Houston County, Minnesota

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Schools, Teachers and Students


Source: History of Houston County Minnesota, by Charles S. Bryant, Minnesota Historical Co. (1882)
(The following sketch is by D.C. Cameron, County Superintendent.)

The schools of Houston county remained in the same condition which they enjoyed under the Territorial organization, until 1859. During that winter, an act of the Legislature resolved each township into a school district, each district organizing as many sub-district as was deemed necessary. The following winter, this law was repealed, and the present organization adopted.

Until 1876 the Superintendent was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, but in this year, in common with six other counties, the office was made elective.

The County Superintendents have been Rev. James Frothingham, D.P. Temple, Capt. W. H. Harries, Dr. J.B. Le Blond, and D. C. Cameron. In January, 1876, Prof. W. D. Belden was appointed by the Commissioners, but it was ruled that the then incumbent should hold, under the new law, until his successor was elected and qualified.

In 1862, the Commissioners numbered the districts from northeast, and the then total was forty-nine. As succeeding districts were organized, by taking territory from those already in existence, they were numbered successively until now the number is ninety-six, containing one hundred and nine school-rooms. But Hokah and Brownsville graded schools, with four departments each, hold session in but three of their school-rooms, thus making one hundred and seven school-rooms in which school is held. District No. thirty, Brownsville, is a special district; Nos. twelve, Hokah, and forty-two, Caledonia, are independent. The Latter two were created independent to secure immunity from the text-book law.

The villages of Hokah and Brownsville have school houses containing four departments each. These are well furnished, and more than adequate for their present wants. The one at Brownsville is the most costly and complete in the county.

La Crescent, Houston, Spring Grove, Caledonia, and Money Creek, have each a school house containing two rooms. The finest of these is the one at Money creek, the worst one is at Caledonia. Caledonia has far outgrown her school house, and two departments are located in a rented building; but many improvements may be expected from the present liberal board. The experiment of a female teacher at the head of her schools has proved a success; certainly she is an improvement upon her immediate successors.

Of these ninety-six school houses, sixty-eight are frame, three brick, five stone, and twenty log. The prairie towns, as a rule, contain the best school houses, while the log houses are found in the valley and upon the ridges.

Four new and substantial frame houses were built last year. But seven of these districts are in debt, notwithstanding several successive failures of crops in some parts of the county.

Thirty-one districts have wall maps, eleven reading charts, twenty-tow have globes, seventeen have dictionaries, and seven have bells. Caledonia has the largest enrollment; two districts hold no summer school. The enrollment is not as great as in former years; the decrease is principally in the village schools.

The total number enrolled in the schools for the year ending August 31, 1881, was 4,205. The average length of schools was nearly five months. The value of schoolhouses is $572,829. Paid out for teachers' wages, $15,049. In addition to the above showing, twenty-four parochial schools were in session, with an enrollment of 360.

One hundred and nineteen teachers were licensed during the year. Of these, six hold first grade certificates; eighty-five, second grade, and twenty-eight, third grade certificates. Eighteen of these teachers have attended a Normal School, five have graduated. One certificate has been revoked.

As a body, a progressive spirit pervades the teachers, and they will compare favorably with any body of teachers in the State.

Institutes are held each year, the instructors being furnished by the State. County institutes of one week are held at different times.

During school months, each Saturday in some part of the county, a teachers' meeting is held, the exercises of which are conducted on institute plans. These are a powerful educational factor and have been the means of developing many young teachers, and helping many older ones on to a higher plane. The superintendent makes it a rule to be present at these meetings. The struggles of the friends of popular education to inaugurate and maintain schools would furnish many an interesting chapter.

Matters of interest relating to particular schools will be treated in connection with the town or village where they are situated, as matters of local rather than general interest.


Nettie Reppy
[Source: The Argus (Caledonia, MN) Nov. 24, 1888] mkk
Mrs. Nettie Reppy, primary teacher in the Houston school gives universal satisfaction, and is one of the best Kindergarten teachers in the county.

[Source: Pierre Daily Capital (SD) Nov. 1, 1890] mkk
CALEDONIA, Minn., Oct. 31. - The public schools have been closed here and the quarantine is being rigorously used to prevent the further spread of black diphtheria. The second child of Matthew Fouse has died and was buried immediately.

Source: Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, MN) Friday, August 23, 1895; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Special to The Journal.
Caledonia, Minn., Aug. 23.-The summer training school, which is in session here, closes its work next week. It is the most successful school yet held in the county, many teachers from adjoining counties being in attendance. The enrollment, which was 100 teachers the first day, has increased to 145.

Source: Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, MN) Thursday, May 21, 1896; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Special to The Journal.
Caledonia, Minn., May 21.-The high school graduating exercises takes place May 29, when a class of four will graduate.

Belle Myrah
[Source: The Argus (Caledonia, MN) Dec. 15, 1888] mkk
Miss Belle Myrah is teaching her first term of school in the district near Melbranten's.

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