Public Schools of Bates County
(By Arthur C. Moreland, County Superintendent.)
Early Schools - First School Houses - First Teachers - Before, During. And After The Civil War - Early Settlers - Office Of School Commissioner Created - William C. Requa - Nathan L. Perry -First County Superintendent, David Mcgaughey - L. B. Allison - First Teachers' Institutes - Charles Wilson - James Harper - School Commissioners -Howard Township - First Reading Circle - Laws - Meetings - Salary - Statistics - Adrian - Richhill - Butler - Butler Academy -Hume - Amoret - Amsterdam - Rockville - Merwin - Business Colleges.
There is very little recorded material regarding the public schools of Bates county up to and including the Civil War period. The educators of this period have passed away or have moved to other localities as is the case with other old settlers having a knowledge of school conditions.
As soon as a settlement was formed, consisting of a few families, a log hut was built to be used for school and for religious purposes when school was not in session.
he first school house erected in Bates county was at Harmony Mission. It was built by missionaries who were sent there to instruct the Indians. The school house was built in August. 1821. and was used for religious purposes as well as school purposes. The missionaries built a log house for the education of the Indian children. As soon as the school house was completed the missionaries began their efforts to educate the Indian children. The Indians did not take to their ideas and demanded that the missionaries should pay them for the privilege of using their children as pupils. From a practical standpoint the education of the Indian children was a failure for as soon as the children were released from school they would return to the tribes, and instead of teaching them the ideas they had received from the missionaries they would continue their old tribal customs, and remained as savage as ever. The county and the circuit court established at Harmony Mission used the school house to hold their sessions until the county seat was located at Papinsville.
One of the first school houses erected in the north part of the county was built in 1843. It is well described by J. H. Laman, who immigrated from Tennessee to Bates county in 1841, and located in what is now Deer Creek township. His description of the school and school house is as follows : "The first school house in the north part of the county was built in a grove about a mile northwest of the old town of Cresent Hill. The house was built by donation of work. There was not a dollar in money paid out on it; everything was manufactured in the timber near the building site. The floor was of split logs, the seats were made of logs split open, and the flat side dressed with an ax, and holes bored in the end and legs stuck in. The legs and the seats were all nicely turned, that is, they were turned the otherside up after the legs had been driven in the auger holes. Then they were ready for the polishing; this was done by the scholars during school hours and it was a slow process. The scribe did his part of the polishing during the summer season for a number of years but did not get all of the splinters off. Our waiting desks were made the same way, only the pins were put in the wall, just below the window - one log out of the side of the house - and a broad slab split out and laid on these pins.
"If we had to close the windows, which was frequently the case, in the spring time, all we had to do was to turn the slab on edge and it formed a shutter. The house was covered with boards split from large bur-oak trees, laid on poles and held in place by other poles on top of them. The house was not complete until there was a large fireplace and chimney in one end, built of sticks and plastered over with mud. When the mud was dry the house was ready for use.
"Schools in those days were different from what they are now. The teacher was employed by the month, and had to teach from the first of one month until the first day of the next - putting in every day except Saturday and Sunday - and they would commence school as soon as there were enough pupils present to form a class, and hold until very late in the evening. The teacher generally boarded around with the patrons of the school. There was no escape; every one had to keep him until he got around, then he would start in again." In the Session Acts of 1843 is found the following regarding a school in Van Buren county, township 42. range 31, which is at present Deer Creek township. Bates county:
"It shall be lawful for the county court of Van Buren county in this state, upon the petition of a majority of the inhabitants of congressional township 42 in range 31, in said county, to cause a contract to be made with Joseph J. McCrane of said township and county, to teach a school at some place in said township, as may be agreed upon, by a majority of the inhabitants thereof.
"It shall be the duty of said court, in making said contract, to see that the interests of the inhabitants of said township be sufficiently guarded ; and that the interest arising from the proceeds of such portion of the 16th section, as has been heretofore sold, shall be applied, as far as the same may extend, to the payment of the said Joseph J. McCrane for his services as teacher of said school."
The first school house in Deepwater township was built of logs in 1845, and was taught by a man named Master Lindsey ; the first school in Hudson township was taught by Cynthia Tousley. This was in 1843, and was taught at the residence of Richard Stratton near the town of Hudson: the first school house in Pleasant Gap township was located near the Wix home. It was built of logs floored with puncheons. The school was supported by "rate bills." there being no public school fund. Neighboring townships furnished some of the pupils while others came from as great a distance as twenty miles and boarded that they might attend the school. The first teacher was S. D. Cockrell, son of the postmaster of Pleasant Gap. He was employed by the year, and for three years in succession. The school house was also used for religious purposes, the first preacher being Uncle Dicky, a good old negro from Balltown. He was a Presbyterian, and was later sent to Liberia, Africa, by the Colonization Society; the first school in Shawnee township was located near Elk Fork creek. It was a log cabin and was built in 1842; the first school house in Spruce township was located near the Captain Newberry blacksmith shop. The exact date of its erection is unknown. The school house was used for religious purposes by several denominations: the first school house in Walnut township was built in 1845. There were about twenty-five pupils in the district. The first teacher was a man named Linsey, who received $10 per month for his services as teacher; the first school in West Point township was built in West Point in 1852. It was erected by public subscription. The first teacher was a Mr. Kirkpatrick ; the first school house in Mt. Pleasant township was built in Butler in 1856. It was used for religious purposes. The first teacher was Mrs. Martha Morgan.
School conditions in Bates county were somewhat undeveloped up to and including the Civil War. Only four school houses w^ere left standing at the close of the Civil War. The school houses were used as a place of refuge for bushwhackers during the war and upon their being abandoned were destroyed by fire. The four school houses that were left were at Pleasant Gap ; Johnstown, on South Deepwater, and Elk Fork. The first school house built at the close of the war was the Elswick school house and the second was in the Park neighborhood, both in Charlotte township. Only five teachers returned to the county after the war, they were A. E. Page, R. J. Reed, W'illiam Requa, Mrs. Sarah Requa, and Miss Josephine Bartlett.
Soon after the close of the Civil War most of the county was organized into school districts. As soon as a few families settled in a neighborhood, school houses were built, and school districts formed. This caused many small districts to be formed which later had to be reorganized and the school house site changed to accommodate the people after the district had become thickly populated. The condition of the school fund was good, and this resulted in good wages being paid the teachers. Many good teachers came to the county to take advantage of the salaries paid to teachers. The sale of school lands before the war amounted to $65,000 and had been increased to $100,000 at the close of the war. The capital school fund had been well preserved during the war and had been loaned at interest which had accumulated for four or five years. Then the advance in the value of land in Bates county after the close of the war caused an increase in the amount of school money.
The early settlers took great interest in the education of their children, and continued to build school houses at a rapid rate until there were 78 school houses in the county in 1870. The schools continued from three to six months in the year, and where the funds were not sufficient, subscription schools were provided. These schools provided a good practical, common-school education. This interest has continued to grow with those who came after the early settlers until at present the schools of Bates county rank favorably with any in the state.
In 1853, the Legislature of Missouri created the office of school commissioner. The first school commissioner of the county was William C. Requa, who was appointed by the county court in May, 1856, and served until May, 1858, when Nathan L. Perry was appointed by the court. Mr. Perry served until the beginning of the Civil War, when the office was discontinued, so far as the court records show, until May, 1866. A change in the school law of 1866, created the office of county superintendent.
The first county superintendent of schools of Bates county was David McGaughey, who was appointed by the county court in May, 1866. He was elected in November, 1866, and served for a term of two years. The day following his appointment he granted certificates to teach to George Lamkin, who began teaching at Pleasant Gap, and Mrs. E. Burkleo, his sister. Mr. McGaughey began the system of visiting the schools and delivering addresses upon educational subjects throughout the county. It was during his administration that between forty and fifty school districts were organized. At the first convention of the teachers of the state at St. Louis in June, 1866, Mr. McGaughey was the only representative from southwest Missouri.
In November, 1868, L. B. Allison was elected county superintendent of schools, and served for a term of two years. He continued the practice of his predecessor in visiting the schools, and delivering addresses upon educational subjects throughout the county. The number of school districts increased rapidly during his term of office, there being 78 school houses in the county at the close of his administration. Bates county stood first in 1869 in the amount of money spent for the erection of school houses, and second in the state in 1870, expending that year the sum of $14,170.71.
The first teachers' institute ever organized in the county was in May, 1869. It was organized in Butler in the First Presbyterian church. There were fifty teachers present. The meeting was presided over by the county superintendent who had devoted considerable time to the study of institute work in the East. It was a very profitable meeting and the teachers present received much benefit from it. The following is from the record of the proceedings of this meeting: "Butler, Missouri. May 24. 1869. At 2 o'clock p. m. a number of teachers and citizens met at the First Presbyterian church, pursuant to a call of the Bates countv superintendent for the purpose of organizing a teachers' institute."
The second session of the teachers' institute was held in the same place as the first on September 1st, 2nd and 3rd. State Superintendent T. A. Parker, and his assistants, Edwin Clark and Jasper A. Smith, were present at this meeting and rendered valuable service to the success of the institute. Nearly every teacher in the county was present.
Because of the interest manifested in these institutes, Prof. L. B. Allison called the third meeting of the teachers' institute in April, 1870, at Papinsville, then the second town in the county. About forty teachers were enrolled at this meeting, and a number of the citizens, took part in the discussions, making the session both interesting and profitable.
In November, 1870, Mr. Charles Wilson was elected county superintendent of schools, and served until January, 1873. During his administration a number of new school houses were erected. He continued holding teachers' institutes. Because of a change in the school law in 1870, making more liberal provisions in increasing the number of days for official work, Mr. Wilson was enabled to visit every school in the county and consult with school officers, which resulted in more uniformity in the making of reports, and in school work.
In January, 1873, Mr. James Harper succeeded Mr. Wilson as county superintendent of schools. Because of a change in the school law Mr. Harper was the last of the superintendents to visit the schools. Many good school buildings were built throughout the county and in most cases the schools were furnished with patent school furniture. He served until April, 1877. It was during Mr. Harper's term that a change in the school law required the school commissioner to be elected in April instead of November, and in 1875 the Legislature created the office of school commissioner. The school commissioner was to possess the qualifications of a competent teacher of the public schools ; be a qualified voter of the county; and to be of good moral character.
The following citizens filled the office of school commissioner since April, 1877: C. L. Mills, April, 1877 to April, 1881 ; J. H. Hinton, April, 1881 to January, 1884; W^ W. Graves, January, 1884 to April. 1887; James Burke, April, 1887 to April, 1891; Frank Deerwester, April. 1891, to April, 1893; J. P. Thurman, April. 1893. to April. 1897; Arthur Borron, April, 1897 to April, 1899; Burr Raybourn, April, 1899 to April, 1901 ; H. O. Maxey, April, 1901 to April, 1904.
During the latter part of Mr. Wilson's term as school commissioner, teachers' meetings were discontinued. It was not until the sunnner of 1878 that the move for re-organizing teachers' meetings was begun.
Mr. T. C. Robinson makes the following statement concerning early education in Howard township: "In 1878, there were two school houses in Howard township. There were only twenty-six voters in the township. As most of the township was unsettled, the dwellings were few and far between. This caused most of the pupils to have a long distance to ride or walk to school. Nevertheless, there was shown a keen and intense interest, and desire on the part of the pupils to get an education, and on the part of the parents to keep the schools going. As an instance of the desire of the boys and girls of that period to get an education, I have but to mention one family, that of John Badgett whose two boys and two girls walked two and one-fourth miles to school every day for four terms without missing a day or being tardy. There were others just as attentive.
"The two school houses referred to above were the Montrose and the Greenridge. They were located as follows: The Montrose school house was located in the southwest corner of section 13, township 38, range 33, and the Greenridge school house was located in the northeast corner of northwest fourth of section 20, township 38, range 33. The Montrose school house was later moved one mile north.
"Some boys and girls rode as far as five miles to the Montrose school in the fall of 1878 and 1879, and I have counted as many as thirty horses and ponies tethered on the prairies around the school house.
"With the coming of railroads in 1880, came population and in a short time more school houses were built, and schools were almost the first consideration of the people."
The first Reading Circle in the county was organized in 1898. Only a few teachers took any interest in the work. Later a requirement was issued from the State Department of Education which in a short time became a law that teachers must do Reading Circle work to get their certificates renewed. This caused several Reading Circles to be organized throughout the county. Interest in this work has grown, until at present most of the teachers in the county are doing the work. A Reading Circle chairman for each township in the county is appointed Iw the county superintendent. It is the duty of the chairman to call a meeting of the teachers in the township, and to assign a portion of each book for discussion at some future meeting, usually once or twice a month.
1901, the school library law was enacted. It required local school boards to provide school libraries, and to spend annually not less than five cents per pnpil ennmerated in the district in supplying reference and supplementary books. This law has had great influence in furnishing rural school pupils with good wholesome literature.
A systematic course of study was adopted for rural and village schools in the county in 1902. It stressed the use of literature for use in the grades and thus made the school library a necessity. It provides for an alternation of work by grades and does away with the formal recitation hearing and provides the teacher with time to teach literature and other subjects of interest to children.
In 1903, a change was made in the school law, abolishing the old teachers' institute system and providing for a three days' teachers' association to be held on the last three days of some week in September. October, November or December. At the last teachers' association held in Butler 98 per cent, of the teachers in the county were present.
County school supervision was adopted in Bates county in April. 1904. This required the county superintendent to devote all of his time to supervision and of^ce duties. A law was passed in 1917 allowing the county superintendent one-fourth of his salary for clerical help and traveling expenses. This will permit more time to be ;devoted to supervision, and will make the work of the county superintendent more efficient. The following have served as county superintendent since the adoption of county school supervision: H. O. Maxey, April, 1904, to April, 1905; Emma Cassity, April, 1905, to May, 1905; A. L. Ives, May, 1905, to April, 1909; P. M. Allison, April. 1909, to April, 1915; Arthur C. Moreland, April, 1915.
In 1909, a system was adopted by the State Department of Education for approving rural schools. The following schools are at present approved schools: McKinley, Mingo, Hackler, Olive, Fairview (No. 32), Silverdale, Harmony, Tripp. Miller, Black, Summit Center, Hudson City, Hazel Dell, Prairie City, North Muddy, Montgomery, Maple Grove, Herrell, and Virginia (69).
The school board convention law of 1913, providing for a meeting of the school boards of the county once a year, and allowing them pay for attending the meeting has done much to make more efficient school board members.
Considerable interest is being manifested in the free text-book law of 1913, which provides that each school district by a majority vote may provide free text books to the pupils of the district. Twelve rural school districts voted free text books this year and are now furnishing free books to the pupils of the district.
In 1913, a law was passed providing for teachers' training courses in approved first class high schools as designated by the state superintendent of schools. This course provides special training in rural and in elementary school work. While the course does not prepare thoroughly trained leaders, it is a great advance over and produces more efficient teachers than the method of granting certificates through the county examinations to students from the regular high school course.
Since the passage of the Buford consolidation law in 1913, the following consolidated school districts have been formed: Amsterdam No. 1, in 1914; Merwin No. 2, in 1915; Crescent Hill No. 3, in "1916; Hume No. 4, in 1916; Montrose No. 5, in 1917; and Prairie No. 6, in 1917. Only three of the above consolidated school districts have provided high schools, Amsterdam, Merwin, and Hume.
For the purpose of bettering rural social conditions throughout the county, a series of educational meetings were called for different parts of the county. This movement was started in the fall of 1916, and was taken up again in the fall of 1917 when eight local meetings were held.
In October, 1915, thirty-six teachers in the vicinity of Butler met in the office of county superintendent and organized an Extension Course in Educational Psychology and in Educational Sociology under the instruction of Dean C. A. Phillips, of the Warrensburg Normal. In the fall of 1916 thirty teachers met in the same plaee and organized a course in English Constitutional History and in Missouri History under the instruction of Prof. C. H. McClure, head of the history department of the Warrensburg Normal. Again, in the fall of 1917 twenty-four teachers met in Butler and organized a course in Economics under the instruction of Prof. W^alter Morrow of the Warrensburg Normal, and twenty teachers met in Rich Hill and organized a course in Hebrew History and American History under the instruction of Prof. C. H. McClure, of the Warrensburg Normal.
In 1906 the average salary paid the rural teacher was $234. In 1917 the average salary had increased to $400. The highest salary paid a rural teacher in the county at present is $70 per month or $560 per term. There are eighteen rural schools paying $60 or more per month.
The following statistics will show the standing of the Bates county schools July 1, 1917:
Enumeration - Male. 3.472; female. 3,240. Total, 6,712.
Enrollment - Male. 2,902; female. 3.381. Total. 6.283.
Total number of days attendance, 738,070. Average daily attendance, 4,613.
Average length of school term in days, 160.
Number of school districts in county, 137.
Number of districts having libraries, 136; volumes in libraries, 18740; number of volumes added this year, 4,430; value of libraries, $7,610; amount spent this year, $2,100.
Number of teachers who have had high school training, 132; normal training, 151.
Number of teachers employed - Male, 44; female, 160. Total, 204.
Number enrolled in high school - Male, 251; female, 339. Total, 590.
Number of high school graduates - Male, 40; female, 63. Total, 103.
Number of pupils graduating from common school course - Male, 93; female, 191. Total, 284.
Average salary of teachers per month - Alale, $72; female, $54.
Estimated value of school sites and buildings, $306,500; estimated value of school equipment, libraries, furniture, apparatus, $31,200.
Assessed value of taxable property, $14,330,435.12; present indebtedness, $96,540.
Average levy per $100 for all school purposes, 59.64c.
Grand total receipts, $188,923.36; grand total payments, $157,408.51; balance on hand, $31,514.85.
Amount of school loans - Common school fund, $76,013.14; township school fund, $43,489.57. Total, $119,502.71.
Total amount of cash on hand, $6,857.47.
Total loans and cash, $126,360.18.
Adrian Public Schools.
The first school house erected in Adrian was in August, 1882. It was a frame building, and contained four rooms, two above and two below. School opened October 1, 1882, with an enrollment of 96 pupils. L. W. Putnam was elected superintendent, and his wife, Mary Putnam, was elected assistant. Mr. Putnam is still living and is a resident of Adrian. He continued as superintendent of the schools for three years. The second year three teachers were employed and the third year four teachers were employed. The school continued with four teachers until 1895, when the present building was constructed.
Mr. Covert was employed as the second principal of the school, and remained in the position for three years. Mr. Ben. Brouse was then elected for one year. He was succeeded by Mr. Frank Deerwester in 1889, who remained but one year. Mr. Stair was employed in 1890 but owing to ill health resigned in February, 1891. Mr. AV. E. Welch was elected to fill the vacancy, and he remained in the position until 1895. At the annual school meeting in 1895 bonds were voted to the amount of $5,000 for the erection of the present building.
Mr. J. K. Failing was elected principal in 1895, and remained one year. Mr. M. A. Cleveland was then employed, and has been succeeded by the following principals and superintendents: Mr. A. L. Ives, Mr. McCorckle, Mr. W. T. Hoover, Mr. W. D. Miller, and Mr. B. E.' Parker, the present superintendent. T he Adrian high school is ranked as a first class high school by the State Department of Education. There are five high school teachers, and all of them are normal, university, or college graduates. Each teacher has had special training in the subjects he or she is teaching. There are 107 pupils enrolled in the high school, and 55 of them are tuition pupils. There is not another high school in the state that has as large a number in the high school in proportion to the number in the grades. In addition to the regular four-year high school course, there is a commercial, domestic science, and teacher's training course. There are 134 pupils enrolled in the grades.
Mr. B. E. Parker was elected superintendent in 1911 and has continued in the same position. Miss Emma Hyatt was elected principal of the high school in 1913.
Rich Hill Public Schools.
In April, 1881, after the town was established in June previous, an election was called for the reorganization of the school district and for the election of school directors. Previous to June, 1881, there were only fifteen pupils within the district known as the Rich Hill School District. There was then a little school house, about 14 x 16. east of the city of Rich Hill. At this election the district was reorganized and Rich Hill was selected as the site for the school building of the district. A vote of three per cent, on the then taxable property of the district was carried and bonds to the amount of $4,000 were issued. In the meantime the board engaged the churches of the town in which to teach the winter of i88i and 1882. Rev. Mr. Henshaw was chosen principal for the school term of 1881. A corps of six teachers were employed. There are now 1,177 pupils within the city limits, by actual listing.
As occasion demanded the school board revised the course of study and added to it to accommodate the wants of the people. At present there is a four-year high school course. The high school is ranked as a first class school by the State Department of Education. There are 89 pupils enrolled in high school. Roy D. Brown is superintendent.
Butler Public Schools.
The first school in Butler was taught in a building erected for both school and church purposes in 1856. The teacher was Mrs. Martha Morgan. This building was used by all religious denominations for their services, people coming from as far as twenty miles to attend church. The building was destroyed during the Civil War.
A temporary building was erected in 1866 to be used as a school house. The first school in this school house was taught by Professor Cavendish, a graduate of Ashbury University, Kansas, in the fall and winter of 1866 and 1867.
The first brick school building in the county was erected in Butler in the fall of 1870. It was located at the head of Ohio street in the west part of town. It was a two-story building and cost $8,000. Later it was torn down and replaced by the present two-story brick building. This building was used for high school purposes until the fall of 1911. It was one of the first buildings in the county to be furnished with the patent seat and desk. As the town grew it later became necessary to build two grade buildings, one in the east part of town and the other in the north part. In 1911 the citizens of Butler voted bonds to the amount of $35,000 for the erection of the present high school building.
Butler has one of the best high schools in the state from the standpoint of faculty, building and equipment. The faculty is composed of ten teachers. Each teacher has had four years training in excess of a four-year high school course.
The Butler Academy.
The school was first organized in 1874. Judge David McGaughev was chosen president; Rev. E. V. Campbell, secretary, and M. S. Cowles, treasurer. Vice-presidents were chosen from various portions of the county with the view of awakening a general interest and founding an institution of learning to meet the wants of a higher education than afforded by our common schools.
Rev. E. V. Campbell, the then pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Butler, taught the first term in the upper story of a store building on the southwest corner of the public scpiare, beginning on the 14th day of September with an attendance of six pupils. He continued in charge of the school, which rapidly increased in numbers, till the close of the year 1875, when he resigned the charge of both pastorate and school.
The following January, Rev. B. F. Powelson took charge of the academy, and with the aid of friends taught till the close of the spring term.
In September. 1876, Prof. L. B. Allison was selected to aid him. In January, 1877, the school was removed to the northwest corner of the square in rooms over the store occupied by Colonel Wheeler. The winter term of this year opened with an attendance of fifty pupils, and the academy now began to assume a permanency of character which gave assurance of success. The friends of the school renewed their efforts in its behalf, and during the winter of 1877 circulated a subscription for the purpose of raising funds to secure a site and erect a building thereon. The sum of $3,000 was soon pledged in shares of stock fixed at $25 each.
Early in May following, a meeting of the stockholders was held and a new organization effected. A board of trustees was elected, comprising the following named gentlemen: Messrs. M. S. Cowles, D. N. Thompson, Hiram C. Wyatt, Capt. E. P. Henry, and Judge David McGaughey. The question of a brick structure was decided at this meeting, also the selection of a site. Articles of association were immediately adopted, and work began on the building in June, and on the 26th day of July the corner stone was laid with appropriate exercises by the Masonic order. The building was completed in the latter part of November, and the school took possession of the new building the same month. In the meantime the academy was placed under the fostering care of the Osage Presbytery, with the understanding that it should not be sectarian, but merely Christian in character. Professor Powelson continued as principal till March, 1879.
In September following. Prof. James M. Naylor, A. M., of Terre Haute, Indiana, was called to the principalship of the academy.
Authority was granted by the state in April, 1881, for the confering of academic degrees at the close of the spring term. The degrees of A. B. and poet laureate were granted to the first class of graduates of the Butler Academy, composed of the following students: Messrs. Warren L. Durand, Francis Brittain, and Misses Maggie B. Newton. Florence I. Page, Hattie Henry, Clara Henry, and Lizzie B. Yathwell.
This institution never received any endowment, but was supported entirely by public patronage.
The above is the history of the Butler Academy from its beginning to 1897. The academy was destroyed by fire in 1900 and w^as never rebuilt because of the growth of the Butler public schools at that time.
Hume Public Schools.
Before Hume came into existence, what is now the Hume school district was formerly Greenridge school district.
Hume was platted in the fall of 1880, but it was not until the winter of 1882 that Hume had a school, the children prior to that attending the Greenridge school, one mile south of Hume.
In the winter of 1882, Miss Dora Bishop taught a subscription school upstairs on the northwest corner of the square.
In the spring of 1883 the school district was divided with Noah Little, E. C. Maxwell, and one other as directors. Hume's first school house is still standing and is now the Catholic church. A. C. Corbin was employed as teacher, teaching six months in the spring and six months in the fall and winter.
J. K. Dickinson took charge of the school in the fall of 1884. By this time the population had grown so rapidly that the school house was too small, and the children were taught in the old Buckles Hall, on the southwest corner of the square. Miss Mollie Blevans was teacher.
At the annual school meeting in April, 1895, bonds were voted for the erection of a brick building. The building was completed by September 1st. and school opened with S. P. Noel, principal and Miss Lizzie McCuen, assistant. Miss Alice Langston had charge of the primary room.
On April 30, 1892, under the superintendency of Prof. C. M. Leedy, the first class was graduated. The members of the graduating class were : Rose Shepherd. Libl)ie and Edna Bacon. Nannie Cockerill. Delia Maxwell, Lillie Horton, and Howard Wood.
On February 16, 1916, the Hume Consolidated School District was formed. At the election voting consolidation, transportation of pupils was also voted.
On April 5, 1916, bonds were voted to the amount of $20,000 for the erection of a modern school building.
The Hume high school is ranked as a first class high school by the State Department of Education.
Miss Ida Hawman was elected as a teacher in the high school in 1914. She held this position until the fall of 1916 when she was elected superintendent. She has two high school assistants. There are four grade teachers.
Amoret Public Schools.
In or about the year 1887, before many people had settled in Amoret, a small school house was built one mile north of town on the west side of the road leading from Amoret. The original name of the school was Spy Mound.
About the year 1886, the Kansas City Southern was built through the county, and this caused more people to settle in Amoret. The Spy Mound school house was not large enough at that time to accommodate the people of the town so bonds were voted to the amount of $1,800 for the erection of a new school building within the town limits. The site was chosen wdiere the old building now stands.
The building was so constructed that in the future more room could be added to it. Only two rooms were completed at first. Two more rooms have been added. Mr. and Mrs. Kennet were the first teachers elected in the school of Amoret.
Miss Clara Mager was elected principal in 1913, and it was through her efforts that the high school was set in working order. The district was not able to supply her with the necessary equipment, so she failed to get the high school approved.
In 1914, Prof. J. A. Wilson was elected principal and remained in the position for two years. During his term as principal the high school was ranked as a third class high school.
In 1916, Prof. G. W. Bliss was elected as principal of the high school. It was during his term as principal that the high school was ranked as a second class school.
In the fall of 1916, Amoret voted bonds to the amount of $7,000 for the erection of a modern school building. The building was completed in the spring of 1917. It is a two-story brick, containing eight class rooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300. The school is ranked as a second class high school by the State Department of Education. There are three grade teachers. Mr. L. S. Wright was elected superintendent of the Amoret schools in 1917. Miss Emma Adair was elected as principal of the high school in 1917.
Amsterdam Public Schools.
The first school building in Amsterdam was erected in 1895. It was a two-room brick building.
The first principal was H. O. Maxey, who took charge of the school at the beginning of the fall term in 1895. He continued in this position until the spring of 1904, when he moved to Butler to become county superintendent of schools.
Mr. Maxey was succeeded by the following superintendents in order of service: W. M. Earsom, Ed Thornburgh, J. M. Gallatin, Miss Blanche Smith, and Miss Addie Hotsenpiller, the present superintendent.
The school continued as a town school until 1914 when a consolidated school district was formed including the school districts of Amsterdam, Liberty, Center and West Point.
In the spring of 1915 bonds were voted to the amount of $6,000 for the erection of a modern school building. It is a two-story brick containing eight class rooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300.
The school is ranked as a second class high school by the State Department of Education. There are two high school teachers and three grade teachers.
Miss Addie Hotsenpiller was elected superintendent in the fall of 1917.
Miss Eva DeAtley was elected principal in the fall of 1917.
Rockville Public Schools.
The first school building in Rockville was built of logs, and was erected by the patrons of the school. The first teacher was Prof. Claybourn Anderson.
The log building was replaced in 1871 by a two-story building of native stone, 24 feet x 48 feet, at a cost of $4,047. Professor Clark was employed as principal and his wife was elected assistant principal. The school building was too small to accommodate all of the pupils so a building was rented to house the primary department, and Miss Davis was elected teacher. There were 220 pupils enrolled. Later two rooms were added to the stone building.
In 1898 the stone building was replaced by a two-story brick, containing six rooms, equipped with a modern heating plant. The building cost $10,000.
The high school is ranked as a second class high school by the State Department of Education. There are two high school teachers, and four grade teachers.
Mr. E. L. Jones was elected principal in 1917.
Merwin Public Schools.
In 1891, the patrons of Lone Elm school district voted to build a school building in Merwin. They built a two-story frame building at a cost of $1,200. This building was used until the fall of 1915. The first teachers were Elam Henderson and his sister, Cena Henderson.
The school continued a two-room school until the fall of 1915. In May, 1915, the citizens of Merwin and community voted a consolidated school district. In June, 1915, bonds were voted to the amount of $3,000 for the purchase of the college building and its five-acre site. The building was remodeled until it contained five class rooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300. In 1916, one acre of land was purchased and added to the school site, making a total of six acres. This is the largest and the best school site in Bates county.
Mr. J. V. Hanna was elected as the first principal of the high school. He was the promoter of a consolidated school district with a high school in Merwin.
Miss Edna Quick is the present principal of the Merwin schools. She is assisted in the grades by three teachers.
Merwin Business College.
The Merwin Business College was built in 1898 at a cost of $10,000. Luther S. Richardson was the promoter of the enterprise. He organized a stock company to erect the building. The company leased the building to Professors Bunyard, Smith, and Reynolds, who carried on a successful school for several years, when it was closed for lack of patronage. The building was then sold to a Mr. Proctor, who sold it to D. A. Charles and a Mr. Elvin. They carried on a commercial school for three years, until the spring of 1914, when the school was again closed. Later the building was sold to the Merwin Consolidated School District.
About 1884, a man by the name of Bryant came to Sprague, and erected a college building. He conducted a good school for a number of years. Finally, dissensions arose among the members of the faculty and spread to the community which resulted in discontinuing the school.
History of Bates County Missouri by W.O. Atkeson 1918
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