Fillmore High School "Widcats"

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Fillmore High School Building 1914-1953
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Submitted by Hal Paddock

The New Fillmore Museum
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Photo Courtesy of The Journal-News of Montgomery County

The History of Fillmore High School
 
Fillmore (population 396) is located in southwestern Illinois in the southeast portion of Montgomery County.  Fillmore is platted in a true country setting with its major roadway being County Road #1 with Fillmore located about 4 miles north of Illinois Route 185.  The Norfolk & Western Railroad runs through Fillmore and was a major influence in its early growth.  The Lanes Branch Creek flows through the west side of town.
 
According to a September news article printed in the The Journal-News Newspaper of Montgomery County, provided to us by Sarah Ernst, the history of the town of Fillmore and its former high school is as follows:
 
"The town of Fillmore was named after MIllard Fillmore, 13th president of the United States.  Mr. Fillmore was vice-president under President Zachary Taylor, and when the president died unexpectedly in 1850, Fillmore succeeded to the office of president, which he held until 1853. 
 
The actual town history began when a Mr. J. Bowers Lane came to Illinois from Marlboro, N.H. in 1838.  He married Rachale Bost near Vandenburg. In 1860 Lane built a home just west of the present town of Fillmore and started a one-room country store and post office.  
 
In 1883 when the first train went through, the town, now known as Fillmore, began to grow and enjoyed a considerable boom.  Its population jumped to more than 600, and soon shops and stores began to spring up.

Fillmore High School Building 1900 - 1913
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Submitted by Hal Paddock

A big item in the Fillmore museum is the history of the schools. The first school was started in 1862. In 1890 a two-year high school course was added and the first graduating class, with eleven students, was in 1892.  A gymnasium was completed in 1935.  In 1953 Fillmore became part of the Nokomis Unit and children now attend school there."
 
The original portion of the Fillmore High School building was razed in the 1950s.  The town of Fillmore put part of the building to good use though. A four room elementary school served as part of the Nokomis School District for years, as was the old gymnasium and cafeteria. According to Anna Marie, these buildings currently house the Fillmore Museum mentioned above. The gym is used for rentals for family reunions, and the reunion banquets of the former Fillmore High School. The gym is also it is open in the winter for an exercise class and for walking when it is cold. The local Lodge has a meeting room in the old grade school which is attached to the high school gymnasium. The village board has a meeting room there as well.  The building also serves as the polling place for Fillmore and South Fillmore Townships on election day.
 
 
The following pages of school history in Fillmore were provided to us by Hal Paddock.  The pages were written by former superintendent of the school district, E. M. Baumgartner.  "Left Click" your mouse after placing the curser over the photo for an enlarged version that you can read and enjoy.   

FHS History Page 4
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FHS History Page 3
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FHS History Page 2
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FHS History Page 1
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FHS Directors Page 2
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FHS Directors Page 1
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FHS History Page 6
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FHS History Page 5
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Fillmore High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                          1890
Year closed:                           1953
Consolidated to:                      Nokomis School District
Fillmore HS nickname:            "Wildcats"
Fillmore HS colors:                  Red & Black
School Fight Song:                  unavailable

Athletics
 
Fillmore High School is only mentioned in one sport on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org).  This mention is in the sport of basketball.  We are missing a lot of information such as team nickname, school fight song, rival teams, and conference affiliation.  Please contact us if you have any of this information available.
 
Hal Paddock tells us that Fillmore High School only competed in boys basketball during its existence. 
 
Boys Basketball
 
The boys basketball team of Fillmore High School had at least two great seasons during its existence.  Two District titles were won at the school.  Unfortunately the team records and coach's names of these and other great Fillmore High School basketball squads are not available at this time.
 
A Greenvile High School yearbook decribed a 1925-26 1st round District Tourney Fillmore win over Donnellson this way:
""Fillmore trounced Donnellson 18 to 6 in a hard tussle. Fighting valiantly, Donnellson was unable to stand the furious attack of Fillmore and could never catch up with their early lead." 

Several basketball scores were located on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores" (https://sites.google.com/site/xtmi2000/). These scores are listed below.
    
1921-22             Hillsboro District Tournament                  Coach's name & record needed
                          1st Rd lost to Witt 30-18
                          Witt lost title game to Greenville
    
1922-23 through 1929-30  Postseason scores, records, and coaches' names needed.

1930-31            Montgomery County Tourney (2nd Pl)    Coach's name needed
                         Championship Game - Hillsboro 26 Fillmore 18
                         Postseason scores & record needed
   
1931-32  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1932-33  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
   
1933-34            Vandalia District Tournament                  Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Rd lost to Vandalia 38-19
                         Vandalia beat St. Elmo in title game
   
1934-35            Vandalia District Champions                Coach's name & record needed
                          Team led by Russell "Brick" Foster
                          1st Rd Beat Odin 50-23
                          2nd Rd Beat Mulberry Grove 37-25
                          Semi-final Beat Greenville 38-37
                          District Championship Game 
                          Fillmore 35 Vandalia 31
                          Gillespie Sectional Tournament
                          1st Rd.- Hillsboro 54 Fillmore 24
                          Hillsboro beat Belleville in title game
                          Hillsboro lost in Elite 8 Round
   
1935-36             Vandalia Regional Tournament             Coach's name & record needed
                          Fillmore did not compete in District
                          1st Rd lost to Altamont 41-22
                          Altamont lost Vandalia in title game
  
1936-37  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
 
1937-38  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
                          Montgomery County Tourney (2nd Place)
                          Championship Game - Hillsboro 50 Fillmore 20
 
1939-40             IHSA District Champions                    Coach's name & record needed
                          Team led by Joe Kirk & Fred Fesser
                          District Scores Needed
                          IHSA Regional Qualifier
                          Regional Scores Needed
  
1940-41  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1941-42  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1942-43  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1943-44  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
          
1944-45            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Rd Beat Donnellson 82-9
                         Semi-final lost to Panama
                         Panama lost to St., Jacob in title game
   
1945-46            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Red Beat Reno 36-18
                         2nd Rd Beat Irving 37-35
                         Semi-final score needed
                         Livingston beat Sorento in title game
   
1946-47            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Red Beat Alhambra 69-21
                         Semi-final lost to Livingston 49-33
                         Livingston beat Worden in title game
   
1947-48            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Red Beat Sorento 44-40
                         Semi-final Beat Panama 42-37
                         Title Game lost to Livingston 47-21
   
1948-49            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Rd lost to Coffeen 72-52
                         Coffeen lost to Livingston in semi-final
                         Livingston beat Panama in title game
  
1949-50            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Rd Beat Panama 37-35
                         Semi-final lost to Livingston
                         Livingston lost to Coffeen in title game 
   
1950-51            Sorento District Tournament                   Coach's name & record needed
                         Rich Paddock averaged 28 points per game.
                         Led the state in scoring average for the season!
                         District Tourney Scores 
                         1st Rd lost to Sorento 52-41
                         Sorento lost to Worden in semi-final
                         Worden lost to Witt in title game
   
1951-52            Witt District Tournament                          Coach's name & record needed
                         1st Rd lost to Panama 54-48
                         Panama lost to Sorento in semi-final
                         Sorento lost to Witt in title game
  
**1952-53  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.

**Final season for Fillmore High School. Consolidated to Nokomis High School in the summer of 1953.

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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged Version

Baseball
 
As stated above, baseball was probably offered as a school sport.  One individual took advantage of his time at Fillmore and actually broke into the big leagues!  Ray Richmond was born on June 15, 1896 in Fillmore. After completing his education there he gained a tryout with Cleveland's Major League Baseball Team.  Ray ultimately made the team and spent two seasons in the big leagues, 1920 and 1921. Ray also served as an Ilinois State Representative in 1936.   Ray died in 1969 and is buried in the Fillmore Cemetary.
 
Town of Fillmore Notable Residents
 
Elijah H. Donaldson - 1890 - Illinois State Representative
Walter Toberman - Secretary of State, Missouri
John A. Graham - Senator, 1958 - 1979
Molly McDowell - One of Illinois' outstanding high school girls basketball players of 1998-99. 
Steve Kimbro - Coach of Nokomis High School, over 500 victories, IHSA 2ND Place finish in 2007.
Neil Alexander - Coached at Lincoln High School, earned over 500 victories there.
 
MEMORIES
 
**From Joe Royer:
 
"I really enjoyed all the information about Fillmore.
 
I lived in Fillmore as a teenager, from 1967 to 1971, and I use to mow lawns for several of the older people in town, including Rex Plyler, who was in his upper 80's at the time.  I remember he showed me a picture of Fillmore's 1903 baseball team, which he was a member of as a pitcher, but I'm pretty sure it was actually semi-pro, rather than high school baseball.  I wonder where that picture might be now; It would be nice if it could be located!
 
I now live in Colorado, but I still remember Fillmore with pleasant memories, and some of my good friends, such as Bob Nelson, Everett Miller, Tom Wheeling, and Steve Kimbro.
 
I appreciate your putting this history and information together for us to read!"

Fillmore School Building 1921
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Coourtesy of Lawrence Lore Website - Click on Photo to Visit Site

Need Your Assistance
 
If you have any information to share regarding the history of Fillmore and its high school, especially a photo of the old school building, please write to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net .  You can also write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.        60631

Fillmore HS Alumni 1934 - 1941
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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged Version

Fillmore HS Alumni 1925 - 1934
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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged Version

Fillmore HS Alumni 1911 - 1924
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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged View

Fillmore HS Alumni 1892 - 1910
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Left Click on Photo to View Enlarged Version.

FHS Teachers 2
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FHS Teachers Page 1
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Fillmore HS Alumni 1952 - 1953
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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged Version

Fillmore HS Alumni 1942 - 1951
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Left Click on Photo for Enlarged Version