From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Feb. 21, 1868: “Visited Dist. 40. School very satisfactory condition. Average attendance higher than I have met elsewhere in the County. Was particularly pleased with the admirable articulation of Mrs. Smith, the teacher. The only drawback to the complete usefulness of the school to the entire district was the entrance of three colored children five weeks ago, the sixth week of the term. In consequence, three of the older pupils were withdrawn. It is incomprehensible that intelligent parents will so greatly wrong their children to pander to a foolish prejudice.”
Jan 29, 1869: “Also to dist. 40. Mr. Harrison teaching a good pay school. Dist. voted no tax.”
Nov. 15th, 1869: “[Term began] Oct. 4. J.N. Harrison. 5 months, visited Nov. 15th. Good school, 2 first class students in Grammer.”
From”the hitching post…” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of articles about early Franklin County schools researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. No date given.
Cole School, District 40, was in existence by 1867 and possibly earlier. When Cole School closed, in 1961, it was located four miles west and a half mile north of Rantoul on the west side of the road. But the first school, built of rock, was located about three-quarters of a mile south of that location.
The late Mrs. W.R. Lancaster told the Herald in 1963 that, “When I went to school, there were two doors, one for the boys and one for the girls, and we could enter only from our own door.
“We sat in long rows of old fashioned school desks and for many of us, our education was over when we graduated from Cole. Most of us couldn’t go to high school, that meant staying in town and it also meant more money.”
Homer Miller, who lives just south of the school site, said that in later years the state tested the Cole School well and found it to be contaminated from the outhouses, so a cistern was built and water was hauled after that.
It was a tradition at Cole to hold a big picnic on the first and last days of each school year.
The teacher to teach at Cole was Helen Good, 1336 Maple. School board members at the time were Herman Miller, James Rybolt and Willie Williams.
Other teachers who worked at Cole included Margaret (McCall) Green, Ruth (Price) Peterson, Kathleen (Powell) Suffron, Verden (Field) Wolgast, Lena Mac Black, Edith Gerhard, Marian (Lyle) Glanville, Gladys Furness, Ernestine (Mosher) Spencer,Orpha Dell (Welton) Haney and Stella Gould.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County include: Marjory, Homer and Herbert Miller, Glen and Edna Adams, Irene (Talbott) Roberts, Ray and Charles Talbott, Loren (Pete) Triplett, Marilyn (Crawford) Talbott, Louise (Triplett) Walker, Erma Jean (Triplett) Finch, Doris (Miller) Eilenstine, Jo Ann (Miller) Price, Howard Curtis, Lola (Curtis) Miller, Velma (Rubick) Peine, Richard (Dick) Williams, Patricia (Williams) Miller, Earnest Lowrance, Laverne Lohman, Cleo Nitcher, Irene (Nitcher) Shomber, Verdie (Tucker) Bloomer and Velma (Pearson) Griffin.
Also, Mildred (Pearson) Walker, Kathryn (Pearson) Jones, Vergie (Schmoe) Sink, Dorothy (Schmoe) Gilpin, Audra (Schmoe) Detwiler, Chester Leach, Moe McAuliffe, Frances (Suffron) Michel, Eugene Suffron, Grace (Burnett) Honn, Glen Wicke, Ruth (Mathias) Rathjen, Edith (Mathias) Deaton, Lonnie, Jim, Ed, Jack and David Schulz, Leota (Schulz) Montgomery, Mildred Brown, Merlin and Dale Schmoe, Dale and Calvin Pearson and Tom and Don Stottlemire.
Cole School #40 Souvenir
Beautifully printed mementos featured poetry and the names of students and teachers. They were distributed annually as souvenirs, just as yearbooks are today.
Click on any thumbnail for more information.