O'Fallon (Ill.). Centennial Committee.

O'Fallon centennial celebration, 1854-1954, August 25-26-27-28-29 ... Souvenir program and history of O'Fallon online

. (page 5 of 16)
Online LibraryO'Fallon (Ill.). Centennial CommitteeO'Fallon centennial celebration, 1854-1954, August 25-26-27-28-29 ... Souvenir program and history of O'Fallon → online text (page 5 of 16)
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the large home there, sunk a n-ine north of the O & M
tracks anc! east cf the present overhead bridge in 1863.
The mine was operated by Sharp and Thompson for many
years and later by the Savitz Brothers.

About 1370 the Nichols or Morriss Mine was sunk
further east o^ O'Fallon along the O & M Railroad. This
mine onerated for a short period of time.

Ecnnett's Coal Mine located about three miles east
of O'Fallon on the old Lebanon road was sunk in 1871 by
Jeremiah Pennett. He came to St. Clair County in 1835
and settlec. >ii the Silver Creek area. He very early be-
came one uf the largest wheat growers in the county. Mr.
Bennett struck coal at a depth of 180 feet. The vein was
about 5'2 feet thick and of excellent quality. The mine
operated for about 30 years.

The Darrow Mine about 2 '2 miles east of O'Fallon
on the O & M Railroad was sunk about 1892. The mine
operated about 20 years.

Joshua Bond, a descendant of Shadrock Bond, the first
governor of Illinois, owned land north of the O & M Rail-
road and east of Lincoln Avenue. In December 1868, Mr.
Bond granted a 16 year lease to Cyrus O. Godfrey. Edward
Price, and Martin W. Willis to sink a coal mine. The mine
called "Bond Mine" was sunk in 1869 at the then eastern
edge cf the village (present soutliwest corner of East
State and Orange streets on the- propei ly commonly known
as the Herman Gross property J. The air shaft for this
mine was located directly north in the 300 block of East
Adams street. The mine was operated by the Bartlett Coal
and Mining Company. The mine was in operation for
only a comparative short period of time.

'I'he Consolidated Coal Company sank two mines west
of Carbon in the 1890's, namely: the "Menter" and "Ridge
Proirie" mines.

The Taylor Miiie, located about ^k. mile north of the
Carbon Mine, was sunk m 1883. This mine operated for
over 50 years.

In 1902 the "Prairie" or "Angel" Mine was sunk west
of O'Fallon along the old interurban car line. H. Angell,
J. Siddall. J. Daniels. C. G. Brechnitz, and J. Herzler were
instrumental in the development of the mine. In pros-
perous days the mine hoisted between 2,200 and 2,400 tons
of coal daily and employed between 200 and 300 men.
Prairie Mine was never mechanized, being operated as a
"hand" mine until it closed. The mine was abandoned
and dismantling operations begun in October 1942.

On July 15, 1903. James F. Thomas. Isabella T. and
Moses Stafford granted a 25 year lease to Joseph Taylor
to sink a coal mine. The shaft was sunk and St. Ellen Mine
was in operation before the end of the year. The mine is
still in operr-ticn and has been one of the better producing
mines in this area.

C-\ November 13, 1916, St. Ellen Mine was sold at
auction to Henderson and Fischer of St. Louis for a sum
of $46,100.00. On April 13. 1931. the tipple was destroyed
by fire at a loss of $100,000.00. On June 19, 1931. work was
resumed, a new tipple having replaced the wooden struc-
ture destroyed by fire. Again on February 27, 1939, fire
destroyed the engine room with a resulting loss of $7.S.-
000.00. On March 4. 1938. work wns completed on a $200.
000.00 coal washer.

During the last six years the St. Ellen Mine has been
modernized so that today it is producing coal at efficien-

cies comparable to the best underground mines in the
State. The improvcmcnl program includes a new slope in
u hich coal is brought to surface by a 42" conveyor belt
instead of being hoisted up the shaft in small mine cars.
A new wash house has been constructed, the shop has been
enlarged and modernized, and all underground equipment
has been put in first class condition. Timberim; has been
largely discontinued with the installation of four roof
bolting machines. Ventilation is improved by the .'limina-
tion of timbers and the mine is a safer place for men to

During the present year prepartion facilities; on the
surface are being niodernized by the inst.->llation of a
Roberts and Schaefer air cleaning plant to handle "k."
minus coal. This unit, which is nearing completion at the
present time, will enable the St. Ellen Mine to produce
the best quality coal possible. The whole proeram has been
designed to improve coal quality and to reduce production

At present the mine employs 300 Progressive Mine
Workers and 26 supervisory and clerical personnel. It
operates two shifts per day. producing on the average of
2 630 tons per shift

About 1900 Nigger Hollow Mines No. 1 and No. 2 were
sunk west of O'Fallon on the St. Louis, Belleville, and
O'Fallon Railroad. It is interesting to note several early
state hoisting records established by Nigger Hollow No. 2:
On March 17. 1905 the mine established a new record by
hoisting 2,039 tons of coal in 7>4 hours. The coal was
moved to the shaft by 16 mules and the cars were dumped
on top by hand. The mine employed about 250 men ai
that time. Officers of the company at that time were:
Edward L. Thomas. David O. Thomas, and John Taylor.
On November 6. 1913 the mine established a new state
record by hoisting 4,400 tons of coal in seven hours and
15 minutes.

Nigger Hollow No. 1 has been worked out. but Nigger
Hollow No. 2. now known as the Black Eagle Mine, is
still working.

In August 1867, Mine Operators Booth .ind Atchinson
in an effort to sink a mine shaft near the western ed^je
of O'Fallon struck a subteranean lake and the shaft was
flooded. Many years later this source was utilized as a
water supply when the cit> established its first water dis-
tribution system.

On September 20, 1918, the Penn Heirs granted a lea.^e
to Samuel Meister. representing a group of business men
from Bay City, Michigan, on 80 acres to carry on mining
operations. The O'Fallon Coal Company was to begin
operations within one year from the date of the lease.
The mine sunk by this company on East State Street was
locally known as the "Tin-can Mine " This mine operated
for intermittent intervals for about ten years brfore it
was abandoned.

St. Clair County coal is being used less today tii.in it
was in the past. The principal reason for the loss of con-
sumers market seems to be the introduction of natunil
gas and oil from Louisiana. Oklahoma and Texas.

On March 12. 1954. J. J. Forbes. Director of the U. S.
Bureau of Mines in a report on the coal industry made
the following comments: The ever-increasing trend on
the part of industrial and residential consumers to depend
more and more on natural gas and oil and less and less


upon coal as a source of energy; coal which supplied 70
per cent of the total fuel requirements in 1926 dropped to
34 per cent in 1952; meanwhile, natural gas and oil in-
creased their contribution from 25.8 per cent to almost 62
per cent; the dieselization of the railroads has drastically
reduced the amount of coal used; that the answer to the
problems of the coal industry lies in research leading
toward the perfecting of new synthetic liquid fuels thus
opening new markets, better marketing metliods, and more
efficient mining methods.

The coal mines and coal miners have played an im-
portant role in the development of O'Fallon. Old King
Coal has, indeed, left his impress on O'Fallon, one which
shall always remain.














; 1*






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• i








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St. Ellen Mine

Miners at Taylor's Mine

Present School Buildings





llU.ll .SLlllHJL



History of Schools

A small frame house on Lincoln Avenue, across from
the present Methodist parsonage, was used as a school
before the city of O'Fallon was platted. This building was
originally a residence and then turned into a school. It
was a subscription school. Miss Louise Ahly being the
first teacher.

The first school building, erected in 1861 after the
town was laid out. was a two room brick structure located
in the middle of town, on the site of the present post-
office. At first, only the lower room was used as a school-
room, the upper room serving as a lodge room, and, at
times, as a meeting place for church services. However,
as the school population grew, additional rooms were
needed, and in 1875 two rooms were added. This building
was torn down in 1918 to make room for the garage
building now occupied bj' John L. Anheuser. Close to the
school was a shallow pond to which the pupils were at-
tracted, especially in the winter, when it became a natural
skating rink.


One of the best-loved teachers at this time was Amelia
V. Carriel. She was born near Trenton on January 31,
1856 her parents having moved to that place from Pennsyl-
vania. When her parents died in 1858 she went to live
with her Grandmother Scott on a farm a short distance
south of 0"Fallon. She was educated in the schools of
O'Fallon and later took a course at McKendree College
at Lebanon. She left college in her Sophomore year, how-
ever, to become a teacher.

Miss Carriel taught in the public schools of O'Fallon
for fifty-one years. She began her teaching in the O'Fal-
lon schools in 1874. in the old brick building where the
post office now stands. Although she taught in a number
of grades, she specialized in primary grade work. At the
close of her fortieth year in the schools of O'Fallon, a
homecoming of former pupils was held. She continued
to teach until a few months before her death. January
16, 1926.

By the middle 90's, to accomodate the pupils then
enrolled, an additional room was rented a few blocks
away, on West Second street near the present Schwarz

Furniture warehouse. This one room building was used
until 1899 when a frame structure on East State street
that had been used as a Turner Hall was converted into
a two-room school, housing the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.
By this time the number of teachers had increased to six.

It was at this time, 1899, that Mr. W. R. Dorris, now
President of the First National Bank, became principal
of the O'Fallon Public Schools. He had previously held
a similar position at Okawville.

Gradually additional studies were added to the curri-
culum, students remained in school longer, and another
school building became a necessity. The first of the
present group of buildings was erected in 1901-1902. The
old school, on East Third street having been vacated, was
sold September 13. 1902. The new building, the present
West grade building, had eight rooms, and soon a two-year
high school was added. On May 22, 1903, the first com-
mencement of O'Fallon High School was held at Wachter's
Hall. Diplomas were awarded to Edna Thurston, Ethel Ev-
ans, Henry Poignee. Thomas Gordon, and Ralph Evans. The
commencement address was given by Dr. H. W. Shyrock
of Southern Illinois Normal, who was considered a very
learned and effective speaker. The principal. W. R. Dorris.
was presented with a gift, a rocking chair, by the grad-
uating class.

By 1904 the public schools had an enrollment of 343
and the Board of Education changed the two-year High
School to a three-year school. Once more the schools were
faced with over crowding, and, September 19C4, the Board
of Education voted to rent the German Evangelical school
building for the remainder of the term for the sum of
$100. During the period 1903-1910 Mr. C. M. Wilton and
Mr. J. H. Yarbrough were the superintendents.

In May of this year, 1904, O'Fallon was astir with
visitors who came to attend the first High School Athletic
and Intellectual meet of surrounding towns. A half holi-
day was declared and business houses closed. Pingree
Reeble won the pole vault and John Budina won the ham-
mer throw. Elsa Schilling was awarded first in declama-
tion. However, Trenton carried off first honors and Maris-
sa second in the meet.

By 1911 another school buildiiig was needed. In June
1911. the Board of Education, District No. 92, sold bonds
for a new building to Holtz and Company of Chicago on
their bid of $18,869.00. The issue was for $18,000, the dis-
trict receiving a premium of $869.00. This building, be-
sides housing the upper grades, also served as a high school.
In the 1920's the rooms became so crowded that classes
were held in the basement and cloak rooms. In 1920 the
High School became a Township High School.

O'Fallon continued to participate in Athletic and
Intellectual meets through the years. In the 192C's. meets
were held at McKendree. and schools from all southern
Illinois attended. Soon colleges were not permitted to
hold Intellectuals, and a County Association was formed.
At the time the County Association died out, a State As-
sociation was formed. O'Fallon often won high honors at
these contests. O'Fallon contestants at times won the right
to participate in the National Association contests. At the
National Contest held at Anderson. Indiana in 1939. O'Fal-


Ion was represented by the boys' chorus, the boys' quartette,
and a soloist, Stanley Kimes. who won first place in the
men's vocal division: in 1540. at Springfield. Illinois, the
girls' chorus and mixed chorus competed: and in 1941, at
Flint. Michigan. Shirley Greene. Marion Redd. Vivian
Payne and the mixed chorus represented O'Fallon. Be-
cause of their consistent winning the National High School
Association selected O'Fallon as one cf the schools for
special mention for training and practice methods.

During the period of 1911 to 1921, Mr. John Arras and
Mr. L. A. Sehafer were superintendents. At this time Mr.
Erwin Runkwitz was active in school affairs. He spent
his life in education work in the vicinit.v of his own home
which was between Lebanon and O'Fallon. For over a
quarter of a century, he taught in the schools of O'Fallon
retiring from teaching in 1938. He was County Superin-
tendent of Schools for eight years. In his lifetime, he
taught over 1.000 children. He made a wonderful contri-
bution to O'Fallon's youth by whom he was much loved.

An account of the schools during this period would be
incomplete without mentioning George Deischer. whom
the school children loved so much and called "Grampa."
As janitor he worked conscientiously for many years. He
didn't limit his duties to the janitorial service alone. He
cared for the children as if they were his own.

At school there was a pump with a pipe about 10 to
15 feet long connected to it. At lunch time he would pump,
and the water would come cut of approximately 40 holes
in the pipe. This way he could "water" about 40 children
at a time.

William. < Bill I Whitehead has served as janitor of the
high school since the building was opened in 1925 and
Richard <Dicki Titter has served equally as long as jani-
tor at the grade school.

By 1924. there was much discussion concerning an ad-
ditional building. On March 22. 1924. a special election
to decide the question of a new high school was called, the
voters being asked to vote on the propositions. The result
of the vote was as follows:

For Against
Proposition 1 — To purchase site 651 308

Proposition 2— Build school 670 307

Proposition 3 — Location iMary Atkinson

tract selected I
Proposition 4— Issued SIOO.OCO bonds 635 303

The people having approved thf? erection of a new
building, the present hish school was built, and was used
for the first time in September 1925.

Mr. J. E. Hinchcliffe. Sr. became superintendent of
the O'Fallon Schools in 1921 and remained until July 1943
when he submitted his resignation to the school boards
and started to work for Independent Engineering Com-
pany, where he is employed at present. It was largely
through his efforts that our playgrounds were equipped
with proper playground equipment for the children. At
the time Mr. Hinchcliffe came to O'Fallon there were 65
students in the High School. Enrollment rose rapidly as
students from the rural districts, although attending rural
grade schools, attended high school in O'Fallon.

In 1938 the present gymnasium was added to the group
of school buildings. In August 1938. a special referendum
vote was held on a $44,000 bond issue for an S80.000 addi-
tion of a gymnasium and auditorium ithe school received

a grant of money from the Fedcial government*. The
vote to build was 409 for and 241 against; the vote to
issue bonds was 400 for and 248 against. In October 1938,
the Safe-T Construction Company of Collinsville was
awarded the contract for building the new addition. With
the addition of the new gynin.isium. the old pym was con-
verted into an industrial Art.s Department, thus once more
permitting an expansion of the curriculum.

Mr. R. H. Braun was superintendent from 1943 to 1948.
Mr. John F. Miller was superintendent from 1943 to 1950.
It was at this time. April 22, 1949, that the O'Fallon High
School became a member of the North Central Association
of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Mr. Elmer D. Murray served as superintendent from
1950 until the end of this school year. He resigned as head
of the O'Fallon school system to accept a position as
superintendent of elementary schools on the islands of

Since 1950 a Drivers' Training Course has been added
to the curriculum. The course is sponsored by the Ameri-
can Automobile Association. Mr. A. Huller, Ford dealer,
and Mr. Wayne McKinley. Chevrolet dealer, furnish the
cars. The cour.se. in the past year, was taught by Mr.
Murray and Mr. Hammonds.

One of the innovations in our present school system
is the provision of bus service for studen'^ in outlying
districts. Nearly 6.300 miles are covered monthly in trans-
porting O'Fallon students to and from school. Almost
300 grade, parochial, and high school students ride the
buses daily. The buses are also used for purposes other
than bringing students to school each day. The service
is utilized in taking basketball, baseball, track personnel,
and fans to and from games. For a minimum fee. buses
may be used for field trips and other educational purposes.
The nine buses at the school system's disposal are owned
and operated by the O'Fallon-Bellevillc Coach Company.

In I9.i3 the much-needed cafeteria was built, the cost
of which was $160,000. It seats 160 children and employs
five adult workers and 22 student workers. The building
itself contains four classrooms, an all-purpose room, a
kitchen, two rest rooms, and a superintendent's office. It
is a very attractive building and a very nice addition to
the communit.v.

In regard to the size of the teaching staffs in our
public schools, at the present, there arc 21 grade school
teachers and 14 high school teachei-s. The enrollment is
435 in the grade school and 243 in the high sihool.

The history of our schools would be incomplete with-
out a statement of future plans. The Board of Education
has asked an architect for preliminary plans for adding
six class rooms on the northwest corner of the Main build-
ing cf the High School to take care of the enrollment
which is expected to be over 3fO by 1959. This addition
would require about two years to build and should be
started scon in order to be ready for the increased en-

This increased enrollment will mean larger band,
dramatics, and athletic activities. Therefore, the Improve-
ment plans will call for a stage in our present high school
auditorium. Additional facilities for metal and electric
shops adjacent to our present shop will be added. Also
these extra rooms will make it possible to enlarge the
business department to accomodate the increased number


of pupils who want business education.

This history has recorded the forward strides our
schools have made since their inception one hundred
years ago. The citizens of OTallon, no doubt, will continue

to give their utmost support to the advancement of edu-
cation in OTallon, so that the schools will continue to
forge ahead in the second century of their growth.



The first meeting place of record looking toward the
organization was held July 30, 1866, place of meeting not
recorded. At this meeting Elder D. D. Roach was chosen
moderator and J. G. Scott secretary pro-tem. A resolution
was adopted to invite the CoUinsville. Bethel, Unity, Belle-
ville, Lebanon and Oak Hill churches to send delegates to
sit with the brethern in council at the school house in
OTallon the lUh day of August, 1866, at 2:C0 P. M. to
advise as to the propriety of organizing a Baptist Church

at this place.

Pursuant to call, as noted above, a meeting was held
August 11, 1866 and all the invited churches were repre-
sented by delegations. Elder D. D. Roach serving as mod-
erator and J. G. Scott, secretary. The council voted
unanimously to recommend that the local Baptists proceed
to organize a church in OTallon.

On January 12, 1867 interested parties met at the
home of William S. Scott, near OTallon, to further con-
sider the matter of organizing a church. J. G. Scott was
chosen moderator and G. W. Darrow, secretary. Some
sixteen persons registered as desiring to go into an organi-
zation. Adjournment was taken to meet in the German
School House on January 26, 1867.

Pursuant to call and vote as above, the interested
parties met in the German School House, OTallon, on
January 26, 1867 and proceeded to organize a church to
be known as "The Baptist Church of OTallon." Elder
J. W. Swift was chosen moderator and William S. Scott,
clerk pro-tem.

The following named persons presented letters from
their respective churches and were registered as charter
members of the new church: Elder D. D. Roach, Delpha
Roach, A. I. Roach, C. A. Roach, G. W. Darrow, Druzilla
Darrow, Lois Simmons, Jane Smiley, Elzina Enda, William
S. Scott, Mary E. Scott, Micha A. Scott, John G. Scott,
Sallie B. Scott and Edwin Swift.

On June 23, 1867 the newly-built house of worship was
duly dedicated. Rev. Dr. Reed preaching the dedicatory
sermon from the text found in Ephesians 2:20.

The cost of the church building was $4,050.50 and was
built by Contractor Charles Bailey.

The first pastor. Elder J. W. Swift, served about two
years; the second pastor serving was Rev. T. W. Green.

During the winter of 1930-1931 a basement was built
under the church, and Sunday, April 12, 1931 was set apart
for the dedication. Dr. G. M. Potter, President of Shurt-
leff College. Alton, Illinois, made an appropriate address
at the morning hour of worship. After a fellowship dinner
in the new basement, enjoyed by a large gathering of
people, the basement with other improvements to the house
of worship, amounting all told to some $4,000 in value,
was dedicated at 2:30 P. M. Rev. N. J. Hilton, our District

Superintendent, Alton, Illinois, delivered the dedicatory
sermon. Pastor Rev. A. J. Rendleman presided at the
service and conducted the dedicatory exercises.

On January 2. 1946 the church became incorporated
as a Baptist Church. On February 27, 1946 the church
members decided on the corporate name of "First Baptist
Church of OTallon."

On April 6, 1946 a fire of undetermined origin was
discovered in the basement of the church which caused
considerable damage to the interior of the building. On
April 14, 1946 a special meeting of the church was called
and members decided to raze the old church and replace
the frame building with a modern brick structure.

Special ceremonials in conjunction with the laying of
the cornerstone for the new church building, then under
construction, were held in the City Hall on Sunday, Jan-
uary 26, 1947 at 2:30 P. M. Laying of the cornerstone wa.=
made by Rev. A. L. Kirkwood of Granite City, Illinois. It
was eighty years ago on this same date, January 26th.
that the church was organized.

On October 19. 1947 the new $31,000 church building
was dedicated. The morning message was delivered by
Rev. Percy Ray, CoUinsville, Illinois. The dedicatory ad-
dress was by Dr. Noel M. Taylor. The services were large-
ly attended by local citizens, members of the church, and
friends from surrounding towns.


As early as in the 1860's German Evangelical people
settled in OTallon and vicinity. While their number was
not sufficient to warrant the organization of a congrega-

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Online LibraryO'Fallon (Ill.). Centennial CommitteeO'Fallon centennial celebration, 1854-1954, August 25-26-27-28-29 ... Souvenir program and history of O'Fallon → online text (page 5 of 16)