Truth and Justice Prevail

Three Royalton Men Involved

In the 1920's, a wave of lawlessness gripped Southern Illinois. Bootlegging was common, and gang violence was frightening. When the mayor of West City was murdered, Franklin County became the focus for facing the truth and bringing justice.

The Charlie Birger gang had planned the murder at Shady Rest, it's gang headquarters near Harrisburg. Charlie Birger was arrested, held in the Franklin County Jail in Benton, and brought to trial there.


 State's Attorney Roy C. Martin, Royalton, was the prosecutor in this case. The Benton Evening News stated that "Never
in the history of Franklin County has
there been a criminal prosecution in which the facts were so effectively presented and the net of evidence so completely woven about a prisoner at bar." Despite the plea of the defense attorney that Franklin County "be spared the disgrace of a hanging", Martin urged the jury to prove to the world that the Franklin County law "is bigger than Charlie Birger and his gang". AND THEY DID!

 We are thankful that people stand ready to support the law and condemn such atrocities. Guy Biby, Royalton, was such a person. This is a copy of a check he received for serving as an alternate on the Birger jury.


 Franklin County deputy, Roy Clutts, Royalton, helped in the hanging of Charlie Birger. The Benton Evening News stated that "The Benton Court House was heavily guarded by deputies, as Birger feared an
assault on the building from a rival gang". By law, he had to be protected while in custody. The expense to Franklin County was enormous.

(Above Information Taken From The 1995 Royalton Round-Up Booklet.)