“In his youth, Ronald Reagan lived in Dixon, Illinois. His aunt, known as “Ma” Rush, operated a confectionary at 126 East State Street, O’Fallon, and in the summer during the early to mid 1920’s, young Ronald would come visit her.
James (Jim) Tiley lived at 120 North Vine Street and William H. (Bill) Koch lived at 319 North Vine. Behind the Tiley home was a red barn and, when Ronald was in town, the three boys played together in the barn.
As the years went by, Bill Koch didn’t get excited about Ronald’s movie career, but Bill was a ‘dyed in the wool’ Republican, so in 1967 when Ronald was elected the Republican Governor of California, he was very impressed and wrote his old friend a letter of congratulations. In return, Bill received the autographed photo seen here.
Jim Tiley eventually went on to become O’Fallon’s Chief of Police. Bill Koch became Chief Clerk of the Illinois State Police District 11 Headquarters, and in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected as the Republican President of the United States.
Unfortunately, Bill Koch did not live to see Ronald become president, as he died in 1974.”
Thank you Barbara for sharing your family’s connection to the White House and history.