William G. and Ada McClelland made a deed in 1885 to Jacob Lichty, Smith Gordon and William G. Ferguson, school trustees of Township Two North and Range One East, for the land to use for a school site. This information was recorded in the County Clerk’s office at Salem, Illinois. Mr. Wesley Griffin, county clerk, also stated that this location was verified by Paul B. Chance, county superintendent of schools, as being the location of Matthew School. Mr. Chance stated the district was approximately two miles square.
Mr. T. C. Harker, one of our older residents of this area, gave me the information that this school was probably constructed before 1890, and he says the official name was "Midland School." He remembers that Will Matthews, Charles Ellis, and Perry McClelland were the first board of directors.
Mr. Will Matthews, who lived one half mile north of the school, helped to organize the school and probably the school was given his name.
Mr. Harker was unable to recall who the first teacher was. Mrs. Lily Robinson McClaren taught there a number of years before 1900.
In 1900, Mr. Harker taught the school and at that time the board consisted of Perry McClelland, Thomas J. Eaglin, and L. Carson. Mr. Amasa Eaglin of Odin attended this school around this date and he also remembered this board of directors.
Some of the families who have lived in this area were: Perry, William G., Harve, and James McClelland, Charles Ellis, Horace Woodward, Pigg, Thomas J. Eaglin, Asa Lydick, Saunders, Isaac J. Ross, James Day, Alvin Sherman, John Jett, Sam and Ed Tate, Roy Modlin, Henry Daggett, Elza Williams, Charles Brakefield, Meredith, Melvin Austin and a great many more of whom I was unable to obtain the names.
In 1907-1908, Mrs. Etta Davis Payne taught the school. She stated at that time she had nine pupils. Among whom were: Bulah, Flora, and Ethel McClelland, Bessie, Arthur, and Vera Sanders, but could not recall the others. She taught eight years in the district but not in consecutive order. The first year she taught was a six month term and she received $30 per month. She stated that she paid $1.50 a week for board. She said that the last year she taught, she received fifty dollars per month but still six month terms. She thought the average attendance was probably from 10 to 15 pupils. I wish to say at this part of the history that I went to Mrs. Payne, "Miss Etta to us," and that to her and my parents I owe a debt of gratitude fro my education and inspiration to become a teacher. I have been teaching for thirty-eight years in Marion County, but I am retiring at the end of this term.
In the course of years some of the teachers who have taught the school are as follows: Lily Robinson McClaren, T. C. Harket, Etta Davis Payne, Minnie Easley Cockrell, Myrtle Woods, Lorena Meredith, Elizabeth Kell, Olive Richardson, Roth B. McClelland, Mabel Foster, Hazel Anderick, Marie Anderick, Mrs. Lea Kennedy, Marie Hurd Tate, Ellen Tate Briscoe, Lucille Tate Kissell, Mabel Cheesem Pratt. If any are left out, it is because I could not get an accurate list.
In the spring of 1936, the school was destroyed by fire. It was decided by the people in the district to rebuild. The new building was completed by the fall of 1936. The directors at this time were, Charles Brakefield, Isaac J. Ross, and Melvin Austin.
For several years, the school progressed but the time finally came when there was not enough pupils, according to state law, to hold school. The children were transported to Stewart School, here Ms. Marie Hurd Tate was teacher. Later the building was sold and the school district was annexed by Odin and Sandoval School Districts.
The following helped supply dates and names for this article: Mrs. Flora McClelland Case, Mrs. Ethel McClelland Austin, Mrs. Ed. Tate, Mrs. Etta Davis Payne, Mr. Paul B. Chance, Mr. Wesley Griffin and Mr. T. C. Harker.
Mrs. Earl (Grace Ross) Jackson