Washington County, Illinois
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Postcard - Unknown date
Photograph courtesy of Frank Absher
Washington Seminary was projected in 1856 or 1957 by a few leading citizens of Ricjview, who desired, as is said, in the first deed,
"to establish a seminary of elevated character, to diffuse the benefits of a good education, and advance the great interests of
civilization, morality and piety." On the completion of the Illinois Central Railroad, the company found it best to establish their station
for Richview on their own land, nearly a mile distant from the village. As a compromise the rialroad gave about seventy-five lots near
the station, for the establishing of a school in Richview. These lots were sold for about four thousand dollars in June or July, 1857,
and in October, 1857, the foundations of the present building were laid. Hon. Wm. M. Phillips was one of the agents in the compromise
and sold off the lots.
On Dec. 31st, 1857, about four acres, the land on which the Seminary stands, was sold for $200 by E. A. Spooner and Joseph Bargber to Alexander Shipley and Wm. M. Logan, Trustees T. 2 S. R. 1 W. About eight hundred dollars in possession of the school district was added tot he fund. The lower story of the building was divided two rooms, and a graded school opened in 1859 by N. E. Way, Esq., assisted by his sister, Mrss. Cope, who taught about two years. Miss Minnie Grahm, now Mrs. Moody, also taught. Prof. H. C. Hillman followed for a year, assiste by Mrs. Cope and Mrs. Ballou. Miss Irwin and Mrs Ballou followed. But the building was found too large and expensive to finish; the grounds were not enclosed; and by vote of the district, the trustees sold the seminary to R. G. Williams for $1,500, August 22d, 1864. Rev. R. G. Williams sold out July 8th, 1870, to S. J. P. Anderson, D.D., of St. Louis. The heirs of Dr. Anderson sold it April 1st, 1874, to Rev. Edgar W. Clarke, A.M., from Sterling, Ill. He has been assisted by Miss Nancy Anderson, Mrs. Helen Keeney, Mrs. M. A. Clarke, and his sons, E. L. and A. O. Clarke. the attendence at Washington Seminary, especially under Mr. Williams, was large; but after graded schools were established in the neighboring villages and cities, the number of scholars decreased.
The "hard times," and also the normal schools established by the state, have lessened the attendence here, as in similar institutions. some of the prominent men in the county, and some of the successful teachers have been trained in this seminary. The number of students for several years has been small; but the aim has been to do thorough teachings, and elevate the standard of scholrship. during the past year a normal class has been successfully conducted. At the present time, besides classes in the usual studies, there are students in geometry, navigation, surveying, astronomy, chemistry, Latin and Greek.
Washington Seminary was incorporated Feb. 16th, 1865, with a board of thirty trustees, with power to grant degrees, having a full college charter.
1879 History of Washington County, Illinois
From notes by Edgar W. Clarke
Brink, McDonough & Co.; Philadelphia; Corresponding Office, Edwardsville, ILL.; 1879
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