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Goodhue County
Genealogy and History


- - 1855 - - Hamline University
[Source: Red Wing Sentinel (MN) Jan. 5, 1856, page 4; submitted by Robin Line]

The Winter Term of the Preparatory Department will commence on Thursday, the 10th of January, 1856, at 9 a.m., and continue 14 weeks. Those designing to attend should be present at the beginning of the term. Tuition from $4.00 to $6.65. Modern Languages, $2.00; Music on Piano, Melodeon, or Guitar, with use of instrument, $14.00, Painting and Drawing, $4.00; Oil Painting $5.00. Board, with room and use of furniture, $2.50 per week; Washing 50 cents per dozen; Wood furnished at cost.

There are four courses of study in this Institution-the Collegiate, the Academic, the Scientific and the Elective. Persons may also enter and pursue any one branch, and will be charged accordingly. Accommodations for Students are simple. For board and rooms apply to the Principal.
JABEZ BROOKS, Principal.
Red Wing, Dec. 20, 1855

[Source: Red Wing Sentinel (MN) Jan. 5, 1856, page 4; submitted by Robin Line]
The new building for the Preparatory Department of the Hamline University will be dedicated on the evening of the 9th of January, 1856-the services to commence at 6 1/2 o'clock. The dedicatory Address will be given by the Principal of the school. Addresses from other gentlemen may be expected. A general invitation is extended to the ladies and gentlemen of Red Wing and vicinity.
J. BROOKS, Principal
Red Wing, Dec. 26, 1855.

Source:  History of Goodhue County Minnesota, Illustrated, by Franklin Curtiss- Wedge, editor, H. C. Cooper Jr. & Co., Chicago (1909) transcribed by Camellia

In 1858 the first village school was formed, taught by Lizzie Shedd, daughter of Rev. Charles Shedd, pastor of the Congregational Church.  In the beginning and for several successive years, the sessions of the school were held in the second story room of the store, built just before by T. P. Kellett, on the corner now occupied by the Security State Bank.  The building was justly considered at that and for those times as ambitious, elegant and commodious.

Mrs. Munson came next as teacher, followed by Mrs. C. C. Webster, wife of one of the earliest settlers, and she was followed by Ella Wilder, daughter of Ezra Wilder, another pioneer.  Later she married Rev. Mr. Sedgwick, then pastor of the Baptist Church, who afterward became a physician.  Mrs. Ellery Person, wife of Samuel Person, a brother of Messrs. Ralzy and George Person, who were among the early settlers was the next teacher.  Then in succession came Sarah Stowell, Mrs. Preston, Florence Brown, cousin to the hero of Harper's Ferry and martyr of freedom for the slave, whose soul is still marching on.  Then, still in the Kellett hall came the male teachers, Mr. Griffin and Mr. Aldrich, the latter of whom took up his residence in Zumbrota; E. W. Conat taught in the summer of 1864 at $22 per month; J. B. Griffin in the winter of the same year at $27.50 per month; Florence Brown, winter of '65 at $22 per month. Before this the general rate of salary for the female teachers was $5 per week.  In the school year of 1862-63 and for many years thereafter the board of trustees were: J. A. Thacher, director; I. C. Stearns, clerk, and H. Blanchard, treasurer.

There were six months of school in two terms of twelve weeks each in 1862-63, and seven months in 1863-64.  The appointment of school money from the county in 1862-63 was but $117.70.  In the spring of 1863 a movement was started by a petition signed by T. F. Kellett, George Samuel Person and E. L. Kingsbury for the building of a school house.  Favorable action was taken and a levy agreed to 5 mills more were voted for schools and 7 mills for school house fund. In 1865-66, 8 mills was voted toward the fund.  In March 1867, it was voted to have three terms of school of twelve weeks each.  In March, 1866, definite steps were taken to build a two-story school house, 24 feet high, width 30 feet, length 50 feet.  Two lots were first bought and later two more adjoining, in block 40, the cost of the building not to exceed $3,000.  The district received from the county treasurer in 1865, $537.  The money to build the school house was loaned to the district by private individuals, chief among them being I. C. Stearns, H. H. Palmer, J. A. Thacher, Ezra Wilder and the Ladies' Sewing Society, with a few gentlemen loaning minor sums.  E. L. Kingsbury was the contractor and builder, and received for the job $2,000.

In March, 1868, the district voted to have three terms of school per year of thirteen weeks each.  This year the county treasurer paid to the district $717.  In March, 1870, on motion of Ezra Wilder, it was voted to build another school house and the board was authorized to select a site and proceed with the work.

They accordingly decided upon a site adjoining the public square and commenced excavation for the cellar when, serious opposition to that site developing, a special meeting of the district was called in July of that year to decide the matter.  By a majority of four votes the site north of the Baptist church was decided upon, the land being donated for that purpose.  It has been claimed that the majority was not one of all the voters in the district, but only of those present and voting, a majority of all preferring the much more elevated site, though some of them failed to be on hand at the pinch.  In consequence the present fine building is located where it is instead of on a spot where its fine and imposing proportions and aspect would be much more effective than is now possible.  In March, 1871, it was voted that there should be three schools and three terms of thirteen weeks each, and that there should be two male teachers and one female teacher.  In 1871 the amount received from the county treasurer was $1,850 and in 1872, $2,200.  During this school year Mr. Savage taught the high school for ten weeks.  Previously and after the first school house was built, the teachers were O. H. Parker, Hattie Ward, Emma Barrett, now Mrs. James Farwell; Lettie Barrett, now Mrs. Harry Sergeant of California; Abby Moody, then of York, Maine, and Alice Kendall.  At a district meeting held in October, 1872, on motion of J. A. Thacher, it was voted, with but two or three dissenting, to maintain the schools at the highest point of efficiency then attainable and that no backward steps be taken.   

Recurring briefly to the early beginnings of the work of the schools, of which, unfortunately, for the first years no trace of records can be found, it may be said that the person to whom were committed the responsibilities of inaugurating and carrying forward the educational interest of the incipient community were men not only deeply interested in the work, but especially qualified to conduct  it in such a way as not only to enlist hearty cooperation but also to fix and intensify the public sentiment in favor of unremitting devotion to the cause of sound, practical and thorough mental and moral training of the young people.  Each member of the school board had learned the art of teaching by experience in New England.  They were J. A. Thacher, I. C. Stearns and C. C. Webster.  During all the years that have followed, the board has never been without members who were leading citizens, interested in their duties and competent to perform them so as to carry forward the cause which, to the honor of our village can be said, has been always near her heart.  The first school house being an elevated site and in itself a handsome building, having a fine front and crowned with a tasteful cupola, was, with the church, the conspicuous objects, arresting the eye as one approaching the town reached the brow of the prairie, where it descends toward the valley.  Its two school rooms, above and below, were approached from the south.  In 1872, after only six years of use, it caught fire one evening, on the roof, from some unexplained cause and was burned to the ground.  The desks in the lower room were saved and were used in one of the rooms of the upper floor of the house built in 1870.  At the time of the fire a festival was being held in the second story open room of the building so recently destroyed by the same element, and the shock of sudden discovery of it brought the gathering to an abrupt close.

The new school building of two stories, high posted, dimensions 40 by 60 feet, built in 1870, costing $4,000 not including furnishings, had the two lower rooms at once finished and put to use.  Teachers employed during the earlier years were Mr. Parker, Emma Barrett, Persis Scofield and Jessie Hall, who later becoming the wife of Charles A. Ward, and L. D. Henry the school rose to the grade of a high school, though not, of course, of the first class, at that time.  Benjamin Darby was principal in 1872, a successful instructor and a man of powerful physique.  It is said that when the fire which consumed the earlier school house was discovered, Prof. Darby and E. L. Mellus, then in trade here and afterwards a physician of good standing, were among the first to enter the burning building, seeking to save whatever of value could be snatched from the flames.  The egress by the stairway being cut off, they descended by a ladder.  Mr. Darby with the big heating stove in his arms, while Mr. Mellus bore off something less weighty.  M. B. Green, an esteemed teacher, was principal in 1873-74, one year.  Then Miss Wood for a short time was principal.  In the fall of 1876 A. B. Guptill of Red Wing, a former resident of Lubec, Maine, became principal and remained till the spring following.  In 1876 district No. 68 became independent, the school board assuming the duties and responsibilities that ordinarily rest upon a majority of the legal voters of school districts.  The number of pupils in the primary department, taught by Miss Scofield, was 62; in the intermediate, taught by Miss Hall, 48; in the high school, taught by Mr. Guptill, 36; the number of Mr. Parker's room is not given.

Mr. Fletcher succeeded Mr. Guptil for a short time in the spring of 1877, a worthy man, fond of music and excelling as a flutist. In the fall of 1877 Mr. Mooney, also a native of Lubec, recommended by Dr. Tupper, who had known him there, took charge of the school for one term. Later he became a practicing lawyer in his native town. In the fall of 1878 W. A. Snook succeeded to the principalship. He was a rigid disciplinarian, possessing both moral and physical courage for all emergencies. The modern history of Zumbrota schools is found elsewhere in this history.

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