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. This article appeared 30 August. 1990.
Davy School, Dist. No. 65, was located five miles west of Main St. on K-68, a mile north and a half mile back east, on the north side of the road. The district was organized in 1870 and a schoolhouse built in 1872, according to John Jr. and Elizabeth Staadt, Ottawa RFD 3. Marie Pickens was the teacher when the school was finally closed, in 1962. Other teachers recalled by the Staadts were Eleanor Lloyd, Grace Hoobing and Betty Hazen.
Members of the last class were Clifford I. (Skippy) Fritts, Elaine Burgess, Ann (Bulson) Gillespie, Sharon Johnson and Sarah Wood. Seven children who were reared next door to Davy School and have many memories of it are the children of John and Ida Staadt. They range in age from 80 to 96 and all are still living. Ethelyn (Staadt) Fleming and Harold Staadt, all now residents of Ottawa Retirement Village: John Staadt Jr. who still lives on the home place; Helen Staadt, Richmond; Henry Staadt, who lives in Texas, and Eva (Staadt) Pearce, who lives in Missouri.
Many teachers took room and board at the Staadt home over the years.
Some other pupils still living in Franklin County are Sharon Johnson, Esther Burgoon, Jerry Kiefer, Helen Staadt, Jacque (Beauchamp) Carlson, Harold Staadt, Gardner Hayden, Evelyn (Staadt) Humphrey, Lyndell (Staadt) Beauchamp, Ann Bulson, Ann (Schlief) Arnold, Lucy Batdorf, Leonard Hoopes, Judy (Bulsom) Porter and Edwin Burgess.
School bonds totaling $758 were sold through the National Bank, New York City in 1871, payable Feb, 1, 1873, Feb, 1, 1874 and Feb. 1, 1875.
According to the Davy School ledger, now in the possession of Harold Staadt, who lives at Ottawa Retirement Village, the first desks were purchased in 1879, indicating that bench seats were probably used until then. Four desks bought in 1879 cost $18. In October 1892, six desks were purchased for $30 and two more were bought the following months for an additional $12. Records indicate that it took 20 years to buy all of the seats.
The school was heated with wood until 1896, when a coalhouse was built. Some interesting ledger entries: 1874, 7 cords of wood, $12.50; 1886, 7 cords of wood, $15; 1888, 8 cords of wood, $12; 1890, 12 cords of wood, $21. In 1908, the school purchased 140 bushels of coal at 10 cents a bushel, or $14. It cost $7.70 to have it hauled, though.
Davy may have been the first country school to have electric lights, because a power line installed in the early years between the Ottawa power plant and Pomona ran right past the school.
Times were hard and one early-day teacher recalled the year a woman with two children moved into the district from a big city. The children brought one boiled potato each to school for their lunch.
The teacher sent home notes to other parents who sent extra food to school for those two children for the rest of the year.
John Staadt Jr. recalls that baseball was an important part of life at Davy School. “I thought the reason for going to school was to play baseball,” he joked recently.
The playing field was arranged so that the back of the schoolhouse was used as a backstop, he reported.