The Otter Creek Historical Society, Inc. was formed in 1998, a non-profit organization. The Society's purpose is to restore the Hamilton Primary School and to keep this National Landmark alive in Jersey County, Illinois and in the United States. Dr. Silas Hamilton was beyond his years in seeing what was the right thing to do by freeing the slaves and treating them as equals.
The Society is made up of people from all over the United States that have a great interest in the restoration of the school.
To become a member of the Society you must be 18 years of age or older. Membership fees are $10.00 per year per member. Regular meeting on 2nd Tuesday in April and Annual meeting on 2nd Tuesday in October. Members will also receive two newsletters a year. If anyone is interested, please send check or money order made payable to Otter Creek Historical Society, Inc., along with your Name, Address, and phone Number to the O.C.H.S.I., 107 East Main Street, Otterville, Illinois 62052
The Society's first President, Gladys Drainer, has had a "dream" for several years. Her dream was to see the school restored to its original wonder when she attended Hamilton Primary School all those years ago. It is with great pride that the school is slowly but purposefully attaining that status. What once was a dream for but a few has become a hopeful reality for those and many others.
It all started with an annual fundraiser in 1983 organized by six very special women; Gladys Drainer, Lena Markham, Jean Marshall, Mavis Hunt, Mary Ann Wadlow, and Ethel Renken. Several years of this annual event has brought us to where we are today. With the help of many qualified and dedicated participants, the school was placed on the National Register, our first step in attaining the "dream".
We now have the much needed knowledgeable persons to apply for grants and hopefully receive the thousands of dollars required to make Gladys' dream come true. However, it is not only federal and state monies needed, but, corporations, businesses and individuals who take pride in America's history, especially when it is so close to home.
The Hamilton Primary School may be tucked away in a small town named Otterville but it is known of and learned about all over the country. We must preserve this beautiful building and all its history for many generations to follow. We cannot forget where we have been or lose sight of where we are going.
2018 Board Members are as follows:
Sonny Renken - President
Jessica Stromske - Vice President
Mary Drainer - Treasurer
Laura Drainer - Secretary
Darla Drainer - Director
Phyllis Marshall - Director
Jean Marshall - Director