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 23 May, 1991.
Martin School, District 89, was located five miles east and one south of Princeton, on the southeast corner of the intersection.
The school was built in 1880, on land donated by Fleet Martin and it closed in 1954.The last teacher was Edna Beuthein and her pupils were Twyla Sands, Earl and Floyd Heckman and Sylvester Hess. Members of the school board in 1954 were Roy Spencer, Dean Carey and Everett Collins.
Orpha Del (Welton) Haney, Princeton, RFD 1, recalls that “When I taught at Martin in 1951 and 1952 there were only two pupils, but towards the last of the year we started a kindergarten class. Six children of about five years of age were brought in from the surrounding districts.”
She said “Youth For Christ” held midweek evening meetings at the school from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s under the sponsorship of Fred and Rhoda Martin. The Happy Heart 4-H Club met at the school in the mid-1930s and the Rainbow 4-H Club in the mid-1940s.
She and her husband, Ralph, own the schoolhouse and grounds today. Several years ago he removed a slate blackboard and there was a paper dated 1880, the year the school was built, behind it.
Edith (Farris) Winters, 1537 S. Elm, said, “The school day was usually opened with singing, giving the flag salute, saying the Lord’s Prayer or sometimes repeating Bible verses.
“Children always enjoyed the spring when they would go across the road to a neighbor’s pasture where they hunted the first spring flowers. They called them ‘Johnny jump-ups’
Dorothy (Ferguson) Harrison, 1341 S. Oak, taught at Martin in 1928-29. She said she had just bought a new 1928 two-door green Chevrolet and would never forget how bad the mud roads were.
Betty (Brockus) Bloomer, Ottawa RFD 2, recalls, “My brothers, Clifford and Thomas Brockus and I did the janitor work for the teacher for about two years. We stayed after school and did the sweeping, cleaned the blackboard and the rest of the janitor work that was needed. I don’t remember the pay, but it couldn’t have been much after splitting it three ways.
Among those who taught at Martin were Marshell Ramsey, Everett Atchison, Lulu Dunbar, Bessie James, Alice Swank, Minnie Jordan, Ruth Welton, Dora (Haney) Hilton, Marilyn Talbott, Maude Detwiler, Emma (Walter) Hill, Vera (Thomas) Vallin and Nellie Welton.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County include Edith (Ferris) Winters, Lee Schmitt, Earl Schmitt. Ralph Haney, Nellie (Brockus) Miller, Clifford Brockus, June (Collins) Shambaugh, Wanda (McKay) Harsh, Wilma (McKay) Trout, Alton Carey, Olive (Williams) Kruzburg, Earl Heckman and Leila (Foushee) Webster.