Pella Chronicle

July 29, 2011

Looking back at the one room school

By Helen Boertje
The Chronicle

Pella — Pleasant Valley (Frog Pond) appears to have been located on the west side of Calhoun Creek in section 9, although the official records place it in the west central part of section 10.  In any case, it has gone from the landscape.

Oct. 2, 1886 Knoxville Journal reports “the school board have put on a new roof, sealed it and put in a slate blackboard.”

From the Pella Blade of Feb. 25, 1897, the White Walnut, Red Rock township correspondent says “At a meeting of the literary society at Pleasant Valley School House (White Walnut school was 3 miles northwest of Red rock at the town of Dunreath.  Pleasant Valley School was 2 1/2 miles north of White Walnut) a most shameful riot occurred in which a number participated, some of which were badly cut up, others seriously bruised and quite a number hugely scared.

Revolvers were drawn, stones were thrown, and false knuckles freely plied.  A warrant was issued and several ararests have been made; but others of the guilty gave bail and, of course, will be unwhipped of justice.  Several of the participants are undergoing legal proceedings before Esquire West of Red Rock township. This affair has stirred up a strife in its immediate vicinity that may reach far into the future.”  

Bernie (Guy) Reeves started school there and walked 2 1/2 miles, the last 1/2 mile down a dirt road.  The school was called Frog Pond because of a swampy area in a corner of the school yard.  He said there were more snakes than frogs there.  His teacher, Wilma Sargeant, whose home was in Indianola, boarded with the Walt Wheatcraft family during the week and walked through the field to get to the school.  Her son later became a principal at Monroe.

Guy remembers looking up from his studies one day and wondering who the woman all dressed in black strolling down the aisle was. It was Sylvia Plotts, the county superintendent. (Who of us can forget Sylvia Plotts?)

One time while they were playing hide ‘n seek, Gene Waddle fell through a window and broke his arm.  With no phone or car, the teacher walked him to his parent’s home leaving the older children in charge.

At this school they had a play date in which another school was invited for a day of competitive games.  They also had a day in which they were to bring a favorite pet to school.  Gene brought a pigeon (not a favorite pet) with a ribbon tied to its foot. The pigeon escaped and was later found caught in the hay track of a neighbor’s barn. (Death by ribbon).

Keith Templeton tells the story of the morning the wind chill factor was  minus 27.  His father went to the barn, got some twine and tied his dinner pail to his neck so he could put his hands in his pockets while walking to school.

Teachers included Sarah K. Mullins 1881, E. Beardon 1885, S. Ridenour, Sadie L. Smith 1886, Miss Dora Hughes 1887, M. E. Beardon, Della Harp 1889, Miss Ella Crew 1890, Miss Minnie Houck 1891, Miss Myrtle Judd 1892, Sadie Mullins 1895, Jno. Stevens 1896, C.A. Shultis, Mary Kain 1898, S. S. Templeton, Gertrude Wassener 1899, Lizzie Carter 1900, Mary Templeton, Ernest Norman 1901, S. S. Templeton, Mary Roller 1902, Mary Roller 1903, Armanda Brown, Pauline Sarver, Gertrude Almach, Beatrice Smith 1904, Marjorie Levin, Julia Fennema 1905, S.S. Templeton, Mrs. Mamie B. Smith 1906, Frances Nemer, Ethel L. Bush 1907, Martha Targgart 1908, Ethel L. Barr 1909, Jno. Caffrey, Alice Templeton 1910, Catherine Bruce, Olive Brees 1911, Thayne Gheist, Frances Coulson 1912, Beatrice Fennema, Frances B. Coulson 1913, Agnes C. Belson, Helene Beem, Frances Coulson 1914, Frances Coulson, Mary L. Charles, Mrs. S. S. Templeton 1915,  Margaret Carr 1916, Selma Hawkins 1917-18, W. D. Campbell 1919, Marie Snider Kingery 1920, Lora Jennings 1921, Gertude Dykstra 1922, Gertrude Dykstra, Florence Vander Kraan 1923, Violet Smith 1925, Letha Nimmo 1926, Merle Taylor 1927, Gertrude Thornton 1929, Ruby McReynolds 1931, Marie Kingery 1932-33, Sarah Jane Templeton 1934, Gretchen Robinson 1935, Marie Kingery 1936, Gretchen Robinson 1937, Betty Robinson 1938, Darlene Rebertus 1939, Darlene Rebertus, Arlene McConeghey 1940,  Inez Schroder Thomson 1941, Dorothy Alley Ellis 1942, Hazel E. Worrall,  Mrs. Leo Mullins 1943, Mrs. Lucile Mullins 1945, Lucile Mullins 1947-51, Wilma Sargeant 1952-54

Did you intend to send me your pictures and stories?  Hurry please or they will not be in the book.  641-628-4716 or