O'Fallon Progress

1918: Thieves switch from taking horses to cars

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

One hundred years ago, in 1918, the O’Fallon Farmers’ Protective Association decided it was time to keep pace with the times.

Previously, the association had offered rewards for the capture and conviction of horse thieves that plagued their members. But as more and more farmers acquired cars, thieves began adding the horseless carriage to their portfolio of rural acquisitions. So, at their first meeting of the year, the association decided to treat the theft of autos the same as horses. If a member’s car was stolen, a reward was offered for its return and the arrest and conviction of the culprits just as if it was a horse.

At the same meeting, they elected officers for the ensuing year. President was William Bug, vice president was John T. Lienesch, and secretary-treasurer was F. L. Reuss. Constables were George W. Lienesch, Frank H. Suever, Gus F. Weil, Louis E. Klein and Anton M. Stock.

75 years ago Jan. 28, 1943

Illinois motorists are being asked by Secretary of State Edward J. Hughes to turn in their 1942 metal automobile license plates as soon as they receive their 1943 plastic-impregnated fiber plates. The metal plates, he said, will go for the war effort. Hughes asked motorists to take their old plates to garages and filling stations where salvage containers will be maintained. The plates are to be collected later from these places for conversion into steel so vitally needed in the war effort.

50 years ago Jan. 25, 1968

The laser beam, one of the new wonders of science and industry, was used last week on the East Side sewer project to mark the grade of the installation. The construction is now approaching Second Street behind Smiley. Application of the device is to substitute it for the familiar batter boards, line and grade string and stakes. The laser was manufactured by American Vitrified Products Co. of Cleveland, Ohio.