Sidell High School “Rockets”

Sidell High School
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Submitted by Bill Daugherty
Sidell High School – Sideview
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Provided by Bill Daugherty

The History of Sidell High School

Sidell (population 626) is located in lower-eastern Illinois in the southwestern portion of Vermilion County. Danville is located about 15 miles to the northeast of Sidell.  Sidell sites quietly on the intersection of the county roads of E 300 North and N 600 East.  The Missourri Pacific Railroad cuts directly through the middle of Sidell.  A branch of the Little Vermilion River flows by the western edge of town while the Archie Creek flows to the south of town.

The following EXCELLENT history of the Sidell school system was sent to us by Bill Daugherty.  It was taken from the The Sidell Reporter from about 1972. The information was furnished to the newspaper by Frank Gilroy who came to Sidell in 1908. He was a blacksmith and a Baptist preacher.:

“Since Sidell is one of the younger towns of the area, it has no background of “subscription schools” and log schoolhouses. The earliest settlers here sent their children to Archie, Gilead, Barnett and Indianola, where schools had been established since 1843. After grade school, a few attended seminaries, which offered, advanced education on the basis of tuition of $1.25 per month per pupil.

The first school in Sidell was established in the upper room of the old depot building about 1883 or 1884. Presumably in the late 1880s a two-room brick building was erected on’ the west side of Chicago street where the Rose Bailey home is now located. A Mr. Graham was hired as principal, and the two other teachers were Ida Ames and Zua Spry. In 1892, a second story was added and a two-year high school was established under a Mr. Blankhurst as principal.

In 1894, Clay F. Gaumer became principal, and in 1897 a third year was added to the high school and it continued as a three-year high school until 1908, when the fourth year was added under Prof. Sherman Cass. Two rooms had been added to the building in 1905, making it a six-room school. Sometime within this range, some of the classes were held in the upper story of the Old Hatchery building, south of Courson’s Store. During the years 1892 to 1908, the public school board of District No. 194 operated the high school.

As early as 1895-96, an attempt was made to organize a high school district, but the effort was defeated at the polls. It was later accomplished, in 1912, through petitions circulated by Dr. Ceo. B. Jones and Harley Beaman. The district of 39 sections was called Sidell Township High School District No. 21. The first board of the new district was elected in April, 1912, and named A. Cathcart as president. Other members were; H. L. Baum, Ralph Herron, J. C. McDowell, M. A. Dickerson, A. M. Miller and Max Holton.

In the beginning, the high school was established in two rooms of the grade school building, paying a rental of $25 per month. In 1912, a bond issue of $20,000 was approved for a new high school building, payable at $2,000 per year for 10 years. Three sites were available for the building: the first, east of the Christian Church the second, the old three-story hotel across the street east of the bank, and the third, its present location.

The new building was occupied in the spring of 1913, under Sherman Cass as principal, his salary being $117.50 per month for 12 months. Two other teachers were hired at $75 per month. The completed building cost approximately $25,000.

The first ‘graduates of the four-year high school were: Walter Carrell, Hazel Williams, and Caryl Holton. The first janitor of the building, George Overman, was paid $45 per month for 12 months.

The new gymnasium was built in 1925 under Leroy Hooker as principal, at a cost of $27,000. The school was admitted into the North Central Association in 1916 when V. W. McIntyre was Principal. W. J. Goreham became principal in 1927 and served until it ceased to be a separate high school in 1955, when it was consolidated with Fairmount and Indianola high schools to form Jamaica High School.

Principals serving during its history of 63 years were:

E. W. Blackhurst, 1892-94

Clay F. Gaumer, 1894-1903

J G. Slater, 1902-3

Robert Kent, 1903-4

R. W. Sprinkle, 1904-6

J. N. Kirby, 1906-8

Sherman Cass 1908-14

V. W. McIntyre, 1914-17

Mr. Nichols, 1917-18

Mr. McManus, 1918-19

J. R. Bouton, 1919-25

Leroy Hooker, 1925-27

W. J. Goreham, 1927-55

The first official coach of the high school was H. C. Stotler in 1916: The organization of the Consolidated Jamaica High School was effected in 1953, but did not become operative until 1955. Upon the consolidation, Mr. Goreham became the first superintendent of the Jamaica High School.”

In 1955 the towns of Sidell, Fairmount, and Indianola agreed to pool their high school resources.  The effort resulted in the creation of the Jamaica School District.

The high school for Jamaica District was set in Sidell.  The fate of the original Sidell school building is being sought.

Sidell High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                late 1800s

Year closed:                                 1955

Consolidated to:                            Jamaica School District (Sidell)

Sidell HS team nickname:              the “Rockets”

Sidell HS team colors:                   Blue & White

School Fight Song:                        “We’re Loyal to You Sidell High”

                                                                   University of Illinois Fight Song Tune

                                                                      (Thank You To BILL DAUGHERTY)

                                                     We’re loyal to you Sidell High,

                                                      We’re white and we’re blue, Sidell High,

                                                      We’ll back you to win,

                                                      Cause you’ll never give in,

                                                      Tho’ the score may be thin, Sidell Hi 


                                                      So keep up the pep, Sidell High,

                                                       You’re building a rep, Sidell High,

                                                       You’ll soon have a reputation,

                                                       That will produce sensation,

                                                        Fight boys for Sidell High!


The Sidell High School boys competed in basketball, probably baseball and track as well. The Englishj Department at the school also got into the State Competition “act” by winning medals in the Speech tournament. School team nickname, colors, fight song, team records, and coach’s names are all items we are searching for.

Boys Basketball

The hardwood courtmen of 1939 had an incredible run.  These boys made it to the final round of 64 winning both their District title and Regional title.  Sidell stayed competitive to the very end winning another District title the year before they merged with Indianola and Fairmount.

1920-21               Urbana District Tournament             Coach’s name & record needed

 1st Rd Beat Homer 25-5

                            2nd Rd Beat Potomac 40-18

                            3rd Rd lost to Urbana 20-15

Champaign beat Urbana in title game

1921-22               Charleston District Tournament       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Kansas 28-14

Kansas beat Charleston in title game

1922-23 through 1933-34  Postseason scores, records, and coaches’ names needed.

1934-35               Westville District Tournament          Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Indianola 18-16 (O/T)

Danville beat Sidney in title game

1935-36               Westville District Tournament          Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Oakwood 23-21

Fairmount beat Oakwood in title game

1936-37               Westville Regional Tournament       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Allerton 27-24

Catlin beat Allerton in title game


1937-38               Sidell District Runner-Up              Coach’s name & record needed

                            Early Rd Scores Needed

Title Game lost to Allerton 27-26

1938-39               IHSA District Champions              Coach’s name & record needed

District Scores Needed

                            Westville Regional Champions

                            1st Rd Beat Westville 33-28

                            Semi-final Beat Georgetown 31-21

                            Title Game Beat Indianola 30-23

                            Casey Sectional Runner-Up

                            1st Rd Beat Altamont 29-21

                            Semi-final Beat Charleston 32-31

                            Title Game lost to Paris 41-29

Paris placed 2nd in IHSA State Tourney!

Paris lost to Rockford HS 53-44 in state title game

1939-40               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

Sidell scores needed

Homer beat Indianola in title game

1940-41               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Indianola 39-31

Indianola beat Hume in title game

1941-42               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

Sidell scores needed

Ogden beat Homer in title game

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

1943-44               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

Sidell scores needed

Indianola beat Allerton in title game

1944-45               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

 1st Rd Beat Metcalf 46-18

Semi-final lost to Allerton 25-24 (O/T)

Allerton beat Ogden in title game

1945-46               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

Sidell scores needed

Allerton beat Fairmount in title game

1946-47               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Metcalf 47-32

Indianola beat Allerton in title game

1947-48               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

 1st Rd Beat Fairmount 39-31

Semi-final lost to Allerton

Hume beat Allerton in title game

1948-49               Sidell District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Indianola 43-40

Indianola beat Hume in title game

1949-50  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1950-51               Hume District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

 1st Rd Beat Ogden 57-52

Semi-final lost to Allerton

Allerton beat Indianola in title game

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

 1st Rd Beat Scottland 47-33

Semi-final lost to Allerton 50-46

Indianola beat Allerton in title game

1952-53               Ridge Farm District Runner-Up    Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Indianola 58-47

                            Semi-final Beat Metcalf young America

                            Title Game lost to Fairmount 52-50

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

Early Rd Scores Needed

                            Title Game Beat Ogden 49-45 (O/T)

                            Danville Regional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Westville 58-47

Westville lost to Danville in title game

Sidell Rockets – District Champions of 1954
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Members of the 1954 District Champs pictured to above:

Front L to R: Bill Daugherty, Richard Swinford, Robert Lucas, Ellie Partenheimer, John Talbott

Back L to R: Jim Eakle, Jim McDowell, UKN, George Stoutin, Dave Meredith


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

**Final season for the Sidell High School “Rockets”, became part of the Sidell Jamaica School District in thee summer of 1955.

Speech – Individual Events

Two thespians from the Sidell High School academic department brought home medals from the state-wide IHSA Speech Competition.  There were no “classes”, so the Sidell kids were matched against kids from towns of all sizes and make ups.  Congratulations to these two Sidell HS students for their excellent accomplishments!

1941             Melba Miller         Verse             4TH Place

1948             Gary Lane            Comedy         5TH Place

Sidell HS Students – 1951
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Courtesy of Bill Daugherty

Memories and Facts of Sidell High School

From our good friend Bill Daugherty:

“Here is some more information on the Sidell High School:

The last Board of Education was comprised of:

Wayne St. Clair, President; L.M. Meece, Secretary; Members: William Thompson, Eldon Craddock, Stewart Maddox, Chester Eakle and Darell DeNeal.

The last faculty was comprised of:

W.J. Goreham, Principal; Mary Jo Clapp, Home Economics and English; Glenn E Foster, Science; Chester L Persinger, Coach, Boys’ Physical Education and Mathematics; Robert E Evans, Agriculture; Omer Creech, Jr, Music; Mrs Gleechal Norton, Commerce; and Mrs. Carolyn Staats, English and Spanish.

A total of 720 students graduated from Sidell High School, through 1892 to 1955.”

Seeking Further Information

If you have any further information regarding Sidell High School and its many achievements please write to us at  We are especially seeking a photo of the school buildings used in Sidell.  You can write to us via real mail at:

IIlinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva Av.

Chicago, Il. 60631

Sidell High School Class of 1939
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Courtesy of James Morse (Class Member) , Submitted by Bill Daugherty

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