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Du Quoin Female Seminary
1855 - 1892
From the Collection of Roberta B. (nee Shook) Boyett
By : Robert C. Boyett ©
DuQuoin Female Seminary
The Du Quoin Female Seminary operated from 1855 until 1892, attracting students from throughout the country. This is a drawing of the proposed building, of which only one section was actually built. It stood atop a hill in Old Du Quoin, on the south side of what is now Illinois 14, "Five miles from the station." Tuition ranged from $4 to $10, with $2 a week for board, 25 cents extra for laundry, and 25 cents a week for fuel when needed. The school was founded by the Houston Ladies' Society for the Promotion of Christian Education.
(Photo from the collection of Robert Moorefield)
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October 30, 1903
Old Building Burned
Old Du Quoin Seminary Went Up on Smoke This Morning at 9 O'clock

      An old historic building was destroyed this morning at Old Du Quoin when at Old Du Quoin when the old Female Seminary building was burned to the ground save blackened fragments of the walls.
      Almost the entire building was afire when discovered almost simultaneously by L. G. Shook and Ham Peuterbaugh, from their fields at quite a distance.
      The building had not been used since vacated by the Illinois Children's Home and Aid Society about two years ago and not a thing of value was in the building.
      The building was erected in the early fifties for a Presbyterian Female Seminary, the idea of the enterprise originating with Miss Eliza Paine of South Hadley, Mass., she having cherished and talked over plans that led to it long before the opportunity offered for beginning the work. The "Boston Ladies Society for the Promotion of the Christian Education" sent her to Du Quoin in 1852, Miss Paine sent for her helper, Miss E. Reynolds, three months later. As it was before the days of railroads in Southern Illinois these ladies came down the river from St. Louis to Chester and overland from there.
      As the result of their ceaseless labors in soliciting friends and interested others in the work, the cornerstone of the building destroyed by fire today was laid on June 13, 1855 and a Bible donated by Rev. A. T. Norton, both now deceased, was deposited therein. It will be interesting to open this cornerstone now, some 48 years later.
      The seminary was conducted by the Presbyterian society for many years and passed into the hands of Dr. Stone, father of Dr. A. F. Stone. After his death it became the property of Dr. A. T. Stone who continued the seminary until about 1890, when it was abandoned. During the life of the seminary many girls from all over Southern Illinois received instruction within its walls and owe much to its existence.
      The building was bought from Dr. Stone by George F. Blakeslee who used it as a summer residence until he sold it to the Childrens Home and Aid Society. It then became the Du Quoin Children's Home and continued as such until about two years ago when they abandoned it to move to Du Quoin for convenience. By this society the building was sold a few weeks ago to the Weaver Coal and Coke Co., who wanted the coal under the land.
      As to the origin of the fire there can only be surmising. Those first on the grounds after it was discovered could not even tell in what part of the building it started. A tramp or some stranger may have gained entrance to it for a sleeping place and then dropped a match or sparks from a pipe before leaving


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