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Grundy County

Private Schools History

The first school taught was by that old pioneer, Richard R. Reese, who was the first county court and circuit clerk and the first lawyer in Plattsburg. The building in which he taught was a small cabin that stood south of and in the neighborhood of R. W. Hockaday's present hardware store. This was as early as 1834, and at a period when there were but a few inhabitants. Mr. Reese left here about the year 1840. We have referred to him elsewhere in this work.

The next regular school kept (by subscription) in the town of Plattsburg, was in 1841, in a log house, located east of the public square, on the bluff. The teacher was Dr. Cyrus Hubbard, a graduate of the University of Maine, and a brother of Governor Hubbard, of that state. The Doctor was not only a thoroughbred physician, but a man of fine classical and literary attainments, and notwithstanding his many eccentricities, which were said to have characterized him, he was eminently successful as a teacher. After teaching a term of five months, the Doctor married a Miss Ward, and thereafter devoted himself exclusively to the practice of medicine for several years, when he moved away.

Among his pupils were: Charles C. Birch, James H. Birch, Jr., C. C. Jones, Brazelton A. Jones, William Quinn, Anthony Palmer, C. C. Palmer, Jane Palmer, Delia Randolph, Virginia Funkhouser, McDonald boys and E. S. Randolph.

The third teacher was, probably, Moses H. Simonds, from Ohio, a graduate of the Ohio University, and a man of excellent scholarship. He taught for some time after his arrival, and until the breaking out of the Mexican war, when he went to Gentry County, Missouri, in 1846, where he raised a company of volunteers for the service. Mr. George Davis, an old and respected citizen of Clinton County, informs us, that he saw Mr. Simonds just before his departure for Mexico, and when they were about to bid each other farewell, having been friends for a number of years, Mr. Simonds suggested that they should exchange pocket-books, as souvenirs, which was accordingly done. Mr. Davis still has the pocket-book given him by Simonds, who died on his way to Mexico.

Then came John Cavenaugh, who was a graduate of the University of Oxford, England, and at one time a fellow of one of its colleges. He taught a short time, in Plattsburg, and also joined a company of volunteers, for the Mexican war, and f1nally lost his life at Chapultepec.

The next teacher was William H. Pritchard, who was a graduate of the University of Virginia. After teaching one or two years, he returned to Virginia, and died there.

After Pritchard, William E. Emory, a graduate of the Ohio University, was employed as a teacher for several years. He returned, finally, to Ohio.

George W. Osborn, then taught several terms, was county surveyor for several years, and died near Cameron, Clinton County.

Thomas D. W. Yonley, taught a number of years, and was afterward Attorney General of Arkansas. He is now in Denver, Colorado, practicing law.

J. M. DeFrance also taught a private school in Plattsburg. He is now an attorney, and resides in Kirksville, Missouri. Lavinus Transu and Moses Shoemaker may be classed with the early teachers. Mr. Shoemaker was, at one time, clerk of the county and circuit courts. He still resides in Plattsburg.

Among the female teachers were Miss Anna Patton (now wife of Colonel Vance), Miss Cynthia Harris and Miss Frances Davis.

Among the last to open a private school in the town were Miss Aletha A. and Lucy Pepper, from Kentucky. They were highly educated, and taught with great success. After remaining here some length of time, they left for San Francisco, California, where they resumed teaching.

Having had to rely solely upon the memory of different persons for the above information concerning the early schools of Plattsburg, we have, of course, mentioned them without any reference to chronological arrangement. There were other teachers, whose names we could not obtain.

Source:  The History of Grundy County, Missouri: Birdsall & Dean, publ. 1881; Submitted to Genealogy Trails and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack  

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