Pella Chronicle

Days Gone By

October 20, 2011

Looking back at the one room school

Pella — Salem was southwest of Knoxville.  In comparing a 1937 map with today’s map; the school appears to have been on 94th place west  of English Creek.  We associate the name Salem with that famous eastern seaport founded  in 1626.  It’s an unusual name for a school. Was it chosen by locals who were descendants of those living in Salem or is it just a nod to a historic city?

From the Feb. 1892 Knoxville Journal: “The patrons and scholars came with well filled baskets and about 40 partook of the gorgeous viands, which had been  nicely prepared by the housewives.”

Several years ago Ruth Woodle Kenney who attended Salem contributed a photo and an article to the Knoxville Journal about the early days of rural schools.  Ruth Kenney was a rural school teacher but she did not teach at Salem. She wrote that  “learning the ABCs was the first thing required of the child.  After he could distinguish most of the letters by sight, he was taught to spell simple words.  On the theory that no one could read properly until he had learned to spell well.  More attention was given to orthography during the child’s early school years than to any other branch of study.  As a further encouragement to good spelling, contests were frequently held of evenings and in these spelling schools many of the parents participated.  Two captains were selected to choose up sides.”

Teachers were  D. B. Bye 1886, Miss Minnie Smith 1887, Miss Scott 1888, Eva Scott, Charles McKern 1889, Miss Duncan 1890, Miss Keefer 1891, Mr. H. S. Bye, Miss Keefer 1892, Miss Kate Derry 1894,  Kate Derry, Letitia Keefer 1895, Art Betterton 1898, Alda Applegate 1899, Art Betterton 1900, Mary Kelley 1901, Fannie Eberhardt, Nellie Rogers 1903, Nannie Hyatt, Mary E. Bruett  1904, Effie McIntire 1905, Mary Greenaway 1906, Maud De Raat, Della Ridnouer 1907, Della Ridnouer 1908,  Idella ?, Pearl Bonifield 1909, Cluna Karns 1910, Cluna Karns, Alta Havley, Jo Mendenhall  1911, Myrtle Lacken, Lucille Tysseling 1912, Vera C. Hardin 1913, Irene Tysseling 1914, Gail Cruyenberry, Fern Shults 1915, Electra West  1916, Vera Colwell, Lucille Tysseling 1917, Florence Willis, Mabel Bush 1918, Mabel Bush 1919, Ollie Evans 1921, Inez Grimes 1922, Susie Orcutt 1925, Helen Welsher 1928, Madge Wilson 1930, Edith Hamilton 1932, Joye Black  1933-35.

If you have information or pictures about any Marion County rural school, contact Helen Boertje at 641-628-4716 or  Unless I receive additional information this series will conclude with a story of Liberty in Knoxville twp.

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Days Gone By
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