The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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High School History


Some Fairbury high school history...........


Fairbury High School

In 1880, the first high school in Fairbury, known afterwards as the Isaac Walton Elementary School, was erected at a cost of $20,000. Both the elementary school and high school were under the supervision of C. E. DeButts, who was well-known in Livingston County. A graduate of Cornell College in 1890 with a Master's Degree in Philosophy, he had served as principal at Cornell two years, principal of the city schools of Pontiac three years, principal of Odell Schools three years, assistant principal of Pontiac Township High School three years, and finally superintendent of schools in Fairbury. Increased salaries and responsibilities were given each time as the reasons for his moving to another position.

Mrs. Alma Lewis-James' mother donated most of the high school site in 1913. Mrs. Alma Lewis-James donated another tract in 1948 for part of the athletic field, and she sold the school still another ten acres in 1955 for an addition to the site. The land had been in the family for more than a century. The original land grant was given to Mrs. Lewis-James' great grandfather, Dr. Lorenzo Beach, on October 9, 1854, for his services as an army physician in the Seminole Indian War in Florida. The second owner of the land was his son, Thomas A. Beach, the founder of the Fairbury Bank. The third owner was his daughter, Mrs. Ella Beach Lewis, Mrs. James' mother.

A rather amusing item concerning Fairbury High School appeared in The Blade of October 15, 1892. Quote: "An effort is being made by the high school to establish a gymnasium in connection with the school. The undertaking is a laudable one and should be encouraged. Better results will grow out of a gymnasium than a course in Latin."

That same issue of The Blade told that the teachers of the public schools had had a picnic out on the banks of Vermillion the previous Saturday.

From the Lucille Goodrich book.






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