Fridley page 58

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Appoint Committee of Five To Look After Interests In Case Condemnation Follows
One Man Lays Blame On Senator Clark; People Urged To Follow A Sane Course

            Landowners in the TNT area, who gathered Wednesday night for a protest mass meeting in the Weldon Spring Evangelical Church Hall, were urged to take a sane course and not do anything drastic if they hoped to win out in the land dispute with the Government.
            Former Circuit Judge B. H. Dyer addressed the crowd, estimated at 300, telling them of the meeting with Chester C. Davis, chairman of the National Defense Commission agricultural division. Dyer said it was his opinion the contracts are binding and the Government will have to take care of its obligations. He said the Government was not dealing fairly with the people and has made refugees out of them. He predicted when the true and meritorious facts are sifted out payment will be made.
            The meeting was presided over by Fred Hollenbeck, superintendent of the Howell High School. He told of people crying when they had to leave their homes but said those tears represent an added value when payment for the property is considered.
            A telegram from Congressman Cannon was read to the attendants. Cannon termed the action an outrage and violation of contract. He said conditions in the War Department are still unfavorable and he is doing everything possible to help the local people.
            A petition asking President Roosevelt to intervene and order the War Department and Attorney Generals office to make settlement immediately, was read and later signed by more than 100 land owners who have not been paid for their land.
            The petition reviewed the history of the case and then told of the condition the land owners are in as a result of the delay. The petition contended the farmers would lose a year in their occupation and found it difficult to obtain credit.
            Morris Muschany, one of the sponsors of the meeting, said Davis visited the site yesterday and announced he was 100 per cent for the landowners. Davis said the Department of Justice was interested in trying a test case within the next ten days but official information has not been received by any of the landowners.
            Davis made an effort to get an official here from Washington but [one or more lines missing]

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Owners of TNT Plant Site Adopt Plea to Roosevelt

            Indignation of the St. Charles County landowners involved in the dispute with the government as to acquisition of the property for the TNT plant surrendered to a more calm approach to the problem last night as they adopted a petition to President Roosevelt and heard encouraging reports from government officials.
            Meeting in the Evangelical Church at Weldon Springs, these owners of the 140-odd parcels of land whose options have been canceled by the War Department because of “excessive prices,” heard a telegram from their Congressman, Clarence Cannon, read, in which he declared the cancellation was an outrage and assured the landowners he is trying to arrange for “prompt compliance with the contract.”
            The petition to the President, signed by 94 of the 350 persons attending, asked him to order the War Department and the Attorney General to make the payments for the land as stipulated in the contract; claimed the contracts were binding; pointed out many of the farmers have purchased other homesites and paid earnest money and concluded with the comment that it is now seeding time and unless “something is done, we will lose a year in our vocation.”
            Copies of the petition were sent to Senators Clark and Truman and Congressman Cannon.
            The landowners were told that Chester C. Davis, chairman of the National Defense Commission’s agricultural division, visited the site yesterday and said he was for payment of the option prices in full. Fred Hollenbeck, chairman of the meeting, told of some of the farmers weeping when leaving the land where their ancestors settled, “and these tears were added value in considering the price.” Former Circuit Judge B. H. Dyer said it is his opinion the contracts are binding, but admonished the farmers against any drastic action.