The following data is extracted from Money Creek Township, McLean County, Illinois.
The first school was taught in a house erected for school purposes, about forty-five or forty-six years ago. This house was built of logs. For windows, it bad openings-where a log had been cut away. These were covered with greased paper. During the long winter-days, these semi-transparent, slits furnished all the light from without. Whenever the huge log-fire could be made to burn with sufficient brilliancy, it may be supposed that the youth suffered nothing from want of light. But, unfortunately, this was seldom the case. The chimney was built of mud and sticks, and it failed to "draw." Mrs. Henry Moats, who was then a young girl of thirteen, tells us that the memory of that old house is terrible. The first winter in it was one of absolute suffering. The fire-place would " smoke " so badly that the schoolroom was continually filled with it. Their eyes grew red, they caught had colds, and their heads would ache continually. They suffered from cold, too. Slabs, hewed from logs, served as seats.
The first teacher was Lindsey Scott. He came from Tazewell County, near Pekin. What he received, we were unable to learn ; but one thing is certain-he got his hoard, for he "boarded round." As near as can be remembered, he had twelve to fifteen scholars. These, at 84 per scholar, for three months; would give $48 to $60 for the term, beside his hoard. This is probably somewhere near the actual facts. It must be remembered, farther, that those were the days when the teacher began school as soon as he reached the house in the morning, and closed only when the approach of night showed that the children must he going or that darkness would overtake them on the road. The Testament and spelling book were about the only teats in general use. Those who aspired to a knowledge or " 'rithmetic," generally had a hook ; but grammars and geographies were unknown. This first schoolhouse was located on the east hank of Money Creek, in the midst of the earliest settlements.
The old log schoolhouse has long since passed away. The children who went to school in it are now old men and women, or have passed away with their early teacher. New and more inviting buildings now furnish comfortable apartments where the young people can delve into the mysteries of science, or puzzle themselves over mathematical questions, without danger of freezing or having their eye-sight impaired for want of light. Schools are generally in a good condition, and the people take a just pride in sustaining them. Some of the leading facts in regard to the educational work of the township may be learned from the following: Number of children under twenty-one years, 583; number of children between six and twenty-one years, 394; number of scholars enrolled, 303; number of schoolhouses, 7 ; number of school districts, 8; amount paid teachers, $,511.31; total expenditures, $3,702.40 ; estimated value of school property, $3,900 ; highest wages paid, $00.
Source: Money Creek Township, McLean County, Illinois