Kickapoo Township Schools
1945 and Consolidation
Orange Prairie School
1946 #303 1969 #323 Dunlap Dis.
1948 #309 Brimfield
1952 #67 North Limestone1958 #318 Limestone Pinkerton 1969 part #322 Elmwood #324 Farmington #318 Limestone Pinkerston CC
Dissolved by action of Co. Board of School Trustees July 1, 1963; Territory divided among District #60, 62, 118 & 318. Number 60 & 118 have since become a part of #150 Peoria.
1949 #309 Brimfield
Secretan (Lonsdale) School
1954 #56 Pottstown
Charter Oak School School
Annexed to#118 (Woodrow Wilson) by Co. Board of School Trustees July 1, 1964. Has since become a part of #150 Peoria
1953 #314 Edwards CC 1967 #25 1969 #322
Orange Prairie School
In 1840, Mr. Samuel Dimon, who came to this country in 1838 and settled in Kickapoo Township, hauled the logs for the first schoolhouse in what is now District No.1. Miss Harriet Hitchcock is believed to have been the first teacher in that first schoolhouse. Mr. Dimon subsequently “wielded the birch and ferrule” as teacher for two or three quarters in the same building.
There were eight school districts in Kickapoo Township and Orange Prairie was No. 1.
From History Peoria County 1880
In 1876 the original school was replaced with a brick building. A mason constructed the building for $4,000. The school had a hall with recitation room on the left; boys and girls cloak rooms on the right and a classroom on the east. A library was added later.
A well was dug in 1915, but it caved in the second day after it was used. Later a cistern proved unsatisfactory and a new well was dug in 1927.
In 1915 there were fifteen students and in 1930 there were thirty-two.
In 1946 Orange Prairie School and four other school consolidated and became Wilder-Waite No. 303.
Students from the new district attended classes at Orange Prairie, Glendale School, and Orange Grange (located near Orange Prairie School) until the new Wilder-Waite School was completed in 1948.
It housed an antique shop until it was sold at auction in 1961. It was later torn down
District Number 54
The Kickapoo School, District #54 of Peoria county, is situated in the village of Kickapoo on the Knoxville Road, thirteen miles from Peoria
The village and also the school received its name from a tribe of Indians called the Kickapoos, who roamed over central Illinois during the early days. Rev. Sunrise Dina, an Indian priest belonging to this tribe, visited the village shortly after the building of the first school.
The first school in Kickapoo was a private home donated for the purpose by one of the interested men of the community who had a family to be educated. The school was run by subscription and as the families were poor, many were kept from attending the school. This school was opened about 1860. Later the school was held on the second floor of an old store building but this too was found to be unsatisfactory so in 1869, the school district purchased the brick building owned by the Methodists and moved it to the site of the present school. This school opened in 1870 and was used until 1879 when a frame building was erected. This building has been in use for 52 years and is in a good state of preservation.
The school has been remodeled from time to time. It now has a modern heating system and an anti-room where the coats and wraps are kept. The school is still using the double seats, which were placed, in the school in 1879 but as the enrollment is small, only one child is required to sit at a desk. The school has a good-sized library and has a large blackboard, which is in good shape.
The school has not graduated and highly distinguished people but has a large group of well respected citizens who have attended at some time, among which can be named a couple of lawyers, a doctor or so and several teachers.
The school building that was built in 1879 was in use for 69 years when it closed in 1848 and consolidated with Brimfield District #309. This school is standing Lot 9 in Block 12. It has been remodeled several times, and had a modern heating system and an anti-room where coats and wraps were kept. It also had a kitchen and Mrs. Clara Devries as the cook in it later years. The school has a good-sized library and a large blackboard.
Some of the teachers who taught at this school have been Alice Reents, May Notzke, Edith Savage, Lillian Schmitt and Melva LaFollett, who was the last teacher in the building.
Brimfield Public Library
The Howarth School #55 of Peoria County was at one time a part of District #3, as the districts were numbered in the middle of the 19th century. This district took in most all of sections 27, 28,29,30,31,32,33,and 32. The land was entered in the Peoria County records Leonard Loomis, September 5, 1836, and government land.
The first building, which was known as the Log House School, was built on the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 33. The building was erected in 1847, according to Charles Peltier, a student of the school, and was 15 feet long and 14 feet wide. Mr. Henry Jones was the builder, using logs, which the residents of the school district cut down for him and some finished lumber brought from Peoria. The room had a door facing south and two windows facing east and two windows facing the west.
The seating is altogether different from early days. The teacher’s deck, which was a home made affair, sat in the north end of the room. On each side of the room a plank 18 inches wide and running nearly the full length of the room, nailed under the windows, served as desks: a stationary bench in front of each of them served as seats. The boys sat on one side of the room and girls on the other. The recitation benches were plain and small and were placed in front of the teacher’s desk.
The heating apparatus consisted of an old-fashioned cannon stove placed in the middle of the room. This stove seems old fashioned to us now but it was very new at that time and the school was far ahead of most schools of those times because in most instances. The fireplace furnished the heat. The water was carried to the school for drinking purposed, from a spring, which flowed out of the hillside and was about a quarter of a mile from the school.
The first teacher was John Loball, who afterwards became a doctor. They tell quite an interesting story about how he brought a woman to life after she was dead. He had gotten quite a reputation in the neighborhood while teaching, as a doctor. A lady name Mary Condon went into a trance and everyone thought her dead except her husband who wouldn’t consider her so until Mr. Loball looked at her. He was familiar with her condition and brought her to. Everyone though it was a miracle and he was so inspired by his success that he went to medical school the following year to complete his studies to become a physician. This lady whom he brought to lived over 60 years after the trance took place.
In the early days of this school there were several families in the district from foreign countries. One of these was a family named Doubet who were very recently over from France. They sent their son, Joseph to school and the teacher sent him home because neither could understand the other’s language. The Doubet family later became very large and among them they own several thousand acres of land in the county.
The building was used for social gathering for a number of years. It also was used to Sunday School and church services.
About 184 a few families came here and settled. They built log houses and cleared off small plots of ground to plant corn and potatoes. One of the first men to settle here wss Ilias hale. It was through his generosity that people were able to have their grain ground into flour and meal, for he built a mill on the opposite side of the creek near which the town now stands. In this way the town was called Hale’s Mill.
Soon people began to see the need of a school, and Mr. Hale gave the ground on which to build the schoolhouse. The first school stood on practically the same spot as the one we have now. It was a log structure with one door at the back. The windows came clear to the floor allowing the sun to beat down uncomfortably upon the children. The first teacher was Miss Daily who ruled the school with an iron hand, and oftentimes used the broomstick to maintain order in the room.
Alter a number of years the whole family died and people by the name of Potts came here to live. They built the large brick house, which now stands on the top of the hill, and the name of the town changed from Hale’s Jill to Pottstown. George Potts was the first of the family to move here and he came in 1852.
The town gradually grew until, besides the mill, there were a general store, a saloon, and several coalmines. The increase in population called for a new school; so the second schoolhouse was built near the site of the first.
The present schoolhouse was immediately started and was completed in 1901. It was a great improvement over the other two buildings. It was a wooden frame structure consisting of two large rooms and a hall. It now has a furnace, electric lights, and modern equipment for use in schoolwork. The school is divided into two rooms, four grades in each room. The present enrollment is about sixty. There are two teachers, and in place of the larger boys’ chopping wood for the fireplace, as they did in the first school, a janitor is hired to take care of all this.
On the playground there is modern equipment such as sliding boards, teeter-totters, and swings, while the boys have footballs and the girls volley balls with which to play.
In 1855 Mr. George Heinz donated a small tract of land for school pruposes, located in Kickapoo Township and now called District 58. A schoolhouse was built the same year, being occupied until 1904 when the directors thought the building inadequate to accommodate the children attending, and proceeded to erect a new building.
No deed for the ground had ever been obtained from Mr. Heinz; therefore the directors refused to build until the same was granted. A deed was finally secured from Andrew Heinz, son of George Heinz, now deceased.
The contract for the new school was let to J.S. Foster of Peoria in 190-4, to be completed for the sum of $850.00 The building was finished and ready for occupancy the same year.
This school is standing on Heinz Ln. off of Route 150.
This school is standing on Heinz Ln. off of Route 150 just west of Grand Prairie Mall. It sits among an old farmhouse,barns, other outbuildings on many acres. Because of its location Heinz Ln. is a very desirable area to build new homes. The fate of Heinz School does not look promising.
School is in good repair and is used for storage.
Secretan (Lonsdale) School
Refer to District #56
District Number 61
In 1883 the Edwards School, District #61,of Peoria County, was held in a building fourteen by twenty feet. The teaching methods were rather crude and imperfect in those days. The state did not lay out a curriculum to follow as it now does and it was entirely up to the teacher to pick what she wanted to teach and how she was to teach it, let alone mentioning how much she should teach them in the term. The total number of families in the district in 1883 was seven. The town has grown until it now has about one hundred families.
Two men who were prominent in the promotion of the school system in Edwards were Albert Thayer and Isaak Wantling. The later was more interested in church work than the school but thinking the two went hand in hand and also wanting a place to hold church, donated the ground where the school and later where the church are located. This ground is given in such a way that should these institutions ever be moved, the land will go back to the estate.
Later when the village began to grow an addition was put on the school building and two teachers were employed.
In 1913 a beautiful new two-room building was erected. This building is equipped with a basement furnace, a large hall and good cloakrooms. It also has single seats, which are stationary, and a bubbling fountain.
Mr. King currently owns Edwards School. He and his 9 sisters and brothers attended this school. Since he acquired the property he has fixed the roof, removed trees, and made other repairs to the property.
His plans for the building are uncertain as he is hindered by Peoria County Zoning regulations. It is hoped he can find a solution to this problem, save this building, and return it to a useful functioning structure.
Charter Oak School
The history of Charter Oak School District #60 begins in 1867, when the first schoolhouse was built on land leased from Henry L. Slough. The school was fist known by the name of Big Hollow School. The building was erected on the northwest corner of section 13. It was a frame building with a brick foundation and had only one room. When the first school was started they operated for six months of each year and instead of having grades as we now have, the pupils were promoted as they had finished a reader. The first winter the school had an enrollment of 30 pupils and before it was replace in the year of 1886, the enrollment had been 50 at different times.
In 1886, the new school was built on the Charter Oak Road. It was built by contractor Joos of Peoria and $600.00 The new school was named Charter Oak, the name which the Grange had been know by for many years. A large stove, which stood in the center of the floor, heated the building until 1910 when a large heater was placed in one corner. This heater is enclosed by a steel jacket and heats the room very satisfactorily.
A library was started about 1900, and few years later the children gave an entertainment to raise money and this money was used to purchase a bookcase. Other improvement have been made from time to time as it was deemed necessary by the school board, one of which has been much appreciated by the pupils, was the enlargement of the school yard from quarter of an acre to one-half acre. In 1917 the windows on the east side were increased from three to six and cement walks were laid.
School is located in Edwards, Illinois.
District # 59
The Secretan School was built in 1867 to replace the Log House School, and the building of the old school was used as a dwelling until 1900 when it was torn down.
Previous to the time the new Secretan School was erected however, it was decided that the district was too large so Richard Howarth made plans for another school. This building as constructed of sandstone quarried in Section 30. It was built on the south east corner of Section 30, on Mr. James Greenough’sfarm and was situated in the middle of a field with no road nearer than 40 rods. The building was 24 feet long and 18 feet side and it had three windows on each side. This building had as many as 50 students enrolled at one time. Mr. Howarth installed what was probably the first ceiling ventilator in any building in Peoria County. He thought the ventilation poor in the building so he cut a hole in the ceiling and through the roof, 18 inches square, then he placed a cover over the opening a few inches above the roof.
The first seats were four long benches: two for the girls and two for the boys. These seats had no backs to them, but were placed close to the wall. There were two desks, one for the girls and one for the boys. These desks were made by the men in the district and consisted of a large plank set up on four legs. When it was time for writing, the long benches had to be moved out from the wall along side the desks. There was only one chair in the room, which was used by the teacher. It didn’t have the blackboard resting on it. (?)
The Stone School was built in the summer of 1857. Log Cabin School was built in 1847. These two schools were in the same district and had the same set of directors and the school became known as the Secretan School while other was known as the Stone School.
After the Stone School had been in operation only one year, Mr. Howarth was dissatisfied with the furnishings and set about to building some more modern seats with backs and placing a desk with each one. It was because of the great interest that he showed that the school later took his name.
During the year of 1885 a new school was built one half mile west of the Stone School, on the road known as the Howarth Road. It was a frame building, quite modern at that time and is still in use 46 years later.
The building has in it a jacket heater, which modernizes their heating system and is well equipped as far as library, maps, etc., are concerned. The building is not modern in it design now but one can hardly expect that of a building which has been in use for nearly 50 years.
This schoolhouse is in good repair and is used for storage.
Un, George Cusack , Robert Lafallot, Uk
The early history of Forney School is missing at the present time but an attempt will be made to secure it and place it with this history, which we have.
The history of Forney School as we have it starts in the year 1873 when a small tract of land was mentioned as being previously deeded to the school district in a deed made Elizabeth C. Acly and husband to George Heinz, Jr.
Some of the older inhabitants have heard their forefathers speak of a building being used back in the days of the California Gold Rush, as a school. These facts we have yet to ascertain.
In 1877 the patrons of the district met and decided to erect the school known as Forney School. It was a building 28 feet long and 20 feet wide. This building is still in use but has been changed several times so as to conform to the school and sanitary laws. The school was one time named the Cornfield Seminary by a disgruntled teacher. This name would not apply at the present time, as the lawn is well sodded and surrounded by shade trees.
Former Forney School located at Rt 150 and Ford Road
This is the original location of Heinz School. After it closed it was moved to another location on Heinz Lane.
Kickapoo's One-Room School Goes On Block
Bill Rawn Director Peoria Journal Star Farm Service Bureau
Nostalgia was…………………………One of the oldest living Peoria residents who attended the school is Viola Bennett of 1231 E. Melbourne member of the school board for nine years, who remembers that her sister, who is now 80, also attended the school.
This was one of the very last of the old one-room schools to disappear from the scene as the result of school consolidation. The Kickapoo area is now served by the Brimfield Consolidated School District, which was formed in 1948. At the start, it was planned to have the older children go to school in Brimfield and the younger children go to school in Kickapoo. However, this lasted only one year and the school was officially closed in 1949.
Melvil LaFollette was the teacher when the school closed and is still teaching in Brimfield. The old blackboards still carried some of the last day's lessons. Those who remembered the closing recalled that the floor carried a polish so bright that the sun made it difficult for some of the students to see the blackboard
A recent change in state laws made it possible for the Peoria County School Board to offer the property for sale by resolution. Edward Gilles of Kickapoo purchased the building and three lots for $3,800. Individual items in the school were also sold with the proceeds going to the Brimfield Consolidated School District.Ave., who is now 87. Attending the auction was Mrs. Bertha Challacombe, a former
Mr. Pzletkovich Principal
Floor: Don ,Robin Kendal ?, Bill Jack Snider, Bob Largent
Row 1: Connie Asbell, Bonnie Asbell, Ellen Benesch, Jim McIntyre, Jan Moon, Lyle Lafallotte, George Vallas,
Row 2: Jane Cunningham, Judy Wallace, Jack Snider (dec), Von Stiles, C.C. Ryan, Mary Ann Sherlock, George Lafallotte
Row 3: John Lafallote, Lloyd Gunner, Doug Cunningham, LeRoy Bleichner, Bill Wyatt, ? Robin Kendall, Judy , Joyce Benegar
Thanks Jane for all your help! You are missed!
? Mary Lou Endres ? ? ?
Former Howarth School now a residence located on Taylor Rd. near Wildlife State Park. 2011