These early accomplishments were in danger of going unheeded when John sold
his share to his brother and he went into the ministry. Reasons for the change were unclear. At any rate, James became the
sole proprietor of the Block 132 with its school house in 1879.
The History of Mercer County (1882) tells us that James R. Wylie, the remaining
brother, was a member of the Mercer County Scientific and Historical Society in the early 1880's. He spoke to the group on
the Metric System, Crystallography and also Embryology. Remember that James was the science teacher.
A former student of Mr. Wylie’s was R. G. Pinkerton, and he was a 1883
graduate of the academy. Mr. Pinkerton complemented his old teacher when he said that Mr. J. R. Wylie was, “one of the
best and most efficient instructors I ever knew. He taught me how to think and get to my feet and tell what I knew.”
In 1915 Mr. Pinkerton visited his old teacher and friend along with his wife in Denver where they later resided.
However the Aledo Academy did its duty as a fine school until the Aledo High
School became an academically stronger institution. Because the academy was a private school requiring tuition, it could not
compete with a free school and fell by the wayside, closing for good in 1893. The property was sold shortly to Mrs. Della
One interesting side note of the school was the story of its bell. The bell
was cast in 1848 in Ohio and installed on the steamship Saint Ange. Ice on the Mississippi destroyed the ship in 1854. An
Oquawka businessman, John McKinney Sr., one of the original proprietors of Lot 132 in Aledo, bought the salvaged bell in Saint
Louis and installed it on the Oquawka church he attended. McKinney left the river town of Oquawka in 1873 and established
a bank in Aledo. The bell soon followed McKinney to Aledo, to the Wylie Academy. At the school the bell helped teach punctuality,
but more importantly it called students and community together for the Friday evening socials. The bell later was installed
at the Messiah Lutheran Church.
Thus the 1893 closing, ended another chapter in the history of Aledo, Mercer
County, Illinois. Now the former Aledo Academy (also called, by some, the Wylie Academy) is the Aledo home of Mr. and Mrs.
Aledo Academy Quick Facts
Year Opened: 1874
Year Closed: 1893
OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE
Goes out to Timothy Jarman and Eric Long who provided the entire block of information
for this page!!
We Welcome Your Assistance
If you have information to share regarding Aledo Academy High School and its many great years of service to
the Aledo community, we are hopeful that you will share it with us. Photos of teams and the school building
along with the team nickname and colors, the fight song, and many more bits of information would be interesting
and fun to share. You can e-mail these items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or you can write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631