Kampsville High School “Kingsfishers”

Kampsville High School Building – 1939
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Submitted by Kerby Suhling
M.L. Kamp – Founder of Kampsville
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The History of Kampsville High School

Kampsville (population 302) is located in lower western Illinois in the upper eastern area of Calhoun County. The town is located about 35 miles northwest of St. Louis. Illinois Routes 100 and 96 intersect in town. Kampsville sits on the banks of the Illinois River and is about 8 miles east of the mighty Mississippi River.

The town was originally settled by Civil War veteran Captain M. L. Kamp, who dubbed it Farrow Town. Kamp was such a popular figure in the area that the name was soon changed to Kampsville in his honor. The town is well-known for its rich history and archaeological significance. A well-written history of the town can be viewed the following web address:

http://www.greatriverroad.com/Cities/Kampsville/kampsvilleCover.htm. What a great little town with a storied past!

The history of Kampsville High School is available on the Roots Web address of http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilcalhou/Education/ruralschools.pdf . This information is copied below:

“Kampsville had a two or three-year high school from 1917 to 1939, when the voters of the community approved a new district and organized a four-year high school. This school, recognized by the state, continued in operation until 1951, when it was closed and the high school pupils were taken to Hardin. The problems at Kampsville were financial, as the district did not have enough taxing power to support a high school.”

Kampsville High School Class of 1939
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Courtesy of Kerby Suhling

The original Kampsville High School building as well as the two major additions are all still standing. The Kampsville school was open as a K-8 facility until 1992, converted to a junior high, and it served in that capacity until 2000. Once fully deactivated, it was sold to the Kampsville American Legion, which currently maintains it for community use. (Thank you to Justin Lee for providing this information on the Kampsville school building.)

Kampsville High School Quick Facts

Year opened, 2 or 3-year HS:             1917

Year became 4-year HS:                    1939

Year closed:                                     1951

Consolidated to:                                Calhoun County School District (Hardin)

Kampsville HS team nickname:          the “Kingfishers”

Team colors:                                     Orange, Black, & White?

School FIght Song:                            unavailable


We know very little about Kampsville High School athletics. According to the memories of a site fan, Dick Heitholt, the KHS kids competed in basketball for sure. A yearbook for Kampsville High School of the 1938-39 school year located by Kerby Suhling shows the Kingfishers competed in track as well.  Baseball may also have been offered.

Kampsville HS Basketball Team – 1938-39
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Courtesy of Kerby Suhling

Boys Basketball

The Kingfishers may not have won any IHSA hardware, but they certainly earned a reputation of hard-nosed competitors in the area.  The boys of 1938-39 sported an overall record of 8 – 11.  Members of the team pictured to your right included the starters in the back row and team members listed as follows:

back row:

Kinser, Hancock, Totzell (capt.), Vetter, and Draper

front row:

Farnbach, Angel, Armstrong, Angel, K., Leach

According to an article recapping the team’s season, a new gymnasium for the school was completed in the late autumn of 1938 and made available for the boys to play in that year.

Kampsville HS Track Team – 1938-39
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Submitted by Kerby Suhling

Boys Track & Field

The Kingfisher “thinclads” of 1938-39 had a nice season as well.  The team won dual meets with Hardin and Pearl.  In addition the Kingfishers finished THIRD in the Tri-County League Meet held on Kampsville’s new track!  Members of the league that participated in the meet included HardinAlseyKaneManchesterEldredWoodsonHillviewGrafton, and Patterson. Sadly all are schools that are now gone, but well remembered on this site.

Members of the track team pictured top your right include:

Back Row:

K. Angel, Roundcount, Vetter, Kinser, Totzell, Hancock, L. Angel, Armstrong.

Front Row:

Schumann, D. Armstrong, Leach, Johns, W. Angel.

*Totzell set a new school record in the discus this year with a toss of 113′ 07″!!

Great Athlete

*Raymond Schuman – played at Kampsville in the early 1940s. Dick Heitholt had this to say about Ray:

“I first heard about Ray when I was in high school at Payson, Illinois in the early 1940s. He once scored in the 50s in basketball in 1943 or 1944. He did not immediately go to college but was a renowned independent player in Western Illinois with the Nebo Blue Devils where I remember his normal scoring was in the 40s. A left hander, he was also an outstanding baseball player.

“In about 1952, Ray was persuaded to go to Hannibal LaGrange Junior College in Hannibal, Mo to play basketball. He made an immediate impact leading Hannibal LaGrange to the final four of the 1953 National Junior College Tournament (I think they got 3rd). Ray scored 34, 47, 37, and 41 points-a total of 159 points, which remains the record to date. One of his teammates was Cotton Fitzsimmons, the Bowling Green, Mo, towhead, of National Basketball Association coaching fame.

“At 79 or 80 years old, Ray continues to be active–dominating many national Senior Olympic events and also plays softball on a national championship team from Michigan. Ray coached at West Pike High School for a number of years, the same school I started a coaching career. I think he is one of the top athletes I have known.

“Incidently, Ray’s Hannibal LaGrange Coach was Howard Dewell, who came to Quincy High School as basketball coach and became an effective Dean of Students when I was Principal at Quincy. Howard also remains active in Senior Olympics.”

Need More Information

If you have ANY further information to offer regarding the many accomplishments and achievements made by the students and townspeople of Kampsville and its High School, please share it with us. School nickname, team colors, fight song, as well as other non-athletic related items are being sought. A photo of the original Kampsville High School building would especially be welcome. These items can be e-mailed to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or real-mailed to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.  60631

KHS Yearbook Dedication – 1939

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Thank you to Kerby Suhling – (left click to enlarge)
KHS’ First Yearbook – 1938-39 School Year
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Submitted by Kerby Suhling

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