O'Fallon Progress

Rejected by all U.S. military branches, O’Fallon man enlisted in Canadian army to fight in WWI

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

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That could be the motto of Harry Sibbald Hughes.

Born in Scotland on Christmas Day 1879, Hughes left his homeland for O’Fallon in 1907 to work in St. Ellen coal mine. After the U.S. entered World War I, he wanted to “do his bit” for his adopted country and enlist. To St. Louis he went to sign up in September 1917. But despite being in “perfect physical condition,” he was rejected by the Marines, the artillery, the Navy and the Army, all in rapid succession. “Defective teeth” he was told.

He went home discouraged, but he wasn’t ready to give up. Back to St. Louis he went, this time to visit the Canadian recruitment office. To his surprise and delight, they accepted him, despite his teeth, and assigned him to the Canadian artillery. He left Sept. 20 for Toronto for two months training (he had previous military training in Scotland) and then off to France he went to fight the common enemies of the U.S. and Canada.

He survived the war, though he was gassed during combat. He went back to the mine, got married in 1920, moved to Trenton with his family in 1934, retired in 1948 and died the following year.

75 years ago March 5, 1942

Henry Wuebbles Jr., who operated the O’Fallon Gas & Oil Supply, has taken over the A.A. Schobert Service Station on U.S. Highway No. 50 in south O’Fallon. Schobert retired from the business to devote all his time to his duties as Deputy State Fire Marshal.

50 years ago March 2, 1967

Three burglaries in the rural areas near O’Fallon were reported, all involving television sets. Oscar Tiberend reported the theft of a console TV set valued at $625 and other items valued at $90. A color TV set worth $631 and $50 in cash were taken from the home of John Carmen. A third TV set and power tools valued at $396 were stolen from the home of Henry Obernuefemann.