Beaver Pond History

Beaver Pond once lay in section 29 of Blairsville Township, just west of the Cambria and Blairsville road. The Beavers that did the building were human, and the pond was the water supply for their home. John Beavers came from North Carolina in 1842 and settled on the little hill Instead of digging a well, Mr. Beavers built a pond beside his house. There was no spring, the pond was simply a catch basin for surface water.

John Beavers married three times, and there were twenty-one children in his family. A schoolhouse nearby was a necessity. A log house was built just south of the Beavers’ home, on land that was bought from the government by Johnathan Emerson about the time of the Mexican war. This first Beaver Pond School stood northwest of the crossroads north of Cambria. Mr. Emerson’s daughter became the wife of Albert P. Reeves, whose name was given the village that preceded Cambria.

Among the first pupils at Beaver Pond school was William Jehu Beavers (1837-1929), one of Carterville’s last surviving veterans of the Civil war. Twice he enlisted in Company G of the 81st Illinois infantry, and twice he was discharged for physical disability after active service. His first enlistment was the day of the barbecue at Russell comers. Mr. Beavers was a member of Carterville post 237 of the G. A. R.

The Beavers family left their pond for a home on the west side of the county, and the school was moved with them. Another log house was built for classes, near the present site of West Beaver Pond School. The district was divided when its population warranted, and the original school named West Beaver Pond, district 33. A new schoolhouse was erected for East Beaver Pond, district 113. These schools now stand in sections 31 and 28 of Blairsville Township.

East Beaver Pond Baptist church was famous for its choir fifty years ago. Robert Marion Hinchcliff, who spent his boyhood at his father’s farm and store in Fredonia, organized this choir in 1888. He also taught many singing schools, one at the log house that was the first West Beaver Pond School. Flowers and music filled Mr. Hinchcliff’s life, and his cottage studio south of Cambria was surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Reunions of the old choir have been held recently, and the old songs rehearsed. Among the choir members who sang again were Mae (Hinchcliff) Hopper, Samantha (Cruse) Crowell, Lois (Tippy) Ledbetter, Anice (Beavers) Hagler, John Tippy, Thomas Fletcher, and Ed Hinchcliff. Gerta (Beavers) Vaughn and Ethel (Campbell) Reeves did not sing with the first choir, but joined later and were present for the reunion.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)