Pella Chronicle

Days Gone By

May 28, 2010

Looking back at the one room school

Pella —  

Bend school was located just inside the eastern border of sec. 17 on a road which no longer exists.  It was south of the Des Moines River and north of White Breast Creek.  If the building were still there today it would be nestled in the curve where Lake Red Rock backs up into White Breast Creek.

The earliest mention of this school is from the Jan. 18, 1884 Knoxville Journal.  The correspondent for the Rousseau neighborhood news writes that there will be a spelling match at Bend tonight.  Rousseau was laid out in 1850 in the western part of section 9 adjacent to the Des Moines River.  It had a post office from 1873-1903.  It evidently also had a school as I found two teachers listed:  Mr. E. Crozier in 1884 and Miss Maggie Watkins in 1894 and 1896.  The town site is now under the lake.

Spelling contests were an important part of early education.  In Feb. 2, 1884, the Rousseau reporter says that there have been two matches between Bend and Fairview and a third is scheduled.

The Marion County Historical Society has some of the record books from this school.  Teacher Lois Wright in 1914 writes that she “used supplementary readers for all grades and this should be kept up as the school is behind in reading.  Also writing has been neglected.”

In the fall of 1942 teacher Mary L. Turner reports these receipts:  $6.17 for scrap iron, $1.50 for fortune telling and popcorn sales, $13.60 for scrap iron and $1.00 for Christmas cards. Teacher Madge Crozier received .40 for milkweed pods and spent $1.98 for water colors, .36 for state tests, .45 for toilet tissue, .80 paint for art and .80 for clay.  (During world War II many country schools collected scrap iron and milkweed pods as part of the war effort)  The record book also included a report on communicable diseases giving the ages when children had the disease and if they had had vaccinations.

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