Jan 22, 1869: “Visited school in dist. 15. Edgar teacher. 25 in attendance. School house new frame but unseated. School doing well.”
Dec 27th, 1869: “[Term began] Dec. 6. Geo. E. Lawrence, teacher. Visited Dec. 27th, 40 students. Good frame house, but unseated. Wilsons readers. Teacher average.”
From “The hitching post…” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of articles about early Franklin County schools researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. This article appeared 10 January, 1991.
Silver Valley School, District 15, was located 1 ¼ miles west of Rantoul on the north side of the road, on what was known as the Borland Farm (see locator map)
The first school probably was in the 1860s, judging from the low district number assigned to it, and there is some indication its first name may have been Hestor.
The original school burned during the 1930s and was replaced with a new building that was destroyed by fire in 1955.
Following that fire, the district consolidated with Rantoul, although some students attended Cole School because it was closer to their homes.
Ralph Bloomer, Ottawa RFD 2, a former pupil, remembers that one mild mid-winter day it was so warm that many of the boys went swimming in a small creek across the road from the school.
Henrietta (Mosher) Tucker, a retired teacher living at 1519 Elm, recalls, “I began teaching in the first building in 1925. I moved away and the schoolhouse burned while I was gone. I came back 20 years later and taught in the new building, teaching the child of a former student.”
During one period –1925 to 1932—the student body was almost exclusively male, with only two girls enrolled.
The last teacher to teach at Silver Valley was Marjory Stewart. Other former teachers were Verna Blunk, Richard Fogle, Pauline Jackson, Odena Detwiler, Fanny Seymour and Effie (Evans) Baker.
The surnames Schmoe, Schulz, Haughn and Bloomer were mainstays in this school as their families produced many children.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County include: Roy, Roy Jr., Chet, Albert, Evelyn and Charles Schulz; Carl and Ralph Bloomer; Opal (Bloomer) Hogelin; John, Cecil and Lawrence Spratt; Gladys (Shenk) Paul; Eunice (Strickland) Shenk; John Shenk; Lafe and Oscar Haughn; Clarence Strickland; Bert Detwiler; Hazel Guyett; Loren Gadhert; Virgie (Schmoe) Sink; Myrtle (Schmoe) Bones; Mollie (Schmoe) Lee; Jean (Schmoe) Jones; and Floyd, Dale, Homer, Marion, George and Merlin Schmoe.