Thursday, January 24, 2013

A History of Bunker Hill Schools

Pictured: The 1839 Bunker Hill schoolhouse and church

You can download Miss Florence Seim's paper from this link: History of Bunker Hill Schools

From the Gazette News, September 20, 1973, written by Miss Florence Seim:

    Scarcely had Bunker Hill showed signs of becoming a town until the early pioneers turned their thoughts to the education of their children.  These early pioneers, who were determined to develop this new country were advocates of “learning” and wished to have their children, who were to be the men and women of tomorrow, versed in the fundamentals of a workable education.

Pictured: Map of Bunker Hill area Country Schools

    A combined church and schoolhouse was erected in the fall of 1839 by citizens of Bunker Hill.  It was 18’ x 26’ and was only a few feet from the present Congregational Church.  Most of the material used was produced in this vicinity.  Other material such as grease, oil, putty, locks for doors, pine lumber for seats, etc., were “store purchased”.  The bill footed up less than $100.  It was a very rough, unplastered little room, with blankets and shawls hung around the walls and doors to keep out the cold winds and snow.  This building, primitive and roughly built, was the first church and the first schoolhouse.  In it the early settler worshiped and his children were taught to read.  In later years the old schoolhouse became the property of W. J. Knibb and was used as a barn.  It has been moved many times, its last location being on the southeast corner of Mr. Knibb’s yard just back of the Methodist Church.  In March 1883, the building was torn down and destroyed.

    Francis N. Burnham operated the school and was succeeded February 3, 1840 by John A. Pettingill.  In March, the spring term was in charge of Jane Putnam, who afterwards became Mrs. John Huggins.  Dr. John A. Delano taught school here some years later before going into practice with Dr. E. Howell.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 24, 2013.

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