From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Apr. 10, 1868: “Visited Dist. 34. Also on representation of Mr. Walruff and others, visited school Sec. 16, T 18, R 19. Mr. Beare residing thereon was said to be committing trespass. Found he had or someone had removed a string of fence, but in regard to the timber, this seems to be the fact–that whilst unquestionably he had cut some, his being on premises and warning others off has undoubtedly kept others from committing worse depredations. The unsold Quarter is very valuable timber but should be sold immediately to save it to the School fund.”
Nov. 24th, 1869: “[Term began] Nov. 1st. Mr. Taft, Teacher. Visited Nov. 24th. New house well furnished & tolerably seated, but no blackboard. Saw officers & was promised one speedily. Children straggling in till 10:20 o’clock. Teacher average.”
Jan 25, 1881: ” SE 1/4 & E 1/2 of SW 1/4 of S2 T18 R18 transferred from district #34 to #64.”
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. (No date given)
Mud Creek School, District 34, was organized about 1867 and operated until the spring of 1959.
From the intersection of US-59 and 23rd street, it was located two miles south and five miles west, on the southeast corner of the intersection.
The school was named for Mud Creek, which was just to the south, and which joined Island Creek about two miles west of south Ottawa.
The Art Vogler family bought the school after it closed, remodeled it and lived in it for about two years before it was destroyed by fire.
Joan (Toumberlin) King, Princeton RFD 1, recalls that there was major emphasis on spelling. The teacher promised that if all students got a 100 on their spelling test, there would be a school picnic and afternoon of baseball.
Alice (Fabert) Steward, Ottawa RFD 3, offered these memories of her Mud Creek days: “When we moved into the area, Mud Creek was two miles from our place, so we started to school there. After a short time, we were told that we were in Chippewa District, so we changed and went to Chippewa, which was more than three miles away.
“Mother always told us not to stop and sit down if we got tired and cold. People who lived along our route let us stop and get warm. Later we were allowed to return to Mud Creek.”
She recalled that “The upperclassmen had math matches and I had never mastered math. The teacher, Grace Hoobing, 212 S. Locust, realized I needed help, so she kept me after school and ‘filled in the gaps,’ for which I have been so grateful.”
She concludes, “I’m so glad that I lived in the era of the country school. They are a part of Americana that we can return to in memory only, but sometimes wish we could bring back.”
Mrs. Cecil (Gillette) Dunkin, 303 S. Ash, recalls the “at noon, we always liked to go outside to eat our lunch. But, sometimes it was too windy and cold, so we would go into the coal shed and sit on the pile of corn cobs where it seemed much warmer.
Another former pupil, Mary (Turner) McClure, Ottawa RFD 3, “walked three miles to school and remembers the school bell ringing at 8:30, reminding us to hurry or we might be late. In the spring, we went to Ottawa to take seventh and eighth grade exams. The teacher kept the eighth graders from 30 to 45 minutes after school to study in preparation for the exams.”
Alice (Hensick) Anderson, who now lives in Lynwood, Calif., started teaching in 1939 when Ethel Seymour was county superintendent of schools. “She was very helpful to us new teachers. I lived in Ottawa and drove out with Mildred Harr, who taught Coal Creek. The roads were muddy and my brother, Harold, of 101 S. Cedar, pulled my car out of the ditch many times, It is all a memory I will always cherish.”
The last teacher at Mud Creek was Eva Hall. Other teachers included Wilma Lantis, Nina Fitzgerald, Irene Herron, Grace McIntosh, Ruth (Pinkston) Figgins, Doris (Fitzgerald) Peterson, Laura Steelman, Dorothy Lynn, Marguerite Roberts, Josephine Strafuss and Carol Wells.
Students attending the last year were Max Blankenbecker, Mary Jean (Miller) Ledom, Wanda Geissman, Wanita Geissman, Jim Bonine, Walter Ray Calkins, Charles, Paul and Linda Brannon, Linda (Toumberlin) Gerber and Joan (Toumberlin) King.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County, and not mentioned earlier, include: John Wilkerson, David Arnold, Marguerite Reed, Albert Britain, Bonita (Mages) Welborn, Helen (Mages) Turner, Acie Reeves, Jim Bonine, Juanita Geissman, Gayle (Blackenbecker) Miller, Douglas McIntosh, Max Blankenbecker, Lawrence Mages, Max Hunter, Roberta (Hunter) Bechtle, Beverly (Reeves) Ward, Doris (Reeves) Welch, Marilyn (Howell) Bonine, Helen (Mages) Scott, Fred and Claude Turner, Sue (Bolen) McFadden, Charles Ratliff, Jack Kreusch, Pauline (Fischer) Green, Zelda Veix, Georgia Edgerton, Gene Steelman, Robert Fischer and Dorothy (McDowell) Hewitt.