From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Supt. of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Oct. 31, 1867: “Changed boundaries of #7 & #10.”
Nov. 13, 1867: “Visited School in Dist. No. 10. School House a log shanty scarcely high enough to stand up in. School small–reason–blacks attend. One black boy & one black girl. Examined school critically. Black children with a single exception best in school. Did not wonder at a reason given by father of four white children who did not attend. “Do you suppose I would suffer my children to attend to be turned down by the niggers.” Dined with the Clerk, Mr. Delano, who is also the teacher & spent the night at Col. Imes.'”
May 28, 1868: “Also visited school in dist. 10, Ella Tracy, teacher. 46 pupils enrolled, 25 in attendance. School well in hand, and in a flourishing condition. District greatly in need of a new school house.”
July 23, 1868: “Visited School in dist. 10; and then rode north two or three miles to survey territory & neighborhood around Peter’s & McQuire’s with a view to organize a new district, if it should seem advisable. The neighborhood is small but rapidly increasing. And in view of the fact that the few families already there are too remote to avail themselves of any of the surrounding schools, I agreed to set them off a territory & let them make a beginning for themselves.”
Dec. 2, 1868: “Visited School in district No. 10. 30 pupils present. Order admirable & pupils evidently making good progress. Text books uniform. School house not a credit to the district.”
Apr 19, 1869: “Appointed Henry Foster Director of Dist. 10.”
Dec 27, 1869 and revisited Jan. 25, 1870: “[Term began] Dec. 20. Mr. Fritts. Visited Dec. 27. School closed on account of sickness in family of teacher. Visited Jan 25th. Excellent teacher. Colored children no longer a source of division. Visited Feb. 2 & Lecture. House full.”
From the Pomona Republican, 26 May 1927: An article telling of building of new building. The old building was built in 1869.
Oakland /Parkinson School District #4/#10
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 24 May, 1990.
Oakland School, known at one point as Parkinson, closed after the 1957-58 school year. It was located 2 ½ miles north of Richter, or six miles west of US-59 on Sand Creek Road, on the west side of the road.
The first school, of native rock, was built in 1869 and served until 1927. It also served as a church and Sunday School until the Oakland Church was built in 1896, a mile east on Sand Creek Road.
The rock building was replaced in 1927 with a larger modern building that included a basement, library, boys and girls cloakrooms and furnace heat, according to a former student, Gladys (Fritts) McIntire, who provided much of the school’s history.
The new school, which cost $5,951.84, including equipment and insurance, sat on a one-acre track which had been obtained through a 1869 lease with John Parkinson for $1 a year as long as District No. 10 continued a church or school operation.
An open front horse barn was provided for the six to eight students who rode to school, and the school yard was landscaped with several stately oak trees.
Grace Brown was hired as teacher in 1927, for $95 per month. The school’s annual operating budget was $901.28.
When the school was closed and Sandstrom bought it at auction, he moved it approximately three miles east on Sand Creek Road and remodeled it into a home.
The last teacher at Oakland School was Joann (Cearfoss) Brinkman. Students the last year included James Beasley, Jo Anne Beasley, James Lederer, Allan Crawford, Mary Ellen Crawford, John Howell and Helen Lederer.
Other former pupils still living in Franklin County include: Opal (Brubaker) Ackerman, Harold Bennett, Willard Bitts, Ella Carrol Bitts, James Catuska, Kenneth Chapman, Dale Donald, Keith Denniston, Naomi (Funk) Fritts, Clifford Ewing, John Richard, Stanley Fritts, Ralph Green, Naomi (Latson) Heidner, Donald Howell, Juanita (Spooner) Lucas, Orelia (Shenk) Mealman, Norma (Stoffer) Miller, Warren Milton, Susan and Ralph Nichols, Lorenzo Nitcher, Ruby (Fritts) Rice, Max, Roger and Willard Shoemaker, Beverly (Chapman) Turner, Richard Turner and McIntire.
Members of the last school board included Mrs. J.K. Beasley, Mrs. Kenneth Stoffer and W.E. Crawford.
According to Bruce Fleming, who did all of the legwork for this series, “Oakland is unique because it overlooks the Appanoose Creek Valley where you see the Parkinson Family Cemetery being farmed around. The farm is now owned by Don Johnson. You can also see an old Indian campsite nearby where we used to hunt arrowheads and artifacts.”