August "Shorty" Schilletter

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Augustus "Shorty" Schilletter (March 25, 1865 - November 28, 1929) must rank as one of Clemson's top rogues.

Serving as dining hall steward from Clemson's earliest days, Schilletter scammed the college for thousands of dollars annually for fifteen years until President Walter Merritt Riggs hired a private detective out of his own pocket in 1912 so that no school funds would be involved, and Schilletter's little enterprise was uncovered. In the spring of 1902, pilferage on campus had been detected and the Board of Trustees hired a private detective to try to identify those responsible. But suspecting the faculty as ring-leaders, he focused on the professors and turned up - well, pretty much nothing.

Once the real culprit was identified, not wanting to bring undue attention to the college, Riggs handled the matter internally, not bringing charges against "Shorty", but removing him from the supply chain and cashbox. On June 19 of 1912, President Riggs informed Senator and Trustee Benjamin Tillman that Schilletter "must have knocked down between five and eight thousand dollars a year. This was during the time he was allowed to purchase thirty to forty thousand dollars worth of supplies used in the mess hall."<ref> Riggs, Walter M., letter to Senator Benjamin R. Tillman, Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, Clemson, S.C., 19 June 1912, pages 1-2.</ref> At this time, Riggs' salary is $3,500 per annum. Schilletter was generally well-liked on campus and he would remain an employee until Riggs eased him out in 1919. After his departure from campus, Schilletter opened a bakery (in the location of the current TD's) in the Clemson community (it was not officially Clemson until 1943) and advertised in the early 1920s in The Tiger.

So effective was President Riggs' cover-up of the scandal, that a dining hall was erected on campus in 1968 on East Campus, named for the scamp.

Schilletter, 64, suffered a heart attack during the second quarter of the Clemson-Furman football game, November 28, 1929, while sitting on the bench with the Clemson players, just prior to the play that led to the Clemson touchdown. Schilletter, who served as mess steward at Clemson from 1893 to 1919, had suffered from heart disease for several years. (The Tiger, "Augustus Schilletter Dies At Game", Wednesday, 4 December 1929, Volume XXV, Number 12, page 1.) He is buried in Woodland Cemetery.


[edit] References

  • Grubb, C. Allen, "The Master Executive Walter Merritt Riggs, 1910-1924", "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", McKale, Donald M., editor, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, pages 108-109.
  • Riggs, Walter M., letter to Senator Benjamin R. Tillman, Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, Clemson, S.C., 19 June 1912, pages 1-2.
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