Chamnesstown School History

Chamnesstown School, in section 19 of West Marion Township, marks the first settlement of the Chamness family in the county.

Sarah Berry Chamness brought her children to this neighborhood when her husband John Chamness (1749-1825) died at Turkey Hill in St. Clair County. The older sons Joseph and Jonathon Chamness made their homes in the same neighborhood, but Wiley Berry Chamness moved south of Crab Orchard Creek and his descendants live in the village of Chamness.

Johnathon P. Chamness (1806-1875) practiced as a doctor and grew his medicines in his herb garden. His wife was born Nancy Bright, and their youngest son lived on the farm of which the school land is a part. He was Jonathon Scott Chamness, and his wife was Nancy Copher. All rest now in Pigeon Creek Churchyard.

One of the teachers at Chamnesstown School was Charles H. Denison, for whom New Denison was named. During the ten years Mr. Denison taught there he emphasized spelling and he used to take his best spellers to challenge those of other schools. At such a contest Mr. Denison became acquainted with Miss  Mary E. Bundy, another teacher. She began her own schooling at Gum Springs Church in the eastern part of the county. On March 21, 1869 the two were married and together built the home and fortune that made them outstanding citizens of Marion.

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