Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails



The early settlers quickly realized they needed to build a schoolhouse for their children. It was called Greenbush.
Another school was named Rockport, and there was competition between the two.
The following students attended Greenbush:

John Kenworthy
Two Garnett boys
John Richards
William Richards
Three Walton boys
Jabez Cobeldick
E. E. Parmenter
Andrew Simmons
Theodore Simmons
several Roberts boys
Henry Ballard
Eli Jones
Sarah Buffum

In 1868 the school became the Baptist Church.
These notes were taken from Home on the River which was compiled and edited by Mary Slovar. Her sources included: Past and Present of Rock Island County, 1877, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Vols. I and II, and the History of Rock Island County, 1914.



First School at Drury's Landing
by John G. Powell 

 The first school was held in a log cabin on Miles Drury's farm, and a little later another was kept in what was known as the "bull pen."

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Mercer County, 1914 -Submitted by Mary Lou Schaechter



Hampton Township School History

The first school was started here in 1833-34 in a log cabin located north of Albert Altman's farmhouse, near the river. It was taught by Lucius Wells. The scholars attending the little school were the Wells, Mcneals, Danforths, Richardsons and Thompsons. Other teachers in this school were John and Wm. Kelley and Mr. Thurston.

After this for some months, a small school was kept in a cabin east of the present Hampton cemetery. The teachers being John Lamberson and H. G. Reynolds. This school was supported by the parents of the scholars. During the summer of 1839, a log schoolhouse was built especially for a public school, and was located just south of the present school building. The first school teacher in this new school was Samuel Lamberson.

In 1844 a one-story brick school building was erected beside the log schoolhouse. The town had grown larger now, there being 20 housed here, and a better school was needed. The first two teachers in the brick school were Philip and Addison Chamberlin.

A two-story brick school building was erected in 1857 on the same site as the present school house. It was there, I (George McNabney) going to school, Miss Sawyer and Miss Blanchard being the teachers. This building stood many years until October 29, 1879, wehn it caught fire while school was in sesssion and burned down.

The school was then held in the old Catholic church which stood at the footof the hill near Wilkens farm and also in a small house east of the present Catholic church -- both have since been torn down.

The teachers were W. C. Smith, Carrie Spencerr and Mary Hobert. After the two-story brick school building was built in 1857, the old one-story brick school building was sold on January 21, 1858, to the German Lutheran Church for $400.

On Dec. 5, 1864 the Lutheran Church decided to erect a new building and sold the old schoolhouse to the town of Hampton for $200. Here they held their town meetings and elections.

On May 2, 1904, it was sold for $50 to the School Trustees to be used as a playground. The old building on it was razed.

The present school house was erected in 1880. The first teachers in it were W. C. Smith, Miss Merritt and Miss Robert. The Hampton schools have been well managed and have kept up with the educational standards of the times.

The present (1938) teachers are Paul W. Powell, Principal; Helen Mangrove, Intermediate Department, and Grace C. Kerns, primary department. The present directors are Harry Kipp, Glenn Tompkins and Ralph Meeske.

The first trustees of Hampton township who hold the title of all school buildings and grounds were Geo. R. McMurphy, John Skinner, and Geo. C. Parker, who were appointed by the county commissioners at the Sept. term 1836.

The township was divided Feb. 19, 1842. The Hampton district, which originally was No. 2, is now N. 29.

The first school directors here were Wm. E. McLellan, Robert Harvey and Lucius Wells. The fist school census taken was Dec. 29, 1843;
 the number of children listed in the township under 21, was 222.

The present (1938) school secretary and treasurer is E. C. Dennhardt of Silvis. The present school trustees are Chas. E. Sikes, Louis A. Schave and Henry Johnson.

Information submitted by Mary and Rock Nelson of the Hampton Historical Society A History of Hampton, Illinois 1838-1938 by George McNabney


History of the Villa de Chantal
Rock Island School No longer exists.

The sisters of the Order of Visitation traveled from Maysville, Kentucky, after the Civil War to Illinois where they built the first wing to the Visitation Academy, known today as The Villa.

The sight chosen was a cow pasture overlooking the thriving town of Rock Island, the "mighty" Mississippi and the low green hills of Iowa. The second wing, where the bar and restaurant are located, was built in 1907 with the Chapel being dedicated on June 10, 1908.

In 1929, the first spadeful of dirt was turned for the final wing. It then was re-named after the patron Saint, Jane de Chantal. This expansion provided room for the ever growing community of cloistered nuns and "Villa girls."

Boarders were accomodated from 1900 until the 1950s, moving from the first wing to the fourth floor of the school building in 1930. After the boarding school was closed, the fourth floor was converted into music rooms.

The school closed its doors in the mid 1970s with eleven nuns staying on until 1990. If you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can still hear the sounds of giggling girls and the nuns slapping fingers to palm, admonishing, "don't run in the halls girls."

source unknown


Summary from The Argus, June 5, 1975

It was in August of 1899 that a group of Visitation nuns traveled to Rock Island to establish a private school for girls. Their temporary home was the old Reynolds mansion at 2939 5th Avenue, where they began conducting classes.

During the next few months Mother Frances Borgia and Sister Mary Agnes, headmistress, looked for a good permanent location for the school. rev. Thomas Mackin, rector of St. Joseph's showed them a former cow pasture on Ball's Bluff overlooking the city and the river which they purchased for $11,000.

By February 1901 the nuns and boarders had moved into the building. Classes were held for day and boarding students from ages 5 to 18. They learned nursery rhymes, Spencerian script, elocution, astronomy, calisthenics, and fine arts. They also accepted postulants.

The school grew quickly and by 1906 they had begun construction of a second wing. George P. Stauduhar was architect of the Gothic Revival building, a style for which he was famous. He lived nearby and his daughters attended the school. Furnishings came from the Quad City area, Kentucky and even Munich, Germany.

In the early 1900 the average attendance was 60 boarders and 80 day students. By 1929 the Villa was again overcrowded, and the east wing, Lewis Hall, was completed in 1930.

In the early days Gyp, the Villa horse, pulled a wagon on errands, and after the era of automobiles had arrived, the Villa was the first school of this area to purchase and operate buses on both sides of the Mississippi.

As years went by the Villa's popularity diminished. The school became a day school only in 1958. The sisters faced a lack of funds, and after trying every possible loan, grant and fund-raising possibility, the 78 year old Catholic school closed its doors in 1978.

The order of the Visitation was founded in France by Bishop Francis de Sales of Annecy and Baroness Jane de Chantal, a young widow in 1610 on Trinity Sunday, June 6. From its beginning it received not only virgins but also widows, the aged, cripped or sick into its ranks.

Although the official date of its founding in the United States is 1816, it actually began as a group called the Pious Ladies shortly after the American Revolution. The community which later came to Rock Island was canonically established on June 6, 1865 in Maysville in an improvised chapel.