Where Was Stringtown?

From: Goshen Trails, Vol. 18, #2, April 1982
by Ellis Stafford.

Reprinted by permission

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW, the following selected excerpts from “Stringtown News” from “The Leader” newspaper of late 1882 and 1883 will tell you of some of the residents of that almost forgotten community of 100 years ago.  That which is enclosed in parenthesis was added by the writer of this article.

Mr. Wm. Leake closed a very successful term of school here last Friday.  (This was in School District No. 4.  There was a special all day program and a basket dinner during the noon period.  March 23, 1882.)

Joe Upchurch’s little boy Francis, received a very ugly wound in the leg today from a toy pistol in the hands of James Adams, who was handling it rather carelessly.  The family physician, Dr. Dale, was called but he failed to find the ball.  Boys, beware!  (Joe Upchurch was a Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hamilton County.  This James Adams was the grandfather of our James Adams, the florist.)

Altar News: John A. Campbell, age 23 and Lou Hutson, age 18. 

A.L. Sloan’s school is out.  He has been teaching at Hoodville.  He had a No. 1 school, as he always has wherever he teaches.  (A. L. Sloan was the grandfather of Mary Louise Lampley, another teacher).

A protracted meeting is in progress at Hopewell Baptist Church.  The meeting is conducted by Mr. Morris assisted by Mr. Browder.  (Mr. Morris and Mr. Browder were both Methodist preachers.)

A very sad accident occurred near her Saturday morning.  A two-year-old child of Wilmore and Sarah Sanders was drowned by falling into a hole of water near their house.  (Wilmore Sanders was the father of Walter “Pa” Sanders.  He was also a shoe cobbler in McLeansboro).

Miss Annie Edick of Michigan is visiting her brother, Charley Edick of this place.  (Charley Edick was the grandfather of Chas. H. Edick of McLeansboro).

Rev. Crow and lady, with their two little Crows, of Harrisburg, are the guests of Uncle Wesley Asbury, Mrs. Crow’s father.  (Rev. Crow was a Methodist preacher.  Wesley Asbury was an early day teacher of long experience).

David T. Hutson opened his second term of school at Williams District School.  The public school in District 4 has opened with Mr. Al. L. Sloan at the helm.  Jimmy Hassett will instruct the youth of Piopolis this winter.  (Sept. ’83.  David Hutson was a teacher and surveyor.  James Hassett later became a doctor and was the father of Veronica Voss).

Uncle Jerry Viers, who has the largest orchard in Stringtown and one of the largest in the county, is still running his dry-house night and day.  (Jerry Viers was the grandfather of Joe Wilson and the Great-grandfather of Dorothy Wilson Smith).

The last we heard of our jug grocery it had gone to Dale.  Theophilus Jones is still a widower at this writing, but we do not know how long he will continue to be one.  (Theo. Jones was the great-grandfather of Judge Charles E. Jones).

Mrs. Port Hill of the Concord community visited her sister, Mrs. Alec Stafford, Wednesday afternoon.  (Mrs. Port Hill was the grandmother of Mrs. Homer Keaton and Mrs. Ralph Accord.  Mrs. Alec Stafford was the grandmother of Ellis Stafford).

Mr. John Webb, County Commissioner, died at his home here, September 20, of typhoid fever.  He was about 58 years old.  He was buried in the Hopewell cemetery.  It is thought that it was the largest attendance at a funeral of any in the county outside the city of McLeansboro.  (He was veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars.  He was the great-grandfather of Mrs. Thomas Green).

Isaac Asbury has completed his Medical Education and is now a full-fledged Doctor.  He has opened an office in New Haven where he will practice.  (Isaac Asbury was a country schoolteacher who became a doctor).

From the residents named in the news items you now probably know that “Stringtown” was a nickname applied to the Sulphur Spring School District area.  At that time the church referred to in these items was the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church which is located about one-half mile northwest of the Inland Steel coal mine.  The cemetery was the old section of Hopewell cemetery north of the highway to the mine.  About one-half mile west of Hopewell Church an old road meandered north and south for about one mile.  Along this old road a number of log houses were built on small acreages in the 1860’s, 70’s and 80’s.  This was called “Stringtown” because of the “string” of houses.

In 1860-61 a log schoolhouse was built on one acre in the SW corner of NE1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section 24 town 5, range 6 of McLeansboro Township, for School District No. 4.  This school was near a bluff above a mineral spring about 100 yards north of the old home of John T. Erkmann and now owned by the Inland Steel Co.  The school site was from the land of Richard and Malissa Munsell, great-grandparents of Marjorie Munsell.  This school succeeded an earlier long school building about one-fourth mile northeast on land previously owned by Ichabod Mitchell, and established in 1850.  The second long school – the one at the spring—was named Sulphur Spring School and became the center of many community activities.  A Sulphur spring Methodist Church group was organized and for a while met in homes, then in the log school building, and later shared the building at Hopewell with the Baptists.  This accounts for Rev. Morris and Rev. Browder, both Methodists, holding a revival meeting at Hopewell Church.  Later the Methodists built their own building, now called Webb’s Chapel.

            A new site for a frame school building was selected in 1883, and the old log school and site at the spring were sold at public auction, May 23, 1884, to Lyman Munsell for $16.00.  He owned adjacent land and was the grandfather of Marjorie Munsell of this city.  After the new frame Sulphur Spring School building was completed and in operation most of the log homes comprising the center of “Stringtown” gradually disappeared and the old road was closed.

            It is said that Lyman Munsell sold groceries from his home in the north part of Stringtown, and that Moses Barron ran a “jug grocery” for a time in the south part of Stringtown.  About 200 yards east of the school and spring there was a combination gristmill and sawmill.  Many years later Sulphur Spring school children from the second frame school building liked to go skating on the old millpond.  This writer was one of them.

Copyright 1999.  All rights Reserved

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