Illinois Genealogy Trails

Bear Point School
( 1907 - 1956 )

Sesser, Goode Township
Franklin County Illinois

Bear Point School

Photo by: Nanette L. Riley (10 May 2008)

In the mid-late 1800's, first was called Bear Paunch, Bear Point School held classes in the lower section of a 2 story log building owned by James M. Brayfield. The school burned down in the late 1800's and was located about were Bear Point Church stands today. Then in 1907, John and Ethel Eubanks donated 1 acre of land for a school, located 1/4 mile south-west. A new frame building was built there.

During recess the children took turns going to the Brayfield Post Office(inside Mr. Brayfields home) nearby for the mail to be taken back to the teacher to be sorted and sent home to each childs family. The community were the school and post office was located was also known as Brayfield.

In 1911, Roy A. Gulley was paid $50.00 per month to teach and Jennie Farris was only paid $30.00 per month. This might show the difference between the male and female pay scale difference, of that time period.

Pie suppers were held yearly by the school to raise funds to purchase new class materials and/or items needed. One such item purchased was a world globe which sat upon the teachers desk. 

Now looking at the photo above, you will see were the porch, bell tower(above the porch) and two cloak rooms were torn away. The north and east sides of the one room building had no windows, but had blackboards inside on these same walls. Behind the school was a shed used or boarding the kids horses and coal for the burner. On both sides of this were the bathrooms, one for boys and one for girls. This shed no longer exist today. The last year of school there was in 1956. In 1959 the building was sold for $200.00 to Clyde and Lola Eubanks, then passed on to Olen Eubanks. To this day, it still remains the property of the Eubanks family.

Bear Point School Class Roster

Sharlene (Tate) Alexander attended first grade at Bear Point School in the early 1950's.

 She recalls: "Bear Point was a one room school house for grades 1 - 8 in the early 50's and had one teacher. Gives a whole new meaning to 'open classroom'. There were about 25 kids total, and I think I was the only one in first grade."

 "Yes, I walked 2.5 miles one-way to school' every day with my brother on those gravel roads."

"I recall a few windows on the west side, the coat closets, the 2 co-ed out-houses and a pot-bellied stove I thought toward the back in the back corner. I don't remember blackboards on the west walls ... rather, I remember one at the front of the room and maybe one on the east wall. I also thought there was a one-step 'stage' at the front of the room where the teacher had her desk and where Carolyn Davis and I sang 'Side-by-Side' as a duet for pie suppers."

[Submitted by: Sharlene (Tate) Alexander]

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Nanette Riley 2008 ©Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group