by Eileen Smith Cunningham
reprinted in the ISGS Quarterly Vol. XII, No. 2, Summer 1980
Transcribed by K. Torp
Before the great change in elementary education patterns in Illinois, i.e., the
closing of rural schools and the consolidation of districts, Greene County had the same number of rural schools
as the state had counties - 102!
One of the earliest schools in Greene County was of the famous construction-- a many-sided school. The first one
was near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. In Illinois, the first was built near the village of Schuline in Randolph
County. Charter Oak brick school was built in Randolph County in 1870. It was first a log school and kept the same
name when a teacher came in from the East who was familiar with the Valley Forge octagon. The Charter Oak Octagon
School was used 84 years and is popular with tourists in southern Illinois today.
Greene County's octagon was affectionately known as "The Stone Jug." The stone jug school served the
pioneer settlement and surrounding community, District #3 (now Eldred). The school was built in 1837 or 1838. It
was of a curious construction -- about 20 feet square, made of stone with one door and no windows. Light came through
a cupola. The roof was drawn in from the four side walls tapering to a convenient height with a window placed in
each of the four converging sides. Cyrus Sargent was the first teacher. He labeled it "The Stone Jug",
and the name stuck. It was used until a new Pioneer School was built in the early 1880s. The building was later
enlarged, and windows were put in. It was used as a store, a depot, and later an express office -- always keeping
the name "stone jug." The building burned in the early 1900s. The late Lucretia Flatt Bushnell, of Eldred,
recalled being sent by her mother to the "stone jug" with a half-dozen eggs in exchange for a spool of
Following are lists of pupils from three Greene County schools as they appear in the "Souvenir" booklet.
The schools are Eldred, Pleasant Dale, and Woody Public School.
Eldred School, Greene County, Ill. 1896-1897 Laura Montgomery, Teacher
J.P. Bechdoldt, B.W. Bechdoldt, D. Houts, Directors
Pupils of Pleasant Dale School, 1897-1898
District No. 5
Woodville Township, Greene County, Ill. W. Clement Wood, Teacher
J.D. Ambrose, Pres.
R.M. Davidson, Clerk
Pupils of Woody Public School
District No. 6
Bluffdale Township, Greene County, Illinois W. Clement Wood, Teacher
H.L. Hutchens, Pres.
Addison Maberry, Clerk