One side of my Lovellette ancestors settled the Cowling area thanks to land awards after service in the American
Revolution, including Browns
, Carmi and Grayville areas all along or near IL. Rt. One. Many accomplished people graduated from all these little
towns with their tiny student populations. Cowling was home to about 250 folks at one point, most of which made a living
in agriculture and small businesses.
The original Cowling HS was both high school and grade school. The town in the 1910-25 era had about 140 residents
and the school was located in what now serves as the Free Methodist Church at the corner of Hwy 1 and Cowling's main street.
My mother Fern Gravett Hornberger graduated from Grayville HS in 1933 at 16 yrs of age. But, she attended
Cowling HS 1930,for one year and my uncle Don attended for two years 1928-29, before they both had to attend
Grayville HS due to Cowling closing the high school portion. Fern came back to teach in the grade school.
My grandfather, Charles Arthur Gravett, taught music at both Cowling and Grayville HS for ten years mostly
during the Great Depression and earlier years.
The town now has a population of about 100. The Wabash RR (Big Four)ran right through the middle of the town,
which is located just a few miles from Browns,Keensburg
and Bellmont. Every historian should take time to travel through these back roads and visit the Lovellette-Legier Cemetery,
as well as many other old cemeteries in Wabash County where my ancestors have been laid to their rest. And, as Bill
says, "Say an Ave for me!"
Regarding Cowling High School, I know the school competed in baseball and
basketball with other schools, my uncle Don Gravett played on both those teams
while he attended there.
My uncle Don, my greatgrandfather Arthur, his son, Charles,
and my mother, Fern, all spent their winters in this school stoking the small potbellied stove, and later,
the space heater. Fire was a constant threat in those days. Wolves were known to come up to the door
of the school as late as the early 1930's.
At the beginning of the Great Depression the high school was shut down and the school became grade
school only. The grade school was closed during the middle 1950's. My ancestor grandparents ran the Bon Pas
Ferry at the beginning of the 1800's and you can read about that in the Wabash County Historical Society book, History of
Wabash County Family Names and Founders.
My great grandmother, Cordelia Clementine Ballard Gravett Fitzgerald was the town's
postmistress for 53 years and on the board of education for at least 25 years. She was cited by President Roosevelt
and given the "Key to the Town", which we still have, in 1946. She died in 1953."
Cowling High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1920s?
Year closed: late
Consolidated to: Grayville
Cowling HS Team Nickname: unavailable
Cowling HS Team Colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable