Wilder-Waite History

Early Family History
Wilder-Waite History
Contributed by Lyle W.

Loren Wilder was born November 11, 1813, in Dummerston, Vermont, and died September 11,1889 in Medina Township in Peoria County. He was one of the early settlers of Medina Township, a member of the County Board of Supervisors and a successful and highly respected farmer in the community.

Mr. Wilder was the son of Nat and Polly Warren Wilder. Nat was one of the 13 children of Joshua and Loes Wilder, who had moved to Vermont from Massachusetts in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Joshua was a veteran of the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War.

When Loren was three years of age his family move to Sandy Creek in Oswego Count, New, Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. He was apprenticed to a tanner and followed that business in New York until he joined the migration to the West. He came to Peoria in 1836.

Mr. Wilder lived in Peoria for a number of years and later purchased land in Medina Township. He made improvements upon it and subsequently added to his farm holding. At the time of his death he was the owner of some 500 acres of productive farmland in Medina and Radnor Townships.

On December 4, 1848, Mr. Wilder purchased the southwest quarter of Section 19 in Medina Township. He made this land his home the rest of life. His great-grandson Edward Wilder Allen currently lives in the Wilder home.

Mr. Wilder married Mary Hanson, who had been who had been born in Londonderry, County Derry, Ireland in 1823. She came to Peoria with her family in 1823. She came to Peoria with her family in 1939. Their journey took them from Belfast by steamer, to Liverpool and then to New York. From New York, they crossed the Alleghenies by wagon through Pittsburgh and then down to the Ohio River. They took a packet boat down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and up the Illinois River. They arrived in Peoria in late 1839 after a six-month journey. Mary's sister Eliza Jane Hanson, married Loren's cousin, Edward F. Wilder, and they made their home in Radnor Township.

Three children were born to the Mary and Loren Wilder. Thomas died at age ten. Maggie, who died April 9, 1883, was married to Alexander Keady. Mr. Keady was a farmer in The Dunlap community.

The second child Mary and Loren Wilder was Polly Francis Polly married Delizon M. Waite. Polly was born in Medina Township on April 8, 1851 and died there in 1842. Her children were Nellie and Loren Wilder Waite, both of who died in infancy, and Edward F. Waite and Linnie Waite Allen.

Delizon M. Waite was born in Oswego County, New York in 1848. At the age of 15, he joined a volunteer New York Calvary unit and spent the next two years as a soldier in the Civil War. He was a descendant of a family of new England patriots and early settlers, the first of who, Richard Waite, had come to Watertown, Massachusetts from England in 16 37. Delizon's grandfather, Thaddeus Waite, fought in the Revolutionary War and participated in the Battle of Saratoga when British General Burgoyne surrendered.

Included in the extensive land holdings, of which Loren Wilder possessed at the time of his death, was a one-third interest in the 80 acres, which comprised the town of Alta. He and his father-in-law, Thomas Hanson, together with neighbor Imri Case, laid out the lots and dedicated the town of Alta. The name was derived from its location as one of the highest points in the area. Loren Wilder among those owned the lots on which Wilder-Waite School was built personally. The ownership continued in his family until the lots were dedicated to the school's use in 1948 by Loren's granddaughter, Linnie Waite Allen.

Mary and Loren Wilder, as well as Polly and Delizon Waite, were respected members of the Medina Township community for nearly a century. Polly Wilder Waite was a graduate of the Alta School, which was once situated at the intersection Allen and Alta Road. She also attended classed conducted by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Peoria. For many years, she was the secretary of the Alta School District. They left a rich tradition of keen interest in the value of education and the contribution, which can be made to any community, by a good school.

History of the Wilder-Waite School

The district organized in 1946 consisted of Orange Prairie #53, Glendale District #106, Tucker District #107, Dewey School District 110, Richwoods District 116, Alta District #84, and 16% of Banner District 81.

Consolidation have been talked about for several years among these schools and when the one room school in Alta burned, it was felt that this was the time to act.

Elections were held in the spring and the proposition of consolidation carried. Later a five member board was elected and a bond issue was passed which gave the board the power to purchase a site and erect a school building. The first board members were Lloyd A. Jones, President E.B. Kain, Secretary Pauline Trigger, Guy Romersbergher and Roscoe Allen.

It was decided to hold classes in Orange Prairie School building and the former Grange Hall (moved to Edwards, Ill and now used as a church) adjacent to it. These buildings were near the junction of Routes 91 and 150. A bus was purchased to transport the students.

Several sites were investigated and the board finally decided to buy the present site. The present school site, 14.31 acres, was part of 160 acres granted to one Paul Cassino, by James Monroe, President of the United States. Cassino received the land as a Military Bounty in 1818. (In May 1812, an act of Congress was passed which set aside bounty lands as payment to volunteer soldiers for the War of 1812. More than 5,000,000 acres were located in Illinois. Each qualified soldier was given 160 acres.)

The land passed through various hands until it came to be owned by Loren Wilder and Imri Case. From Loren Wilder the land went to Polly Waite, from Polly it went to Linnie Waite Allen and Delizon M. Waite, Jr. who in turn deeded the school site to Peoria County School Trustees in the spring of 1947. In the deal for the property the heirs asked that family names be considered in naming the school. It was decided to call the new school the Wilder-Waite School.

Water was the biggest problem in building the new school, at least water in an amount necessary for running a large school with it's sanitary requirements. Four thousand dollars was budgeted for boring a well, but many attempts failed to produce enough water. Experts from various state departments were called in for information and a large deep well digging machine was brought in to the site. At about 1,500 feet an abundance of water was found but the final cost of finding water was over $30,000. Lankton and Ziegele were the architects hired to draw up plans for the building and George D. Johnson Co., was low bidder for the job. These were war and post war times, with shortages and spiraling cost. Contracts contained clauses passing the cost on to the builder, in case of labor increases and advances in the cost of materials. Building progressed slowly with labor shortages and waiting for materials to arrive.

When school opened in the fall of 1946, still at the one room schools, the enrollment was just over 100 students. Bud Boyer was the first bus driver and custodian. In October a second bus was bought and second driver hired.

Walter Mulvaney was the first principal and three other teachers had been hired.

In June of 1946 graduation exercises were held in the Dunlap High School gym for the first graduates of Wilder-Waite. There were fourteen in the class.

In the fall of 1947 classes again convened in the temporary locations. Additional classes were held in the Dewey School Building and another teacher hired.

The building opened in 1948 and it consisted of 6 classrooms, gym, and office. The total enrollment at that time was 107.

In 1952 two classrooms and the cafeteria was added. The enrollment then was 198.

The third addition, consisting of 4 classrooms, a remedial reading room, and a teachers' room, was completed in 1959. The enrollment at that time was 283.

Wilder Waite #303 consolidated with Dunlap Grade, Dunlap High, to become part of Dunlap # 323 in 1969.

The enrollment at the end of the 1971-1972 was 437.

In 1974 temporary classroom buildings were purchased to help relieve the overcrowding at Wilder-Waite.

In 1975 there 160 new students (k-12) from the new Candletree Apartments enrolled in the district and Wilder-Waite was bursting at its seams. Third grade and fourth grade classes attended classes at St. Jude church, and kindergarten classes were held at St. Clememt's Church in Dunlap for the 1975 and 1976 school year.

With the opening of the new Pioneer Junior High (former Dunlap High School) in 1977 and the 7th and 8th grades classes moving, 3rd and 4th grades classes moved back to Wilder-Waite.