Genealogy Trails

EARLY SCHOOLS OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY

Transcribed from the book
"Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois"
Originally published by F.A. Battey & Co., Chicago Ill.



    Schools were no more popular than churches at first. Much of the delay must be accounted for on the ground of difficulties almost impossible to overcome, but early schools, above all other considerations, requires that “there be first a willing mind.” There was a school opened as early as 1828, just north of the county-line, and children attended it from miles around. It was probably 1840 before one was built in Cumberland County territory. This was known as the Owen schoolhouse, from the fact that Jephtha Owen taught singing-school here several seasons. Among the early teachers in the county was Benjamin Aleshire, who commenced about this time and taught more or less for fifteen years. A. J. Busick was an early teacher, also E. H. Starkweather. The latter was a native of Vermont, and was generally known as a “blue­bellied Yankee.” He taught school in his own cabin for years. Greenup had a very early schoolhouse, perhaps earlier than 1840. It also had the first brick schoolhouse. From time to time, the various neighborhoods erected buildings for their schools, and in 1850 there were seventeen in the county. From the reports are gathered the following statistics, which indicate the growth of this factor in the county's development:
In 1867, there were 72 school houses, and 4 new ones built; 4,192 pupils enrolled, and $22,475.19 expended for school purposes.
In 1871, the statistics were, 76 schoolhouses, and 8 new ones; 5,293 pupils, and $21,406.65 expended.
1872,     76 old and 3 new houses; 5,610 pupils, and $24,289.09 expended.
1873,     77 old and 3 new houses; 4,234 pupils, and $25,331.10 expended.
1874,     82 old and 2 new houses; 3,827 pupils, and $21,330.03 expended.
1877,     85 old and 5 new houses; 4,198 pupils, and $21,800.91 expended;
Estimated value of school property, $39,881.
1878, 87 old and 5 new houses; 5,060. pupils, and $24,501.14 expended; property valued at $38,923.
1879, 76 old and no new buildings; 3,849 pupils, and $23,­882.76    expended; value, $31,879.50.
1880, 86 old and 2 new houses; 4,406 pupils and $23,059.62; value of property, $31,844
1881, 87 “ “       3    “    “         5,525    “    “       20,732.24;    “    “                   37,955
1882, 86 “ “       5    “    “         3,906    “    “       28,650.90;    “    “                   40,944
1883, 73 ‘          3    “    “         3,931    “    “       28,722.92;    “    “                   47,567

    In the matter of improvement of buildings, the reports show that in
1873 there were 3 brick, 59 frame and 16 log schoolhouses in the county.
1874, 2 brick, 66 frame and 14 log;
1877, 3 brick, 67 frame, 13 Log;
1878, 5 brick. 66 frame, 14 log;
1879, 5 brick, 65 frame, 16 log;
1880, 6 brick, 66 frame, 14 log;
1881, 5 brick, 70 frame, 12 log;
1882, 7 brick, 70 frame, 9 log;
1883, 7 brick, 60 frame, 6 log.
In regard to these statistics it should be said that they are compiled from the Township Treasurer’s reports, by the County Superintendent of Schools. There are some inconsistencies, which will be readily discovered, but they will serve to show approximately how the school interest has progressed There are graded schools in Toledo, Greenup, Jewett and Neoga. The school at the county—seat occupied for nearly twenty years a two-story frame building, which is now doing service as a dwelling. In 1881, the present brick structure was erected. It has four rooms, but the school now has but three departments. At Neoga, a two-story frame building was erected in 1867, and two years later a wing was added, furnishing four schoolrooms. In 1879, a two-story brick building was erected at Greenup, which supplied two schoolrooms below and one above. The latter is so arranged that a partition may be made up stairs, and so provide an additional room when necessary. At Jewett, a two-story brick house was built in 1882, and has two schoolrooms. A two-story brick building is also in process of building at Janesville, within the limits of the county. A greater liberality is being shown by the Board of Supervisors, in this public question of education, and sixty days for office work and sixty for school visiting have been allowed to the County Superintendent. This is sixty days more than. has ever been allowed heretofore, and hence the schools suffered very seriously. Since the present incumbent has held the office of Superintendent, there has been a marked improvement in the grade of scholarship, and the movement seems to be toward a still higher grade.


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