Pella Chronicle

December 8, 2010

Looking back at the one room school

By Helen Boertje
The Chronicle

Pella — Marion school was south of Melcher-Dallas  on the north side of Virginia St. and the west side of 50th Pl.

According to the Knoxville Journal of Dec. 1889 there was a school exhibition on Saturday night. It consisted of songs, dialogues, declamations, tableaux, etc.  There was an immense crowd and good order.

On Aug. 29, 1894 the Journal reports that  the Marion School house burned to the ground Saturday night.  It is supposed to have been set on fire by someone.

Burline Thron was the teacher in 1941 when sparks caused a roof fire. The Melcher Fire Department answered the call and put out the fire.  The 15 pupils were sent home for the day, the roof was repaired and school continued as usual.  (from The Melcher-Dallas History book)

I visited with former student Winifred Hyatt in her Knoxville apartment.  She started kindergarten in the spring of 1920 with teacher Joye Black who had 22 pupils that year.   All five of the Smith children attended this school, walking about a a mile and a quarter from home.

On the first day of school Winifred walked with neighbor girl Avis Fortune.  She started down the road clutching a “Big Chief” tablet, a new box of crayons, a collapsible tin cup, a pencil box and a lunch bucket.  The boys played marbles and the girls played drop the handkerchief.  Winifred got in trouble when Avis enticed her into wading in the creek.  She said her father was not happy.

Winifred’s brother, Howard Smith, graduated from Melcher in 1951. His grade school memories include visiting the neighboring family who had 12 children.  They lived in an old square house of four rooms.  The boys slept  in one  bedroom and girls  slept in the second  bedroom with their parents.  When he visited their home he was served a sandwich of thick homemade bread with soup beans. He did not find this to be a very appetizing meal.  (I’d say the mother had found an economical way to provide protein for a large family).

Teachers included Dora Ruckman 1886, Lizzie Wilson 1889, Lizzie Wilson, Miss Cordia McCorkle, Miss Kate Dinwiddie 1892, Miss Minnie Lang 1893, Elsie Roberts, Larry Morrow 1895, Larry Morrow 1896, Miss Morrow 1897, Kate Dinwiddie 1898, Emma E. Bearden 1899, Emma Bearden, Gertrude Almach 1900, Leota Tice, Gertrude Almack 1903, Myrtle E. Smith 1904, Myrtle E. Smith, Merle Brownfield 1905, Merle Brownfield, L. May Miller 1906, Emma Smith 1907, Nora Willis 1908, Mayme Lahman, Minnie Worley 1909, Ada Mae Riggs 1910-11, L. May Miller 1912, Guy Howard 1913, May Long, Catherine Bruge 1914, Alta M. Keene 1915,  Howard Jennison 1916, Nellie Newman 1917-18, Joye Black 1919, Daisy Black  1920-21, Mrs. Esther Agan 1922, Faye Kenney 1924, Etha Mason 1925-26,  Mrs. Mabel McNeish 1928, Fern Stevenson 1929, Esther Brown 1930, Mary Giles 1932, Wilma Crawford  1933-34, LaVada Miller 1935, Flossie Hixson 1936,  Miss Coline Kenney 1938, Claude C. Wadle 1939-40, Miss Burline Thron 1941, Esther Brown 1942-45, Pauline Crandall 1947, Hazel Perry 1948-50, Mrs. Ruth Kruse 1951-52, Helen M. Wood 1953-55.

Did you or your relatives attend country school in Marion County?  Contact me at 641-628-4716 or helenboertje@iowatelecom .net