From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Oct. 23, 1867: “On petition of J. Murray & others, surveyed and set off from District 30, 52 & 38 new District No. 46 embracing S 1/2 Sec. 12, S.E. 1/4 Sec. 11, 3 1/2 of Sec. 14, E 1/2 Sec. 23, Sections 13 & 24,Township 16 Range 19 and S 1/2 Sec. 7, Sec. 18 & Sec 19 T. 16, Range 20.”
Oct. 25, 1867: “Prepared notices of First Meeting in District No. 46.”
Jan. 12, 1869: “Visited school in district 46. Fifteen pupils present, mostly from Eastern & Northern states. Consequence–several of the pupils in advance of the teacher, Mrs. Coy, who holds only a third grade certificate.”
Feb. 1, 1869: “Appointed Maynard Thomas, Thomas Beas & A. Keither director in school district No. 46. Also examined and certificate to W.H. Lamb. Distance and bad roads prevented attendance at regular examination.”
Oct. 27th, 1869: “[Term began] Oct. 18. S.S. King. First class teacher. Small frame house, comfortable. Visited Oct. 27th. Revisited Nov. 12.”
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 5 July, 1990.
Green Dell School, a mile and a half north of Ottawa’s Wilson Street, and a mile east of US-59 on Sand Creek Road (see map), was the last one or two-room school in Franklin County to close.
The school, comprising District 46, was organized in 1870, or possibly earlier, and existed in three different buildings. It also was called “Railroad” School #46 in 1873; the meeting place of “Railroad” grange.
The first school was described as a small frame house. The second was made of rock, but it kept settling, so the third building was constructed in 1937 and still stands on the southwest corner of the intersection.
Irene Herron was the last teacher at the school and furnished the picture with the flags flying in front.
The last pupils to attend school there were Clinton and Jeffery Fritts, Kent and Stevie Barnes, Russell Hughes and Carolyn (Kissinger) Horne.
Among former pupils still living in Franklin County are Carolyn (Kissinger) Horne, Roger Keith, Clarence Keith, Grace Schartz, Mark Barnes, David and Dick Baldwin, Carolyn Toumberlin, Ann (Gensman) Driver, Mike Pratt, Art Machlin, Ivan Jones, Wayne Kissinger, Freddie Guyett, Raymond Rumford, Larry Mages, Gerald Anderson, Kenneth Edwards, Dianna (Kissinger) Kay, Diane (Bones) McNish, Donna (Bones) Davis, Lonnie Bones, John Steinman, Jo Maloney, and Florence (Overstreet) Wheeler.
According to recollections by Frances Dunn, Art Machlin and Clarence Keith, annual picnic reunions were held at “Conard Park” on Tauy Creek on the Dunn farm.
Attendance reached a peak in 1934 when 250 were served a basket lunch at noon. The reunions continued into the 1940s.
Keith remembers a big stove in a corner of the school, the cloak room where pupils hung their clothes and stored their overshoes and lunch pails, the recitation bench, blackboards all around and spelling and “ciphering” matches.
He also recalls how some kids would catch rides on slow-moving trains on their way home from school. Once the train was going too fast for his dad to get off and he had to ride to LeLoup, where it stopped.
Machlin remembers that he told the school board they were hiring too many old teachers. What they needed, he said, was a younger one.
The very next teacher they hired was young, so Machlin courted her and they have been married nearly 61 years. Her maiden name was Elmina Stewart.
During the last years, Green Dell operated as an “Attendance Center,” which means that it was taken in by the Ottawa district 290 but continued to operate for several years. Bettie Sue Shumway was the music teacher for 290 and visited Green Dell once a week to teach a music class.