History of Education

in
Lincoln County Kansas
1870-1892

written by A. T. Biggs
Lincoln County Schools Superintendent

The following history comes from a chapter on Lincoln County found on pages 149-151 of the book:
Columbian History of Education in Kansas / compiled by Kansas educators and published under the auspices of the Kansas State Historical Society, for the Columbian Exposition, 1898, commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America. (Topeka, Kan. : Hamilton Printing Company, 1893)

The first thought of the pioneers of Lincoln county was for the education of their children, and the first school was taught in a dugout in Martin Hendrickson's dooryard, by a young man named Marion Ivy, in the year 1870. The frist school district was organized the next year, by Washington Smith, county superintendent. There are now 85 districts, employing 94 teachers, and a school population of 3,600.

The first school in the city of Lincoln Centre was taught by Mrs. Anna C. Wait, in 1872, in a room 14 x 20. As there were 30 pupils, and this room was kitchen, parlor, dining room and bedroom for the Wait family, we can easily credit the statement that "they were a little crowded." The school now enrolls 500 pupils, and employs seven teachers. A substantial building, heated by steam, has taken the place of the 14 x 20 room. The building, though comparatively a small one, is one of the best in the state. It is capable of seating 600, and cost, including the steam-heating apparatus, about $18,000.

J. D. Miller, Ira W. Russell, C. T. Pickett, J. A. Schofield, N. Coover, S. V. Mallory, J. Sonnedecker, R. A. Hampshire and J. H. Ware have had charge of the school, in the order named. The latter has been in charge for eight years.

The county superintendents have served in the following order: John Lyden, Washington Smith, J. H. Wright, J. P. Harman, A. T. Biggs, H. B. Harris, J. H. Allsworth, and A. T. Biggs. Mr. Allsworth served two terms and Mr. Biggs five. Mr. Smith was appointed to fill a vacancy caused by the refusal of John Harshbarger, who had been elected, to qualify. The superintendent elect is Horace Truman.

The normal institutes have been held as follows:

Month/year: August 1877
Conductor/salary: E. F. Robinson, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: Salome Pierson, $60
County superintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: August 1878
Conductor/salary: E. F. Robinson, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: Anna C. Wait, $50
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: August 1879
Conductor/salary: C. T. Pickett, $75
Instructor(s)/salary: Anna C. Wait, $40 -- J. R. Burton, $60*
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs
*For one week.

Month/year: August 1880
Conductor/salary: C. T. Pickett, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: Rhoda L. Phillips, $50
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: August 1881
Conductor/salary: C. T. Pickett, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: Anna C. Wait, $60
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: August 1882
Conductor/salary: A. T. Biggs, ----
Instructor(s)/salary: Anna C. Wait, $50 -- N. Coover, $50 -- Ella McGuire, $50
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: August 1883
Conductor/salary: C. T. Pickett, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: N. Coover, $60
County supertintendent: H. B. Harris

Month/year: July 1884
Conductor/salary: N. Coover, $85
Instructor(s)/salary: W. W. McCullough, $75
County supertintendent: H. B. Harris

Month/year: July 1885
Conductor/salary: N. Coover, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: R. A. Hampshire, $75
County supertintendent: J. H. Allsworth

Month/year: July 1886
Conductor/salary: N. Coover, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: A. D. Gilpin, $75
County supertintendent: J. H. Allsworth

Month/year: July 1887
Conductor/salary: A. V. Sparhawk, $125
Instructor(s)/salary: A. D. Gilpin, $75
County supertintendent: J. H. Allsworth

Month/year: July 1888
Conductor/salary: A. V. Sparhawk, $90
Instructor(s)/salary: A. D. Gilpin, $90
County supertintendent: J. H. Allsworth

Month/year: July 1889
Conductor/salary: C. T. Pickett, $100
Instructor(s)/salary: J. H. Ware, $90
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: July 1890
Conductor/salary: A. T. Biggs, $-----
Instructor(s)/salary: J. H. Ware, $135 -- W. T. Clark, $55 -- H. B. Morrison, $50
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: July 1891
Conductor/salary: A. T. Biggs, $-----
Instructor(s)/salary: J. H. Ware, $60 -- H. Truman, $60 -- C. H. Steele, $60
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

Month/year: July 1892
Conductor/salary: A. T. Biggs, $-----
Instructor(s)/salary: J. H. Ware, $60 -- H. Truman, $40 -- E. D. Smith, $30 --- A. Schuyler, $120
County supertintendent: A. T. Biggs

The attendance has risen from 23 in 1877 to 155 in 1892. In 1877, the business and professional men of the town of Lincoln enrolled and paid the fee, in order to secure the $50 appropriation from the State.

The phenomenally large attendance of the last year was largely due to the desire of the teachers to take lessons in mathematics and psychology under the veteran schoolmaster, Doctor Schuyler.

Among the prominent teachers, may be mentioned John A. Schofield, a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, who has been constantly teaching since; Mrs. Anna C. Wait, who has taught about 200 weeks, in three or four different states, and though not now teaching, takes an active interest in education, and the earnest, honest teacher finds in her a friend and counselor; Mrs. Susan S. Smith, who has been actively engaged in teaching for 30 years, and who has long enjoyed the distinction of standing at or near the head of the class of first-class teachers; J. H. Ware, for the last eight years principal of the Lincoln Centre schools, who has had some 16 or 18 years' experience in teaching, in addition to serving four years as county superintendent in Iowa.

Mrs. Moss, the primary teacher in the Lincoln schools, is a veteran of some 18 years experience, and one of the heaven-made variety.

Horace Truman, the county superintendent elect, is a young man with brains, energy and pure motives. He has taught in Lincoln county 15 years---four years as assistant principal in Lincoln. The outgoing superintendent, and writer hereof, is a back number from before the war--- a kind of relic of the fossiliferous age. His meager education was acquired studying by the light of pine knots, back among the hills of southeaster Ohio, where he began teaching 33 years ago, when 15 years of age. He attributes whatever of success he has attained in teaching, and in 10- years' superintendency, to his love for children and work.

One of the most serious hindrances to uniform success in the schools of this county is the present iniquitous method of taxation, whereby one district can maintain a nine-months school with a 3-mill levy, while an adjoining district can only maintain a four-months school with a 20- mill levy. The state ought to be the unit of taxation for school purposes. Among the drawbacks are the short tenure of office, and the very tender age of many of the teachers. Very young teachers sometimes succeed.

Kansas Christian College
The Kansas State Christian Conference, by resolution, passed October 20, 1882, instructed its board of trustees to locate and establish a school in central Kansas. The propositions of different localities, were not acted upon until January 31, 1884, when that of Lincoln, Lincoln county, Kansas, was accepted. The Lincoln College Building Association was then formed and chartered, and the final contract between this association and the trustees of the Kansas State Christian Conference was signed March 24, 1884.

By the terms of this contract, said association was to erect a suitable college building, at a cost of not less than $10,000, and when the Christian Conference raised an endowment equal in amount to the cost of the building, the college property was to be conveyed by deed to the conference.

The erection of the building was begun in 1884, but owing to financial depression, the work proceeded slowly, and in 1892 the building association tendered the State Conference the right and title of the property, which proposition was accepted; and thus the control of the property, as well as the school, passed into the hands of the trustees of the college.

The Hon. Thomas Bartlett was chosen first president of the college and served until the close of the school year in 1891, when, owing to failing health, he resigned.

A preparatory school was begun in the Baptist Church in Lincoln, April 21, 1884, by Rev. Geo. Jenney. The college proper was opened in September of the same year, under the superintendence of President Bartlett.

The building is a substantial stone structure, and, when completed, will accommodate about 150 students.


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