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Bethalto, Illinois, Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




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 ran 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 anyone 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: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1867
The brewery of Jacob Huppert at Bethalto was totally destroyed by fire last evening. The fire was discovered about seven o’clock, and is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. The building was a new one, and had just commenced operations. We could not ascertain the total loss, but the insurance amounts to $4,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1868
The Bethalto lodge of A. F. and A. Masons held a public installation in the Presbyterian Church in that place, on Saturday evening, the 11th instant, at which the members appeared in full uniform, and the chosen candidates took upon themselves the vows of their respective offices, the Hon. Mr. Dimmock of Edwardsville presiding. The Hon. E. M. West was expected to deliver an address on the occasion, but failed to come to time. After the installation, the members of the fraternity and their good-looking friends retired to their hall, and there were introduced to a banquet – delightful to the eyes, sweet to the taste, and most invigorating to the hungry souls. At 11 o’clock, the assembly dispersed, bearing with them the most pleasing recollections of the occasion. May the lodge be benefitted, and may they live to enjoy many such reunions.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 22, 1868
Mr. E. C. Long has just established a custom mill in the town of Bethalto, and is now ready for business. Custom work is done on Tuesday and Friday of each week. This is an enterprise which deserves the support of the public.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1871
On Saturday, August 12, as John F. cox and Henry Smith were returning home from a hunt in the woods, Mr. Smith’s gun was accidentally discharged while he was riding along in a buggy. Smith stood up in the buggy and looked around to see if he could see the steeple of the church in Upper Alton. His movement displaced the gun, which was lying in front of him on the bed of the vehicle, and the piece slipped to the ground. As it fell, the hammer struck the wheel, discharging the gun, the load lodging in his right arm, close to the shoulder joint. He was driven to the residence of Dr. N. B. Richards of Bethalto, some two miles from where the accident happened. Dr. Richards being out, Dr. S. A. Albro was called and stopped the flow of blood. When Dr. Richards returned, on examination of the wound he decided that the limb had to come off, and Drs. Williams and Haskell of Alton were summoned, and about two o’clock the same night, the arm was successfully amputated at the shoulder joint by Drs. Williams and Haskell of Alton, and N. B. Richards and Martin of Bethalto. It was thought improbable that he could survive the operation. Another warning to hunters to discharge their guns before traveling on the roads.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 29, 1871
Mr. S. Miller of Bethalto, who crossed the Plains in 1851, in company with a number of persons from this part of the State, returned home a few weeks since looking well and hearty. He gives glowing accounts of the many places of interest visited by him during his sojourn in that western country, among which we might mention the famous Yosemite Valley; the noted big trees of Callaveras County; the highest point on the Union Pacific Railroad; Sherman City, etc. Mr. Miller has been living several years in the mining regions of California, and expects, after a vacation of some months among friends in this locality, to return to the land of his adoption.

Mr. Marion Starkey, who was burned out some months since, has resumed his old business, and is ready at all times to relieve his customers of any loose change with which they feel burdened, giving them in return a good quality of goods of anything in his line.

The time-honored passenger depot of the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railroad at this place has been ornamented with an addition in the shape of a bay window, and treated to a coat of paint. It now presents a respectable appearance, for which improvements the traveling public feel grateful.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 1, 1872
Mr. P. B. Fishback resigned his position as principal of the Bethalto schools on account of poor health, and has been succeeded by Mr. J. S. Culp. The change gives satisfaction to everyone.

Messrs. C. H. Flick and J. T. Ewing have made arrangements to build at once a Custom Mill in Bethalto. Mr. Flick is known to be a straight-forward business man, in whom the community has confidence. His partner is a practical miller. In the hands of such men, the enterprise is bound to be a paying business.

Mr. S. B. Harrison has sold his entire stock of goods and storehouse to a St. Louis man, who is to take possession March 15. Mr. Harrison has been long in business here, and was supposed to be one of the permanent institutions of the place.

Four buildings are waiting the opening of Spring to begin work – elevator and warehouse, mill, storehouse and residence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 9, 1872
Messrs. Ewan & Flick are putting the machinery in their new mill, and will be ready for grinding in a few days. Their engine was built by Beech & Co. of Litchfield, Illinois, and the burr stones by Messrs. Davidson & Co. of Dayton, Ohio.

The work on Messrs. Meyer & Guye’s elevator, under the skillful superintendence and direction of Mr. George Hangerford, is progressing rapidly, and will be completed by the middle of next month. T. S. Moulton & Son, of Chicago, are the contractors. The building is 75 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 81 feet in height, which seems very high here where there are no tall buildings. Upper Alton is plainly visible from the top. In connection with the building is a railroad scale, to weigh the cars before unloading, said to be the only one between East St. Louis and Terre Haute. It will hold 60,000 bushels.

Mr. Charles Scheibe of Fosterburg is building a large brick house for a residence for C. Balsters, a well-to-do farmer, three miles south of town.

Mr. J. W. Guild of Rolla, Missouri, has opened a photograph gallery in Bethalto, where he will be pleased to take pictures for everyone.

Mr. J. S. Deck, three years principal of the Bethalto schools, and last year of the Venice school, has again taken up his residence with us. He takes charge of the Oak Grove School next year.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 9, 1873
Our citizens, on April 23, decided to organize as a village under the general law regulating cities and villages. Yesterday, the election of officers for the village took place, with the following result:

Trustees – C. H. Flick, Adam Ellsperman, J. V. Richards, John Stolze, Charles Gundall, and S. A. Albro.
Clerk – W. E. Lehr
Police Magistrate – J. A. Miller

There was considerable excitement over the result, and as the majority elected were connected with the old Board, we do not fear any changes for the worse in the coming year.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1873
We have had quite an exciting time here since last Saturday morning, over the arrest and preliminary examination of parties charged with stealing horses, wagon, harness, etc. The faces are as follows: A well-to-do farmer, named William Matlock, residing near Greencastle in Madison County, had in his employ for some nine months, a young man named Lee Mayberry, a stranger in that section, also a young woman named Martha Sutton, whose parents reside near or somewhere in the vicinity of Prairie City. These young folks took a notion to unite their fortunes, hence gave notice of a desire to leave their employer. He reluctantly consented, and Monday, August 4, he took them to the residence of Mr. Jerry Sutton. The nuptials were duly celebrated the next day. Previous to this, a son of Mr. Matlock missed a valuable set of harness. On Wednesday last week, Mr. Matlock missed a pony from his pasture, but thinking he had gone over the fence somewhere, he made but little noise about it. On Thursday evening of last week, two valuable horses were taken from his barnyard, when Mr. Matlock thought it time to look around for the thief or thieves. He at once suspected this Mayberry, and employed Mr. I. F. Brown of Bethalto, who was in that vicinity selling sewing machines, to visit the premises of Mr. Sutton, father-in-law of Mayberry, which he did, and by very adroit management, learned that there were horses there which they did not wish him to see. He drove to Bethalto, secured the assistance of Mr. James McDonald, in whose company he returned to the premises aforesaid. It was now nearly dusk, Friday evening, they approached cautiously and saw Mayberry in the lot watering a pair of horses, while Sutton was there talking with him. They could hear but little of the conversation, but gathered enough to satisfy them that they were speaking in relation to disposing of those horses as soon as things got a little quiet. Soon Mayberry took the horses into a thick woods, which comes up to a few feet of the lot, and Messrs. Brown and McDonald followed closely after. He went but a short distance, till he halted at a wagon, which was also stolen, to which he fastened them. His pursuers were now upon him, and actually examining the horses for certain brands before he knew of their presence. Discovering them, he started to run. Bot called to him to halt, which failing to do, McDonald fired his pistol, the load of which lodged in Mayberry’s shoulder, and a race of some hundred yards took place in the darkness and brush, which resulted in the capture of the fugitive, who at once told them that he was not alone in this business. They did not, however, deem it prudent to attempt the arrest or search for other parties until reinforced, hence left with their prisoner for Bethalto, where his wound was dressed by Dr. Albro. It proved to be a flesh wound. He had an examination before W. L. Piggott, Esq., and was bound over to appear at the next term of the Circuit Court, in the sum of $1,000, which he failed to give, hence was sent to jail.

Mayberry’s statement and other circumstances led to the arrest of the Sutton family, viz: Jerry Sutton, his sons William and Peter, wife, and the wife of Mayberry. But at their examination on Monday before the Justice aforesaid, there was no evidence to criminate any but the old man and the wife of Mayberry, and that very slight. Yet the Justice, under the circumstances, felt authorized to send them to jail, they failing to give the required bond - $1,000 each. The property has all been restored to its rightful owners. One person, perhaps more, will be sent to the State prison, and the honeymoon of one couple shortened. Upon inquiring, I learn that the Sutton family have been, and are now considered honest, poor folks, by all their neighbors, while said Mayberry says they are connected with a band of horse thieves, that he saw a book in their house giving the names and doings of the band for some time. Diligent search was made for this book, but without success.

A replevin suit from Bethalto was heard before Justice Quarton Tuesday. A Dr. Easton of Bethalto, a druggist, was arrested and incarcerated in jail for selling liquor without a government license, but was afterwards bailed out. Soon after, Constable Randle got out an attachment on certain goods and furniture belonging to Easton, in order to secure the costs of the above suit. After the attachment was issued, it appeared that Mr. R. McDonald had a mortgage upon all the property attached, whereupon the latter proceeded to replevin the property. The case was argued by Messrs. Hope and Cambrill for the plaintiff, and Hon. J. H. Yager and Squire Picket of Bethalto for the defense. The jury rendered a verdict giving the property to Mr. McDonald.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1873
The work on the calaboose and hall for the town has commenced. Mr. J. Falkenberg is about ready to commence work on a two-story brick house he is going to put up this fall.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 5, 1873
There have been four new buildings put up here this fall. Messrs. Uzzell and Walsh have each built a comfortable frame house and moved into them last week. Mr. J. Falkenberg’s building – a three-story brick – is enclosed, and will soon be completed. The town hall and calaboose are also slowly approaching completion. If the weather remains favorable, it will be ready for use by the holidays. Mr. S. L. Miller has repainted his two tenement houses, which make them look as bright as new.

Mr. M. Starkey, for several years a merchant in this place, has sold his stock of goods, consisting of dry goods and groceries, to W. H. Battles of St. Louis, and is traveling for a St. Louis firm. Mr. Battles has increased the stock by an addition of new and seasonable goods.

Mr. George Blay has opened a drugstore in Richards’ building. Mr. Blay has a well-selected stock, and comes here well recommended as an honest and reliable druggist. Dr. Graves has bought of McDonald the stock of drugs left over by Dr. Easton and others, and is endeavoring to sell them off at the old stand.

Mr. Mapes of Hillsboro has opened a harness shop here, and is prepared to do any kind of making or repairing of harness on short notice and in good style. Mr. F. W. Stotze has found a competent blacksmith to commence work in his shop.

Mr. William Tryon, agent of the I. & St. L. Railroad Co., at this place, ever since said road has been built, was compelled by reason of his failing health, to resign his position as ticket and freight agent. His successor is Mr. J. S. Collins.

The panic has not affected us like those in the cities. The Bethalto Mills, Messrs. Meyer & Guye, still employ their same force – some thirty men – at the old wages. The same is true of Messrs. Z. B. Job & Co.’s mines.

Mr. J. Wiemers, south of town, has just finished and moved into his large and commodious brick house. A. H. Ferguson is sinking a coal shaft on his land north of town. Mr. C. N. Bivens has been appointed our Village Attorney.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 5, 1874
Gundall’s new building is just completed, and being occupied by George Bley as a drugstore. It is decidedly the finest business house in the village. In fact, it has quite a “metropolitan air” in front and finish.

The Baptists have their church house up and enclosed. They expect to finish it this fall. It promises to be ahead of anything in the vicinity, both in style and convenience.

Robert Walsh, Esq., is building a fine residence for himself – two-story brick, to be finished in the modern style. Mrs. Charlotte Buckheit has built quite an addition to her residence. Also N. Smith, Esq., has enlarged his residence by adding another room.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 28, 1875
October 25, 1875 – Messrs. Hixon and Gere have abandoned the artesian well they have been at work on, and are engaged in erecting a derrick to begin a new well. They have worked for some time to get the drill out of the well they were at work on, but have come to the conclusion that someone has dropped a piece of iron into the well and wedge the drill so tightly, that it cannot be taken out. The next well is to be eleven inches in diameter, so they will have a better chance to handle their drill. We wish them success.

Upon complaint of Mrs. Mary Heither, wife of Charles Heither, a warrant was issued by W. L. Piggott, Justice of the Peace, and placed in the hands of Constable Griffee, against Charles Heither, for assault and battery. He appeared in court, and after his Honor, the Squire, heard the evidence, he fined Charles $25 and cost. It appeared that Mr. Heither was not in the best of humor, and tried to relieve himself by choking his wife, which act is not approved of by this community.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1875
The furnace was put into the Baptist Church last week and was tried on Sunday. It worked to a “T.” The sexton thought he would try the heating powers of the furnace, so he heated it seven times hotter than there was any need of, and came near melting the audience.

Mrs. Muchheit has closed out her saloon, and opened a new grocery store. We think the village would be better off if several others would do likewise.

The National Hotel has been purchased by Mr. Dorr, who is going to erect a furniture store in connection with the hotel.

The mill, owned by Messrs. Meyer & Guye of St. Louis, and under the charge of Mr. Ed Kueck, is doing a large amount of business and giving life to our village. They manufacture their own barrels there, giving steady work to 18 men in the cooper shop, and about the same number in and around the mill, with a payroll of nearly $300 per week. The mill runs day and night the year round, except when stopped for repairs. In the last four weeks, they have bought 4,050 bushels of wheat, of which seventy-nine car loads were received by rail, being grown in Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. During the same time, they have shipped 4,800 barrels of flour to the East. In connection with the mill there is an elevator and warehouse. The former holds about sixty thousand bushels of wheat. The latter is 60x100 feet, and has capacity for about six thousand barrels of flour.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 9, 1875
From Bethalto – Saturday night about eleven o’clock, the store building in Bethalto, owed by John S. Culp of Upper Alton, was found to be on fire, in the room occupied as a furniture store by Mr. Stein. Adjoining this room was the store of Bernard Picker, who lived in the rear wing of the building. Mr. Picker was the first to discover the fire, and at once gave the alarm. The parties on the ground found the fire on the floor adjoining the partition of the two rooms, and succeeded in putting out the flames as they supposed, but soon after, the fire was discovered between the lining and the outside, and bursting through the roof, it rapidly got the advantage and the entire building was consumed. The furniture stock of Mr. Stein was totally consumed, also that of Mr. Picker. Mr. Culp, the owner of the building, loses about $3,500, less $2,000 insurance. It is supposed the fire was the act of some malicious person or tramp-burglar.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1877
August Krechle of Alton is having a building erected near the Bethalto house, preparatory to opening a meat shop. By his coming in our midst and building, Frank Eaton has given up the idea of opening a shop. Long may August stay with us.

E. A. Gere has commenced boring wells. Last week was a hard one on Postmasters. Messrs. Mayer & Guyo are shelling corn. C. H. Flick is having a house built on his land east of town. The plasterers are now at work on J. P. Wood’s new residence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 2, 1877
Who says the great railroad strike in East St. Louis did not hurt Bethalto? Merchants got “struck bound” at St. Louis. Groceries got scarce. Building material was detained on the railroad. Mill operators could not get money with which to buy wheat. Milk could not be shipped, and worst of all, the supply of beer gave out.

When the trains began to run again, the enthusiasm was immense. Women ran to the doors, and children, tramps, loafers, and whittlers of dry good boxes congregated at the depot. Working men (not on strike) left their work to see the curiosity – a train – going through town. Four stock trains went east yesterday afternoon, and the first local was run east this morning.


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, Illinois, 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 Telegraph, February 29, 1880
We learn from Mr. Otto Maerdian that a fire broke out in a tin shop adjoining Frick’s Hall at Bethalto, about 3:30 o’clock this morning. The building was all in a blaze when the alarm was given, and was entirely destroyed. Frick’s Hall was badly scorched, many of the window frames and an outside stairway being burned. A masquerade ball was in progress in the hall at the time, and the dancers had some difficulty in escaping from the place, the buildings being only five or six feet apart.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 5, 1880
Mrs. McIlhany has leased one lot of the town hall property for ten years. She will move her bakery and restaurant building at once. This will be a very desirable location for her, as she can then secure the railroad patronage.

A great deal of well-earned praise is due our efficient street commissioner, Flick, and also the members of the town board, for the fine condition with which they keep the streets and the excellent repair in which the sidewalks are always kept. We will venture to assert that there is not a village or city in the State that has better streets and walks, or has a greater advantage for shade than this one.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1881
Mr. B. C. Meyer, engineer at the big mill, is the lucky patentee of an automatic self-registering scale for weighing running wheat, bran, etc. It is a perfect “little hatchet” machine – can always be relied on.

The rock foundation for Mr. C. H. Flick’s hotel building was commenced yesterday. If Bethalto contained a few more of the Squire’s grit, it would rise above villageism in a short time. Third Street catches all the booms. This improvement is a much needed and welcomed enterprise.

The farmers are very busy. Mr. B. Picker is putting u a building north of the elevator to be used as a saloon. Ex-City Marshal, James McDonald, has returned to his first love – farming. The west end of Third Street is being widened, good thing. The shameful practice of butchering shade trees has commenced in Bethalto.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1881
Last Sunday morning, our city marshal let the prisoners, incarcerated in the village jail, out in the hall for a little fresh air, and went home. While he was away, two of them took an iron poker and pried the door open. They stepped out into the open air, walked very leisurely down the street as if nothing had transpired, until they had got a little way out, when they took to their heels and ran like scared wolves. They have not been heard of since. The other young man was more sensible and stayed, as it is more than likely he will be released in a very few days.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 1, 1881
Mr. Neisler’s men have finished burning the brick this week for his large building on Third Street. Mr. Charles F. Degenhardt of Alton came out Saturday and put the roof on Squire Flick’s new hotel building. The Squire thinks it a splendid job, and is well pleased with his work.

Mr. D. Lewis sold last Saturday, September 27, to Mr. John Oetkin, his farm of about sixty acres, for the sum of $4,925 cash. Most of this land lies just outside the village limits on the east, a small portion being inside. Mr. Lewis will sell at public auction on September 10, all his farm machinery, livestock, household and kitchen furniture, also several acres of good corn in the field, preparatory to moving with his family to Indiana.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1881
A meeting of soldiers and prisoners of the late war [Civil War] was held at the village hall Friday evening last, to make arrangements to attend the reunion of soldiers of the State of Illinois, to be held at Springfield, October 19 and 20, 1881. Colonel Rodgers was appointed chairman, and J. A. Miller clerk of the meeting. Committees on arrangements were appointed as follows: C. H. Flick and J. A. Miller for Bethalto; J. S. Culp and Moses Thomson for Fosterburg; Captain John Berry and E. K. Prewitt for Moto; Colonel Andrew Rodgers and Solomon Wood for Upper Alton. The Bethalto Cornet Band will accompany them, and the boys anticipate a pleasant trip.

Mr. James Larby sold his beautiful property on Third Street this week, to Mr. J. W. Clark. Consideration twenty-one hundred dollars. Mr. Clark in this trade has secured a “big bargain,” the property being worth nearly twice that amount.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 3, 1881
Postmaster Piggott has resigned his position as postmaster at this place, and it is said Mr. W. H. Battles will occupy that position in the future. Mr. N. B. Richards Jr. started last week for Arizona, where he intends working on the new Santa Fe Railroad. Quite a number of our citizens went on a fox hunt a few days ago. There were about thirty-five men, one dozen hounds, and three foxes. The foxes were killed, the men and dogs came out safe. The next chase will come off on November 6. Work is progressing on W. F. Neisler’s new building under the supervision of Mr. C. H. Flick.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 1, 1881
A society to be known as the Bethalto Amateur Dramatic and Social Club was organized last Wednesday evening at Richards’ Hall. The following named gentlemen were elected as officers: H. T. McCrea, President; F. B. Black, Vice-President; A. W. Reid, Secretary and Treasurer; W. G. Clark, Stage Manager; L. Pennington, James F. Clark, John Weidmer, and Will Montgomery, Committee of Arrangements. The club has for a beginning nineteen members, composed of seven young ladies and twelve gentlemen of excellent ability and fine musical attainments. They expect to give an entertainment once a month, and our citizens should take an interest in upholding it if they would have it prosper.

Charles F. Degenhardt of Alton came out Monday to put the roof on Neisler & Randle’s new business hour on Third Street. It is to be a felt and gravel roof, and no doubt a good one, as Mr. Degenhardt understands his business perfectly.

Mr. Simon Koeppe of Fosterburg has done splendid work on the Baptist Church in Bethalto, in the way of painting and decorating. Anyone examining this work will see at once that Mr. Koeppe understands his business, and we would cheerfully recommend him to any that are desirous of having anything done in his line.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 15, 1881
The smallpox scare has struck our village, and quite a number of parents are having their children vaccinated. It is well, “they think,” to be on the safe side.

Quite a number of visitors were present Friday afternoon at the schoolroom of Mr. F. B. Black, one of the efficient teachers in our public school. The exercises were very good all through, and were enjoyed very much by all present. The music by the school band composed of Master Louis Shulenberg, Arthur Battles, Martin Johnson, and Paris Hickerson. The children show that they have undergone careful training, thus showing that the teachers have not neglected their duty.

Mr. H. Eisenhauer’s team broke loose from a hitching rack in this village, and ran way. They were caught, after upsetting the wagon near Mr. Randle Rotsch’s, west of town, by Mr. William Smith of Moro. The wagon and harness were damaged some, but luckily for Mr. Eisenhauer, the horses were not hurt.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 16, 1882
The grand hop given at Neisler’s Hall by the Bethalto Cornet Band last Tuesday evening, February 14, was a splendid success. The hall, resplendent in its light, the music grand and harmonious, the gay assemblage of welcome visitors, and Bethalto’s best society, all conspired to make the affair not only a success, but a crowning triumph for the band and a joy to their delighted guests. In fact, to mention that the band were the givers of the party is in itself sufficient to give a description of the affair. It is a guarantee, a pledge, that everything was done for the comfort of all who were fortunate enough to attend. Mrs. Josephine Gill prepared a splendid supper, which for quality and quantity, was hard to excel. It was well served and much enjoyed by all. At half past eight, the orchestra, under the leadership of our time-honored friend, Walton Rutledge, opened the programme. Rutledge never fails to please those that trip the light fantastic, and Tuesday evening everybody was light and happy as the melodies floated through the air. All the minor details were attended to, and nothing occurred to mar the general pleasure. All joys must end, but the halt was not called until the wee, small hours. It is pleasant to add that the occasion was successful financially as well as socially.

Neisler’s Hall was established by William F. Neisler, who held a grand opening on December 27, 1881. The Bethalto Cornet Band provided the music. The hall served as a meeting place, as well as a “theater” to hold plays by local students and others. The hall could seat 500 people, and was equipped with a stage, curtains, and lighting.

In 1879, Neisler purchased the drugstore of George Bley Jr., located on West Central Street in Bethalto, who had operated there since 1862. Klein opened a drug and hardware business with Mr. Randle. In 1885, the two men dissolved their partnership, with Neisler keeping the drugstore, and Randle taking charge of the hardware store. Neisler also opened a drugstore at Nokomis, Illinois. The Louis Klein family purchased the Neisler building for $3,500. John Klein sold groceries on one side of the building, and George Klein operated a drugstore on the other. The post office was housed in the building when George Klein was postmaster. Later, the Charles Aghetta family operated a grocery and dry goods business on the east side of the building, and Bob Klein operated a gift store, candy shop, and lunch counter with soda fountain on the west side. The building still stands today.


President Mills Destroyed
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.

The President Merchant Mill and Elevator, located at Mill and Walnut Street in Bethalto, was constructed in 1859 by James Neimrick, and was the first mill in Bethalto. Like most modern mills of that era, it had what were called "three runs of stones," with a manufacturing capacity of 100 barrels of flour daily. In 1877 the mill was torn down and rebuilt with a daily capacity of 500 barrels. Both members of the firm died about 1879, and it was leased to the E. O. Standard & Co., which operated the mill about one year. In January 1881 it was purchased by J. W. Kauffman, who increased the capacity to 600 barrels. Kauffman also owned the Park Mills in St. Louis, Missouri. In March 1882, a complete change was made, substituting the Gray Roller System in place of the Burrs, which was an improvement in milling of grain.

The mill was 54 x 80, and was five stories in height, with a stone basement. The elevator connected with the mill was 40 x 80, and was 85 feet high. It could store 70,000 bushels of wheat, and had an elevating capacity of 15,000 bushels of grain daily. A warehouse nearby, 65 x 150, stored 10,000 barrels of flour. There was also a cooper shop at the mill, and a railroad switch track from the main route to the mill.

The President Mill was destroyed by fire in August 1882, but was rebuilt. On March 2, 1895, the mill burned once again, and was never rebuilt.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 1, 1883
Mr. C. H. Flick has finished a new porch in front of the Sheridan House on Third Street. This large hotel will be finished in a few days, and a grand opportunity is offered to some wide awake hotel man, who will take hold of the establishment.

The President Mill will be rebuilt, and the stone masons arrived here this morning to go to work on the foundation of the mill. An elevator with a capacity for one hundred thousand bushels of wheat will be erected at once on the old site. The building will be extended fifteen feet farther south on a line with the mill.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 29, 1883
The rock work on the main building of the new mill was completed last week, and the first brick was laid Wednesday afternoon. A large force of brick layers are at work, who will push it forward to completion very soon, the carpenters keeping right along with them.

The Sheridan House will be opened next Wednesday evening, April 4, by a grand banquet. The reception and sociable at the hotel parlors will be free. The brass band will furnish appropriate music for the occation. Mr. W. F. Neisler has kindly tendered free the use of his hall on that evening, and the dancers can while away the hours to the beautiful strains of Professor Voccaro’s Quadrille Band. The proceeds will be tendered to Mrs. T. G. Boone, proprietor of the Sheridan House.


Terrible Accidents at the New Mill
Source: Alton Telegraph, April 5, 1883
The engine used for hoisting brick and mortar for the new mill became unmanageable Saturday afternoon, which delayed the work somewhat, but only for a short time, as Mr. J. P. Cooper, the owner, and somewhat of an expert at running these engines, came up and had it in running order again in a few minutes, and the work is progressing very rapidly this week.

Last Sunday afternoon, some boys were playing with the hoisting apparatus at the mill, when the cage, with several boys on it, came down, striking Freddie, son of Mr. John Wiedmer, on the head, crushing him to the floor. He was badly injured about the head – so much so that Dr. N. B. Richards was called to attend him. No bones were broken, and it is hoped he will be out again soon. This should serve as a warning that boys should not play with machinery of this kind.

Just before noon on April 4, Mr. Thomas Chism, while wheeling a barrow of brick along a scaffold at the new mill, was instantly killed. The accident was caused by the breaking of a board. From what we could learn, the barrow must have fallen first, the deceased falling about twelve feet, striking the handle of the barrow on his right side under the arm, it passing through his body and coming out at the left jaw. Mr. Chism was past fifty years of age, a poor but very industrious man, and was much respected by all who knew him. He leaves a wife and two small children, who have the sympathy of every feeling heart in this community. Coroner Youree has been telegraphed for, and is expected up this evening when an inquest will be held. The accident has cast a gloom over all our village, and every mouth is heard to say it is “too bad” for the poor mother and fatherless children, as his labor was their only support.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1883
The grand opening and reception at the Sheridan Hotel last Wednesday evening was a success financially, as well as socially. Excellent music was furnished by the B. C. Band, and Professor Vocarro’s orchestra. The supper, a rich feast splendidly served, was furnished by the landlady, Mrs. T. G. Boone. After indulging in music and social conversation at the hotel parlors, the happy throng dispersed at a late hour, the dancers at the hall keeping time to the music a little later. We are pleased to say that Bethalto has now a hotel that can accommodate the traveling public in every respect. Commercial travelers will find first-class accommodations at this house.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 26, 1883
The last brick on the President Mills was laid Thursday, April 19, at which time Mr. Wiedmer spread the stars and stripes to the breeze. “Long may she wave.” The mill wrights, under the supervision of Mr. O. H. Carleton, commenced work yesterday morning. The roof is completed, and the windows will be put in this week. Bunker Hill men have the contract of laying two floors, which will be all complete this week.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 28, 1883
The Evening Star Social Club gave their first hop at Neisler’s Hall, Thursday evening. The hall was beautifully illuminated, and the graceful figures made a grand showing on the polished floor. The music was furnished by Professor Vaccaro’s string band of St. Louis, and was of a splendid order. Mrs. T. G. Boone prepared the supper, which for quality and quantity was hard to excel. A large number from Alton were present.

The brickwork on the large warehouse for the President mills was commenced yesterday. The structure will be a decided improvement on the old when finished. The cooper shops for the mill will start up this week, giving employment to a great many who have been idle for some time.

We understand a Mr. Parks from Bunker Hill will open a drugstore in the George Bley property on Prairie Street this week.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1883
Just one year ago tomorrow, August 22, the President Mills of this place burned, a date that will be long remembered by our citizens. The first work toward rebuilding began February 18, just six months ago. On August 16, everything being in readiness, the engineer, Mr. Murray, and Mr. D. Simpson, boss miller at the Park mills in St. Louis, started the new machinery to rolling, in the presence of a large number of our citizens, who were highly delight, as everything moved off in a most satisfactory manner. The machinery has been kept running most of the time since Thursday, getting ready for the grand commencement, which takes place this afternoon.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 13, 1883
The large manufacturing establishment lately erected in Bethalto by John W. Kauffman of St. Louis, is a grand affair, located on the south side of the I. & St. Louis Railroad. The mill, elevator, warehouse, and cooper shops cover considerably over an acre of ground. The mill is 61 ½ feet in width by 91 feet in length; four stories and basement, brick; gravel roof and brick cornice. Basement is 12 feet high in the clear, contains 28 elevators going to the roof, four conveyers, two “Peerless” dust catchers, six suction spouts; shafting and belting for running machinery on first floor. Flywheel of engine is 18 feet diameter, 28 inches face. Main driving pulley is 10 feet diameter, 28-inch face; also contains two reel tightener belts and large pulleys on main shaft for driving rods on first floor.

First Story
The first story is 13 feet high in the clear, contains eight elevators going to the roof, two conveyers, 38 “Alice & Gray’s” patent roller mills with four rolls each, four flour packers with automatic filler, tools and hopper over them, and two “Eureka” packer scales.

Second Floor
The second floor is 12 feet 11 inches in the clear, and contains six elevators going to the roof, eighteen conveyers, four bolting chests with four reels and eight conveyers each, three “Gray,” and five “Smith,” middling purifiers, with “Kirk & Fender’s” dust catchers over them. This floor also contains two wheat bins, one of 500 bushels and one of 100 bushels capacity.

Third Floor
The third floor is 14 feet in the clear, and contains three elevators going to the roof; five bolting chests with flour reels and eight conveyers each; six “Gray’s” centrifugal reels and bran dusters, five “Smith’s” and three “Gray’s” middlings purifiers, with “Kirk & Fender’s” dust catchers over them.

Fourth Floor
The fourth floor is 15 feet high in the clear, and contains eight conveyers, five of which go into the elevators; five bolting chests with two reels and two conveyers each; three “Gray’s” centrifugal reels; one “Richmond” bran duster; and two automatic scales.

Boiler and Engine House
The boiler and Engine House is 36 ½ feet in width by 59 feet in length, 18f feet high in the clear, one story, brick, gravel roof. The boilers are four in number, 48 inches diameter, 22 feet long, ten six inch and ten two inches flues each. The engine is of the Wheelock patent, made in Worcester, Massachusetts, 600 horsepower, cylinder 33x60 inches, running 65 revolutions. The fire pump and doctor take water from a pond, two hundred feet distant.

The elevator has the same kind of roof, is 90 feet high. The weight of the elevator rests on wooden posts, 10x10 inches, in clusters of five, on stone foundations.

The basement is nine feet in the clear, and contains one line of shafting driven from engine, with a 10 feet and 14 inch face pulley, one line shafting driving machinery in basement, and one line driving bran packer on the first floor; three conveyers; two elevators going to the roof, and one wheat sink with 6 partitions; whole capacity – 1,700 bushels.

The cupola is 10 feet high, front part, 16 feet high, covered with corrugated iron on the outside, and contains heads of elevators, and gearing for same; one large conveyer driven by belting for distributing wheat into the different bins. The dust from all the dust catchers is conveyed into spouts, which lead to the first floor, where it is caught into sacks.

The warehouse is 68 feet in width, by 149 feet in length, is one and two stories, brick, gravel roof, north part two stories and south part one story; first story ten feet, second story ten feet nine inches; all used for storage of flour and empty barrels.

Special Features
The mill is lighted by gasoline gas in the first story, engine room, and boiler house; the carburetor for manufacturing the gas is outside of the building, eight feet underground. Closed lard oil lanterns will be used throughout the balance of the buildings. The mill usually runs day and night, and will be heated by steam. One barrel of water and two buckets on each floor, and the same in elevator, in case of fire. The mill is very light and airy on account of its numerous windows, and has a capacity for manufacturing 800 barrels of flour per day. The company manufactures two brands, namely the “Souvenir” and “President,” which find very ready sale in the eastern market. The machinery was furnished by E. P. Allis of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The engineer, or boss millwright, was Mr. O. H. Carleton of that place. Everything is done in tip top style, a credit to the contractor and the gentleman for whom the work was done, as well as our little town in which the establishment is located. Mr. John Wiedmer is Superintendent, and a very competent man, having had a large experience in this capacity. Mr. J. W. Simpson has charge of the manufacturing department, and though a young man, has had considerable experience, and no doubt will give excellent satisfaction. His brother, Mr. George Simpson, has the position of millwright. Mr. F. J. Weaver, the former engineer, who has been boss engineer at the Aviston Mills for the past year, returned last week and took charge of the motive power. Mr. Ignatz Mutz, who has held the position as foreman of the cooper shops for a number of years, and shown his efficiency and ability in this respect, has been retained at his old post.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 17, 1884
Last Tuesday, Mr. Al Short, who is employed by Williams Brothers of Wood River, started for this place with 55 bushels of wheat. The roads being had, he had on four horses, in crossing what is known as Williams bridge, across the Wood River, the main span, about 50 feet, broke down, precipitating man, horses, and wagon into the creek, a fall of about 18 feet. Luckily man and horses escaped with only a few bruises. This bridge has not been safe to cross with a load for some time. We understand a splendid iron bridge will take the place of this “old rattle trap” some time this year. A ford has been made that will serve as a crossing until the new bridge is built.

It was our good fortune to attend one of the most pleasant gatherings of the season last evening, at the spacious residence of D. W. Stoeckel, west of town, given in honor of Mr. J. H. Hickerson and family, who depart this evening for Barton County, Missouri. Some of the guests were late, but by 9 o’clock a goodly number was present. The B. C. Band was on hand, and enlivened the occasion with several select pieces of music. It will be well to say that this organization has lost a very valuable and promising young member in the person of Master Parris Hickerson, who will accompany his father. A splendid supper was served, presided over by the kind host and hostess, in their usual happy manner, and was much enjoyed by all present. It was about 1 o’clock when the crowd dispersed, and many expressions of regret were evinced at this hour when the guests began to take leave of Mr. Hickerson and family. They leave this afternoon for their new home, and will carry with them the hearty good wishes of a host of very warm friends. Among those present were Neelie Wood and mother; Supervisor Culp and lady of Foster Township; Misses Lou and Effie Hamilton, Luella and Lettie Williams, and Thomas Hamilton of Wood River Township; and W. F. Bivens of Fort Russell.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 10, 1884
The Fourth of July passed off quietly in our town, most of the business houses were closed. The celebration at Boque’s Grove, under the auspices of the Evening Star Social Club, was well attended, and much credit is due to those who were instrumental in getting it up.

Between the hours of three and four o’clock Monday morning last, Mr. Charles Bruening’s large store on Railroad Street was discovered to be on fire. Master George Bruening, a young man who was sleeping in a small room connected with the store, was awakened by inhaling smoke. He could not get out through the building, so procured a hatchet and knocked off a board, jumped out, and gave the alarm. The citizens responded quickly, but not in time to save the burning building or any goods. Mr. Bruening’s dwelling was in great danger. Had it caught fire, the whole block would have burned, therefore active and willing hands went to work in earnest, and succeeded in saving this property. The origin of the fire is not known, but is supposed to have been from the explosion of a lamp that was left burning in the store.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1884
The two-story addition to the Village Hall will be let to the lowest responsible bidder this week.

Thieves made a raid on our quiet little village last Saturday night. They entered Squire Miller’s residence between twelve and one o’clock, and took fifteen dollars from his pants’ pocket. They then visited the dining room and helped themselves to bread, butter, &c. They next visited Mr. W. J. Simpson’s residence, and gaining an entrance through the basement, entered his bedroom and took $36.50 from his pocket, $13 or which was in an envelope and belonged to his brother-in-law, Mr. J. W. Johnson. They wrote on the envelope, “Good luck old boy,” and left, but not before they had helped themselves to several glasses of jelly and some pumpkin pie. They next went to the residence of Mr. Ignatz Mutz, cut a slat from the shutter so that they could raise the window, reached in and took from a small satchel belonging to his daughter, Miss Josie, $5.35. We have heard of no other places being visited, but this is enough to serve people to be a little more careful where they place their valuables before retiring. No clue to the perpetrators.

A two-story frame house, situated near the old Madison County coal mines, burned on Sunday night. No one had been living in the house for some time, and it is supposed to be the work of an incendiary.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 19, 1885
Kauffman’s Milling Company purchased from Mrs. A. H. Cox this week, one acre of land in the northwestern part of our village, for the purpose of making a large pond. One sufficient to furnish water for their mills all the year; work on the pond will begin soon.

Mr. G. Klemm, our efficient blacksmith, was awarded the contract last evening to build for this village a Hook & Ladder carriage, his bid, $85, being the lowest. Our village “dads” can rest assured that Mr. Klemm will do a first-class job, notwithstanding the low price. Our mechanics do not want such contracts to leave the town. Why should they?


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 26, 1885
Mr. E. B. Randle has sold his stock of hardware to Mr. James Mitchell of Moro, who will open out a general store in the same room it now occupies. Mr. Randle will move his stove and tinware to Squire Miller’s building on the same street. Thus, Bethalto is to have another store. Mr. Mitchell is an excellent young man, and we wish him much success.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1885
The village has again leased the second story of their hall to the Masons, Odd Fellows, and Druids, for a term of five years. Since the completion of the new addition, the hall is more commodious, making it more convenient for the several lodges, and also a source of more revenue to the village.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 25, 1886
The Masquerade at the rink on last Saturday evening was a splendid success financially and otherwise. A large crowd was present, and enjoyed one of the most pleasant evenings of the season. There were a number of gentlemen masked, but only a few of our young ladies could be persuaded to disguise their features. The Bethalto Cornet Band furnished excellent music for the occasion, and everything passed off in the best possible manner, except the awarding of the prizes. In this there was not enough to go around. Miss Nellie Arnold of Alton captured the prize for the most graceful lady skater. Mr. Jesse Starkey merited the prize for the most graceful gentleman skater. The judges decided that Mr. Thomas Henricks displayed the most comic costume, and took the third prize, a silver cup. The wild Irishman, Humpty Dumpty, and the colored gentleman with the high hat, created the most merriment, while the gentleman with the high-top breeches took the cake. Topsy and the little chambermaid (Herbert Culp and Lottie Neisler) were the center of attraction.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1886
Bethalto Post No. 509, GAR, will give their first annual Camp Fire at Neisler’s Hall on Thursday evening, April 15, 1886. Colonel S. P. Galt of Ransom Post, St. Louis; Commander C. L. Cook Sr., V. C.; John D. Heisel and comrade W. P. Bradshaw of Edwardsville Post, will be present and deliver short reminiscences of army life. The Bethalto Cornet Band has been engaged to furnish appropriate music for the occasion, and a splendid program has been arranged. The supper will consist of the regular army bill of fare. Come everybody, and bring your friends. Admission 25 cents, including supper; children under 12 years, 15 cents.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 22, 1886
Notwithstanding the extreme dampness of the weather, Bethalto Post No. 509 wwas greeted with a very large and enthusiastic audience at Neisler’s Hall on Thursday evening last, to witness their first annual Camp Fire, which was a grand success, and reflected much credit upon the gentlemen who managed the affair. The different posts in the county did not turn out as they expected. Company F of Edwardsville State militia was detained at East St. Louis on account of strike, hence this part of the program was omitted, but the Williams brothers are always equal to the occasion, and substituted something else. Addresses were made by Colonel T. J. Newsham, Commander C. L. Cook, and Comrades J. D. Heisel and W. H. Jones of Edwardsville. The features of the evening were the bugle calls by Joel Williams of the Bethalto Cornet Band, the band music, army song by Mr. Irby Williams, and the recitation of a poem by Master Ed Duffy of Dorsey, written by the late Paschal Preuitt in 1863 while on guard duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and last but not least, the splendid supper furnished by the Post and served at the Sheridan House by Mrs. Gill, who set the tables and made delicious coffee. Everything was there in perfection and abundance, even to S. B. beans and hard tack, and ‘tis needless to say was much enjoyed by all.

Among the old soldiers present were: Messrs. Newsham, Cook, Bernius, Lynch, Vogt, Durer, Volbracht, Heisel, Jones, and Storig of Edwardsville Post No. 461; Messrs. Rodgers, Moore, Flynn, Smith, Graham, Hobart, Kidwell, Parker, and Percival of Alton Post No. 441; and A. A. Corneau of Dunham Post No. 141 of Decatur, Illinois.

The committee of arrangements deserve great praise for the work performed. Mrs. Gill and the young ladies who had charge of the tables exerted themselves to please and deserve the thanks of all. The Bethalto Cornet Band entertained the visitors at the hall tables with some of their choicest selections. It is pleasant to add that the entertainment was a success financially, as well as socially.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 20, 1886
Miss Lillian Belk of Bethalto and Mr. Fred Sloper of Long Lake were married on Tuesday last, at the residence of the bride’s sister, Mrs. George Worden of Upper Alton. We are informed the happy pair will start in a few days for Kansas, where they will make their future home.

One of the most pleasant social events of the season occurred at the residence of Mr. W. F. Neisler on Mill Street last evening, being in honor of Miss Jennie Rawson, one of the efficient lady teachers in our schools, who has made her home during the last term with Mr. and Mrs. Neisler, and will depart this week for her home at Troy, Illinois. Miss Rawson has made many very warm friends here during her stay for the past two years, who will gladly welcome her back after vacation. A large number were present, and enjoyed themselves in the best possible manner. Mr. and Mrs. Neisler exerted themselves to please, and if we are any judge, their efforts were crowned with success. The evening was moonlight, and many took part in croquet on the beautiful lawn. Others enjoyed themselves indoors with music and songs by the little Misses Lottie Neisler, Rosa McCrea, and Nolie Wood. The Bethalto Cornet Band was also present, and contributed some of their splendid selections. The elegant repast consisted of delicious cake, strawberries and ice cream, which were there in abundance, and served in the best possible manner. At 12 o’clock, the happy throng took leave of their host and hostess, but not before considerable handshaking with Miss Jennie, and wishing her a very pleasant vacation. The whole affair was very enjoyable, and will be long remembered by all present.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 5, 1886
Three young men, strangers, passing through our village last Wednesday afternoon, gave the section boss, Mr. Morgan, and his men, some “sauce.” Mr. Morgan asked them what they meant, and said they had better leave town, whereupon one of them whipped out a revolver and said he could not make them leave. Mr. Morgan said perhaps he could not, but he would find a man who could, and soon Marshal Glass and other citizens were after them. Mr. Morgan thought they were thieves on first sight, and when they ran and began to throw away knives and revolvers, it was very evident. They would not stop when halted, and the consequence was that more than a dozen shots were fired after them. The parties who did the shooting were poor marksmen, as there was no one hurt. After a long chase, they were captured north of town, and lodged in the calaboose. No arms were found on them, but they were seen to throw both knives and pistols away, a number of which were found. Squire Piggott assessed a fine of $35.00 each. In default of which they were sent back to jail. Two of them broke jail Friday morning, just after the marshal went off duty and made good their escape. The Marshal from Pana, Illinois, took charge of the remaining one, whose name is O’Brien. The goods they had in their possession proved to be taken from a store that was burglarized at Pana an evening or two before.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 14, 1886
Grand opening of the skating rink next Saturday night, October 16. Music by the Bethalto Cornet Band. All lovers of sport are invited to be present.

Neisler’s Hall was filled to overflowing on last Saturday night to listen to the eloquent speech of Hon. John Baker. He received marked attention, for the people are very much interested in the coming election. We are inclined to think that Colonel Morrison is not near as popular as he has been in this vicinity heretofore.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1886
The Catholic Church and parsonage at Bethalto was consumed by fire last Thursday night. The fire originated from a defective flue. The congregation was holding service at the time, and the first they knew sparks were falling from the ceiling. It must have been on fire some time before they noticed it, as the whole garret was in flames before the people were hardly outside. The G.A.R. Post was in session in their hall when they heard the alarm, and immediately formed themselves into a fire company, took the hook and ladder wagon, and proceeded to the scene, but too late to be of any benefit, except to help carry out the furniture, which was nearly all saved. It was a sad occurrence, and put an end to the very interesting services which were to be held the next day. The congregation will rebuilt sometime next year.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 7, 1887
Last Saturday, Mr. Lemuel Lawrence, a well-known citizen of this vicinity, had imbibed a little too freely in this village, and late that night was making his way to Mr. Smith’s in the Bottom. When near Mr. Charles Vaugh’s residence, he decided to hang up for the night, making himself a bed on the roadside by piling leaves together against a log. About midnight, a colored man by the name of Wells, who had been over to a neighbor’s, journeyed that way, and hearing something in the brush, thought it was a coon. He went over to Mr. Vaughn’s and borrowed a shotgun, returning to the place again. He heard a rustling in the leaves, and seeing what he took to be Mr. Coon, fired, striking Mr. Lawrence in the arm and hand, who cried, “I am shot. I am shot,” and jumped to his feet. Mr. Wells, seeing his mistake, immediately took him over to Mr. Vaughn’s and Dr. E. A. Smith of Bethalto was called and attended his injuries, which are painful though not very serious. Had he fired from the other side of the log, it very likely would have proved fatal. The injured man was taken to Edwardsville on Sunday. This serves as another temperance lecture to our thinking young men.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 9, 1886
Mr. F. Weaver Jr. has vacated Mr. John Falkenburg’s meat market on Third Street, and has formed a partnership with Mr. Peter Treff. Mr. Falkenburg has rented his shop, residence, slaughterhouse, and fixtures to the firm of Rogers & Sraker, late of St. Louis, who will continue the business at the old stand. They are practical butchers, and promise to keep constantly on hand the choicest meats the country affords.

While hauling wood for Williams Bros. a few days since, Mr. William Spurgeon met with what might have been a very serous accident. The driver was seated on a large sled load of wood, and while passing a sideling place, the whole business was upset in a ravine, Mr. Spurgeon turning a complete summersault and the whole load of wood and rock burying him. Mr. Irby Williams, being close at hand, ran to his rescue, expecting to find him killed or hurt very badly, but after removing the wood, to his delight he found him not injured in the least, and it was a very lucky mishap. Mr. Spurgeon says he is not willing to try another of the kind.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 17, 1887
Dr. Burwell, late of West Virginia, is again with us and will take charge of Mr. Neisler’s Drugstore, who will be absent several weeks in Kansas. Mr. Neisler expects to leave us soon, and our citizens will surely miss him, for he has kept the best drugstore we have ever had, and for the few years he has been with us, has done more for the town then many of its elder and wealthier citizens. He is energetic, enterprising, and a good business man, and if he is determined to leave us, we trust he will be very successful. He will visit Wichita, Kingman, and other points in Southern Kansas.


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
On the night of August 22, 1882, our citizens witnessed the burning of the President Mill, and on March 2, 1895, 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 mill. 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, and 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. Kauffman does not rebuild, others will grasp the opportunity.

The President Merchant Mill and Elevator was constructed in 1859 by James Neimrick, and was the first mill in Bethalto. It was located at the northwest corner of Mill and N. Walnut Streets. Like most modern mills of that era, it had "three runs of stones," with a manufacturing capacity of 100 barrels of flour daily. In 1877 the mill was torn down and rebuilt with a daily capacity of 500 barrels. Both members of the firm died about 1879, and it was leased to the E. O. Standard & Co., which operated the mill about one year. In January 1881, it was purchased by J. W. Kauffman, who increased the capacity to 600 barrels. Kauffman also owned the Park Mills in St. Louis, Missouri. In March 1882, a complete change was made, substituting the Gray Roller System in place of the Burrs, which was an improvement in milling of grain.

The mill was 54 x 80, and was five stories in height, with a stone basement. The elevator connected with the mill was 40 x 80, and was 85 feet high. It could store 70,000 bushels of wheat, and had an elevating capacity of 15,000 bushels of grain daily. A warehouse nearby, 65 x 150, stored 10,000 barrels of flour. There was also a cooper shop at the mill, and a railroad switch track from the main route to the mill.

The President Mill was destroyed by fire August 22, 1882, but was rebuilt. On March 2, 1895, the mill burned once again, but was never rebuilt.


Henry Greaves Shot by John Faries
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 8, 1900
A revolver shot and the calls of a man for a doctor to attend a man who had been shot, nearly broke up a Republican meeting at Bethalto Saturday night. The crowd in the hall started for the door to learn who had been shot, and a panic at the door was averted by the coolness of the speaker, Hon. G. W. Patton, who urged the people to stay. The shooting occurred just outside a saloon in Bethalto. Henry Greaves was shot in the face by John Faries or Herbert Williams, two powder mill men who had gone to Bethalto for a Saturday night frolic. Greaves was intoxicated also, and it was some time before he could tell who did the shooting. He was found lying on the street corner in a semi-conscious condition with a bullet hole in his jaw, the bone fractured and blood spurting from the wound. The bullet entered the base of Greaves' brain, and the wound is considered very dangerous.

After the shooting, word was sent to East Alton to arrest the two men, and they were taken into custody. Deputy Sheriff Dreisoerner went to East Alton yesterday afternoon, took the two men to Bethalto, and there they were identified by Greaves as the men with whom he quarreled. Faries is charged with having fired the shot, and Williams also says he did. Greaves was brought to Alton today, and is at St. Joseph's Hospital where Dr. Yerkes is attending him. He is a son of Charles Greaves of Troy, and belongs to a well-known family. He is worse this afternoon and can hardly live. Faries and Williams were taken before the wounded man at Bethalto, and he identified both. Williams was placed under $500 bond, and Faries was put under $800 bond.

Henry Greaves died on October 11, 1900, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Alton. Funeral services were held in Bethalto. His father swore out a warrant, charging Herbert Williams with accessory to murder, and John Faries with murder. The two men were held without bail. The two men claimed the shooting was in self-defense.

Squire W. L. Piggott of Bethalto took the dying statement of Greaves, and after that time period, Piggott died. John Culp of Fosterburg was a bondsman for John Faries, and also the administrator of Piggott’s estate. The court requested Culp to produce the dying man’s statement, but it could not be found. Both Faries and Williams were released on bond in 1901. The trial was continued many times, and finally held in June 1902, with Senator J. J. Brenhold and Judge J. E. Dunnegan as attorneys for the defense. Since the dying statement of Henry Greaves could not be found, and there were no witnesses to the murder, the two men were acquitted.


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."


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