O'Fallon Progress

Vigilante committee was formed in 1936 to fight cattle rustling

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

In 1936, theft of local livestock was becoming a problem — so much so that the St. Clair County Vigilante Committee was formed to combat it, in cooperation with the sheriff and other law enforcement agencies.

They certainly scared one thief in Shiloh Valley. A Guernsey calf less than 3 weeks old and valued at $75 was stolen from Hobart Plab’s barn in late June on a Friday night or early Saturday morning. The armed vigilantes sprang into action within 15 minutes of the theft report, patrolling the highways while Deputy Sheriff John Tiley conducted the investigation. It was rumored that Tiley was hot on the trail, something the thief apparently got wind of. On Sunday night, under cover of darkness, the calf reappeared in Plab’s pasture. There was evidence that it had been lifted over the pasture fence. The vigilantes served notice to would-be thieves that if you mess with them, they’ll soon be on your trail.

75 years ago July 2, 1942

O’Fallon’s youth population shows a decided decrease, according to the school census just completed by J. Emmett Hinchcliffe. The report shows a total of 925 boys and girls under 21 years of age, the boy population leading the girls by 73 while in 1941 the boys had an edge of 96, indicating the male population is decreasing at a rapid rate. In the 1941 census, the total of all boys and girls under 21 was 962.

50 years ago June 29, 1967

Laborers employed by the city of O’Fallon returned to work last week after a 12-day strike over wages and the dismissal of one man. They will receive a 15-cent hourly wage increase effective May 31 and another similar increase next May 31. They will also participate in a pension plan to cost an additional 10 cents an hour. While the man dismissed was not taken back, the city agreed that there should be discussion about dismissals in the future.