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Renville County, Minnesota 
Genealogy and History

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Source: History of Renville County, Minnesota, Vol. 1, by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge Published by H. C. Cooper Jr, & Co., Chicago (1916) Page 743-745


Indian Instruction-The Minnesota System-Pioneer Education in Renville County-First Districts-Growth of System in County-The Present Schools-Some Model School districts-Prepared with the Assistance of Amalia M. Bengtson.


The instruction of the young is one of the elementary factors of human existence. The child of the lowest savage is shown how to get its food. The child of the highest type of civilization is taught to develop its mind, its soul and its body to the highest ideal possible. Every nation has its system of public schools; every nation has its institutions of higher learning. The people of Minnesota, from the earliest days, have devoted much care and attention to the question of education and, as the years have passed, have evolved, by much sacrifice and through toil and devotion, a most admirable system. In working out an amplification of this system, Renville county has taken an important part.


Indian Instruction. The Indians who ranged Renville county before the coming of the whites had no schools, but through an extensive training was given the young Indians in every thing that they were likely to find useful in daily life. Instruction in the religion of the tribe was also given, and a few favored ones were initiated into psychic mysteries such as are little understood even by advanced philosophers of the present day.


The Indians held the wisdom of the aged in high esteem and paid respectful attention whenever an elder could be induced to speak of the traditions and knowledge of the past. Much effort was given to educating the youth in the hunter's craft, and both boys and girls had much to learn to fit them for their station in life.


No one could be long among the Indians of Minnesota in the early days without hearing the elders giving to the children such instructions as would qualify them to take care of themselves. Whatever they did or made, it was the aim of the Indian to do every ting well and in a workman-like manner, if nothing more than the making of a moccasin or a paddle for a canoe. They did not like to be thought bunglers, or to see their children, either boys or girls, do anything awkwardly.


  There were many things to be learned about the habits of wild animals and birds, the best manner of approaching them, handling weapons of the chase so as to avoid accidents, setting traps, skinning animals and birds, cutting up meat, running, leaping, swimming, climbing, and the like. The making of bows and arrows, and their skillful use, was no easy task to learn. The following of a trail, a noiseless walk, and skillful methods of warfare were all in the curriculum. The building of a smokeless fire, the creating of smudge of the signal fire, correct personal adornment in accordance with custom, the curing of skins, and the art of oratory must be mastered by the youth. As a child he must be docile, good-natured, obedient, brave, and respectful; indifferent to his own pain. As he grew older he must be courageous, sagacious and shrewd, a master hunter and a relentless fighter. He must be able to care for himself in the trackless woods away from his kind, or when matching his wits against a cunning enemy or a wily animal. He must face all dangers, even death, without flinching.


The control of the voice must be mastered. There were traditional songs to be learned and hereditary dances in which to acquire skill. They took much pains to learn to imitate voices of birds and beasts, and this was a necessary part of the education of both the hunter and the warrior. When near an enemy they could communicate with each other by mimicking the voices of the birds, without giving alarm, and they sometimes imposed upon the beasts which they were hunting by counterfeiting the voice of the mother of her young. In fact, they had discovered a great many ways of accomplishing their purposes of which none but a race of practical hunters would ever have thought.


The girls had much to learn. They had to cook sting beads and embroider; they had to build tepees and look after the wants of the braves. They must at times even defend themselves from the enemy. They must gather wild fruits and vegetables, and know the wild herbs. They must know something of the rudiments of medicine.


The Indians took special pains to teach their children how to guard against being frozen, and the young people profited well by these instructions, as it was a rare thing for an Indian child to seriously injured by the frost. Both sexes must also learn the rudiments of counting, and many were taught to draw crude pictures. The knowledge of the difference between the edible and the poisonous nuts, fruits, berries, stalks, grains and roots must be carefully acquired.


Thus while the Indian children were not, until the days of the missionaries and the reservations, confined to the school room, there were plenty of hard lessons to occupy their youthful years.


Source: History of Renville County, Minnesota, Vol. 1, by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge Published by H. C. Cooper Jr, & Co., Chicago (1916) Page 745-746


In the story of American civilization the establishment of the school and the church has been coincident with the building of the home. However, at the formation of the Union, and later, when the federal government was established, there was no definite line of action as to public education, although at the same time that the constitution was adopted the last session of the continental congress was being held in the city of New York, and the ordinance of 1787 was passed, regulating the affairs pertaining to the Northwest territory, including that portion of Minnesota lying east of the Mississippi river. In this ordinance much attention was given to the question of providing a means of public education by giving one section in each congressional township for educational purposes. Later, when the purchase of Louisiana had been effected, and after the due course of years, Minnesota sought admission to the Union, still further provision was made for education by giving two sections in each congressional township for school purposes. This gave impetus to the natural tendency toward educational matters, and in all the settlements one of the first efforts was to prepare to instruct the children. The church and the school building, when not one and the same, were practically always found side by side. The hardy pioneers, of the great Northwest, of which Minnesota was a part, did not even wait for a territorial government, but set work at once to establish schools. The first school in Minnesota for the education of white children was organized by Dr. T. S. Williamson on the present site of St. Paul. At that time investigation demonstrated that there were about thirty-six children in the settlement of St. Paul who might attend a school. A log house, ten by twelve feet, covered with bark and chinked by mud, previously used as a blacksmith shop, was secured and converted into a schoolhouse, the school being taught by Harriet E. Bishop. Here, then, while the United States troops were ganging such signal success in the war with Mexico, there was begun the system of education which has become one of the best in this great nation. In this same little schoolhouse, in November, 1849, was held a meeting for the purpose of establishing a system of public education, based upon the congressional act of March, 1849, establishing Minnesota territory. Alexander Ramsey, of Pennsylvania, after being appointed territorial governor, proceeded at once to assume the duties of his office. In his first message to the first territorial legislature in the fall of 1849 he emphasized the need of wise measures looking to the establishment of a system of public education. He said: “The subject of education, which has ever been esteemed of first importance in all new American communities, deserves care. From the pressure of other and more immediate wants it is not to be expected that your school system should be very ample, yet it is desirable that whatever is done will be of a character that will readily adapt itself to the growth and increase of the country, and not in future years require a violent change of system.”


Source:  The History of RENVILLE COUNTY MINNESOTA, Complied by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge. Vol. II, 1916, pages 746-747 

The first educational instruction among the whites in Renville county was given in the pioneer homes by the mothers, who, though they had come to a new country, did not desire their children to grow up in ignorance.

The early comers never lost sight of the idea upon which the possibility of founding and supporting a popular government rests-the education of the children-and as fast as the children arrived in the county, or became of school age, the best possible provision at the command of the people was made for their schooling.

An account of the various expedients resorted to that would meet the requirement of the circumstances would, while sometimes laughable; reveal the struggling efforts of a determination to bestow knowledge upon the rising generation in spite of all difficulties. Schools were often kept in a log dwelling, where the school room would be partitioned off only by an imaginary line from the portion occupied by the family. Sometimes an open shed as an annex to a house would serve the purpose in the summer. In other places a brush "lean-to" would separate the pupils from the elements. Deserted shacks were also often used for schoolhouses.

The usual method was for the neighbors to get together and organize a district and select a lot for a building. Of course, each one would want it near, but not too near, and sometimes there was a little difficulty in establishing a location which would prove to be the best accommodation of the greatest number. And then to build a schoolhouse a "bee" was the easiest way, and so plans and estimates were improvised, and each one would provide one, two ,three or more logs so many feet long, so many shingles, so many slabs, so much plaster for chinking, so many rafters, a door, a window, or whatever might be needed for the particular kind of schoolhouse to be built, and at the appointed hour the men would assemble with the material, bringing their dinner pails, and by night, if there had not been too much hilarity during the day, the building would be covered and practically completed. The benches would be benches indeed, of tern without backs and sitting on one of them was about as comfortable as sitting in the stocks, that now unfashionable mode of punishment.

Some of the first schoolhouses in Renville county were erected and furnished by voluntary subscription and without waiting for the organization and tax levy. Often the teacher took turns living with the parents in the district, usually sleeping with the children. Many men and women since prominent in the affairs of the state were trained in some of these early Renville county schools.

When the school land began to be sold, a school fund was created. The act which authorized the creation of Minnesota as a state provided that every section numbered 16 and 36 should be set aside as school land. In case these sections or any part of them had been sold, lands equivalent thereto and as contiguous as possible were to be granted a substitute. The proceeds from the sale of the land was to be granted as a substitute. The proceeds from the sale of the land was to constitute a permanent fund an only the annual interest was to be used.

Growth of System in Renville County.

Source:  The History of RENVILLE COUNTY MINNESOTA, Complied by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge. Vol. II, 1916, pages 748-747 

When the Chancellor of the University of Minnesota as State Superintendent of Public  Instruction, ex-officio, made the first annual state educational report, Jan. 14, 1861, Renville county was not one of the thirteen counties which had up to that time rendered to him the report required by law.

The second annual report of the state superintendent, Dec. 6, 1861, contains the following note from Renville county: “Yellow Medicine District. S. A. Riggs, superintendent, reports one teacher licensed; one school; one frame house shaded by trees, and furnished with blackboard. School properly classified, and opened with prayer and reading of the Scriptures. The superintendent further remarks:  “There is also one mission school and some government schools. The schools have before been all government and mission schools; but having to pay taxes, we thought proper to organize under the law.” The same report further showed that twenty persons attended public schools in 1859-60. This was outside the present county, Renville county then embracing a strip twenty miles wide, ten miles on each side of the Minnesota, extending westward from the Little Rock river.

Mrs. J. S. Greeley, at that time the only registered teacher in salary being raised by voluntary subscription. The first county superintendent, M. S. Spicer, of Beaver Falls, drew the munificent salary of $12, for the first year, and, as he expressed it himself, he wouldn’t have taken anything for his services but for the fact that he needed the money. No report has been left of his first year’s work, but it is presumable that he visited the one school over which he had supervision frequently, and it is save to say that he is the only county superintendent who was never accused of showing partiality among the teachers.  No class of Renville county's citizens did more for the uplift of society or for the moral welfare of the public than did the teachers of early days. Under their capable care and keeping were placed an army of untutored young savages whose inclination to mischief knew no bounds. It was no small part of the teacher's work to instill into the hearts of these youngsters the sense of respectability and a desire for knowledge. But these good, faithful, devoted women proved equal to the task, and mnay of the foremost men in the country today gratefull attribute their success in life, in part at least, to the good influence and counsel of these nobel women.

Mr. Spicer as county superintendent made the following report to the state superintendent for the year ending Sept. 2, 1869:


There has not been the progress in school matters that had been hoped for, by those having the cause of education at heart. We have some first-class teachers in the county, who are willing to teach for such compensation as they could reasonably demand at the other occupations, but parents and school officers are so much taken up with the extra toils of frontier life that they pass lightly over the duties they owe the cause of education, neglecting the building of schoolhouses and the employment of suitable persons as teachers. A large portion of the district officers are quite unfit to hold such offices, some on account of habitual neglect of the duties of the office, others on account of Ignorance. I do not think over two-thirds of the children in the county have been reported. Several of the districts have material on hand for the purpose of building, but have not reported the same. One district employed a qualified teacher for three months, but as her wages was paid by personal contributions as each felt inclined, the school was not reported. The school where the teacher was employed at $8 per month was in connection with a select school.”

This report showed that in 1868 there were 340 scholars, and in 1869 this had increased to 610. Two new schoolhouses were built during the year.

Wm. Emerick, county superintendent, made the following report of the condition of the public schools, for the year ending Sept. 30, 1870. “By comparison with last year’s report a marked improvement may be observed in many particulars. The clerks of the several districts have been very prompt in sending their reports. The increase of the number of scholars over last year is 583; there being now 1,193 in the county reported. The increase of attendance over that of last year has been 246. The financial statements of the district clerks are anything but correct. A few reports, however, are prepared with care, and with a view to meet the requirements of law. To secure their proportion of the public money seems to be the whole aim of some of these school officers. Twelve schoolhouses have been built the present year, showing an interest in the right direction. School district No. 29, at Cedar Mills, has built a very handsome frame building the present summer at a cost of $500.

The whole number of school terms this year is twenty-two, showing an increase of twelve over that of last year. These schools were taught by one male and twenty-four female teachers. Increase for the year, twelve teachers. Instead of thirty-four districts as my report shows, there are really but thirty-one, three of them have never been in running order, and have never drawn any public money. While my report shows five (5) districts as not reporting, there are really only two. Nine new districts have been organized the past year.

Since I entered upon the duties of my office (seven months) I have granted seventeen certificates to teachers, of which two are first grade, two are second grade, and thirteen third grade.

We have had some good schools in the county during the summer term, especially when we take into consideration the disadvantages under which teachers and scholars have labored. Some schools have been taught in board shanties destitute of furniture, while others have been taught in private houses, and in the same room where the family lives. We hope to see an improvement in this line the coming season. I have made a flying visit to most of the schools during the summer. Some schools were not in session when I was around. Border counties will not receive the attention from the county superintendents that they should unless the salaries are fixed by the Legislature.

In 1870 here were 34 districts in the county; number districts reporting, 29; number of districts not reporting, 5. There were 7 frame and 6 log schoolhouses, their total value amounting to $2,130. There were 642 male and 551 female scholars between 5 and 21 years of age in the county. During the winter term there were 21 male and 17 female scholars in attendance with an average of 26 in daily attendance, the average length of winter schools being three months. There were two female teachers during the winter months with an average wage of $22.50 per month. During the summer there were 250 male and 215 female scholars in attendance with an average daily attendance of 263, the average length of the summer schools being 3.15 months. There were 19 female and one male teacher employed during the summer with an average monthly wage of $16.00 for the male teacher and $19.50 for the female teachers.

In his report of the county schools, Superintendent J. S. Geral, mentions the following: “My report shows a gratifying increase in the number of schools, in the number of scholars enrolled, and in the average length of schools. The financial condition of the majority of districts is greatly improved. Seventeen new districts have been organized within the year, and ten have been reported entitled to the fall apportionment of 1880. Twenty-six new school houses have been erected during the two last years; the most of them are good, substantial frame buildings and well furnished. The condition of the schools has, during the past year, been better than in preceding years, although in many districts the summer term has been taught by young, inexperienced teachers, and in consequence the methods used have not always been the best. Irregular attendance impedes greatly the progress of our schools. The state text-books are used in all districts and seem to give fair satisfaction. The books should not, however, be sold by district clerks. In nearly all districts books are sold on credit, and some clerks have not yet settled for books received more than two years ago. Only twenty-five districts ordered books last spring and the books were received so late that they were of no use for the summer term.

“The state institute held at Bird Island last fall was highly appreciated by the teachers in attendance, and the many practical suggestions made by the instructors were well received. I have tried to raise the standard of teachers as much as possible, and have rejected during the past year nearly twice as many applicants as during any previous year.”

The report of the superintendent shows that there were 155 scholars not entitled to apportionment and 2,518 who were entitled to apportionment. During the winter term, 1,435 scholars were enrolled; during the summer, 1, 906, with an average daily attendance of 690 during the winter and 874 during the summer. There were 87 common school districts, having 49 frame schoolhouses and 9 log building, with a total valuation of $2,997.93. the total number of months taught by al teachers during the winter term was 123; during the summer, 169, the average number of months for the year taught by all teachers being 4.

The biennial report of the state superintendent of public instruction for the year 1890 shows that in Renville county there were 3,249 scholars entitled to apportionment and 1,556 not entitled to apportionment. During the fall term there were 2,617 scholars enrolled; during the winter, 2,260, and during the spring, 3,124, the average daily attendance for the year being 1,536. During the fall term, 16 male and 55 female teachers were employed; during the winter term, 19 male and 41 female teachers. In regard to the academic and professional training to the teachers the report states that 36 teachers have attended high school, 14 have attended normal school, 5 have attended college and 92 have attended teachers’ institutes. Of this number, 6 are graduates of a high school, and 6 have graduated from a normal school. Four teachers have taught continuously in the district for two years, and 10 have taught there one year. There were 107 common school districts and one special district, making a total of 108, having in all 107 frame schoolhouses, valued at $3,175, including 7 new school houses built during the year.


Source:  The History of RENVILLE COUNTY MINNESOTA, Complied by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge. Vol. II, 1916, pages 757-761


An effort has been made to gather the history of the various school districts of the county. Below will be found a few typical districts.

District No. 1. The present schoolhouse is a building 20 by 30 feet with a small addition on the south for an entry and cloak room. It has six windows, three on each of two sides. The first school was held in John Keisner’s claim shanty which was near Franklin. The first teacher was Clements Tretbar. Among the first pupils were Anne Anderson (Mrs. I. Thompson); Julia Anderson (Mrs. E. S. Johnson), Andrew Anderson, A. J. Anderson, Louisa Haack (Mrs. J. B. Johnson), Otto Haack, Amelia Hacck (Mrs. A. J. Anderson, Mary Johnson (Mrs. Bloom), John Johnson, Peter Peterson, Jacob Peterson. The first school board were: Halleck Peterson, John Anderson, and Henry Graff. The next school was held in the valley. A log schoolhouse was built later a little southwest of the present site and the old state road passed it on the north. School was held during the winter and when the log building was too cold they met at the home of Mrs. Haack.

District No. 4. The schoolhouse is located in the northwest quarter of section 10 and has a bell tower and heating plant. The school yard is fenced and contains a few trees. It also has a barn and fuel shed. The present building was erected in 1901. The first school was opened in 1868 in the west quarter of section 2 with Irena Swift, now Mrs. Marsh of Redwood Falls, as teacher. Henry Ahrens and L. E. Morse were members of the first board. Some of the early teachers were Maggie Garritty, Nathaniel Swift, Lizzie Garritty, Maggie Powers, L. D. Barnard, Wm. Kelly and Kate Rourke. During the term of 1915 there were 32 children enrolled. It was a first-grade school this last year, having been a third grade in other years. It has a library of 155 books. The present school board are Chas. Ahrens, director; Wm. Zumwinkle, treasurer, and Adolph Breitkreutz, clerk.

District No. 10. The present schoolhouse is located in the southeast corner of section 10, township 112, range 33. It is a building 22 by 32 feet with a bell tower and a bell and was built in the summer of 1905 to replace the one which had burned. The school district was organized March 28, 1870, the meeting being held in the house of Andrew Nelson, who as chosen moderator of the meeting. The following were elected as officers: Hans Pederson, director; John Zahn, clerk, and Henry Knof, treasurer. It was voted that a tax be levied for school purposes during the coming year as follows: teacher’s wages, $20.00; for building schoolhouse, $25.00. The schoolhouse was erected in the spring of 1870, made of logs, 16 by 18 feet and 8 feet high, and school was opened June 13, 1870, for a term of three months with Sara Galahara as teacher. She was to receive $16.00 per month. Other early teachers have been as follows:  1871, Sara Galahara, at $16.00 per month; 1872, Eva Griffen, at $20.00 per month; 1873, Eva Griffen, $22.00 per month; 1874, Eva Griffen, $25.00 per month; 1875, Marito Sands; 1876-78, Clara Phelps; 1879, Edward K. Pillet; 1880, Mary E. Abbott. In 1881 the old schoolhouse was sold and a new house built on the same place; in 1902 the schoolhouse was rebuilt and made larger. In 1905 the schoolhouse burned and the district suffered a loss of $1,400.00. The present schoolhouse was built in 1905. The present directors are as follows: Director, Andrew E. Larson; treasurer, John O. Hagestad, and clerk, J. H. Elstad, who had been clerk for the last thirty years.

District No. 19. The schoolhouse is located on the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 9, and is a frame building with a furnace and bell tower. It was erected in 1900. The first school was opened in this district in 1872 with Kate McLaughlin as teacher. Jim Carr was one of the first officers. The first building was on section 16 in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter. A building was erected on the present site about 1882.

District No. 30. The schoolhouse is located on the southeast corner of section 12 and is equipped with a Waterbury furnace. The present frame building was erected in 1888 and is on the same site as the old building. The first school board were Thomas Horan, clerk: John Gammon and James Maxwell. The building was made of logs and build by Wm. Carson. Some of the early teachers were A. L. Phelps, A. F. Chase and Johanna A. Brice. In 1912 the district put in all necessary requirements for a Class A. rural school and received state aid for same. The present teacher is Myrtle M. Sell.

District No. 36. The schoolhouse is pleasantly situated on the northwest corner of section 16 in Norfolk township. The present building was erected in 1885 and is equipped with a heating plant. Before the present schoolhouse was built a few terms of school were held in Mr. Frank Ederer’s dwelling house, Mary O’Neill, being the teacher. The first board were: Frank Ederer, Mike Maloney and Jas. McNealey. The first teacher was Kate Kirwan. Some of the early teachers were Alice Kirwan, Lizzie McHean, Sarah Heaney and Mamie Carr. The present school board are Frank Weyer, director; Joseph Ziller, clerk, and D. G. Avery, treasurer; the latter having been clerk for the past twenty years. The present teacher is Johanna E. Moran.

District No. 39. The schoolhouse is located on section 12 on the west line near the center of the section of Cairo township and has one-half acre of land. It was erected in 1882 and the district was organized several years before this. However this building was the first one erected. School was opened March, 1882, the first teacher being Anne Clark. The first officers were:  ------Thane, clerk; Charles Dieter, treasurer, and James Drake, director. The early teachers include the following: Mrs. Jane Hanna Maxwell, Zoella Bird, Elizabeth O’Hara. The present teacher is Winnie Nelson. The present officers are Otto Dahlgren, Clerk; Alfred Dickmeyer, treasurer, and Theodore Reinke, director.

District No. 41. Hawk Creek is one of the old school districts of the county. The first meeting was held at the home of Haaken O. Agre, Oct. 7, 1871, and it was voted to have school three months commencing May 16, 1872. The following officers were elected: Director, Old Hendrikson; clerk, Haaken O. Agre; treasurer, Ole O. Fugleskjel.

District No. 47. District No. 47 is located in section 26, southwest quarter, township 114, range 34. The first schoolhouse was eight rods west of the present building and was a small wooden building erected in the year, 1873. The first teacher was Catherine McLaughlin. Other early teachers included Margaret A. McCoffrey. The present schoolhouse was built in the year 1877. James Brown, Sr., hauled the lumber for the present building. It is a wooden building of medium size with three windows on the east and west sides. The building faces the south. It has no bell tower but has a heating plant. The first school officers were Mac McLaughlin, Patrick Williams and Paul Reiver, Sr.

District No. 54. The school is located on section 10 in Wellington township and is a frame building 20 by 30 feet with a lean-to on the north for the cloak rooms and entrance. The lighting of the school is from the south and east sides. A large bell tower is built up about the entrance. The grounds contain one acre of land, the building being near the north, and contains a few trees. The present schoolhouse was built about ten years ago and is built about fifteen rods north of the site of the old one. The first school opened in the district in 1881 with Lucy Mackenzie as teacher. The first directors were Julius Kiecker, William Schoenfelden and Carl Hillmann. Other early teachers were Paulina Greene and Agnes Trainer. The school is a one-room building facing east and is said to be the largest rural schoolhouse in the county. The present teacher is Anna Echerman.

District No. 56. The schoolhouse is on the southeast side of Wellington and was erected in 1882 by William Carson across the road from the old site. The first directors were William Borth, Charles Bleidk and William Carson. The first teachers were Ella McKenzie, Saul Demming and J. K. Demming. The school will receive state aid for the first time this year, it now being a first-grade school.

District No. 66. The schoolhouse is located on the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 25, range 33. It has a bell tower and a very large school ground with many boxelder trees. The schoolhouse was built in the 1895. School opened in the fall of 1895 with Henrietta Lunde, now Mrs. Holt of Crookston, Minn., as teacher. The directors were: John Nestande, director; Ole Anderson, Clerk, and John Mundahl, treasurer. Some of the early teachers were Ole Mundahl, Torval Pederson, Lillian Faust and Ole Kjeldergaord.

District No. 84. The school building is located on the southeast corner of section 3, township 114, Norfolk, on the state road about five miles south of Bird Island. The school building is equipped with a heating plant and has a well on the grounds. The present building was erected about 1880 and prior to that a school was held in one room of Anthony Tiller’s home. The first building stood in the middle of the section but later was moved to the present location on account of the numerous storms. Once a teacher and several of the pupils were kept prisoners in the school for three days while a terrible blizzard was raging. Among the early teachers were Matilda Meguyre and Mary Smith.

District No. 124. The schoolhouse is located on the southeast quarter of section 28 and is a frame building. It was erected in the spring 1895. The first director was Tollof Pederson and the first teacher was Henrietta Lunde who taught four months. Other early teachers were Blanche Ericson and Anna Volen. The present clerk is Christ Sather.

District No. 135. The schoolhouse is located on the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 12, Beaver Falls township. The grounds slope to the south with no improvements beyond schoolhouse and outbuildings. The building was erected in 1901 with Kate O’Toole as teacher. The first school board were Louis Zinnie, clerk; G. A. Robertson, treasurer, and Juilus Scheffler, director. Some of the early teachers were Kate Ryan, Annie Keaveny, Julia Reineke and Kate O’Toole. There were twenty-five pupils when the school opened, now there are thirteen. Agnes Peterson is the present teacher.

Source: Minneapolis Journal (MN) Wednesday, June 7, 1899; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Renville, Minn. June 7.-The Renville high school graduated a class of four this year, viz: Miss Martha Guirna Kronlakken, Wyllys Gould Hooper, Carl William Anderson and Anton Ernest Essen. The commencement exercises, held in the opera house, consisted of essays by the graduates, music, an address by Professor I. A. Thorson, and the presentation of diplomas by W. H. Gold, president of the school board. The class motto was very elaborately displayed, and the stage was so bedecked with flowers that it gave the appearance of a mammoth flower bed. There were fully 500 people in attendance.

The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, MN), June 8, 1901, Journal Junior, page 1- 2

Large and Small Each Northwestern Junior Selects Some One Building in His Town that Especially Interests Him.

Above the Bustle and Hustle. The most interesting building in town is the elevator. It is extremely high and contains many things of interest to me. There are so many stories in it that when I begin to climb to the top I nearly get lost. When I finally do reach the top nothing can be heard save the hustle and bustle of the town, which sounds like sweet music and it fills me with a feeling of peace and contentment. It is an awe inspiring sight to look down into the deep and capacious bins. Although the dust is generally an inch thick all over everything it is quite beautiful in my sight and when I finally decide that I must go, I am loath to leave it for the outside world.

Seventh Grade

Floyd Reich

Renville, Minn.                                                                                             


The Cause of Cold Shivers. The most interesting building in Renville is the town hall, which is used for many different purposes. Not because of this is it interesting, but because of a peculiar dread I have of passing this building after dark. What is to fear I cannot tell, but even at dusk I hurry past it or run across the street as if someone were following me. It has stood in Renville as long as I can remember and was first used as a schoolhouse. Because it is painted white and looks so dilapidated it always presents a spectral appearance to me.

Eight Grade.  

Etta O'Connor

Renville, Minn.                                                                                                                    


The First Schoolhouse. The most interesting building in this village is the old town hall. When my mother was a little girl it was there that she received her first schooling. It was then the only schoolhouse that the small town of Renville boasted of and it was sometimes used as a church. My mother has often told us about times when she found her lessons hard to get and it always makes us want to study harder, for we have everything so much easier not than she had when she was a little girl.

Seventh Grade  

Mabel Filbert

Renville, Minn.                                                                                                                                              

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