O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon’s connections to famous events, places

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president, and writes the ‘Our Town’ column to give our readers an inside peek into the history of O’Fallon and Shiloh.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president, and writes the ‘Our Town’ column to give our readers an inside peek into the history of O’Fallon and Shiloh. rkirsch@bnd.com

One of the things that makes O’Fallon history so fascinating is discovering interesting connections to famous events and places.

In May 1906 a small news item appeared in the Progress about a couple arriving in O’Fallon from San Francisco after the great earthquake of April 18 that destroyed most of the city.

They escaped injury but not heavy property loss.

The couple was John and Tillie (Knauer) Morrisey.

Tillie, an opera singer, frequently visited her sisters who lived in O’Fallon — Sophia Weisbrod, Amelia Coupin and Louise Ogle. John was manager of the famous San Francisco Orpheum Theatre at 119 O’Farrell St., the flagship of the Orpheum Theatre chain.

He was also a successful singer and dancer when he was younger. The Orpheum was destroyed in the earthquake but soon rebuilt. Tillie spent that summer in O’Fallon while her husband helped San Francisco rise from the ashes.

75 years ago, May 15, 1941.

Official confirmation from Washington was received of the awarding of a $268,000 contract for 10,000 acetylene cylinders to the Independent Engineering Company.

The cylinders are for ships of the U.S. Navy for use in welding and cutting.

This is their first Navy contract and is in addition to several other defense orders for the U.S. Army which includes low pressure oxygen gas cylinders for air planes and two mobile helium gas purification units both of which were developed for the government by the local engineering concern.

50 years ago, May 12, 1966.

A combination principal for the Estelle Kampmeyer Grade School who will also serve as counselor for the junior high grades has been hired by the O’Fallon Grade School Board of Education.

He is James N. Rogers and will be paid $9,497 annually which includes supervision of the summer remedial English and arithmetic courses to be given at Estelle Kampmeyer school this summer.

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