Jackson County, Illinois
History of Burroughs School, District #10
Contributed by: Carole Burroughs
In the late 1800ís the I.C.R.R. offered a large parcel of land for sale in Southern Illinois. The Civil War had ended and there was a sudden rush of immigrants who wanted to buy the cheap land. Major Harmon Peleg Burroughs of New York and his wife, Alice Maude Summers of Virginia settled about one half mile west of the present town of Dowell. Major Burroughs had fought in the 8th New York Cavalry in the Army of the Potomac serving in the regiment belonging to General Custerís Cavalry Division under General Sheridan in the later part of the war. This division which cut General Lee off at Appomattox witnessed General Leeís surrender to General Grant to end the war. Major Burroughs being a well known citizen of the area was elected to the board of county commissioner in 1883 and the Illinois House of Representatives of the 48th district in 1895.
By the spring of 1902 with many children growing up in the community the need for a new school was soon realized. In April 1902, the board of school trustees in Elkville and Vergennes met in two separate meetings for the purpose of establishing a new district. It was decided that sections six and seven in Elk Twp (Range 1) would be attached to sections one, twelve and the north ½ of thirteen in Vergennes Twp (Range 2) to create the new district. Major Burroughs who became the schoolís namesake donated an acre of land in section six for the site of the new school. Construction specifications were drafted July 1, 1902 by the original board of directors, H. P. Burroughs, U. E. Robinson, and Richard Latty. The school was a one room dwelling with coal burning stove, designed to accommodate up to forty pupils. It was largely modeled after the colored schoolhouse in Elkville (see "Construction Specifications"). Completion of the schoolhouse was set for on or before September 1, 1902. The schoolhouse was located one mile west of Dowell in the northeast corner of the junction of Dowell Road and Chamness Road. The school served children in grades one through eight with one teacher providing instruction to all grade levels. The Burroughs School began its first term in the fall of 1902. The first teacher was Grace Perry who taught the 1902-03 school year. Teacher contracts only allowed teachers to teach a maximum of two years.
By the 1920ís a new addition had been built, adding a cloakroom onto the south side of the school. Pupils originally attended school for 6 months. Attendance was increased to 7 months by 1916 and to 8 months by 1930. Each school year ended with a traditional family basket dinner held at the school.
The last term for the Burroughs School was 1949-50. By the late 1940ís it had become increasingly difficult for the district to compete with the teacher salaries of the much larger districts. With class size dwindling and unable to find teachers to fill the position, District #10 was consolidated with District #4 in Elkville. Records show this consolidation having taken place Aug. 15, 1950.
After consolidation the building was abandoned and stood idle for sometime. Eventually
the building plus the acre of land was auctioned off for $775. The building was then used for farming purposes
and was eventually removed from the property.
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