Bunker Hill Historical Society
Bunker Hill, IL  62014
Bunker Hill Military Academy

Bunker Hill Military Academy (late 1800's)

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The following is an exerpt from pages 363-364 of the 1911 edition of History of Macoupin County:

On December 22, 1857, a meeting was held "to take measures looking to the establishment of an academic school".  E. Harlan was chairman and H. M. Hutchinson, secretary.  The following committees were appointed: to solicit subscriptions, A. W. Ellet,  P. C. Huggins, James Weller, T. J. Van Dorn; On building: E. Howell, G. C. Mack, G. Parmenter, J. A. Delano.  Subsequently, Dr. Hopper was substituted for Dr. Delano and E. H. Davis was added to the committee.

Subscriptions to stock at $25 per share were at once solicited and in January 1858 the subscriptions amounted to $7,075, whereupon J. W. Cummings, A. J. Coates, and J. F. Vandeventer were appointed a committee to secure plans, etc. The amount of capital stock was fixed at $25.  It was provided that the academy "should not be sectarian or denominational, and to promote this object not more than one-third of the trustees shall at any time be members of any one religious denomination."  Following officers were then elected: President, A. W. Ellet; Trustees, P. C. Huggins, W. Gill, Charles Parmenter, E. Howell, J. S. Flanagan, and J. A. Pettingill.

In the following January, Mr. Pettingill resigned and H. W. Burton was elected to fill the vacancy.  J. W. Cummings became the Treasurer.

P. C. Huggins donated a lot for the building, which was constructed of brick three stories high and very attractive in its details.  The cost was $19,000.  The school opened in 1859 and the success of the innovation became evident in the enrollment of pupils showed the number to be 193.  Then came on the Civil War when Professor Smith and thirty-nine entered the Army at the first call.  Others soon followed and it became necessary to close the institution.  The building was then leased to the district as a public school and was occupied for that purpose until 1870.

In the year last above mentioned, improvements were made upon the building and it was again put to use for its legitimate purpose.  S. L. Stiver succeeded A. W. Ellet as head master of the school and remained in that position until July 1910, his death occurring at that time.  He was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. William D. Marburger.

Advantages of the School

The select character of this school, limited number of cadets, its home like features, the attention given to the the prevention of bad habits, and to the formation of good character and the special care taken for the safety, health, and happiness of all render the Academy and unexcelled institution for smaller, as well as for larger boys.  The smaller boys have the special care of the Superintendent and an assistant teacher is always on the same floor in the dormitory with them.

Character of the School

This is a home school. No vicious boys are enrolled, only boys of known good character are admitted.  The design of the Academy is to meet the wants of the parents who wish for their sons the benefit of careful and systematic instruction and training in everything necessary to their success and welfare as men.  It provides a good home in which the cadets receive all the attention and care that are given boys in any enlightened and well regulated households.  It prepares for business, for college or university, and for government schools.  It provides for the physical, social, and moral development of all its students, gives training in gymnastics, athletics, and military drills.  It affords its graduates a sufficient training in military science to enable them to perform official duty as leaders of the militia in time of peace and to organize and train recruits in time of war.  This includes bayonet and sabre drill, the new Butt's United States Army rifle drill and some artillery drills.

School Grounds

The Academy has a campus rarely equaled and seldom surpassed.  The central building is three stories high, heated by steam, and lighted by electricity.  Stiver Hall is a similar but smaller building on the campus.  Belt Hall, a beautiful colonial residence, was opened in the fall of 1911.  There is a gymnasium and main dormitory, school rooms, reading rooms, and library.  Plans have been completed for extensive new buildings, the ground for which was broken August 1, 1911.  It is anticipated these improvements will cost about $100,000 and be completed within two years.

In the year 1910, this school gave instruction to 56 pupils.  There are already enrolled for 1911, 75.  The ages of the boys range from twelve to eighteen years and they come from eighteen states and territories.