An account of the first school in the county, while not a public school, is still necessary for a history of our educational growth. Of this school I will let one of its founders, Dr. George Lisle, give the account, which is as follows:
"On or about the middle of May, 1858, James Childers, George Walker, William Blythe, Larkin McGhee, Benjamin Todd, Millard Rogers, John McMurtrie, James Hetherington and myself got together and concluded to build a school-house that would be large enough to have preaching in as often as we could get the preacher. A committee was appointed to select a site and fix upon size of house and call the people together to approve the same. The next Saturday was appointed, and everybody turned out and agreed to build it at a small spring in a branch one and one-half miles south of where Chetopa now stands. The people agreed to meet and go to work on Monday morning, which they did with such success that by Saturday night they had a house 22 by 24 feet square, floored with puncheons, seated and desked with the same, covered and lined with split and shaved clapboards; door and window fastenings were of boards cut with a whip-saw; and on Sunday it was dedicated in order. On Monday Joseph C. Henry commenced a school by the month, which he kept up almost one year, then Jeff. Jackson taught one term of three months; Pleasant McGhee taught one term; and Helen Hardin was teaching when the war broke out and ended our school, but not its effects."
The history of the public schools of the county commences with the election of Dr. John F. Newlon as county superintendent of public instruction, at the first election, held on April 22d, 1867. How soon after his election he commenced work I have no means of knowing, but a number of school districts must have been formed early in May of that year, for as early as June 1st we find the residents of one of the districts petitioning for a change of boundary. On account of the imperfection of our records as originally made, and of the entire loss of some of them, I am unable to speak with absolute definiteness in reference to the organization and history of many of the districts. Just how many districts were organized during Dr. Newlon's term of office I cannot say positively, and yet I may say with a reasonable degree of certainty that 20 is the number. From the appearance of the records the number cannot have exceeded 21 or 22, I think, and there is nothing showing clearly, nor hardly intimating anything beyond 20. The order for the organization of District No. 20 appears in Dr. Newlon's own writing. This cannot be said of any subsequent number so far as the records now show. It is quite likely some of these first 20 districts had scarcely any existence aside from on paper. Most of them, however, were at once organized and steps taken for the establishment of schools. The county having just been organized, there was of course no public money, nor any public schools before the fall of 1867, and I can learn of but two private schools having been taught that year, viz., one in Oswego District, No. 1, and one in District No. 2. However, levies for school purposes were made that summer and taxes collected the following fall and winter, and from this time on the public schools were regularly held for a greater or less length of time in most of the districts. In the Jacksonville district, No. 11, only a part of which was in this county, a public school was taught in the summer of 1867: that school was not in this county, although as a joint district, report of the school was made to our county superintendent, as well as to the superintendent of Neosho county.
All of Oswego township lying west and south of the Neosho river, excepting the two southern tiers of sections, was, by the first order made by Supt. Newlon, formed into School District No. 1. In June, 1867, Mrs. Augusta Herbaugh commenced teaching the first school in the district. It was of course a private school, no public funds having yet been raised with which to employ a teacher, She taught in a small log building with dirt floor, situated near the northeast corner of section 21. The first officers elected were: T. J. Flouronoy, director; Henry Jacobs, clerk; and J. Q. Cowell, treasurer. The first report of the district is dated August 14, 1867, and signed by H. Jacobs, clerk, and shows 30 male and 39 female children in the district, 17 males and 15 females having attended the private school taught by Mrs. Augusta Herbaugh at $2.50 per scholar, which school commenced on the 24th. of June. At that time there was standing on lot 1, block 33, now occupied by Mr. Symmes' drug store, a small frame building, in which most of the meetings, both religious and secular, were held. The board secured the use of this building for school purposes, and by a "bee" slabs were furnished with legs, and thus seats were provided; and in this room thus furnished, about the first of November, 1867, R. J. Elliott commenced teaching the first public school in the district, and one of the first, if not the very first, in the county. Public schools were taught that winter in several districts, but there are no records showing which was commenced first. Mr. Elliott's school continued for three months. There was no further school taught until the next fall. The second report is dated September 14, 1868, signed by J. F. Waskey, clerk, and shows a total enumeration of 176 children in the district, 77 of whom had attended a three-months school, taught by R. J. Elliott at a salary of $50 per month, the average attendance being 41. On March 26, 1868, the following were elected: E. Hammer, director; J. F. Waskey, clerk; A. L. Austin, treasurer. On February 9, 1869, Mr. Waskey resigned, and W. S. NewIon was appointed clerk in his place. During the summer of 1868 a subscription was taken up among the business men of the place, and a frame building was erected on the southeast corner of block 39, designed for public meetings as well as for school and church purposes. The only seats with which this building was furnished were rough slabs. In this building, in December, 1868, Rev. Cornelius V. Monfort and Miss Sallie Elliott commenced a term of school. Mr. Monfort was not especially adapted to public-school teaching, and at the expiration of two or three months found it advisable to give up his employment, and R. J. Elliott was again placed in charge of the school in connection with his sister Sallie. On March 10, 1869, on a vote of the district to issue $5,000 in bonds to build a new school house, there were 84 votes for and 8 against the proposition. The board elected on March 25, 1869, consisted of W. S. Newlon, director; George C. Sarvis, clerk; and R. W. Wright, treasurer. These officers had charge of the construction of the new schol-house.[sic] Dr. Wright took the bonds to Leavenworth, where he negotiated them and secured funds for paying for the building as it was erected. The town company donated the west half of block 16, on which, during the summer of 1869, a two-story stone building was erected, containing four good school-rooms capable of seating 50 pupil's each. The building was furnished throughout with patent seats and desks. In this building, late in the fall of 1869, a school was opened with George C. Sarvis, principal; Miss Louisa M. Allen, teacher of the intermediate; and Miss Sallie Elliott, teacher of the primary department. On September 14, 1869. George C. Sarvis, clerk, reported a total enrollment of 350, of whom 123 had been in school the preceding year, the average attendance being 98. In March, 1870, Henry Tibbits was elected director, J. F. Waskey, clerk, and R. W. Wright, treasurer. Mr. Waskey failed to qualify and George C. Sarvis was appointed to fill the vacancy. With the opening of the school year in the fall of 1870, David Donovan was employed as principal, in which position he was continued for three years. In 1871 the board consisted of W. S. Newlon, director; A. B. Close, clerk; C. M. Condon, treasurer. In the spring of 1872 Nelson Case succeeded Mr. Close as clerk; Dr. Newlon remained as director and Mr. Condon as treasurer, and the board as thus composed remained in office until the organization of the board of education in 1873. In April, 1872, at the city election the following persons were chosen members of the board of education: First Ward, Henry Tibbits, Joseph Nelson; Second Ward, Mrs. Mary B. Franklin, J. W. Minturn; Third Ward, Mrs. Mary E. Case and Alexander Mackie. Some of these parties not desiring to serve, it was concluded not to organize the board of education, and the school continued under the charge of the district board as formerly elected. At the April election in 1873 a board of education was elected, consisting of Joseph Nelson and H. P. Nelson from the First Ward, G. C. Sarvis and Dr. S. P. Hurbut from the Second Ward, and H. W. Barnes and R. J. Elliott from the Third Ward. The board organized by electing Mr. Nelson president and Mr. Sarvis clerk; Nelson Case was elected superintendent of schools. Until the fall of 1883 the plan of the board was to have the teacher of the high school the principal of the school, and to employ a superintendent who was to have the general direction of school affairs, but who was not on the teaching force. Under this plan the superintendents were Nelson Case, Mary A. Higby, W. S. Newlon, W. A. Starr, F. H. Atchison, D. H. Mays, and M. Chidester. During this time the principals of the school were: April 1873, David Donovan, who resigned at the end of the month, and Mrs. E. Williams was put in charge until the close of the school; 1873-76, A. C. Baker, three years; 1876-78, J. B. Hoover, two years; 1878-79, Mrs. J. R. Boulter, one year; 1879-81, A. C. Baker, two years; 1881-83, 0. R. Bellamy, two years. Commencing with the fall of 1883 the superintendent of schools has been one of the teachers; sometimes he has also been principal of the high school, and sometimes there has been a separate principal of the high school. Under this arrangement the superintendents have been: 1883-86, M. Chidester, three years; 1886-90, J. W. Weltner, four years; 1890-91, Evelyn B. Baldwin, one year; 1891-94, Henry C. Long, three years; 1894-96, Warren M. Edmundson, two years; 1896-1900, Charles H. Williams, four years; 1900, Herbert W. Todd. Presidents of the board: 1873, Joseph Nelson; 1874, H. W. Barnes; 1875, Nelson Case; 1876-77, John A. Pigg; 1878-79, R. W. Wright; 1880-83, Nelson Case; 1884-88, J. B. Montgomery; 1889-90, Nelson Case; 1891, J. B. Montgomery; 1892, David Jennings; 1893-94, Nelson Case; 1895, E. T. Read; 1896-97, John N. Utterson; 1898-1900, Lee Williams. Clerks of the board: 1873, George C. Sarvis; 1874, John W. Montfort; 1875, John W. Montfort and R. J. Elliott; 1876, C. A. Wilkin; 1877, John S. Read and Charles H. Willhalf; 1878, J. C. Boulter; 1879, F. C. Helsel; 1880, N. Sanford and F. H. Atchinson; 1881-82, William Houck; 1883, F. H. Atchinson; 1884-85, John F. Hill; 1886-1892, A. T. Dickerman; 1893-94, John Elliott; 1895-96, George Campbell; 1897-99, C. A. Wilkin; 1900, W. K. Orr. At the close of school in April, 1884, the first graduating class went out, consisting of Eunice Crane, Samuel Carpenter, D. S. Waskey, and Merrit C. Reed. The graduates now number 27 boys and 99 girls, total 126; of this number, five were colored students. For some time prior to 1882 the stone school-house was entirely insufficient to seat the pupils of the district, and rooms had to be secured in such places as they could be had. Of course very inferior accommodations could be provided in this way. During 1880 and 1881 the board submitted several propositions to the electors for the issuance of bonds for a new school-house, which were voted down. In his annual report in 1881, and again in 1882, the president of the board urged the erection of a new house, and on June 6, 1882, a proposition to issue $12,000 in bonds was carried. With this the north half and the central part of the south half of block 4, in Cowell's addition, was secured for a site, on which the west school building was erected during the summer and fall, and in January, 1883, was occupied for school purposes. In 1886 the old stone school-house was torn down and a new brick erected on the same site, at a cost of $6,000.
June 16, 1871, at the close of the county teachers' association the ladies of Oswego formed an educational association, of which Mrs. Mary E. Perkins was elected president and Mrs. Amy B. Howard, secretary. On June 15, 1872, they held their first annual meeting, and elected Mrs. M. E. Donovan president and Mrs. E. Williams, secretary. At the annual election of 1873 Mrs. M. E. Donovan was re-elected president; Mrs. E. Williams, secretary; Mrs. A. M. Taylor, treasurer. The association was maintained for several years, and did a great amount of good. Through their exertions the school-house grounds were fenced, the trees which now adorn the east school-house yard were planted under their superintendency, the city authorities were induced to assist in securing side walks leading to the school-house, and in many ways their influence on the school was felt for good.
The original order for the formation of District No. 2 is now on file,, and shows that it was located in the southeast corner of Oswego township. The first report of the district is dated August 9, 1867, signed by William F. Mason, clerk, showing 46 children in the district, 26 being in attendance on a private school taught by Mrs. Sarah Braught, wife of Cloyd G. Braught. Mrs. Braught taught in their own cabin, situated on section 34, in Oswego township. John W. Burgess, clerk, makes two reports, one dated September 14, 1868, showing, 55 children in the district, 33 having attended a three-months' school taught by W. Leonard at $25 per month; the average daily attendance was 16. 0. Whitney was clerk in 1869, and shows by report that Mary E. Biggs had taught a three-months' school the preceding season at $25 per month.
The original order for the organization of District No. 3 is not among the public records, but on June 1, 1867, a petition of a number of the residents of that district living in Richland township, north of the Labette and west of the Neosho river, petitioned for a change of boundary so that it should include all of the township lying north of Labette creek, and west from the Neosho as far as and including a part of sections 17, 8 and 5, which petition Superintendent Newlon granted. The report of the district for 1867 has evidently been torn and mutilated, so that at present no information can be gathered therefrom. The first report we have is dated November 9, 1868, signed by M. J. Lee, clerk, showing 25 males and 20 female children in the district, and that a school had been taught by Cass Steel. Mr. Lee again reports as clerk, in 1869; the report shows a three-months' school having been taught by Miss Lizzie Kingsbury, with an average dally attendance of 22, at a salary of $25 per month. On June 12, 1869, a special meeting was held, at which 16 votes were cast, all in favor of issuing $350 in bonds with which to build a school-house. With this money the district purchased a frame store building which L. D. Bovee had put up for Mr. Smith at the old town of Labette, and moved it out to the Oswego and Chetopa rcad. This building has served the district as a school-house ever since.
All of the original records we have in reference to the formation of the early districts in the county are on slips of paper. There is no record whatever now on file of the formation of any district in the county numbered 4; but the original records describing District No. 5 completely fit the territory which has ever since been recognized as District No. 4, and the description of District No. 6 fits the territory which was thereafter recognized as District No. 5; and as there is little or no record of any business in District No. 6 prior to the establishment of such a district in 1872, it may be fairly inferred that the superintendent in writing out these orders made a mistake in numbering them, leaving out 4 entirely. I shall assume that the original order for the establishment No. 5 was intended for and was thereafter uniformly applied to District No. 4. It embraced two miles in width on the east line of the county, extending from Labette creek on the north to the State line on the south. We have no record showing who composed the first board of this district, but the first report is dated August 14, 1867, and is signed by Henry Shannon. The only thing the report shows is that there are in the district 20 males and 16 females of school age. We have then this negative testimony that no school was taught in this district prior to that time. During 1868 the school board consisted of William Craft, director; Daniel J. Doolen, clerk; Z. A. Woodard, treasurer. The report dated August 29, 1868, shows the school population to be 137, and that a three-months' school of 26 males and 29 females, and a total average daily attendance of 30, had been taught by Miss Ellen Craft at a salary of $25 per month. During the winter of 1868-69 a school with two departments was taught; one by Mrs. Abigail Horner, and the other by Miss Ellen Craft. No school building had yet been erected, but early in 1869 a contract was made for the erection of a school building. At the election on March 25, 1869, the following officers were elected: J. L. Taft, director; John W. Horner, clerk; C. P. Spaulding, treasurer. On December 5, 1869, the schools were opened in Spaulding's Hall, in charge of Newton Bowles and his daughter, Miss Eva Bowles. On February 3, 1870, the new frame school-house having been completed, it was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. On the 7th of the same month the schools were opened in this new building, which even then was found to be too small to accommodate the children who were ready to attend. At the election in the spring of 1870 N. S. Storrs was elected director; J. W. Horner, clerk; and J. L. Taft, treasurer. During the summer Mr. Storrs resigned and Jonas Clark was appointed in his place. J. J. McBride was appointed principal of the schools for the following year, but in January resigned, and for a time Miss M. L. Ela, who had been one of the assistant teachers, was put in charge, but in March she resigned, and Mr. Griswold was elected principal. At the district election in 1871, Jonas Clark was elected director, C. H. McCreery, clerk, and J. L. Taft, treasurer. The city having been organized into a city of the second class about this time, on March 29, 1871, Mayor Fox assumed, with the assent of the council, to organize the board of education, and appointed as members thereof the following: Jonas Clark, Dr. John Birch, C. F. Smith, and Rev. C. H. McCreery. On May 1st these parties met as the board of education and proceeded to organize by electing Mr. Clark as president; Mr. Birch, vice-president; Mr. McCreery, clerk; and Mr. Smith, treasurer; they then appointed J. M. Cavaness superintendent of schools. In September, 1871, the schools were opened under the superintendency of Edward Mason. On June 10, 1872, by a vote of 147 for to 54 against, it was decided to issue $25,000 in bonds to build a new school-house. In due course of time preparations for building were made. The board pushed forward the work as rapidly as possible. The building was completed and dedicated on July 4, 1873, and was at that time the finest school-house in the county. A separate building was then erected for colored children. The first graduating class consisted of M. Nellie McGinley, Allie Horner, Jessie Sellman, and Harry W. Sterling. This class went out in 1883. There have been 44 boys and 97 girls, total, 141, graduated from the school. The largest enrollment in its history was in 1898, when it reached 753. The high school course is on a grade with that of others, which prepare for college. J. M. Cavaness, C. H. McCreery, J. Paulsen and J. D. Graham at various times have acted as city superintendent. In recent years the principals of the high school have also been superintendents. The principals, term commencing in the fall of the year named, have been: 1871, Edward M. Mason; 1872, L. J. VanLandingham; 1873. J. W. Horner; 1874, P. Fales; 1875, J. A. R. Smith; 1876, Buel T. Davis; 1877-78, Hobert Hay; 1879, L. J. VanLandingham; 1880, 0. V. Hayes; 1881-84, J. W. Weltner; 1885, J. W. Weltner and W. W. Lindsey; 1886, Buel T. Davis; 1887-88, S. D. Crane; 1889-91, E. A. Herod; 1892-94, Clay D. Herod; 1894-96, G. M. Brown; 1896-97, A. J. Lovett; 1897-, M. Nellie McGinley. Presidents: 1871, Jonas Clark; 1872, Dr. John Burch; 1873, J. M. Barman; 1874, L. J. VanLandingham; 1875, F. A. Hunter; 1876, William Alexander; 1877, L. J. VanLandingham; 1878, C. H. Guntler; 1879-82, Lewis Williams; 1883-85, J. C. Witt; 1886-87, G. D. Boon; 1888, G. W. McEwen; 1889, G. D. Boon; 1890, B. F. Danforth; 1891, J. C. Witt; 1892-97, Mrs. Clara N. Bush; 1898-99, J. B. Anderson; 1900 -, A. P. Free. Clerks, 1871, C. H. McCreery; 1872, J. M. Bannan; 1873, C. H. Ludlow; 1874, C. Humble; 1875, L. J. VanLandingham; 1876-77, C. Humble; 1878, C. M. Williams; 1879-80, N. S. Van Ausdale; 1881, A. G. Drake and L. M. Bedell; 1882-89, A. G. Drake; 1890-97, G. W. McEwen; 1898, R. A. Lough; 1899-1900, A. J. Doran.
As I said in describing District No. 4, I must assume that the superintendent in preparing the records which have come down to us made a mistake in numbering these districts, as the description of what he has numbered 5 applies to the district which was thereafter designated 4, and the district he has numbered 6 applies to that which was thereafter acted upon as 5. The original order for the formation of District No. 5, as numbered on said order, made it to embrace the east part of Richland township, including the town of Chetopa; but all subsequent proceedings make it evident that that order was intended to be for District No. 4, or at least that it was thereafter acted upon as No. 4. As I have before assumed that the order by the superintendent numbered 5, was intended for 4, so I must assume that for the formation of District No, 6 was intended to be, as it was thereafter regularly recognized, District No. 5. It commenced at the northwest corner of section 1, in Hackberry township, and extended south to the State line; thence east three miles; thence north to the Labette river; thence up said stream to the place of beginning. This seems to leave the middle tier of sections running north and south in Richland township out of either school district. Perhaps the superintendent's intention was to put District No. 6 in Hackberry township, and after running south to the State line, instead of running east, he should have made his order read, "thence running west." Or it may be that at that time, in some way, Districts Nos. 4, 5 and 6 were understood to embrace all of Richland township south of Labette creek, notwithstanding the imperfect description in the orders forming them. But that the west part of Richland township was organized District No. 5, rather than District No. 6, is made clear by a petition which was presented sometime during Mr. Newlon's administration, although the date is not given, wherein Moses Powers, John Kenney, William Shay, John N. Watson, S. R. Southwick and a number of others represented themselves as being residents of District No. 5, and asked that the district might be made to commence at the southwest corner of said township, which would be, as then constituted, the southwest corner of section 31, and to extend three miles east and three miles north. William Shay was the first director, S. R. Southwick the first clerk, and John Kinney the first treasurer of this district. The first report is dated September 5, 1867, and shows 39 children of school age in the district. No public school was taught in the district until the fall of 1868. The clerk's report, dated September 12, 1868, show's 51 children of school age, and that Matilda Quinby had taught a three-months subscription school, with an attendance of 11 males and 13 females. The next winter S. R. Southwick taught a three-months school at $35 per month, and in the spring Miss Frankie Hull taught a three-months school at $25 per month. The first school was taught in David Wagoner's vacant house on the southwest quarter of section 18. The first school meeting was held on the open prairie of John N. Watson's claim, on the northwest quarter of section 29. It was there agreed that each person should bring in a few logs, and that they would put up a log schoolhouse. This project was not carried out, and in the spring of 1869 they put up a frame house. D. U. Watson is credited with having been present at every school meeting that has ever been held in the district.
What I have said in speaking of Districts Nos. 4 and 5 may be referred to at this place for a fuller statement in reference to this district. Aside from the order granting District No. 6, which I have heretofore assumed to be intended for a description of District No. 5, I find only these matters of record which would indicate that at any time there was any district designated as No. 6 prior to 1872. There is a report dated August 15, 1867, signed by J. B. Huntly, clerk, which he represents to be a report for District No. 4, but at the bottom, evidently in the handwriting of the superintendent, it is marked District No. 6, and is said to be in Oswego township; and in May, 1871, by the notices of election returns, it seems that Stanley Foland was director; Joseph Watson, clerk; and Wm. H. Payne, treasurer of District No. 6. On May 28, 1872, Superintendent Horner gave notice that he proposed to take the northeast quarter of section 27 and the southeast quarter of section 22, township 34, range 20, from District No. 6. If there was originally a district of this number organized, it seems to have lost its organization very soon, and its territory must have been embraced in other districts. The policy of the superintendent seems to have been, when a district of any number became extinct, to give that number to the next new district which should be organized, and this number was given to an entirely new district, situated in the central-southern part of Howard township. This district was formed by an order made March 17, 1872, on a petition dated March 9, 1872, signed by H. C. Long, William Blackford and others. The first school meeting in this new district was held at the house of E. R. Lee, on March 30, 1872, and the following officers elected: R. M. Roberts, director; John Morse, clerk; Wm. Stevenson, treasurer.
The original order for the formation of this district located it in the southwest corner of Oswego township, and a portion of Richland township lying north of Labette creek. A report dated September 14, 1867, signed by Francis M. Brockus, shows 31 children of school age in the district. This was the only item in the report, and this was the only report of the district as thus located which is now on file, and it seems that within the next few months this territory was absorbed by other districts, and this district became extinct. On December 14, 1869, Abner DeCou, Alexander Bishop, D. S. Bishop, Henry Newcomb and Henry G. Pore petitioned for the formation of a district to embrace sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, in Hackberry township; and by an order made on the 17th of that month this territory, and also section 7 in Richland township, was formed into a new district designated as NO. 7. A schoolhouse was built in the fall of 1870, but before the erection of a school-house one term of school had been taught in a private house belonging to Henry Pore, on section 10. This first school was taught, commencing in the fall of 1869, by Miss Esther Biggs.
This district is located in the southwestern part of Montana township. The first officers were: Samuel Dunham, director; R. S. Cornish, clerk; Joseph Brown, treasurer. The first report of this district is dated September 1, 1868, signed by R. S. Cornish, clerk, and shows 37 children of school age in the district, but no school having been taught therein. The first school in the district seems to have been taught in the spring of 1869, by A. A. Biggs. The report dated September 10, 1869, signed by E. G. Robinson, clerk, shows 37 children of school age, and an attendance Of 21 at school, the average daily attendance being 15, and the salary of the teacher $24 per month. A log school-house was put up in 1868, and in 1871 a good frame building took its place.
This district is located in Montana township, east of the Neosho river. It must have formed in 1867, although there is no record of its organization; nor indeed is there any record showing anything in reference thereto prior to 1870, when the district board is reported to have been composed of David M. Watson, Benjamin F. Hanson, and James H. White. On December 5, 1881, the school-house was destroyed by fire; and as the limit allowed by law for bonds had previously been reached, and the bonds were still outstanding, it was determined to raise funds by subscription with which to build. Considerable outside aid was secured, especially from the business men of Oswego. In this way the district was again soon supplied with a house.
This district was originally organized by Superintendent Newlon, embracing two miles in width on the north side of Fairview township and three miles in width on the south side of Liberty township, from the east line of said township five miles west. Wm. H. Cline was the first clerk, and on September 11, 1867, reported no school having been taught in the district, but an enrollment of 24 males and 19 females of school age. The first school in the district was taught by Wm. H. Cline, as is shown by the report of W. J. Conner, clerk, dated September 1, 1865 (evidently intended for 1868), at a salary of $33.33 1-3 per month. The school was taught in a claim cabin on the southeast quarter of section 27, belonging to the estate of A. W. Richardson. The attendance at this school was 10 males and 3 females, with an average attendance of 3 1-6. John Richardson succeeded W. J. Conner as clerk, and in the winter of 1868 James F. Molesworth taught a three-months school at a salary of $35 per month, with an average attendance of 14 1-2. This school was taught in the new hewed-log school-house which had just been erected on the southwest quarter of section 35. This house was built by subscription with the understanding that the parties should be repaid when the district could raise funds, which was done. The town of Labette was started in June, 1870, and thereafter the school was taught in town. The first school in town was opened in a rented room on the east side of the railroad track, October 6, 1870, by J. L. Williams. In December the board bought a two-story frame building on the west side of the railroad track, known as Bates' Hall. The lower part was occupied by the publishers of the Sentinel as a printing-office. The school was moved to the second story of this building, where Mr. Williams and his wife, Rachel Williams, both taught in one room. This building served as the school-house until June 6, 1878, when it was blown down and entirely destroyed by a tornado. Dr. Conner, seeing that his barometer indicated a storm, went to the school-house[sic] and directed school to be dismissed. The scholars were scarcely home till the house was in fragments. A new house was at once erected, and ready for occupancy that fall. Since 1881 the following named persons have taught in the more advanced of the two rooms of the school in this district: W. F. Thorne, H. G. Jenkins, J. T. Stone, W. V. McDowell, John Owen, E. L. Christy, Arthur Cranston, R. P. Arnold, Leslie Scott and, Allen Piatt. Messrs. McDowell, Christy, Arnold, Scott and Piatt each taught more than one year, and one or two of them officiated several years.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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