The photo above is as it appeared in 1942

Among all the institutions in town, probably none have a more varied and complex history than has the Milledgeville Public School. In the early days of its history, there was no building for its special use, and private houses were the seats of government. The first school ever taught here was in the summer or fall of 1847 by Miss Miriam Whitney, of Belvidere. Parts of different houses were given up for school purposes, one of them being located near S. V. Hendrick's present residence. Here J. T. DeGroff taught in the winter of 1849-50. Miss Mary Small, 1850-1851, and Nelson Fletcher from 1851-1852, where Dr. Walters now lives. Later a part of the building in which James Gunder now resides, stood on the bank of the Elkhorn near where Joseph Roderick now lives. Several additions have been made to the house since then. At that time it contained but one small room. It was in these classic halls that the children of 1851 first studied their a, b, abs. Among them were Tom McKilbins and LeRoy Chase. One of the present organizations in town is named in honor of the latter, who was killed in the Civil War. Miss Julia Morse was their teacher. Miss Morse taught in after years in Milledgeville and in many schools in this and Whiteside Co. She afterwards became Mrs. Seymore, and died in the early part of last fall, in St. Louis. A part of her life was spent in New Mexico.

For the next four years school was held in a grout school house situated on the lots now owned by Mrs. Allicson. They were one block south of the hotel, then known as the DeSota House. This school house was built in 1852, and was the first one built under the school law. Its cost was $400. Religious meetings were also held here for some time as there were no churches in town at that time. Some of the wielders of the birch here were Michael SMith and William Quivey, farmers in the vicinity previous to their pedagogical career. Paul Chase, Josephine Bushnell, and Mattie Drake also taught about this time. Some of the pupils who attended there were the DeGroff boys, Jasper and H. M. Fleming, the Miss Danes, William Lawton, Chas. Morse and others. This grout building was abandoned after a few years on account of its unsafe condition.

The next place of learning was Chas. Gaylord's present residence. Miss Franc Lawton was the first teacher, having commenced her term in the old grout school house, and finished it here. School was now held in different buildings around town, one being located near where Prof. Shirk now resides, and another where Mr. Fargusson's barn stands. A Mr. Colehour, from Mt. Carroll, was one of the teachers; also "Gabe" McKeen, well known in the community, now residing in St. Louis. Miss Morse at this time taught select school. These select schools, as they were termed were a sort of private school that was organized occasionally and managed entirely by the teacher. Tuition was paid by those who attended. The public schools were, of course in session at the same time. The upper part of the old hotel (now the Walters' House) was first occupied for school purposes in the winter of 1858-1859. Ephram Brock and Clementine Ingersoll were the teachers. There was about one room, however, and the benches were but temporary ones. The furnishings of the school rooms were of the very plainest in these days. In fact, there was little furniture in the room except the care benches with pen-knife ornamentations. No pictures adorned the walls, and there were no papered ceilings unless, perchance the paper wads thrown up by mischievous boys, could be said to answer that purpose. The customs of the ferule, dunce block and "clothes pins on the ears,"punishment for misdemeanors were gradually fading out of use, even at this time. The partitions were now put in and the room was resented.

Mr. Hart next became Principal and Miss Jane Terwilleger primary teacher. The school was quite large about this time. Mrs. G. F. VanVechten took charge of the school next. Her home is now in Cedar Rapids, Ia. Miss Hebbard an energetic teacher from N. Y. State held the position in 1859-1860. The next year mIss Hebbard taught select school down stairs in this same building, and a Miss Ethridge taught the public school upstairs. Miss Priscie Vary, also from N. Y. next guides the destinies of the young Milledgevillains. During this time there occurred a Teachers' Institute in our little village. It held a week's session and being an extraordinary event for that time and in this place it caused quite an excitement. Dr. Shuner and other noted school workers were in attendance and it was pronounced a success ________. After Miss Vary came Mary L Hathaway from Savanna. Miss H. afterward married and is now deceased. She has two sisters, now residing in Savanna, Miss Hattie and Mrs. Corbett, Dr. J. H. Ely, well known throughout this and adjoining counties, having taught at Mt. Carroll and at Sabula, Ia., was principal of our school at two or three different times.

Edgar Millard, who afterward became Co. Supt. also held that position. In 1869-1870 Dallas Wick of Coleta, and later Mr. Hichs taught, also a Miss Anthony. Then came John H. Grossman, who had our school in charge altogether about eight years. One year he spent in Coleta and his position was occupied by Will Johnson. Returning, he remained here until succeeded by T. N. Fleming. The new school house was occupied while Mr. Grossman was principal. It was built in 1877 by Harvey Conaway. Its cost was $6000. In the early days of the school it was quite customary to hire the teachers only for a term of three months. This made the number of changes numerous and rather difficult to trace. Some of the primary teachers for several years preceding this time, though not in their exact order were: Kate Herald (Mrs. Lewis Hendrick). Kate McKibben, Gertie Stiles, Emile Humphrey, Nettie Fuller, Marianna DeWolfe, Lydia Ransom, Leila Russell (Mrs. George Hubbard). Hattie Steffens, Angenora Wick, Mary Long, Clara Healy and Clara Manly. Miss Hattie Ankeny (Mrs. F. J. Greenawalt) was the primary teacher while J. Grossman was principal. Ella Bell succeeded her and has held the position until the past year. Willard Kelly, popularly known in this vicinity, now of Oklahoma, was Principal for some time. Then came T. T. WIlson from Rochelle. He taught but one year. He was assisted by Grace Wiley as INtermediate teacher and Miss Bell, primary. Helen A. Young, now of Chicago, and Josephine North were the next high School and INtermediate teachers. Miss Young was succeeded by A. T. Cowan, principal and Miss North by Fannie Gray. Anna L. Beaty taught the Grammar room last year, a department added September 1894.

The schools are now under the management of J. H. Shirk, principal; Miss Clemmer, grammar grade; Stella Gault, Intermediate and Anna J. Beattie primary. In 1890 a course of study was adopted and in June 1891 three young ladies Cora Barber, Mamie Fletcher and Clara Snell, graduated from the High School. In June, 1892 Adelia Wood and Nellie Purcell, now Mrs. Taylor, were the graduates, and last June the following young people received diplomas from this place of learning; Pearl McPherson, Frank Purcell, Cora Sunderland, Carrie Spanogle, Laura Goshert, Flossie Merriam, Lottie Heth, Grace Williams, Alice Livengood, Millie Bigbee, Amy Hendrick, Emeline Busell and Dora Barthel, William Eitemiller, Whitney Inman, and A. B. Puterbaugh constitute the school board and during the past year steam radiators have been placed is the various rooms and hall ways, a fine library placed in the High Room, and many minor improvements, making the Milledgeville Public School building one of the best furnished educational institutions in Carroll County.
Contributed by Karen Fyock


Rev. Holloway Gives talk To Milledgevile 8th Gradel Class

Sterling Gazette 28 May 1932 - Contributed by Margaret Mangers

A large crowd attended the graduation of the eighth grade puples of Milledgeville grade school Thursday evening. The Rev. B. C. gave a splendid address on “Backbone or Wishbone.”

Eva allen gave a short talk, “Hello”, TELLING SOMETHING ABOUT THE English work in Hunior high. Mary Sue Magill told of the art and music in Junior high in “Color.” Fay Coleman then told about the manual training department in a shot talk entitled, “Handy Andy.” A piano solo by Cora Ewers and two musical reading, which were greatly enjoyed, closed the program.

Mr. Hoff then presented the class to Mrs. G. B. Teets, president of the board of education, who in a few well chosen words presented the class with their diplomas.

The class roll follows:

Eva Allen Wendell Blackburn Donald Bogott Lillian Bowders
Arman Bushman Margaret Chambers Fay Coleman Harty Crawford
Donald Dennis Virginia Eastabrook Cors Ewers Roy Ferris
Harland Gleen Caroline Goldthorpe Dorrance Hawkins ehard Kempers
Mary Sue Magill ALice McKean Erwin Schreiner Donald Sprecher
Eleanor Woodring      

May 22, 1941 Milledgeville Free Press
Laverne Edwards, for the past five years principal at Franklin Grove will fill the vacancy in the MIlledgeville grade school caused by the resignation of A. J. Litwiller. It has been announced that Miss Mildred Fink of Chadwick, who has been a member of the Milledgeville grade school faculty for many years, has accepted a position on the Polo grade school faculty. Miss Madeline Dickerson will go to Libertyville where she has accepted a position on the school faculty there. Miss Lois Piatt and Miss Geneva Blacker will not return to the high school faculty. (Contributed by Karen Fyock)

January 29, 1947
A bolt of lightning which struck the roof of the 72 year old Milledgeville Grade School at approximately 7:45 p.m. last night caused flames which destroyed the building and all the equipment, books and children's possessions left in it in 75 minutes. The loss was estimated at $50,000 but it was reported last night that the building was insured. A two-story frame structure, the building consisted of nine rooms and two hallways.

Ralph Goldthorpe who lives across the street saw the bolt hit the roof and the sheet of flames which immediately enveloped it. He and George Cook notified the local telephone operator, Mrs. Ben Schultz who called for assistance from Sterling and Chadwick after calling the Milledgeville Fire Department.

The Sterling and Polo fire trucks were unable to reach Milledgeville because of blocked roads. The Sterling truck stalled in a snow drift on route 88 two miles south of Milledgeville on the Carroll-Whiteside county line. When the fight to save the building became hopeless the firemen sprayed adjoining homes and buildings to prevent the spread of the flames by embers carried in the wind and volunteer fire watchers were stationed on rooftops throughout the village during the night to guard against further outbreaks.

The school was built in 1875 and served as both a high and grade school until the present high school was constructed in 1920. Laverne Edwards, principal, was quoted last night as saying that no plans for the continuance of classes in another building have yet been made.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph 30 January 1947.