had a fall, and although more than fifty young men were in the crowd, no one was hurt.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1910

Just like it is the custom in the country to have a barn dance in a new barn before any of the stock or implements have marred the floors, has the Crawford hall in Upper Alton been worked before it's being changed into a livery stable. Parties that would never have been given were pulled off just to have one in this hall before it was wrecked. Speakings, pictures, basketball games, twenty or thirty farewell roller skating events, and several oyster and church suppers have made the hall the most popular spot in Upper Alton the past month. Everyone was clamoring for it to give some sort of a farewell, and had Patti and Sarah Bernhardt heard of the hall Upper Alton would have heard them at ten cents a ticket just as sure as these two celebrities love American farewells. Coroner Streeper however, has decided that he will not encroach on Manager Sauvage in the amusement business, and that he is not a showman but an undertaker. Thus, the repairs have been started and where hilarity and laughter have ruled the most quiet of all, work will be carried on, hereafter dancing fever and is arranging before wrecking the hall an old time dance to be given in the near future in his hall in Upper Alton. The dance is to be one of the kind they used to have in the olden days. The music will be furnished by some of the oldest musicians in this vicinity, and nothing but the old time dances will be danced. Such a party ought to be a drawing card to all the elderly people of the city, as well as the younger, as it would furnish no end of fun for everyone. The dance will be arranged in a short time.






Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 1, 1910

The old house at the corner of College and Worden avenues in Upper Alton owned by Mrs. A. A. Kendrick is torn down. Work was started wrecking the old building yesterday, and today the work was completed and the building now is a pile of kindling wood. Many years ago the house was purchased by Rev. Dr. A. A. Kendrick, former president of Shurtleff College. Dr. Kendrick's family never lived in the house, but he rented it, and during the past fifty years many families have made it their place of abode. Mrs. Kendrick gave the old building the name of "Queen Ann," probably because she thought it was built in the time of the queen. The house is said to be at least one hundred years old, but it is not known exactly when it was built. Several of the old residents of Upper Alton were talking the matter over this morning, and several of them can remember when it was a log cabin and was the only house along the road. Col. A. F. Rodgers' memory runs back probably farther and more distinctly than any person living in Upper Alton, and he says the house was an old one 75 years ago. In after years, the house was weather boarded, but the old logs were still there until they were removed today. The house was not a very large one, although it had nine rooms in it, some of which were quite small. The old building gave shelter to those on the inside many cold nights, but it served its time and will no longer be one of Upper Alton's landmarks. Mrs. Kendrick will not build on the site at present.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 5, 1910

Captain William R. Wright, the veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, has given his account of what he remembers about the old house torn down last week at the corner of Worden and College Avenues. The property belongs to Mrs. Kendrick, and the house was called "Queen Ann." Captain Wright thinks the house was built about 1820. He says it originally stood near the corner of College Avenue and Seminary Street, about where the Baptist church stands, and that it was the original Shurtleff College boarding house. All that neighborhood was Shurtleff College property at that time, and the house was built of logs. Captain Wright says when he was a small boy, the house was moved down College Avenue to the location it kept until last week. He says there is no doubt but that it was the oldest house in Upper Alton.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 12, 1920

The house at the corner of College and Worden Avenues, known for many years as "Queen Elizabeth," was badly damaged by fire Sunday morning about 10 o'clock. The property was one of the Kendrick places, and was named many years ago as "Queen Elizabeth," by the late Mrs. A. A. Kendrick who owned the property. The house that formerly adjoined this one on the east had been named "Queen Ann," and both houses were used for tenement places by Mrs. Kendrick.  The entire neighborhood knew the houses by name, and when a prospective tenant applied to Mrs. Kendrick to lease a place, the two places were always distinguished from each other by name. Some years ago "Queen Ann" became so old and the house was in such a bad condition, that the owners of the Kendrick estate had it torn down and the lot cleared up.


Sunday morning when the Sunday schools were in session "Queen Elizabeth" was discovered to be on fire. The fire had started around a flue on the east side of the house, and the fire had extended almost the entire length of the long structure underneath the roof before it was discovered. Mrs. Schafer, a widow, was occupying the place, and neighbors quickly carried all her belongings out into the street. The fire department did some good work, and it took a fight of over an hour by two companies to get the fire under control. Mrs. Schafer is a daughter of Mrs. Sam Winters, who resides in the C. & A. station house across the street, and she went to the Winters place when her home was destroyed.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 24, 1926  (Paraphrased - In copyright.

John Maul, a glassworks office worker, began work on building his new home at the corner of College and Worden Avenues, where the Queen Ann formerly stood. The Queen Ann and Queen Elizabeth were the names of two very old buildings that formerly occupied that corner. Both were owned by Mrs. A. A. Kendrick, and she named both houses.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 14, 1911

The Upper Alton village board passed, and Mayor Crawford approved, an ordinance which forbids the licensing of saloons in the territory of the village of Upper Alton. The ordinance was adopted at a special meeting last night to prevent the starting of any saloons in that territory as a protection to Shurtleff College and the Western Military Academy. The ordinance will make no change from existing conditions, but was passed for the purpose of setting at rest any feeling of alarm on the part of the educational institutions established in the village....The point that worried the college people was that their charter forbidding saloons within a mile, provides that the charter shall not interfere with the city of Alton licensing saloons in the city of Alton, even if within a mile of the college. The effect this provise would have in event of annexation was the cause of considerable discussion. However, the Supreme Court decisions have held that when a village is annexed to another, and at the time has a prohibitory ordinance in effect, licensing of saloons will be prohibited in the territory annexed. With this ordinance in effect, it is said, there will be much better chance of annexation carrying.....




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 10, 1911

The annexation of Upper Alton was in full effect Thursday evening (March 9). Mayor Beall sent a police officer to Upper Alton to begin looking after police duties there, and Friday a day officer was sent there. It is planned to give Upper Alton a day and night policeman. In addition, Mayor Beall told the crew at Eliot hose house to begin looking after any fires that might occur in Upper Alton, Later when the motor trucks are received this will be much easier. The committee representing the Alton board of education went to Upper Alton Thursday night to hold a meeting with the Upper Alton board of education. They requested the Upper Alton members to continue discharging the duties of their offices until the close of the present school year, and thereafter the care of the Upper Alton schools will devolve on the board of the united corporations. The Alton committee received a partial report of the financial condition of the Upper Alton school, and will ask for a fuller report later. The situation was discussed with regard to the remainder of the district 99, which will be cut off from Alton unless the people decided to ask to be annexed to Alton. It was also discussed as to the future of the Upper Alton High school. The committee from the Alton board informed the Upper Alton board it would be probable the Upper Alton High school would be discontinued in part to reduce the expense, as there is room in the Alton school. The plan suggested is to leave the first year or two in the Upper Alton school and have the remaining years at the Alton School.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 6, 1912

Upper Alton will now have an all-night street illuminating service. As the result of a conference between Supt. Macy of the Alton Gas & Electric Co., last night, with the Mayor and Finance committee of the city council, it was agreed that beginning Friday night, the all night street lighting service would be started....The Upper Alton streets have been lighted with Tungsten incandescent lights. There are 73 the city pays for, and thirty the company gives free of charge. Heretofore, the rate has been $15 a year, and hereafter the rate will be $17.50 a year for each lamp. The Upper Alton contract has four years to run. Mr. Macy told the mayor that if he gets the Alton contract in 1913, he may be in a position to give better light than now for the same money...




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1912

The house on Washington Avenue in Upper Alton, two blocks north of College Avenue, known as the Taggart Homestead, is said to be the oldest house in Upper Alton, and in fact is one of the oldest buildings in Alton. The exact age of this old house is not known, but it is evident it is almost 100 years old. The house is standing vacant at the present time for the first time in many years, and the owners are contemplating either wrecking it or completely remodeling and converting it into a modern house. The late Samuel B. Taggart bought the property from the Maxey heirs about forty years ago [1872], and the house was claimed at that time to be sixty years old. It was built by Bennet Maxey, an old Methodist minister, and the material used in it was cut from oak trees which stood on the surrounding ground. Every piece of wood in the house is oak, and was cut and worked up by hand. The joists are oak timbers twelve inches square, and are as good today as when they were first cut. The lath under the plaster were split out of oak, and the weather boarding is of the same variety. This house has furnished a home for many families in years gone by, and there are a number of old residents of the town who claim to have been born in it. The late I. H. Streeper occupied a part of the house with the Maxeys at one time, and the older children of his family were born in it. Luther Taggart was the last person born in the old house, and he lived in it with his parents twenty-seven years when the family vacated it. Since that, the house was occupied by tenants until recently, when it was vacated, and will not be occupied any more but will be either torn down or rebuilt. A fact known to few residents of Alton is that this old building once housed a saloon. In the early days before Shurtleff College had a state charter prohibiting saloons within a mile of the college buildings, the grandsons of Bennet Maxey conducted a saloon in the front of the house, where travelers stopped for rest and drink. The saloon was widely known, as there were many people in those days who traveled over land, and this saloon was a favorite stopping place with them. A white pine sign board, which was used as the sign for the saloon, is still in the possession of the Taggart family and is kept as a curiosity. The sign advertises "wine and beer." When this house was built, according to Judge C. W. Leverett, the tract of ground that belonged with it consisted of 255 acres. Ebenezer Hodges was the first owner, and there were several lawsuits and rows later on about the ownership, Judge Leverett says. Finally the section of land was divided, and after passing through the hands of several persons, Bennet Maxey became the owner and he laid out Maxey's addition as it now is. His grandson, Thomas Maxey, was the last owner before the property was purchased by S. B. Taggart. When this old house is dismantled, as doubtless it will be in the coming year, one of the oldest landmarks in Upper Alton will disappear.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1912

One of the prettiest features of Rock Spring park, the little spring that gave the park its name, has been done away with. The natural fountain which bubbled forth from a cleft in the rock no longer pours water into the two little basins that are said to have been carved in the solid rock by the Indians. There were two little bowls into which the water ran, and it was possible to scoop up a cup full of water at a time. A few years ago the stream of water broke through in another place and poured forth in two channels thereafter. The park commissioners have had a hole cut in the rock farther up stream, about six feet, and in this have inserted a sewer pipe, well cemented in. The sewer tile drains all the water that formerly bubbled out of the old time spring, the work being completed last night. Now, while the beautiful little spring has been wiped out of existence, the water that once came forth into the two little stone basins pours out of the mouth of the tile pipe, and anyone wanted a bucket of water can get it by holding a bucket under the end of the pipe. There will be many who will regret that the old time spring has been changed, wiped out of existence. It was a pretty feature of the park, and one that was very attractive.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 10, 1913

Upper Alton is to become a part of Alton township, as the result of the action of the county board of supervisors today, and the township unification plan is advanced one step further. The action of the county board, coming straight on the heels of the receiving of additional support as the result of the local option issue being raised in the township, caused considerable comment among the Upper Alton people. Supervisor George Penning declared himself as being positive that the matter would be contested in the courts. The original petition to the county board for the withdrawal of Upper Alton from Wood River township into Alton township was started for the purpose of boosting a good roads project. The people of Upper Alton defeated a bond issue proposition for good roads in the township, and it was desired to get them out of the township so they cannot vote again on the bond issue....The vote was taken and it stood 18 for, and 11 against, five not voting. This action will remove Upper Alton from Wood River township, and may even invalidate the local option petition....




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 24, 1913

W. A. Clark, the druggist, did not know when he started work yesterday to tear a hole in the brick wall that separates his drug store from the Ouatoga Theater, that he was going to produce another Alton nature fake. The Clark Building is the oldest business building in Upper Alton. Mr. Clark is making an entrance to his theater building from the interior of his drug store, and yesterday he set to work to tear a hole in the brick wall so the door could be put in. The wall was built with old-time, hand-made brick, and from the wall a brick was taken that has a perfect footprint of a wolf upon it. According to Sam Lowe, the building was put up in 1842. It is supposed that when the brick was manufactured in some of the old time brickyards that used to be in Upper Alton, a wolf came along and stepped upon this brick before it had been burned in the kiln, and was soft so that the wolf left his track upon it. Henry Fors, the Washington avenue butcher, was greatly excited over the find and he immediately asked Mr. Clark to give him the brick. He took it to his meat market and has it in his safe.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 16, 1914

The new Rock Spring Park Country Club, which is to be a new social center in Alton, was given a very favorable start this afternoon when the formal opening of the club took place, to be followed by a dinner party this evening and a dancing party after dinner. The managers of the club had made preparations to entertain a large number of members and their friends this evening. Over 200 acceptances of the invitations had been received up to this morning. The reception this afternoon drew many people to the new club house to spend part of the afternoon. The club grounds were very popular for golf players, and the tennis courts, which have been put in order, were in use....This evening those who care to dance will be able to enjoy dancing in the large club room on the main floor, and on the club verandas, where many dancing parties will probably be held during the coming summer. The membership of the club is said to include fifty automobiles, though this may be a few over. However, the club may add a few more in the course of a short time, and it will be almost an automobile club as well as a country club. The roster is as follows:


T. C. Moorshead H. H. Ferguson Charles Levis R. H. Levis E. M. Gaddis Eben Rodgers
Charles H. Degenhardt C. Segar F. W. Olin C. R. Beall Harry L. Meyer Louis J. Hartmann
Nelson Levis George M. Levis S. W. Farnham Abbott W. Sherwood Edwin F. Pohlman A. F. Barth
A. J. Moorshead Frank J. Eberlein H. M. Schweppe J. T. Corbett John M. Pfeiffenberger S. H. Wyss
A. J. Norcom A. R. Levis T. S. Clark J. B. Hastings O. C. Macy James J. Aldous
E. M. Clark F. F. Ferguson J. W. Beall George D. Duncan W. M. Duncan James Duncan
J. A. Giberson H. G. Giberson James J. Dorney E. J. Anglin Homer W. Davis C. P. Levis
Eugene Gaskins O. H. Kramer A. H. Cannell T. M. Otrich J. H. Booth H. B. Matthews Jr.
W. J. Boals George S. Milnor J. R. Steck Samuel Wade Edward Rodgers Hosea B. Sparks
L. F. Baker Harry R. Lemen G. S. Stage C. F. Sparks W. T. Loudon R. P. Kennedy
J. A. Miller D. A. Wyckoff E. H. Beall John C. Ryan E. W. Enos J. V. E. Marsh
Harry J. Rish R. Wilder W. M. Sauvage Fred Wade Jones Robert C. Luly R. H. Roadhouse
Henry S. Baker William E. Levis L. O. Landon H. J. Bowman Jr. W. B. Joesting George D. Eaton
F. W. Olin Jr. J. M. Olin Harold Hoefert Clark Rodgers Roland Radecke James Morgan
Walter Levis Harry Johnston Elden Betts Nelson Schweppe Frederick Bowman Philip Gervig
P. W. Day C. W. Williams        





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 6, 1914

The last trace of Upper Alton being in Wood River township vanished today, when the old township safe, known for the last thirty years as the safe that locked with a "key and a nail" was moved from town. The safe was purchased by Wood River township more than thirty years ago, shortly after Madison county organized into townships. For a number of years it has stood in the Leverett real estate office on College avenue, and it was moved today from that building and was hauled to East Alton where the Wood River township officials will again make use of it. The safe that locked with the key and a nail was purchased about 1880 by S. B. Gillham, who was supervisor at that time, and John Leverett, who was town clerk. Those men bought the safe from Squire D. W. Collett, an old Upper Alton resident. It was an old time piece of furniture at that time, and its age is not known. The old safe was used to protect documents from fire as it was not burglar proof. For many years it stood in the old Upper Alton village hall, but about ten years ago was moved over to the Leverett office where it remained until today.....The separation of the old safe that locks with the key and nail from Upper Alton today marks the passing of the last remnant of Wood River township from Upper Alton, and now that part of the city of Alton which used to be in Wood River township is a part of Alton township, and has forgotten that it ever was under the same jurisdiction as Bethalto, Wood River, East Alton and the other little places on the other side of the 6 miles square tract of land known as a township.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1917

What could be worse than being tied down to one girl? Even though she be the finest girl in the world, if she can tell you just what to do and when to do it, your life is not worth living. This is the view of the situation taken by a number of Upper Alton boys who have organized the Loyal Order of Independence. The order is not organized to stand up and fight for their country or anything like that. They have merely agreed that they will assert their independence as far as women are concerned and will not allow them to have the upper hand for a little while, at least. They hold it is no crime to go with a girl. If they continue to go with the same girl too many times in succession, they will be warned by the officers of the club that they are losing their independence. If they still persist, they will be fined by the club. The rules are strict and must be obeyed to the letter. But the members of the club are not woman haters. Quite to the contrary. They have arranged a series of dancing parties to be given during the winter months. The first will be given on next Tuesday evening at the Ouatoga Hall in Upper Alton for the members of the club and their friends. It promises to be a big success. Several other dancing parties and social times are to be given by the club during the winter months. The officers and the members of the Loyal Order of Independence are: Ted Ohnsorg, president; I. Streeper, vice-president; Arthur Zoll, secretary; Charles Whiteman, treasurer; members: Joe Clyne**  Keith Day, Frederick Simms, Milton Casella, Ross Milford, Ray Elder and Paul Temple.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 3, 1917

Peter George, a Bulgarian farmer residing north of Upper Alton, is doing a big business making Bulgarian cheese, and he wants to enlarge his business. Mr. George is a very able business man and he is an expert in making this cheese that is a great favorite with the Bulgarians who are in this country and Canada. The European war has made it impossible for the Bulgarians to get the cheese to this country, and what little is made by them in this country is in great demand. A year ago this winter, Peter George bought a small farm north of Upper Alton. He came to Alton from Granite City where he is an important man among the Bulgarians. Recently he inserted a little advertisement in a small weekly Bulgarian paper in that City and in the next mail that came to Alton after the paper was issued, came a big pile of letters for Peter George. Each letter contained an order for cheese and each order was accompanied by cash. Now Peter George has rented a big farm in addition to the small one he owns and will engage in dairy farming in order to produce the milk necessary in making the cheese. He is buying all the milk produced on the farms near him, and is paying the farmers 20 cents per gallon for it. He wants 200 gallons of milk a day, but so far he has been unable to secure anything like that quantity. Mr. George sent a man to Brighton this week to make milk contracts for shipping to Alton, but none could be secured. The Bulgarian cheese maker is going to purchase a herd of cows of his own at once. some of the orders that Mr. George received as the result of his advertisement in the Bulgarian paper came from Canada. He says he can make 25 cents out of every gallon of milk he can buy in the manufacture of Bulgarian cheese.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 1, 1919

The old residence building at the corner of Salu and Humbert streets - the Wiest homestead - has been removed and in its taking away one of the oldest landmarks in that section of Upper Alton is gone. The property is owned by Samuel Spurgeon, who resides just south of the old homestead on Humbert street. Mrs. Spurgeon was a member of the Wiest family. The house stood very near to the corner, the street lines of both Humbert and Salu streets running close to the house. At one time this house was one of very few that stood in the north section of Upper Alton, and as Salu addition was laid out and some houses built in it before the lower part of Upper Alton was ever a town, the Wiest place was no doubt one of the oldest houses in Upper Alton. For a number of years the house had not been occupied. Mr. Spurgeon started a couple of weeks ago to wreck the old building and to clean up the corner. While the removal of the house takes away an old landmark, it makes a great improvement not only to the corner but to the others in general. Just what Mr. Spurgeon's plans are for improving the corner further is not known, but he evidently has some plan in mind which he will carry out later on.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 20, 1919

From 150 to 200 pounds of cream cheese are made every day in the year by Bulgarians, on the Theodore Simms farm, two miles north of Upper Alton, and the men operating the cheese factory intend doubling that amount as soon as possible, as they are not able to anywhere near supply the demand for the product. They have about 30 milk cows and are hunting more. They also buy some milk, and intend arranging for larger quantities from farmers. Not a drop of milk or cream is used in making butter, all of it going into cheese. This cheese, those who have eaten some of it say, is very palatable, and extremely nourishing. All is sold to foreigners living in Alton, and it is the intention of Mike Satierou, the chief of the company making the cheese, to develop the place into a large cheese producer like some of the places around Highland. There are three men - partners in the enterprise - and all are bachelors. In addition to the cheese making activities, the men are raising poultry, pigs and vegetables, and are said to be prospering in fine shape.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 6, 1920

The wounding of two girls Saturday evening about 10 o'clock in Rock Spring Park caused a mystery which has engaged the attention of Chief of Police Fitzgerald, with no satisfactory solution. The girls, Opal Whittico and Helen Shields, both employed at the Western Cartridge Company plant and living at the Dolly Madison Hotel, went to the park Saturday evening in a motorcycle and side car with Lawrence Porter and Charles Clark. Left alone for about twenty minutes by the two young men who rode to Upper Alton to buy some refreshments, the girls claim to have met a negro man who spoke to them, asked them if they were not afraid to be alone in the park so late, and later followed them. They believed he shot them. The Whittico girl was shot in the breast, the bullet coming out her back. The Shields girl was shot in the left hand, shattering a bone there. The Whittico girl's wound was said by the attending surgeons to be very serious and she would die. Sunday afternoon Miss Shields was taken to Rock Spring park, and there she went over the ground with Chief of Police Fitzgerald, Mayor Sauvage and two park watchmen, J. H. Dailey and Fred C. Fahrig. Miss Shields said that when the two couples went to the park Saturday evening they sat together, and it was proposed by the boys that they go to Upper Alton for some refreshments. The girls insisted that the boys ride on to Upper Alton and bring back the refreshments. The young men departed in their machine. Just as the sound of the departing motorcycle indicated the young men had passed out of the park, the girls were approached by a man they described as a negro. Miss Shields said that the negro inquired if they were not afraid to be out in the park alone, and he smiled at them. He passed on a short distance, and the girls moved nearer to the pavilion on the top of the hill. They went over to a gate west of the pavilion and stood there ten minutes, they said, when they noticed the man standing nearby with his arms folded and looking at them. The girls turned to run and took a course toward the pavilion, when four shots were fired behind them. The first bullet to take effect was in the hand of Miss Shields, and the second one hit Miss Whittico. Just how the bullet could have struck Miss Whittico in the front when she was running away could not be explained, as the girls did not recall having stopped in their flight to turn around. Miss Shields says that she and Miss Whittico ran down the hill and across a valley and up another hill and arrived at the Rock Spring country club. There they were given help. Both girls fell from exhaustion from loss of blood when they reached the country club. A dancing party was in progress there, and the arrival of the bloodstained, wounded girls caused much excitement. The police department was notified and an effort was made to look into the story told by the two girls. Their stories agreed in all details. They firmly believed that the man they described as a negro was the one who shot them. They could attribute no motive for the shooting. during the investigation of the ground where the shooting occurred it was evident that there was some confusion in the story told by the girls as to where they had gone, what direction they had run and where the person who did the shooting could have been standing. Blood spots on the ground, on benches and on trees indicated that the girls had take a course different from what was pointed out by Miss Shields. J. H. Dailey, watchman at the park, said that he heard many shots being fired from passing automobiles on the eve of Fourth of July, and he was of the opinion that someone might have accidentally wounded the two girls. Fred Fahrig corroborated his statement of shooting. He said that he had seen a dark complected man hanging around the park during Saturday afternoon, and the man acted very queer. It was said that this man was not a negro, but might have been mistaken for one. However his description did not tally close with that of the man the girls reported having seen. The two young men who were at the park with the girls said they had left the girls alone only when the girls had insisted on it. It was denied that they left any revolver with the girls or that the girls had a revolver. The two young men said that they returned to the park after the shooting and met Fred Fahrig, who, attracted by the discharge of arms, had gone over to investigate. The girls were not around, having gone to the country club. The two young men asked Fahrig if he had seen any girls, and Fahrig said he had not but had heard girls crying for help and had gone to help them, but could not find them. The spot where the girls were shot was indicated by a hat belonging to one of them, which was dropped. Both girls had fallen to the ground after being shot, and one lost her hat, but the other kept hers. It was the location of the hat, coupled with the girls' story of their movements, that caused some confusion, together with the fact that one was shot in the breast, the bullet passing straight through her body and coming out her back. The two girls came here from Gillespie last April to take jobs at the cartridge plant. Their families live at Gillespie and were called to Alton when the girls were injured. The attending surgeons found Monday that Miss Whittico was in a bad way. She took a turn for the worse, developed bad heart conditions, and it was concluded that she would not be able to pull through. She was living this morning, but it was the opinion of one surgeon that she would not last through the day. Assistant States Attorney Gilson Brown and Chief of Police Fitzgerald went to the hospital this afternoon with the intention of taking a statement from Miss Whittico.


Mystery Still Shrouds Park Shooting Case

Alton Evening Telegraph, July 7, 1920

Uncertainty still beclouds the shooting of the two girls who were wounded Saturday night at Rock Spring Park. Thinking that Miss Opal Whittico was about to die, Assistant States Attorney Brown and Chief of Police Fitzgerald went to the hospital yesterday afternoon to get a dying statement, but neither told the girl that she was in a dying condition, and it was perhaps fortunate. Though she had every indication of being close to death, she rallied afterward, her pulse and respiration showed great improvement. She is suffering from pneumonia from the bullet traversing her lungs. Miss Whittico made no change in her story, except admitting that the two girls might have moved about a bit after the shooting, more than they said at first, and might have sat down on a bench and touched other benches. Dr. Mather Pfeiffenberger said today that on making a re-examination of Miss Whittico today, the first one since he dressed her wounds at the time of the shooting, he became convinced it was impossible to say whether the bullet entered from the back or the front. The bullet hole in the breast is 2 inches higher than in the back. The holes are the same size, front and back, and Dr. Pfeiffenberger showed the wounds to Dr. Shaff, who declared that in his opinion there was no way to form a correct conclusion in that case which way the bullet entered. Dr. Pfeiffenberger expressed the opinion that the bullet might have been fired by a Fourth of July celebrant, and as the girls said that one was running in front of the other, the same bullet might have struck both of them. Assistant States Attorney Brown said that he was puzzled over the story, but he had been going on the first statements of the doctors that the wounds were from the front, and had not heard the later statement that re-inspection could not establish in what direction the bullet traveled.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1921

George Y. Henry of East Alton has contracted with the city of Alton to grade the dirt streets of 25 blocks in Upper Alton for the sum of $270, and will begin work on the job at once. Henry has agreed to smooth out the surfaces of the streets and grade them to the proper angles for drainage, and will guarantee them to be satisfactory. The funds to pay for this work will come from the ward funds, and after the grading is completed, it is proposed to oil the streets. Money for this purpose is to be raised among the property owners of the streets improved, and is already partially arranged for on Evergreen and Burton streets. Harold Curdie, who has purchased the road equipment of Stafford and Miller, has offered the city the use of a steam roller to pack down the street in this work. Curdie has a contract for paving in Vermillion, Ill., and says that if the city can use his roller right away, it will be at their service free of charge.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 17, 1921

A party of gypsy women went through Upper Alton, entering business places and grabbing up everything they could lay hands on and absconding - except in places where they were forcibly restrained. Mrs. W. F. Lindley made them drop the articles they picked up at the Lindley store; they were forcibly ejected from the Megowen & Kelly store; at Bernard & Williamson Drug Store they were compelled to desist. One woman grabbed a handkerchief from the pocket of Frank Loehr at the McKee store, and Loehr simply reached out, seized the woman and took the handkerchief away from her. He replaced it in his pocket, and a few minutes later discovered that the woman had picked his pocket of $30 while he was recovering his handkerchief.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 21, 1921

The W. A. Clark corner in Upper Alton has been sold for twenty-five thousand dollars, according to announcement made today by the Hall Realty Company, who have handled the deal. The name of the purchaser is not announced, but it is reported that Frank N. Hussey is the buyer. The deal is one of the largest made in Upper Alton real estate in a long time. It involves the entire Clark corner, which includes the Ouatoga Theater, Ouatoga Hall, Clark residence, and the Kerr drugstore. The Ouatoga Hall is to be abandoned as far as hall purposes are concerned, and the space will be used for light manufacture, according to the announcement of the Hall Realty Co.  The Clark residence, which was a part of the old Laclede Hotel, will be remodeled and converted into office rooms. The theater will be improved and made a first-class picture house. The Kerr drugstore will continue to occupy the corner, S. B. Kerr holding a lease on that part of the building. The Hall Realty Co. announces several other transactions wherein two or three pieces of real estate in Alton and St. Louis and sold for W. A. Clark to Frank N. Hussey. The Hall firm is to handle the Upper Alton real estate sold by Clark for the purchaser.


[Note:  In 1935, Kerr Drugstore moved to 2512 College Ave. in Upper Alton.]




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 20, 1921

A corps of special and regular officers, headed by Constable Arthur Watkins of Upper Alton, made a raid of great importance on a still that was being operated on the farm of J. P. Lorch, north of Upper Alton. The officers found a still going full blast, and three men who were conducting it fled when the raiding party arrived on the scene. The still was hot, and it was necessary to wait three hours while the outfit cooled off enough for the raiding party to dismantle it and load it on a truck to bring it to town. The outfit filled the truck and it occupied about one fourth of the room in the outer part of the police station. It was viewed by many hundreds of men today. Chief of Police Lind said that he does not know what to do with it, as he is beginning to be cramped for storage room for the outfits which have been brought in. The raid was made just after the plant had been put in full operation. It evidently had been moved from some other place. While the copper equipment had the appearance of having been used much before, the concrete vat in the cellar of the Lorch home, which was big enough to hold about 10,000 gallons of mash, was brand new. When a raiding party visited the place last week they said that the outfit was not there, but the vat was in the cellar. Considerable work had been done to get ready for the starting of distilling white mule. The officers estimate that dimensions of the vat at 12x24x?, and it was full of raisin mash. The vat being in the cellar of the house was connected by a big rubber hose buried in the ground, which extended 100 feet to the horse barn, where the still was being operated. The mash was pumped through the rubber hose to the still in the barn. The men operating the still had set their furnace between two mangers where there was an abundance of straw and hay, and the wonder was expressed that they had not set afire to the barn when they built the hot fire they had going. Mrs. Lorch called at police headquarters this morning and she said that some time ago she rented the cellar and the barn to a man, but she could not tell who he is. Her husband, she said, is very sick at the home in the cellar of which the mash vat was built. He knew nothing of the affair, she said. The members of the raiding party, besides Constable Watkins, were Officers McReynolds, Rotsch, McFetridge, Dempsey, and Deputy Sheriff Joe Dailey. They said that the men on the job made no fight at all, but fled in a hurry when the raiding party came up. There was no chance to catch any of them, the raiders said. The indications were that the gang had set up this big still as a means of getting a big supply of whisky to supply a gang of bootleggers in Alton. The raid last week, when a small still was found, was really directed against the big one on the Lorch place, but it was necessary to delay making a raid there because of the unreadiness of the plant to manufacture booze at that time. One of the interesting features of this plant was that it seemed to be one that could be operated without the use of water for cooling the coils. The raiders said that they found no water in the outfit and no connections from which water could be brought. Part of the still was in the loft of the barn, and part of it was on the main floor. There was a complicated system of big copper vessels and pipes and pumps through which the mash was pumped to put it through the various processes. Altogether the outfit was perhaps the most expensive one that has been found so far. The raw material which would be needed to supply the still would necessarily be large amounts. Constable A. C. Watkins said today that he led the raid in compliance with orders from Sheriff George Little, taking with him deputy sheriff Joseph Dailey and the police officers, all of them specially deputized.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 21, 1921

Many hundreds of people had viewed the big white mule still which was stored in the police station all day yesterday. No find ever made by the authorities in the history of the city had ever aroused so much interest as this still. All day the throngs were coming and going, and it was suggested it would be a good plan to finance the city hall product to charge admission to view the captured still. No attempt was made to keep count of the visitors, but it is estimated that more than a thousand saw it during the day. All day today they were still dropping in to view it, but the still had been moved. It was taken downstairs and put under lock and key where it would be safe from hands of those4 who had no business with it. When the authorities are through with the still, they may have it broken up and sold for junk. Though several persons suspected of having knowledge of the persons who were mixed up in the operating of the still have been questioned, no arrest has been made, and it is doubtful that enough proof has yet been secured to warrant an arrest being made. The identity of the three men working in the place where the raid was made has not been established. The great tank of mash in the home of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Lorch was still fermenting, and it has become a problem for the inmates of the house to dispose of it. Indications are that the mash will soon become so offensive that it will make the house uninhabitable. As stated yesterday, the pump and the pipe through which the mash could be drained were taken out by the raiders, working under the direction of Sheriff Little of Madison county.



UPPER ALTON - HOUSE DESTROYED BY FIRE                Home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mooney Destroyed

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 12, 1922

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mooney at Main and Judson street was destroyed by fire this morning at 10 o'clock. The fire is thought to have been started by a defective flue. Firemen responded to the call, but were hindered in their work by water plugs, at the corner of Main and Judson and at Washington and Judson, being frozen. Mr. Mooney, who works night for the Illinois Terminal, was asleep when the fire broke out. He was aroused and with the help of neighbors carried out the furniture. The loss to the home is estimated at $4,000. The building is a six room, one story house and was built by the late Frank Eberlein and was occupied by the Eberlein family as a residence for a number of years. Mrs. Margaret Cook, widow of Dr. E. A. Cook, and her son, Edgar, occupied part of the house. The J. A. Holmes home, next to the Mooney house, was blistered and scorched by the heat, but water from a small garden hose prevented the house from catching on fire.



UPPER ALTON -  WOMEN BATTLE RESISTING DANCE HALL EXCLUSION          (Roaring Twenties In Full Swing!  Scant Clothing and Shimmy Not Allowed!)

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 20, 1922

Resisting an officer and assault and battery on the officer were the charges preferred by Mrs. Clara Lowe, police matron, against Margaret Carter and Mrs. Bessie Garber, sisters, as the result of a row in Sweetin's hall in Upper Alton Saturday night. It all came from an attempt on the part of Mrs. Lowe to exclude the two women from the dance hall. The police matron objected to the style of dress worn by Mrs. Garber. "If she had sneezed, she would have had next to nothing on," was the way Mrs. Lowe saw it, and she said that the scantiness of it as not to bad as the frailty of it. Mrs. Lowe said that she had once before told the girls to keep away from the dance hall and they came back Saturday night. It had been a strenuous evening with Mrs. Lowe. She was striving as dancing censor, to suppress the shimmy and other dances she had proscribed and right there was Mrs. Garber, garbed in a dress which Mrs. Lowe said was shocking to her. She ordered her out of the hall. Mrs. Garber retired to the dressing room, put on a black dress and came back. Mrs. Lowe still insisted on her leaving. Then Maggie Carter came into it, according to Mrs. Lowe, and attempted to obstruct the ejection of Mrs. Garber, her sister. One of the women challenged Mrs. Lowe's physical ability to eject anyone from the hall and the doughty police matron never took a dare. She went to it and so did the sisters. When the melee was broken up by police officers, Mrs. Lowe's glasses were smashed, her hat knocked off, her hair had been pulled and she had been slapped in the face, but she was full of fight and seemed mistress of the situation. She said that some of the men interested themselves in behalf of Mrs. Garber and the row became general by the time the policemen - Jeffers, Morrow and Moran - came to her aid. The men were not locked up. For the part the two women had in pulling the hair, knocking off the hat and breaking the glasses of the plucky police matron, Mrs. Lowe had them booked for trial in the police court. Following the fight, Mrs. Lowe reiterated her purpose of stopping women going to public dance halls with too little dress and when using dances with too little modesty in them. The two accused women took a change of venue to Justice Lessner's court, and there they were granted a continuance to Thursday. They indicated their intention of fighting the case and will get a large number of witnesses.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 20, 1922

A. S. Burt of Pana [Illinois] is the owner of the Stork Laundry on College avenue since the closing of a deal Saturday night, whereby he bought the property from John Stork, the owner of the laundry and the man who established the business. In turn, Mr. Stork took over a fine farm of 300 acres on Missouri Point near St. Charles, which was a part of the consideration. The plant was valued at $30,000. Mr. Burt is a laundry man and is operating a plant at Pana. He has had many years experience in the business, and it is said he intends to make improvements on the Alton plant that he has purchased. John Stork said today that the new owner will take charge on December 4. Burt first tried to buy the Stork Laundry about a year ago. At that time Mr. Stork did not care to sell and no deal was made. In the last three months the new owner called at the plant several times with a view toward buying. The deal was finally closed Saturday night. As soon as the deal was closed, Mr. Stork purchased from Jake Thompson the latter's farm north of Bethalto, consisting of 112 acres. Mr. Stork opened a coal mine on that Thompson place last summer and has been mining his coal for the laundry. He had a coal lease on the land and after he sold the laundry he decided to purchase the farm outright. Mr. Thompson will have a sale at the farm next Thursday and will move to Alton to a house on Fourth street. As soon as the sale is over and the Thompson family leave the farm, Mr. Stork will move to the farm. He and his son, Alein, will devote their entire attention to the developing of their coal mine. They will rent out the farm land. It is the intention to put in a modern equipment at the coal mine and to mine coal on a large scale. The sale of the Stork Laundry is quite an important event in Upper Alton real estate and business affairs. Mr. Stork established the laundry about fifteen years ago, buying out a small concern of the kind at Bunker Hill and moving the machinery to Alton. He made improvements every year, and on two occasions he experienced laundry fires that crippled the plant very badly. In spite of these difficulties, Mr. Stork continued to make improvements until he has one of the best plants in the country now, with fire proof buildings and a big business. He has been a very hard worker, and the success of his business is due largely to his untiring efforts. The Western Military Academy has always been one of the largest patrons of the Stork Laundry since the plant was started.




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Source: Alton Telegraph, April 9, 1847

It will be observed by an advertisement which appears in another place, that books will be opened in the town of Venice in this county on the 11th of May next, for receiving subscriptions to the stock of the "Madison and St. Clair Plan Road Company," chartered at the late session of the legislature of this state. This road will be of great advantage to the fine country through which it is intended to pass, and we hope that the stock will be taken promptly, and the work urged forward without delay.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1847

We are deeply pained to state that an appalling accident, which it is feared will result in the loss of several lives, occurred on Tuesday last in front of the dwelling and store of Joseph Squire, Esq., in Venice, in this county. It appears, according to the information which has reached us, that a man with a loaded gun in his hand was walking in front of the building, when a number of persons came up in a wagon, and as the parties were in the act of passing each other, the gun went off and wounded four of them it is supposed mortally. Those injured are William Cool, Sarah Matthews, Isaac Street, and a little girl, name unknown. How the accident happened or what was done with the man who caused it, we are unable to say.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1903

The Chicago and Alton [railroad] has had large gangs of Italians at work along the road, working as extra section gangs. One gang of about 100 worked in and around Venice, and were housed in cars. They were under contract to work for $1.30 per day. Thursday they struck for $1.50. There was an awful shouting and a fearful jumble of language in the vicinity of the boxcars, and people became very much alarmed as they didn't know whether it was a concert of the catacombs or a funeral dirge that was going on. Roadmaster Maurice Donahue was notified, and he went to the scene of the racket. The entire force made for him as soon as he drove in sight, and knives and imprecations filled the air. Mr. Donahue backed up against a box car, and drawing a revolver pointed it at the head of the leader and began to use some language of his own. He could not understand the Italians, but they appeared to understand the look in his eyes, and they stopped. An interpreter was secured and explanations followed, but the gun was kept trained on the leader. Mr. Donahue tried to quiet the men but they wanted more money or blood, and he finally advised them through the interpreter to lay their grievances before President Roosevelt or the King of Italy, or both, and said the company would probably give the whole mob transportation to Washington or Rom if they would step down to the local office. The mob took the bait and appeared at the local office within an hour. They were met by a strong guard of police and an improvised paymaster. The latter paid them off; the former ran them out of town.


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 18, 1916

One hundred Indian skeletons have been unearthed and there may be as many more in an Indian mound that was dug into on the Hugh Poag farm near Wanda yesterday. Hugh Poag, the owner of the land, was digging away some of the dirt of the mound to do some grading, when he came on to the skull of a human being. He dug further and found the entire remains of this and many other skeletons. Today Mr. Poag gave the alarm and there are over fifty persons who have been digging in the mound all day and up to noon today. They have taken out over a hundred Indian skulls and a great pile of bones that are the remainder of the remains of the Indians buried in the mound. John R. Sutter of Edwardsville, a local Edwardsville archeologist, visited the mound this morning and stated that the bones were the bones of Indians without a doubt. He believes that this is a burial ground of a large number of Indians, killed in battle or by some disease, and he states that the way the bodies seem to have been thrown into the mound in any form and just covered over indicates the burials were very hurried. The scene where the Indian remains were found is on the old Charles Sebastian farm, and Mr. Sebastian now residing in Edwardsville, has many Indian specimens that he found in the mounds of the land when he owned the land. St. Louis archeologists visited the scene today and the find all in all has caused much ado in the ranks of the archeologists of the district.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1907

The town of Wood River was born yesterday and christened the same day. It is located south of East Alton in Wood River township and consists of 80 acres of high, floodless land lying just north of the Standard Oil tract and is what is left of the Penning farm, the remainder being sold to the oil company. Mr. Penning was in Alton Thursday and said that County Surveyor, W. H. Morgan completed the work of surveying and subdividing into lots and acre tracts yesterday. The plat will be made as soon as possible and after that the building of the town will begin. Mr. Penning will sell in lots or in tracts, and some lot purchasers have already appeared.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 15, 1907

From the East St. Louis Journal

At Benbow City, formerly Wood River, Ill., just sixteen miles from East St. Louis, and about seven miles from Alton, the Standard Oil Company is now erecting the largest oil refinery plant in the world, and a city of tents and frame shacks has sprung up as if by magic out of the wheat fields, along the tracks of the East St. Louis and Alton street railway company, the Chicago and Alton, the Big Four, the C., P. and St. L., the C. B. and Q., and the Illinois Terminal railway, all of which run parallel with the new town, while the Illinois Terminal connects with the Illinois Central, Clover Leaf Route, Wabash and the Litchfield and Madison, and will soon connect with the B. and O. at Maryville.


The big plant, in course of construction, now employs 700 men, and within a short time the construction force will be increased to 4,000 or 5,000 men, and the greatest need of the new city at present is living accommodations for this army of workmen, as hundreds of them are now obliged to sleep in tents and some of them at present are even sleeping out by the side of campfires.


A. E. Benbow, who originally owned all of the land on which the new city now stands, has sold over fifty lots for business and residence purposes in the past few days, and the business people are starting the erection of business houses immediately, and there will be work at Benbow City from now on for hundreds of men in the building trades.


Another feature of this great Standard Oil plant will be that they will not only refine oil, but they will manufacture their own cars for shipping, also all their barrels will be made at the big cooperage now being erected at Benbow City, while a large eastern chemical concern will erect a plant adjoining the refinery to utilize the waste product, making vaseline, paraffin and wax, while the Standard Oil company will erect a plant to manufacture candles from the wax residue.


Four large cold storage plants will be erected at Benbow City, one by the Anheuser-Busch Co., one by the East St. Louis and New Athens Brewing Co., one by the Wagner Brewing Co., and the Columbia Brewing Co. will also erect one, while the East St. Louis and New Athens Co. are preparing to erect a large two story hotel building.


From all indications, Benbow City will soon be a city in fact, as well as in name, and Mr. Benbow in an interview yesterday stated that the city would be incorporated within the next ninety days. Real estate prices in the new city are advancing rapidly, and within the next six months Benbow City will assuredly have a population of over 5,000 people.


The magnitude of the plant being erected by the Standard Oil company is so great, that words cannot describe it, and the visitor to Benbow City, with its white tents and rude new buildings hastily erected, its hundreds of workingmen pushing on the great plant, is impressed by the spirit of hustle and energy, and the way the town has sprung up in a night reminds one of a page from the Arabian Nights, but the spirit of American energy displayed in this future great city shows it is no dream, but a reality.


Anyone wishing to spend a profitable half-day can get on the Alton car at Third and Broadway, and in less than an hour's time he can alight in Benbow City and see a big manufacturing city budding from out of the wheat fields. Many people think there are oil and gas in Benbow City. We know there is ginger there. 




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 13, 1912

The dance given by John Carstens and Elbert Shepherd was well attended last night, it was given in honor of the birthdays of Carstens and Shepherd.




Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, July 15, 1912

Alter three years of planning, the Standard Oil Company, which owns the refinery at Wood River, Ill., is ready to realize its dream of a model city for employees. After the refinery was in operation, the men who operate it began to settle near the works, and the village of Wood River was founded. But another settlement beat the village to the name, and it was necessary for it to be known as East Wood River until it absorbed the other town. Then a fine school building and model homes were erected. Next plans were made for electric lighting. Sewer contracts will be let at once, and a water system will be in operation by Christmas. This ends a struggle of three years made by the Standard Oil Company to make its town habitable.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 1, 1914

The Wood River Famous Forty Band, which has been renamed the Stocker Band, gave their excursion Saturday night on the steamer Sidney, and there was a large attendance of Alton people. The boat stopped at Wood River on the return from a day trip to Jefferson Barracks, and at Alton the steamer was boarded by a large number of Alton people. The excursion was well patronized. During the evening the Famous Forty gave a good musical program, which was a very delightful feature of the outing. The Famous Forty has another reason for being famous aside from the wonderful proficiency in music it has achieved in a short time under the leadership of Dr. A. Don Stocker. It has enlisted in its numbers the youngest drummer boy, it is claimed, in the country, six years old Paul S. Cousley, who drummed with the band Saturday night. He wore the regular uniform of the band and played the drum through the entire musical program the Famous Forty gave. The Wood River band started a few years ago with only a few experienced musicians. Under the direction of Dr. Stocker, they have arrived at a degree of musicianship that is very gratifying to their leader and is the wonder and admiration of all who hear them play. The band, in a few years more, will become one of the really big musical organizations in Madison county, a class that occasionally has a new recruit added to it, and in which the Famous Forty will take a conspicuous place.




Source: New York Times, new York, NY, August 21, 1915

The storm that devastated the Texas Gulf Coast last Monday and Tuesday, sweeping northward, struck St. Louis and surrounding communities with diminished fury last night and today, bringing with it the heaviest downpour in the history of the city, and causing a flood that drove hundreds of city and suburban residents from their homes. Up to 5 o'clock tonight the rainfall since the storm began was 5.95 inches. The 500 residents of Benbow City and West Wood River were warned of the oncoming flood by two men on horseback, who, preceding the water by a few minutes, rode through the streets calling, "Run for your lives!" The entire population of both towns sought refuge in the city of Wood River. Four hundred employees of the Western Cartridge Company and the Equitable Powder Company in East Alton escaped the wall of rushing water. The property loss of these two plants alone was estimated at more than $200,000. A Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis train, with seventy-five passengers, was caught between two streams of flood water and was stalled. Efforts to remove the passengers by boat were begun.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1918

The Sullivan Coal and Ice Company this morning received priority orders from Washington D. C. for the erection of an ice plant at Wood River. The work of the erection will commence at once when completed will be a big thing for both Wood River and Alton. The news of the priority orders being received will be of great interest in both Alton and Wood River, as up to this time the Alton plants have been supplying Wood River. In the past, when an ice shortage occurred in Alton, the Wood River people were unable to get any cold comfort, as the Alton dealers were supplied first. When the large, new plant is completed, the owners can assist in supplying Alton after taking care of Wood River and vicinity. For some time F. R. Sullivan has been planning to build the plant, but the war [WWI] interfered with his plans and he was uncertain whether or not the building could be erected until Washington was consulted and the priority order secured. The priority orders also give permission for the obtaining of ammonia when the manufacturing of ice commences. The permit received this morning authorizes the Henry Vogt Machine Company of Louisville to use and assemble necessary materials for the ice plant in preference to all lower building classifications. R. W. May of the Vogt Company of Louisville was in Wood River this morning in conference with the Sullivan Coal & Ice Company, relative to the adopting of building plans.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 23, 1920

One of the biggest land deals in the Wood River district in recent years came to a close early today, when a syndicate of men bought the property south of and adjoining what is now known as Head's addition in Wood River, from J. Augustine Head of Alton. According to real estate authorities in Alton, the land is the best piece of real estate left in the Wood River district, and brought the biggest price ever paid in that district for acres. The purchase price was $65,000 for 43 acres. The purchasers interested in the deal are the Harnett-Eggman Realty Co., Oscar Sotier of Alton, Clarence Hale of Alton, Frank Rippley of Grafton, Thomas M. Holdman of East St. Louis, and I. C. Hatridge of Wood River. The transfer of this property recalls its early history, when "Tiny" Head became famous because of the muskmelons called "gems" which he raised on the land. It also marks the remarkable enhancement of property value in the Wood River district since fourteen years ago when Head sold the present site of the Standard Oil Company to that firm for $60 an acre. At that time it was believed Head was making money on that land. The property sold by Head today for $1,500 an acre is just across the street form the Standard Oil site on the Alton-Edwardsville road, and reveals an obviously remarkable enhancement in value. According to Mr. Harnett of the Harnett-Eggman Realty Co., which originated and pushed the deal through, the 43 acres will be subdivided into lots for houses, and it is intended to make it the finest residential district in Wood River.




Source: Watertown, New York Daily Times, August 4, 1921

Three bandits today held up and slugged Tommy Felaido, a post office messenger at Wood River, Ill., and escaped with three mail pouches, one of which was believed to have contained $60,000 in currency consigned to the Standard Oil Refinery at Wood River. The robbery occurred shortly after the pouches had been thrown from a train from St. Louis. Felaido met the train, placed the pouches in a push cart and started for the post office across the tracks, when the armed trio stepped from an automobile, commanded him to throw up his hands, threw up pouches in the automobile, and escaped. An hour later an abandoned automobile was found in a corn field five miles south of Edwardsville, Ill.  A rifled mail pouch containing parcel post matter addressed to Wood River residents was found nearby.







Source:  Cook County Herald, Arlington Heights, Illinois, January 12, 1906

Engineer Frees Himself. Held Under Wreck with Leg Crushed, He Saws Timbers Away.
Pinioned under wreckage resulting from the collision of two Burlington freight trains near Wood Station, Ill., which was made more complete by the explosion of an engine boiler and a car load of powder, Engineer Grover Hinderer of Beardstown, Ill., with his leg crushed and held fast, sawed desperately for forty five minutes and finally freed himself and was pulled out. He was taken to the hospital at Alton and it is believed will recover. Fireman W. A. Anderson was seriously injured, but will probably live. Brakemen Mason, Franks, and George Anderson were imprisoned in the debris and at first were believed to be dead, but finally were rescued not seriously injured. Rescuers were unable to release him Engineer Hinderer and finally passed him a saw, cheering him until her released himself.


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