October 6, 1995


Out at Prairie Grove School is a history display of the school - a time line, if you will, of pictures and information for nearly every year since its inception in 1859. This 35' long horizontal strip of computer paper, equally divided, is fixed to the gymnasium wall for all to see what happened when, during Prairie Grove's 136 years. This very unique presentation was compiled by teacher Mary Vitek and is available to the general public. Her goals, as headlined on the same wall, state: "Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future." - coincidentally a statement I campaigned with while running for the County Board, almost 3 years ago.

While taking me through the highlights of the Prairie Grove Time Line, Principal, Bob Nesladek paused at an 1865 entry noting the hiring of L.L. Lincoln as a teacher. The Civil War buff in Bob came out as he wondered if this gentleman could be related to Abraham Lincoln. Yes he is, Bob. I think Prairie Grove's time line at the 1865 position should be altered to read: S.L. Lincoln (descendent of Abraham Lincoln). Sometimes fancy script Ls and Ss can be mixed up and if that's the case, we have a real winner here.

My research led me to p. 700 - 701, Vol. 11 of the History of McHenry Co., 1922. An early settler by the name of "Apollos Lincoln, born at BrattleBuro, VT, June 2, 1802, died February 22, 1880 was the father to Gooding W., Henry M., Elizabeth A., Eunice A., Mary S., Samuel L. & Omar H. Samuel was born in Alexander Township, Genesse Co., NY, June 7,1840, a grandson of Daniel Lincoln, great grandson of Purvis Lincoln and a descendant of General Lincoln of Revolutionary fame, from whom Abraham Lincoln was also descended.

The Apollos Lincoln family owned 120 acres of timberland in Nunda Township but later bought a farm and moved to Marengo Township. Youngest son, Omar H. Lincoln owned a cheese factory in Barreville and also taught school part time.

Samuel L. Lincoln was not quite 5 years old when he moved to McHenry County from New York He was educated locally and alternated being a student at the academy in Wauconda, NY while working on the farm for 2 years. After completing his schooling, he began teaching school and followed the practice for 35 years during the winter months and farming in the summer. All his schools being located in either Boone, Lake or McHenry Co. He was most influential in the area.

At its beginning in 1859, Prairie Grove was a one-room free School on the prairie in section 26 of Nunda Township. Today, it is a 66,000 sq. ft. building with 44 teachers helping 473 students achieve on their own time line. P.S. The school is still out on the prairie, but the neighbors are getting much closer.