Franklin T. Varney, the doctor who treated the man who fell from the train as described in last week’s column, had a parallel career in O’Fallon as something of a political gadfly.
He ran for village president four times between 1900 and 1903 and lost each time, though, in 1903, he came within four votes of winning. In 1904, he ran for School Board president with no luck there. After O'Fallon became a city, he ran for mayor in 1907 with same results. That election was a bit rough.
Varney’s efforts to silence a critic resulted in him being charged and found guilty of carrying concealed weapons. He ended his pursuit of the mayor’s office after that, but not his political involvement.
In 1909, he accused the city treasurer, in writing, of being $2,444 short in his accounts, even though he allegedly knew it was just an error in the published annual report. The treasurer, John J. Quinn, was not amused. He filed suit against Varney in the circuit court for $5,000 in damages. The case went to trial in February 1910. he jury sided with Quinn and awarded him the full amount.
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75 years ago
May 6, 1943
At the final City Council meeting to close the fiscal year held in City Hall Monday night, it was disclosed that a neat cash balance remains in the city’s treasury. This is possible, it was pointed out, under the pay-as-you-go-plan adopted by the administration several years ago. According to treasurer John Lawrence, the city ended the fiscal year with a cash balance of $5,514.96 in the general fund.
50 years ago
May 2, 1968
The special school bond referendum for $550,000 for financing a new grade school building and repairing existing buildings was defeated Saturday, the second time it was submitted to voters of Grade School District 90. The vote was 465 in favor and 476 opposed. The schools are now crowded to capacity with some inadequate rooms now in use.