Foreville Church & School History

Foreville Church and School stood in section 16 of Carterville Township, south and north of the highway running along the quarter-section line.

Foreville Christian church was organized in an old schoolhouse about a mile west of the present church in 1939. Elder Matthew Wilson was the first preacher and came to the congregation as he could spare the time from his other charges. For two years he preached in the schoolhouse and held cottage prayer meetings in the homes of the church members. Then the congregation decided to have a church building.

Priscilla Painter and Ellen Stocks were appointed to make the collection. Miss Pris (Mrs. Ike Martin of Carbondale in 1939) was a daughter of Samuel and Eliza (Russell) Painter, and a grand-daughter of Samuel T. and Priscilla (Tyner) Russell. Miss Ellen was a daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Russell) Stocks, and a granddaughter of James Stewart and Lucy (Tyner) Russell. Their grandfathers were brothers, members of the Russell corners family.

Everyone gave what he could, as the girls rode horse-back from farm to farm. The large gifts came from Mack Elders, John Fowler, Samuel T. Russell, and Henry Stocks, Miss Ellen’s uncle. The largest contributions Miss Pris received were $15 each from her father and from William Hindman. One girl brought in $160, the other $150. With that sum a church building was begun, the same one that stands today on route 13.

Each man donated what work he could. The frame was erected, and the roof laid over. Then the money ran out. For two years services were held in an unfinished room, with rough benches. In 1874 the building was completed. As the years passed it was painted, a basement and other improvements added. As they built, they built well. Now Foreville is a model country church.

When the time came that the church was ready for a name, the members thought of honoring one of their community leaders. Squire Samuel T. Russell bore the nickname of Big Fore, or Pate Fore, given him in friendly derision of his prominence by his nephew. The church erected on ground Squire Russell gave was named Foreville in his honor.

“Laughing Sam” Russell (1798-1877) was remarkable for his retentive memory and his familiarity with Scripture, used as a lawyer would use the statutes. Not one of his decisions was reversed during his twenty-six years as justice of the peace. He collected taxes in 1820 and 1821 as deputy sheriff of Franklin County, and in 1840 he was named assessor for the western halt of Williamson County. When Murphysboro was located on Dr. John Logan’s farm as the seat of justice for Jackson County. Squire Russell was one of the commissioners appointed by the legislature to choose the site. The three commissioners’ names were placed in a hat to draw a name for the town, and William C. Murphy’s was chosen. Fate prevented that county seat’s being known as Russellboro.

When a new school was built, Squire Russell gave the land. Foreville school, or district 38, is surrounded by the farm of Mit S. Russell.

Back to the top

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