Tarlton – Boss of East St Louis

The east St Louis riot was a murderous bloodbath occurring under Tarlton’s reign. 100’s of blacks were killed or seriously injured and six thousand were left homeless and jobless when their houses were burnt to the ground and they were forced out of the city.

“It was an unbelievable sight. I just happened to be getting ready to cross the river when I felt something shake like an earthquake, the bridge started to vibrate violently. Then I heard voices and crying babies and children I looked up across the Eades bridge that crossed the Missouri to East St Louis to see what my eyes could hardly believe..

It was hundreds of folks running for their lives, coming directly at me. I thought there must be a bomb that dropped but then I realized that these were all black folks. And they kept coming. There was thousands of them, it was terrifying and sad at the same time –something I never forget”

Startling accounts from the congressional record:

Intro –

Underage Prostitutes and rapes of children.

Constables and deputy sheriffs picked up some easy money in the vile dance halls that were open on Sunday in the various saloons in St. Clair County. They were each paid $5 a day by proprietors of these places under the pretense of maintaining order, but under their oaths they should have arrested and prosecuted the keepers and all those present for violating the law.

Records show that more than 800 girls between the ages of 13 and 16 years visited the dance halls run in connection with saloons and so-called hotels, which were in reality assignation houses. These children, their hair hanging down their backs, and in short dresses, publicly engaged in lascivious dances with a motley crew of drunken toughs. The police took no notice of these offenses, nor did the mayor make any effort to close these joints notoriously violating law.

A poor widow who had three daughters appealed to George W. Allison to prosecute the men responsible for their downfall. All of them were ruined in these dance halls.

The youngest, 15 years old, visited a saloon one night and was taken to a room in the building and outraged, and nine different men satisfied their lust before a well-known saloon keeper arrived on the scene, when he locked the door and spent the remainder of the night with the despoiled child. There were no indictments. no prosecutions. and no attempts on the part of the police or mayor to arrest the offenders, the officers of the law being themselves eyewitnesses.

The knowledge of this horrible assault became so widespread that a former State’s attorney finally secured an affidavit from the victim but he went out of office, and the remaining authorities paid no attention to it.

Finally. however, some of those involved in the outrage sent the 15 year old child to California where she gave birth to a boy baby.

The name of the saloon keeper who participated in the assault was given to Mayor Mollman, but. he made no effort to have him indicted, and even refused to cancel his saloon license.


Two policemen and three soldiers were involved in the shooting of Minneola McGee under circumstances of extreme brutality. This occurred, not at the scene of the riots, but as she was going from an outhouse to the kitchen of the residence where she was employed, when the police and the soldiers who accompanied them fired at her deliberately, without even the slightest provocation, and shot off her arm near the shoulder.

Minneola McGee is a negro girl about 20 years old. She was induced to leave one of the Southern States and go to East St. Louis by the many enticing but misleading advertisements scattered among southern negroes.

It is apparent that even before her injury she was a frail and rather delicate girl. When she appeared before your committee, with one arm off just below the shoulder, she was a physical wreck. She has no education whatever. It is not possible for her to earn a living in any other way than by manual labor.

Now, as the result of as fiendish a piece of work as was ever per-petrated, she must, at least to some extent, be an object of charity. Because of her youth this sort of a life is before her. She was interrogated by your committee to ascertain whether it was possible for her to have been shot by accident.

Her simple story removed all doubt upon that score, as she satisfied everyone who heard her that she was purposely and deliberately shot. In answer to questions put to her by your committee she said:

Minneolas account:
“I was in an outhouse in de garden. I heard de shootin’ an’ started to’ de house. When I got put’y nigh de house a soljer lifted his gun and pointed it right at me and shot my arm oft. Dar wuzn’t nobody twist me and de soljer for him to be shootin at. And der wasnt nobody on de udder side of me for him to be shootin adt he just lifed his gun up and pinted it at me and shot my arm off when I hadnt done nothin. When he shot me a fell on the ground”


One of the worst crimes ever committed in St. Clair County was the abduction and murder of Alphonso Maggarian, 3-year-old son of an Armenian baker. The father of the child complained to the police that a house of prostitution was being conducted next door to his home.

Soon thereafter his child disappeared, no trace of it being found until nine days later, when the little headless body was discovered 100 yards away in a dump heap. The head was found a week later in another dump heap.

Several pimps and two prostitutes from the house next door were arrested. and one of the women confessed to having assisted in abducting the child.. Many threats had been made against her by friends of the accused.

Before the trial her mangled corpse was found on a railroad track.

A coroner’s verdict of suicide was rendered, but it is believed she was first murdered
and then placed on the track.

Strong “ gang” influence was used to save the indicted men. one of whom was a relative of Health Commissioner McCracken.

State’s Attorney Schaumleflel conducted the prosecution, and again, as a matter of course, there was a verdict of acquittal.

The house of pros-titution complained of by the father of the murdered child was in a building owned by Thomas Canavan, president of the board of local improvements, and Locke Tarlton, president of the levee board.

The offenses committed against law, order and decency in East St. Louis and St. Clair County include every known act -in the catalog of crime.

We have selected some of the high lights that luridly illumine the landscape of crime



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