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History of Monticello Ladies Seminary


Monticello College Foundation       History of Lewis & Clark College    



Monticello Ladies Seminary



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 28, 1836

(In an article about Alton)

The foundations of its prosperity are laid on the broad basis of public morals and Christian benevolence. Its churches are its most prominent and costly edifices, and claim the tribute of praise from every beholder. "Three temples of His grace, How beautiful they stand, The honors of our native place, And bulwarks of our land." No people cherish the sentiment conveyed in these lines more than do those of Alton; not a town in the Union, of its population, has been so liberal in its contributions to every measure of Christian benevolence. The amount subscribed the present year probably exceeds $10,000 dollars; one item in which is the subscription, by two gentlemen, of $1,000 dollars each, to employ a temperance lecturer for this portion of the state. In addition to this, one of the same gentlemen (B. G. Esq.) [Benjamin Godfrey] has given $10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Mass.

As I have taken the liberty thus to allude to one of the prominent gentlemen of Alton, I trust I shall be excused if I relate an anecdote communicated to me, in one of the eastern cities, as further illustrative of his character. It is a practice of all the western steamboats, I believe, to run on the Sabbath, and deliver freight at their various stopping places. Soon after the removal to Alton of the gentleman alluded to, he was waited upon on the Sabbath by the clerk of a steamboat, and told that he had just landed a number of boxes to his address, for the receipt of which he asked his acknowledgment. The gentleman promptly replied that he did not receive goods on the Sabbath. "What then is to be done?" asked the clerk. "That is not for me to say," replied the gentlemen, "On a business day you will find me at the warehouse, ready to attend to you." The consequence was, the boat had to remain at the wharf till the morning, and ever after that the gentleman was not intruded upon on the Sabbath. Were the prominent business men in the towns on the Mississippi and Ohio to come to the same determination, it is easy to see that not a steamboat would be found violating the great command of the Decalogue, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 16, 1837

We regret to state that on Tuesday of last week, a melancholy accident occurred at the Female Seminary, about five miles from this place. While the carpenters were at work near the roof of the building, the staging on which they stood suddenly gave way, and precipitated three of them from the fourth story to the ground. One of these was killed on the spot; and the others were so much injured as to render their recovery somewhat doubtful. The name of the deceased is John H. Marshall. He was about 40 years old, and has left a large family to deplore his untimely end. The others also have families.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 21, 1838

Monticello Female Seminary will be opened for the reception of pupils on the 2d Wednesday of April next, under the superintendence of the Rev. Theron Baldwin. A few statements, therefore, withMonticello Female Seminary, Godfrey, IL reference to general arrangements and principles, will be necessary.  The location of the institution is four miles from Alton on the stage route from that city to Jacksonville and Springfield. This was selected from a regard to health and freedom from the hustle and temptations of a large town. The adjoining prairie is thickly settled with an industrious and moral population. A stone building, 110 by 44 feet, and four stories high (erected and mostly furnished by the munificence of Benjamin Godfrey, Esq.) is now near its completion. The two upper stories together contain 40 rooms - each being designed to accommodate two young ladies. These rooms are to be furnished with a double bedstead, mattress, table and chairs. As the institution has not the requisite funds, all additional furniture must be provided by the occupants. Where it is not convenient to bring it, purchases can be made in Alton. The expense, when divided between two individuals, will be trifling. The second story is divided into school, recitation and family rooms; and the basement (which may be perfectly lighted and ventilated) into kitchen, dining hall, and chapel.


A competent lady has been engaged to superintend the boarding department. None will be received as boarders under the age of 14, unless by previous arrangement with the Principal. The circumstances of each case will determine the question of admission.


All the pupils who board in the institution will be required to take the whole care of their own room - do their own ironing and alternately assist in setting and clearing the tables, and keeping in order such parts of the building as are appropriated to their use. This will afford healthful exercise, and tend to make them feel that they are but parts of one family. It is impossible, at this time, to estimate the price of board - but it will be put at cost; so that if the assistance rendered by the pupils should reduce it, they will reap the whole benefit. To produce a further reduction in expenses, the privilege of doing their own washing will be given to those who desire it.


The family of the Principal, and all the teachers, will reside in the Seminary building, and board at the same table; and no pains will be spared to give to the whole the aspect and reality of a well regulated family. Such is the sparseness of the population immediately around the Seminary, that no assurances can be given with regard to obtaining board in the vicinity.


The summer term of each year will continue 18 weeks, and be succeeded by a vacation of eight weeks. The winter term will consist of 22 weeks, followed by a vacation of four weeks. Tuition (payable in advance), Summer term, $900.  Tuition for the winter term, $11.00.


Those who board in the institution will be required, at the commencement of each term, to advance on their board bill an amount equal to one dollar for each week of that term, and at its close to pay all remaining dues. The price of board will vary with that of provisions and labor; and different causes may operate to increase or diminish other expenses; but they will, in all cases, be put at the lowest practicable point. As the founder consecrates the building and furniture to the cause of education, no individual will reap any pecuniary advantages from the avails of the institution.


The course of study is to be systematic and extensive, and regular classes will be formed as soon as practicable. The training of teachers will receive special attention, as the constant aim will be to fit young ladies for usefulness. The principal textbooks are the following:  The Bible, Colburn's First Lessons, Adams' New Arithmetic, Day's Algebra, Smith's and Murray's Grammar, Malto Brun's School Geography, Goodrich's History of the United States, Worcester's Elements of History, Grimshaw's France, and Goldsmith's England, Greece, and Rome, Phelps' and Eaton's Botany, Watts on the Mind, Newman's and Whateley's Rhetoric, Hayward's and Combe's Human Physiology, Playfair's Euclid, Olmsted's Natural Philosophy, Comstock's Chemistry, Wilkins' Astronomy, and Burritt's Geography of the Heavens, Abercrombie's Intellectual Philosophy, Smellic's Philosophy of Natural History, Mather's Geology, Marsh's Ecclesiastical History, Hedge's Logic, Paley's Natural Theology, Wayland's Moral Philosophy, Butler's Analogy, Alexander's Evidences of Christianity.  The above works can be obtained at the bookstore of George Holton in Alton. A library of textbooks has been commenced, from which such as constitute a part of the course can, to a certain extent, be loaned to those who are unable to purchase. A beginning has also been made in procuring apparatus for the illustration of various branches of study.


The business of instruction will be in the hands of females. Two individuals - Miss Mary Cone and Miss Philena Fobes - have been engaged as teachers - both of whom have had experience in distinguished Female Seminaries. Others will be added as they are needed. To guard as much as possible against the evils that arise from a frequent change of teachers, and to secure the requisite amount of talent and experience, the course of study as far as practicable will be divided into departments, and those who fill them will be expected to sustain equal responsibilities.


Preaching (by the Principal) may be expected regularly on the Sabbath in the chapel of the Institution. This will be open to the inhabitants of Monticello and vicinity. 


Communications relative to the Seminary may be addressed to the principal, Rev. Theron Baldwin, Alton. It is desirable that all applications for admission be forwarded as speedily as possible.


Monticello, February 14, 1838.  Editors in this State, friendly to the cause of Education, are requested to give the above a few insertions in their respective papers.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1838

The first examination of Monticello Female Seminary will take place on Tuesday, the 14th of August next. Exercises to commence at 9 o'clock a.m. They will be open to all who may desire to attend.  T. Baldwin, Principal.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 29, 1838

I've gazed on many a lovely form,

In climes beneath a southern sky;

I've sailed on Tigris' wave with maids

Of golden hair, and azure eye;


I've gazed on forms surpassing fair,

And lovely as the soft pale moon,

When forth from silvery clouds she breaks

To sail the sky, at night's still moon;


I've gazed on maids from Cashmere's vale,

Whose charms outvie the op'ning rose,

Whose laughing dimples on their cheeks,

Disturb the crimson's soft repose.


but thou art fairer far than these -

More glorious than the purest dream.

Of youthful poet's raptur'd soul -

Thou art his highest earthly theme.


Written by Claude.

[NOTE:  Someone had written by this poem on the newspaper "Owen Lovejoy."]




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1840

We have been politely favored with a copy of the first and second Catalogues of Monticello Female Seminary, which give a favorable account of the present condition of the institution. It was founded, as most of our readers know, by Capt. Benjamin Godfrey of this city [Alton], and opened for the reception of pupils on the 11th of April 1838. Their number during the first year amounted to 57; during the second year to 104. The price of tuition for the summer term of 16 weeks, is $8; and $28 for board. For the winter term of 24 weeks, $12 for tuition and $42 for board, exclusive of books, stationery, fuel and lights, estimated at $12 per annum. An extra charge of $12 per quarter of 10 weeks is also made for lessons in instrumental music, including use of piano. Altho' the buildings, by the terms of conveyance, go free of rent, and the principal has hitherto been sustained by the liberality of the founder, yet the Seminary could not have been kept up at the above low rate of charges, had not a revenue of $300 a year towards the support of the teachers been received from a few individuals of this city. "It is hoped and expected that permanent provisions will be made for conducting the Institution upon something near the present scale of expense," by means of endowments, which the friends of education, in easy circumstances, are respectfully invited to supply. The following are the names of the instructors: Rev. Theron Baldwin, Principal; Miss H. M. Sturtevant, Governess and Lecturer on Habits and the first principles of Morals and Religion; Miss Philena Fobes, teacher of Rhetoric and of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy; Miss Mary Cune, teacher of History and Natural Science; Miss Rebecca B. Long, teacher of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy; Miss Elizabeth W. Turner, teacher of Vocal and Instrumental Music; Miss Eliza A. Brown, Assistant Pupil; Miss Sarah A. Norton, Monitress; and Mrs. Mariam Stoddard, Superintendent of Boarding Department.  Communications relative to the Seminary should be addressed, post paid, to the Principal, Rev. Theron Baldwin, Alton.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 28, 1840

We had the gratification on Wednesday last, of attending the Annual Examination in this institution, and although, owing to the very crowded state of the hall in which it was held, it was not in our power to understand distinctly all that was said, we were nevertheless highly pleased at the great readiness and propriety with which the youthful fair answered the numerous questions proposed to them, as well as at the great merit of the different original compositions which it was our good fortune to hear. The music was excellent, and the various exercises were so conducted as to reflect the highest credit on the Principal, the teachers, and the pupils. We are gratified to learn that an institution, which is an honor to our state as well as to the public spirit of its worthy founder, is in a flourishing condition.



Monticello Ladies Seminary, Godfrey, IL



By Mrs. E. R. Steele; From the Ladies' Companion

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1841

While journeying through the Western states last summer, I found upon the Mississippi a seminary conducted on so judicious a plan, that I am convinced it has only to be made public to be followed by other institutions. It is calculated for the wants of that people, and in fact, would be of great benefit to the young females of the Atlantic border. After a charming drive over the arcadian plains of the Florissante prairies, we found ourselves again in the city of St. Louis. Here we entered a steamboat, and in two hours arrived at Alton. This town looks very well as you approach it from below. It is built upon a sloping, uneven ground, and every little eminence is crowned by some public building, which displays to much advantage from the river. The Baptist and other churches are thus rendered quite conspicuous, as well as numerous dwellings and hotels of brick, and the penitentiary, and rows of warehouses of white limestone.


We repaired to the Alton House, a very large hotel, where we procured a handsome coach and set out for Upper Alton. After ascending the rising ground behind the town, we found ourselves upon a plateau of rich prairieland, from which we obtained fine views of the swift-rolling Mississippi, and across it the verdant plains of Missouri, with the green swelling Mammelie bluffs rising beyond. A drive of two miles brought us to Upper Alton, a pretty rural-looking village with many spires and neat houses peeping through the trees. We found our friends in a large and picturesque house in the cottage style, surrounded by piazzas whose pillars were wreathed with clusters of Michigan roses, and shaded by the graceful cottonwood and pretty redbud and locust. Here indeed was a paradise of the West! Here were realized those visions so many have sighed after. Upon the Mississippi's banks we found this lodge in a vast wilderness, so often courted; a secluded retreat far from the haunts of men, where the confusion and the follies of the world are only remembered as a troubled dream, and nature is looked upon in all its grandeur and freshness. A charming young family, a large and well-selected library, and above all, a well-educated wife, renders our friend's retirement the most pleasing of any I have met in this boasted West. We entered our friend's carriage the next morning, and after a charming ride through an oak forest, found ourselves in sight of the institution we came to visit.


Monticello Female Seminary is a building of the white limestone of that region, one hundred and ten by forty-four feet, and four stories in height. It stands within a park ornamented with groups of trees, and a fine garden is laid out in the rear. This extensive establishment was projected and founded by Benjamin Godfrey, Esq., a gentleman of Alton who to this benevolent purpose devoted a very large portion of his property. While a resident of the West, many examples had come before his eyes of the miseries arising from the imperfect education of the young women. The dearth of servants rendered it necessary for the young wives around him to superintend, if not assist in household labor, and he saw how much better it were they should come prepared for those duties and quite able to perform them, instead of wearing themselves out, and pining away over tasks which, by being new, appear much more arduous than they are in reality. As the evil lay in a defective system of education, this generous individual at once saw how great a desideration an institution would be, uniting useful with ornamental accomplishments. With a public spirit to be much applauded, Mr. Godfrey erected this spacious building for educating 'wives for western men.' Eighty young ladies is the limited number, all to be over fourteen years of age. With the course of scientific study usual in female seminaries, the pupils are taught music, instructed in religion, and in various household duties. Among others, they are required to take lessons in setting table, and in arranging their rooms. They also sweep and scrub the floors of their rooms, and wash, starch, and iron all their own clothes. Some young ladies who had been bred in idleness, or had come from the luxurious mansions of St. Louis where slaves awaited their nod, were very reluctant, at first, to undertake these menial employments, but the advantage which so good a school presented in its other departments rendered their parents deaf to their complaints. They were soon, however, broken in, and sing as merrily over their washtubs as the other pupils. As gain is not the object of its generous founder, the price of admission is placed quite low; still, there are some whose means are too straightened for even this, and these are allowed to pay for their instruction by labor in the house. The eagerness of the people to procure education for their children is very great, and many thus receive instruction who are of high respectability, and are enabled to teach others or attend to the younger members of their family.


Some of these young girls are beneficiaries of a benevolent society called the 'Ladies Association for Educating Females.' The directresses are mostly ladies of Illinois, but many belong to the surrounding States. They assemble once a year at Jacksonville, Illinois. The object of this society is 'to encourage and assist young ladies to qualify themselves for teaching, and to aid in supporting teachers in those places where they cannot otherwise be sustained.' Young females of all ages are selected from poor families and placed in schools, where they are watched over by these benevolent ladies, their tuition paid, and each, every year, is addressed a circular letter of advice, with the donation of an appropriate instructive book. When prepared, they are placed in situations where they can support themselves. Several have become missionaries. Their board at Monticello, and other seminaries where they are placed to receive instruction, is paid for by their own labor while out of school. We must indeed admire - to quote the last report of this society - "The moral dignity and energy of mind thus displayed," in being willing "in the hours of recreation to relinquish the playground and all social pleasures."


To show the eagerness of the mothers of Illinois to obtain an entrance into Monticello Academy, and their gratitude for aid extended to them, I will give an extract of a letter to one of the beneficiaries from her mother:


"I am truly thankful that you are at school, and regard it as Providential you are there. It was my most earnest desire and prayer to God, through the summer, that you might go to Monticello in the Fall; but I did not see how you could, unless we, by our own exertion, could procure the means of sustaining you there. then, when I came to be laid aside by sickness, I supposed it must be given up. But we see God is not wanting for means, when he has an object to accomplish. I hope you will view the subject in this light, and feel the obligation resting upon you to improve your time and privileges in the best manner; having greater usefulness as the sole object in view. It is of little consequence whether we move in the high, or more humble stations in life; if our object is to do good, we shall find plenty of employment in either."


The great amount of good performed by the Ladies' Society, entitles them to the good wishes of the benevolent and patriotic. The Reverend J. Spalding, in his address before the seventh annual meeting, tells us - "Since its commencement, it has aided one hundred and forty-seven young ladies in their preparation for usefulness and Heaven. During the last year, it has aided fifty-two young ladies, thirty-one of whom are professedly followers of the Lamb."


Two of the Monticello beneficiaries are of the Cherokee tribe of Indians, and are preparing to be teachers among their own people. they are fine, intelligent girls, but I am sorry to learn they will be obliged to leave the institution, as the Ladies Association find themselves obliged to reduce the number of beneficiaries. It is to be hoped they will be sustained in their 'labor of love.' I will conclude this episode of the Education Society, with the concluding words of the above Reverend gentleman's address to it: "Go on; gather the gems from these groves and these prairies; brighten them for earth, and burnish them for the skies!"


When we entered the academy, we were shown into a neatly-furnished parlor, where we were soon joined by the principal of Monticello, the Reverend Theron Baldwin, a gentleman of great information and piety. He kindly explained to us the principles upon which the seminary was conducted, and then offered to show us the house. Everything seemed arranged with the greatest order and neatness. The dining, school, and recitation rooms were large, clean and airy; and the bedrooms commodious. Upon the ground floor was a chapel filled up with the beautiful black walnut of their woods; here, divine service is performed by Mr. Baldwin to the school, and people of the neighborhood who assemble there every Sunday. In one of the halls we saw a young girl upon her knees, scrubbing, in payment of her board and her lessons - one of a family who had seen 'better days,' and who cheerfully undertook such services in order to obtain the great blessing of education. When qualified for the undertaking, she would be enabled to support herself and her parents by teaching. She was about fourteen, and quite pretty - her sleeves rolled up to avoid being soiled, displayed a plump, fair arm. She did not seem abashed by her situation, but calmly arose to give us room to pass, glancing a firm, but modest eye towards us. It was a sight that touched my heart. It is not usual to admit visitors upon 'cleaning days,' but we obtained a peep into an upper gallery where the broom and the dust brush were keeping time in a merry cadence with happy young voices.


I hope my young friends may never be forced to such extremes as here narrated. In this region, the young housekeeper can obtain help of some kind; still, her hour of need may come, and if she is not called upon to clean her house or cook her dinner with such instruction, she may be able to direct her ignorant servant. I hope the Monticello Seminary will be the model upon which many of our boarding schools shall be formed; and our young wives be not only capable of entertaining their company and family by their accomplishments and intellectual conversation, but by their knowledge, instruct and direct their households.


We left the seminary, pleased with its arrangements, and wishing all success to the generous individual who originated the establishment. It is delightful to see wealth so well employed - to see the 'just steward,' thus ably disposing of his Master's property. Such disinterestedness shone out in bold relief from the selfish and reckless waste of fortune, which we had beheld in our pilgrimage - like one of his own islands upon a sunny and treeless prairie.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 27, 1841

The Catalogue of the officers and members of this Institution, for 1841, has been on our table for some weeks past. It states that the number of pupils for the last Summer term amounted to 80, and for the present Winter term to 81; of which five belong to the Senior Class, three to the Middle Class, and thirty to the Junior Class. The following are the names of the officers: Rev. Theron Baldwin, Principal; Miss H. M. Sturtevant, Governess; Miss Philena Fobes, Teacher of Rhetoric and of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy; Miss Mary Cone, Teacher of History and Natural Science; Miss Rebecca B. Long, Teacher of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy; Mr. Horace D. Munson, Teacher of Vocal and Instrumental Music; Miss Eliza A. Brown, Assistant Pupil; Miss Jane M. Stoddard, Monitress; Mrs. Miriam Stoddard and Mrs. Cynthia Stockton, Superintendents of Boarding Department. The course of instruction is somewhat similar to that pursued in our colleges. Each of the teachers "is independent as to her modes of teaching," having a particular department, so limited as to its number of branches, "that she can extend her investigations beyond the mere textbook, and bring into the recitation room, materials gathered from all accessible sources of information," thus securing competent instruction and a perfect division of labor. "The year is divided into two terms or sessions - one of twenty-four, the other of sixteen weeks." The expense of the shortest, or Summer term, which will commence in April next, amounts to $36, board and tuition included; of which $24 is to be paid in advance, and the remainder at the close of the term. For the longest, or Winter term, which commences about the first of October annually, $54 is charged, of which $36 is payable in advance, and the balance when the term expires. Ad additional charge is made for lessons in Instrumental Music. We are gratified to learn from an authentic source, that the Seminary - which is pronounced by competent judges to be the best institution of the kind in the United States - is in a prosperous condition; the principal difficulty with which it has to contend being the want of sufficient room to accommodate all the applicants for admission. The hope is indulged that this obstacle to more usefulness will not be suffered to exist much longer; and that the period is at hand when a hearty welcome will be given to all who may desire to participate in the advantages it offers to the young females of our country. Communications relative to the Seminary should be addressed, post paid, to the Principal, Rev. Theron Baldwin, Alton, Illinois.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 9, 1841

Monticello Seminary commenced its winter session on Wednesday week last. Every room, we are informed, was filled or engaged the first day of the session, which is the safest assurance that can be given of the high estimation in which it is held by the public. The Institution can accommodate eighty young ladies, and were its accommodations twice as extensive as they are, we have no doubt every room would be filled.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 15, 1842

Through the politeness of the Principal of this flourishing and invaluable institution, we have received a catalog of its officers and members for the year ending March 15, 1842. The number of your ladies receiving instruction at Monticello Seminary, during the year, are 78 at the Summer term, and 85 at the Winter term. Would the accommodations of the buildings admit of it, this number, we are confident, would have been greatly augmented. The superior advantages it possesses over all other similar institutions in the West, have been fully tested and frankly conceded. This seminary of learning is under the charge of the Rev. Theron Baldwin as Principal; Miss H. M. Sturtevant as Governess; Miss Philena Fobes as Teacher of Rhetoric and of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy; Miss Mary Cone as Teacher of History and Natural Science; and Miss Rebecca B. Long as Teacher of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. In addition to these are Assistant Teachers, and Mr. H. D. Munson as Teacher of Vocal and Instrumental Music. The year is divided into two terms; one of twenty-four, the other of sixteen weeks; and the cost of a year's tuition including board, &c., does not exceed one hundred and five dollars per annum. 


Of the high order of intellectual and moral qualifications of both Miss Fobes and Miss Cone, for the arduous and responsible stations they occupy, it would be arrogance in us to speak. They have won for themselves a reputation which is beyond the reach of praise or flattery; and thousands will hereafter rise up and call them blessed throughout the West for their devotion in instructing the female mind. To the Principal, too much praise cannot be awarded. The whole energies of his richly stored mind are put forth in the noble cause of Female Education; and we fervently trust his _____ with more than success.


There is one point to which we beg leave to direct the attention of the statesman and philanthropist, before concluding this hasty notice. We allude to the subject of endowments. The Catalogue before us contains the following sensible and well-times remarks:


"At the above rate of charges, the Institution would be a constantly sinking concern. It is hoped and expected that permanent provision will be made for conducting the Institution upon something near the present scale of expense. Measures are now in progress for the accomplishment of this desirable end. The experience of ages has settled the point that suitable endowments are indispensable to the success and even existence of colleges, and it would be difficult to show a good reason why there should not be institutions for the education of females upon a similar basis."


Upon this point, we think there can exist no doubt. And we shall have greatly erred in the character and liberality of our western gentlemen of wealth, if an appeal is made to them in vain for the endowment of this incalculably usefully and vastly important institution. To those who have it in their power to give, it will be better than money at compound interest. And in no way can they aid the prosperity and happiness of this western section of the union, more than by fostering and extending the usefulness of Monticello Female Seminary. As a citizen of Illinois, it is one of the proudest objects of our admiration; and for its permanent success, it has our best - our warmest wishes.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 26, 1842

We were present last week at the public examination which took place at the above institution, and were gratified beyond expression. The young ladies acquitted themselves with great credit, and furnished, in the rigid examination they underwent, incontestable evidence of the distinguished ability of those under whose charge they are so successfully ascending the hill of literature and intellectual improvement. The classes in Natural and Moral Philosophy, Geology and Astronomy displayed a thorough knowledge of their respective subjects; and the compositions which were read would have done credit to older heads and more experienced minds. We regret we were unable to procure them, that we might from time to time have published them, and thus invited a comparison with that of any other Female Institution in the Union. The close of the late term completes the fourth year of the existence of Monticello Seminary, and notwithstanding it has been crowded every term, it is a remarkable fact that not a single death has occurred among the students within its walls. Three young ladies graduated and received their certificates, viz: Miss Cowles, Miss Bartlett, and Miss Spencer; and we care not into what community or society they may be thrown, neither themselves nor the friends of the institution will ever feel ashamed in promulgating the fact that they were educated at Monticello Seminary in the State of Illinois.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1842

(From the Watchusa of the Valley)

We intended to notice this institution some weeks ago, but the catalogue left with us by the Principal was mislaid, and therefore forgotten. The Seminary is under the care of the Rev. Theron Baldwin, who is eminently qualified to make it, in all respects, worthy of confidence and patronage. It was projected and founded by Mr. Benjamin Godfrey, who, at an expense of $40,000 or $50,000, has erected a noble building, and furnished the rooms, procured apparatus, &c., for the school. The purpose of the Principal is to secure to the Institution such an endowment as shall give it the permanence of colleges. Four principal female teachers are employed, to each of whom is assigned a distinct department, in which by giving to it her whole time, she is expected to become unusually qualified to give instruction. The tuition is $20 per annum, and the board at cost, commonly from $1.50 to $1.75 per week.


The course of instruction is one of the most extended and thorough, for female education, we have ever seen. On the whole, we are inclined to place this institution at the head of female seminaries in the west. The fall term opens on the 28th of September next. Letters of inquiry should be addressed, post paid, to the Rev. Theron Baldwin, Godfrey, Illinois. We nod an extract from the Catalogue.


The following extract from the deed of trust, given by the founder, will show the conditions on which boarders are to be received:


"That - - as the design of this institution is to recommend habits of industry, and economy, and an acquaintance with domestic duties, as well as to bring the means of education within the reach of persons in moderate circumstances, those who board in the Seminary buildings, be required to take the whole care of and clean their own rooms, and such public rooms as are devoted to their use, do their own washing and ironing, and alternately assist in setting tables; and that the rooms be free of rent to all scholars that board in the institution, and that no charge be made for the use of any of the buildings or premises, except a sum that shall be deemed by the Trustees, sufficient to keep the buildings and improvements in repair, and pay the insurance on ten thousand dollars annually."


Other considerations give peculiar importance to the above mentioned requirements.  1. The difficulty of procuring help. This is often well nigh fatal to such establishments in the west. An important object therefore is gained by any reduction in the number of persons employed in labor.  2. Exercise. There can be no well proportioned system of education in which reference is not had to physical as well as intellectual and moral culture. Such a course should be adopted with regard to exercise, as is calculated to establish that perfect harmony of action between the body and the mind, which is necessary to the health and vigor of both. The mind cannot devote itself to diligent and protracted study without great hazard to the constitution, unless regular exercise is taken. More than one mother has said, "I do not send my daughter to school to work, but to study." just as though one could study day and night for months without interruption or exercise.


There is preaching regularly on the Sabbath by the Principal, in the Chapel of the institution. This is also open to the inhabitants of Monticello [Godfrey]. The Bible is made a text book, and an expository lecture on some extended portion of scripture is delivered each Sabbath. This is made a subject of study the following week by all the members of the Seminary. They use such helps of Biblical literature as they can command, and recite the lesson to the teachers on some morning during the week. The Bible is not studied simply, nor namely for its history, its ____ _____, or its poetry - but that it's awakening, elevating and redeeming influence may be felt through every vein and artery of the system of instruction. It is but mockery to call that education which keeps out of sigh the relations of man to his Creator and the future world. Morning and evening prayers are attended regularly in the dining hall or school room.


The order and discipline of the institution are especially committed to the Governess, who has leisure to investigate thoroughly all cases of delinquency, and at stated times before the whole school to develop and enforce those great principles which be at the foundations of current habits and good morals, and constitute the basis of all valuable characters. She also engages to the certain extend in teaching.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 25, 1843

The public examination of this flourishing and deservedly popular institution of learning took place on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week in the presence of a crowded and highly gratified audience. Through the incessant labors and untiring perseverance of the estimable Principal, the Rev. Theron Baldwin, large additions during the last few months have been made to the apparatus, rendering it sufficiently extensive for all important experiments in chemistry, electricity, and pneumatics. He has also succeeded in procuring a cabinet of minerals, at a cost of eight hundred dollars, comprising a collection of mineralogical specimens of eight hundred pieces; a collection of geological specimens (including numerous fossils, both foreign and domestic) of six hundred pieces; and a collection of three hundred shells. In addition to this, the library, which is made accessible to all the pupils, has been extended until it now numbers nine hundred volumes and upwards. These, together with other improvements which have been made, render this institution decidedly the first in the valley of the Mississippi, and inferior to nine in the Union. With all its advantages, including the low rate of tuition, if the institution is now crowded to overflowing with pupils, it must only arise from the consideration, that the importance as well as the blessings of education are not sufficiently appreciated.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 30, 1844

The summer term in this institution will commence on Wednesday, the 10th of April next. The expenses will be, for the summer term of 16 weeks, for board, tuition, and incidental expenses, $44; of which $25 is required in advance. The trustees have erected a commodious building on the Seminary grounds in which they intend to open a Preparatory School for the benefit of misses under 14 years of age, and those who are not otherwise qualified to enter the Seminary. It is designed that this department shall be equal in every respect to the best Female Academies in the country. With the facilities which the Seminary can furnish in obtaining teachers of known qualifications, and by means of its apparatus, library, cabinet, etc., it is believed that it will not be difficult to carry out this design. Those who intend to pursue the higher branches in the Seminary will find it greatly to their advantage to attend this school, as the books, course of study, and mode of teaching will be specially adapted to preparing them to enter favorably upon the Seminary course. Mr. A. W. Corey will have the particular care and supervision of this department. The teacher and pupils will board in his family (his residence is within a few rods of the building). The pupils will be under the immediate domestic care of Mrs. Corey, and receive every attention requisite to health, morals, and manners. They will also be constantly under the eye of the teacher, not only in the school room, but in the boarding house, whose influence will be united with that of Mr. and Mrs. Corey, in controlling and regulating their habits. Terms: For board, tuition, washing, lights, and incidentals, for the summer term, $40 - $25 in advance. Bedding, except a bedstead and straw mattress, to be furnished by the young ladies themselves, who will be taught and required to take care of their own room. No pupil received for less than one term. The necessary books will be furnished, for cash, at the lowest rates. Communications relative to the pecuniary interests of the Seminary, and the Preparatory Department, should be addressed Post Paid, to Mr. A. W. Corey - all others to the principal, Rev. Theron Baldwin, Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 7, 1844

The Winter term in this institution will commence on Wednesday, the 25th of September next. By an act of the Board of Trustees, passed on the 19th inst., the rule which has heretofore existed, requiring young ladies to do their own washing and ironing and take part in cleaning halls and public rooms, has been unconditionally suspended for the present. It is to be left optional with the young ladies, whether they shall wash and iron or not. Facilities will be furnished as heretofore, for those who may wish to laundry.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 29, 1845

The annual public examination at this institution took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 11th and 12th inst., in the presence of a crowded and attentive audience. These exhibitions have always excited a deep interest in the minds of those who have witnessed them, but never more so, apparently, than on the present occasion. The following are among the subjects on which the classes were examined, viz: Geometry, Rhetoric, Ancient History, (Sacred and Profane) Physiology, Conic Sections, Natural Philosophy, Modern History, Chemistry, Karne's Elements of Criticism, Astronomy, Geology, Intellectual Philosophy, and Vocal and Instrumental Music. The examinations on all these branches were minute and thorough - occupying the whole of two days. The readiness, facility, and correctness with which the young ladies uniformly answered the questions - not in the mere words of the textbooks, but in the spontaneous effusions of their own well disciplined and well-stored minds - and the perfect ease with which they disposed of some of the most abstruse and difficult propositions in Conic Sections and other branches of Mathematics, evinced clearly not only their own industry and high attainments, but also the eminent qualifications of their worthy teachers. The Compositions which were reach ovinced almost every characteristic of good writing - the style being in general well adapted to the nature of the subject, and the pieces exhibiting a good variety. Indeed, we heard no article read which would not have reflected credit on writers of much greater age and experience. Much attention seems to be paid to this very desirable but difficult art at this institution.  The exercises were most agreeably interspersed with music, vocal and instrumental, under the direction of Mr. Munson, who has for several years superintended this department in the institution with distinguished ability. Those whom we consider good judges (we do not profess to be ourselves), have remarked that the performances, especially in vocal music, were as nearly perfect as anything of the kind they had ever witnessed. We believe it is conceded that few teachers possess greater skill or have had greater success in teaching in this department than Mr. Munson. The Senior class consisted of seven, to all of whom Diplomas were awarded "as testimonials of their having successfully completed the whole course of study, and as a token of the high and affectionate regard of their teachers, &c."  Upon the whole, the exhibition throughout, though far removed from ostentation, was to our minds deeply imposing and affecting. The feeling involuntarily came over us that after all, the true benefactors of our race are those who are thus laboriously but quietly engaged in the noble work of training the minds and hearts of those upon whom will so soon devolve the burdens and responsibilities of society. We doubt not every parent present sincerely wished that his own daughter, if he had one, might participate in the advantages which he saw had been so well improved by others. May this noble institution long be sustained, and answer the highest expectations of its generous founder and numerous friends! 


The annual catalogue has just been issued, from which we perceive that the number of pupils for the last year, in the Seminary proper, has been 60, and in the Preparatory Department, 31 - total 91. Some changes have been adopted by the trustees in the management of the institution. The Rev. Mr. Baldwin, who up to this time has been Principal, but has been absent for the last year or two, has resigned, and Miss Philena Fobes, who has in the meantime acted in that capacity, has been appointed Principal of the institution. The other teachers also will remain, so that the Board of Instruction will continue to be substantially the same as it has been for the last seven years. The Rev. George Pyle, who ministers to the church and congregation in Monticello, has been appointed Chaplain.


We had not the pleasure of being present at the examination of the Preparatory Department, but a gentleman who attended it has handed us the following, which we cheerfully append to this article, and which will doubtless be read with interest:


"Messrs. Editors - I beg leave to call attention, through the columns of your valuable paper, to the Preparatory School for young ladies at Monticello, in this county, and although its advantages may be well known and appreciated by yourselves and the citizens of Alton generally, yet there may be many of your readers entirely unacquainted with the Monticello Female Seminary - an institution which, it may be said in truth, is known throughout our land - and it is intended as a Preparatory Department for the benefit of young ladies under fourteen years of age, and such others as are not qualified to enter the Seminary. I believe I may state with propriety that this department is equal in every respect to the best Female Academies in the country. Those who intend to pursue the higher branches in the Seminary will find it greatly to their advantage to attend it, as the mode of teaching is especially adapted to preparing them to enter favorably upon the Seminary course. On the 8th inst., I had the pleasure of attending an examination of this school. The promptness and accuracy with which the young ladies replied to the questions proposed, and the extent and minuteness of their answers, were the most flattering testimonials to the unremitted and successful efforts of their accomplished teacher. Signed, A Parent.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 7, 1846

On Thursday the 28th ult., the dome of the Monticello Seminary was discovered to be on fire. It produced great alarm among the young ladies and inmates of the institution, and all in the neighborhood. When the fire was discovered, the roof of the Observatory was in a brisk blaze, and the dome being constructed of pine lumber and covered with tin, was burning like a furnace. It seemed for a few minutes that the whole building must be burned to the ground. But by the most judicious and strenuous exertions of all present, the fire was soon extinguished. The principal damage consists in the entire destruction of the dome, and the roof of the Observatory. The dome was twelve feet in diameter, and cost about $200.  The fire was caused by a pipe extending from the furnace chimney through the roof of the Observatory. Much credit is due to the young ladies in the Seminary for their efficiency and soldier-like conduct on that occasion. Without their timely and well-directed efforts, that noble edifice must have been in ruins. The friends of the Seminary are also thankful for the prompt assistance of the neighbors, and of some strangers who were fortunately passing in the road. They did not pass by, but ran to the scene of danger.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 21, 1846

The Annual Examination of the young ladies in this institution, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday last, was highly interesting and satisfactory. We had the pleasure of being present part of both days, and although the pressure of the crowd and other unfavorable circumstances put it out of our power to hear distinctly all that was said, yet so far as we were able to judge, the different classes acquitted themselves in such a manner as to reflect much credit upon the professional skill and attention of the teachers, as well as upon their own application and diligence. Besides answering the various and intricate questions propounded to them, in relation to the different branches of study pursued in the Seminary, with great accuracy and readiness, the pupils recited sundry pieces of original composition, in prose and verse, evincing much originality of thought, as well as excellent taste, on the part of the authors. Not the least interesting part of the exercises, at least to us, was the reading of two newspapers - the "Violet" and the "Miguonelle" - the contents of which were exceedingly amusing and instructive, and might well put to the blush publications of far greater pretensions, but very inferior merit. The "Valedictory," by Miss Margaret A. Bailey, one of the graduates, was very beautiful and affecting; the music, both vocal and instrumental, excellent; and the breathless attention of a numerous and most respectable audience during the continuance of the exercises showed better than words how deeply they were interested in the scenes which were passing before them. Three young ladies - Miss Margaret A. Bailey of St. Louis, Miss Laura S. Culver of Springfield, and Miss Mary F. Sanborn of New Orleans - graduated on this occasion. Two of these - Miss Bailey and Miss Sanborn - we understand, have been engaged as teachers in the Female Seminary at Putnam, Ohio, and we doubt not, are fully equal in every respect in the faithful and efficient discharge of the high and responsible duties which will devolve upon them as instructors of the rising generation. May their labors in the new field of action upon which they are about to enter be crowned with the most abundant success, and may the institution which they have just left continue to flourish more and more, and annually send forth many young ladies equally qualified by their scientific and literary acquirements and moral virtues, either to grace and charm the domestic circle, or adorn and dignify a public station.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 8, 1853
July 1 - The Annual Anniversary of this excellent institution took place on Wednesday last. The day was exceedingly warm, with occasional showers. The number of visitors was larger, we think, than ever before, and the Chapel was not only crowded to its utmost capacity, but every place opposite the doors and windows of the Chapel, where there was a possibility of hearing the exercises, was crowded with listeners, and many were denied even that privilege, and had to go away disappointed. The exercises of the day consisted of the alternate reading of the compositions of the young ladies, and vocal and instrumental music, and were of a character which fully sustains the high reputation the institution has attained. A portion of the time we found it impossible to obtain a good place for hearing, and cannot therefore speak as fully of some of the compositions as we would wish, or as they deserve. The present Chapel is entirely too small for such an occasion. With a ceiling exceedingly low, and the presence of several pillars supporting the roof, make it exceedingly difficult to speak so as to be heard perfectly, and in music, some of the finest and most effective passages are entirely lost. It is in contemplation, we understand, to erect a church in the immediate neighborhood, which will be built with a view, among other reasons, to obviate the difficulty now experienced. The reading by the young ladies was generally sufficiently loud to be heard throughout the Chapel, and the enunciation clear, distinct, and firm - not hurried, but natural; and their attitudes while reading or singing, very easy, graceful and unaffected....[compositions listed by Ellen E. Prince, Marilla S. Tolman, Harriett M. Lyons, Amy Chandler, Isabella Hurlbut, Rosa J. Teasey, Joanna E. Rice, and F. S. Van Arsdale, ] .....Diplomas were awarded to the Senior Class, which was composed of the following: Misses Chandler, Rice, Lyons, Godfrey, Van Arsdale and Teasey.... [music listed]....The Annual Address was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Gassaway of St. Louis. The address was an eloquent one, replete with beautiful thoughts, elegant extracts from the poets, and gave a fine exposition of what constituted woman's true education, which he contended, would invariably fix her position. He had no sympathy for the sticklers for the so-called "woman's rights," and expressed himself as much opposed to "petticoat" government. The address abounded with encouragement to the young to persevere in the paths of duty and rectitude, thereby ensuring to themselves happiness in the future. The speaker closed with a well merited tribute to the generosity and benevolence of Capt. Godfrey, for his exertions in behalf of female education. Altogether the exercises were of a very interesting character, and were highly enjoyed by those present. May many more such anniversaries gladden the hearts of parents and the friends of education, and throw out an influence through the land to purify, exalt, and refine.


Source: The New York Times, June 20, 1856
Mr. A. W. Corey, the agent of the Monticello Seminary in Illinois, has been highly successful in his efforts to raise a fund for the enlargement of this Seminary. At the present time about $10,500 have been subscribed by the people of Alton and vicinity, and there is every prospect that the amount will be raised to $15,000.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 17, 1857
The Seminary at Monticello when completed will be one of the finest buildings in the West. Not only will it be noble and palatial in its outward appearance, but also elegant, tasty and convenient within. Among other things, water will be carried into all the stories, thus obviating the necessity of carrying it by hand. Workmen are now busily engaged in erecting works for the manufacture of gas, with which to light the building. It is expected that the arrangements will be completed in about a fortnight, and the gas will be used for the first time on Christmas night.



Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1881

Mr. G. S. Nutter of Brighton, paid a visit of inspection to the artesian well at Monticello Seminary and found it in fine condition. The well is 250 feet deep, with 210 feet of first class mineral water, equal to that of the Wilmington artesian well.  Mr. N. pronounces the Monticello well very valuable, worth thousands of dollars.





Remains of Monticello Ladies Seminary, Godfrey, IL


Source: New York Times, New York, November 5, 1888
Godfrey, Ill., Nov. 4.-The famous Monticello Seminary was destroyed by fire at 1 o'clock this morning, and 125 young ladies had a narrow escape from a frightful death. The night was clear and cold, and at 10 o'clock every inmate of the college was in bed or preparing to retire. At midnight the fire broke out in the basement, directly beneath the kitchen, and burned for a considerable period before the danger was discovered. The smoke ascended through the halls of the main building, and, pouring through connecting doors into the halls of the dormitories in both wings, aroused the girls and teachers. By this time the fire had taken possession of the first and second floors of the main building and was reaching out to the wings. The teachers showed rare presence of mind at this terrible crisis. Many of the girls were yet sleeping soundly, unconscious of danger, though the smoke was suffocating and the panic widespread. The women and older girls struggled bravely through the smoke, pulling the terrified girls out of their beds and instructing them to leave everything and run for their lives. The stairways at both ends of the wings were not yet in possession of the flames, and the frightened girls, clad only in their night clothes, rushed pell-mell into the blinding smoke and escaped down the stairs. Some carried their clothes in their arms, some carried souvenirs of affection in the shape of books, birds and correspondence. All were dreadfully frightened by the awful glare in the rear, and yet many refused to move until assured that loving companions were safe. The girls huddled in groups in front of the building and remained until all the students were reported safe. They were then distributed among the neighbors in the town of Godfrey, and every effort was made to soothe their distress. Before the escape of the students two servant girls, who were sleeping in an apartment over the kitchen, jumped from the windows and are believed to have sustained fatal injuries. Mrs. Haskell, the principal, was almost crazed by the casualty. As the little town of Godfrey is practically helpless in case of fire, telegraphs were sent to Alton to asking for engines. Meanwhile the fire had taken entire control of the old college that has one of the most illustrious alumnae in the United States. The building was of stone, five stories high and 110 feet front. It was built in 1845 by Benjamin Godfrey, its founder, and was the oldest seat of learning of its kind in the West. Before 3 o'clock in the morning it was in ruins. The flames swept through the wings, chapel and all the school rooms. A fine gallery of paintings was destroyed, and a library that was the pride of the seminary. Valuable collections of souvenirs and gift from the Alumnae met the same fate. The outhouses and stables went down before the march of the fire, and the total loss is estimated at $250,000. Most of the young ladies lost everything except their night dresses and lives. Money, baggage and everything of value was abandoned. They take their loss good-naturedly, and are thankful for their fortunate escape.



Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, November 7, 1888

Monticello Seminary, Madison county's famous educational institute for young ladies, was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning. The fire originated in an old building adjoining the main structure, used as a kitchen. The building was of stone, and the flames made slow progress, but the means for extinguishing them which were at hand were insufficient to subdue them. There were 120 ladies enrolled as pupils, and all made their escape without injury. The loss is estimated at $100,000, which does not include part of the library, the museum, and the personal effects belonging to students. The institution will be rebuilt at an early day. Miss Katie Pogue is the only student from this city this year. In years past, Edwardsville has been one of the most largely represented cities, and there are quite a number of graduate residents here. Mrs. W. F. L. Hadley is at present one of the vice-presidents of the St. Louis Alumnae. The seminary was one of the oldest and most highly reputed institutions of the kind in the country. It was founded by Benjamin Godfrey on the 11th of April, 1838, and has been in a flourishing condition ever since. He donated the ground, furnished the stone from his quarry, and gave the sum of $53,000, which he afterward increased by an additional sum of $51,000. The widow of Capt. Godfrey still survives him, and lives near the institution that perpetuates his benevolence and public spirit. The s___-centennial of its birth was celebrated this year, and was attended by hundreds of alumnae, many of whom occupy the foremost positions in the ranks of American literature and art. As a school for the education and refinement of young ladies, it has had for many years no rival in any western institution. In its catalogue are the names of young ladies from the first families of every western and southern state, and from its halls have graduated many whose names are now written high on the scroll of fame. Miss Harriet Haskell, the principal, has been at the head of the institution for 20 years, and it is due mainly to her able and judicious management that the present high standard of excellence and national reputation has been attained by the school.


Source: Jersey County Democrat, November 8, 1888/Submitted by: Bev Bauser
A bevy of pupils of the institution, comprising Misses Nellie McConkey and Myrtle Kimberly of Kansas City; Anna Blair of Ottawa, Kas.; Ollie Travis, Pleasant Hill, Mo.; and Clara Parish of Chillicothe, Mo., awaited the outgoing train tonight under the charge of MR. O. W. Maxfield, the outside superintendent.

"We were not frightened a bit," they said, in chatting chorus. "Most of us saved a few things and when we got out safely and saw how slowly the building was burning, we went back and secured a great many of our valuables, but many of the girls lost their clothes, money and jewelry in the flames. Our teachers went quietly from door to door and marched us out and down the three stairways with the precision of veterans. Most of the Alton girls went home today, and we are going out on this train." The seminary numbered pupils from St. Louis, Alton, Chicago, Denver, Shreveport, Springfield, Milwaukee, Belleville, Fort Smith, Otta, Kas., and many other towns throughout Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Among the St. Louis girls attending the school this year were the daughters of O. J. Lewis, Misses Edwards, Travis; the daughters of Phil Chappel of Jefferson City, the two daughters of Joel Rickey, and Miss Curd of Fulton, Mo.; Miss Bertha Brownlee of Lebanon, Ill., were also in attendance. Chicago and Milwaukee had an unusually large number in the school, which depended mainly upon Chicago, St. Louis and Alton for patronage and its alumni numbers many of the society leaders of these cities. Among the prominent members of alumni from St. Louis are the three Misses Sneed, Mrs. Anna Sneed Cairns of Kirkwood, Mrs. John M. Allen, Mrs. Judge Shephard Barclay, Mrs. Pat Dyer, Mrs. Judge Denison, the two daughters of Judge Hunt, the daughters of Gen. Burnett, Mrs. Geo. W. Parker, Mrs. Isaac Sturgis, two daughters of O. J. Lewis, Miss Lottie Willis, the daughters of John Nixon, Mrs. Julia Blow Webster and Mrs. Webster Loughborough. A flourishing alumni association, numbering 240 members, has been in existence in Chicago for a number of years, and a similar organization was affected in St. Louis last spring with a membership of 60. The late Rev. Dr. Truman Post of St. Louis was president of the board of trustees for 35 years. Dr. J. B. Johnson is now the St. Louis member of the board. The building was of stone, four stories and a basement, and contained about 150 rooms. The dormitories were on the second and third stories. The contents of the art studios and music rooms on the fourth floor were completely destroyed, the losses, including some 20 pianos and model casts and valuable paintings. The oil portrait of Capt. Godfrey, the founder of the institution, was saved, much to the gratification of Miss Haskell and her assistants. The opera chairs, carpets, piano and organ in the anniversary hall on the first floor were saved and lie stored in the basement of the little village church opposite the ruins of the institution. About one-third of the library of several thousand volumes was saved and is preserved at the residence of Mr. James Brown, of the firm of Dodd, Brown & Co., of this city. The burning seminary was a beacon for the towns of Jerseyville, Shipman, Alton, Godfrey and the entire surrounding county, thus preserving its dignity as an educational light to the last. The flickering flames from a winter's supply of coke still lit up the desolate walls at a late hour tonight. The residence of Mr. Brown is but a few rods from the seminary and caught fire several times, but was saved through the watchfulness of the spectators.

Miss Haskell's Story
Miss H. M. Haskell, the principal, was seen in the seminary cottage, which stands about 700 feet from the fire. Her costume illustrated most forcibly the general ruin caused by the early morning flames. She was seated in the parlor, which was filled with masses of blankets, all varieties of clothing, trunks, chests, dressing cases and other articles that had been hurriedly saved. Miss Haskell's attire was the dress which she had hastily thrown on Sunday morning when escaping, and a blanket was thrown about her, giving her quite a primitive appearance. She received the Republic representative with excuses for her appearance, stating that she was but one of the many who were forced to adopt such wear. Miss Haskell told the story of the fire as follows:

"Every soul in the building had retired at 10 o'clock, and were asleep at 11. Shortly after 1 the matron, Mrs. Pendleton, who sleeps on the first floor in a room nearest the kitchen department, was awakened by partial suffocation from smoke, and springing up discovered that the northwest portion of the building was filled with smoke. She at once awakened the men servants and then aroused me. About the same time the fire was discovered by a teacher sleeping on the third floor, Miss Strachlin, who aroused the rest of the teachers. The 425 scholars asleep on the second and third floors were awakened by the teachers, who directed them how to escape. Of course they were frightened badly, but behaved splendidly, and there was no panic. There were two stairways leading down from the upper floors, and in 20 minutes after the first fire was first discovered everyone was out of the building. The men, under the charge of Mr. Maxfield, went to work to fight the fire. It had originated in the bake room, near the oven, which had no fire in it since noon on Saturday. A defective flue is the only explanation possible for the origin of the fire. The kitchen is in the northwest wing and was a frame building. The rest of the seminary building was of stone. It was five stories high and had sixty-four sleeping rooms. By fighting the fire with buckets of water the flames were gotten under control, and although the kitchen was destroyed we thought the rest of the building was saved. Suddenly the flames began to leap from the roof of the seminary. The fire had communicated under the tin cornice and unperceived until too late to be checked. We had to sit and watch the dear old place burn. It was a curious scene. The teachers, scholars and servants of course, had thrown on whatever garment was nearest, and as many blankets and other bedding had been hastily thrown out we all arrayed ourselves in these and thus, wrapped in all sorts of parti-colored blankets and coverlets, out in the campus, sat on trunks, mattresses and chests until daybreak, with the flames lighting up the scene so vividly. It was a wild picture. No one, of course, could think of sleeping, and we talked of the sudden awakening and escape and watched the seminary being so swiftly destroyed before our eyes. The citizens of Godfrey turned out in a body and were at the scene half an hour after the fire began. They did everything possible to aid, but it was then too late. I regret to say that thieves, during the excitement and confusion, stole several articles, a gold watch, jewelry and money belonging to various scholars and teachers. This morning the citizens of Godfrey did everything possible to alleviate our discomfort. We all had to breakfast, of course, and accepting the many invitations extended, were distributed among various homes by the two seminary omnibuses, for breakfast and dinner, afterward being gathered again at the seminary cottage. I telegraphed at once to the parents of my scholars and also applied by wire to the authorities of the Chicago and Alton railroad for free transportation home for the scholars, but receiving no response, I paid the fare of 85 pupils who went. The loss was $150,000, the insurance $70,000, placed with Alton agents, Dr. McKinney and Whipple & Smiley. The seminary will be rebuilt at once and will issue a circular to all trustees, alumni and patrons of Monticello Seminary, also to the governors of various states, soliciting aid in rebuilding. The seminary was the pride of several states having large alumni associations, notably one in St. Louis of 60 and Chicago of 240. I have received telegrams today from all quarters and especially kind attention from the people of Alton and Godfrey. I am sure the grand old seminary will soon be rebuilt." Two frightened fathers from Duquoin, Ill., who had just alighted from the train, were seen by the Republic reporter. Their names were A. C. Brookings and L. B. Skinner, and although they had been telegraphed by Miss Haskell that everyone was saved, they were very apprehensive until met by Mr. Maxfield at the depot and assured that their daughters were saved. Their trip was in vain, as Miss Haskell had already sent the two young ladies home on the afternoon train.

A Thrilling Experience
Otto W. Maxfield, the outside superintendent, who looks after a farm of 120 acres belonging to the establishment, was the only one who had a thrilling experience during the fire. He had rushed to the third floor to save everything possible, and sprang into a closet, when a Negro assistant, not knowing he was there, closed the door and ran hurriedly on, also intent on saving valuables. Maxfield found to his horror that there was no knob on the inside. He threw himself against the heavy door, but it refused to yield, and he shouted and kicked against it vigorously, knowing that the flames were approaching that room. "It was a frightful moment," Maxfield said, "and I was panic-stricken, but fortunately the Negro man heard my cries and released me. He asked me how I felt locked up in there, but just then I had neither time nor breath to answer him, as the fire was entirely too near us."



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 15, 1888

At a meeting of Trustees of Monticello Female Seminary, held on Wednesday, 14th inst., at the Cottage annex, it was resolved to rebuild as soon as the matter of insurance is adjusted and suitable plans could be adopted; meanwhile, to erect a temporary building on the premises and to re-open the school no later than December 15, 1888.  George N. Boardman, President, H. N. Haskell, Secretary.


The temporary building to be erected will be two stories high, 120 x 30 feet, located immediately south of the cottage and connected therewith by a covered passageway. The new building will have twenty-six rooms for students on second floor; stairways at each end. Dining hall, music and recitation rooms on first floor. It will be plainly finished, but convenient and comfortable; heated by steam. It will be completed in three weeks. This temporary building, in connection with the cottage, will furnish ample accommodations for conducting the school for the remainder of the year.


The Trustees and the Principal do not intend to let the great calamity they have experienced overwhelm them, but will go forward in their educational work. We trust that every patron of the school will second the devotion of the Principal, Trustees and teachers, and will return their daughters or wards to the institution promptly at the re-opening. Miss Haskell's reputation as an instructor is second to none in this country, and her abilities are dedicated to the work of rebuilding Monticello, and making its future usefulness transcend even its past. Many flattering offers have come to her from other institutions, but she has declined them all, and will go forward with her present work. She hopes every one of her pupils, so suddenly and widely scattered, will be present on the 15th prox., to resume the duties of the scholastic year.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 12, 1889

After a week of storms, the clouds lifted and a clear sky ushered in the birthday of the new Monticello. That is, on this day, June 11th, in the year of grace 1889 was laid the cornerstone of the physical frame in which the disembodied spirit of Monticello, crowned with semi-centennial graces, but for seven months a wanderer, will take up its permanent habitation. The clear skies, the mildly tempered breezes, were a happy augury. Fire and water are indispensable, but unlike some other things, enough of each is all we want - an over-plus is ruin.


The reader recalls the old Monticello, in its stately beauty, with hospitable portals and ivy-crowned towers, in which dwelt the Princess and her maidens. The catalogue for 1889 gives an admirable engraving of the ruins of the "palace" after the demon of fire had swept over it. The visitor on the 51st anniversary found the green-carpeted campus unchanged in beauty; the wide-spreading elms the same; the cottage still there, but the site of the Seminary a blank, even the ruins were gone and the space cleared for a new edifice. South of the cottage is temporary Monticello, "Knotty Hall," built after the cracker box school of architecture, but comfortable and convenient though contracted.


All the exercises of the anniversary centered in the ceremony of laying the cornerstone, and the members of the senior class were the priestesses in charge. We would not cast reflections on the past, but this kind of an anniversary excels the stereotyped form. Of course we despise the man who can't appreciate hearing the intricacies of Beethoven extracted from a piano, and have no patience with the cynic who smiles sarcastically when fair girl graduates proceed to re-adjust the social order of the universe; still, so far as genuine enjoyment is concerned, the visitors would prefer to have a cornerstone laid every year.


The preparations made for the occasion were complete. A broad platform under the sheltering trees was prepared large enough to accommodate the faculty, trustees, pupils and many visitors. Seats and benches were provided for hundreds in front of the platform, and a stage over the excavation at the cornerstone was for the ceremonies at that point. Off at a little distance was the stand where Postlewaite's band discoursed dulcet strains.


At the hour of commencement, the inmates of the Seminary marched to the platform, the pupils in radiant white, and the procession marshaled by Col. W. B. Pendleton of St. Louis. The trustees, President Boardman of Chicago, Dr. Johnson of St. Louis, Mr. E. P. Wade of Alton, and Mr. J. R. Isett of Godfrey, were all present; while the guests of honor were Hon. S. V. White, the millionaire Congressman of Brooklyn; Dr. Edwards, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Illinois; and Mr. William H. Reid of Chicago. The exercises opened with an invocation by Rev. Dr. Wolff of Alton. A brief and felicitous address of welcome followed by Dr. Boardman. Dr. Dimond of Bright, Chaplain of the Seminary, then delivered an historical address, briefly reviewing the record of the Seminary, recalled its baptism of fire a few months ago, recounted the struggles of the renaissance and painted the promise of the future. The learned Doctor, always eloquent, is ever inspiried to speak the fitting word with rarest grace and felicity. At the close of the address, to the music of a march, the audience surrounded the stage at the cornerstone. Upon the platform were circled the members of the Senior class, with Miss Haskell in the center. There were also the guests of the day, Messrs. White, Edwards and Reid, and wee Miss Lucy Stowell.


First came the beautiful class poem, written by Miss Alden, and read with charming elocutionary effect by Miss Lila L. Haskell. Then the class paper of introduction, read by Miss Lydia A. Fritschie. A production of rare merit, in which the year with its strange fatality, its trials and triumphs, was reviewed. "It is meet," it said, "that the class of 1889 should testify to the vitality of Benjamin Godfrey's original gift by setting in its resting place the cornerstone of the new Monticello, made possible by later benevolence, especially by the munificence of William H. Reid of Chicago." The tribute to "her whose superb nerve spanned the chasm of disaster with its fine tension of invincible resolve," was fitting and true. Miss Haskell then enumerated the contents of the box to be deposited in the cornerstone, a list of which is appended:


The Holy Bible

Constitution of the United States and of the State of Illinois

Copies of "New York Mail and Express," "New York World," and "St. Louis Republic," containing reports of centennial of Washington's inauguration.

Portraits of all Presidents of the United States

Autographs of State officers of Illinois

Copy of deed of trust of Benjamin Godfrey and Rebecca E. (his wife) to first Board of Trustees, viz: Theron Baldwin, W. S. Gilman and Enoch Long.

Semi-Centennial catalog of June 1888, with pictures of Monticello in 1838 and 1888.

Register of trustees for fifty years, twenty-two in number; Principals, same period, three; teachers, 163; graduating classes, 48; alumnae, 380; students, 5,985

Historical address delivered at seventeenth anniversary by Rev. Theron Baldwin, first Principal

Semi-Centennial Poem by Miss Emily G. Alden; badges, program and reports of Jubilee exercises

Engraving of Benjamin Godfrey and Rebecca E., his wife

Photographs of Miss Philena Fobes, Rev. Dr. A. T. Norton, Rev. Theron Baldwin, Hon. Cyrus Edwards, Enoch Long, A. W. Corey, Rev. Dr. T. M. Post, Rev. Dr. George N. Boardman, Dr. J. B. Johnson, E. P. Wade, J. R. Isett and Harriet N. Haskell, Trustees; senior class of 1889; students of 1889; also photos of Logan and Christopher Coleman, donors of cornerstone laid this day, and first donors to building fund.

Volume of poems and portrait of Lucy Larcom, graduate of Monticello, 1852

Papers and circulars relating to burning of Seminary, Nov. 4, 1888

Picture of temporary building

Autographs and photographs of the courageous students (73) who returned to complete studies in temporary building

Letter from W. H. Reid donating twenty-five one-thousand dollar bonds to Monticello, for rebuilding fund - as a memorial to his wife, Eleanor Irwin Reid

Photographs of Eleanor Irwin Reid and W. H. Reid; also copy "N. Y. Evangelist" with obituary notice of Mrs. Reid

Copies of "Alton Telegraph" with accounts of destruction by flood of Johnstown, Pa., Mary 31, 1889

Copies of "Alton Sentinel-Democrat" and "Alton Telegraph" of June 10, 1889 and "Globe Democrat" of June 11, 1889

Annual catalogue for 1889, with program of commencement exercises

Silver coins of the United States

The clapper of the old bell

List of contributors to the building fund for New Monticello, with amount of gifts, containing 276 different names, commencing with William H. Reid, $25,000, and ending with the name of little Lucy Stowell, 25 cents, which she thought Miss Haskell needed more than the heathen did. Total amount, $55,000.25


The box was then deposited in place by Misses Ada Nichols and M. H. Curd, with these words by Miss Hannah W. Wade, in delivering the silver key to the trustees:


"I now herewith have the honor to present the silver key of the copper box deposited this day, within the cornerstone of the new Monticello (the contents of which have been already enumerated), to the present President of the honorable Board of Trustees, Rev. George Nye Boardman, D. D., to be by him passed to the present Principal, Harriet Newell Haskell, to be by her transferred to the Principal succeeding, and so on in continuous succession."


Dr. Boardman received the key and turned it over to the care of Miss Haskell, who in appropriate words, received it in trust, for herself and successors. In sealing the stone, Miss Clara Halbert said:


"As we seal this stone, may the blessing of Almighty God be upon the deed. May the Architect, Theo. C. Linck, the builders and the workmen in whom we have full confidence be protected from every accident during the progress of the work. May the structure to be erected be planned with wisdom, supported by strength and adorned in beauty, and may it be preserved to the latest ages as a monument to the energy and liberality of Benjamin Godfrey, as also the munificence of the donors who have made the rebuilding an assured fact."


The consecration of the Stone was conducted by Miss Leila M. Brown, who said:


"We scatter this corn as an emblem of Plenty; may the blessings of bounteous Heaven be showered upon us and upon all like educational enterprises, and inspire the hearts of instructors and instructed with virtue, wisdom and gratitude."


Response by the class. "There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. So may it be."


"We pour this wine as an emblem of joy and gladness. May the great Ruler of the Universe bless and prosper all our National and State Institutions and preserve for future usefulness this Institution founded by Benjamin Godfrey and chartered by the state of Illinois."


Response: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. So may it be."


"We pour this oil as an emblem of Peace; may the blessings of Peace abide with us continually, and may the Ruler of Heaven and Earth shelter and protect those dwelling here, not only during their sojourn at Monticello, but to the end of human life."


Response: "Peace be within the walls and prosperity within thy gates. So may it be."


By class: "We scatter these roses as emblems of the fruitious of Womanhood, and also as typical of the 'Rose of Sharon' by whose gospel woman has been Christianized and saved."


Response: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall blossom as the rose."


Miss Laura Greene scattered the corn; Miss Dell Hatheway poured the wine, and Miss Stella C. Hilliard, the oil, and the class strewed the flowers. The memorable ceremony concluded with prayer by Dr. Dimond.


At the ringing of the great class bell for the first time by Misses Aletta Burchard and Cynthia M. Hancock, all returned to the main platform where the school and audience joined in singing an original hymn, "Fair Monticello Lift Thy Head."


Hon. S. V. White of Brooklyn, the famous politician and Wall Street King, was then introduced. Mr. White is well known the country over. A former resident of Jersey County, he has long been a staunch friend of the institution. His sister, Mrs. J. A. Allen, is an alumna of the institution and President of the St. Louis Alumnae Society. The theme of the address was "The Educational Situation in Illinois and the West." The address was a magnificent one, delivered with fine oratorical effect, and as we hope to publish it in full hereafter, we will not mar it by a synopsis.


Mr. White was followed by Dr. Edwards, one of our country's great educators, who after a pleasant introduction, in which he alluded to the well-known fact that Monticello is a section of the garden of Eden which escaped the curse, and was somehow successfully transplanted to its present location, announced his theme as "Unity in Scholarship." Our space will not permit a review, save to say it was learned without being prosaic; suggestive and vivid, instructive and entertaining. The genial Doctor is a speaker of rare force and power, who adds to the ripe attainments and observations of the scholar, the charms of the finished rhetorician. To listen to him was a rich treat, which the audience highly appreciated.


In fitting words, Dr. Boardman then presented diplomas to the following graduates:


Misses Leila Marion Brown, Brighton; Aletta Burchard, Chicago; Matsie Hart Curd, Fulton, Missouri; Lydia Alvine Fritschie, Brighton; Laura Augusta Greene, Collinsville; Clara Halbert, Belleville; Cynthia Mason Hancock, Godfrey; Lila Lowell Haskell, Waldoboro, Maine; Nora Dell Hatheway, Alton; Stella Chase Hilliard, Brighton; Ada Nichols and Hannah Wallace Wade, Alton.


Class honors were waived on this occasion, both of greeting and farewell. The class of 1889 is christened Constantia, and a fairer band of graduates never bade farewell to Alma Mater than these who go forth to their life work, bearing this name and having been tried as by fire, wearing the motto:  Staunch hearts are more than coronets.


After benediction by Dr. Boardman, the audience adjourned to a spacious tent where the ladies of Godfrey regaled them with viands rich and rare, and gathered in shekels for the building fund.


During the exercises a telegram was read from Governor Fifer, announcing that his absence was due to his being called to Chicago to attend the funeral of Hon. Leonard Swett. It was also announced from the platform that Mrs. G. Rea of St. Louis had subscribed one thousand dollars to the building fund. Later it was whispered over the campus that Hon. S. V. White had handed Miss Haskell a check for $2,000, and had intimated that under certain contingencies, a check for $3,000 more might be found in Monticello's stocking next Christmas.


The remainder of the afternoon was spent by the visitors in strolling about the grounds, inspecting the site of the new edifice, which will be double the size of the old, and will, as the architect's design over the platform proclaimed, be a noble and majestic structure. There were the usual reunions and greetings of old students, and then the departure of visitors and preparations of students to return to their homes. During the past year of vicissitudes, the faculty of Monticello, which has so successfully carried the students through the regular course, has consisted of Harriet N. Haskell, Principal; Emily G. Alden, Julia C. Kellogg, Lenore M. Hanna, Caroline S. Pepper, Ella F. Stroelin, Marie Buttner, and Margaret E. Harbaugh. Department of Music - Caroline Whittlesey, Katharine Armstrong, Sarah Hayman, Elizabeth Row.


The new bell was presented to the Seminary by the graduating class of 1889. The new building will be built of Alton stone, quarry faced. The building fund now amounts to $58,000, exclusive of $70,000 insurance money. The inscription on the exposed face of the cornerstone reads: "Founded by Benjamin Godfrey, 1835. Opened April 11, 1838.  Monticello.  Destroyed by fire November 4, 1888. This cornerstone laid June 11, 1889. 



Source: Buffalo, New York Morning Express, October 4, 1890
Mrs. S. V. White of Brooklyn, the wife of Deacon S. V. White of Wall Street, has presented the Monticello Seminary of Godfrey, Ill. with $5,000 to endow a scholarship to be named in honor of her husband.



Source: Auburn, New York Daily Bulletin, May 17, 1894
Several weeks ago the principal of Monticello seminary learned that some of the students were receiving notes and packages left at the store of John Roberts. She therefore prohibited the young women from going to the store. Roberts has sued the principal for $5,000 damages.



Source: Utica, New York Saturday Globe, May 30, 1896
....At the time the Vandalia train was blown off the track on the Merchants' Bridge, the Chicago & Alton limited was having an even more narrow escape on the Eads bridge. Not more than 15 seconds after the train had passed the east span the storm came and wrecked that very portion of the structure. Naturally the loud crash immediately at the rear of the train frightened the passengers, and there was a panic for several minutes. But there was one young woman in that train who maintained her presence of mind. She was Miss Harriett Haskett, who attends the Monticello Seminary, at Godfrey, Ill. She immediately set out to reassure the other passengers that there was nothing to be frightened about. "We are safe," she said in commanding tones, standing upon her seat, "and every one of you should take your seats and be quiet." The cool manner and heroic voice of the pretty young woman had its effect, and within five minutes after the accident happened, the car over which the young woman took command was in a state of quiet. She was declared heroine of the day.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, June 24, 1897
The fifty-ninth anniversary exercises of Monticello seminary were held last week and a class of fourteen young ladies who have completed the four years' course received their diplomas The school was founded In 1833 by Captain Benjamin Godfrey, who gave the lands and erected the buildings as his own expense, the cost being about $110,000. It is the oldest school for the higher education of women in the West, and, with the exception of Mount Holyoke, the oldest in the country. It was built in a primeval forest, four miles north of Alton, Ill., and all the material used in the construction of the building was brought from the East. In 1888 the buildings and all their contents were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $300,000. Miss Haskell, who has been principal for thirty-one consecutive years, at once had a temporary structure built, and the studies of the pupils were interrupted for only two months. She then laid the plans for a more capacious building, and in two years the present beautiful edifice, one of the most complete and adequate for educational purposes in the United States, finished and dedicated. Since that time a memorial chapel has been added, and during the present year a large annex, four stories in height, has been finished.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 12, 1900

Today was a great day in the history of Monticello Seminary. The old stone institution of learning was the scene of a large gathering of the girls who had graduated from there in years gone by, some of whom are now grandmothers, and whose daughters and granddaughters have since passed through the seminary and have closed their studies there, were assembled to see the class of 1900 receive their diplomas. The principal event of the day was the unveiling and presentation of the portrait of Miss Harriet Newell Haskell, who today rounded her thirty-third year as Principal of the school. The ceremonies incident to the presentation of the marble portrait occupied the greater part of the time of the commencement exercises, and were full of interest to every person in the great audience assembled in Eleanor Reid Chapel to witness the speeding of another class of young ladies on their voyage of life at the close of their school days at Monticello. It was a day of triumph for Miss Haskell, for certainly was appreciation never so warmly expressed or so plainly manifested for her as it was today. It was the crowning event of her life, and the applause with which the audience greeted every mention of her name showed better than words the feelings of her friends, who numbered every person there. The platform was decorated in the class colors, yellow and black, and the back of the stage was banked with green plants. The twelve young ladies who graduated were seated upon the stage and were dressed in beautiful rich gowns of white. Mr. Charles Galloway of St. Louis was at the organ, and Miss Jessie Ringen of St. Louis sang the local solos on the program. Miss Ringen never sang better before an audience, and the manner in which she rendered the difficult and classic, "A Ballad of Trees and the Master," would delight the most captious critic....The highest fidelity of those who have attended the school is due to the founders, and it appears to be automatic that all graduates of the school should be faithful. Miss Haskell was likened to the pilot who knows where the rocks are, and she has never failed to guide her splendid craft safely into port with a full cargo.....It was announced to the visitors at the Seminary that the marble portrait of Miss Haskell was the gift of Mr. William H. Reid, the Chicago banker, whose benefactions to the Seminary had given a chapel, and an extensive annex to the building several years ago.....The presentation of diplomas was by Miss Haskell. The "high six" of the class, Misses Coleman, Drury, McMillen, Brenholt, Craig and Watson, were given especial honor.....The graduates were: Edith L. Brenholt, Alton; Corinue N. Busey, Pueblo, Colorado; Mary L. Coleman, Springfield; Amelia O. Craig, Chicago; Anna M. Drake, St. Louis; Emily Drury, Alton; Florence McMillen, New York; O. Rhea Pearson, Louisiana, Mo.; Carolyn Reynolds, Kirksville, Mo.; Jessie M. Sargent, Alton; Agnes Scarborough, Bonham, Texas; Elizabeth J. Watson, Alton.



Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, November 9, 1900
The students of Monticello Seminary celebrated McKinley's election with a special programme. The young ladies, attired in curious costumes and carrying oddly-figured and shaped banners, held a parade on the campus. After the parade they repaired to the Ean Eleanor Reed chapel, and campaign addresses were made. Miss Ruth Bryan, daughter of the Democratic nominee, delivered an address on the silver issue.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 20, 1900

Monticello Seminary is keeping up a good work among the poor children of Chicago. Every year the young ladies attending the school send dolls to a settlement in the slums of Chicago, known as Monticello Settlement, and every year liberal contributions are made by the students in the Seminary to assist in keeping up the work among the poor children. At a dinner given last Saturday night at the Seminary, a collection of $100 was taken up, and with $100 additional was sent to the Monticello Settlement in Chicago with 100 dolls that had been dressed by the young ladies to be given to the children of Monticello Settlement in the slums, to make their Christmas day brighter. The dinner was an important event in the school, and the young ladies took great interest in their self-imposed work of making a merry Christmas for unfortunate children of a big city.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1902

Today was celebrated as Founder's day at Monticello Seminary in memory of Benjamin Godfrey. The day was observed with appropriate exercises and an interesting program was given. Part of the program consisted of the planting of a tree at Monticello, a long established custom, and the historic spade was used on this occasion.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 27, 1902

Among the most enthusiastic numismatist [coin collector] in the country is the Rev. H. K. Sanborne, pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Alton. He has collected during the last twenty years some of the most interesting coins ever made, and some of them have an age which dates before the Christian era. Mr. Sanborne has turned his collection over to Monticello Seminary, and that institution will have it as a treasure and for study by the young ladies attending there. Mr. Sanborne kept his collection in a case which was made in Turkey, and was perhaps 300 years of age. The case alone is an object of interest, being made of many thousands of pieces. It is built of teakwood, ornamented with mother-of-pearl, bone and other materials. The ornamentation is in mosaic and shows that infinite skill and labor is required to fashion it. In the front of the case there are 3,800 pieces of wood. The most ancient coin Mr. Sanborne has was one of Athens, which was minted probably 500 years before Christ. It is the silver tetradrachm, bearing the head of Minerva. Another valuable one is a coin of the isle of Aegina, showing a tortoise. The collection was made with the assistance of Dr. Albert Long, vice-president of Robert college of Constantinople, and a noted numismatist. Mr. Sanborne has no doubt of the genuineness of his coins, as Dr. Long was an authority and the purchases were made with the understanding that the coin would be returned to the owners in case they proved to be counterfeits. The collection consists of 245 coins dating from 500 B. C. to 500 A. D.  The latest addition to the collection are two coins, one minted under Emperor Otho, of the Roman Empire, and the other a silver half-penny of the time of Christ. Mr. Sanborne will not part with his Turkish coin case, but has had made a beautiful cherry-wood case, which will contain the relics in the future.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 18, 1903

The following story told by a North Alton miner yesterday may be of some interest. He says that when the big well at Monticello Seminary - which was sunk deep enough to tap the water supply on the other side of the world - was dug, the big vein - in fact about a 90 feet vein of coal - was discovered by the diggers. It was kept still, he says. Those fellows were after water, not coal that was worth millions, and they erected canvas coverings and sides over the well and hid the coal taken out so that the world at large and the statesmen of Godfrey, in particular, should not know of the find. He tells this story in all seriousness, but it would be cruel to put him on public record by publishing his name.




Today was the birthday anniversary of Miss Harriet N. Haskell, the famous principal of Monticello Seminary, and it was appropriately observed this afternoon by Miss Haskell, her pupils and friends. Ladies as a rule do not confess to having birthdays, but Miss Haskell is proud of her years in the belief that age is honorable when well worn, and her magnificent school at Monticello Seminary is the best evidence of the faithfulness and her industry in the seventy years of life she had passed today. Miss Haskell has identified herself so closely with the fortunes of Monticello that the two are inseparable and cannot be disassociated from one another in the minds of Monticello's friends, whose number is legion. A recital was given by Richard Platt of Boston, pianist, and Miss Lila Haskell of York, accompanied on the piano by Mrs. C. B. Rohland. Many Alton people took advantage of the opportunity to attend this musical treat.




Died: At Greenwich, Conn., April 7th, Harriet Baker Pendleton, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. George P. Sheldon. Funeral and burial at Yarmouth, Maine. Mrs. Pendleton came to Godfrey as matron of Monticello Seminary in 1869, and at a meeting of the trustees in November of that year it was recorded: "The selection seems to be an admirable one."  Mrs. Pendleton fulfilled the expectations of the trustees and won and held, during her administration of nineteen years, the affectionate esteem of faculty and pupils. She resigned after the fire in 1888, and subsequently resided in her old home at Yarmouth.



Source: Skaneateles, New York Free Press, June 15, 1906
Miss Mabel B. Stackus, musical instructor of Monticello Seminary, Godfrey, Ill., arrived in town yesterday, and will spend the summer with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Stackus.



HASKELL, HARRIET NEWELL/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 7, 1907     Principal of Monticello Seminary Forty Years Dies From Heart Failure

Miss Harriet Newell Haskell, principal of Monticello Seminary almost forty years, died Monday evening at 5:30 o'clock from heart failure in the institution she had rebuilt and which will be as much a monument to her memory as it is to that of its founder, Benjamin Godfrey. Miss Haskell's death was not unexpected, but it produced no less profound sorrow. Her illness had been such that her death was expected at any time the last three weeks. When she died no one at the seminary was informed of the fact except the teachers. The young ladies attending the school did not know of it until this morning. The funeral services were held at 2:30 o'clock this afternoon in the Seminary chapel, and were attended by all the students, teachers and some of Miss Haskell's Alton friends. They were conducted by Rev. A. G. Lane of the First Presbyterian church and Rev. H. M. Chittenden of the Episcopal church, both of whom were personal friends of Miss Haskell. The body will be taken to Waldoboro, Me., by Misses Leli and Elizabeth Haskell, leaving tonight, and burial will be there in the old family burial place beside the body of the father and other members of Miss Haskell's family. A memorial service will be held for her here two weeks later. Her brother, Lowell P. Haskell of Waldoborn, Me., was attending her until a few days ago when he went back home. Miss Haskell was born at Waldoboro, Me., and was 72 years of age last January 14. She attended school at Waldoboro until she was 12 years old, when she attended a school at Castleton, Vt., going there five years. She entered Mt. Holyoke then and graduated from that institution in 1855. In 1905 she celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of her graduation from Mt. Holyoke by attending the commencement exercises of that college, and while there she received the degree of doctor of letters, an honor she appreciated highly. It was while attending school at Mt. Holyoke she met Miss Emily G. Alden, who subsequently became her assistant and was still in that capacity up to the time of Miss Haskell's death. The two young ladies formed a friendship which lasted through life, and Miss Haskell herself said that during all the remaining fifty-five years of their friendship they had a common home and a common pocketbook. The two friends were inseparable, and the loss of her old friend is a sad affliction to Miss Alden. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke, Miss Haskell taught a year in Boston and a year at Waldoboro, going thence to her first alma mater, Castleton, where she became principal and remained as such until she came to Monticello in 1867. As a business woman, Miss Haskell's ability was no less than her skill as an educator. When Monticello was burned in 1888 there was only $70,000 insurance. The school must be rebuilt and Miss Haskell's influence accomplished such wonders that when the handsome pile of stone was finished as it stands, over $250,000 had been spent. Since then additions have been made to buildings and grounds which make the property worth close to $500,000, and not one dollar of debt is on it, all having been lifted by the careful management of Miss Haskell. She had the ability to interest wealthy men in the school. William H. Reid of Chicago has given immense sums of money to Monticello, in addition to building the handsome chapel as a memorial to his first wife. Miss Haskell was a woman of profound intellect and rare skill as an educator. Her pupils were taught to adorn the home rather than a career in life. Her exposition of the Bible when she would be conducting the devotional services in the school would do credit to a clergyman. Her reputation throughout the country was such that she gave Monticello a name that was really Miss Haskell's more than it was that of the school. Her death is a sad blow to Monticello, but as it was known for several years she was failing, it has given time for consideration both by Miss Haskell and the trustees as to who would receive her mantle. This matter, it is understood, has practically been decided upon, at the request of Miss Haskell, some time ago. Miss Haskell's illness began on the fortieth anniversary of the date of the extending of a call to her to take charge of Monticello Seminary.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 8, 1907

The farewell of the Monticello students to their principal, Miss Harriet N. Haskell, was a touching feature of the funeral service Tuesday afternoon at 4 o'clock. The girls assisted in the service by singing one hymn, "In Heavenly Love Abiding," the chorus of 150 voices of the students rising in unison to sing their farewell to their teacher. When the services were ended, the visitors first took a farewell look at Miss Haskell, while the girls and faculty remained in their places. Afterward, the girls said silent farewell and then formed in a double line in the corridor, leading from the chapel door to the entrance to the building. All the girls, clad in pure white, stood silently as the casket was carried between the lines. The hearse was at the main entrance to the seminary, and there the girls gathered again in double lines, and with one line on either side escorted the body of their beloved principal to the northeast gate. The march was beneath the budding trees, over a campus coming forth in spring verdure in preparation for the day which was to have been another of Miss Haskell's days of triumph, Monticello's annual commencement. The birds were singing in the trees, the doves were giving forth their plaintive notes from overhead and everything was beautiful, but the sadness of the scene was not lightened by these beauties of nature. Shortly before the Seminary gate was reached, the hearse was stopped and the marching lines of girls advanced to the gate, massing themselves there in close order while the hearse was driven through the two white silent lines. A general sob broke forth as the gate was passed and the girls marched silently and sorrowfully back to the stricken seminary. It was an impressive scene and one to be remembered long by those who saw it. It was the passing of the spirit which had created Monticello on its present high plane, but there was hope and confidence that the institution which Miss Haskell had builded was so firmly impressed with her life and spirit that it would go on and continue to grow in respect and strength for years to come.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 3, 1907

Mrs. John Leverett received word yesterday of the death, at 12:30 Sunday morning, of Mrs. S. V. White, wife of Hon. S. V. White of Brooklyn, N. Y.   Mrs. White was a sister of Mrs. Mary A. C. Hamilton, who resides with her daughter, Mrs. Leverett, in Upper Alton. Many residents of Alton and vicinity know of Mrs. White as a close friend of the late Miss H. N. Haskell, and as a generous donor to Monticello Seminary. Among her benefactions to that school are the elegant mantel in the reception room, and the superb marble statue of Undine, which is valued at $1,800.  Mr. and Mrs. White also gave a considerable part of the library, and numerous donations in money from time to time. Mrs. White was a student at Monticello in her youth, and both she and her husband have always felt the warmest interest in the Seminary. Mrs. White has been indelicate health for some months, and the news of Miss Haskell's death was a great shock to her and caused her death. Mrs. White was about 74 years young, properly speaking, as she never gave evidence of advancing age, preserving to the last the keenest interest in the many charities and good works of which she was the founder and promoter. Among these were the Home for Consumptives and the Home for the Friendless, both in her home city. The former she regarded as her especial life work, and it is surely a moment to her memory which will long endure. She was Regent of Fort Greene Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and an active member of the Society of Mayflower Descendents, and was widely known throughout the East for her ability, generosity and pure patriotism. She was a valued member of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, having been a warm personal friend of the late Henry Ward Beecher, with whose family she was closely connected by marriage. She formerly lived in Jerseyville. The funeral services will be held at Plymouth church on Tuesday afternoon.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 3, 1907

Work of tearing down the old building on the site sold to the Federal government for the post office has been started. The owners of the property must turn the property over to the post office department cleared and ready for the erection of the building. Messrs. O'Neill and Robinson, the principal grantors, undertake to clear the grounds of all the buildings. The houses on the site are nearly three-quarters of a century in age, and they are in fairly good condition now. Indeed, they might have rounded out the century mark safely but for the sale to the government. Commanding a good view of the river, they were always occupied, notwithstanding their great age, and those who have lived there in the past will envy the occupants of the post office, the magnificent view they will have when the new building is completed. Some of Alton's oldest native citizens, still prominent in business circles, were born in the place. The houses were built by Samuel Wade and William Hayden in 1833. Dr. E. Marsh, the druggist, was one of the Alton men born in one of the houses, and George D. Hayden, another old citizen, was born in one of them. The house at the extreme west end of the row is probably the oldest of all, and was erected before the other. It belonged at one time to Benjamin Godfrey, and during the course of his business ventures was encumbered by debt and relieved of debt so many times the work of making an abstract of the title was very heavy, because of the numbers of transfers.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 13, 1908

The obsolete word "female" in the legal name of Monticello Seminary has been formally and legally dropped and will be forgotten. When the institution was founded the word female was more in style than now. As Gail Hamilton once wrote and is quoted by an officer of Monticello, "don't call yourself a female, hogs and cows are known as females; call ourself a woman." The legal name of Monticello was "Monticello Female Seminary."  The middle word has been dropped in all ordinary reference to the institution, but on all legal papers it was necessary to put the legal name, which was not fancied and in fact had fallen into disapproval among the officers and faculty, who prefer the name woman to female, or lady or any other distinguishing term for the sex referred to.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1908

The contract has been awarded to a St. Louis contracting firm for the building of the handsome stone entrance to the Monticello grounds as a memorial to the late principal, Miss Harriet N. Haskell, deceased. The plans for the memorial gate and arch were drawn by Theodore C. Link of St. Louis, who planned Monticello Seminary. The gate will be a triumph of the architectural art. It is modeled somewhat after the famous Brandenburg gates at Berlin, Germany, but will have only three arches instead of five. It will be built of Hodford stone to conform with the design and material of the Monticello buildings. The stone is being quarried now, and it is expected to have the handsome gateway ready for the commencement day next June. The plan was accepted after considerable deliberation and after some changes were made in the plan originally proposed. It was desired to make the memorial arch gateway something that would be dignified and artistic, and that would be in keeping with the beauty of the grounds and the main building at Monticello. The friends of Monticello, particularly the ladies of the Alumnae association, have been working hard to get the necessary fund raised. It was desired to have as many as possible of the alumnae and friends of the institution interested in the work as a monument to the memory of Miss Haskell, whose life and work were so inseparably linked with that of the school that Monticello and her appurtenances are her real monument. It is planned to have iron gates of artistic design swung in the three arches. The top of the archway, which will be massive, will be 27 feet from the ground. It is so designed that it can be made a harmonious part of the stone wall which it is proposed to build around the extensive grounds of the Seminary, the latter to be done later by the trustees of the school as they find it feasible. The whole improvement including arches and fence will be a monument to Miss Haskell.




At Monticello Seminary last Friday evening, the young ladies attending that institution gave a very cordial greeting to Mrs. Florence Howe Hall of Boston, daughter of Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Mrs. Hall was to deliver a lecture on Good Manners. In her home when she was a girl, she met many distinguished people, as her mother was a woman of national character, and recognized as an author of great prominence. The daughter told of her personal experiences with some of the great personages of her mother's day. The lecture was a very good one and pleased many. As Mrs. Hall entered the chapel where the lecture was to be given, the students at Monticello rose to their feet and sang, as welcome to Mrs. Hall, the lines of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, composed by her mother, starting: "Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord."



MONTICELLO SEMINARY WILL HAVE NEW LIGHTING SYSTEM/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 13, 1911

Bids have been received for the wiring of Monticello Seminary so the place can be illuminated with electricity. The seminary has always been illuminated with gas, and has maintained a gas manufacturing plant on the premises. The new building, erected in 1888, was not wired for electricity, but it has been deemed advisable to make a change in the illuminating system. The call for bids included the wiring of the main building, the teachers dormitory, and the cottage occupied by the family of O. W. Maxfield.  It is estimated the improvement will cost in the neighborhood of $6,000 or $7,000. The contract has not been awarded. C. A. Caldwell, a trustee of the institution, said today that the decision had been reached to make the change from gas to electricity. It is not known whether the electric current will be supplied by the A. J. & P. system or by the Alton Gas & Electric Co. from Alton.



Source: Richfield Springs, New York Mercury, 1913/1914
A quart of corn, yellow and perfectly preserved, was found in a glass jar in the foundation of the old school building at Godfrey, Ill. Workmen who were tearing down the walls got to the cap of the jar. They worked carefully to get the jar out intact, believing It might contain money. The corn is perfect In color, is not shriveled or discolored and seems to be perfectly preserved. It is believed the germ is alive, though the corn has been in the wall 75 years to the knowledge of living men.




The seventy-fifth anniversary of the first breakfast served in Monticello Seminary was observed yesterday morning in the school, and a breakfast copying almost exactly the menu of the original breakfast was served. An interesting feature of the diamond jubilee of the first breakfast was that Miss Elinor Hewitt, president of the senior class, was a granddaughter of one of the girls, Elizabeth Olney, who sat down at the first breakfast in 1838. The menu was boiled eggs, pancakes, coffee, bread and butter, to which the 1913 girls added fruit and cereals to give a modern day flavor. The story told is that 75 years ago, April 11, when the school was opened, the housekeeper was ill and the cook incapacitated. Rev. Dr. Theron Baldwin was the head of the institution. Mrs. Baldwin cooked the breakfast, the teachers served it, and Dr. Baldwin and the girls ate it. Fifteen years ago Miss Harriet N. Haskell had the breakfast copied on the anniversary, and she and the seniors served it. This time the seniors served the breakfast, 28 of them, and they did it well, serving with all the exactness of maids who had long experience. It was intended to open Monticello in October, 1837, the same day Mt. Holyoke was opened, but this plan failed because the building was incomplete. The opening was therefore delayed until April 11, and while the seventy-fifth anniversary of the school will be celebrated in June at the annual commencement when the Principal of Mt. Holyoke will be here to participate, the real anniversary of the school opening was yesterday. It may be interesting to know that Monticello gained her name indirectly from the home of Thomas Jefferson. Capt. Webb called the prairie around Godfrey "Monticello Prairie," and when Captain Godfrey refused to permit his name to be used in the naming of the school he had founded, it became known as Monticello, and the name has remained.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 6, 1914

A telegram came today to Miss Katherine Armstrong of Alton, that her old friend, Miss Emily Alden had died at the home of her sister-in-law, Mrs. H. A. Alden, in Boston, Mass. The news of Miss Alden's death was no surprise, as it was known she had been very ill since the first of the year, and as she had passed 80 years of age, there was little hope that she would survive the illness. The message said that the funeral would be Tuesday. Miss Alden was connected with Monticello Seminary forty years, during the entire period that Miss Haskell had charge of the institution. She came with Miss Haskell and as was stated one commencement, the two women had a common home and a common purse for fifty years of their life. Miss Alden did not stay at Monticello long after her beloved companion died. Seven years ago she left the institution, broken down with grief over the death of Miss Haskell. She went to Boston to live with her sister-in-law. Ever since she came to Monticello she had been making it her practice to contribute to the school the annual commencement poem. Next Tuesday will be commencement day at Monticello, the day when, had her health and life been spared, she would have made her annual offering to the success of the commencement in the form of her commencement poem. The death of the former assistant principal of Monticello will sadden the commencement season for many of the older students who will be back to attend reunions and who had known and loved Miss Alden.


[Emily Gillmore Alden is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Rhode Island.]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 11, 1916

At two o'clock this afternoon the ceremony incident to the laying of the cornerstone for the new Fobes Annex to Monticello Seminary took place, and was attended by the largest crowd of friends ever assembled at the Seminary....The new addition to the Seminary will be completed by the commencement of the new school year in the fall, and will be a handsome addition to the already spacious and well equipped Seminary. The new addition will be known as the Fobes Annex, it being named for the first principal of Monticello, Miss Philena Fobes, who was head of the institution from 1838 to 1865. The annex is being built at a cost of $60,000, the greater part of the amount being raised by former graduates and students of the school. The remainder of the amount will be furnished by the Board of Trustees. Among the guests present today was Mrs. Virginia Harhert of Jerseyville, a former Fobes girl, and the oldest living graduate of the school. A number of other Fobes girls were also present. Two portraits, that of Miss Marilla Colman Bacon, acting principal of Monticello from 1865 to '67, and one of Miss Catherine Burroughs, an instructor in the seminary from 1907 to 1910, were presented by Miss Emma Matteson of the class of 1907, and were placed in the box. The exercises were held out of doors, and the weather man blessed the event with plenty of warmth and sunshine. The parade from the building to the scene of the cornerstone laying presented a beautiful scene. The parade included eighteen of the Fobes girls, two of them being from Alton, Mrs. T. M. Long and Mrs. A. K. Root, who were students at Monticello during the Fobes principalship. The parade was led by Miss Mary Caldwell of Alton, a student of Monticello, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Caldwell. Miss Caldwell carried the Monticello banner and the Fobes banner was carried by Miss Dorothy Dahlman of the class of '17. The box to be buried in the cornerstone, and which was to hold the treasure to be placed therein, was carried by Miss Elizabeth Walker, president of the class of 1916. When the box had been placed, the articles were placed within it, one by one. The first article to go in was the hold Bible carried and given by Miss Katherine Scarborough, president of the class of '17, and one of five sisters, all of whom have attended Monticello. The second article to go into the box was a portrait of Miss Philena Fobes, the founder of Monticello Seminary; also a portrait of Theron Baldwin, placed by Miss Gertrude Pearson, a great-granddaughter of Benjamin Godfrey. The third article placed in the box was a portrait of Miss Thilema Fobes, given by Miss Harriet Beecher Wall, daughter of Mary Case, who was a member of the class of '90 and '91. The fourth article to be placed in the box was a portrait of Miss Harriet Newell Haskell, principal of Monticello Seminary from 1867 to 1907. The portrait was given by Miss Catherine Haskell, great-niece of Miss Haskell. The fifth article for the box was a portrait of Miss Martina Erickson, present principal of Monticello. The picture was presented by Miss Norma Lee of the class of '17. A portrait of the members of the present board of trustees was presented to be sealed in the box by Miss Elizabeth Wade Duncan, a daughter of Mrs. Hallie Wade Duncan, a member of the class of 1889. Miss Duncan is also a granddaughter of Edward P. Wade, and a granddaughter of Mary E. Allen Wade, a member of the class of 1857. Ruth Campbell gave copies of the Echo, she being the editor of the Echo this year. With this printed matter also went names of the subscribers to the equipment fund, a list of the students and the faculty of 1915 and 1916, and newspaper clippings containing notices of happenings at Monticello the past two years. The latter were presented by Pauline Westall of the class of 1917. The padlock and key to the box and the trowel for sealing it forever in the great cornerstone, were presented by Miss Ruth Hinkle, of the class of '16. The chain and the padlock were gifts of the members of this year's class. After the sealing of the box in the cornerstone, Reverend E. L. Gibson said a prayer and the open air ceremonies were ended. The indoor program included addresses by E. P. Wade, the oldest of the board of trustees; Margaret Molloney Bangs of Chicago, class of '78; Julia H. Gulliver, president of Rockford College, Rockford, Ill.; and Nathaniel Butler of Chicago. The benediction was given by Rev. E. L. Gibson of Alton.



ERICKSON, MARTINA C./Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1917           Monticello Principal To Become Bride

The resignation of Miss Martina C. Erickson as principal of Monticello Seminary has been tendered to the board of trustees, and with it has come the information that Miss Erickson is to be married in the fall to Dr. William Wood Parsons, president of the Indiana State Normal at Terre Haute, Ind.  The resignation will be effective as soon as the board of trustees can fill the principalship. The announcement of the engagement of Miss Erickson reached Alton through a copy of a Terre Haute newspaper. The engagement was of unusual interest at Terre Haute, because before she came to Alton, Miss Erickson was dean of the College of Women at the Indiana Normal, of which Dr. Parsons is the head. Miss Erickson was chosen principal of Monticello Seminary seven years ago. The seven years has been rich in progress for Monticello Seminary. She brought to the school advanced ideas which has undoubtedly been very good for the school, and since her coming the institution has prospered greatly. It has increased its accommodations too, due to her indefatigable effort and the great loyalty shown the school by the alumnae. The handsome addition to the seminary was partly due to Miss Erickson. Monticello is a greatly changed institution since her coming, and she has had the cordial sympathy of the trustees and the alumnae, and also has had the satisfaction of seeing her efforts rewarded by increased demand for the privileges of the school. There is no definite time set for the termination of Miss Erickson's work at Monticello. The trustees may have much difficulty in finding the proper person to take her place. However, as one friend of the school said, "They found Miss Erickson, and they will try to get someone who will be worthy to succeed her." Miss Erickson is leaving a name in Monticello that will long be cherished in the memories of the friends and alumnae of the institution.



ARMSTRONG, KATHERINE HASKELL                  Well Known Alton Woman Dies Who Was Connected with Monticello Seminary As Instructor

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 27, 1918
Miss Katherine Haskell Armstrong, for many years an instructor at Monticello Seminary, and for a few years one of the acting principals of the school following the death of Miss Harriet Newell Haskell, died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Alton at 4:45 o'clock Tuesday morning after a long illness. She had been growing weaker steadily and her death was no surprise to those who were attending her. Miss Armstrong was born and reared in Alton, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Armstrong. She was born in 1850 and was 68 years of age. She graduated from Monticello Seminary in the year 1871, and was valedictorian of her class. She was employed as an instructor at Monticello Seminary the year following her graduation, and for many years she continued at that institution until advancing years forced her to relinquish the work and go into retirement. The death of her good friend, Miss Harriet Newell Haskell, probably determined her severing connection with the school at the time she did. She had been one of two acting principals who bridged over the period from the death of Miss Haskell to the coming of a new principal. She had served as secretary of the Board of Trustees and had also made a trip abroad with Miss Haskell, for a period of six months. Seven years ago she came to Alton and made her home with her niece, Mrs. O. G. Norris. Since coming back to her old home, Alton, she had taken a very active interest in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in which she held membership, also in the Browning Club, the Woman's Council and especially in the work of the Red Cross. Miss Armstrong was a woman of simple dignity, and possessed a high character and a sweet disposition which made her greatly admired by all who knew her. Her illness began seven months ago and for a time it was believed that the end would come quickly soon after she was taken down. She was moved to St. Joseph's Hospital where she could receive the benefit of professional nursing and there she remained until the end. Miss Armstrong leaves the following nieces and nephews: Mrs. George S. Haskell of Chicago; Mrs. O. G. Norris; Fred D. Johnson; Thomas A. Johnson; Mrs. Bern Degenhardt; Herbert Armstrong; Miss May Armstrong; and William D. and Paul Armstrong of Alton. The body of Miss Armstrong will be taken from the hospital to the home of her niece, Mrs. Norris, 603 Henry street. The funeral will be from St. Paul's Episcopal Church and will be conducted by the rector, Rev. Frederick D. Butler, assisted by Rev. H. M. Chittenden, an old friend of Miss Armstrong.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 18, 1918

That Monticello Seminary had submitted voluntarily to a quarantine on account of influenza was made known today. The school has forty cases of influenza, not one of which is serious, and most of them are convalescent. It was said today the reason for the quarantine being asked was so the school could regulate its visitors. The fact that influenza was there caused some parents to go to the school and there is no room for them. A corps of nurses was secured, and the students who are ill isolated and given every care.


[The 1918 influenza pandemic infected 500 million people worldwide, and killed an estimated 20 to 50 million. Approximately 675,000 American died during the pandemic. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain or prevent its spread. In the U.S., citizens were ordered to wear masks, and schools, theaters and other public places were shuttered. Researchers later discovered what made the 1918 pandemic so deadly: In many victims, the influenza virus had invaded their lungs and caused pneumonia.]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 7, 1919

Homer C. Godfrey, a son of Capt. Benjamin Godfrey, founder of Monticello Seminary, and a veteran of the Civil War, today petitioned the county court of Madison county to restore him to reason legally, and to his property. He was declared insane by the County Court in 1871, for for many years has been in the soldiers' home at Quincy. He is 80 years old. When Godfrey was declared insane in 1871, he was sent to the institution at Jacksonville, and his mother, Lodemia C. Godfrey, was declared conservator of his estate. Six years later Godfrey was transferred to the Anna, Ill., institution for the insane, and later entered the soldiers' home in Quincy. In 1916 Godfrey's mother died and his brother-in-law, Charles E. Turner of Godfrey was appointed conservator of his estate. The last report of the aged man's estate showed a cash balance of $2637. The estate includes 22 acres of farmland in Godfrey township, which valued at $50 an acre would place the total value of the estate at $3737. Godfrey is also paid a monthly pension of $12, which goes to the conservator of his estate. After 48 years as a state ward, the aged man today again entered the same court which declared him insane and asked that he be legally declared sane, and restored to his property. He is described as a splendid looking, well preserved man. He is represented by the law firm of Williamson, Warnock and Burroughs of Edwardsville. His petition is being heard by Judge Hillskotter before a jury of six men and two doctors, Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Wahl of Edwardsville. Charles Turner, the conservator for Godfrey's estate, is represented by Judge Early. Godfrey was placed on the stand this morning and testified clearly as to his banking connections in Quincy. He has been doing odd jobs while at Soldiers' Home and has made some extra money. In 1871, when he was declared insane, he was in love with a girl, Godfrey testified. "And I was 'red hot' for her," he declared. "But I have cooled down, somewhat." He was asked if he is still "red hot" for the girls. "I'm 'red hot' for them all the time," he replied. "I'm 'red hot' for all of them, all of the time, whether they are young or old."



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 17, 1919

Homer C. Godfrey, son of the founder of Monticello Seminary and a veteran of the Civil War, who was recently adjudged sane by a jury in the county court after more than 40 years as a state ward, today petitioned the Probate court at Edwardsville to order Charles Turner, conservator of his estate, to transfer all real estate and personal property of the estate to the owners. The estate consists of 2,300 in cash and 22 acres of farm land at Godfrey township. Godfrey also receives a monthly pension. He is 80 years old.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 19, 1919

Homer C. Godfrey, 80 years old, recently adjudged sane by a jury in the County Court, was today restored to his rights of citizenship and property by a jury in the Probate Court at Edwardsville. Godfrey, who is 80 years old, and a son of the founder of Monticello Seminary, appeared in court, and notwithstanding his age and more than 40 years' confinement to state institutions, was a picture of health. He will now come into his estate, valued at $3,000, and a monthly pension of $30, allowed him because of service in the Civil War. He declared he had not yet decided whether he will make his home in Edwardsville or Alton.


[NOTE:  Godfrey died in 1920 at the Soldiers' Home in Quincy, IL and was buried in Godfrey, IL. He had never married.  A suit was filed in April 1920 by the heirs of Godfrey, asking for a division of 24 acres of land in Godfrey township.  The complainants were Cora E. Turner, Charles E. Turner and Augusta L. Strong. The defendants were Augustine Godfrey, George Godfrey, Fred Godfrey, Margaret Morse, Katherine Carter, and James R. Godfrey.  In June 1920, there was a public sale of 20-acre tract of land, in closing the estate of Homer Godfrey. The land was located on the west side of the road, and adjoining on the north the home of Mrs. Charles Turner, and on the south the William Jackson property. William P. Boynton bought the property at the auction with a bid of $133 acre.  (See his obituary)




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 24, 1921

A house that has an authenticated history of eighty years and still is in good condition is undergoing improvements and an addition in its old age. The house is the one occupied by the Maxfield family at Monticello Seminary for many years and known as "the cottage," to distinguish it from the main building. The need for more room to house girls at the seminary made it seem desirable to enlarge "the cottage," and O. G. Stelle is working on the job. It is said that the building was erected very strong. It has in it oak timbers throughout, and oak lathes. The timbers are mortised together with pins to hold them. The house has no appearance of great age beyond the style of architecture. It is a very attractive appearing building and it will probably last for many year to come. The Maxfield family, who occupied the place, left there after Mr. Maxfield gave up the position he had held so many years at the seminary and they are now living in Alton. Last year some girls were kept in the cottage, and the coming year more may be kept there, because of the great demand for quarters in the seminary from girls desiring to attend the institution. There are few houses in this part of the country having such a great age as this building now undergoing repairs, and at the same time presenting such a well kept appearance. The reason is that repairs have always been kept up on the building which, though of wooden construction, has all the appearance of being a comparatively modern building. The house was built at the time Monticello Seminary was erected by Benjamin Godfrey in 1836, and it has outlived the original seminary stone building and has gone a long distance with the new building. It was said today that so far as knowledge of anyone living goes, the house has stood for all these years just as it was originally built.



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