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Early Schools of 
Jefferson County Illinois

Source: The History of Jefferson County
By: John A. Wall
Copyright © 1909
Page 134 - 135

The first school ever taught in Jefferson County was in 1820, by Joel Pace, who was then the County Clerk. It was taught in a floorless cabin, without ceiling or window perhaps without shutter to the door. The next school was by James Douglas at Old Shiloh. He boarded at Zadok Casey's, and it was then that the Governor got his education from Douglas. That school-house burned down, another one was built and Emory Moore taught the next school at Old Union; then W. L. Howell. A man named Freeman taught a school at Mulberry Hill in a cabin put up by Clark Casey, and thus the school went on and afforded the children about the only excitement they had in those days. The testament, the spelling book, the arithmetic and
a little writing book was the course of study, and the schools were loud very loud for everyone "studied out loud," at one and the same time.

Early Schools By Townships
Source: Jefferson County Facts & Folks
Copyright 1978
By: The Jefferson County Historical Society
page 44 - 45
[Names of Schools have been Submitted by Researchers]

*This is not a complete list.

Bald Hill Township
It cannot be said now who taught the first school or where the first school house was built. The township had five school houses, a smaller number than any other township in the county.

Mezo School


Black Jack

Graphenburg School

White Corners School


Blissville Township
One of the first school houses was built near the Eli Gilbert home. It was a log structure, 16X18 feet, and the cracks were daubed with clay. The first teacher was a man named Bellis. Another early school building was was on land owned by R. Gilbert and a Mr. A. Welch was one of the early teachers here. Another early school was built on the land by C.J. Hoyt in Grand Prairie and another on the land owned by Rueben Green Jr. heirs. The township had six schools conveniently located. Casner Township The early schools of the township were scarcely up to standard. Log school buildings were replaced with neat frame buildings. There were six in the township.

Casner Township
The early schools of the township were scarcely up to standard.
Log school buildings were replaced with neat frame buildings. There were six in the township.


Woodlawn High School - 1928


Dodds Township

The pioneers of this township, as soon as they had each built a home, turned their attention to the erection of a school. In 1838 these early settlers erected a 14X14 log building on government land. It is thought that W.T. Sanders was the first teacher in this log school. About the year 1850 Mr. A.C. Johnson taught a private school at a home. There were six good frame buildings in the township and the best teachers were employed to teach the young.

Cubb School

Dodds School

Hebron School

Pleasant View School


Elk Prairie Township

The early educational history of the township is obscured and the dates of the first schools and the early teachers are unknown. Eight schools, widely scattered, were erected in the township and early history says "they were comfortable school houses, all well and commodioisly furnished in the most approved style"

Crossroads School

Four Corners School

Oakland Roberson

Dareville School

Oak Grove School aka Buzzard Roost

Utah South

Hickory Hill

Elk Prairie School


Farrington Township
Dr. Gregory believes that the first teacher in the township was a Mr. Joseph Price. He describes the school as a pole cabin about sixteen feet square, with rude seats and without a floor. Heat was provided by a fire built in the middle of the room and around this "council fire" the pioneer boys and girls attained the wisdom and inspiration to fit them for their adult life. Another of the early schools was built on Horse Creek. It was also a rude log cabin, Another early school was built at Farrington until there were six buildings in the township.

Harmony School

Lowry School

Milner School

Shields School


Field Township
The first school in this township was built on the Big Muddy on the McCrary farm. It was a 16X16 log cabin and was of the usual pioneer pattern with slab seats, puncheon floor and an old time fireplace. There were ultimately six school buildings in the township.

Center School

Hopewell School

Myers School

Panther Fork School

Green School

Laurel Hill School

Osborn School

Upper Hawkins School

Zion School

Grand Prairie Township

One of the first schools here was taught by a Mr. Smith. Early stories tell that he boarded with the R. Breeze family but ran away before the school year was finished and left his board bill unpaid. This first school was built on the Poston farm, was built of logs and was 16 feet square. It had the usual slab seats, puncheon floor, and a stick chimney. As the year progressed the township had six comfortable school buildings.


Clay Hill School


McClellan Township
One of the early teachers in this township was Judge Baugh. His school was a log cabin of small round logs, about 18X20 feet, and had been built about 1873 by the Christain Church as a place of worship. Another early school was built on the Silas Rogers place. The township later boasted six fine schools.

Rightnowar School




Wolf Prairie School

Maple Grove

Hickory Hill



Mt. Vernon Township
The people of Mt. Vernon patronized schools in Shiloh Township in the very early days. In 1830-31 a log school house was erected in the northwestern part of the town, in the vicinity of the George Howard home on 12th street. Mr. Talley was the first teacher followed by John Baugh in 1833-34. Abner Melcher and his daughter, Precilla, followed then came John Downer in 1836-37. The school was abandoned after this date. Miss Rand taught a school on the west side of the square over Dr. Park's home. The next school was taught in the Methodist parsonage by Joshua Grant. Here Miss Elizabeth Bullock had a summer school. The school was on the edge of the woods and was often thrown into much excitement by the appearance of snakes. It was determined that Mt. Vernon should have an academy and Governor Anderson gave a portion of his farm as a site for the new school. This site was in the area of present-day 8th street just south of Jordan. A building committee was appointed and they engaged John and Asa Watson and John Leonard to build and equip the school for $350. Governor Zadok Casey furnished some school equipment at a cost of $100. This first academy was taught by Lewish Dwight, a Yankee school-teacher preacher, and he was assisted by Miss Evans. While teaching Dwight married a daughter of Governor Casey. Joel Watson was an assistant the following term. Dwight taught two terms and the people were pleased with his work except Sheriff Bowman, father of two extra bad boys, one of whom Dwight ventured to discipline. Meeting the principal on the street one day Sheriff Bowman hit him with a brick, inflicting a severe head wound. Bowman was fined $1.oo. A later teacher was the "notorious" Bob Ingersoll of infidel fame. The reputation of the Mt. Vernon Academy was known far and wide. The building committee could never get the property out of debt and in 1854 it was attached and sold. A new Methodist church was erected in this same year and three rooms on the first floor were used for school classrooms. Professor J. Leaton, the preacher, was the first teacher. This school closed its doors during the turmoil of the Civil War. Interest in the school revived as the war came to an end. For several years this school flourished in the Methodist Church with Rev. Thomas Herdman the principal. In 1866 the subject of building a new school for the community was hotly debated. A site was finally chosen, where the present Franklin School now stands. A two story brick building was erected at a cost of $12,000. A Mr. Barbout was employed to teach but he left before the school year was out following a fight with a student, Duff Green.

Camp Ground School


Moores Prairie
Moores Prairie had six schools in their township.

Pendleton Township
The first schools were primitive log-cabin style. Pendleton's first school had a teacher named Gibes. The township later had nine schools.

Union Nog School


Williams School


Rome Township
The educational history of Rome is very similar to the other townships of Jefferson County. The first school in this township was a log cabin, 18X18, built on the farm of M.D. Bruce. This school was taught by Mahulda Martin and she was followed by William Dill, S. Andrews and C. Andrews. The township later had eight scattered schools.

Shiloh Township

Old Union School

Jefferson Academy


Spring Garden Township
The early schools in this township were of the usual primitive type. There were six in the township, one in the villiage of Spring Garden.

Mulberry Grove School



Webber Township
Schools were built in this township in the early days as soon as there were children to be taught and money to pay the teachers. One of the first schools was built on Section 28, on the Black Oak Ridge. Early teachers were Jehu Hodges, Joel Hawkins, John Vick, Mr. Brown and a Mr. Davis. School sessions were once held in the Council Bluff Church and later at the Barren School. In later years there were six school districts in the township and the first trustees were D.B. Davis and C.M. Casey.

Barren School

Young School


Unknown Township

White Corners


Other Jefferson County High Schools that have been established in Jefferson County are:

Belle Rive, started in 1912
Dix closed spring of 1943
Woodlawn started in 1919
Waltonville started in 1923
Nason closed since 1934-1935
Shields closed fall of 1946

Submitted By: Kiowana Hayes Ferguson


Some of the city schools as they looked in 1925
Submitted By: Cindy Ford


Article about Mt. Vernon Schools
Written By: E.E. Cleve, 1972 "Register News"
Submitted By: Janice Staples

The first shool was taught by James Taley in 1831 in a log cabin, near now residence of Geo. Howard, near corner of 12th and Maple. In 1837 a two story frame building was erected just north of present site of car shops.
(present site now of shopping center)((( note.... in 1972 shopping center would have probably been Park Plaza))

It was known as Mt Vernon Academy, and Louis Dwight was first teacher. In 1868, Mr.Pace who was then serving in his third term for school superintent for county,ran for school director on issue of grading schools.He was elected and schools were graded. The first public school building was erected on what is now Franklin school site... (East Side) This was enlarged to eight room building but was destroyed by cyclone in 1888. The following year it was replaced by the present house which has since accomodated the high school and eight grades below.This was not suffient so 4 room building was erected in west Mt Vernon, in 1887 to which a four room addition was afterwards built (article as in newspaper).

The separate building for the colored pupils was erected in 1898, and the growing population of south MtV caused the building of another school in 1894, which was destroyed by fire and replaced by neat eight room school building in 1901. It is expected that these accomodations, which are hardly sufficient enough for the needs of our growing city,which will be supplemented this year(?) by the construction of a new and modern high school.



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