Greenwood county was first settled in 1856, but not organized until 1862. The educational interests early fell into the hands of those whose determination it was to make the school facilities keep pace with the rapid increase in school population. The endeavors put forth to reach and maintain a high standard of educational work have been crowned with a very flattering degree of success.
The first school in the county appears to have been taught near the present city of Madison, in the north part of the county. A private school was taught, however, in the fall of 1858, in Eureka, by Edwin Tucker. This was four years prior to the organization of the county and 10 years before Eurkea was little more than a country cross-roads post office.
Among the pioneer teachers were enlisted the following-named persons, some of whom are still with us and well known inthe county and State: Edwin Tucker, Miss L.L. Tucker, Miss Anna Cutter, H. A. Dales, Miss Mary Claycomb, Arthur Gleason, L. N. Fanchier, and others. These taught in the days when log huts, dugouts, slab shanties and rock forts were the abodes of the settlers.
As early as 1870, a county normal institute was organized and held in Eureka. From the proceedings of this first institute we copy the following:
"Tuesday, November 15, 1870 - Pursuant to the call of the county superintendent, the institute met in the schoolhouse, Eureka, at 2 o'clock p.m., and was called to order by Mr. W. E. J. Nixon, county superintendent, as chairman of the institute. P. C. Hughs, Esq., was appointed secretary." (Here the names of those who became members of the institue are given. Twenty-five teachers were enrolled.) "A committee on program of proceedings was then appointed by the chairman, consisting of Misses Hawkins and Stamm and Mr. J. E. Walters, who reported a series of exerises, which was adopted, and the proceedings throughout the session of the institute conducted in accordance with the same, with slight changes as the occasion demanded. Miss Stamm and Mr. Barrier were appointed critics for the day. Exercises in reading were conducted by Miss Hawkins. Question for discussion: 'What is reading?' Defined by Miss Hawkins, that 'reading is the adequate expression of the thoughts and emotions of a written or pritned composition in vocal utterances,' which definition was followed by a short lecture on reading, which was listened to by all with great interest. A discussion on the pronunciation of words was participated in by nearly all who were present. It was then moved by Mr. Watt that the sessions of the institute be held from 9 o'clock a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. Adjourned till Wednesday morning.
And thus the records proceed to chronicle faithfully each day's proceedings, until we find that, with exercises in reading, spelling, gymnastics, arithmetic, music, grammar, geography, diagraming and addresses, and lectures, we have reported the doings of one of the first normal institutes in Kansas. The minutes of this first institute form a part of the official records in the county superintendent's office. Annual institutes, of the same nature as this one just described, continued in vogue until the year 1877, when the present law went into effect. The enrollment has grown from 25, in 1870, to 205, in 1892.
In 1867, there were 17 organized districts in the county, but after that date districts were organized with great rapidity and in the year 1879, there were 80 districts with a reported school population of 3,424; in 1882, 90 districts, with a school population of 4,219; and in 1887 there were 106 districts, with a school population of more than 6,000. Greenwood county now has 113 organized districts, and 129 schoolrooms, outside the city of Eureka, in which there were enrolled, during the school year of 1892, 3,807 pupils. The total school population of the same year, as reported by district clerks, was 5,601 persons.
In the year 1866, it appears the amount disbursed for teachers' wages was something over $1,400; and the children attending school during that year were over 600. During the year 1892, the total amount received for school purposes was $50,160.01 and the total amount paid out during the year for school purposes was $42,040.99, and of this amount $31,701.28 was paid for teachers' wages and supervision.
With increased population, better-tilled farms, and better farm houses and their resulting comforts, came new zeal and a fresh supply of enthusiasm in the work of education, which gradually tended to systematize the shool work throughout the county, until now it ranks among the first in the State. Much credit is due the tax payers of the county, upon whom of necessity the chief burden must fall. First-class work has been and is demanded, which can only be secured at the price of first-class wages. The teachers and county superintendents have been diligent and earnest in organizing the work to make it more effective and have succeeded in grading all the schools of the county.
The complete list of county superintendents is as follows:
For Madison county, of which Greenwood county is, in part, formed: John W. Thorn, 1859; A. K. Hawks, 1860-61.
For Greenwood County: Edwin Tucker, 1862-64; F. G. Allis, 1866; W. E. J. Nixon, 1868; L. H. Platt, 1870; G. H. Martz, 1872; H. T. Johns, 1874; J. F. Troxell, 1876; g. H. Martz, 1878-82; Georgiana Daniels, 1882-86; g. W. Kendrick, 1886-90; P. F. Yearout, 1890.
Mr. Allis, Mr. Nixon and Mr. Tucker still reside in this county. They are among our honored and most highly respected citizens. Miss Daniels, now Mrs. Newhouse, resides in El Dorado, Kas. J. F. Troxell removed to Colorado, where he died in the year 1891. G. H. Martz now resides in Greenville, Ohio. He is, at this writing, a banker. G. W. Kendrick is superintendent of the Clay Centre schools, of this State, having removed to that place at the expiration of his term.
The writer is informed that L. H. Platt now resides in Topeka. the whereabouts of H. T. Johns is not known.
At this place, it would be interesting to give a list of the teachers of the county, but it is impossible to do so, as to the early records are silent. This much is, however, known, that the pioneer teachers of this county were made up of some of the best material from New England, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
To Georgiana Daniels is due much credit for having prepared the first course of study for the commons schools of the county. This course of study was carefully prepared, and contained many practical suggestions that aided teachers greatly in their work. This course contained a plan for adoption for each district, which was as follows:
At a regular meeting of the district board of school district No. ___, Greenwood county, Kansas, held at ______, on the ______ day of ______, 18__, this course of study was adopted for use in the school of said district.
The work of organization and graduation has gone steadily forward, and each year marks a step higher in the eduational scale of advancement. By means of normal institutes, reading circle, county and district associations, our teachers are becoming broader, deeper, and more thoroughly competent to perform their duties in the schoolroom, with greater satisfaction better and more permanent results than it was possible to attain in the past. The old and inconvenient school buildings are being replaced by large, commodious and well-ventilated schoolrooms, many of which are fully equipped with the latest and most useful aids and appliances necessary to the furtherance of the cause of education.
What has been accomplished in the past is an earnest of what we shall do in the future. Education is yet in its infancy, and as it moves onward, gaining and adding new vigor and strength to itself, Greenwood county shares in its development and its glory.
Eureka Schools - Eureka is in the pioneer town of the county in educational matters. In 1865, some years before it was more than a cross-roads post station Mr. Edwin Tucker started a private school for the convenience of his neighbors. Later, after the county was organized and school district boards took up the work of providing means for educating the youth of this and other hamlets, Edwin Tucker, Miss L. L. Tucker, Miss Anna Cutter, Arthur Gleason, L. N. Fanchier, H. A. Dales, Miss Mary Claycomb and others wielded the birch in Eureka, or more probably the hickory.
Early in the 70's, filled with a belief in the future greatness of Eureka, the people erected on the Prospect Hill a stone schoolhouse at a cost of $20,000. The great cost of this building was largely due to the fact that everything except the stone was hauled by teams from Emporia, 50 miles away. With the advent of railroads came a large increase in the population of the town, and a great diminution in the cost of building. A second four-room stone building was erected in the western part of the city in 1886, and a two-room frame building in the northern part, both at only a cost of $10,500. These buildings accommodate nearly 600 pupils, and all of them are pleasantly located and are surrounded with ample playgrounds. The one on Prospect Hill, with the high bluffs, bordering Fall river in the far and near distance, commands one of the finest views in the county. Here, from 1872 to 1883, aided by from three to seven teachers, J. F. Troxell, G. H. Martz, C. C. Robbins, J. M. Ross and J. S. Gallagher deepened and broadened the educational work in the Eureka schools.
During the next five years, L. C. Wooster, under the direction of the district board, and finally of the board of education, reorganized the schools and established a course and study. This course of study gave an outline for 12 years of work in the common and preparatory branches of study and became the basis for the subsequent excellent work done in the schools. This course was especially strong in language work and the natural sciences. W. S. Picken, who became superintendent in 1888, adapted this course more closely to the requirements of the State University, and, by shortening it one year, prepared a class for graduation in June, 1889, the first in the history of the schools. Mr. Picken ably supported by Dr. J. Dillon, president of the board of education, did most excellent work in the cause of education and succeeded in inducing more and more of the boys and girls each year to remain and complete one of the courses of study.
In 1891, E. T. Hand, and in 1892, G. A. Bower, became superintendents and profiting by the mistakes as well as the successes of their predecessors have guided the school work into the stiller waters which surround long or well established precedents.
School work in Eureka as in every new community has suffered somewhat from the spirit ofchange which possesses the people. New sets of children, whose previous training has been of all degrees of excellence, come to the schoolrooms at all seasons of the year, and other children, whose school ways have become established, take their departure.
The needs of a rapidly increasing population are met with the greatest difficulty. All sorts of buildings have to be brought into use. One small building, at Eureka at various times served the purpose of a saloon, city hall, engine room and primary-school building, and later of a stable. But here, as elsewhere, permanent buildings were erected as soon as possible, and sometimes sooner than perhaps was wise, and all modern conveniences given to the school children.
As in all new countries, and, perhaps, in some older ones as well, the burden of taxation is very unequally distributed among the districts of Greenwood county. Those districts so fortunate as to be traversed by one or more railroads can readily employ such teachers as they wish, and erect and furnish all the school buildings they need, without being heavily burdened with taxation. District No. 4, in which Eureka is situated, is one of the most favored in the county in this respect, and the railroad taxes must be considered as one of the most potent factors in the growth of the Eureka schools.
But undoubtedly the desire for the best school facilities for their children was brought by the parents from the tier of States bordering the Ohio river on the north, the old Northwest Territory. Indeed, nearly 40 per cent, of the children were born in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and a much larger per cent, of the parents. The desire for an education was born in the children, and the writer feels that he does not exaggerate when he says that not in Eureka, nor in Greenwood county alone, but in all Kansas, the best blood of the entire United States flows in the arteries of its people.
Southern Kansas Academy.*-The Southern Kansas Academy was organized under the auspices of the Southern Association of Congregational Churches of Kansas. In September, 1884, the association voted to locate the academy at Eureka, and to liberally endow it, provided a site and suitable building were furnished by those locally interested in such an institution. The citizens of the town and county donated a site of 15 acres, and erected thereon a brick and stone building, at a cost of $13,000.
The school was opened in September, 1886, with Prof. A. J. Burnell as principal. Four classes, with a total membership of 42, have been graduated from the three-and four-year courses, beginning with the class of 1889.
The academy does ordinary academio work, fitting its graduates to enter the freshman class of the State University, or other similar institutions. The purpose of its founders was to establish and maintain a Christian school of a high order, but altogether nonsectarian.
Like most academies which are dependent upon the voluntary gifts of friends, in large part, for support, the Southern Kansas Academy has had a struggle for existence; but the board of trustees hopes soon to secure a permanent endowment fund sufficiently large to give it liberal financial support.
The'enrollment last year and this has been about 80. The faculty for the year 1892-'93 consists of E. G. Lancaster, A. M., principal, and teacher of mental and moral science, classics, and arithmetic; C. L. Upton, A.B., teacher of natural sciences and algebra; Miss Eva M. Qowing, A. B., teacher of classics and literature; Mrs. E. Q. Lancaster, A. M., teacher of German, mathematics, and essays. The courses of study are: Classical, scientific, literary and normal, and preparatory.
The classical course prepares for the classical course in college. A thorough foundation will be laid. Careful drill in Greek and Latin forms. Much time will be given to sight reading, and care to good English in translation. Classical history, geography and literature will be made familiar. In addition to most academic courses, we offer a whole year in general history. This course opens the way to the broadest culture and strongest mental training.
The scientific course prepares the way for the scientific course in college. It substitutes German, physics, rhetoric, physical geography, bookkeeping, zoology, and chemistry for Greek. It thus gives a 'practical education for business. The course is four years, but students may graduate in three years, as they are then prepared for oollege. The fourth year is for those who do not go to college, or who desire more extended preparation. Those who are to take the fourth-year mathematics may elect higher algebra in place of zoology and chemistry. English, essays, declamations, and elocution, the same as classical course.
The next course is termed literary and normal, from its somewhat composite character.
A college course is now possible to everyone who will make the effort, and the loss of the culture and mental growth which it alone gives will be much more keenly regretted in a few years in our State, as education advances. Still, for those who do not see the need of a full college course, or who cannot spare time for it, we furnish a four-years course, which will give them a practical education and a good position in literary circles. At the end of the first year, students are prepared for second-grade teachers9 certificates; at the end of the second year, for first-grade certificates. Declamations and essays the first three years, like the other courses; orations and elocution the fourth year. Those who intend to elect mathematics the fourth year may take the higher algebra, in plaice of zodlogy and chemistry, the third year.
The building is a large, light and well-ventilated structure, two stories above the basement, and well adapted for school purposes. It commands a fine view of the city and the surrounding country. The library contains over 1,000 volumes, well catalogued. The cabinet of rocks and minerals contains about 500 specimens.
The academy occupies one of the most favorable locations in southern Kansas, being situated on an eminence at the north end of Main street, in Eureka, Greenwood county, and in a city which is one of the most healthful places in the United States. The population is about 2,600, without a saloon, six churches, and a good system of waterworks and electric lights. It is accessible either by the Fort Scott, Wichita & Western railway, or the Howard branch of the Atohison, Topeka & Santa F6 railway, connecting Emporia and Moline.
Source: 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, 1893, Commemorating the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovery of America, 1893, pages 138-142