Since its beginning, the education of the children has been an
important concern of the Morland community. Miss Mary Wills and
Miss Jennie Baker were two of the first teachers in Fremont. Miss
Wills' salary was made up of donations by families in the community.
In a letter to the editor of the Morland published October 4, 1951,
Ralph Morgan writes the following: "As a boy 9 years old when
my folks came to Fremont April 1st, 1885, there was one house on
the townsite and we moved into it.
Father built a dugout and stone house on the block where Coy Morgan now lives. He was postmaster and kept a few groceries such as beans, rice, sugar, salt, some dried fruit, Horseshoe, J. T. Climax, old style tobacco and also Arbuckles coffee and gun powder, tea. After we moved out in the winter of '85-'86, there was a spring term of school held in the vacated building (1886). I remember very plainly the McGuffy book and the teacher thumping me on the head but the ideas she expected were likely very much at odds with the ones created. There was also a Sunday school organized using the same building."
A stone church had been completed in 1887 which was used as a school also. District 72 was organized that year. After the district was organized, construction began on a two room frame building which stood where the old stone Grade School stood. The annex built on later to make more room was called the "Green School House" because it was painted green. When the main building was torn down to make room for the new building, the green school house was moved to the Charles McFadden farm. An ad in the June 13, 1889 Graham Co. Times asked for bids for a two-story school house, either frame or stone, each room to seat 30 scholars and in 1889 it was said "Fremont can soon boast of a school house that cost $1000. The frame is now raised, and the carpenters can be heard pounding."
A letter written by Chief Justice John S. Dawson of the Kansas Supreme Court and published August 30, 1951 is descriptive of school teaching in the early days. He writes, "For several years, Fremont or Morland, was my trading point not that I had much patronage to confer on the merchants, but I managed to 'run my face' for my modest needs at Stober's store and at the Horton store. I could put my pony up in Chadsey's livery barn whether I could pay cash or not; and on rare occasions I put up at Dave Kay's hotel where Brooks' store is now located. A room and bed cost 25 cents per night.
I began teaching in the fall of 1890 at West Belleview, in the Anderson-Goddard neighborhood. I also taught at Banner down on the Saline near the present St. Peter. And I taught the school at Pleasant Valley on Bow Creek. In 1893 I wanted to get married, but felt that I had to get a better-paying job than the customary $25 per month. So I applied for the position of teacher at Morland.
The school board was Tom Jobes, John Chadsey and John Horton. Mr. Jobes, the Director conceded my qualifications, but said he suspected I was 'reading law' and he evicted a promise that I would not read law during school hours. His complaint against my immediate predecessor was that he 'read law' to the neglect of his teaching duties. As the Morland school board would pay the fabulous salary of $35 per month, I readily gave the required pledge and got the contract to teach the Morland school for a term of seven months.
My wife and I lived in a small sod house on my homestead. She taught West Belleview at $25 per month and I at Morland at $35 we were a pair of affluent young 'plutocrats' 58 years ago.
Morland was a one-teacher school in 1893-94. I had about 35 pupils from the primary, to the eighth grade inclusive. And they were a fine bunch of youngsters; and all grew up to be good men and women."
High school classes were also held in the stone schoolhouse. On the 9th day of March, 1920 a special election was held for the purpose of establishing and locating a rural high school district and to vote bonds in the sum of $60,000 for the purchase and construction of a building upon block number twenty-six. 468 votes were cast, 374 for the school and 94 against it; thus Morland became the first city in Graham County to build a High School building.
In April 1920, the first high school board was elected who were: T. N. Sanger, Director; T. M. Born, Clerk and O. A. Hunsicker, Treasurer. On February 11, 1921 the High School building was dedicated. People came bringing well filled lunch baskets, Tables were spread in the gymnasium and over five hundred ate. A committee of ladies assisted by Miss Anna Searl and her domestic science girls and boys served the dinner.
President Lewis of Fort Hays State College gave the dedicatory address and there were numerous musical numbers also.
On April 29, 1921 residents of the district assembled to level the grounds. A cement wall had already been built along the west and part of the south side of the grounds prior to this. Men and boys brought wagons, teams, trucks, fresnos, slips, plows, spades and shovels and worked all day. Again the ladies brought baskets of good things to eat and the food committee, Miss Anna Searl, Mrs. Webber and Mrs. Richolson, assisted by the school girls, served the dinner.
In July of 1938, work was started on a new building on the high school grounds. This building was to be 34 x 70 feet, constructed of tile, and ready for the use of the Manual Training Department in September. Estimated cost was $3,000.
According to O. A. Hunsicker of the High School Board, the reason for the new building was to provide for the addition of a normal training course in the high school curriculum. This course was added so that graduates of Morland High School could teach without taking college work. A miniature school room was to be established in the High School in the old Manual training room in which the students would learn to teach. Mrs. W. D. Rath was head of the normal training department.
By 1950, the residents of the community felt the two story stone schoolhouse should be replaced and in January 1950 a grade school bond election was held for a new $65,000 building. 244 voters were reported to have cast a vote, 156 for the bond issue and 88 against. The opinion of the editor of the Morland Monitor was that "Morland has needed a new building for years, as the present stone structure is almost as old as Methuselah's mule."
While leveling the ground for the new building, a skeleton was unearthed. It was thought it might have been a soldier as a button resembling that of one on an army uniform was found. No alarm was aroused in Morland about this discovery however as it appeared to have been buried there many, many years ago, perhaps even before Morland was founded. A few foreign coins were found nearby and a dollar.
The opening and dedication of the new grade school building was held Monday, Sept. 3, 1951 and was attended by more than 300 people. The Morland band under the direction of Melvin Loflin presented a musical program and Dr. M. C. Cunningham, president of Ft. Hays State College, gave the dedication speech. Members of the school board were Ruth Sullivan, George Richmeier and Carl Goodrow.
At a public meeting Monday evening, April 30, 1956 school patrons voted for the school board to call an election for a new high school building for Rural High School District #1 The school was to cost $354,000 and
also a new Vocational Agriculture building at the cost of $40,000. The election was held June 15, 1956 and the High School building carried with a majority of 69 votes out of 334 cast. The Vocational Agriculture addition passed with a majority of 53 votes.
The first classes were held in Morland's beautiful new high school building in March 1958 and the building was dedicated April 27, 1958. Approximately 500 people toured the new High School on that day. The dedication program featured Dr. Forrest C. "Phog" Allen as speaker and the Fort Hays College Brass Choir.
Morland can certainly be proud of their modern, functional school facilities.
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