By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Exploring old Ebenezer and Rincon schools
Ech 3-2-12 Ebenezer School
Madge and Evelyn Seckinger (Baxter) on steps of Old Ebenezer School that was built circa 1910. - photo by Photo provided

The first parochial school in Effingham County was established by the Salzburgers at Ebenezer in 1736. The teachers were sent from the mother church in Germany.

In the year 1840, Mary Gugle Weitman Gnann, daughter of Israel and Sophie Gugle Weitman, lived on a family plantation near High Bluff on Ebenezer Creek. She walked three and one half miles to the school that had been established on the spot where the parsonage for Ebenezer Parish was later built.

The restored Old Ebenezer School that now sits on the Ebenezer Elementary School campus was the fourth school established on the original site. This land was owned by Wesley Exley at the time the school was relocated and the school was donated by his family to the Effingham County Board of Education. Mr. Alvin Gnann taught at Ebenezer School in 1897 in the third building on that site. The school was relocated, restored and established as a learning site for living history under the leadership of the late Angie A. Wendelken, principal of Ebenezer Elementary at the time.

Earliest history of Rincon schools in town reveals a "grade" school in a wooden two story building opposite the Lutheran Church.

About 1905 a new school was built on a site a bit further north. This site now has the current street names of Columbia and Richland Avenues and 4th and 5th Streets. The school was a new wood frame two story building with a corner steeple bell tower and bell to signal opening, closing, lunch and recess. Used for at least 20 years, this building was the elementary and high school and was known as Effingham Institute.

In the first part of the 1920s it came to be known as Rincon High School offering the highest grades of the time, (10th, then 11th and it is believed finally the 12th). Some early Principals included: Davis Stoudemier, George L. Anderson (about 1922) and Leroy Slice. In 1925 a new brick school building was built and was opened in the fall. The graduation class of 1925 was the last class to graduate from the old wooden building. The high school was moved to the consolidated Effingham County High School near Springfield on Highway 119 in 1956 and the school continued to function as Rincon Elementary School. It offered education to students through eighth grade until 1968 when Effingham Middle School was established. None of the original buildings on this site remain where the current Rincon Elementary school operates today.


This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: