The McHenry County Historical Society will host a free open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, at two nearby historical sites:
The Pringle one-room schoolhouse and the pre-Civil War “Stewart’s Scottish Cemetery.” The 1867 limestone school and cemetery are located north of Marengo off River Road. Pringle School, owned by the historical society is located about a quarter mile west of Route 23 and the cemetery is located on the Ted Wilson farm at 20916 River Road, just east of Route 23.
Visitors to both sites should wear comfortable walking shoes.
During the 1840s the land north of today’s Marengo was settled by a number of pioneering families from Scotland. Many of these settlers came by way of Canada, traveled to Jo Daviess County to work in the lead mines, then reversed migration to the Marengo area. They established their farms along the southern edge of the hardwood forests north of the Kishwaukee River and in time founded the Marengo Presbyterian Church.
For many years names like Smith, Stewart, Redpath, Purves, Wilson and Pringle were common in the area. Remnants of these Scottish pioneers and their contributions to McHenry County history are found along River road in the form of the old limestone school called Pringle and the Scottish cemetery beautifully restored and maintained by members of the Ted Wilson family.
The historical society has owned Pringle School since 2002 and volunteers have undertaken its restoration and interpretation since then. Once a year the school is open to the public. Artifacts found during archeological excavations around the site will be on display. Work also is under way to restore the foyer.
Those coming to the open house should park on the lawn in front of the school and not on River Road. Those visiting the Scottish Cemetery will be parking on the Stanley Szaflarski farm and then taking a short hike up through the wooded path to a self-guided tour of the old burying ground. These two sites are open free to the public. For directions and additional information, contact the McHenry County Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org 815-923-2267.
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