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Cedar County
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Educational


First and Early Schools.— Andrew Steel Stewart taught the first school in Cedar County, in 1841, in what is now the Powell District, in a log house which had been erected that year, and which has been described thus: Eighteen feet square, benches of split boards, no windows, rock fireplace at one end, an entrance, but no door; floor covering one-half of floor space only; no chimney. It was what was termed a subscription school, and lasted three months. There were eighteen scholars, and the price each was one dollar. Only one of the pupils, Thomas B. Graham, is now living. Probably the next school was taught by C. Lindsey, another well-remembered pioneer pedagogue. All of the early schools were similar in character to the one described above. Under the school laws of the State the public school system has developed to its present excellent status.

Sale of School Lands. — The first official act of Cedar County Court relative to school interests, is thus recorded: " It is ordered by the court that the sheriff of the county of Cedar proceed to sell Section 16, in Township 36, Range 27, on the second day of the fall term of the Cedar County Court, which will be holden at the court house on the first Monday after the fourth Monday in September, said sale to be conducted in all respects according to law, said sheriff giving at least sixty days' notice thereof; it appearing to the satisfaction of this court, by a petition this day filed herein by a majority of the* citizens of Cedar Township, praying for the sale of said 16th Section." This was the first order for the sale of school lands. At the November term, 1847, it was " ordered that the sheriff of Cedar County proceed to sell Section 16 of school township 4, Range 28, Township 26, at the court house door, in the town of Fremont, at the next regular term of the Cedar Circuit Court, after giving sixty days' notice." Other similar orders followed, and May 16, 1848, the sheriff reported that, at a duly authorized and advertised public sale, he had sold school lands, as follows: The southwest one-fourth of the northeast one-fourth Section 16, Township 35. Range 26, to Samuel Caplinger; the southwest one-fourth of the northwest one-fourth of Section 16, Township 35, Range 26, to R. O. Maracle; the northwest one-fourth of the northwest one-fourth of Section 16, Township 35, Range 26, to John I. Hindsley; the northwest one-fourth of the northeast one-fourth of Section 16, Township 35, Range 26, to James Cawthon; and the southwest one-fourth of the northeast one-fourth of Section 16, Township 35, Range 26, and the southwest one-fourth of the northwest one-fourth of Section 16, Township 36, Range 28, to James Mayfield.   This is the first recorded sale of school lands.

Township Organization for School Purposes.— Following is a copy of the record of the first order to organize a township in Cedar County for school purposes:

At a county court begun and held for said county, on the 16th day of February, 1847, among others were the following proceedings, to wit: It is ordered that school township No. 35, in Range No. 26, in the county aforesaid, be organized for school purposes, agreeably to the provisions of an act of the General Assembly of the State, entitled an act to provide for the organization, support and government of common schools, approved February 9th, A. D. 1839, a majority of the qualified voters in said township having petitioned for said organization; and it is further ordered that the first meeting of the inhabitants thereof be held at Caplinger's mill on the first Saturday in March A. D. 1847, at ten o'clock in the forenoon. In testimony whereof, I, Joseph Allen, clerk of said court, have hereunto set my hand and private seal, there being no official seal provided, this 16th day of February, 1847.   (Signed)   Joseph Allen, Clerk.

James Simrell was appointed commissioner of School Township No. 35, Range 26, and Jeremiah Rea and Washington Crabtree, inspectors. At the August term, 1847, it was" ordered that School Township No. 2 (Township 34, Range 27) be organized for school purposes, the first meeting of the inhabitants thereof to be held at the house of John Satterfield on the first Saturday in October. James M. Allen was appointed commissioner, and he and John Carter inspectors. At the same time, School Township No. 3 (Township 33, Range 27) and School Township No. 4 (Township 3, Range 25) were ordered organized on the same day, the meeting, in the first, to be at the house of Jeremiah Lacy, and in the second at the house of Alanson Packard. David Hunter was appointed commissioner, and Gideon Hamier and George W. Wiley inspectors of No. 3; and M. Box, commissioner; and John Fergus and Alanson Packard, inspectors of No. 4. At the February and May terms, 1848, the following townships were ordered organized: No. 35, Range 27, first meeting second Monday in April, at the house of John B. Gordon; No. 33, Range 25, first meeting June 10, at the house of Richard Tatum. Robert A. Ray was appointed inspector of No. 35; Isaac Routh and Morris Mitchell of No. 33; Thomas Smith, commissioner of No. 33. May 19, 1848, it was ordered 11 that School Township No. 34 be organized for school purposes," with Nicholas McMinn as commissioner, and James M. Frazier and James M. Blake as inspectors. August 21, Township 34, Range 25, was ordered organized, the first meeting to be at the house of Robert Simmons on the fourth Saturday in September. The officers appointed were; John B. Ingram, commissioner, and William H. Curie and L. B. Tulley, inspectors. November 20, Township 35, Range 25, was ordered organized. Jacob Dixon was appointed commissioner, and Harry Ecleston and William F. Rogers, inspectors; the first meeting to be held at the house of Jacob Dixon on the last Saturday in December. Township 34, Range 26, was also ordered organized, the first meeting to be held at the court house on the same day, and Washington Crabtree was appointed commissioner, and Richard G. Roberts and William Guinn, inspectors.

The Schools of Today.—Such, in brief, is the interesting history of the early efforts to establish public schools in the county. Fostered by the State school laws, and aided by the efforts of officials and citizens, the school interest has been advanced until there are now eighty school districts in the county As a rule the houses are large and conveniently located, so that no child is deprived of school privileges.   The school population is 6,ooo, the average length of terms seven months, and schools are ably and efficiently conducted. The citizens have a com-mendable pride in school matters, fully realizing the importance of educating the young. The rate of taxation, State and county, is $2 per capita of school age, which is ample for all purposes. Teachers' institutes have been introduced successfully. The total enrollment of scholars in the county is as follows: White, 5,328; colored, 65; total, 5,393. The number of teachers employed is 112, of whom 28 are males.

History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties Missouri- Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889 page 425 to 428

 

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