Development of the Schools

School Names
When the school districts were being formed in Greene County, people in the school districts had high hopes for their school and took an interest in the naming of the school. In nearly all instances the school was named for same physical feature on the landscape or carried the neighborhood name. The names of trees and groves were always good names. Pin Oak, White Oak, Elm Dale, Bending Oak, Birch, Elm Grove, Locust Grove, Union Grove, Walnut Grove, Walnut Hill, Maple Grove, Oak Grove, .... Schools were also named after the towns and neighborhoods. There was Kemper, Pleasant Hill, Felter, Damn, Jericho, Highstreet, etc.
Most of the official names stuck especially when named after a family of a settlement. Pinhook School, in Wright township, was known by that name first, last, and always. Brush College in Woodville township and Swan College in Carrollton township always retained their names. My first 4 years of school was at Pacific Union School in Bluffdale township. At home this was always Pacific Union, but every other family in the district knew it as Whistle Jack.
In Linder township, after much trouble naming Broughs School, it was still commonly known as Buzzards Glory. Spencer School, in Athensville township, was known as Pumpkin Valley. Golden Era School, near Roodhouse, was forever known as Leatherhead. Mt. Hope was known as Jump Stump. Everyone knew that Mt. Airy was Lick Skillet, and Batty was actually Back Behind. My dad always talked about Dog Tail, Tar Hollar, Rough Edge and Hardscrabble. Probably today he couldn't point them out by their proper names of Christian Grove, Pleasant Dale, Pleasant Grove and Elm Dale.
Today school teams attach names to their schools such as the Eagles, Warriors, Lions, ... to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents, but the modern names lack the character of old. Just imagine: The Hardscrabble Hardrocks vs The Tar Hollar Tar Pots; and, The Whistle Jacket Jack Legs vs Rough Edge Rowdies; and, consider "Three cheers for the Jump Stump, Stump Jumpers!" Now try yelling that three times.
Local Public Schools Developed Slowly Over Period of 100 Years
It's schools have always been "The Pride of Carrollton." Even back in 1852, when the severely plain two-story frame school house, with four school rooms and a little square belfry on top, was erected on the southeast corner of the block on which the county jail was built seven years later. The account of the dedication of that building printed in the local paper referred to it as "our splendid public school edifice," and declared that every citizen present felt profound gratification that "our town can boast of such a structure devoted to the cause of education."
Schools there were of a sort, back in the very early days of the village—the "loud school" in which the pupils all studied aloud in a babel of confusion, as described by the late Samuel Willard, who was a boy here in the 1830s. Julius Willard, Samuel's father, conducted a school on more civilized lines, and introduced the use of a blackboard. Those early schools were sustained solely by subscription, parents paying a quarterly fee for tuition.
The first so-called "public school" was opened in 1850 by William Bartle, afterward a Presbyterian minister. Bartle's strong anti-slavery views, quite openly expressed, were unpopular in this community, and he was dismissed within the year.
John Russell, who had previously won distinction as an author and educator, and had been editor of the first newspaper in Greene County, opened the school in the fall of 1851, with Henry Bonfoy as assistant, and Miss E. J. Gunning in charge of the "female department."
Old Frame School House
The frame school building, already referred to, was then under construction and was dedicated early in June, 1852. Henry Bonfoy succeeded John Russell as principal the following year.
The public school of that period, and for years afterward, was modeled more on the line of the old academy than that of the present graded school system. School announcements printed then indicate that comparatively little attention was, given to primary education, more stress being laid upon, Latin, Greek, French, geometry, etc. Tuition fees varying from $1.00 to $4.00 a quarter, were charged, but pupils residing in the district received the benefit of the school fund. The school must have been supported largely by tuition payments, as it appears from the records that not until 1855 was the school tax regularly levied.
In 1855 David G. Peabody came out from Vermont and became principal of the school at a salary of $600, and his sister, Miss Hannah G. Peabody, came as his assistant. The latter continued as a teacher here for 31 years, and many who became prominent in Carrollton affairs were her pupils. Chas. K. Gilchrist, later a distinguished jurist of Utah, was principal in 1857-8. He was succeeded by Dr. Justus Bulkley, later of Shurtleff college, Upper Alton, who taught here two winters. Francis W. Parker made the start of a famous career in education, as principal of the school in 1860. He resigned to go into the Civil war, and later originated what was known as the "Quincy system" at Quincy, Massachusetts; afterward was principal of the Cook County Normal of Chicago. Alfred Harvey, also widely known as a teacher in later years, succeeded Parker.
Second Pride of Carrollton
The public school endured the proximity of the county jail on an adjacent corner of the block for eleven years, and then, in 1870, the second “Pride of Carrollton” was erected on the present school grounds. The school board at that time was composed of George W. Davis, Thos. H. Boyd and Elder E. L. Craig. Measured by architectural standards of that time, it was a magnificent building, three stories, a basement and a mansard roof, and it cost $44,000. It continued to be looked upon with pride by Carrollton people for eighteen years, and then on the night of Nov. 16, 1888, it burned. It has since been described as a veritable fire-trap, its flights of stairs, a menace to health, and the incendiary was credited with some degree of humanity for setting fire to it in the night and thus saving several hundred lives. The beauty of that building had never been spoiled by the preparedness of fire escapes.
Going back to the beginning of that eighteen-year period, Joseph Dobbin, then principal, transferred the pupils to that building in January, 1871. W. H. Wilson was principal in the school year of 1871-2.
High School Organized in 1872
In the fall of 1872 E. A. Doolittle became principal, and effected the complete organization of the High School. He continued at the head of the school for seven years. A number of elderly people in Carrollton now have pleasant memories of their school days during that period.
Following Mr. Doolittle, J. S. Kenyon was principal for three years, and in 1882 he was succeeded by David Felmley, who had been assistant principal under him. Mr. Felmley continued as principal for eight years, resigning in 1890 to accept the chair of mathematics in the State Normal University, of which institution he was afterward president for a number of years.
New Building, Phoenix-Like
In the meantime, fire destroyed the school building in November, 1888, and steps were taken at once to replace it with a more modern structure. With $16,875 from the insurance, $12,000 bonds voted by the people, and Principal Felmley superintending the job, the board of education erected what is the main west front of the present building. The building, completed and occupied by the school January 20, 1890, showed a marked change in architecture, with its large bays and steep gables, its splendid stone arched entrance, less dignified, perhaps, but altogether a poem in brick and stone.
Upon the resignation of Mr. Felmley in 1890, Clyde Stone was promoted form the position of first assistant to that of principal, continuing as head of the school for nine years. He is the only graduate of the High School who has ever attained that position. He was a member of the class of 1883, and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1888.
From 1899 to 1903 the school was in charge of E. A. Thornhill, a graduate of the State Normal and of Havard University. Up to this time the High School course covered only three years, with an additional year for students taking Latin. Under Mr. Thornhill the course was raised to full four years, with German added.
A. B. Carroll followed Mr. Thornhill for one year, and was succeeded by J. R. Sparks, who was the first to be offically styled superintendent, the title of "principal" now falling to the first assistant. This change was made to conform to general usage throughout the state. During Mr. Sparks' regime of two years (1905 and 1906) manual training and domestic science were introduced into the curriculum.
Doolittle Again Heads School
Many friends and former students of the school started a movement to ask E. A. Doolittle to again take charge of the school. He consented to do so, and in the fall of 1907 he returned to the position he had resigned 26 years before to enter law practice. Many of his former pupils believed that his return saved the prestige of the school.
The school ran along smoothly for thirteen more years under Superintendent Doolittle, making a total of twenty years in his two periods as head of the school. In the spring of 1919, he refused to be considered for reappointment, and at the commencement handed diplomas to his twentieth class.
T. H. Cobb became superintendent in the fall of 1919, and served three years. During the next eight years superintendents were:
J. G. Pollard, one year, 1922-3.
H. H. David, one year, 1923-4.
E. T. Jackson, three years, 1924-5 to 1926-7.
Reuben Ebert, two years, 1927-8 and 1928-9.
P. M. Tinsley, one year, 1929-30.
Supt. Hanson Since 1930
In September, 1930, Abel A. Hanson, the present superintendent, came to the school. He is now completing his eighth year, and his administration has been eminently satisfactory. Before coming to Carrollton, Mr. Hanson had been a teacher for seven years, three years as superintendent of the grade school at Paxton, and had received his degree of B. Ed. at the State Normal University in June, 1930. He has taken summer courses at the University of Illinois nearly every year since then.
The need for more room was felt more than a dozen years ago. Bonds were voted, and in May, 1926, the contract was let for a large addition to the building, 45x125 feet. This addition nearly doubled the High School assembly room, provided a large gymnasium, used also for entertainments, commencements, etc., domestic science and other class rooms and numerous other improvements. The total cost, including plumbing, heat and ventilating was $66,222.
The enrollment in the school at the beginning of the year, last September was: High School 207, grades 232.
Rural Schools Uplift
[unknown source, pages 229 - 231] Another installment of County Superintendent Scott’s notes on rural schools that have made the necessary improvements to comply with the new sanitation law is given below. These improved conditions not only put the schools in shape to do better work by making the health of pupils safer and better, but they have an important influence upon the community. A recent issue of the Educational Press Bulletin comments on this point as follows:
“It is not too much to expect that the campaign that is now going forward for better sanitary conditions in rural schools will influence the communities which send children to these better schools. When a board of directors is required to see that the water which the pupils drink is free from contamination that requirement will be discussed throughout the community and it will lead to the examination of many well or leaky cistern which is being used by some farmer and his family. The requirement that all outhouses shall be screened from flies and that the reservoir shall be made watertight so that no contamination is possible, will lead to a study of this question in every country home. The outbreaks of typhoid fever in rural districts can be traced very directly to the carelessness of country people with respect to their outhouses.
“People who live in the open country are very negligent respecting questions of ventilation. During the summer months they live so much in the open that the question of pure air inside their homes and churches and schoolhouses does not appeal to them as being a large question. Mr. Gulick has facetiously said: ‘The reason there is so much good air in the open country is that the people keep all the bad air shut up in their homes and churches and schoolhouses.’ There is good reason to believe that one of the direct results of the sanitation law will be a widespread study of these requirements in all rural communities and a much more general conformity to these principles by farming communities in their own homes.”
White Oaks, District 24, Miss Ina Secor, teacher. This school has made all the necessary improvements to meet the requirements of the sanitation law. All it lacked before the law was passed was outhouses of the proper kind, and these were provided last summer.
Swamp College, District 67, Miss Nellie Gibler, teacher. During the school term last year the old frame building in this district was destroyed by fire. Last summer a new brick building was erected on the same site at a cost of more than $2000. A dry and well lighted basement is under the whole building, and this provides a fine place for the children to play in stormy weather. In this basement is also a hot air furnace, with coal bin conveniently placed. The house faces north, with entrance and separate cloak rooms for boys and girls. Has a roomy well lighted study room, also a library room. The pupils face west with all light from the south. This building is the final word in rural school architecture, and the directors are to be heartily congratulated for having built it.
Greene Summit, District 40, Wiley E. Berry, teacher. This is now a standard school. Mr. Berry has taught here continuously for four or five years, and each year, with the cooperation of a good board of directors, has added something in the way of improvements. Last summer new outhouses were built, and the school now meets all requirements of the sanitation law.
Woodbury, District 52, Miss Leontine Sharon, teacher. New single seats of the proper sizes and arrangement have been put in at this school and new outhouses have been built. The school has a fine well and good drainage.
Brush College, District 54, Miss Verna Schroder, teacher. This school has made decided improvements throughout. A new flue connecting with a modern heater and ventilating system, and new single seats of proper sizes have been installed. New outhouses have been built and the well has been improved. The school now meets the requirements to every respect.
Pleasant Grove, District 75, Miss Gladys King, teacher. This school already had a good, well lighted building, furnished with single seats of proper sizes. Last summer a new flue was built, and a heater with ventilation system attached was in stalled. The school has a cistern on which some improvements were made.
South Lincoln, District 60, Miss Myrtle Greaves, teacher. This school is located close to Macoupin creek, and during the floods the water rose in the building almost to the window sills, ruining the seats, library, stove, floor and in fact almost everything in the school room. Last summer a new floor was put over the old one, new singles seats and a new stove were installed. The directors intend to make further improvements as they can.
Hay Press, District 86, Chas. Sackett, teacher. This is a good new building, erected four or five years ago. Very substantial improvements were made last summer, including a new flue for heater and ventilation system, new single seats of proper size and outhouses of the right kind. The school has no well, but the improvements made bring it up to the requirements.
Keach, District 87, Miss Zerilda Bushnell, teacher. This is a new building erected a year and a half ago, at a cost of some $1200 or $1500. It is built according to model plane furnished by the state department of public instruction. The pupils face east with the light coming from the north and on their left. Building faces south with entrance and separate cloak rooms for boys and girls. Heater with ventilation system is installed in the northwest corner. The well is tightly covered and properly drained. New concrete walks have been built to the well and coal house. The school meets the requirements.
Robley, District 85, Miss Clover Robley, teacher. This house is old and too small for the number of pupils that attend. A good new flue has been built and a heater and ventilation system installed. New single seats have taken the place of the old double seats. A good new coal and outhouses have been built. These much-needed improvements have brought the school up to the requirements.

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