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, 1887.
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 school house.
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 month.
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 available.
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 months long.
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 that year.
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 month.
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 nine months.
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 pupils attending.
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 barn.
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 available.
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 graded departments.
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 per month.
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 the same.
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.
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