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Doeskin School - Hamilton County, Illinois

This school was located in Beaver Creek Township near the intersection of County Roads 1900N and 1700E. It was an active school from 18xx to 19yy. It served grades __ to __.

The following information was taken from an article titled "Buckskin and Doeskin Schools" by Ernest Vanzant that was published in the McLeansboro Times-Leader in the 14 July 1988 edition.

The following information ...

Times have changed. Education has evolved from the one room school of yesterday to the modern classrooms of today. However, scattered along the roadways and about the countryside of Hamilton County, the silent shells o some of the one room schools still stand. While they appear frail and forlorn, they are not forgotten in the minds of many area residents who attended them.

Sitting around the stove in Rankin's store one Saturday morning recently were some former students who had attended Buckskin and Doeskin school in Bungay. They recalled teachers, classmates and school days gone by.

Homer "Speedy" McGehee, a student at Buckskin, remembered a day when several boys climbed into the school's bell tower to smoke. Homer said that he was halfway up the tower when he saw what they were doing so he climbed back down. He put some wax (chewing gum) into his mouth and prepared to go on about his business. About that time his teacher, Ernest "Dee" York smelled the cigarette smoke from the bell tower. He accused Homer of putting the wax in his mouth simply to cover up the smoke smell on his breath. Homer could never convince him differently.

Homer also remembered Anna (Stallings) Englebright, a former classmate. Over the telephone Anna, now 81, remembered vividly a big storm that came one school day. This she says was before the school had any storm cellar. The black clouds rolled in quickly and the teacher hurried the children into the cloakroom. In an effort to allow the wind to pass through the building the teacher finally had to kick out a window in the cloakroom. Before he could get to the rest of the windows, the high winds and hail blew them all out. No one was injured, but it certainly made an impression on all of them. After the tornado of 1925, storm cellars were added to most all of the schools.

Anna attended school at Buckskin from 1915 through 1921. A student could attend all eight grades there. She remembered that the present Buckskin school was built about 1912 because the first Buckskin school was on the same site, but was a rectangular building, unlike the square one that stands today. She remembered with fondness that when the weather permitted, a long bench was placed out in the school yard for the children to sit on. Not everyone had enough to own their cup she said, but there were four or five tin cups all the children could share to get a cool drink from the well.

She also recalled the ciphering matches and spelling bees that took place at school on Fridays. Students at Buckskin and Doeskin would take turns visiting in each others' schools for these contests, and this was considered a day of fun. She also talked about the "querie box" where each student put a questions to be used later during another kind of learning contest. The students divided into sides and then each drew a question from the querie box. The side which could answer the most questions correctly was the winner, just as the winner of the ciphering matches and spelling bees were the individual students who could out-cipher or out-spell all other students. Anna remembered several classmates and teachers: among them classmates Audrey Garrison, Lou Rockett, and Ester Jamerson and teachers John Rush, Charlie Bosover, and Robert Culley.

Both schools are located in an area one-and-a-half miles east of Rankin's store and north and south of the first crossroads. Charles Becker and Truman Rankin believed the schools were named Buckskin and Doeskin because there were and still are deer which frequently cross at these spots. Around each school is a heavily wooded area and from the thicket, one can imagine that this is probably correct.

Charles Becker's father, Tony, a former student at Doeskin, remembered that most of the students would bring their lunch to school in a pail and place it in the cloakroom on a shelf until the lunch hour. Often times it would freeze before lunch. The school was heated by a coal stove, and he said that if the wind was just right, the stove would smoke up the school so badly that school had to be dismissed for the day. He recalled the pie suppers held at Doeskin to raise money and about the oyster dinner held on the last day of school which everyone attended. He remembered that school let out in March so that the students could help with the necessary farm chores of the season. As for discipline, the teacher would simply go outside the school by what the children termed the "Doeskin lateral" which was a creek or a ditch, and cut a willow. Problems were soon solved.

Thinking about some of the games the students played at recess times, Tony could recall dare base. One of the students would stand on the base, and the others would dare him to get off. Finally he would take off running and try not to get caught by anyone before landing on another safe base. They also played Blackman, a game in which one student would run around the school yard until he was patted on the back three times. That made him "it," and he would then get to pick someone else to take his place.

Tony said that he attended both the first Doeskin school and also the second Doeskin school which now stands on the same site as the first school. The first Doeskin school was moved in the early 1900's so that a new school building could be erected. The first Doeskin school no longer exists. It was used as a farm for some time after it was moved and was then the victim of a woods fire. Buckskin school also had been destroyed by fire.

Like Anna, Tony could also recall several former fellow classmates and teachers. Those classmates he remembered were John McDowell, Ruth Stallings and Delbert Rankins. Teachers whom he recalled were Charlie Jamerson, Jerry Allen, Harry Shears, and Fred York. Best of all, even Tony's mother, Henrietta Becker, was a student at Doeskin school, which tells me that this school has been in existence well over 100 years.

Stand still old school, but stand proud…although your bell no longer rings loud…the cloakrooms empty and the room so bare…but all of your students are everywhere!


Below is a list of the available documents / photos for the school. Click on each link to load that page. Close the page that opens to return to this page.  The links are arranged oldest to newest, left to right and top to bottom within each category with all unknown year items placed at the end.

Building 1 Building 2        
Class Pictures
1932 (About) 1950-1 1951-2      

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As mentioned above, if you can add to or correct any information presented or if you have any document / photo that you wish to contribute to this project, please contact us at HCHSGenealogy@gmail.com.