The early history of the schools of the county is somewhat obscure and many things that might be of interest respecting the efforts of the pioneers to give their children some educational advantages are not to be found on the records. But we know that the first district was organized on Gypsum creek, in the spring of 1870 and that the school house was built by private subscription. School District No. Two, was organized in the same township two years later and a small school house built. Several years after a part of district number two's territory was formed into district number eighty-eight and the nocturnal travels of the school house from one district to the other gained for it the name of the "Moonlight Traveler." The next district, number three, was organized in Smoky Hill township and included the town of Lindsborg. By the year 1883 there were ten organized districts, and at the present time there are 107 with 103 school houses. The people of the county generally are liberal patrons of the public school and excepting the Russians in the southern part of the county, there are very few children who do not attend school a quarter part of the year. The Russian Menonites maintain their own schools, teaching in the German language, and generally teaching the English language.

A vast difference in the financial history of the schools is apparent to-day compared with 1870 when the first school building was erected by private subscription while to-day the school property in the county amounts to $75,000, with a surplus of $7,458, in the hands of the various district treasurers. There are now in the county 5,742 children of school age and the expenses for all purposes in connection with school work last year was $40,379.55, or a little over $6.85 per capita. The first normal institute, held several years since, was attended by but about twenty teachers, while the term for 1883 was very successfully conducted with an enrollment of 138. The standard of education has kept pace with the growth in schools and school property, and the cities of the county all have excellent graded schools.

Source: Edwards Atlas of McPherson County, Kansas, Compiled and Published by John P. Edwards, 1884


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