Chittyville School History

Chittyville School, in the southwest corner of section 8, Herrin Township, has been housed in five different buildings on the same site. Etta Blair, now Mrs. Charles Ward of Energy, started to school there in the original log house. The old fireplace had not been removed, although the school boasted the modern improvement of a wood-burning stove. The pupils sat on long benches, their books on shelves in one corner. Another slanting shelf along one wall provided writing space where young penmen could stand to practice. The teacher that winter of 1871 was Henry McNeill, who taught there two years. He was followed, in yearly succession, by Daniel Perrine, Mr. Pilgrim (a stranger in the community who lived there only a short time), Arch McMurray, James Stotlar, Mary Reed, Jess McNeill, and Albert Perrine.

The log house was succeeded by a small frame building during the school days of Mrs. Ward, a daughter of Wiley Blair the miller at Blairsville and Herrin s Prairie. Two other frame buildings served their term before the present brick building was erected.

Benjamin Chitty was the first of his name to make a permanent location in the neighborhood, and he described himself as a resident of “Hering’s Prarie.” His land entry in 1831 called for the greater part of the northeast quarter of section 18 just north of the city of Herrin and running to a point diagonally across from Chittyville School. Mr. Chitty was employed by the Franklin County commissioners’ court to supervise repairs on Pond Creek Bridge in 1839, made necessary by the heavy traffic between Frankfort and Brownsville, first county seat of Jackson County. That same year he gave bond as security for William Hindman, the county collector.

Alfred Chitty was road supervisor of Herrin Township when the new county of Williamson was formed in 1839. He was a soldier in Captain Armstead Holman’s company for the Black Hawk war the summer of 1832.

But earlier than these, citizen of the county at the time of the division, was William Chitty, a noted wolf hunter of the earliest days. When the first settlers brought cows and hogs into the country, wolves succeeded the Indians as the public enemy. A county tax was levied to pay $1 for each wolf scalp, and a good hunter could make a satisfactory living by a few days trapping. These woodsmen took advantage of the wolf’s natural belligerence, trained their dogs to pretend to fight, all the while leading the wolf to where the hunter lay concealed. Fifteen wolves a day was not an unusual bag.

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