From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
June 15, 1868: “Visited School in dist. 37, Mrs. Sutton, teacher. Average attendance 22. House open and poor. School well in hand but teacher not very well informed.”
Dec. 15, 1868: “Visited School in Dist. 37, Harrison, teacher. Pupils present 30. Order only tolerable.”
Feb 10, 1869: “Revisited school in dist. No. 37. Progress made in reading satisfactory also in arithmetic. Nothing else encouraging.”
Dec. 1, 1869: “[Term began] Nov. 29. Mr. Robb, Teacher. Qualifications poor. Visited Dec. 1st. Teaching a fair school. Revisited Feb. 10.”
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 21 June, 1990
Photo above: Left to right, Wendell Lee Terry, Steven Hull, Dickey Saling, Elbert Swank, Gary Maxwell, Gene Maxwell, Wayne Swank, Fred Hull.
Photo to right: left to right, JoAnn Terry, Judy Maxwell, Alice Marie Swank, Mary Hull, Joyce Saling. Mrs. Olin Streebin was the teacher. She drove a model A pickup.
Fouts School, District 37, was organized in 1867, according to Alice (Fouts) Maxwell, great-great-granddaughter of Jacob & Nancy Fouts, who donated one acre for the school grounds. They also donated an acre for the Fouts cemetery, which is located on the backside of the Maxwell farm, 119 acres of which is from the original Fouts land.
The first school was built of stone, but was ravaged by fire April 5, 1894. A new school was built and was ready that fall.
During the 94 years of the school’s existence, there were three years which no classes were held there—1940-41, 1956-57, and 1957-58.
In 1958, District 37 was consolidated with Latimer District 35 into District 102 and the school finally closed in 1961.
Fouts School was located two miles east from 15th and Main in Ottawa, a half mile south and a quarter east on the north side of the road..
Maxwell’s parents attended Fouts School, District 37, as did their six children. “I sent my three children to this same Fouts School.” Maxwell reported.
Her grandmother, Mary Fouts, provided room and board for the teachers until later years and also was a longtime school board member.
Maxwell also served several terms as a board member, and recalls that “Mrs. Adam Wicke and Mrs.U.B. Daugharty did too.”
“Hot lunches were often served in the winter, as children would bring food items for soups. Sometimes just one family would bring the big pot of soup. As far back as I can remember, Fouts School had natural gas to heat with, so there was a two-burner hot plate to heat the food,” Maxwell said.
The school was modernized in 1920, with inside restrooms. When the school was dissolved in 1961, some students transferred to Ottawa and some to Princeton. The school house was sold to Perry Potter, who remodeled it into a home. Cyril E. Reznicek now owns and lives on the property.
The school’s first teacher was Mrs. Virginia Skeels. The second teacher, T.W. Harrison, taught 27 pupils for three months in the winter of 1867-68 at a salary of $33.50 per month. The first school board consisted of Enoch Pyle, director, John Eshelman, treasurer, and Henry Fouts, clerk.
The last teacher was Lola Pinder. Some former pupils who still live in Franklin County are Denny and Donny Peterson, Howard and Alice Fouts, Gail Nitcher, Glen Wicke, Don Shade, Lynne (Blow) Andrews, Joan (Terry) Wadkins, Lee (Terry) Stanley, Gale Lantis, Max Floyd, Hallie (Floyd) Loman. Beverly Daugharthy and Norma (Fouts) Howard.
Approximately 70 teachers taught at Fouts during its history and Maxwell still has a list of them all and the terms they taught.