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
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. Today,
Senachwine High School alums and faculty can find out more about the current news and history about their old school at the
Senachwine was featured in a 1920 Illinois schools journal. The following facts about the school
No. of districts consolidated: 4
Cost of house:
Annual tax levy:
Annual tax levy before:
Enrollment now: 92
Enrollment in grade school: 60
Enrollment in high school: 26
No. studying agriculture:
No. studying manual training: 8
Aid from vocational fund:
Years of high school course:
Months in year: 9
FACTS ABOUT PUTNAM SENACHWINE TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL
Year opened: late 1800’s
Year closed: 1947
Enrollment in last year: 27
School colors: unknown
School nickname: "Braves"
School school: unknown
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.
The school never won or even played for a Tri-County Conference title, and the IHSA website
(www.ihsa.org) shows that the school came away without a trophy or plaque in state tournament action.
…go out 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 about Senachwine Township High School. If you have more facts and even photos about
the school, we will gladly accept them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. or by sending them to us at the following address.
ILLINOIS HS GLORY DAYS
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631