Springhouse Magazine Online - An Adventure Shaped Like a Magazine


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With the passing of John W. Voiget, Springhouse lost a contributor and a friend of many years. Botanist, teacher, writer, artist and philosopher, John was a rarity -- a Renaissance Man and a gentleman.


Praised by many, condemned by few, one-room country schools belong to yesterday, along with moonshine stills and quilting bees. The bells that tolled the end of Tag are silent now; the playgrounds sprout weeds where before kids laughed, traded pocketknives, dreamed. Perhaps saddest of all, those who attended such schools in southern Illinois are at least middle-aged today.

I remember the delight we Rudement youngsters took in constructing, from horseweeds grown north of the school yard, fairly complicated houses sure to withstand ordinary breezes, not so sturdy before the smack of big winds. But I also remember the scarcity of books on the metal shelf that served as library, and how I read Jim Bridger more times than the text merited because nothing else on that shelf was worth reading at all.

Charming yet flawed is the best I can say for my years spent learning the four Rs (the fourth R is for rusticity, I suppose). I give those years a C. Others, bearing fonder memories, may mark their rural schooling with an A or a B -- they are the lucky ones. No matter what grades we give, however, most will agree that interest in rural education has not faded with the echoes of school bells; and, if proof be needed to support such a claim, Springhouse offers in this issue articles by Mildred B. McCormick and Kestner Wallace, along with several photographs. Although country schools may belong to yesterday, they are anything but forgotten today.

Speaking of Kestner Wallace, hardly was the June issue labeled and in the mail before he called to say that the unidentified young lady in the second row of the old school photograph on Page 20 is his mother, Verba Millikan, later Verba Wallace. To her right stands her brother, Ottis Millikan (not Otis Miller as the name appears in Springhouse). Both Verba and Ottis would teach grade school in Saline, Hardin and Pope Counties.

Kestner also said his mother finished her long career in the classroom by teaching at Colbert over on Eagle Creek when that last rural school in Saline County closed in the early 1960s. She died in 1079.

A week of so after the telephone conversation Kestner loaned Springhouse these two photographs.

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Ottis millikan taught at Cross Roads School south of Herod. Photograph taken between 1916 and 1920. Ottis Millikan died in 1941.

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Reuben Millikan, brother of Verba and Ottis, taugh at Eichorn School in the 1930s. Retired from teaching and contracting, he now live in Florida.

The Adventure Continues.







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