Pella Chronicle

Days Gone By

December 30, 2010

Looking back at the one room school

Pella — Clark School was east of Pleasantville on G 14 near the intersection of 75th Ave.  After its  closing the school was remodeled into a home by Henry Arthur and Betty Bensink and has since been torn down.

Helen Louise Batten Severns was one of the students who attended Clark.  She recalls that  one large family made up most of the students. She felt that some of the boys were too big to be in school.  The oldest boys helped with such tasks as starting the fire. The smell of baking potatoes always makes her think of country school. Another food that was heated on the school stove was  canned pork’n beans, one of the government commodities distributed to country schools. Her mother often sent boiled eggs for lunch.  Although not part of the lunch menu, she remembers many of the students chewed weeds to simulate chewing tobacco. (It’s a wonder more kids didn’t die of accidental poisoning).

The teachers usually boarded with Helen’s family. She stated that Mary Jenkins Perkey who started teaching at Clark right after completing normal training  seemed  like an older sister to her.

Teachers included  Miss Mollie Clark 1883, E. S. Hardin, Ella Cornell 1886, Charles Clark 1889, Lina Barnes, Alta Marsh 1895, Blanche Litchfield, Emma Prentice 1898, Elsie Clark, Grace Gillaspie 1899, Grace Gillaspie, Effie Allsup 1900, C.C. Hardin, Martha Conway, Blanche Littlefield, Emma Prentice 1901, Martha Conway, Blanche Litchfield 1902 , Martha Conway 1903-04, Amanda Brown, Margaret Conway 1905 , Amanda Brown 1906, Mary Jones, Ada Terwilliger 1907, M. A. Foster, Bessie Summy, 1908 Grace Draper, Joanna Reed, 1909 Grayce McFreel  1910, Mayne Murphy, Willard Shannon, Laura Buckley 1911, Laura Buckley, Maude Crowder 1912, Elizabeth Wren 1913, Flossie Rinehart 1914, Elizabeth Wren 1915, Grace Donway 1916, Sadie Billingsley 1917, Sadie Billingsley, Vida Davis 1918, Emma Butcher 1919, Hazel Harkins 1920, Orin Stubbs 1921, Emma Butcher 1922-23, Ella Kearney 1925-26, Ella Kearney 1928, Ruth Williams 1930, Ruth Smith 1931, Ruth Williams 1932, Malvina Neeley 1933-34, Geneva Van Loon 1935-36, Marie Maddy 1937-38, Mary Jenkins 1939-40, Maxine Hukill 1941, Rose Ellen Welch 1942, Mrs. Rose Ellen Exline 1943.

What do you remember about your days in country school? Contact me at 641-628-4716 or


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