Jefferson County


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.

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

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.
Past Mt. Vernon City Schools
Early Schools 
1895 - 

Class Pictures

1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools Annual Report
1895 South Side Building
1895 West Side Building
1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools 1st & 2nd Grade
1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools 3rd & 4th Grade
1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools 5th & 6th
1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools 6th & 7th
1895 Mt. Vernon Public Schools 8th
School Teachers 1897-1898 & 1939-1940 
Mt. Vernon Public Schools High School Graduates
Jefferson County 1911 Graduates

Abraham Lincoln School is no longer in use as a school

Booker T. Washington School

Dr. Andy Hall School is now 
Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center

Benjamin Franklin School is no longer in use as a school 

Edison School

Horace Mann School

Mt. Vernon City Schools 1925

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

Class Pictures

Map of One Room School Locations
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.

26-Bald Hill
29-Black Jack
30-Mt. Pleasant
176-White Corners
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.

18-Coats College
21-Locust Grove
22-Four Corners
23-Lone Oak
24-Fairview  A/K/A Dees School
210-Waltonville High School
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.

3-Oak Ridge
11-White Swan
12-Four corners
15-Brush College
16-Oak Grove
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.

85-Dodds Center
86-Mt. Pleasant
87-Pleasant View
133-Shady Grove
134-Valley Breeze
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"

59-Dareville  A/K/A 
   Elk Prairie School
60-Cross Roads
65-Oak Grove  A/K/A Buzzard Roost
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.

99-Shields High School
100-New Bradford
102-White Oak
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.

66-Upper Hawkins
68-Panther Fork
71-Laurel Hill
73-Forest Hill
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.

1-Clay Hill
2-Frog Ridge
4-Post Oak
9-Pleasant hill
10-Gold Hill
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.

50 1/2-Howe
53-Wolf Prairie
55-Hickory Hill
Moores Prairie had six schools in their township.

124-Tony Point
126-Fair Play
127-Belle Point
129-St. Elmo
132-Oak Grove
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.

43-Pleasant Grove
77-Camp Ground
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.

117-Greene College
121-Ham's Grove
122-Belle Rive
123-Union Grove
175-Number Nine
203-Opdyke Community High School
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.


42-Little Grove
44-Ross Hill
47-West Salem
48-Pleasant Valley
49-Maple Grove
50-Old Union
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.

89-Hungry Hill
92-Spring Garden
95-Mulberry Grove
96-New Hope
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.

106-George College
107-Maple Grove 1933 Census
109-Markham City
110-E. Hickory Hill
113-Black Oak Ridge
180-Webber Grove
204-Webber Township High School

Present Jefferson County Private Schools

Mt Vernon Christian School - Grades: K-12
817 Woodland Dr
Mt Vernon, IL

St. Mary School 
1416 Main Street
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Victory Christain Academy - Grades: K-12
1719 Broadway St
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Present Jefferson County Schools

Bethel Grade School, District 82 - Grades: K-8
1201 Bethel Rd
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Bluford Elementary School - Grades: K-8
901 6th St.
Bluford, IL, 62814

Dodds Grade School, CCSD 7 - Grades: K-8
14975 E Bakerville
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center
301 South  17th Street,
Mount Vernon,  IL 62864 

Farrington Elementary School - Grades: K-8
20941 East Divide Rd.
Bluford, IL, 62814

Field Elementary School - Grades: K-8
21075 North Hails Ln.
Texico, IL, 62889

Grand Prairie School - Grades: K-8
21462 N Richview Ln.
Centralia, IL 62801

Ina Community Consolidated School - Grades: K-8
511 South Elm St.
Ina, IL, 62846

J.L. Buford Intermediate Education Center
623 South 34th Street
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

McClellan Grade School, CCSD 12 - Grades: K-8
9475 N Il Hwy 148
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Mt Vernon Alternative School - Grades: 6-12 
1714 Broadway
Mount Vernon, IL, 62864

Mount Vernon City Schools Primary Center
401 North  30th Street
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Mt. Vernon Township High School HSD 201
320 S 7th St.
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Oakland Education Center
1722 Oakland Ave
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Opdyke-Belle-Rive Ccsd 5 School District

Belle Rive Attendance Center Grades: K-3 
601 South Gum St.
Belle Rive, IL, 62810

Opdyke Attendance Center  Grades: 4-8 
19830 East Fourth St.
Opdyke, IL, 62872

Rome Community Consolidated Elementary School - Grades: K-8
233 West South St.
Dix, IL, 62830

Summersville Grade School, District 79 - Grades: K-8
1118 E Fairfield Rd
Mount Vernon, IL 62864

Waltonville Grade School - Grades: K-8
802 West Knob St.
Waltonville, IL, 62894

Waltonville High School - Grades: 9-12
804 West Knob St.
Waltonville, IL, 62894

Webber Township High School - Grades: 9-12
310 South Elm St.
Bluford, IL, 62814

Woodlawn Community High School - Grades: 9-12
300 North Central St.
Woodlawn, IL, 62898

Woodlawn School - Grades: K-8
301 South Central St.
Woodlawn, IL, 62898

Zadok Casey Middle School
1829 Broadway
Mount Vernon, IL 62864


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