Putnam Senachwine Township High School "Braves"

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Putnam Senachwine School
putnamsanachwinehsmons.jpg
Photo by Richard Soseman 2006

Putnam Senachwine School Building 2016
putnamsenachwineschool2016dav.jpg
submitted by Bill Alber

The History of Putnam Senachwine Township High School
 
Putnam (population: 100) is located in western Putnam County in north central Illlinois about 40 miles north of Peoria and 15 miles south of Princeton on Illinois Route 29. The village is about five blocks long and two blocks wide.

The community was first known as Senachwine, which was the name of a Pottawatomi Indian chief who lived and hunted in that area, and was buried about a mile away from the present site in 1831. The community was first laid out in 1835 by B.M. Hayes, but nothing came of it and took a second effort by land owners Peter Barnhart and Cortland Condit to get the village going along the banks of the Illinois River, south of where the river bends near Hennepin.  

The name Putnam came from Israel Putnam [1718-1790], a career military man who served in the French & Indian War, Pontiac's War, and was a major general for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The name of the railroad station that served the community for the Peoria and Bureau Valley RR was changed from Senachwine to Putnam in 1883. At that time, this was the only railroad stop in the county and the population was somewhere around 800 people. 

The history of education in Putnam is in need of research. It is believed that the people of Senachwine Township started schooling their children somewhere in the late 1800’s and continued doing so in grades 1-12 until after World War II when talks began with neighboring Henry Township in Marshall County in 1946 while 27 students were enrolled at Senachwine Township HS. The state of Illinois was encouraging consolidation of schools that were the size of Senachwine because they would not give them state funding unless they had at least 40 students enrolled or had so much in assessed farmland values. As a result, both school boards worked together and got voter approval to merge in March 1947, with all high school students going to the new Henry-Senachwine Consolidated High School beginning in the fall of 1947. Today, Senachwine High School alums and faculty can find out more about the current news and history about their old school at the following site:

http://www.henrysenachwine.org/hshs/

Senachwine was featured in a 1920 Illinois schools journal. The following facts about the school were furnished:
 
No. of districts consolidated:          4
Square miles:                               24
Assessed valuation:                      $438,398
Cost of house:                              $14,000
Annual tax levy:                            $6,320
Tax rate:                                      1.45
Annual tax levy before:                  $1,960
Teachers now:                              5
Teachers before:                           4
Enrollment now:                           92
Enrollment before:                        54
Enrollment in grade school:           60
Enrollment in high school:             26
No. studying agriculture:               4
No. studying manual training:        8
Aid from vocational fund:               No
Public conveyance:                      No
Years of high school course:         4
Months in year:                            9
 

FACTS ABOUT PUTNAM SENACHWINE TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL

Year opened:  late 1800’s

Year closed:  1947

Enrollment in last year: 27

School colors:  unknown

School nickname: "Braves"

School school:  unknown 

ATHLETICS

It is known that Senachwine did play basketball and was a charter member of the Tri-County Conference with Henry, Lostant, Tonica, Granville Hopkins, McNabb Swaney, Magnolia, and Varna in 1927. More information about each of these schools can be found on their individual pages. It is possible that baseball may also have been offered, so we would like to hear more from individuals that either graduated from the school or have knowledge about what activities were offered at Senachwine.  

The school never won or even played for a Tri-County Conference title, and the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org) shows that the school came away without a trophy or plaque in state tournament action. 

SPECIAL THANKS

…go out to Jean Mitchell at the Henry Public Library for her assistance in finding information pertinent to this page, and to Nancy Piper at Piper’s Pages (http://www.piperspages.com/Putnam/) for items that pertain to the history of Putnam and Senachwine. 

WE’RE LOOKING FOR MORE

…information about Senachwine Township High School. If you have more facts and even photos about the school, we will gladly accept them by email at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. or by sending them to us at the following address. 

ILLINOIS HS GLORY DAYS

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL 60631

Putnam Senachwine High School Building 2016
putnamsenachwineschool20162dav.jpg
Submitted by Bill Alber