From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Mar. 30, 1868: “Visited School dist. 23. Union dist. good stone house in Miami County. Readjusted boundaries as per plat.”
Dec. 21, 1869: “[Term began] Nov. 1st. Mr. H. Lots, Teacher. Visited Dec. 21st. Wilson’s Readers. Average teacher.”
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 27 September, 1990.
Maple Grove School, Joint District 23, was located 10 miles east of Ottawa on K-68 to New Hope Church, then two miles south and a little to the east.
Prior to 1860, when the district was formed, taking in land both in Franklin and Miami counties, school was held in an old log school house that stood near Beebe Spring, according to Louise (Miller) Welborn, who furnished much of this history. Three generations of Welborns attended Maple Grove from 1890 through 1960.
The second schoolhouse, which was built of stone, still stands and today has been remodeled into a private residence.
In its day, most farm homes were too small for social gatherings, so the stone school served as a community hall.
It was considered rather luxurious, by students, since the floors were milled wood rather than puncheon (split logs), and benches with backs replaced the backless slabs that had served in the original log school.
Before the district was formed, school in the old log hut met only for a few months at a time. Finally classes were discontinued there and several students attended at Stanton, to the south. Most, however, just went without schooling.
Filling that void was the reason Dist. 23 was formed. In 1860, land to the east and north was unsettled open prairie. But settlers came soon and organized Mount Pleasant and Spring Ridge in Miami County.
Nicholas and Dorcas Green deeded one acre to the school district, with the stipulation the school building always would be open for church activities.
A Mr. Fennel traveled each day from Osawatomie to build the school, which was known first as the Green Schoolhouse. Later, after some maple trees were planted, the name was changed to Maple Grove (The name was changed to Victory when the district was consolidated with Mt. Pleasant and Spring Ridge in about 1960.)
Classes were held in the stone building for the last time in 1926. During Christmas vacation that year, the new building, complete with indoor plumbing, was occupied.
The school served, it is believed, through the 1964-65 school year. It also has been remodeled into a private residence.
Students attending that year were Linda Juntz, Christine Hines, Sheryl (Finch) Woodward, Marla McKoon, Chuckie Cook, Warren Eggleston,
Rodney Russell, Pamela (Finch) Sheffield), Violet Ballou, Alvin Ballou, Marilyn Coleman, Gary Manning, Merle McKoon, Roseanne Coleman, Shirley Oyster, Ronald Oyster, Maxine McKoon, Willie Eggleston and Warren Eggleston.
Throughout the joint district’s history, the school superintendent duties were alternated back and forth between counties each 10 years.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County are Maxine (Savedge) Downey, Herbert Downey, Rosie (Finch) Henry, Eunice (Finch) Brockus, Retta (Finch) Bryon, Alice (Finch) Johnson, Arthur Finch, Virgil Finch, Gerald Miller, Ila (Miller) LaFollette, Louise (Miller ) Welborn, Elizabeth (Gardner) Hoyt, Margaret (Power) Eneihen, Lawrence Sonny Eneihen, George Eneihen, Gladys (Carrol) Ledom, Mabel (Carrol) Marks, Wilma (McCullough) Mendel, Gladys (Priddy) Watkins, William Priddy, Helen (Drogieff) Kirkland and Juanita (McDaniel) Schulz.
Some board members were Fred Miller, Fred Graves, Harley Finch, Margaret Eneihen, Harvey Savedge and Orville Hollinger.