The Pavilion Academy
Published in the Kendall County Record, February 3, & 10, 1870
Not long since, we noticed a few lines in the Record respecting the history of the old academy near Pavilion. Allow us, if you please, Mr. Editor, to correct your statements regarding the founders of that old institution. In the first place, instead of being built by the protestant Methodists it was built by different individuals, the same owning shares of five dollars each.
The house was then divided into compartments, one part to be used for a district school and the other for an Academy or a high school. Elisha Morgan deeded the land upon which the house stands to the district. Title for the land was to be held by the owners of the Academy as long as the house, or a part of it, should be used for a common district school. When this could no longer be done, title to the land was to fall back to Mr. Morgan. The high school was of short duration, so the house was used for a common school.
For some time, the protestant Methodists (lead by Rev. Michael Lewis) held services on Sunday in the part fitted for the high school. The German Lutherans also used the same portion for funerals. Dissatisfied with this much liberty, the protestants bought about one-fourth of the shares, and managed to get the deed, which had never been recorded, into their hands. They flattered themselves that matters were progressing finely.
At this juncture they removed the property belonging to the district, from the schoolhouse, and notified the directors that the property was at the house of Elder Martin, and to come and take it away. The directors were William Thurber, Phineas Smith and Lewis Morgan. The next day, Mr. Martin received a personal invitation by one of the directors, to return the property to the schoolroom, in so many days, or take the consequences. The property was replaced in due season, but the house was locked up, and the key was in the hands of some of the ringleaders.
Previous to this a teacher had been hired to teach the district school. At the appointed hour the teacher was ready to commence her school. However, the schoolhouse was locked up. William Thurber knowing his duty entered the schoolroom through one of the windows. He had a hammer with him, and quicker than it takes to write it, he smashed the lock, and the teacher began her work at once.
Several of the old Protestants were present at the time Mr. Thurber broke open the schoolroom. The forbid him to molest their property, at the same time asserting that he, Mr. Thurber was encroaching upon their civil rights and claims to the house. As matters had gone so far, the opposing Methodists thought a favorable opportunity had presented itself. So they acted on the same, by commencing a lawsuit against the directors of the district school. The suit was accordingly brought before Esquire Murphy for trial. The suit was decided in favor of the district school and its directors. The Methodists were not satisfied with this decision and appealed the suit to the Circuit Court, where, when the trial came off, they were totally annihilated, costing them nearly a thousand dollars.
All we have written respecting the Academy is correct, as we have good authority. Signed: Mine & Company. Mine's name is unknown to the compiler but he or she was the Plattville correspondent to the Kendall County Record.