Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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before 1868 and no Blue Rapids before 1870.


One of the great plans of the people of Irving was an institution of higher
education, and the Wetmore Institute, a seminary for girls, was built to give
the girls of the county the advantages enjoyed by their sisters in the East.
Trained and accomplished teachers from Eastern colleges were brought to
Irving. As there w^ere but few girls in the county, and those who lived here
then scarcely possessed "two calico dresses each," the institute was not over-
crowded ; there was plenty of room and fresh air. But boundless admiration
must be bestowed on the men and women of Irving, who, amid the keenest
hardship incident to pioneer life, yet gave freely to the cause pi higher educa-
tion. Three of the early county superintendents were from Irving — W. S.
Blackburn, J. L. Chapman and A. Jeffers.


Deer Creek school, which is located five and one-half miles north of
Marysville, was approved by Prof. J. A. Shoemaker, state rural school inspec-
tor, as a standard rural school, and enjoys the" distinction of being the first
and only such school in Marshall county.

On Saturday, January 13, 19 17, the patrons of the school invited more
than one hundred guests to participate in the celebration of the standardization
of the school. A splendid musical program was given and Mrs. C. A. Fannen,
the sweet singer of Marysville, rendered several solos. A dinner such as the
good cooks of Deer creek know how to prepare, was served in the basement
of the building. After the dinner, Mrs. A. J. Travelute (formerly Elizabeth
Mohrbacher), who taught the first school in district No. 24, dedicated the new
school house and gave an historical address, which was of county- wide



interest. Airs. Travehite said : "Fifty-six years ago there were few evidences
of civilization in ATarshall county. The sod house, the dugout, and the log
houses were few and far between. Education stood on the threshold of
Kansas, looking eagerly for the means wherewith to enter the open door of

"One of these log houses stood on the bank of Horse Shoe creek, on the
southeast corner of a homestead belonging to James Bartlow. During the
year this log cabin was fitted up for a school house. Lee Holloway, James
Bartlow and Thomas Marshall formed the school board of district No. 24,
and they employed Elizabeth Mohrbacher, daughter of Jacob Mohrbacher, to
teach the school at a salary of thirty-five dollars a month, which was a princely
salary in those days. The number of pupils was fifteen.

"District No. 24 then comprised all of Herkimer township, half of Logan
and that part of Marysville township which extends to the west of the
Blue river.

"Miss Mohrbacher was succeeded Ijy Mary Travelute, Elizabeth Suggett,
Anna Tyres, Charles Laycock. and Adda Fitzpatrick. In 1872 district No. 24
was divided into three districts, namely Horse Shoe, Blue Valley and Deer
Creek, the latter becoming district No. 58, now the standard school of the

"The log school house soon became too small and a frame house was
bought from Jeff Watson for one hundred dollars. This served until 1882,
when a fine school house was built, which for thirty- four years was the pride
of the country side, and which was used for church and all other public
functions. The builders were John Truax, Henry Bodenner and Cash Stone.
The building, when finished, cost over two thousand dollars.

"In the fall of 1883 the first school was taught in the new building by
.\. R. Barbour. Dr. W. F. Boyakin was then county superintendent of
instruction. On July 31, 19 16, this building was destroyed by fire during
an electrical storm. The fine building of today is erected on the old site."


Many of the early teachers of Marshall county taught school in the Deer
creek district. Among them were T. G. Butler, Charles Pritchard and C. F.
Travelute. Mr. Travelute and his brother's wife, Mrs. A. J. Travelute
(formerly Elizabeth Mohrbacher) were present at the celebration.

The history of the evolution of Deer creek is but the history of the
public schools of the county. As soon as times were easier the first thought


was better schools and better teachers. In the years between 1859 and 1870,
much of the teaching \yas done in private homes. In the CathoHc settlement
the faithful priests gave what instruction they could to the young people and

In the German settlements the ministers gave instruction in the catechism
and German language. The ministers of all denominations lent a hand in the
cause of education.

Rev. J. L. Chapman, Revs. Charles and Luke Holmes and Dr. W. F.
Boyakin were all men of exceptional ability and their faith in Kansas was as
fixed as the stars that looked. down upon her prairies, and her future was as
bright as her glorious sunsets. Time has justified their ideals and while they
sleep beneath her sod, her children remember them and chronicle their good

Among the teachers who were prominent in the county were T. C.
Randolph, now city clerk of Marysville; Sybil Broughton, who became the
wife of C. F. Koester; W. R. Brown, now teaching the fourth generation,
near Summerfield; Thomas Hynes, of St. Bridget; Ella Sheridan Acker and
William Acker, now of Vermillion; George Heleker and wife; Georgia
Patterson Heleker. A. M. Billingsly, Mell Chaffee, Ruth Bigham, the Dunlap
sisters and Maggie IMcDonakl of Waterville, who is still in her chosen


Cottage Hill district No. 31 was organized in the winter of 1870-71.
with Frank Leach as director ; James Nash, clerk, and Jackson Thomas, treas-
urer. Sarah McKelvey taught the first school in the winter following. H.
Jones and John Dolen built the school house. The present members of the
school board are: Mr. Pischnez, director; E. F. Roepke, clerk, and Henry
Webber, treasurer. The new school house was built in igi6 at a cost of
three thousand five hundred dollars, including furnace and modern up-to-date
furniture ; the basement is cemented and used as a play room, gymnasium and
for town meetings. It is twenty-six by thirty-six, with an addition ten by
thirty, for hall and work room. It is to be paid for by direct taxation in three
years, commencing in 1915-


In the year 1861 district No. 4. Marysville, was legally organized, and
a small frame 1:,uilding was put up at the northwest corner of Seventh and


Center streets. In 1806 the block on which the school now stands was pur-
chased from Air. and Mrs. Perry Hutchinson and from Samuel Raines for
the sum of seventy-eight dollars and forty cents and the stone building, com-
monly known as "the old stone building," was erected at a cost of eight thou-
sand dollars. This building was thirty-live by seventy feet, two stories high,
with two rooms on the ground floor and a large assembly room and recitation
room on the upper floor.

The assembly and recitation room on the second floor, which was one
large room, was also used by the Methodist church and by the Masonic lodge.
In this room I. B. Davis and R. Y. Shibley were initiated into the mysteries
of Ma.sonry in 1870.

In the year 1880 a brick building was erected, forty by sixty feet, costing
twelve thousand dollars, and in i8g2 an addition was built on the north of
it of exactly the same dimensions. Later a frame building was put up in
the second ward, consisting of two rooms in which are taught pupils of the
first and second grades, who live in that part of the city. Still later, an out-
lying school was built. This did not prove satisfactory and now these pupils
living in the outlying portions of the district are taken to and from school
in an automobile.

From iSgi to 1902. the modern normal school was held in the old stone
building, conducted by John G. Ellenbecker. The stone building in its day
was one of the best in this portion of the state ; two hundred and sixty-three
graduates left it with diplomas. Some of them have achieved distinction and
won places of prominence.

Like all the old landmarks, after it had served its day and generation,
it was dismantled to make room for the splendid high school, wdiich now
adorns the same site and which gathers within its walls many sons and daugh-
ters of parents who obtained their education within the w^alls of the "old stone


The city of Marysville in 19 16 completed a high school building at a
cost of sixty thousand dollars, which is modern and complete in every detail.

This school offers superior advantages to students as its graduates are
admitted to any college or university in the United States, without examina-

One of the strong features is a completely equipped commercial depart-
ment, giving thorough business training.

Graduates from the normal course receive a two-years certificate from


the state board of education. All the college preparatory subjects are taught
and entrance credits given.

Tuition is free to anyone living in the county who has completed the
common school course.

Marysville has one hundred thousand dollars invested in grounds, build-
ings and equipment. Nineteen teachers are employed.

The enrollment is as follows: High school, i6o; grades, 365; total,
525; parochial school, 100; grand total, 625.

Average daily attendance in high school, 155; in grades, 351 ; total, 506.

The school has gained thirty-five per cent in enrollment in four years.


The people of Blue Rapids have always realized the importance of a
good school in the development of the city. Blue Rapids was the first town
in Marshall county to establish a standard four-year course for its high school.
At the present time it is the only school in Marshall county that maintains a
department for beginners below the first grade.

The use of two l)uildings thus separating the grades and the high school,
is of distinct advantage to both. The citizens of Blue Rapids were sufficiently
far-sighted to provide ample space for playgrounds.

Blue Rapids high school has always been active in county contests, both
of an athletic and literary nature. For a number of years her track team has
been among the best in the county and her students have taken a number
of prizes in oration and declamation.

The high school offers courses in domestic science, agriculture, normal
training and commerce, as well as the regular academic courses.

An active parent teacher association, whose membership includes the
representative men and women of the town, attest to the interest of the com-
munity in the schools. J. H. Houston is the superintendent and, with a
splendid corps of teachers, the school is one of the ranking schools of the


In November, 1861, the first school in the vicinity of Blue Rapids was
taught by Lucy A. Palmer in a private dwelling one-half mile west of the
present town. There were twenty-five pupils in the school. The teachers fol-
lowing were : Emma Thompson, Rev. P. Duncan, Harriet Whitmore, Emma
Cooley, A. Smith and Rev. Charles Holmes.


The first school taught in likie Rapids was in the old Colonial hall and
Rev. Charles Holmes was the teacher, in the summer of 1870. He was suc-
ceeded the following year by Charles Palmer. A. Griffin and C. M. Bridges
succeeded I'almer.

Blue Rapids district No. 3 was organized and in 1873 a two-story
brick building thirty by fifty feet, was erected at a cost of eight thousand

C. M. Brydges, who was the first teacher in the new building, was suc-
ceeded by E. Philbrock, W. B. Dimon, H. H. Halleck and J. W. Quay.
Owing to the increased numbers a new building, twenty by thirty feet, was
put up near the first, and in later years a fine new building adequate to the
needs of the town was erected. The school is modern in every detail and
is second to Marysville in size. The curriculum meets the requirements
imposed for entrance to state institutions.


From available records, and other information, the following sketches
are compiled. The organization of district No. 2 and what was done for
a school building before 1870, seem to be uncertain. It is supposed, how-
ever, that school was held in a church building situated about one and one-
half blocks south of the present postoffice site in Irving. This now is the
residence property of Mrs. Julia \\'ells. The old church in question stood
on the rear of these premises and the bell which now- rings in the tower of
the frame school building once rang in the tower of the old church. In 1870
a stone school building was erected at the same site as the present building.
It contained two rooms and had but one teacher until 1873. Since the two
rooms, were situated one above the other, Mr. Jeffers, the first teacher, must
have had no use for the room abox'e. In 1873, however, according to the
recollection of one of the pupils, who began school that year, another teacher
was added to the teaching force. Miss Williams. It is uncertain whether
there were any assistants before this year or not.

Then for a period of ten years there is no certainty as to the names of
teachers and superintendents, knowing only the names of some men wdio
acted as principals during that period. They are given in the order they
served: A. Jeffers, 1870: Mr. Reese, 1873; H. C. Robinson, and Mr. Tay-
lor and Mr. Coleman served until 1883. Mr. Coleman served during the
years beginning in 1882 and 1883. In 1884, Augusta Carlson who taught
for thirty consecutive years, began her third term of teaching (her first in

American Badger.
Canadian Beaver.


Prairie Chicken.


Red Fox, with Prairie Chiclten.

Gray (Timber) Wolf, with Cubs.


A O •>-'


-I /■ .:■ ; f


the Irving school) under G. W. Carrico. She received thirty dollars per
month. In the preceding year Miss Minnie Ish taught the primary room.

The size of the first stone buildings was about thirty feet wide and forty
feet long. This was blown down by a cyclone in 1879 and replaced by a
frame structure, similar in size and" shape. The new building of that day
was constructed by a contractor, Frank Edwards, at a contract price of
eight hundred dollars and so well built that it still stands as a part of the
present building. The small sum, eight hundred dollars, received by the con-
tractor according to his figures, as reported by our pioneer citizen, J. L. Judd,
netted him ten dollars per day profit. A passing comment ofl:'ered was that
the price of lumber then was not in line with present prices.

The total number of pupils enrolled in the school in 1884 was seventy-
four; in 1895, one hundred and twenty; in 1905, one hundred and seventy-
six; in 19 r 5, one hundred and sixty-four. The school building was enlarged
in 1 89 1 by adding to the then existing frame structure four rooms and an
entrance. This is being added to in 191 7 by placing a brick structure on
the north of the entire frame structure. The building has always borne an
artistic appearance though it seems to have been put together in pieces.

The first increase in the number of teachers has been mentioned. In
1889, besides Augusta Carlson, there was employed another to assist in the
grades, Melissa B. Smith. The next increase came in 1892, when four
teachers, including the superintendent, were employed.

The vear 1894 witnessed the first graduating exercises in the Irving
high school. In that year there were nine graduates which formed the
charter membership of one of the most loyal alumnae associations in Kansas.
Each year has added its c[uota until now, in 191 7, there is a total number of
graduates from the school of one hundred and sixty-two.

From the organization of the district until the present, the people of
Irving have kept abreast with the times in providing the best for their chil-
dren in the way of education. In 19 13 play-ground apparatus was installed
for the smaller children; 1914 a basket ball court was constructed; in 1915
tennis courts were made and proved a popular pastime and recreation with
the intermediate and high school pupils; and in 1916 a football court was
laid out. Since the beginning of the contests in oratory, declamation and
track work in Marsliall county, the Irving school has come in for its share
of the honors. The school has been accredited with the state university for
several years and pupils have made splended records at that institution and
other institutions of this state and in other states.



A few items indicate the increase in total expenditure for the district.
In 1876 the tax money collected for district No. 2 was $2,989.88; in 1886,
$3,830.59; in 1896, $2,989.88; 191^1, $3,588.75. In the earlier times the
annual tax levy ranged from 17 to 25 mills. The valuation of the district
has ranged from $100,864 in 1904 to $909,674 in 191 5.


The first school was taught by Miss F. Hartwell, now Mrs. H. Jones,
in a building known as the Lutheran church. A frame school house was
built in 1869-70, G. B. Vroom being the first teacher. Mr. Griffin taught
the school in 1872. In the same year a new limestone school building, forty
by fifty feet, two stories with basement, was erected. It had four rooms
and cost twelve thousand dollars. This building was at that time the best
in that part of the country. Mr. J. Potter was the first principal. Follow-
ing him was G. W. Winans, who afterwards was elected state superintend-
ent. In 1 9 10 an eight-room brick school house was built at a cost of twenty
thousand dollars, and the old stone school house has been fitted up for do-
mestic science, manual training and gymnasium purposes.

The Waterville high school is one of the Barnes high schools in the
county, and its graduates enter the state institutions on their high school
diplomas. Mr. O. B. Vernon is the superintendent.

The early settlers on the Little Blue river and on Coon creek believed
in schooling for their children. Rev. Samuel A. Walker, a Methodist min-
ister, taught school in 1858, in a cabin at the mouth of Fawn creek.

Mrs, Lucy Thompson Palmer taught a small school near where Blue
Rapids now stands, in 1859. Emma Thompson taught in a house on the
Little Blue river near where the gypsum mill stands, in 1859, also in 1864
and 1865.- Fanny Jeffers taught in a log cabin at the mouth of Coon creek
in i86t. Mrs. Whitmore, Mrs. Choate and Hon. E. A. Berry were teachers
before the railroad came. These were all private schools, not supported by
state or county. There was no Waterville before 1868 and no Blue Rapids
before 1870.


The first school house in Summerfield was a frame building erected
in 1889. In 1892 an addition was built on and the school then contained
two rooms. J. M. Kendall was the first principal and Mrs. George Shadle,
the primary teacher.


This school was destroyed by fire in 1904, and in 1905 a new modern
brick and stone bnilding was erected at a cost of twelve thousand dollars.
At that time there were one hundred seventy-one pupils in attendance.

In 1910 a high school course was added to the course of study, and in
191 5 an addition was made to the building at a cost of six thousand five
hundred dollars. The total cost of building and addition, with heat and
thorough equipment; aggregated over twenty thousand dollars. Tt is one
of the Barnes high schools of the county and has an attendance of one
hundred sixty-four pupils.

Mr. John J. Fowler is the superintendent, assisted by a corps of eight
teachers. The board of education consists of Henry Maitland, F. G. Bergen
and S. C. Dugan. Mr. Maitland has been clerk of the board since the
school first started.


In 1868 school district No. 29 was organized and a log school house
costing five hundred dollars was built at Beattie. Charles Pritchard was the
first teacher and he was succeeded by Misses C. J. Sheldon, Ruth Barrett,
Mary Hamilton and H. P. Buck. In 187 1 a new stOne school house, twenty-
eight by forty-eight feet, was erected at a cost of seven thousand dollars.
C. Mattleson taught the first term in the new building and was succeeded by
T. M. Blair, Rev. E. Barber, F. W. Parsons, Mrs. F. W. Parsons, L. F.
Fuller, Florence Patterson, Ida Newton, Albert L. Perry, and Georgiana

Since that time the building has been enlarged to meet the needs of
the city and now has an accredited high school under the Barnes high school
law, with John Menehan as superintendent and a corps of seven assistant
teachers. The building is modern and thoroughly equipped.


Reminiscences of pioneer days bring to mind many old pictures, the log
school house among them. The writer recalls one in particular of which
mention may be made.

About the year 1868, while Blue Valley was still a part of the Horse-
shoe school district, no attempt whatever had been made to build a school
house, because there w^ere no funds for that purpose. There were twelve or
fourteen sturdy pioneers, who manifested a spirit of co-operation and achieve-


mcnt l>y constructing one of those log school houses on the northeast corner
of section 2^ in Oketo township.

Those men took up the task of furnisliing logs with which t(j Ijuild tlie
school house. Xearlv all of them were prairie farmers and ha\'ing no tim-
her thev were compelled to haul the logs from the Otoe Indian reservation.
Sorghum molasses heing the only medium of exchange then, they would
swap a gallon of molasses for a couple of logs, with the Indian, each farmer
furnishing two logs. The roof was made of native shingles, the seats w^ere
made of rough cottonwood boards and the desks were made of slabs, which
were laid on pins driven into the walls. Elizabeth Aliddlemiss has the honor
of havine tauefht the Hrst term in tliis, the Blue \^allev school house.

Those who helped build this school house were: William Cockerill,
Frank Butterfield, Oliver Furman, Robert Cottrell, A. J. Travelute, Thomas
Howes, Ben Tiering. Peter Champaign. James Coats, R. E. Benson, G. R.
Fulton, Peter McNulty, Sr.. Henry Spielmann and Tim Downing.

One cannot think of the early days of Marshall county, without becom-
ing enthusiastic upon educational matters as they existed in pioneer days,
because the Kansas pioneer home and the prairie school house were typical
of Kansas, as were the white schooners of the trackless plains, who brought
those men and women who longed to deliver the new territory from bondage
and to write across its map — "free".


1859, John D. Wells; i860, W. S. Blackburn; 1861-1862, W. W.
Jerome; 1863-1864, T. H. Baker; 1865-1866, Moses T. Bennett;- 1867-1868,
Rev. J. L. Chapman; 1869-1872, C. S. Balton; 1873-1876, A. Jefifers; 1877-
1878, G. W. Winans; 1879-1882, W. F. Boyakin; 1883-1884, Samuel Renoe;
1884-1885, J. J. Sproul; 1885-1889, J. W. Quay; 1889-1891, W^illiam Acker;
1891-1893, V. H. Biddison; 1893-1897, Lewis Scott; 1897-1901, M. W.
Street; 1901, interim, J. G. Ellenbecker; 1901-1905, George K. Thompson;
1905-1909, Otis Berry; 1909-1913, C. E. Drumm; 1913-1915, P. N. Schmitt;
1915-1917, W. H. Seaman.


Following is a list of districts, names of schools and names of teachers
in Marshall county, in the order mentioned :

I — Barrett, Keturah Prebble. 5 — Osborn, Anna Shedden. 6 — Gallup,


Elnora Wanamaker. 7 — Antioch, Francis Guffee. 8 — Elm Creek, Kittie
Hunt. 9 — Bine River, Minnie Wassenburg. 10 — Life, Sara Price. 11 —
Fairview, Lou Olson. 13 — Beaty, Minnie Froom. 14 — Borphy, Dollie
Turley. 15 — Merrimac, Manilla Grimes. 16 — Walker, Nina Carver. 18 —
La Grange, Effie Wilson. 19 — O'Neill, Josephine Thorne. 21 — Hermans-
burg, Evangeline Church. 23 — New Salem, Helen Detweiler. 24 — Hollo-
way, Celia Severns. 25 — McDonald, Orel Severns. 26 — Snodgrass, no
school; pupils sent to Frankfort city schools. 27 — Fairview, Vera Peacock.
28 — Flint Hill, Merle Gerard. 30 — Garrison, Celia Smith. 31 — Cottage Hill,
Geneva Nichols. 32 — Valley View, Caroline Massie. 33 — Campbell, Ella

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 26 of 104)