Carroll County
Illinois

COTTON POINT SCHOOL
The Goodly Heritage - Sequincentennial Edition 1968

The teachers and patrons of the Cotton Point school located two miles north of Milledgeville held their first reunion July 30, 1908. Although the weather was warm, the rustling leaves of the cottonwood trees provided ample shade.

David Copp Busell called the meeting to order. He had been state representative for two terms (1896-1900). Born in Sandwich. IL in 1837, he came with his parents and settled on a farm across the road from the school. He taught several years at this school and was school treasurer for thirty years, supervisor of Wysox township fourteen years, a vice-president of the Carroll County Old Settlers Association since its organization, president of The First National Bank at Lanark and Wysox Township Mutual Insurance Company, vice-president of the telephone company and trustee of the Methodist church.

His daughter, Ella (Mrs. C. A. Spanogle welcomed the large group and said of the school: "The district school of years ago was the social center, its 'spellin' school' and its 'singin' school' were the events of the season, and when literary offerings and debates were held, interest was at its height. Questions of state and national importance were decided in the country schoolhouses.

"Today the basket social and amateur play have taken their place. Which was enjoyed the most, which the most value? "The world is ever searching for something new and tomorrow our entertainment of today will seem as out of date as the spelling school and debate."

C. W. Allison, a former teacher responded.

D. C. Busell told the history of the school: "This school was formerly known as District Number 1," he said, "afterwards as the Cotton Point district because of its cottonwood trees. A few years ago, a county numbering was made and now its number is 94. The date of the formation of the district is unknown as no record has been found of the organization to the township into school districts.

"Nathaniel Eastabrooks remembers helping haul logs to the Thorpe saw mill to be sawed into lumber for siding the first schoolhouse, the site of which was just across the ravine south of the residence on the Ruggles Fletcher farm.

"He also remembers keeping up the fire one night to prevent the plaster from freezing. As he had no sweetheart to assist him, he has no data to fix the date. It is probable that Mrs. Stone, familiarly known as Aunt Eliza Stone, whom the older people will remember, was the first teacher.

"The district at that time contained much territory of what is now known as the Thicket District. The Spaulding and Hunter farms were in the district at that time.

"A change in the boundaries was made in 1855; a new school site had to be chosen. There was considerable contention, but it was finally settled in the selection of the present site and a new schoolhouse, the one now in use was erected in the summer of 1856, and was first used in the fall of that year.

"It was the custom at that time to have summer and winter school, the summer term being taught by female teachers and the winter by males. This custom was continued for many years."

This speech as reported in the Tri-County Press of Polo, continued with a list of teachers through 1874.

Cotton Point schoolhouse was torn down about twenty years ago, and the Busell residence seven years before. Larry Buffington, Busell's grandson, now lives on the farm. David Copp Busell died in 1919 aged eighty-two.

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