Merton L. Catlett, principal of the Cherokee county high school, is a native of Miami county, Indiana, where he was born, March 10, 1869. His parents were Kemp T. and Mary (Sturgeon) Catlett, the former born in Kentucky, and the latter in Indiana. Mr. Catlett's mother died when he was an infant. When he was but five years old his father removed, in 1874, from Indiana to Kansas, and settled near the city of Independence, Montgomery county, on a farm. There he died in 1879, his son then being ten years of age. William Harter, of Independence, became the orphan boy's guardian, and in Montgomery county Mr. Catlett was reared. There he had first the advantage of the country schools, and later attended the Independence High School. A brother had located at Columbus, Kan., and this situation led to Mr. Catlett's going there to attend the high school. In the Columbus High School he graduated in 1895. He had already taught several terms of country school, and after graduating in the Columbus High School, he again taught. By attending and teaching school alternately, he was enabled to educate himself. In 1900 Mr. Catlett entered the Kansas State Normal, at Emporia. There he took a three-years course, but because of lack of funds he was not permitted to complete the prescribed course and to graduate.
In 1902 Mr. Catlett became superintendent of the city schools at Baxter Springs, Kan., where he remained for two years. He then became teacher of English in the Cherokee county high school. This position he held for four years, and then (1907) he was made principal of the Cherokee county high school, which position he has ably filled since that date. The year previous to his becoming principal of this high school, Mr. Catlett was in charge of the School for Soldiers' Orphans at the Soldiers' Home, Fort Dodge, Kan. For several years Prof. Catlett has done much institute work over the state. He is a member of the Southeastern Kansas Teachers' Association, and also of the Kansas State Teachers' Association. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; politically a Republican, and in church faith a Methodist.
In 1896 he was united in marriage with Miss Dora Doty, of Columbus, Kan. Three children have graced the home of Professor and Mrs. CatlettHarold, Gladys and Robert. Prof. Catlett is numbered among the ablest educators of Kansas. Under his guidance the Cherokee county high school has made rapid advancement, and stands second to no other like school in the state. In personal demeanor Prof. Catlett is unostentatious, and he is universally respected by pupils, parents, fellow teachers and the public.Pages 220-221 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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