Miner Grade School Historical Marker Dedication
Ford County Historical Society, the Dueringer Family, and the Illinois State Historical Society
Join us for the dedication of the Miner Grade School historical marker. The dedication will be held on Thursday, July 15th at 1 p.m. at the site of the old grade school located at the corner of 700 E Road and 900 N Road (about 1.5 miles north of Guthrie). Watch for the sign on IL-54.
- Tom Dueringer
Dueringer Family Historian
- Judith Popel
President, Ford County Historical Society
- Jeremy Darnell
GCMS School Superintendent
- Tom Bennett
106th District Representative and GCHS Class of '74
- William Furry
Executive Director, Illinois State Historical Society
- Coming from Champaign-Urbana via I-74W – take exit 172 for IL-47 towards Gibson City. Turn right onto IL-9/IL54. Turn left on IL-54. Bear left onto N 700E.
- Coming from Bloomington-Normal via I-74E – take exit 152 and turn left onto US-136 E towards Heyworth. Continue onto IL-54. Turn left on IL-54. Bear left onto N 700E.
There will be an opportunity for a meet and greet at the North Pavilion shortly following the dedication. We will have light refreshments available. Chairs and umbrellas are encouraged.
We hope to see you there.
Miner Grade School
One-room schoolhouses in Illinois date from the 1855 free school law, which gave local townships the incentive to create school districts with elected boards that could levy taxes to support the schools and pay teachers. It is estimated Illinois at one time had more one-room schoolhouses than any other state in the nation—about 12,000. Each district served as many as a dozen families from nearby farms.
In 1885, John Mottes Miner, “brigadier” or foreman of the 40,000 acre Burr Oaks cattle and agricultural empire in present-day Sibley, Illinois, purchased the southwest corner of Section 17 in Sullivant Township, which included school number 4, which had been destroyed by fire. Mr. Miner erected a new frame building on the site, which became known as the Miner Grade School and would operate in that capacity for the next 60 years.
The Miner Grade School served generations of Sullivant and Dix township residents including the Miner, Poplett, Doyle, McKenna, Bonnen, and Dueringer families, whose descendants still reside in Ford County. After John Miner’s death in 1922, the land and school stayed in the family, but the acreage became known as the Schoolhouse 80 until Ford County consolidated its districts in the late 1940s.
The old Miner schoolhouse was purchased by Julia Miner Dueringer, who eventually sold it to the Guthrie Grain Elevator, which moved the building two miles down the road and repurposed it as office space.