SCHOOLS OF LINCOLN COUNTY
By Jennie L. Reiss, Supt. of Schools
Source: Early History of Lincoln County; Compiled by A. E. Tasker; Lake
Benton News Print (1936); transcribed by Vicki Bryan
In collecting data for a history of the schools of Lincoln County it was
found that in several instances the early records were unavailable, due
either to some having been lost or accidentally destroyed. We, therefore,
deeply regret that it becomes obligatory to omit the history of schools
wherein such records are unobtainable. - The Compiler.
ALTA VISTA TOWNSHIP
School District No. 6 was organized in 1882 and was composed of nine
sections. The first school house was erected in the summer of 1883 and
school began in the fall with Thomas Cahill as teacher. There were three
months of school in the fall and three months in the spring. The first
officers were Mrs. Ruth Clark, clerk; Chris Bingham, treasurer and John P.
Boulton, chairman. Mrs. Clark walked seven miles to hire Thomas Cahill as
teacher for the first school. Mr. Cahill had eleven pupils the first term.
They were the three Mason children, three Clark children, two Pickle
children, two Foley children and Nellie Downing. The first school house was
in use until 1901 when it was sold at auction for $62 and replaced by the
one now in use.
School District No. 33 was organized April 9, 1883 and was composed of nine
sections. The first school officers were Norman Farnum, clerk; Ed. Buttke,
treasurer; and Emil Gotzke, chairman. Estelle Chapman was the first teacher
and began school October 1st, 1883 with twenty-five pupils. The school house
was not complete, but the shavings were cleaned out, a fire built and with
soap boxes for most of the seats, school started, and progressed nicely
while the carpenters proceeded to finish the interior. It was only a three
months term, so teacher and pupils were anxious to get started. The teacher
was paid $15 per month and the school board paid the teacher's board. The
teacher boarded with the Isaac Vanderwalker family and walked two miles
across sections (there were no roads at that time), building her own fires.
School closed on December 8th, as both teacher and pupils contracted the
pink eye, and as it was near the end of the term, school was closed rather
than secure another teacher.
School District No. 56 was organized in 1891 and was composed of nine
sections. At the first school meeting held, Thorstein Stone was elected
clerk; Mrs. Minnie Stringer, treasurer; and Ole K. Anderson, chairman. A
vote for building a school house was also taken. It was decided to erect a
building 18x24x10 feet, and this building was to be located on the east line
of Section 30, one acre to be from the NE corner of the SE 1/4 of
Section 30 and one acre to be from the SE corner of the NE quarter. The
first teacher was Effie Doane, who received $29 per month. She began school
December 4, 1891 and closed March 30, 1892.
No records whatever were available for District No. 34.
School District No. 26 was organized in the forepart of the year 1887
and was composed of nine sections. Later certain parts were set off to other
districts so that now district 26 comprises six complete sections and parts
of two others. The first school officers were F. L. Mennie, chairman; Halvor
T. Appelen, treasurer; and Wm. Parrott, clerk. Material to build a school
house was purchased by the school board for $231.05. Wm. Parrott erected the
school house, receiving $37.50 for his work. The first school furniture was
purchased for $81.50. Mary Aslakson was the first teacher, and received $22
per month as salary. The first term began June 1st, 1887 and closed July 9,
School District No. 81 was organized August 2, 1924, and is composed of five
and a quarter sections. The first school officers were H. W. Funk, chairman;
Mrs. Otilia Olson, clerk; and James Veverka as treasurer. Mrs. Mary V. Hoyt
was the teacher and received $100 per month as salary. Eight months was the
duration of the term.
School District No. 74 was organized in 1913. It was made up of all of
sections 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21 and part of 19. The first school officers
were Alfred Juranek, chairman; Frank G. Olson, clerk; and Fred C. Craft,
treasurer. Grace Scott was the first teacher and was paid $55 per month for
her services. Eight months was the length of the term.
No records whatever were available for Districts 35 and 48.
Two special school meetings were called by John Hanson for school
District No. 28, but no quorum appearing at either meeting, no business was
transacted. On September 3, 1881, the first annual school meeting was held
at the home of John Hanson and a board of trustees, consisting of Christian
Johnson, director; Christian Christianson, treasurer; and John Hanson,
clerk, was elected. A six weeks term of school to begin on April 17, 1882
was voted. This completed the organization of the school district. On
December 30th the board of trustees met and made arrangements with John
Hanson to put two windows, benches and a table in his 14x16 frame granary to
be used as a school house during the spring term the next year.
The first term of school in Hansonville Township was held in district No.
28, the first school established in the township. The term opened May 1st,
1882 and closed June 14th following. Mr. B. H. Lien was the teacher,
receiving $41 wages for the term. Twenty-four pupils were enrolled. The
first school house was built in the spring of 1883 at a cost of $350, being
18x25x9 feet in dimensions. It was erected on the present school site, in
section 28, between the Twin Lakes and is still standing and being used as a
After the organization of school district No. 28, all the children in the
southern part of Hansonville Township attended the school free of tuition.
This caused a large attendance, the enrollment being forty-five pupils for
this year, a rather large school attendance for a small school house and
only one teacher. However, it worked out quite well as most of the pupils
were beginners and could be grouped into comparatively few classes. The
education of the children had now become an important question and on July
27, 1885, school District No. 42 was organized in the northwestern corner of
the township. The organization was mainly accomplished through the efforts
of N. A. Herrick. At this time but a few families resided in that community
and the taxable property amounted to but little. However, the taxpayers,
though but few, managed to build and maintain a successful school. The first
school meeting in the district was held September 16, 1885 and at this
meeting the first board of trustees was elected, viz.: Jurgen Tollefson,
clerk; N. A. Herrick, treasurer; and D. J. Herrick, director. The school
house was built the next summer. The first term was taught by Myrtle
Livermore in 1886. This was the third school organized in the township and
only six sections were left which were not organized for school purposes.
Mainly through the efforts of Joseph Schwartz, the formation of school
District No. 36 was organized by the board of county commissioners. The
organization was effected on March 24, 1884. The district is situated in the
northeastern part of the township of Hansonville, in the Bohemian
settlement. The first school meeting was held at the home of Venzil Cech,
and the first officers elected were Phillip Langraff, clerk; H. P. Hanson,
director; and Mathias Moravetz, treasurer. The school site was located in
section 11 where the present school house still stands. The first term of
school was held at the home of Mr. Schwartz and was taught by Nels N.
Pearson at $35 per month for seven months. Phillip Langraff served as clerk
for nine months and then joined another district, Frank Dushack, Sr., then
being appointed and served as clerk for thirty-seven successive years.
By 1889 a great many of the sod houses had disappeared within the township
and neat frame houses and barns had taken their places. By this means the
appearance of the community was much improved, evidencing the fact that
civilization was steadily advancing within its borders.
On the 23rd of October in 1889 the southeast corner of the township was
organized into school District No. 52. By setting off three sections from
district No. 20 and adding them to the six unorganized sections, the
organization of District No. 52 was completed by December 23, 1889, thus
making the whole township into four school districts. Some little
disaffection was caused by setting off a portion of district No. 20 into the
new district, but this unpleasantness soon disappeared.
The first school meeting in the district was held on the 27th day of
December, 1889, at the home of Christ Christianson and the following
officers were elected: Peter Jensen, clerk; Peter Christianson, treasurer;
and Andrew Jensen, chairman. At a meeting held February 24th, 1890 in Peter
Christianson's home, it was decided that the school house in District No. 52
should be built in the center of section 26. On this site a suitable school
house was erected in the spring of 1890. Frank E. Smith was the first
teacher and had forty-seven pupils the first year. His salary was $65 for
the entire term of ten weeks, which began on May 12th and closed July 18th.
In the summer of 1913, a group of citizens organized District No. 72. Martin
Paluck was elected chairman; Anton Kaczrowski, clerk; and C. C. Stefferud,
treasurer. Land from adjoining districts, which were organized many years
before was set off to form district No. 72. A building 22x30 was erected by
Hans Kolstad of Hendricks. In 1917 a porch and coal rooms were built by
Stanley Konieczny. Elizabeth M. Noy taught the first term of seven months at
$45 per month. The school was named Veteran Rock in honor of E. H. Rock,
veteran of the Spanish-American war, who helped to organize the district.
School District No. 80 was organized August 16, 1919 and was made up of four
sections and 400 acres, which was set aside from districts organized many
years before. The first school officers were Joe Veverka, chairman; Frank
Veverka, clerk; and Anton Moravetz, treasurer. Estelle Lundring taught the
first term at $75 per month. The first term was only a six-month term, as
school did not open until the tenth day of November, due to the fact that
the school house had not been completed. In the seventeen years of
operation, this district had only one change of clerk, three chairmen and
four treasurers. Many improvements have been added to the school without
further bonding the district.
District No. 21 was organized December 29, 1882, being made up of nine
sections. The first officers were Knute Nelson, chairman; Geo. Mennie,
clerk; and Thomas Mathison, treasurer. The first meeting was held December
29th, 1882 at George Mennie's home. At this meeting the question of bonding
the district for $150 was voted upon and of the nine voters present, nine
voted for and two negative. It was also decided at this meeting that the men
of the district do the work of building and anyone not contributing his
labor should pay $1.50 per day. The size of the building erected was 18x14x9
feet. Annie Mennie was the first teacher and received a salary of $20 per
month. The first school term began November 5, 1883 and lasted six weeks.
District No. 32 was organized at the January meeting of the County
Commissioners, 1884 and included nine sections. A school site consisting of
one acre was purchased from Peter Mennie for the sum of $1.00. (Another acre
was purchased in 1929 for which the district paid more than 100 times the
price paid in 1884). A school house was built in the summer of 1884, but as
the clerk's records are missing, the exact size of the building cannot be
given, but it was not a very large structure. The treasurer's records show
that the school house cost $210.28. Of this sum $50 was paid to John Wigen
for building, $124.65 to Martin Nelson for lumber and the balance for
hardware and paint.
The first school board consisted of Peter Mennie, director; E. P. Staff,
clerk; and Chr. Ramlo, treasurer. The first term of school was held in the
spring of 1885 with Minnie Moon of Shaokatan as teacher. The first term was
2 1/2 or 3 months and Miss Moon was paid $30 for the term. In all the years
the district has existed, there have been forty different teachers. Three
treasurers have served, Chr. Ramlo serving for 25 years. H. C. Hansen served
for 3 years. He then was chairman for a number of years until he moved to
Hendricks. His son, Wallace, succeeded him. I. O. Ramlo has been treasurer
since December 1912, succeeding Chr. Ramlo when he moved to Hendricks. Peter
Mennie, H. C. Hansen, Wallace Hansen, J. Ramlo, Haldo Kvernmo, and Herman
Ronning have served the district as chairman; E. P. Staff, Peter Mennie, H.
B. Danielson, J. P. Hagen and Gilbert Ramlo have served as clerk.
The records show that the total expenses for the school year ending July
31st, 1885 were $339.28, which includes the building and furnishing of the
school house and the teaching of the term of school.
District No. 5 was organized and a school house built in 1879, the district
being originally composed of 12 sections with several changes being made
later. Lars Swenson was the first chairman; Lars Fjeseth the first clerk;
and Sivert Erickson, the first treasurer. Jonas Vick was the first teacher
and received $20 per month for a three-month term.
No records were available for District No. 51.
District No. 8 was organized March 15, 1882, and comprised nine
sections. The first school officers were Gilbert Peterson, chairman; W. G.
Mennie, clerk; and Martin Nelson, treasurer. Agnes Hall was the first
teacher and was paid $25 per month for her services, the first term being of
five months duration. Martin Nelson has served as treasurer from 1882 up to
the present time.
District No. 13 was organized in 1882. Nellie Parks was the first teacher
and received $15 per month. In 1917 the district was divided and a new
building was erected.
District No. 19 was organized in February 1880, and was made up of nine
sections. Susan E. Hutchinson was the first teacher and received $16 per
month and board. The first term was only for three months and began April
19, 1880 and closed July 14, 1880. There were twenty-six pupils.
District No. 79 was organized July 21st, 1917 and included six sections.
John Kabot was first chairman; L. H. Carr, the first clerk; and Anton
Frensko, the first treasurer. Alma Lane was the first teacher and received
$60 per month for an eight-month term.
District No. 45 was organized January 6, 1886 and was made up of nine
sections. A part of the lands were set off to district No. 54 in 1916. No
other records are available.
District No. 54 was first organized in July 1891, but the old records of the
organization at that time were lost in a fire and are therefore not
available. This district was divided and reorganized in 1915 or 1916, being
comprised of five sections and 560 acres. The first school officers were
Helge Severson, chairman; Vincent Domek, clerk; and Henry Hauschild,
treasurer. The first teacher was Edna Bliven. She received $60 per month and
the term length was eight months.
District No. 47 was organized in 1886 and was made up of six sections. The
first school officers were E. Goodmundson, chairman; B. Sigvaldson, clerk;
J. Josephson, treasurer. No record was available as to whom the first
teacher was, but the salary was $35 per month, and the length of the first
term of school was six months.
District No. 77 was organized in the spring of 1916, and comprised about
eight sections. The first school officers were Thomas Gruhot, chairman; C.
C. Spanton, clerk; and Jacob Reiss, treasurer. The first teacher was Jennie
L. Reiss and $60 per month was paid as salary. The length of term was eight
No records are available for District No. 46.
LAKE STAY TOWNSHIP
District No. 18 was organized in 1880. No other records concerning this
district are available.
District No. 40 was organized in the fall of 1884, and comprised nine
sections. The first school officers were Arne Johanson, chairman; James
Hosford, clerk; and J. D. Casterline, treasurer. Minnie Davidson was the
first teacher and was paid $22.50 per month for salary. The length of term
was three months.
District No. 41 was organized November 14, 1884 and was made up of nine
sections. The first school officers were Munson Carr, chairman; L. M. Dorwin,
clerk; and Julius Welsand, treasurer. Cora Loveland was the first teacher
and received $23 per month as salary. The first term began May 4 and lasted
four months. The district was bonded for $200 with interest at the rate of
10% per year for ten years to build the school house and furnish the same.
The school house was to be 18x14x9 feet. This building was used as a school
house until 1930 when a new site was purchased and a new building erected.
District No. 78 was organized in 1917 and comprised of six and one-half
sections. The first school officers were Herman Josephson, chairman; Ole
Amundson, clerk; and George Kusnerik, treasurer. The first teacher was
Hannah Johnson and her salary was $75 per month. It was an eight-month term.
This district was formed from land set off from adjoining districts.
ASH LAKE TOWNSHIP
District No. 61 was first organized October 8th, 1894. The first school
officers were D. L. Phipps, chairman; Jacob Wittmer, clerk; and Henry
Wittmer, treasurer. No records were available as to the size of the
district. When the district was organized, the school house was built on
"one half acre on the north section line of 29, about 35 rods west of the
center of said section, on east side of the creek". In 1916 it was moved to
its present site. Because of its centralized location, this school house was
used in an early day for the purpose of holding county conventions, and many
a spirited political battle has been fought within its four walls. According
to records, no teacher was hired by the term, just a month at a time. How
long this method of hiring continued is not definitely known. Rosa Sass was
the first teacher and received a salary of $28 per month.
District No. 75 was first organized June 10, 1915. It was composed of seven
sections. Knute Petersen was the first chairman; Mrs. Fred Herschberger, the
first clerk; and Peter K. Petersen, Sr. the first treasurer. Ruth Hanson was
the first teacher and received $55 per month. The first term was an
eight-month term. School District No. 75 bought one acre of land from Peter
K. Petersen for school grounds, and if the school house is ever moved this
acre goes back to the farm. The size of the building was 34x24x12 feet. The
class room was 26x24x12 feet, giving seating room for thirty-seven pupils.
At one time there were thirty pupils enrolled, but at the present time
(1936) there are only nine pupils enrolled in the school.
No records are available for District No. 12.
District No. 29 was organized in 1881 or 1882. No records were available
as to size of district. H. E. Weeks received $287 for building the school
house. A. M. Olmem was the first clerk and J. E. Ellsworth the first
treasurer. The first teacher was A. E. Woodford and he received $12.65.
Among other early teachers were Mary Lane who received $12.18; W. H. Allen,
who received $25.45, and R. Reiersen, who received $12.70 per month.
District No. 39 was organized in 1885. Henry Juenke was the first chairman
and Mr. Derby, the first treasurer, as nearly as can be determined. The
length of the first term was six weeks.
District No. 20 was organized in 1880. No other records of the district were
District No. 76 was organized in 1914 being composed of approximately four
sections. Math Thomsen was the first chairman; Henry Trade, the first clerk;
and Hans Thomsen, the first treasurer. Mr. Trade served about half of his
term when he resigned and moved to Colorado. Math Thomsen has served as
chairman since the first election. J. T. Gackstetter, C. C. Derby and A. C.
Benz, together with Hans Thomsen, have served the district as treasurers.
The average attendance has been twenty pupils per term. The district has
paid all bonds sold to build the school house. When the district was
organized there were no graded roads, but now there are graveled highways,
north and south and east and west, that pass the school house. Teacher's
salaries have ranged from $50 to $110 per month.
District No. 27 was organized in 1880.
District No. 53 was organized in 1890, and was made up of eight
sections. The first school officers were Ole Johnson, chairman; Chas.
Schroeder, clerk; and John Schwanz, treasurer. The first teacher was Augusta
Boohm, who taught the first term of six months at $20 per month.
District No. 62 was organized May 12, 1898, being composed of eight complete
sections and portions of four others. John P. Sjostrom served the district
as the first chairman; Mathias Erschens, as clerk; and
Edward Hurd, treasurer. Frank S. Warner taught the first term, which was
seven months long at $30 per month.
District No. 67 was organized in 1902 and was made up of four sections. John
H. Kuntz was the first chairman.; W. F. Pratt, the first clerk; and A. F. J.
Lindemann, the first treasurer. Joseph J. Wilson had twenty-one pupils the
first term, and received $35 per month. The first term of school was but six
District No. 68 was organized in 1902 and was composed of seven sections. H.
F. Clipper was the first chairman; Tommy Somers, the first clerk; and Ole
Andersen, the first treasurer. Logan Funk taught the first term, which was
for eight months, and received $25 or $30 per month. The school was built by
Henry F. Clipper in 1902, and has always been known as the Clipper school.
Church services and Sunday school were held on Sundays, beginning in 1903
and continued for many years. Literary and debating contests were also held
during the winter months.
District No. 82 was organized in 1925 and was made up of five sections.
Edward Hurd was the first chairman; Hugo Weber, the first clerk; and A. E.
Johnson, the first treasurer. Geneva Nyberg was the first teacher and
received $95 per month for a nine-month term.
No early records are available for District No. 17, as they were destroyed
in a fire, but it has been determined that the district was first organized
in the year 1880.
No early records were available for District No. 50.
DIAMOND LAKE TOWNSHIP
District No. 4 was organized Sept. 1, 1876, and was composed of 4,414.7
acres or nearly seven sections. John Stewart was the first chairman; M. L.
Wood, the first clerk; and George Bradley, the first treasurer. DeEtta Jones
taught the first term, which was three months, at $20 per month. In the
summer of 1925 a new school house was erected, the old structure being sold
to R. S. Carlisle who converted it into a chicken house.
District No. 9 was organized in 1882. The size of the district at that time
could not be determined. The first school officers were Amos Smith,
chairman; J. G. D. Whipple, clerk; and G. H. Hoyt, treasurer. Herbert
Manchester received $25 for teaching the entire first term of school, which
was of three months duration.
District No. 16 was organized March 5th, 1880. It comprised all of eight
complete sections and parts of eight others. H. J. Pierce was the first
chairman; Wm. Newell, the first clerk; and Ole Thompson, the first
treasurer, Emma Nicholson taught the first term, which was for six weeks, at
$20 per month. Since the district was organized, forty-six different
teachers have taught in this district. Text books have been furnished by
this district since July 15th, 1893. The first nine months term was in
1900-1901 and was taught by Guy E. Mack for $32 per month. That year there
was an enrollment of fifty-four pupils and boards had to be used between the
seats, so as to make room for all pupils. Can you imagine the commotion
there was when a class had to come to the front of the room to recite? This
was the largest enrollment in any year. The smallest enrollment was in the
year 1936-1937 when Adrian Little taught. There were only thirteen enrolled
Ruth and Phoebe Evans started school when they were four years old. Ruth is
now Mrs. Harry Somers and Phoebe is Mrs. Chris Petersen. In looking through
the list of teachers who have been employed in District No. 16, many were
former pupils in this district and many we have heard more of later in
active, public life.
At the annual meeting in District No. 16, held July 20, 1901 a committee was
appointed to see the county superintendent about a division of the district.
This committee was composed of Eiler Thomsen, R. C. Mitchell and Henning
Simonsen. A special meeting was called for Sept. 14th, 1901. It was voted to
build a new school house on the SW corner of Section 17. The old school
building was sold to Chr. Dixon for the sum of $90, and is now serving as a
granary, Mr. Dixon having moved it to the farm he owned and operated. This
farm is now owned by Albert Anderson.
In 1936-7 a fine, new brick school was erected under the supervision of the
federal Works Progress Administration.
No records were available for District No. 57.
District No. 3, which includes the old town site of Marshfield, was the
first school district established by the Commissioners of Lincoln County,
which was on February 28, 1874. However, a school was maintained by
voluntary contribution during a part of the winter of 1873. John W. Lawton
taught for a time and Miss DeEtta Jones was also a teacher. School was held
in a deserted house or claim shanty, known to the settlers around Marshfield
as the "Ewer House". This building stood about 40 rods southwest of
Marshfield. Miss Mary Whitcomb taught a summer term in 1874 in the same
building. This was the first public school taught in District No. 3.
District No. 24 was organized in 1893 and was composed of between seven and
eight sections in Marshfield and Lake Stay townships. The first chairman was
Matt Dressen; the first clerk, Peter Daly; and the first treasurer, Pat
Cronin. George Petty taught the first term, which consisted of five months
for $20 per month. The first pupils to attend this school were Barney,
William, James and Sadie McLaughlin; Patrick and Kate Clifford; Peter,
William, Margaret and Annie Dressen; Nick and Mary Croll and H. Tople. There
were about twenty pupils in a 14x24 foot building. This building now stands
on the southeast quarter of section 4 and is used for a chicken house, being
now owned by Mr. J. T. Hailing.
District No. 59 was organized in 1895. It has been impossible to obtain the
size of the district when it was first organized. Julius Welsand was the
first chairman; Ed. Boardman, the first clerk; and Peter Jensen, the first
treasurer. John Chase taught the first term of school at a salary of $30 per
No records were available for Districts 49 and 73.
District No. 7 was organized around 1882 or 1883. In August of 1901 this
present district No. 7 was formed out of the old district. The school house
was moved to the present location and the former district divided. The
school site was given by Mads Bollesen and Christ Bollesen gave box elder
trees to be planted on the north and east side of the school grounds. A new
two-room building was erected in 1916. This district now comprises four and
three-quarter sections. Niels Jessen was the first chairman; John Johnson,
the first clerk; and A. C. Ericksen, the first treasurer. Alma O. Nelson
received $32 per month for teaching the first term of school which was for
District No. 43 was organized in 1878, and was composed of five sections.
Silas Burin was the first teacher. The first school in district No. 43 was
at the home of A. W. Magandy, which was located one-half mile south of where
the school house now is situated. It has not been possible to obtain a
record of the first school officers, wages paid the first teacher and length
of the first term.
District No. 55 was organized in 1891 and is made up of five sections and
forty acres. Christ Hansen was the first chairman; Thomas Thompson, the
first clerk; and Peter Fries, the first treasurer. Augusta Boohm was the
first teacher and received $25 per month for a term of six months duration.
In 1918 a new school house was built to take the place of the old one, which
would not accommodate the district's needs. For the year 1934-35 Lillian
Johnson, now Mrs. Lars Krogh, was the teacher and there were twenty-four
District No. 60 was organized in 1895, and was made up of six sections. The
first school officers were Frantz Jensen, chairman; Andrew Bergstrom, clerk;
and Ole Bergstrom, treasurer. Mattie Sivert was the first teacher and
received $25 per month for the first term, which consisted of five months.
The cost of the building and furnishing the school house totaled $600.
District No. 66 was organized in 1901, and was made up of approximately five
sections. Thomas Rasmussen was the first chairman; Nels Olsen, the first
clerk; and Peter Andersen, the first treasurer. Etta Marie Spencer was the
first teacher and received $35 per month salary. The first term was seven
months and the next one was eight months.
District No. 44 - All the old records were lost in a fire; therefore no
early information is available.
LAKE BENTON TOWNSHIP
District No. 2 was organized by the Commissioners of Lyon County before
Lincoln County was detached and organized as a separate county in 1873. The
first school house was built in 1874, and DeEtta Jones was the first
teacher. In 1921 a new school house was erected and the old building was
sold to Carl Fink, who moved it to his farm and converted it into a stock
District No. 10 was composed in 1880 and composed nine sections. Steve
Thomas was the first chairman; Alex C: Fletcher, the first clerk; and A. W.
Little, the first treasurer. Miss Lucinda Placker was the first teacher and
received $20 per month for the first term, which was three months. In 1918 a
new school house was erected and the old structure sold to Lauritz Johnson
who converted it into a farm residence.
District No. 69 was organized in 1902 and comprised six sections. Thomas H.
Hanson was the first chairman; Mike Griffin, the first clerk; and Chas. J.
Johnson, the first treasurer. Mrs. Mary Rhodes was the first teacher and
received $40 per month for the first term, which was eight months.
District No. 15 was organized in 1888 and was made up of seven sections.
Who served as the first chairman is not-known, but Mr. John Kroeger was the
first clerk; and J. H. Thorsness, the first treasurer. Grace Sherman was the
first teacher and received a salary of $25 per month. The length of term was
three months in the fall and three months in the spring. The above
information is from the earliest records available. There was school before
but it is impossible to give information about matters at that time, as
there are no old settlers living in the district.
District No. 22 was organized about 1880 or soon afterward, and originally
comprised nine sections. In 1900 three sections were set off and included in
district No. 63 when it was organized, and in 1911, sections 17 and 18 were
set off to district No. 71. No record could be found as to names of the
first school officers. Helen Fletcher was one of the first teachers, and
taught three months in the fall and three months in the spring. No record
could be found as to the salary she received.
District No. 63 was organized about 1901 and comprised six sections. August
Potner was the first chairman; Peter Peterson, the first clerk; and August
Koester, the first treasurer. Anna Gilronan was the first teacher and was
paid $35 per month. The first term was only of six months duration.
District No. 71 was organized in 1910 and was made up of four and one-half
sections. Chris Besler was the first chairman; Ole Peterson, the first
clerk; and Neal McQueen, the first treasurer. Katie Gilronan was the first
teacher and was paid $35 per month. The first term was eight months.
District No. 25 was organized in 1880. No other early records were
LAKE BENTON SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1
The first school district established from territory wholly within
Lincoln County was established by the Commissioners of Lyon County, May
16th, 1871 and comprised all of townships 109 and 110, range 44, 45 and 46.
Afterwards, on January 2nd, 1872, the school district now known as
Independent School District No. 1 of Lake Benton, was established, this
being the first district to organize and hold a school. The first building
owned and used as a school house was built on the flat west of the village
of Lake Benton by a man named Coole, for a dwelling.
We know but little of this man, but we can form some estimate of his
character from the fact that when he left, though fully expecting to return,
he left instructions with William Taylor and Edgar Bentley, two of his
neighbors, that in case he did not return, his home should be taken by the
school district for a school house. As he did not return this was done, the
building being removed to the foot of the hill west of the village of Lake
Benton. Messrs. Thomas and Peter Kelley of Lake Benton and Verdi state that
the exact location of the building was within the fork of the two roads that
go over the hill, one to the left and one to the right, the latter
intersecting the new No. 14 highway. Messrs. Kelley also state that they and
their older sisters attended school in this school house.
In this building was held the first public school in Lincoln County. Miss
Diana Wheeler was the first teacher. She afterwards married Geo. Durst, who
was at one time superintendent of schools of Lyon County. Succeeding her
were Mary Whitcomb, Addie Hicks, DeEtta Jones, Miss H. N. Tucker, Mrs.
Lucinda Wood, Miss E. M. Parker, Libbie Reid, and Jennie Poyns, who was the
last teacher in the log school house.
The next structure was a frame building, built by issuing the bonds of the
district. It stood where the Episcopal Church now stands. Owing to the
increasing number of pupils, this building proved inadequate, although two
additions were made. The first teacher in this building was George Durst of
Tracy. Miss Emma Biggs was principal during the last year of school in this
building, the school having by this time reached the stage of a graded
school with four departments.
School opened in the building on the "flat" in the fall of 1888 with James
Ruane as superintendent. Early newspaper files give an account of the first
graduation exercises held on June 2nd, 1893. The class contained but three
members: A. G. Atwood, C. M. Hawks, and Miss Sadie M. Atwood. The exercises
were held in the Opera House, and due to the fact that this was the first
class to graduate from the school, considerable enthusiasm was apparent. The
first class to complete a four-year high school course was graduated in
1903, and consisted of but one student, Bessie Tucker. Four students
composed the class of 1904.
The district was organized as an independent district in 1903. The first
board of education of the newly organized district consisted of John H.
Hanson, Ole Fjelstad, Wm. Wakefield, A. E. Tasker, W. F. Mann and John
McKenzie. Mr. Tasker served as the first president of the newly organized
district and for years afterward was clerk and director, serving altogether
a period of twenty-one years. In the year 1905 the school was recognized as
an accredited high school.
The present fine brick school building, located in the east edge of Lake
Benton, was completed in 1918. It is supplied with twenty fully equipped
assembly and class rooms and a gymnasium.
Nine teachers, including the superintendent, are employed. It has a library
consisting of 1,200 volumes. A full accredited high school is maintained,
together with commercial and industrial arts departments, as well as eight
VERDI SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 11
School District No. 11, Verdi, was organized on March 18th, 1879 and was
made up of about fifteen full sections. The first school officers were
Patrick McCaffrey, chairman; T. H. Reynolds, clerk; and Edwin Dake,
treasurer. Miss Procker was the first teacher and received a salary of $25
per month. The first term was three months, and began April 1st, 1881.
The first annual school meeting was held September 4th, 1880. Mr. John
Stevens and Mr. McCaffrey were to act as a committee to provide a fire break
and any necessary protection of the building from fire hazard. It was
decided that the school house be open free to all religious denominations.
It was unanimously decided that the charge for admission for children
outside of the district be one dollar per month.
On July 1st, 1919 the district was reorganized and made into a consolidated
district. The district now is made up of fifteen and three-quarters sections
in Lincoln County and eleven and three-eighths sections in Pipestone County
which adjoins Lincoln County on the south.
TYLER SCHOOL DISTRICT NO 23
District No. 23 was organized in 1880 and was made up of twelve
sections. John Brandt was the first chairman; F. W. Nash, the first clerk;
and Ed. Bigham, the first treasurer. Miss Margaret Brown was the first
teacher. No record was available as to the salary paid her or the length of
the first term. A one-room school building was erected in the spring of
1880. Seven pupils entered at the beginning of the school year.
This building proved sufficient for the next eight years, when at that time
a four-room building was erected. The old brick building was built in the
year 1903 and the new one in 1918. The first class of one was graduated in
1908. In 1908 this school became an accredited high school. In 1911 this
district became Independent District No. 23.
Further particulars relative to the early history of the Tyler school
system, may be found in the history of Tyler by Estella Gronlund-Stork.
HENDRICKS SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 64
District No. 64 was organized in the summer of 1900 and was composed of
sections 17, 18, 19 and 20 in Hendricks Township. Gilbert Johnson was the
first chairman; C. P. Sonnichsen, the first clerk' and L. M. Lerwick, the
first treasurer. Artemisia N. Meade was the first teacher and received $40
The first term of school was held in an upstairs room of a business
building, near Main Street and began November 12th, 1900, and closed May
10th, 1901. Edwards & Walker were awarded the contract for the frame
building erected in the fall of 1901. This building was used for school in
the fall of that same year.
IVANHOE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 65
District No. 65 was organized February 1st, 1901, and comprised nineteen
and three-eighths sections. George Graff was the first chairman; C. F.
Cutting, the first clerk; and P. J. Ruppert, the first treasurer. Mrs.
Knutson was the first teacher and received $40 per month salary. The next
year there were two teachers.
The original building was erected in 1902. It was a four-room, two-story
brick building. In 1912 four additional rooms were built, and in 1920 a
complete new brick structure was built. The first high school class was in
1906-1907. Mr. H. D. McGee served the district for twenty-four years,
retiring from that service in the spring of 1936. The old section house was
the first school house in the district.
ARCO SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 70
District No. 70 was organized in 1920, and was made up of twenty-one
sections. Ed. Blegen was the first chairman; George Christensen, the first
clerk; and J. B. Howe, the first treasurer. Superintendent B. B. Wells was
the first teacher and received $180 per month.
This is now a consolidated district and has a fine, large brick school
building, located within the precincts of Arco village.
ADDITIONAL SCHOOL HISTORY
The following articles from the early files of the Lake Benton News
afford additional information regarding the early history of the Lake Benton
School, which may be of considerable interest to the reader:
Romance of the First School House
The people of Lake Benton may well feel proud of the part they are
playing in the education of our rising generation, and will, we are sure, be
interested in the romance connected with the first school house, which was
also the first house in what is now the corporate limits of our city. In the
fall of 1870 the first structure that was ever erected by white men in Lake
Benton was built. It was a log structure and was located just west of Benton
Street railway crossing. The builder was a good mechanic and did a good job.
County Commissioner Gilronan helped to build it. It was a one-room building,
well and comfortably constructed and had a good floor. It would not rate as
a stylish residence today, but at that time it was considered one of the
finest residences in the country. It was warm and snug.
The builder's name was Crosby. He was a genuine down-east Yankee, about 45
years old, of rare intelligence and a wide range of information. He was a
good talker and well-liked by the few who were then in the neighborhood. He
was thought to have been a bachelor as he never made mention of a wife. In
fact, he never alluded to having relatives. He evidently was a man with a
history. His past, however, was a sealed chapter to those he met here. He
came from - nobody knows. He left for - nobody knows.
Whether he came here to forget a bitter past or to prepare a future for
loved ones will, probably, forever remain a mystery. At any rate he was
clearly out of his element. The oppressive loneliness of the country
was too much for his nature. After boarding during the winter with the
William Taylors, one early spring day he notified his neighbors that he was
going to leave.
The only thing that seemed to concern him was his wish that his log house be
used as a school house in case he did not return. He accordingly persuaded
Edgar Bentley and William Taylor to promise him that they would see that his
wish was carried out. So Crosby, the queer Yankee, started out to the east.
When he reached the crest of the hill east of town, he paused awhile,
thoughtfully surveying his cabin, the only evidence of civilization in the
lonely hollow, then he turned and disappeared forever.
His wish was carried out and thus the first residence became the first
school house, not only in Lake Benton, but in the county. The log school
house was used until the building, which is the present Episcopal Church,
was built. The old log school house is now used as a granary on a farm in
Pipestone County, recently sold by John Gilronan. - Lake Benton News issue
of December 16, 1903.
Note: Gilbert I. Larsen, in his history, gives the name of the individual
above referred to as Coole, whereas the above narrative gives it as Crosby,
otherwise the main facts mentioned in the two narratives are substantially
LINCOLN COUNTY TEACHER
The following excerpt from the early files of the Lake Benton News
refers to an early attempt to establish a school periodical within the
county "The first number of the Lincoln County Teacher, edited by Supt.
Wickersheim, assisted by Prof. Atwood, lies on the table. It is a
sixteen-page paper devoted to the interests of teachers and all others
interested in educational work. The first number contains an able article on
free text books, a question which has been recently discussed quite freely
among the teacher of the county. A full monthly resume of all matters of
educational interest will appear. Both editorially and mechanically it
presents an excellent appearance and should be considered almost
indispensable to teachers and school officers.