O'Fallon Progress

100 years ago: Board decided food stamps should not pay for ‘luxuries’

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

What is a Pauper? That was the headline 100 years ago in 1916 when the Progress reported on the St. Clair County Board of Supervisors’ “spirited debate on how to curb the desire of the paupers to live on the fat of the land at the cost of the county.”

It all started over a motion to pay a $16 invoice from Tri-City Packing Co. for food bought on the county aid tab, a program similar to food stamps. County Board members complained that paupers were buying, at county expense, groceries like oysters, ham, olives, lemons, chickens and watermelon and sometimes lots of sugar.

Several stated that they should do without sugar, chicken and watermelon. One declared that the paupers were living better than the board members. Solutions suggested included telling paupers that county aid would be cut off if they continued purchasing “luxuries” and telling grocers and butchers to stop selling such items to them. In the end, the bill that started it all was approved by a vote of 37 to 7.

75 years ago, Oct. 16, 1941.

O’Fallon’s hopes of getting in on an oil boom with a strike on the Rasp farm, south of this city, went glimmering this week when the promoters of the drilling operations abandoned the project after reaching a depth of 2090 feet. Efforts to recover the casing were futile due to cement deposits which encased part of the pipe. The well was plugged yesterday. Decision to abandon the well was reached several weeks ago after the drillers went through the Trenton lime without signs of oil.

50 years ago, Oct. 13, 1966.

The offices of the O’Fallon Progress will be closed today, tomorrow and Saturday to enable us to move to our new modern building at 612 E State St. The Progress is completing a modern newspaper and commercial printing plant to take care of growing printing and publishing needs in an expanding community.