Chambersburg is located on Il. Rt. 104 in western Illinois in the northeast portion of Pike County (approximately 25 miles northwest of Jacksonville). The exact population is not available on the Illinois Census web site. A guess by looking at a map of the town would be between 100 and 150 residents. More information is being sought regarding this small community and its school system.
What is known is that Chambersburg and nearby Meridosia became involved in a consolidation effort in the early 1950s. According to the website address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/pike/school1947.html Meredosia and Chambersburg high schools consolidated in the summer of 1952. The new school was called Meredosia-Chambersburg High School and is still going strong today.
The school building for Chambersburg High School still stands quietly in town. It is remembered by alumnus Shirley Stuller Martin that indeed the building is as small as it looks above. The building housed all 12 grades for the Chambersburg school system. The biggest class during her school days there was no more than 4 – 6 kids. “But what a wonderful place it was” Shirley added. Shirley’s brother, Robert Stuller, attended Chambersburg for his sophomore and junior years before opting to join the Marine Corps. He adds that the gymnasium and cafeteria sat to the rear of the building pictured above. That portion of the building did, in fact, burn down “some years back”.
Some excellent history of Chambersburg High School was submitted to the Glory Days site by Doug Bradley. It offers an excellent account of the “School Daze” in Chambersburg, Illinois:
From a publication called The High School Booster (vol. 1, no. 2), published on February 2, 1917.
“Schooldays in Chambersburg Sixty-five Years Ago as Compared to the Present,” by Edward Irving
In the fall of 1852 I commenced my school career, and oh, how different are the advantages and modes of teaching in the present time as compared to my boyhood days. My first days in school were spent in a rough log-house, the logs of which were placed in the building in their rough state, just as they grew in the forest. The building was covered with rough boards, which had been split out in the woods. There were but two small windows and one door in this school. It was heated by a large fire place in one end of the structure.
The seats which we had were long benches, place around the room. There was neither back nor desk to these benches and I became so tired the first afternoon that I attempted to run from school. For that offense I was given a flogging. All this occurred in the woods, east of town wear (sic) the present site of Mr. Sargent’s home.
The next school that I went to was set in an old house just north of the Methodist parsonage. I attended there two terms. In the house now occupied by Ben Robbins, a school for the higher grades was held at the same time. Soon after this our parents furnished a room in the second story of Mrs. Thompson’s home, which served for both school and church.
It was there that I saw my first blackboard. As I remember, it was about three feet wide and four feet long. It was a source of wonder to me. However not all of us sere allowed to enjoy this luxury, and some us were forced to attend school in the house now occupied by Irving Pool, which at that time stood on the ground now occupied by Charles Smith’s residence.
The country was new then and I resume our parents did the best they could for us under the circumstances. About 1857 they built a three room house on the land which still retained for the school grounds. We had blackboards in two of the rooms. I left school in ’62 and up to that time we all used slates instead of paper for our written work. There were no charts or maps used in my school days. I thought the teachers whipped hard and often but when I look back, we boys were as wild as the country, and had to be tamed.
We did not go to school eight months in the year as is the custom now. All of us who were able to work had to work in the early spring and fall to help with the crops. Three to four months schooling a year was all that many of us could obtain. So it is not surpristing that the children of fourteen and fifteen years of age are as advanced in their studies today, as were the scholars, twenty-one years old, fifty and sixty years ago.
“The Laboratory,” author unknown
The laboratory is one of the many practical sides of a high school education. Here the theories and principles gained from books and through discussion are put into practise (sic) and made applicable to everyday life.
Many additions have been made to the laboratory this year. The Babcock teser and soil auger were purchased last fall. The new aquarium was installed only a short time ago. Also the stock of chemicals has been enlarged and replenished.
The Agriculture class has two laboratory periods a week, one on Monday aone on Friday. Two field experiments were made last fall. One was a test of the soil and the second the computing of the average of a given plat of corn.
Experiments have been made with the germination and early growth of the corn, as the ear of corn itself.
Anyone who wishes to have milk tested may do so by bringing samples to the school and m embers of the class will test it with the Babcock tester. They have also been planning and studying the home garden. Probably in the spring some of the gardens in Chambersburg will be of a different nature then heretofore.
The Zoology class has eighty minutes, each Tuesday and Thursday which is devoted to laboratory work. In the fall they studied the earthworm. They have collected and prepared specimens of many kinds of the smaller animals and insects. Additions have been made from time to time to the aquarium.
Laboratory work brings the pupils close to nature herself. The pupils become familiar with the common plants and animals. They are taught to be close observers. The laboratory prepares the pupils to get the most out of life and to enjoy the things of the outside world.What a GREAT history the town of Chambersburg and its high school enjoyed!!
The great building is still there, looking a little wore out, but filled with the echoes and cheers of a great school in Illinois’ history.
Chambersburg High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year Gym Built: 1936
Year closed: 1952
Consolidated to: Meredosia-Chambersburg High School
School nickname: the “Red Raiders”
School colors: Red & Black
School Fight Song: unavailable
Chambersburg High School “Gym”
Very little information is available on the IHSA web site regarding Chambersburg High and its athletic program. The only IHSA hardware won by a CHS team was in Boy’s Basketball. However as you can read in the information below, we do know that Chambersburg High competed in baseball, track, and even volleyball.
Robert Stuller advises that, in spite of the small class sizes and small number of boys for all four grades combined, Chambersburg did compete in baseball. During the early 1950s the school’s principal, Eldon Atwood, doubled as the basketball coach.
Jon Pool, 8th Grade Chambersburg Class of 1960, had these memories to share about his time at Chambursburg and his father, basketball all-star Robert Pool (see below):
“I am from Chambersburg and graduated in the last class that went all the way through GRADE school there. Graduating from the 8th grade in 1960. My father, mentioned in the article you have on basketball, was the only one from the school, then and now, to go on to play Professional basketball. He was Robert Pool. He played for the Ayers Oilers (I think that is the team he mentioned) out of MO. He also farmed at the time with his father Edward. My father would have not made the money or the fame of the players of today, but back then they did it for expenses and the love of the game. Dad played for about 18 years. When I was in grade school and playing basketball for the same school, Dad would come to the school every day and play with us kids at practice. Doc never went on to play and became custodian of the school and was always there. I remember Dad and Doc Hobbs taking on the whole of our team. Dad, being a center and taller would be the only defensive player and Doc would be offensive as he was much shorter. Dad would always get the rebound and throw the ball the length of the court to Doc who would score the points for “their team”. We never did win!!! I do have the photo of the winning HS team they played on and the trophies of their victories. Treasures I will always cherish.”
If you have any other information you would like to share about Chambersburg High School and its athletic prowess please complete a School Submission Form or Guest Commentary Form or e-mail us at the address provided below. The successes of the boy’s basketball team are listed below.
With class sizes of no more than 6 kids, how the heck did the Chambersburg boys pull off a Regional win!!! Well, they did it during the 1948-49 season with an enrollment of most likely no more than 25 kids in the entire high school. Think about it, one of the top 64 teams in the State!!! Check out the truly remarkable story below regarding the CHS team of 1927-28!! Great job Chambersburg High!
Chambersburg High competed in the P.M.B.C. (Pike, Morgan, Brown and Cass) Conference. Several scores involving Chambersburg High School in the IHSA State Tournament were located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores”. These scores are printed below.
“Basket Ball,” author unknown – early article regarding Chambersburg HS “Basket Ball” submitted by Doug Bradley:
Chambersburg has played three games of basket ball since the last issue of this little paper. Nevertheless, although having met with many defeats she is still up and coming.
The first game was with Milton, December 23, Milton outclassed us in playing ability and size and the Red and Black went down to defeat 60-12.
The second game was between the high school and town teams. The final score was 32-16 in favor of the town boys. It was an enthusiastic game throughout.
The third and last game was with Chapin, January 26. The game was very slow and rough on both sides, two Chapin men and one local boy being eliminated. Fouls were frequent and although the referee called as many as possible he was unable to get all on both sides. The final tally was 37-19 in favor of Chapin. The local lads were unable to stand the rough onslaught of the Chapin team. The next game will be Feb. 3, with Kinderhook. The game will be played in the gymnasium at Bluffs.
From Doug Bradley:
1914-1915 Chambersburg HS
The Chambersburg HS team played and lost a game to Perry High School by a score of 53-0. The game was played in Mel Browning’s barn pictured above.
1927-28 36 – 2 Postseason scores needed Coach Fred Nations
Regarding the 1927-28 team photo below,Doc Hobbs is in the middle holding the ball and Robert Pool is to his right.
The following is an article from the Democrat-Message of Mt. Sterling, Illinois dated November 25, 1942 regarding the Chambersburg team of 1927-28:
“To those who are not so well acquainted in these parts, that item might not mean too much. But to those who can go back into the basketball realm for several years it recalls vivid memories—Memories of a team that might be called a wonder team, and prehaps (sic) one of the best ever to play a game of basketball on the local gymnasium floor.
The year was 1928, and this Chambersburg team which gained fame over a wide territory, was coached by County Superintendent of Schools Fred Nations, then superintendent of the Chambersburg school.
The regulars for the team that year were Doc Hobbs, Robert Pool, Ralph Downey, Roy Browning and Ivan Ingram. Their practice sessions were held in an old church, which had nothing but a dirt floor, a fact which was hard to believe by fans who saw them play that year.
Pool was the center on the team, Hobbs and Browning forwards, and Downey and Ingram guards. Their amazing passing ability and floor work was the factor in many of their wins, but the almost unbelievable sharpshooting (sic) of Doc Hobbs from the center of the floor was more often than not responsible for their surprising string of victories.
This team played thirty-six straight games during the 1927-28 season before losing one. And the cocmpetition they met was as strong as could be found in any section of the state. Canton, Ill., won the state tournament that year, under the guidance of the famed Mark Peterman, and the trouble they had in beating the Chambersburg team is a matter of history.
This was in the time of the glorious invitational tournaments held in Mt. Sterling each year about Christmas time. The tournament started two years prior to the appearance of this Chambersburg team, and was won by Canton, Missouri, team, both years. Trophies given in those times were quite pretentious, one being given to any team that could win the Mt. Sterling Invitational three years in a row. So that year the Canton cage squad came a gunning for the permanent possession of that trophy.
But, lo, they hadn’t heard of this Chambersburg team, but they did before the tournament was finished. These two teams met in the finals and the uncanny shooting of Doc Hobbs from the center of the floor had the Canton team giving up before the game was finished.
In those days, the gymnasium was packed to the rafters and it might be safe to say that the crowd was pulling for the team from the small Pike county village to give Canton (MO) a sound trimming. They did by a score of 37-20. Doc Hobbs himself garnering 19 of his teams 37 points. He made nine field goals that night and if memory serves correct al were from the center or farther back from the floor. Fans speculating n his eye for the basket claimed he could sink nine out of every ten he shot, which is’nt (sic) too unbelievable.
After winning the Mt. Sterling classic, the Chambersburg five was invited over to Canton, Missouri at the invitation of Culver-Stockton college to play in what was called the Tri-State tournament. It was comprised of the best teams in western Illinois, northwestern Missouri and southwestern Iowa. After beating a couple of smaller schools, Chambersburg won their way into the finals by beating Ft. Madison, Ia., by a score of 35 to 11. They won the championship by defeating Atlanta, Mo., 46-20.”
Chambersburg High Schol Basketball 1927-28
1933-34 Pittsfield District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to Barry 35-22
Barry lost to Pittsfield in semi-final
Pittsfield beat Kinderhook in title game
1934-35 Pittsfield District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to New Canton 33-22
New Canton lost to Pleasant hill in 2nd Rd
Pleasant Hill lost in semi-final
1935-36Browning District Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Huntsville 42-16
Semi-final Beat Browning 59-19
Title Game lost to Chandlerville
1936-37 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1937-38 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1938-39 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1939-40 P.M.B.C. Conference Champions
Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
School’s new gymnasium opened this year.
Varsity played alumni of 1927-28 and lost 32-24.
1940-41 28 – 8 IHSA District Champions Coach Raymond Walker
1st Rd Beat Chapin 42-32
Semi-final Beat Arenzville 31-25
Title Game Beat Murrayville 32-30
IHSA Regional Qualifier
1st Rd lost to Virginia 28-26
PMBC Conf. Champs Reg. Season
10 – 0 in Conference Play
Fresh/Soph Team Went 23 – 4
Fresh/Soph Team Won PMBC Conf. Title
19 of 20 boys in HS played basketball!
Chambersburg HS Varsity 1940-41
Submitted by Donald Poole
Team Members from 1940-41 Team Photo Above
Chambersburg HS Basketball Schedule 1940-41
Submitted by Donald Poole (Left click on photo for larger view.)
1942-43 24 – 6 IHSA DIstrict Champions Coach Dean “Doc” Hobbs
PMBC Conference Champions
District Scores Needed
IHSA Regional Qualifier
Regional Scores Needed
*Coach Hobbs was a star player on the teams of the late 1920s at Chambersburg High School. He was the custodian this particular year and was the only male employee at the school.
**Chambersburg beat Versailles 107 – 13 in the first game of the season. Jack Pool scored 43 points in this game, Roger Irving scored 32.
1943-44 15 – 5 Postseason scores needed Coach Joe Pursifull
Season record is incomplete.
1944-45 Meredosia District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Murrayville 50-33
Murrayville lost to Bluffs in semi-final
Bluffs beat Meredosia in title game
1945-46 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
CHAMBERSBURG (40): Jackson 22, R. Ham 7, Gordley 5, H. Ham 3, Poole 3.
**Red Raiders had thirteen boys enrolled at school in 1949 and made it to the sectional before losing to Pittsfield High School. That game was played with leading scorer Eddie Jackson hobbled with an injury.
Read 1948-49 Season Summary for Chambersburg H.S. Below
Here is some more information from Doug Bradley’s submission copied from the 1949 Chambersburg High School yearbook::
Our first game was not to (sic) hard as we had beaten Chapin twice before and played good ball to win 59-38.
On Thursday it sleeted and the games were postponed until the next night. The game against Routt was probably our hardest game as we started off by being very cold and by letting them get a ten point (sic) margin. We fought back and finally tied it up as the game ended. In the overtime we won the game 44-38.
We played I.S.D. in the finals and had a hard ball game, but won 41-38 to win the tourney.
The first place trophy was beautiful, but what surprised everyone was that we won the sportsmanship trophy also. We think that both trophies are very nice and hope to win many more. Coach Atwood had the names of the boys that went to the tourney put on the trophy.
Chambersburg went to the Virginia Tourney with a very good record, but there were some very good teams in the tourney and wee were rated second, with Athens first.
Our first game was fairly easy as everyone was hitting and consistently (sic) and our opponent was a fair Astoria team.
When we played Chandlerville we were not hitting as regularly as we were against Astoria. We started with about two minutes to go and won 50-44.
In the finals we played a very good Virgina team and the game was hard fought and close, being tied with about one minute to go when we hit two quick baskets to win 44-40.
The trophy was very nice and we appreciate it very much. We were all very happy to have won.
In the District Tournament at Arenzville we were rated first and drew a bye. The first game we played Meredosia in a hard game and finally beat them 59-43. In the finals we played Arenzville and won 53-50. This is the tenth time we have played them in the past three years and is the second time we have beaten them.
This is the fourth first-place trophy. We also have a sportsmanship trophy from the P.M.B.C.
Article written by Jessie Ham for the Meredosia Budget in March of 1983. “Chambersburg High School Basketball Team and Cheerleaders of 1948-49.”
After watching the Meredosia-Chambersburg Junior High and High School basketball games this past season, my thoughts sorta got to reminiscing way back to the year of the 1948-49 season.
Way back then Chambersburg High School had an enrollment of about 25 students and three teachers and a beautiful gymnasium and a nice school building. Thirteen boys compiled the two teams. Back then we called them the first and second teams. Those kids worked hard playing ball, and I can recall one of them saying “Well only five fellows can play at one time anyway.” That year they won 27 games and lost only five. Their victories included the Virginia Tournament, P.M.B.C. Tournament, the P.M.B.C. Conference, the District Tournament, also the Regional Tournament, where they downed Virginia, Waverly, and Jacksonville and then they lost to Pittsfield in the Sectional. This was long before schools were divided into Class A and Class AA and so they were only two games away from a trip to Champaign, Ill.
Also how well I remember the Burg won over all three Jacksonville High Schools including I.S.D. (Illinois School for the Deaf) and Routt (Catholic High School).
In this picture (below) are some of the men who now are regular M-C Indians basketball fans and are fathers of students who have graduated and were ball players and some have sons who are basketball players now. Three fellows in the picture have sons who were members of the undefeated junior varsity football and basketball team of this season.
How wonderful to see some of these men at the ball games now, applauding and cheering for the team as they have sons on the team. Of all the fellows in the picture, five still live at Chambersburg, three in Meredosia, two in Jacksonville, one in Quincy, two in Missouri, one in Michigan, and Mr. Atwood lives in Pittsfield.
Our cheerleaders that year wore pretty red dresses trimmed in white.
We had no athletic club but at every ball game the parents brought pies and in the school kitchen hot dog sandwiches and sometimes soup, along with pie and coffee and soda pop were sold with all proceeds going to help with expenses of the basketball team. Can you imagine 300 to 400 folks at a ball game in the little old Burg. Well they did.
I will always remember one father who never missed a game at home or away and they lived on a farm who never missed a game at home or away and they lived on a farm and just having time to milk his cow once a day. He said, “Why it is a poor cow who cannot hold two milkings.” Well that’s the way it was here at the Burg some 35 years ago.
Things change over the years but some don’t, as in the last week of February this year, some of the folks in these pictures stood in line at the Meredosia-Chambersburg High School gym waiting for the doors to open and to get a seat when about 1000 folks came to the ball game to watch our team play Pittsfield, which goes to show this community still loves basketball.
Thanks to Duane Pool for the tournaments listed and to him and Louise Gordley for the pictures.
EXCELLENT JOB FOR THE KIDS FROM “THE BURG”!!
1949-50 Meredosia District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Perry 62-48
Lost in semi-final
Meredosia beat Chapin in title game
1950-51 Chapin District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Jacksonville Routt 59-43
Routt los to Chapin in semi-final
Chapin lost to Ashland in title game
1951-52 Chapin District Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
Semi-Final Beat Chapin 67-55
*Title game lost to Ashland 59-55
*Final basketball game for the Chambersburg High School “Red Raiders.” Chambersburg consolidated with Meredosia in the summer of 1952 to form the Meredosia-Chambersburg School District.
The boys competed in baseball each fall during the 1940s for certain. It is probable that Spring games were played as well.
1940-41 3 – 4 (Fall) First Year of Program Coach Robert Walker
1942-43 7 – 4 (Fall) Pike County Conf. Champs Coach Dean “Doc” Hobbs
1946-47 1-6-1 (Fall) Coach Eldon Atwood
1947-48 3 – 5 (Fall) Coach Eldon Atwood
1948-49 1 – 5 (Fall) Coach Eldon Atwood
Track & Field
The Chambersburg High School Red Raiders competed each Spring in track & field meets throughout the county.
1940-41 Several boys competed in the Pike County Track Meet.
1942-43 Six Team Members
The Chambersburg Red Raiders competed in a boys volleyball tournament in the Spring of 1941. The team finished second in the PMBC Conference Tournament to Chapin High School..
Other Extra-Curricular Activities
The Chambersburg High School kids had many activities to keep them busy during the year. School picnics, choir, FFA, FHA, and many other activities were likely a part of student life. Below is a page from the first yearbook produced at Chambersburg High School submitted by Donald Poole.
Chambersburg HS Activities 1940-41
Submitted by Donald Poole
From John Poole:
“I enjoyed the article on the Chambersburg High School, and I’ve been by there many times many times since the mid-sixties (visiting in the Dennis house across the street).My father (Roger Allen Poole) played for the Red Raiders, though I’m unsure of the year. He was born in Chambersburg in 1918, so I’m guessing that he would have been in the class of 1936.”
Seeking More Information
We are seeking further information regarding Chambersburg High School and its storied past. Please complete a School Submission Form or Guest Commentary Form if you would like to share any personal knowledge you may have regarding Chambersburg High. You can e-mail us at email@example.com .