Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.
Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.
ARTHUR CLARK BUTLER, who is Principal of the Taylorville Township High School [ed., Taylorville Senior High School], and is recognized as one of the leading educators of central Illinois, has spent his entire life in this State, being numbered among her native sons. He was born near Jacksonville, in Morgan County, on the llth of April, 1848. His father, James L. Butler, was a native of Virginia, and after arriving at years of maturity he married Oletha Sargent, who was born in the Buckeye State.
Prof. Butler spent the first fourteen years of his life in the county of his nativity, and from that time until he had arrived at man's estate he lived upon a prairie farm in Macon County, near Blue Mound. He early became familiar with agricultural pursuits, and aided his father in the cultivation of the land until he had arrived at years of maturity.
His educational privileges previous to that time were limited. He had attended the common schools, and for two years was a student in the State Normal [ed., Illinois State University]. Anxious to acquire a good education, his own labors made it possible for him to carry out this desire. While still upon the home farm he engaged in teaching, and for some years his time was spent between teaching and study in the State Normal. It was seven years before he had completed the four-year course of that institution, as his studies were interrupted by the teaching, which made it possible for him to pay his tuition and meet his other expenses.
At length, however, Prof. Butler was graduated in 1878, and among twenty-six pupils carried off the class honors. He also studied the languages, not included in the regular course. Since that time he has been continuously engaged in educational work. For two years he was employed as Principal of the schools of Virginia, Cass County, and then went to Beardstown, where for nine years he was employed as Superintendent of the schools of that city of five thousand inhabitants. While there he introduced manual training into the schools, a feature which attracted much attention among educators. In July, 1891, he came to Taylorville, where he has now taught for two years. This was an instance of the place seeking the man, for after the committee visited his school at Beardstown the position was offered him.
On the 10th of June, 1871, in Christian County, Prof. Butler married Miss Eliza Eaton, of Prairietown Township, a daughter of William K. and E. Eaton, early settlers of this county. Unto them have been born three children: Wilbur F., who is now serving as operator in Taylorville; Gazella, who devotes her time to the study of music; and Ruby Alberta.
The ancestors of our subject were prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he and his family hold the same faith. He takes quite an active part in church work, is a member of the Board of Trustees, and has borne a prominent part in building the new house of worship. He was made a Mason in Beardstown.
Mr. Butler devotes much of his vacations to institute work. He is a member of the State Teachers' Association, and for one year was President of the Central Illinois Teachers' Association. He has contributed many able articles to educational journals, and in 1892 the Blackburn University [ed., Blackburn College], of Carlinville, conferred upon him the honorary degree of A. M.
In May, 1893, he commenced a series of articles in the School News, entitled "Tea-table Talks on Education." These articles are of special interest to teachers, and have received favorable comment from many persons interested in promoting the best welfare of our educational system. The same enterprise and resolute spirit which secured for him his education have made Mr. Butler's life a success and won for him the high position which he to-day occupies among teachers.
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