O'Fallon Progress

1920: Mouse saves life of O'Fallon coal miner

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

Could a mouse be a miner’s best friend? One certainly was for Frank Lucas, a coal miner in Black Eagle Mine No. 2, located under what is now west and south Fairview Heights.

On April 14, 1920, “Lucas was drowsing on a bench in the mine when a mouse ran up his trouser leg. He sprang up and forward, clutching his trouser leg to keep the mouse from going up higher. At the instant, a large clod fell from the roofing, crushing the bench where Lucas sat.”

Later that day, Lucas saw a fellow miner about to kill a mouse. He stopped him saying, “One of them saved my life this afternoon!”

75 years ago

March 18, 1943

Handlers of small coins now are keeping an eagle eye for the new “war pennies” because they look like dimes. The new coins bear the regulation Lincoln head imprint of the old copper 1-cent pieces, but they are made of a light-colored metal alloy which may be mistaken for silver. Officers of the Federal Reserve Bank say the first of the pennies are in circulation in this area. When the public gets used to them, the bank men say, they will be as easy to distinguish as the regular copper pennies. (Now collector’s items, the zinc-coated steel cents were only made in 1943.)

50 years ago

March 14, 1968

A Bi-State school bus side-swiped a truck on East State street at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday just outside the city limits and 10 children en route to schools were injured, one seriously. The bus driver suffered a cut lip. The accident occurred at the Friederich Truck lines yard. The truck driver was starting to back on the highway but had not reached the pavement. The truck was stopped and the school bus swerved to avoid an oncoming car, catching the rear of the truck. Following the accident, the damaged bus was driven to O’Fallon City Hall, from where the injured youngsters were taken to hospitals in Schildknecht and Wolfersberger-Meyer ambulances.