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.
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
PUTNAM SENACHWINE TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOLQUICK FACTS
Year opened: late 1800’s
Year closed: 1947
Enrollment in last year: 27
School uniform colors: (needed)
School nickname: “Braves”
School fight song: (needed)
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.
One basketball score involving Putnam Senachwine High School playing I the IHSA State Tournament was located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason High School Basketball Scores” and newspapers.com . These results are listed below.
1927-28 Wenona District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to Magnolia Swaney
1928-29 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to Cherry 12-10
Malden beat Hall Township in title game
1930-31 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to LaMoille 50-19
Princeton beat Malden in title game.
1931-32 Wenona District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed.
1st Rd lost to Magnolia 29-13
Wenona beat Minonk in title game.
Thank you 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
If you have any further information about Senachwine Township High School including facts and even photos we will gladly accept them by email at: