Deaf, State School for.Some efforts to educate deaf mutes were made in the latter part of the fifteenth century, but little practical advancement was made until about the middle of the eighteenth, when Charles M. L'Epee of France evolved the sign language. Dr. John Wallis of Oxford was the first to give practical instruction in England, and in 1772 Samuel Heinicke established a school at Leipsic, which was the first institution for the education of the deaf to receive government aid. About 1815 Rev. Thomas Gallaudet of Hartford, Conn., became interested in the subject and visited Europe, where he studied under Sicard, a pupil of L'Epee. Upon his return he introduced the system in the United States, but the improvements of a century have been such that the present mode of instruction bears but little resemblance to that practiced by Dr. Gallaudet and the early teachers to whom he imparted his methods. Civil authorities learned, however, that deaf mutes could, by proper training, be made self-sustaining citizens instead of becoming public charges in the almshouses of the country, and asylums or schools have been established in every state of the Union.
STATE SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF.
Philip A. Emery, who had taught in the deaf and dumb institute at Indianapolis, Ind., came to Kansas in 1860 and settled in the Wakarusa valley. One of his neighbors there was Jonathan R. Kennedy, who was the father of three children that were deaf mutes. He persuaded Mr. Emery to open a school for the instruction of such unfortunates. The original intention was to establish the school in Lawrence, but rents were too high there, and Mr. Emery leased a cottage of two rooms and an attic in Baldwin. On Feb. 26, 1863, Gov. Carney approved an act appropriating $1,500 to pay Mr. Emery for teaching deaf and dumb children, allowing him $4 per week for board and tuition for each child between the ages of eight and twenty-one years. This was the first aid extended by the State of Kansas for the education of the deaf.
The following year the appropriation was increased to $1,800 and the weekly allowance to 5 for each pupil. That year the school was removed to Topeka and was under the charge of B. R. Nordyke, but in 1865 it was taken back to Baldwin. By the act of Feb. 12, 1864, Johnson Clark of Miami county, J. Fleming of Linn county, and J. R. Brown of Johnson county were appointed commissioners to select a site of not less than 20 acres, in or near the city of Olathe, for a state institution for the education of the deaf and dumb, the location being made contingent upon the donation to the state by the people of Johnson county of a tract of 160 acres of land. Pending the action of the commissioners, and prior to the erection of buildings, the legislature by the act of Feb. 10, 1865, appropriated the sum of $4,500 to aid Joseph Mount in the instruction of the deaf, allowing him $5 per week for the board and tuition of each pupil under his care, his school to be conducted at Baldwin, provided the citizens of that town would furnish suitable quarters.
On Feb. 15, 1866, Gov. Crawford approved an act creating a board of five trustees, three of whom should be residents of Johnson county. This board was authorized to enter into a contract with Josiah E. Hayes for the erection of temporary buildings, which were to be leased by the state for a term of five years, with the privilege of renewal for another five years. By the act of Feb. 19, 1867, the trustees were empowered to purchase these buildings, at a consideration not exceeding $15,500, and bonds payable in twenty years, drawing interest at the rate of seven per cent. per annum were authorized to make the purchase. This was the real beginning of the state school for the deaf. Twenty years later the Kansas institution ranked eighth among eighty institutions of its kind in the United States. Appropriations for improvements have been made from time to time, until in 1908 the estimated value of the property held by the school was $250,000.
The chief aim of the school is to render deaf mutes capable of supporting themselves, thus making them useful citizens. A regular course of instruction is provided, corresponding to that in the public schools of the state, and graduating exercises are held annually. In the biennial period of 1909-10 there were enrolled 286 pupils, and in 1910 the number of graduates was ten. The sign language was used when the school was first opened, but by the application of modern methods the pupils have been taught the use of their voices and to read the lips of speakers.
Since the establishment of the school it has been under the charge of the following superintendents: Thomas Burnsides, 1866-67; Louis H. Jeninks, 1867-76; Theodore C. Bowles, 1876-79; (Mr. Bowles died on April 8, 1879, and the institution was under the management of George L. Wyckoff until Aug. 15, 1879); J. W. Parker, 1879-80; W. H. DeMotte, 1880-83; H. A. Turton, 1883-85; S. T. Walker, 1885-94; A. A. Stewart, 1894-95; H. C. Hammond, 189597; A. A. Stewart, 1897-99; H. C. Hammond, 1899-1908; C. E. White, 1909.Pages 496-498 from volume I 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 May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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