Jail History

Jail conditions 1816

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Sheriff John Hays was terse in his dissatisfaction with the St. Clair County jail two years after the courthouse was moved in 1814 from Cahokia to Belleville. Facilities were meager in the early years. A jail wasn't built until four years after the sheriff's protest. The first courthouse was also completed that year.

This was a one line entry in a book that recorded the items considered by the county commissioners. Subsequent entries in 1817 mention a new jail and in 1820 bids are sought. There was a delay of several months and then a new jail was built by William Graves for $2,434.00. The commissioners approved paying him that amount on September 20, 1820.

John Hays was Sheriff from 1802 until 1819. 

From the Gustave Koerner House on Face Book


Superintendant William Voegtle

William Voegtle was Work House Superintendent during the tenures of Sheriffs, Mulcounery,  Mellon and Petri. He served as deputy under Sheriff Cashel.

  • Birth 27 Jul 1877 Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 27 Jul 1919 Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA
  • Burial Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA
  • Plot S 1/2 135 1st Add. Gr 1
  • 149496417_1437326788

Inside the Jail, 1933

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This photo was taken inside the County Jail on April 13, 1933. The man in the center of the photograph is Addison Throop. In 1933, Throop was Chairman of the Tax Board of Review. He was also recognized as the leading authority on Cahokia Mounds.

Standing on the right is Tony Wondolowski. Tony was known for being dapper and stylish. He lived on North 7th Street in East St. Louis. Tony could not drive so he was limited to work inside the jail only.

On the left is a deputy. We have not been able to read his name. We believe his first name is Warner. he lived in Mascoutah.

The photograph was taken by L. A. Cavagnaro from the St. Louis Star and Times.

The photograph was provided by Mr. D. A. Wodolowski of Collinsville, Illinois.

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