Fridley page 83

[no source, no date]
Reprinted from St. Charles, Mo., Daily Cosmos-Monitor Issue of April 9, 1941

            Farmers, whose homes have been burnt and have been made refugees by their own country, are perplexed over the Government’s action in handling the TNT land deal and in addition have lost considerable confidence in certain officials in Washington. We cannot blame them, for the series of events justifies their feelings.
            Brig. General Brehon Somervell, head of the Real Estate Section of the Quartermasters Corps, the one man who could help these people, has turned his back on them and is attempting to crush them into submission through long, drawn-out court procedure.
            Somervell’s actions and statements do not add up to American standards, at least, not those true-blooded citizens of St. Charles county have looked up to for generations. Through his office comes information that payment for 40,000 acres of land near Wilmington, Ill., has been made, although J. J. O’Brien testified before the Military Affairs committee, the prices were excessive.
            O’Brien stated the prices at Wilmington were about 15 per cent out of line while at Weldon Spring from 100 to 150 per cent above actual figures. Yet at Wilmington, the Government is paying $7,400,000, an average of $185 per acre, while at Weldon Spring the average per acre, including two communities, churches and schools, is only $159.
            Somervell, groping in the dark, has accused R. Newton McDowell of creating excitement among farmers here and intimated he was paying for the telegrams and letters of protest that have been flooding Washington. Not a single person, who failed to pay for their own message, could be found. Somervell is attempting to lay the blame on McDowell’s shoulders but he had made a feeble display.
            From his actions in handling the land transaction, this newspaper doubts his ability to hold such an important office. He is not fair. He proved that when he failed to authorize payment in full for the land and then sought recourse in court at laughable figures. For the good of the St. Charles county people and any others who might become involved in future business with Somervell, he should be removed from his office and make way for someone who would look at the situation from a humanitarian standpoint.
            Our residents cannot be frightened into submission so easily, Brig. Somervell. Keep your eyes open for you have a fight on your hands. Valid contracts, every one approved in Washington, D. C., were made with the farmers but now the Government is trying to tell the people the contracts are no good and is substituting an offer of small payments for the land. Our humble Missouri farmers know their constitutional rights, and if those rights do not hold up in this particular case, then we must look elsewhere and pray that “God Help America.”