Butterfly School

Butterfly school is known to exist as early as 1860. It was located about one mile east of the Shelby County line, 2 1/2 miles north of Lillyville. The following was written by Bonnie E. Baker from Sigel, IL.

Butterfly School was located in Spring Point Twp. Cumberland County, two miles east of Sigel, one mile within the Shelby/Cumberland County line. This writer does not know when Butterfly School was established but it existed prior to 1911.

In the book 100 years of God’s Blessings published by St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in 1967 there is a photo of teachers and students of Butterfly School in 1911. The teacher was Nettie Klein. The students were Lydia Fink (married Philip Baker), Bill Bueker, Ed Swingler, Otto Swingler, Ed Van Noy, Henry Feldhake, Celie Deters (married Sylvester Westjohn) and Agnes Deters.

Some of the later teachers were: Marion Walker, Lowell Gordon, George Miller, Isa Wennet, Bessie Boling, Mearl McCassion, Vera White, Mrs. Mason and Lula Clark Damascus Browning. Mrs. Browning was there the last five years that the school was open. The school closed after the 1953-54 school year. The building is gone and a house built by Scott and Michelle Schaefer is there now.

Pie suppers were one of the activities held in those little one room country schools. Sara Baker Carpenter remembers the pie suppers that were held. At one supper her pie was bought by her future husband Charles Carpenter.

The neighboring schools would get together on Friday afternoons and have a ball game.

Mrs. Browning was a very active teacher. While she was there the school would have Halloween parties and school plays. Mrs. Browning believed that the children should have more education then just the at provided in the school setting. She arranged for us to travel! Mrs. Browning would call up the County Superintendent of Schools, Wayne Hance, and tell him that she wanted to take the children on a field trip and that she needed another car and driver and that he was it! They took us to St. Louis to the zoo and the Muni Opera. At the Muni Opera we saw the musical Rose Marie. We traveled to Springfield where we met the Governor and viewed the House and Senate in action, to New Salem State Park and many other places. It was not uncommon for us to arrive home in the early morning hours from a school trip.

Some of the students who attended the school were: the children of: Earl and Hester Baker, Philip and Lydia Baker, Jess Rentfrow, Paul Wolke, Rudolph Noefke, the Fetters family, and George Whitaker. Vera White would bring her son to school with her; Dannie Mattern and the Eden girls (granddaughters or Rudolph Noefke) attended Butterfly School. Mrs. Browning brought Ronald Sloan from Montrose, and Robert Effner.

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