Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Enfield schools: Ernie Fechtig's 1979 history

The following history of Enfield schools was written by the late Ernest
Fechtig in 1979:

In the fall of 1812, a group of families with their ox carts crossed the
Ohio on a ferry at Shawneetown, and then after traveling another 30
miles through somber forest, entered a prairie, about three miles wide
and seven miles long with a stream running through it. Rather than
settling on the prairie, the group chose to settle in the timberland at
the west and off the "Seven Mile Prairie" flats. In her research notes,
Margaret Land stated in the early 1820s, this Seven Mile Community just
might have resembled the restored "New Salem Village," with more than
30 families living in the vicinity.

This community centered around two small log churches. Sharon Church was
organized in 1816. According to Margaret Land's History Of Enfield, the
first building was a little log church about 1/4 mile north of the old
John Fields home site or where John Fields presently lives in Sec. 21
and southeast of intersection of Rtes. 45 and 14.

Thomas Rutledge (brother of James and uncle of Ann) started a
subscription school near this Sharon Church in 1818. This was the first
known school in Enfield Township and possibly in White County. Tuition
was 25 cents per week, and each student was to bring his own candle.
Thomas Rutledge was also a justice of the peace and performed many of
the early marriage ceremonies. Matthew Parks and Mr. Bostwich taught the
school in 1819. Enos Allen, a surveyor, taught in 1820. Peter Miller
taught starting in 1827. Hopewell Cumberland Presbyterian Church was
founded in 1819, with the church building in Sec. 16 and just west of
the Paul Appel home site (present home of Gary Appel). In 1820, Rev.
David McLin, the founder of Hopewell Church, started a school at
Hopewell called Seven Mile Academy. This school was still operating as
late as 1845.

In 1815, Edmund R. Morgan, with his wife and daughter, along with David
Calvert (Mrs. Morgan's father) were living on the Calvert place located
in the NW 1/4 of Sec. 8, what is now known as the junction in west
Enfield. In March 1815, Edmund Morgan was cutting sprouts, about a half
mile from his home and just south of the present General Baptist Church
in Enfield, when he was killed and scalped by an Indian.

It might be of interest to note that his widow held a sale in April of
that year in which Thomas Rutledge was the auctioneer and buyers
included Peter Miller, Thomas Fields, James Rutledge and John Cameron.
Margaret Land's notes further show that in 1860, the old log school
house on this Calvert place was abandoned and a frame school was built
in Enfield on the site of the present Booth School. This was the first
school in Enfield. Since the Village of Enfield was laid out in 1853,
there had not been enough people in Enfield to warrant the building of a
school. Prior to 1860, children attended the nearest country school.
A rather interesting letter to Mr. James M. Endicott, Enfield, from
Charles E. Hill, Clerk of Circuit Court, White County, dated May 30,
1902, was an answer to apparent questions concerning the deed to the
site of the present Booth building. The clerk writes, "After examining
the record, I find that Wm. H. Hosick and wife conveyed to Trustees
School Dist. 3T5 R8 on September 27, 1859, the following described
land...." This deed was made before the plat of the Northern Addition
to Enfield was made.

In 1860, a one-story frame school building was 22 ft. by 36 ft., and the
first teacher was Rev. John Millage Miller, pastor of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. Other teachers were G. N. Johnson, George Robinson,
Milton Brockett, Rev. Crow, Mrs. Crow, Mr. Hammel, Dr. Asher, Martin W.
Fields, J. Odell and Mr. Locke. The school was graded in 1866 (the year
that Walter Booth was born), while Dr. D. C. Asher was principal.
Average salaries were $30 and $35. Women teachers were considered not
worth as much as men.
(To be concluded next week)

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