O'Fallon Progress

Siblings got sick with joy after meeting for the first time

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

In 1943, 19-year-old Ruth Miller was a waitress at Winter’s Café at 115 W. State.

Her parents had died when she was very young, and she and her siblings were dispersed. That year, she discovered that she had three brothers and that one of them, Tom Miller, lived in Effingham.

In July, she went to meet Tom for the first time for a happy reunion. But, the evening of the visit, she “became very delirious” and ended up in the hospital. Shortly after, Tom became ill, too, with identical symptoms.

Food poisoning was the initial diagnosis. Stomachs were pumped. Treatment given. But it ended up being a remedy for the wrong malady.

It turned out that “they had only been overcome with joy, emotion and excitement of the meeting.”

They both made a full recovery.

75 years ago:

July 22, 1943

Allan Friederich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marcel Friederich, was taken to St. Elizabeth’s hospital yesterday morning suffering with severe, but not considered dangerous burns on the face, hands, body and legs as the result of an accident at the Independent Engineering Company’s Plant No. 2 at Willard’s Station at 7:45 o’clock.

Friederich suffered the burns when a piece of equipment became ignited in the plant where he is employed. Since the Independent is engaged 100 percent in war work, other details of the accident could not be released for publication. (Friederich, 27, died three days later of second and third-degree burns.)

50 years ago:

July 25, 1968

Police Lt. Eugene Ferguson says it’s true, so we have to believe him. He landed an unwitnessed hole in one. The dream of every golfer came true for Ferguson last Friday on the second hole at Lebanon’s Locust Hills course. He dropped a 110-yard wedge shot into the cup. He said it was a clean shot — no bounce, and no roll, and no fuss. That’s his story — for better or for worse.

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