Dr. Silas Hamilton, George Washington, His Freed Slave, and the First Free School in Illinois

Come join us and listen to Beth McGlasson tell the remarkable story of, “Dr. Silas Hamilton, His Freed Slave, George Washington, and the First Free School in Illinois,” Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m., at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois.

Dr. Hamilton and his slave, George Washington, whom he freed, founded the Hamilton Primary School, in Otterville in 1835. This school was Illinois’ first free school and the country’s first integrated school. The two men created a trust to fund a school “…that it shall be open to all classes of people and denominations of Christians.”

Beth McGlasson will tell us how this extraordinary event occurred in rural Jersey County, thirty years before the end of the Civil War and slavery and 120 years before Brown v. Board of Education, the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ended segregation in public schools.

Beth is a local historian and Vice President of the Jersey County Historical Society. She and her husband, Dennis, have spent nearly a decade researching and documenting local cemeteries. She also co-wrote Lunch Pails & Pigtails: Jersey County’s One-room Schools and the Students Who Attended Them.

Beth’s presentation will be the second of this year’s Hosmer-Williams Lectures sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and underwritten by Liberty Bank.

The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. Parking is available. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.