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Butler School of Macoupin County

Butler School

Contributed by Crystal Jenson
William Butler is in the Buggy

Edmond & Permelia Ensley Butler donated the land for the first Butler School to be built around 1845.

The first school was built 3 miles or so east of Prairetown, Illinois. The school is still standing on private property.

The second Butler School was on property donated by Edmonds' son, William Butler & his wife, Nancy Ann Patrick Butler. Both felt the way many area families did, their children needed a place to learn. The school was closed in the 1950's and rented out as a home after that. (The 2nd school burned down Sept. 1960.)   Both schools were built by the area families that had school age children or those just wanting to help get a school started. It is NEVER the work of one family or one person! It took many hours away from farming to build both schools and the families that lived in the area had just as much to do with getting the schools built as the Butler family did. It took teamwork to bring the foundation stones, and many donated wood, clapboards, and brick for the well curb. It was always meant to be a community school, with parents & teachers working together to keep it in good repair, which is the way it did turn out. Many teachers there used to bring items from home to make things easier for both them and the children they taught.

Leona Lewerenz was one teacher that played ball with the kids and brought many things for kids that needed a little extra to eat or a kind word at the right time. Most teachers at both schools did the same thing. They really cared about the kids. Local stores would donate netting to keep flies and bees from joining in the classroom, or new water pails or the water dippers that the kids always seemed to lose! They also donated many items such as chalk, chalkboards, and the use of wagons so the firewood could be hauled in close by.

The bell was purchased by collecting money from the parents and from area businesses. The yearly whitewash used was applied by students and parents and teachers, but I do think myself that the parents & teachers may have had to do some touching up on the paint when the kids got done.

There were picnics held at the schools on week-ends and both schools were used as a meeting place for the road commission and other groups. In that era schools were a vital part of the community as gathering places.

The second school had pale blue curtains by the teachers' desk. I had them here for many years & they were a thin muslin type material. Mom didn't remember if they were all through the school or just at the window closest to the teachers' desk. The home I live in was where Nancy Butler spent her last years. It has been in the same family since the US deeded the property to Telamachus Camp in 1831. I have the photo of Butler School that Nancy Butler kept in her rooms here. She would tell Mom stories about her life at Butler Farm, the school, and what her family was like.


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