From “The hitching post…” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of articles about early Franklin County school researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. No date noted.
Lowell Fouts, 1430 S. Cedar, long time owner of the L and L Café, now (Beyond Video), provided most of the history for Latimer School, District 35, which closed in 1958.
So much interest was generated during his effort that a potluck dinner and reunion of all former Latimer pupils is scheduled at 1 p.m. May 5 at Harrison Township Hall, the site of the old school. Call Fouts, 242-4449, or Neil Anderson, 937-2220, for further information.
The school was located three miles south and two east of Ottawa on the southwest corner of the intersection .
The first known schoolhouse was built there about 1870, and a basement was constructed under the school in 1926. It was used for social functions and community meetings.
An open horse barn was provided for students who rode to school. The outdoor toilets were located on both sides of the back property, about 200 feet from the school house. They were supplied with a Montgomery Ward catalogue. According to Fouts, there was also a basket of corn cobs in the boy’s toilet, “and they were not used to start fires.”
In the winter, he said, “we would go a quarter mile from school to a pond to eat our lunch and ice skate. One day the teacher, Helen (Harrington) Good (now living at 1336 Maple), fell and was knocked unconscious. The school was closed for the rest of the day. Weather permitting, we would climb a tree at the end of the horse barn and jump upon the roof to eat our lunch.”
Dorothy Stewart of West Lafayette, Ind., a former pupil, recalls that “One day the whole school went about a quarter mile to a pond. The girls promised to close their eyes and the boys went swimming.”
“On many cold winter days we would sit around the coal and wood stove to keep warm and have our classes. The well outside had a crank pump for getting water and a tin cup hanging on the side for all to use.”
She sent a newspaper clipping from 1932 or 1933 concerning “Deacon Dobbs,” a three-act playc coached by Miss Winnie Blackwell. It was the special feature of the Latimer Club meeting at the school, six miles southeast of Ottawa. Those taking part were: Misses Verdie Tucker, Ethel Crouch, Norma Bristow, Katherine Michel, Alice Fouts, Messrs. Harry Jacobs, John Forrer, Lyle Fouts, Lewis Steward and James Hill. Miss Mae Sorrenson gave piano solos between acts. 125 people were present and the amount taken in was $8.25.”
Winnie Blackwell later was married to John Forrer and they live at 404 S. Mulberry.
According to Joyce Latimer, Canton, Ill., her husband, Lawrence’s great-grandfather was William P. Latimer, who was an early-day sheriff here. The first- known Latimer in this area, though, was Nathan Latimer, after whom the school was named.
Members of the last school board were C.A. Waggy, E.E. Hancock and Roy Gould.
Members of the 1957-58 student body were Al Hancock, Gale and Eugene Mitchell, David Potter, John Reedy, Stephen and Patricia Rybolt, Gary McClay, Robert McClay and Theresa Dowdy.
Other Latimer teachers include Ethel (Crouch) Suffron, Winnie (Blackwell) Forrer and Francis Rumford.
Among the former pupils still living in Franklin County are: Neil and Junior Anderson, Verdie (Tucker) Bloomer, Robert Baer, Evered Beal, Galen Bristow, Leota (Bristow) Gould, Beulah (Hill) Durbin, Ethel (Peck) Richardson, Lyle and Lowell Fouts, Mabel Hay, Curtis Mathias, Charles Schoonover, Shirley Schoonover, Ramah (Stoffer) Swank, Edgar Swank, Eugene Suffron, Lewis Stewart, Dorothy (Beasley) Commeree, Dale Whiteford, Desmond Willhite, Richard Turner, Maynard Reinecke, Sharon (Hancock) Firestone, Albert and Rex Hancock, Dean Humiston, Patricia Humiston, Cora (Dunn) Kunard, Mary (Whiteford) Stumpff, Marion Humiston, Lynn Willhite, Floyd Hughes, Don, Wayne and Paul Jones, Betty (Jones) White, James Ferguson, Robert Ferguson, Flora Edith (Swank) Montague and Marion Schmoe.
When Latimer was closed in 1958. it was merged with Fouts School District 37, to the north, and the district number was changed to 102. A fire station and the Harrison Township Hall was then constructed on the original site of Latimer School.
Latimer School #35 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 a thumbnail for more information.