By Helen Boertje
Freedom, sometimes called Electra, was south of the overhead bridge south of Melcher.
The Knoxville Journal of Sept. 1883 reports that Miss Lydia Little didn’t teach because the school house was not in good condition. She gave up and has gone home with a headache.
According to the Knoxville Journal of Jan. 28, 1884 there was a spelling bee at Freedom with five or six schools participating. Miss Mary McCory of Freedom was champion.
From the writings of Thelma Straup who taught at Freedom in the 1930s:
“When the mine started operation and a mining camp was started two more rooms were added to the building with a basement under the new rooms. A furnace was installed in the basement.
Freedom operated for several years as a three room school with over 100 students enrolled. But as people began moving out of the mining camp it became a two room school. Then after a few years it became a one room school again. Using one of the new rooms, and using the other new room as a playroom . The original room became a store room. It was once again a school for farm children as the mine closed.”
Teachers were W. J. Reasoner 1883, A. R. Minor, W. A. Graves 1891, Miss Riggs 1892, Cora Jacobs, Agnes Manix 1895, Ora L. Lake, May Harned 1898, Alice Bittenbender, Mary Irons 1899, Esta Sweem, Nina Pringle 1900, Myrtle Brauner 1903-04, Myrtle Brauner, Mattie Long 1905, G. W. Morrison, Emma Smith 1906, Ruby A. Palmer 1907, Hella L. Graves 1908, Neva Wilson 1909-10 Helen Cooper, Laura A. Mason 1911, Helen Cooper, Mabel Wilson 1912, Mabel Wilson 1913, W. E. Albertson, Maude Inskeep 1914, Mabel Wilson, Ferne Rowland 1915, Orba L. Molore, Nytha L. Vernon, Nellie Bissett 1916, Orba L. Moore, Martha Vernon, Faye Deitrich, Hazel Clark, Nytha V. Phillips, Eunice Troutman, Selma Hawkins, Marie Hollingsworth 1917, Selma Hawkins, Agnes Weir 1920, Edith Agan, Jennie Watkins 1921, Bess Williams, Maud Lang 1924, Bess L. Williams 1925, Susie Orcutt 1927, Icel Miller 1929-30, Thelma Wilson 1931-33, Thelma Straup 1934-36, Icel L. Miller 1937, Harriet L. Hill 1938, Marvel Werts 1939-40, Marvel Werts 1943.
Please continue to contact me with information and/or pictures about your country school at 641-628-4716 or helenboertje @iowatelecom.net