Cullom Community High School “Ramblers”

Post Card of Original Cullom High School
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Submitted by Meri Knapp
Postcard of Cullom High School Building 1954
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Courtesy of Meri Knapp

The History of Cullom High School

Cullom (population 563) is located in upper-eastern Illinois about 20 miles east of Pontiac. This places Cullom in the east-central portion of Livingston County. The main roadway taking you to and from Cullom is Illinois Route 116. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad owns tracks that travel through Cullom. A branch of the North Fork of the Vermillion River flows through the east side of town as well.

The history of Cullom is in need of research. We understand that Cullom began an educational system for its students in 1857 at a private home in Sullivan Township, which is where Cullom is located in the county. A high school curriculum was established by the late 1800’s as a two-year extension of the grade school. The first high school, called Sullivan Township High School, existed for one year only from 1916-17, but was declared invalid because taxes were not paid and teachers were not compensated for their services. However, eight people did graduate that year.

The Cullom Community High School district was formed in 1929 and operated until its closure in 1968 when it merged with Kempton-Cabery and the Emington Community school district to form the Tri-Point school district.

Cullom HS Building 2012
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Now Utilized as Part of Cullom Tri-Point High School
Cullom Community High School – Early 1900s
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Courtesy of Gerald Buckler

Gerald Buckler provided us with information he obtained from a 1961 Cullom High School yearbook.  This year book lists graduates of Cullom High School beginning in 1900.  This would indicate that the Cullom school district began offering some sort of high school curriculum at least by the year 1898.  Number of students listed as graduating, by year of graduation, are also found in the yearbook.  The numbers are as follows:

1900-2; 1901-4; 1902-5; 1903-4; 1904-0; 1905-4; 1906-4; 1907-6; 1908-7; 1909-8.(which included Bessie Donahue who went on after college to become the choral music teacher in Cullom and area country schools and teaching private piano lessons for many, many years.)  1910-0; 1911-1; 1912-2; 1913-3; 1914-0; 1915-9.(which included graduate Hazel Haag Magee who after college taught for years in the Cullom Grade School); 1916-4; 1917-8; 1918-11; 1919-4; 1920-6; 1921-2; 1922-7; 1923-9; 1924-16; 1925-13; 1926-14; 1927-14; 1928-10; 1929-8; 1930-9; 1931-23; 1932-23; 1933-20; 1934-24; 1935-20; 1936-30; 1937-16; 1938-28;

1939-21; 1940-27.

Gerald tells us that “classes pretty much ran between 15 and 25 thru the rest of the 1961 Yearbook Record. No one was listed as killed or missing in WWI. Wilmer Aellig, Class of 1941 was the only one listed as killed in action during WWII.”

Our good fan Scott Gleeson provided some excellent research and found that the consolidation effort took place prior to the start of the school year of 1968. Scott goes on to tell us that:

“In the first yearbook of Tri-Point HS, a saying sticks out that states “in unity there is strength.” In unity, the Tri-Point School District has lasted through the years even to today. Basketball games and volleyball games are sensational at Tri-Point as it is a small-town atmosphere at its best. The gym is small and the fans sit nearly on top of you as you play. I really enjoy the small town atmosphere and the great pride and emotion this atmosphere brings to athletics that comes from each community involved.”

Cullom Tri-Point High School Facility – 2012
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The high school for the Tri-Point District was located in Cullom. Royal Duncan tells us that the Tri-Point school District continues to utilize the Cullom High School building today. Additions were made to the original Cullom High School building in 1935 and 1956.  The Tri-Point District is still going strong.

Cullom High School Quick Facts

First school opened:                                 1857

Two-year HS classes began:                   1898

Year opened as Sullivan Township. HS:  1916

Formation of Cullom Community HS:      1929

Year closed:                                             1968

Consolidated to:                                      Tri-Point School District (Cullom)

Cullom HS team nickname:                     “Ramblers”

Team colors:                                           Blue & White

School Fight Song:                                “Cullom Loyalty”

                                                                               Provided by Gerald Buckler

                                            When our dear Cullom High boys fall in line,

                                            We’re going to win again another time

                                            For C.C.H.S. standards and its name

                                            Its honor and true sportsmanship

                                            We’ll win the game.

                                            So let us fight, fight, fight for every gain

                                            And put our school right in the Hall of Fame

                                            We’ll do our best when put to every test,

                                            Yes our Best!!!

                                            RAH!    RAH!     RAH!


Seeking a Yearbook

I am trying to obtain either a 1990 or 1989 yearbook from Tri-Point High School. I’m sorry for the intrusion, but I’m wondering if you might be able to help?


We know there was boys’ basketball and football in the Cullom Rambler program. We are confident track and baseball were offered. The Ramblers competed in the Vermillion Valley Conference, and was one of the founding members of the organization that originally featured schools eastern Livingston County.

Cullom Ramblers Basketball Team of 1952-53
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Courtesy of Gerald Buckler

Boys Basketball

One thing is for certain, Cullom High School had a great measure of success in their area for boys basketball. A total of EIGHT Distirct titles were won at Cullom High. Five were won in the 1940’s, three in the 1950’s! There had to be some great team records and great coaches who made this possible; however, we do not have this information at this time. Several scores involving Cullom HS in the IHSA Tournament were located on a site titled Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores“. These games are listed below.

The photo to your right is of the Cullom Ramblers of 1952-53. This team had an overall record of 20-11, won the Vermilion Valley Conference Tourney, District title, and advanced to the semi-finals of the Regional. Members of the team as pictured to the right include:

Back Row:  R. Casper – manager, D. Landis, J. Deany, G. Buckler, S. Long, R. Ashman, J. Dutton, Coach Ferri

Front Row:  W. Lauterbach, G. Gray, G. Hamilton – mascot, R. Corkill, S. McCulloh  

1922-23 through 1933-34  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.


1933-34                  Dwight District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd lost to Gardner 59-18

Gardner lost to Dwight in 2nd Rd

Dwight beat Mazon for title.


1934-35                  Dwight District Runner-Up              Coach’s name & record needed

  1st Rd Beat Mazon 19-18

2nd Rd Beat Chenoa 32-17

3rd Rd Beat Morris 39-23

Semi-final Beat Odell 34-27

 Title Game lost to Gardner 24-14


1935-36                  Kempton District Runner-Up           Coach’s name & record needed

Semi-final Beat Cabery 25-15

 Title Game lost to Reddick 22-16


1936-37     3 – 17    Kempton District Tournament             Coach J.E. Elbert.

1st Rd lost to Chenoa 25-24


1937-38                  Cullom Hosted District Tourney          Coach’s name & record needed

(Cullom scores needed)

Braidwood beat Kempton for title


1938-39   11 – 16   IHSA District Tournament                    Coach A.C. Williamson

1st Rd Beat Kempton 26-24

Semi-final lost to Cabery 27-16


1939-40   26 – 4     IHSA District Champions                  Coach A.C. Williamson

1st Rd Beat Strawn 27-22

Semi-final Beat Forrest 39-17

Title Game Beat Chatsworth 2819

Dwight Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Gardner-South Wilmington 33-27

1940-41   26 – 5     Piper City District Champions
          Coach A.C. Williamson

 1st Rd Beat Piper City 32-5

Semi-final Beat Odell 41-17

Title Game Beat Braidwood 34-30

IHSA Regional Runner-Up

1st Rd Beat Pontiac 43-39

Semi-final Beat Wilmington 39-31

Title Game lost to Braidwood 24-23

(Top two from Regional went to Sectional)

Joliet Sectional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Sheldon 39-36 (2 O/Ts)

Sheldon lost to Waterman in title game


AC Williamson mentioned as a coach at Cullom High School is the same Aubra Williamson who became a hall of fame coach at Pontiac in the 1940s, ’50s and into the ’60s. The AC Williamson Award for the Pontiac Holiday Tournament is named for him.”


1941-42  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.


1942-43  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.


1943-44  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.


1944-45                  IHSA District Champions                  Coach’s name & record needed

District Scores Needed

Dwight Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Saunemin 34-26

Saunemin lost to Gardner in semi-final

Gardner lost to Coal City in title game


1945-46                  Cullom District Champions              Coach’s name & record needed

(early round scores needed)

Title Game Beat Kempton 40-30

Dwight Regional Runner-Up

1st Rd Beat Dwight 54-32

Semi-final Beat Saunemin 39-38 (O/T)

Title Game lost to Pontiac 53-35


1946-47  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.


1947-48  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1948-49                  Cullom District Champions
             Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Saunemin 36-33

Semi-final Beat Odell St. Paul 48-47 (O/T)

Title Game Beat Kempton 42-41

Dwight Regional Tournament

1st Rd Beat Dwight 46-35

 Semi-final lost to Forrest 74-36

Forrest beat Coal City in title game


1949-50    23 – 4      Piper City District Runner-Up         Coach Kelly Cox

1st Rd Beat Mazon 54-32

Semi-final Beat Kempton 65-27

Title Game lost to Odell St. Paul 54-34


1950-51                   Chatsworth District Runner-Up      Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Mazon 47-24

Semi-final Beat Piper City 53-47

Title Game lost to Odell St. Paul 61-58 (O/T)


1951-52                   Chatsworth District Tournament        Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Odell 60-52 (O/T)

Odell beat Saunemin in title game


1952-53    20 – 11    IHSA District Champions                Coach Bob Ferri

                                 VVC Tourney Champs

District Scores Needed

Gardner Regional Semi-Finalist 

1st Rd Beat Coal City 62-52

Semi-final lost to Pontiac 85-46

Pontiac beat Braidwood in title game


1953-54                  IHSA District Champions                 Coach’s name & record needed

District Scores Needed

Pontiac Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Coal City 56050

Coal City lost to Pontiac in semi-final

Pontiac beat Braidwood for title


1954-55  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.


1955-56                  IHSA District Champions                 Coach’s name & record needed

District & Regional Scores Needed

1956-57                  District Champions
                          Coach’s name & record needed

                               VVC Champions

                               District Scores Needed

Mazon Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Mazon 54-51

Mazon lost to Pontiac in semi-final

Pontiac beat Coal City for title

1957-58  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1958-59                  Chatsworth District Tournament        Coach’s name & record needed                   

                                VVC Champions

District Tournament Scores

1st Rd Beat Saunemin 78-59

 Semi-final lost to Reddick 67-59

Reddick lost to Kempton in title game


1959-60                  Cullom District Runner-Up               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Piper City 83-53

Semi-final Beat Kempton 76-73

Title Game lost to Odell St. Paul 59-56


1960-61  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1961-62  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1962-63  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1963-64  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1964-65  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


1965-66   10 – 12   IHSA District Tournament                   Coach James Workman

1st Rd lost to Saunemin 86-65


1966-67  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed


**1967-68              Odell District Tournament                   Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Mazon 54-40

Mazon beat Reddick in title game

**Final season as Cullom High School. Became Cullom Tri-Point High School in the Fall of 1968.

Cullom HS Ramblers 9 – 0 Football Team of 1949-50
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Courtesy of Gerald Buckler


Some of the better Cullom High football seasons are listed below. Thanks to Tom Sikorski for providing the 1958-1966 records.

Gerald Buckler offered us the information on the incredible run of Coach Kelly Cox’ gridiron warriors of 1948-49 and 1949-50. Consecutive undefeated seasons and a cummulative record of 17-0-1 provided one of the highlights of the Cullom High School football program.

Members of the 1949 squad, pictured above and to your right, are listed in the following order:

Third Row: Gerald Gray, Roger Magee, Paul Jehle, Duane Flessner, Milton Bauerle, DeVere Redenius, Donald Deany, Gerhardt Dohman, RIchard Landis, John Haag, Spencer Sanquist, Raymond Farney

Second Row: Coach Kelly Cox, Arthur Whaley, Arthur Gassler, Lloyd Schramm, Donals Kemp, Joseph Ginter, Robert Ashman, Donald Johnson, Durl Anderson, Gerald Buckler, John Flessner, Mr. Roll

First Row: Paul Gray, Harold Wickham, James Harms, Thomas Gray, John Long, Gerald Kroll, Ronald Koerner, John Lehman, Gordon Stahl, Donald Magee, George Rewerts.  

1944                 Undefeated, Untied Season

1948  8-0-1        Undefeated Season                   Coach Kelly Cox

1949  9-0           Undefeated, Untied Season      Coach Kelly Cox

1958  6-2           2nd place (tie) VV Conference   Coach James Pearson

1959  4-2-2        3rd place VV Conference          Coach James Pearson

1960  5-3                                                             Coach Fred Johnson

1961  3-3-2                                                          Coach Fred Johnson

1966  4-4                                                             Coach John Reeser

Last team as Cullom was 1967 – in 1968 first year known as Tri-Point.

**Royal Duncan tells us that Cullom also had a football team as early as 1920. They were known as the Cullom Independents!

**Linda Hess conducted research that revealed the Cullom High School football team defeated Plano High School in 1930, the score was 6 – 0.


As early as 1898 the boys of Cullom High School paticipated in the sport of baseball. Even after Cullom High School merged to form Tri-Point High School the folks of Cullom continued to participate in baseball by forming a team known as the Cullom Prairie Dogs. This information came to us from former Cullom resident Royal Duncan.

If you have any futher information about the Cullom baseball progam please forward it to us for inclusion on this site.

Track & Field

The Cullom boys competed in track as well. In fact, the boys of 1936 won the Vermilion Valley Conference Track Meet!

1936     VVC Meet Champions

Cullom HS All-Girl Orchestra of 1951-52
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Courtesy of Gerald Buckler

Extra-Curricular Activities 

Cullom High School had many more activities to offer other than boys sports. Pictured to your right is what may very well be Illinois high school’s first ever “All-Girl Orchestra”.

Members of the orchestra included:

Back Row: Mrs. Dowse, Donna Wrede, Marlene Hahn, Betty Clark, Marilyn Vollmer, June Magee, Sharon Saathoff

Front Row: Donna Haren, Marlene Stahl, Joann Magee, Sandra Haag, Sarah Whaley, Rita Weller, Velma Nettlingham

Our good firiend and big fan of Cullom High School history, Gerald Buckler, had this information to offer about the CHS All-Girls Orchestra, who made an impact throughout the state:

“Attached is a picture and names of what I remember to be The FIRST ALL-GIRL’S ORCHESTRA in the State of Illinois High Schools. They played at several schools in the State of Illinois and also played at the Palmer House in Chicago. They played a lot of the old standards from the big band era. Mrs. Dowse, the director, also directed the High School Band and taught chemistry.  She was a great innovator and way ahead of her time. This was the 1951-52 School Year.”

Memories and Information


**From Amy Steidinger:

“We were looking at your website today and were very impressed at the information available. I work at the high school in Cullom, IL which is now Tri-Point High School. The entire upstairs Is filled with framed copies of the class pictures from each year. I wanted to let you know that I am here and they are available if anyone is interested in information from Cullom, Illinois.  Thanks for all your hard work archiving the good old days!”

**More great info provided by Amy Steidinger:

From a book titled “A Livingston County Scrapbook?” produced by Lucile Goodrich, County Superintendent of Schools in 1971

“Cullom’s school addition is under way.  $185,000 voted at a special election in May 1954 built the east part of the present building.  The addition to house the homemaking  room, music room, and three classrooms, an agriculture shop and industrial arts shop was completed durin the tenure of Mr. O. H. Roll.  Mr. Orville Roll retired from his position as head of the Cullom schools in 1962, after 33 years of service.  When he came to Cullom in 1929, the high school had 65 students.  The enrollment was as high as 120 during his tenure and the territory grew from 8 sections to 70.  For 15 years after coming, he coached all sport in the high school.  He was one of the organizers of the Vermillion Valley Conference and had officiated throughout Central Illinois in basketball, football, and track events.  He was known affectionately as “Prof.”  Third generation students were serving on his board off education when he retired.  He died in 1968.  In 1972 Cullom, now a part of Tri-Point, voted to close Cabery elementary building and ran into a storm of protest, but went ahead nevertheless to do what they considered best.

**From Kathleen Irwin:

“I have come across an old photograph of the graduating class of Cullom High School, 1903. It was in a box at an antique shop along with a few other photos relating to one of the young men in the graduating class photo. The matte frame is stamped “Stevens – Gratsworth, Ill.”

Cullom High School Class of 1903
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Submitted by Kathleen Irwin

Front row:  M.G. Barnhart, Ethel Shearer

Back row: George Kingdom. Henry Opperman, William Donahue.

If You Have ANY Information…

…regarding the basketball, and any other success, at Cullom High School, especially a photo of the original high school building, please write to us via e-mail at You can also write to us via USPS at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.     60631

Cullom Prairie Dogs Baseball Team 1890s
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Submitted by Julia Fields

From Julia Fields regarding the photo above:

“I purchased some original cabinet photos from the 1890s  from Cullom ILL, at an estate sale in Amarillo TX. Most of the photos I have are from The Kingdon family. This family had relatives on the baseball team, the photo has names written on photo.”

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