By Charlie Feldman
The recent goat sightings in Troy are the latest in a series of many going back to the earliest days of this city. Too many, if you look through our old newspapers.
And so strategically spaced out over time that if you weren’t one of the many conspiracy-minded people you meet these days, you would hardly notice that all this could be a horrible plan by the goats to take over Troy.
Consider the following facts … and despair.
• On Thursday, September 19, 1985, less than a week after a Purina Feeds grand opening at the Toberman-Troy Grain Company involving things to eat, police were called in to deal with a mysterious goat-like figure that had been appearing and running away for the past several days. As long as it was in Troy it was in their jurisdiction but every time it ran it became a county problem instead.
The animal had been trying very hard to get into the new Jim Lyons Insurance building on several occasions too. Peeking through windows. Battering the door with its horns. What did it really want? What mysterious hunger kept driving the pitiless animal to try to find out what was behind those goat-damaged doors?
• Five years later, after some mysterious force had been munching on Troy’s fruit trees, shrubs and cornstalks for some time, the Times-Tribune reported the capture of the creature. Someone had finally trapped it overnight in their barn.
It was a stray goat up to no good. And nobody knew where it came from. Do you?
Lost goats – often family pets – are reported from time to time in the city of Troy. December 2014. February 1998,
And not just in our era. Another pet terrified an entire neighborhood in our county, according to the August 14, 1922 edition of the Alton Evening Telegraph.
A typical day of terror for this goat would begin with a snack of silk shirts and hosiery on Wash Day. It would butt down clothesline props, letting the lines sag, in order to reach the daintier articles of clothing.
Next it would go around the neighborhood pushing open wooden doors or forcing its way through screens until it found a tablecloth. After chewing a few holes in it, the goat would pull it down until dishes and food came crashing to the floor. Then it would go on an eating frenzy. It did this in house after house on a regular basis.
Nobody would approach him because he had butting powers that made everybody afraid to interfere, said the newspaper, and when he came upon the scene he was monarch of all he surveyed.
Finally the Alton Police sent an ambulance to fetch the goat and its owner, who by now was facing charges. It came back empty. Nobody wanted to put the goat inside the vehicle for fear of what it would do. The owner turned himself in later, was arrested and paid a one dollar fine and costs.
The fate of the goat has never been reported. But I understand that cookouts were popular back then.
As late as the 1960s, Alton used to be the center of unauthorized goatery. One showed up in a family’s yard in 1960 and never went away. And on April 17, 1964, a pair of stray Angora goats living in a cave in the bluffs that had wandered into Alton’s Clifton Terrace neighborhood became a little too friendly, spying on residents through patio doors and teaming up to chase away scary dogs. When they started eating the landscaping, that was going a little too far, according to the Alton Evening Telegraph. They were shipped off to Grant’s Farm.
But now that city has passed the torch to Troy and its surrounding environs.
And it’s not just the goats.
Rescue crews captured a 300-pound runaway ostrich near O’Fallon after an almost six-hour effort on August 4. It was spotted running through a soybean field and right into a 15-foot ravine. It later died of its injuries. Where was it really going and what it intended to do when it got there is one of nature’s unanswered mysteries.
What do these goats want? Why won’t they leave us alone? Do they know something we should know?