Pella Chronicle

October 22, 2010

Looking back at the one room school

By Helen Boertje
The Chronicle

Pella — Fairview stands on its original site, 3 miles southwest of Harvey on the west side of Hwy T17.  It is being used for hay storage.

I talked with Maryellen Beaver who taught school there in the school years 1943 and 1944.  She was asked to fill a vacancy as soon as she turned 18 in the fall of 1943.  She described her ten pupils as all good kids with good parents. While teaching there, she roomed with a family in the neighborhood even though her parents lived in the adjacent Union school district. It was war time and they did not have an extra car which would have meant she had to ride a horse four miles to school.  When she got married, she stopped teaching. Thelma Hohl took her place as the next teacher at Fairview.  She roomed with Maryellen and her husband and the two women kept in touch until Thelma died at age 100.

In 1948 Maryellen was again called upon to fill a vacancy at the Union school, the one she had attended.  This time she had 20 students in all grades. There was a special challenge to prepare six students for their 8th grade exams.  That year she said, she did many of the things her grade school teacher Bessie Kenney had done.  Good teachers were good mentors for their students.

Fairview closed in the early 50s and then reopened because McMillan had become too crowded.  McMillan student Joan Anderson attended Fairview in the 3rd and 4th grade, getting there by a yellow school bus. Janet Westberg, also from the McMillan district, attended Fairview from the 4th through 8th grade.  She recalls lunch of potatoes wrapped in foil and baked on the school heating stove. Water was provided by Don and Jennie Harsin.  She said that teacher Mrs. Mott always carried a hanky as she was subject to hay fever and that sometimes she was so tired she needed to lie on a bench for a while. Although Mrs. Mott had health problems, it did not prevent her from teaching for 30 years.

Maryellen Beaver said that at one time the districts of McMillan, Victory, Union, Clay Center, and Vigilance had considered building a high school to serve the students of the area.  She felt that was not necessary as both Knoxville and Tracy were close by.  However, she said it was a sad time when reorganization came and all these country schools closed.

Teachers included  Miss Jennie Glenn 1882, Miss Masteller 1893, Miss Daisy Clarke 1894, Mary Clark 1895, Mary Simmons 1896, Ollie Davis, Minnie Savage 1898, Mary Sarver 1900, Maude Inskeep, Rosa Rice 1903, Lula Townsend 1904, Eugenia McKenzie, Bertha Hughes 1905, Stella Brubaker 1906, Pauline Sarver 1907, Bertha Woody 1909-10, Faye Cummings 1911, Edna Townsend 1912, Helen Cooper 1913, Helen Osborne 1914, Velma E. Wilkins, Pearl Bonifield 1916, Ve Lola Blair 1917, Flora McKinzie 1919, Jennie Leuty 1920, Daisy Musgrove 1921-22, Amy E. Norris 1924, Ruth Fridlington 1925, Malvina Neely 1927, Hester H. Hazen 1928-29,  Zelma Crozier 1930, Edna M. Zeigler 1931-32, Arlene Beaver 1934, Laura Belle Overton, Arlene Beaver 1935, Catherine Larew 1937, Arlene Beaver, Harold O’Dell, Pearl Bonifield Poe 1938-39, Pearl Bonifield Poe 1940, Helen Beary 1936, Miss Loreen Harvey 1941, Mrs. Dorothy Mae Furgy 1942,  Maryellen Johnson 1943, Mrs. Maryellen Beaver 1944, Thelma Hohl 1945-46,  Minnie Mcdonnell 1950, Jennie Evans 1951, Evelyn Mott 1957.

Do you have pictures of students and/ or these schools in Dallas township?: Dallas Center, Chicago, Dallas, or Marion? Contact me at 641-628-4716 or helenboertje@iowatelecom.net