The first schools in the county were subscription schools, since free education had not been started.  The usual tuition was two and 1/2 dollars per term.

The first school in what was to become Jackson County was in the dwelling of William Boon near Sand Ridge. the teacher was John Aaron.  He was also a farmer. This was about 1814/15.

In 1815 there was a school taught near Mud Creek.  The teacher was a Mr. Shaw.

The next school was the James Davis School house located where the site of Murphysboro is.  It was taught by a Mr. McMurray.  Mr. McMurray later taught a school in the Holliday settlement about three miles northeast of Murphysboro.

In the former county seat of Brownsville, Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Howe taught for several years, beginning about 1821/22.

A Mr. William McClure was an early teacher although it is not listed where he taught.

On Tuthill's Prairie was Mr. D.B. Tuthill teaching in 1835.  Some of his children followed in his footsteps.  A Miss Wells succeeded D.B. Tuthill.

In 1840 Mr. Henson became one of the pioneers in teaching.  He taught in a school house near Hiram Schwartz's place on Elk Prairie.  When he was teaching "barring out" became popular.  His pupils "barred" him out once as a means of securing the usual Christmas treat.  He went down the chimney and they seized him and tied him with their suspenders.  Since he was a very muscular man, he was easily able to break his bonds. The boys admitted defeat.  It is possible that members of the Schwartz, Kimmel, Robinson and House families were among those boys.  Jeff Phelps who became a teacher himself at Grand Tower was among them.

Dr. Cyrus Thomas was once a teacher in the county during the time he was beginning training for his work in insect science.  His wife was also a teacher.

In 1852, Mr. Ed. Newsom taught a school at Grand Tower.  It was then known as Evan's Landing.  The school house was near where the "lower furnace" is.  He also was involved in the "Twin School house" near Murphysboro.  "Some of the families wanted him to teach them a school and secured that number (of students) he wished to begin with. He began on Monday morning and taught out that week.  Meanwhile, he discovered a division in the neighborhood.  A number of families wanted another young man, and sent word to Mr. Newsom that they intended to take charge of the school house the following Monday.  He was not frightened away.  But sure enough, when he reached the house Monday morning, the other teacher was there with his pupils and patrons.  There were some words.  But Newsom and the teacher went off to themselves and sat down on a log.  They soon understood that neither was responsible for the move against the other, and they agreed to divide the house.  Newsom took half the benches and one side; the other pedagogue had the remainder.  Thus for several months the two schools ran smoothly in the same room, but under different authority."  This school became known at the "Twin Schoolhouse"

In 1857, Dr. Ford came to the county and taught for several years.



All I have been able to discover about the schools in Ava twp is that the public school was neat and comfortable in 1878 and that it was graded in two sections.  A teacher in 1870 was Prof. John M. Reeder.



The village of Campbell Hill wasn't surveyed and laid out until 1874.  The village of Bradley was deserted.  The school at Campbell Hill was built in 1877 for $1200.  In 1878 the two sons of Eli Webb were engaged in teaching but the sketch does not say where.  Thomas J. Cross, resident of Bradley Township, taught in Kinkaid township beginning in 1861. After the civil war resumed teaching but it is not clear where.



School teaching was commenced by Mr. Hamer Hanson in 1832 in a log-house, in the southwest part of the township. Mr. Hanson came to the township in 1829. and was possibly the first school teacher there.

 John Murden  taught a school in 1833 on Drury creek, in a tobacco barn on the farm of William Bradford. Mr. Murden came to the county from Yorkshire, England along with his wife, six sons and a married daughter and her husband, Sarah and Joseph Hinchcliff.

Both of these schools were subscription schools.

The School Treasurers of the township were: William Brown, who held the office for 10 to 12 years; Dr. William Richart and Samuel T. Brush who was the Treasurer in 1878.

Before 1852 Miss Eliza Ann Richart, sister of Hugh Richart, had a private school in a building on lot 28.  She was a cousin to Dr. William Richart.

In 1852, in the town of Carbondale, outlot 37 was set aside for a west side school and lot 30 for one on the east side of town.  

In 1855 the Carbondale School district was set up under the Free School Law. which included the whole of Carbondale Township.

The school built in 1857 on lot 37 was known as the Brush School. This school cost $935. and was a frame building 20 feet by 36 feet, one story high.  Mr. Edwin M. Babcock was principal at the rate of $40 for six months of the year.  Miss Helen Ross was his assistant at the rate of $30 for six months of the year.

The east side school was built in 1858 by Isaac Rapp. This school in the 1870s  was converted into a school for black children.  It was then known as the Attucks School and served the needs of the black community for many years. It was demolished in 1975.  Before that though the two schools became so large that the directors used the second story of the Richart and Campbell store building was fitted up for temporary use.  This was at the northeast corner of Main and Washington Streets.  Mr. Holbrook taught there in 1857-58.

In the year of 1858 the second story of a large grain house was leased by the directors for use as a school for advanced pupils.  This was on the west side of the square.  It opened in the fall of 1858 with a Mr. Parker as principal.  He was soon replaced by Capt. Isaac Clements who continued head of this school until he enlisted in the army in 1861.

When the Normal School (Southern Illinois University) was completed in 1874, the school known as Carbondale College discontinued operation and the building was used for an east side public school and also as a high school for the city.

The concept of "model schools" was embarked upon by both of the normal schools.  Miss Julia F. Mason was trained in the concept at the older Normal School and was brought to S.I.N.U. as principal of the model school there.  She carried alone, the graded elementary school at a salary of  $600 per year. At the peak of its three years, under her tutilage, there were 61 pupils. The 3rd year enrollment dropped to 17 due to a new tuition charge of $4. per term and the greatly improved facilities  of the Carbondale City schools.  Miss Mason resigned her principleship in 1876 and became homemaker for Prof. D.B. Parkinson.  She died in 1879 still involved with the model school.  Upon her death the model school was discontinued until 1882.

Some of the teachers of S.I.N.U. in the early years were:  Miss Essie C. Finley, Geography and Languages 1879-1893; Inez I. Green, Geography and Mathematics 1883-1897; Samuel H. Inglis, Head of Dept. of Mathematics until 1894. Mr. Inglis died 1898 after being elected superintendent of public instruction in Illinois..  James H. Brownlee, Elocution and literature 1888-ca 1899. George Hazen French 1877; Matilda F. Salter, 1885; George W. Smith, Samuel Whittington and Samuel E. Harwood joined the staff in 1893.  Carlos Eben Allen and  Henry W. Shryock in 1894. James Kirk, 1895; Adda P. Wertz, 1896;  Washington B. Davis, 1897; Mary M. NcNeil, 1897; Frank H. Colyer, 1897; H.J. Alvis, 1897.




The first school house in Degognia Township was built in 1839.  It was known as the "Hopewell School" and stood near the residence of Mr. Isom.  A Mr. Gatewood was the first teacher.  He was followed by Mr. Holworth.  In 1848, Dr. Hodge was teacher at this school.



Again, not much information.  In 1878 there was a  school house in the town of De Soto which was a two story building. It was graded in two departments.  The higher grades were taught by W.E. Young, Principal and the lower grades by Miss Sarah Saul.



The first school in Elk Township was taught in an old cheese building which had been moved to a site a short distance west of Elkville.  This was in 1836 and was taught by John  Byars.  School was begun with only one side of the roof on. Mr. Byars taught for one week and then dismissed school until the house was completely roofed.  He promised one year of service.  Log houses served for school houses as late as 1848.  A frame house was built then in a grove near the old Schwartz place.  It was also used for a church house. In 1870 and 71 a new building was built in the southern part of Elkville.  In 1878 it was under the charge of Mr. Andrew Caldwell.



The first School of the Township was taught by Miss Sarah J. Moore [aunt of Martha (Moore) Eakin]. She was also prominent in promoting the best interests of this locality, aiding in all that tended to elevate the community.  She died in 1856 and was buried in DurQuoin.  --Jackson Co., IL Portrait and Biolographical Review, 1894 --Submitted by Lee Eakin

Note: Mrs. Eakin notes that the above death date does not correspond to the death date of Sarah (Sally) which was mentioned in the Eakin/ Walker letters.


The School was opened September 9, 1901 and the following were the first teachers: Ellis H. Rogers, Principal, mathematics; Mrs. Kate Chapman, Assistant Principal, Latin and History; Roscoe C. McCormick, science; Miss Aneta Baldwin, English, French and vocal music. At the end of the first semester another teacher, Miss Harriet E. Jenkins, was added to the staff. She was assistant in mathematics and history.

Sources: 1878 History of Jackson County, History of Carbondale.

more to come!


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