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Montgomery County
Hillsboro High School


The Early Years
A Special Centennial Salute
Montgomery Co News, 19 May 1983

Transcribed and Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener
(who does not have access to the paper any longer, nor has any further information to give)

Hillsboro Academy
Members of the Class of 1883
(cover picture)

Minnie Rutledge, Lucian Fish, Frank McDavid, and Pauline Rutledge

Students 1883

Class of

Millie Dale


Minnie Witherspoon


Joseph M Baker


Anna Witherspoon


James E Colvin


Frank M McDavid


Mildred Rutledge


Lucian Fish


Mattie Allen


Marion Jenkins


John Gardner


Lila McEwen


Eva Rutledge


The Academy was built on land donated by John Tillson and patterned after eastern schools of higher education. It was erected and furnished for $8144.30 in Nov 1837.
For 43 years, it served the community as a high school and at times also as a grade school. [Rev Sidney Levi Harkey s/o of John & Sarah Walcher Harkey attended the Academy in 1839. He later became a well-known Lutheran minister.] For 5 years (1847-1852) it was "the Literary and Theological Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Far West". After the Lutherans gave up their lease it again became the Hillsboro Academy. In 1880 the property was turned over to the city and it became the Hillsboro High School.

Hillsboro High School
The first public high school opened 4 Oct 1880 in the former Hillsboro Academy building. School directors were John F Glenn, James M Truitt, and John M Cress.
Faculty members of the 3-year high school were: J N Dewell, principal & teacher; Miss Emma Cromer; Charles R Truitt and Miss Mary Winhold. Grade school classes were taught by: Miss Jeddie Arnold, Mrs Helen Colvin, Miss Mary L Hood, Miss Lizzie Whitehead; and Miss Belle Middleton.
Tuition for non-residents would be $8 and $7 for each of the three terms which extended over 12, 10, and 9 week periods. Board with private families could be procured from $2.50 to $3.50 per week.

South School - Edison
After holding classes in the old Academy building for seven years the high school students moved to the second floor of the newly constructed South School in 1888. The first graduates (1889) were Margaret Williams, Charles Lockhart, Essie McWilliams, William Welge, and John Linxwiler.
Both high school and grade school classes were held there until 1904 when the high school classes moved to the Beckemeyer building. The junior high classes remained on the 2nd floor of Edison until the high school classes moved into the current building in 1921. In Jan of 1968, after serving as a grade school for 47 years, Edison was declared unsafe and razed. Edison Park was established on the site.

HHS - Edison
Freshmen and Sophomores 1889-90
Jennie Johnson Camilla Seymour Ollie McWilliams
Ida Harkey Bert Hartline Bertha Welge
Ida Truitt Stella Jones Emma Miller
Annetta Wagner Myrtie Brookins Ethel Brown
Myrtie Stowe Irene Walsh Hubert Sawyer
Mamie Ramsey Ann File Eleanor Putenny
Esther Challacombe Bessie Edwards Ida Miller
Claude Tyler Roy Witherspoon Walter Stoddard
Ben Edwards Henry Abbott Zenis Davidson
Edgar Simms George Kober Oscar Rhodes
Carl Wagner    

Built in 1904 Beckemeyer served for three-quarters of a century as the high school, the junior high school, and then as a grade school before it was taken down by a heavy headache ball.
The school was built on the old Fairgrounds, where horse races and county fairs were held, where both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A Douglas spoke. The school which opened on 19 Dec 1904, was built on a 15-acre tract of land which cost $3000, at a construction cost of $21,498.

HHS - "Crow Hill"
The old John Maddux property, known as "Crow Hill", consisting of 21 acres was purchased for $12,500 on which to build the high school overlooking Tremont Street. The newly established Hillsboro Community High School opened it's doors 2 Sep 1921 and is still used today (Dec 2010).
Over the years additions and renovations due to a fire have been done. Last year, a vote for a tax increase for the purpose of building a new high school was defeated.

First Faculty Members on "Crow Hill"
John Avery, principal; George M Girhardl, assistant principal, physics & chemistry teacher & head coach; Fay Edwards, secretary to the principal; Mrs Louise Hall, home science instructor; Myrtie Whitten, algebra teacher; Ethel Horner, history; Imogene Murphy, shorthand & typing; Florence Chapman, Spanish; Emma Helsel, bookkeeping; Rhea Barr, Latin; Bea Brown, freshman & sophomore English; W Loyd Davies, agriculture; Lelah Craig Brown, junior & senior English; J R Andrews elementary science & assistant coach; Edna Fowler, mathematics; Ada Sadler, history & elementary science; Jessie Jamison, sophomore & junior English. Mr Avery was paid $3,200 for 10 months; Mr Girhard received $2,295; Ms Edwards received $850 for 10 months; and other salaries ranged from $1,440 to $2,250.

Other Articles and Pictures included in this salute -----

Strike of '84 cancelled graduation
Early faculty members with picture
Today's faculty
Class of '15 first mortar boards
First graduates, 50 years later with picture
Winhold School, Burbank School, and Jr High School with pictures
Students wrote own story over years
First HHS graduation in Presbyterian Church with picture of church
Front page, May 25, '83 - picture of train destroyed when a tornado struck on Shoal Creek during graduation
Orchestra organized in 1925 with picture
Singers started harmonizing in 1915 Glee Club
Christmas concert 1881
Won state two years in row with picture
Operetta of 1935 with picture
First HHS cagers with picture
State Champs of 1914 with pictures
First football gamed played Thanksgiving here; lost - with picture
Soccer introduced in 1916 with picture
HHS baseball team took to diamond first in 1915 with picture
Greatest HHS athlete - Harold Osborne, class of 1918 - 1924 Olympics with picture
Girls had basketball team in 1904 with picture
Harkey House with 2 pictures
Some of the ads also contain information and/or pictures.

(No, we don't have the pictures)


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