EARLY TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
Extracted from HISTORY OF MACON COUNTY, IL 1880 - pp. 73-78
By John Trainer, County Superintendent
THE TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
The first building erected for the purpose of a schoolhouse was constructed in 1826, on Stevens' creek, and stood about two hundred yards S. W. of the present dwellin--house of Mr. John Sawyer, in Decatur township.
What has been mentioned in regard to furniture, &c., will apply to this house: The building, has long since been torn down.
The first schoolhouse in Harristown township was erected in 1829, on Mr. James Miller's land, just south of Mr. Charles Hunsley's, in the timber.
The enterprising, teacher adopted the Turkey oil experiment of the Stevens' creek teacher,--for securing a fine mellow light, and highly commended it to others. Mr. Miller attended this school twelve days, and informs us that this was the only schooling that he ever received.
The first schoolhouse in Blue Mound township stood in the timber east of the present farm-house of Mr. Green Hill, near a fine spring of water.
Mr. Daniel McCall was the first teacher, in 1828. (Mr. McCall has the honor of being the first county judge, circuit clerk, and county clerk of Macon county). Mr. William Austin, now living, taught there in 1832.
In Hickory Point, the first school-house was built on section 34, south of Mr. Smallwood's present residence.
The first school in Friends' creek township, was taught in 1835 and 1836, on the old camp ground, north of the east fork of Friends' creek.
The first house was erected in 1838, near the present residence of D. K. Wilson, since removed two miles east, and used as a dwelling-house. We learn that this house had the extreme primitive furniture.
In Oakley township the first building was erected in 1830, near the site of the brick school-house, Dist. one, 17-3.
Mr. Alexander Patton was the first teacher; he died in 1877, near Oakley, at an advanced age.
The first school-house in Maroa township, now standing, was built about two miles west of the village of Maroa, and known as Dist. one. Mr. Alvin Woodard was the first teacher.
The first school was taught in Pleasant View township, on the N. E. quarter of the N. W. quarter of section thirty-five, Town 15, N. R. 1 E., in 1857.
The first school-house in Illini township was a frame building, erected in the year 1861, on the farm of the late D. S. Allen, a few miles north of Harristown. It has since been removed to the S. E. corner of the farm owned by J. S. Childs, two and one-half miles S. E. of Warrensburg, and is now known as the Childs' schoolhouse.
The first house was built in Macon township in 1854; Mr. Bradford Stuart was the first teacher. The house was erected one and one-half miles west of the township line, near the Shelby county boundary.
The first school in Austin township was taught by M. T. Scott in 1858, on Lake Fork. The house has since been removed, repaired, and is now known and used as the Town Hall.
The first schoolhouse erected in Whitmore township, stood on what is now known as the Union Cemetery, and was built in 1841, by free contribution of such materials as the early pioneers could afford. It was known as the Orthodox School-house, and was used as its builder designed, for common school, singing school, "spelinskule," debating societies, lecture-room, political meetings, religious meetings, and in fact everything that came along of an entertaining nature. The building has since been sold, and is now a part of a dwelling house. This building was constructed entirely of oak lumber, and "filled in between the studding with soft brick." A man named Sanford was the first teacher.
The first schoolhouse erected in Mt. Zion township, stood about three-fourths of a mile west of Mt. Zion Academy, and was built about 1840.
The first house built in Long creek township, for school purposes was erected about 1840, on the farm of John Myers, and is now owned by John Jones.
The first schoolhouse in Niantic township was built in 1847, in Dingman's Grove, on the N. E. quarter of section twenty-three, James Harper, now living in Christian county, first wielded the birch. The first sessions of the Christian Church were held in this house in 1850, and used as a place of public worship till 1854, when the Dingman Church was erected near the site of the old schoolhouse.
In most cases the school township lines do not coincide with the political township lines. This fact gives rise to a great amount of confusion, since many of the inhabitants do not understand the difference between the town, range, etc., and the proper name of the township.
The following are the names of the township treasurers as appointed by the board of trustees, in April, 1880.
Township Treasurer Post Office 14 N. R 1 E I. B. Gordon Blue Mound 14-2 B. H. Mellenry Moawequa 14-3 Hiram Johnson Moawequa 15-1 H. A. Miller Boody 15-2 R. H. Woodcock Macon 15-3 J. S. Hughes Mt. Zion 15-4 T. E. Mayes Dalton 16-1 J. B. Camp Harristown 16-2 John A. Brown Decatur 16-3 J. S. Kizer Long Creek 16-4 Samuel Bowman La Place 17-1 J.J. Batchelder Harristown 17-2 J. Y. Braden Decatur 17-3 Joshua Green Decatur 17-4 Philip Dobson Cerro Gordo 18-1 S. 0. Davis Warrensburg 18-2 Joseph Jones Maroa 18-3 W. A. Van Leer Maroa 18-4 Caleb Hedges Argenta 16-1. W. George Wroe Niantic 17-1. W. John Gordy Niantic
The law provides that treasurers be appointed for two years instead of one as formerly. They are required to give bond to the township trustees for twice the amount of funds placed in their hands, and to give additional security when required.
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