This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was submitted by Celia G. Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois


There were two schools recorded in Champaign County in 1832. One was on the west side of the Big Grove and was taught by Claude Thompkins. The other was in the vicinity of the old Brumley place, near Urbana, the latter being the first schoolhouse erected in the county, as far as can be learned.

It was a substantial structure with small windows and instead of glass they used greased paper. The seats were hewn slabs and not so smooth either. As far as can be learned, the first eacher was a lady who boarded at the house of Martin Reinhart. In 1832 it was Asahel Bruer who taught there for eighteen months. The first Christmas he treated the students to one gallon of whiskey and a bushel of apples. When the next Christmas came around, he found the door barred when he arrived. In answer to his request to come in, he received a note through a crack asking for the apples and whiskey and that all the students receive a week's vacation. He answered that he would not and climbed on top of the schoolhouse. The clapboards on the roof were held by weight poles so he had no difficulty in removing enough of them to cover the top of the chimney. The fireplace below was stoked with green wood and the room was soon filled with smoke. James Kirby, one of the older pupils, took the poker, a piece of a pole and was able to knock the clapboards off. But, they were soon replaced by Mr. Bruer and the schoolhouse again filled with smoke, almost to suffocation. The smaller children began to cry. It was about this time that William Trickle crawled up into the attic, pulled aside some boards and jumped out and down. Mr. Bruer went after and caught him. The other boys saw him catch Trickle and threw open the door and piled out of the smoke-filled schoolhouse. The boys soon caught Mr. Bruer and began rolling him in the snow and pulling his hair. He protested that they had no right , so the boys submitted the matter to Stephen Boyd and Mr. Bromley who decided they had a right to lock him out, but not to pull his hair or roll him in snow.

When Mr. Bruer was released he made a beeline for the schoolhouse and was able to reach it before the boys. He finally surrendered saying, "I just wanted to see if you had any Kentucky blood in you." He then told them where they could find the whiskey and apples which he had hidden earlier. They spent the afternoon roasting apples and drinking apple toddy. James Kirby, William and Ashford Trickle, James W. Boyd, Moses Deer, Mrs. Mary Ann Moore, of Danville, Fount Busey, Sol Nox, James Roland, Susan Trickle, now Mr. Kirby's wife, were present and will long remember the event.

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