The History of Seymour High School
Seymour is located in east central Illinois in western Champaign County. It is not considered an
incorporated village in Illinois and is not recognized by the U.S. Census. An estimate based on its size (5 blocks by 3 blocks) according
to Mapquest (www.mapquest.com) would be 150 - 200 residents.Seymour is located on Illinois Route 10 about 1 mile west of Illinois Route 47 and about
1 mile south of Interstate Highway 74. Camp Creek flows to the west of Seymour. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad currently
owns tracks running through Seymour. Seymour was first settled in Scott Township around 1875. Champaign is located
about 6 miles east of Seymour.
The following history of Seymour and its educational system was provided by MarySue Firchau.
It is reprinted from a publication that was written upon the closing of the grade school in 1982.
"Up to the time of the railroad going through this present site of Seymour, the town was known as
"The Hedge", as there was a large row of Osage runinng west and one running north from the school corner. At the time
one railroad started operation the name was changed to Seymour in honor of one Richard Seymour
who was an extensive land owner at that time.
The first school house was built in 1857 in the west half of Scott Township was the Koogler School,
named for Samuel Koogler, the first township supervisor. The next school house was built on the northeast
corner of the James Tilbury farm. Mr. Tilbury deeded two acres for the school site. the
first school house was a small room boarded up and down. The district paid for the lumber but the hauling and building
was done by volunteer help in 1865. The lumber was hauled from Champaign by B.J. Hazen and Tobias
Woods. In making the return trip they met with misfortune, as they got part of their horses down in the crossing the
Kaskaskia slough. They were compelled to unload a part of the lumber to get out. Upon reaching the Willow Grove
Farm (John Pfiester farm), they put up for the night as they were hungry and cold. The horses were badly
faded. This story was told by B.J. Hazen.
At the time this building was built they gave it the name of "The Hedge." This school house was used
until about 1872 when a larger and much better house was built. This building was used for Church and Sunday School and for
all public gatherings as well as school. Among some of the teachers were: Goin Madden, H.L. Timmons, James Karr,
J.G. Lawrence, David Hennes (who had 80 scholars enrolled), and J.M. Mullin (who
had about the same number).
This second building was sold to Robert Johnson in 1889. Mr. Johnston
moved the building to another site and made a dwelling of it. It was later used as a dwelling and central telephone office.
In 1889 the third school house was built; it was a frame building of two rooms. A Mr. McConnell
and Miss Mattie Pritchard were the first teachers to occupy it. This house was sold to J.C. Haines
in 1925 who dismantled it.
In 1925 schoolhouse number four was erected on the same site as the previous ones. It was a modern
brick structure that would do credit to any community. It had two school rooms and a large gym. The basement was fitted up
as the kitchen where many community and church suppers have been served. In 1933 the kitchen was converted into
a two-year high school room. Three teachers were employed. In 1934 a music teacher was employed. In 1935,
the third year of high school was added.
At one time Seymour had:
One M.E. Church
Two filling stations
Two good grocery stores One electric railroad
Two elevators One
One hardware store One
One lumber yard One
One exchange bank One
One barber shop One
One restaurant One
One blacksmith One
three year high school
Populaton about 220
One hard road - Rte. 10 & 47
One day each year for 25 years was given over to a homecoming, picnic, and fair, when people would
come back to spend the day with old friends and neighbors, and to look over the exhibits of horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry,
potatoes, cabbages, soybeans, tallest stalk of corn, fancy work, pics and cakes, jams and jellies, wheel of fortune, corn
game, races, and a dance at night.
Supper at the church in the evening always drew a crowd. Last but not least was the horse show on
the race track at night under the electric lights. Saddle horses showing 3 - 5 gaits and harness horses hitched to bikes showed
The ponies came for miles and it was surprising how the little folks handled the ponies.
All the exhibits were highly competitive and these exhibits were equal to our County Fair.
Our high school band furnished the music for the day and evening.
(Courtesy of D.H. Thomas, "History of the Town of Seymour")
Phillip Carper owned the land the school is on now. It was a garden and orchard.
The pecan tree in the school yard now was planted by Ann Carper Koble when she was 12 years old.
The concrete block out by the road was an open well for the first school built on the property. That
building was moved to where the telephone office is now. The second school was built and then torn down in 1925. In 1925 the
present building was built with two classrooms and a gym. In 1926 the school opened; school board members were L.E.
Hartrick - President, Roy Bullinger - Clerk, and E.S. Bell - Director. The first
teachers were Minnie Adams who taught first through fourth grades and Guy Conley who taught
fifth through eighth grades. In 1933 two years of high school were added, later a third year was added. But
for Senior year, the students went to Champaign, Urbana, and other schools. The first high school teacher was Ruth
Lidden and the first principal when the high school was added was Virgil Henry. The slide and
swings were bought in 1946-47. The school was consolidated on July 1, 1948. The high school went to Mahomet. board members
of the newly formed district were: Clarence Rayburn, V.C. Kokensparger, J.W. Rayburn, Percy Lourash, Arberry
Yount, Homer Keller, and James F. Parker.
In 1961, the 7th and 8th grades left and went to Mahomet. In 1970 the new addition was added to the
old Seymour School; it consisted of the fifth and sixth grade rooms, the kitchen, the administrative office and the janitor's
room. In 1975 the first secretary was hired (Carolyn Fisher). In 1981 the fifth and sixth grades left
and went to Mahomet.
In 1982 Seymour School closed."
Mr. Terry Warren provided the following information regarding Seymour school:
"During its final year of operation as a school (1981-82), Seymour Grade School housed 69 students: 9
Kindergarteners, and 20 students each in grades 1, 2 & 4. The few 3rd graders attended school in Mahomet, as their
numbers were insufficient to warrant the hiring of an additional teacher.
Seymour was my first administrative, or rather quasi-administrative, position. I was hired in 1981 as
Principal of the school and was also the full-time 4th grade teacher. Carolyn Fisher was still secretary
at that time, but also served as school librarian in the afternoon. When she was in the library, my 4th graders had the responsibility
of answering the telephone. Carolyn had trained interested students to do this, and they did an excellent