O'Fallon Progress

1921: Woman wearing a barrel, carrying a knife was cause for alarm

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

Motorists driving down Route 50 east of O’Fallon on a hot Monday afternoon in July 1921 must have done a double take.

Walking down the road was a 35-year-old woman brandishing a large butcher knife and wearing nothing but a barrel. That’s right. Completely naked and wearing an actual wooden barrel. Drivers heading west detoured into O’Fallon to report the new roadside attraction.

Since all the O’Fallon doctors were out, Dr. Raab from Belleville was called as was the sheriff. They found her in a corn field not far from her home east of town. It was said the intense heat drove her insane. She was taken to the county hospital in Belleville pending an inquiry into her sanity.

75 years ago Aug. 6, 1942

Renewed activity in the oil drilling industry for O’Fallon is seen with the moving in of modern equipment on the old James Thomas land, one-half mile south of U.S. Highway 50, during the past few days. The site is a short distance south of the O’Fallon Lumber Company (present day Cambridge Boulevard and U.S. Route 50) and the well, on which drilling operations are to start this week, will be known as the James T. Holliday well. Paul S. Pritchard of Mason City, Iowa, is said to be the promoter of the project, and he and his representatives have been in the community for the past several months securing leases on land in a wide area south and southwest of O’Fallon.

50 years ago Aug. 3, 1967

Jewell Germany, 702 N. Lincoln, told police he believes he hit a prowler with bird shot fired from a .22 rifle when the man sought to enter his apartment last Saturday morning. Germany said a young man tried his front door. When he went to the door, the man fled to the back and then around to Lincoln, where he ran across the street and into a field, where he was lost from sight. Germany said he fired a shot from the rifle, and the fleeing prowler jumped as though he was hit.