From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Nov. 21, 1867: “Visited school in Ohio City, Distr. No. 24. 18 pupils present–3 blacks–Mr. Hewitt teacher. Spirit of the school excellent, but pupils rather noisy from loud study and occasional whispering.”
June 9, 1868: “Visited schools in district 24 & 41, First school in 41, Miss Daniels, teacher. 12 pupils present. Small, neat frame house. District feeble, quite a portion being College lands and unsettled & untaxable. School in 24 taught by Mary Rigg. Only 15 pupils present, which seems a small presentation in as old and populous a vicinity as Ohio City.”
Dec. 18, 1868: “Started to visit school in Ohio City but roads were so horrible that I stopped at school in Lesters neighborhood. Mr. Kibbe teacher there, strikes me as among the very first in the county.” [Clearly this isn’t the actual Ohio City school, but Mr. Fales didn’t give a district number, so for now we don’t know which school this one in “Lesters neighborhood” is]
Dec. 24, 1868: “Visited school in Ohio City. Mr. Sutton teaching a good school. District only one in the county which shows a pulling off in number of pupils.”
June 24, 1869: “School 24. Miss Ricksecker. Order excellent. 50 pupils. Blackboard not serviceable. No school register.”
Nov. 22, 1869: “School commenced Oct. 25th. W.H. Sharp, Teacher. Visited Nov. 22. Trouble in district. Taught A.M. whilst Mr. Sharp was attending trial for Assault & Battery. School in fair condition. Revisited Jan. 13. Order deficient & scholarship. April 18, revisited. Miss Adams, teacher.”
On 21 August 1922, the southwest 100 acres of SW quarter of 8-18-20 from #71 to #24.
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 PublisherJim Hitch. This article appeared 18 July, 1991.
Ohio City School, District 24, was organized in 1857, and classes were held in a two-story 20-by-24 stone schoolhouse. The second floor was used for a meeting hall, post office, church and courtroom,. It was the second “public school” built in Franklin County.
The school later was torn down and the rock used to build a barn for P.P. Elder.
According to The Ottawa Republican in 1877, “In early 1857, a townsite company, composed of citizens of the township and Lawrence, was formed for the purpose of locating a town in some favorable situation. Ultimately, 320 acres were laid out in lots.”
The town was organized in 1857 or 1858 and grew to eight or 10 houses with a population of approximately 100.
The first inhabitants were pro-slavery and the first post office was called Bowling Green. But the people from Ohio, who were against slavery, arrived and constituted a majority. They changed the name to Ohio City and all streets were named for cities in Ohio, such as Toledo and Cincinnati.
“Centennial Tours of Franklin County,” published in 1961, said Ohio City consisted of a store, hotel, stage barn, courthouse, numerous homes, a cemetery, and a grist mill located a mile east on Middle Creek.
A Mr. Kibbee built the first house adjoining Ohio City and he was the first school teacher and postmaster.
After much controversy, Ohio City, in August 1862, was chosen as the Franklin County seat over Minneola, Peoria City, Ottawa, Centropolis and Mt. Vernon.
Exactly two years later, Ottawa became the county seat. That proved a death knell for Ohio City, which ceased to exist in 1869. Elder bought various tracts at tax sales, eventually clearing all the titles.
At about the time the town disappeared, a new schoolhouse was built a mile north and a mile east of Princeton, on the northeast corner of the intersection.
The last teacher, when the school closed in April 1944, was Mattie (Evans) Perry. The building then was used to store hay and eventually was destroyed by fire.
Henrietta (Mosher) Tucker, 1519 S. Elm, and Ruth Bonskowski, 707 N. Poplar, remember Mr. Kibbee, who lived north of the original school. He donated the land for the second schoolhouse.
John Elder, Ottawa RFD 3, remembers that water was scarce, so it was collected in a cistern from roof runoff and used for drinking. It contained “wiggletails,” mosquito larvae, so the county superintendent had it tested. Bottled water was used after that.
County Superintendent Philetus Fales reported after a Nov. 21, 1867, inspection :18 pupils present, 3 black, Mr. Hewitt, teacher. Spirit of the school, excellent, but pupils rather noisy from loud study and occasional whispering.”
June 9, 1868—“Visited District 24. Teacher Mary Rigg. Only 15 children present, which seems a small representation in as old and populous vintage as Ohio City.”
Dec. 18, 1868: “Started to visit school in Ohio City, but roads were so horrible that I stopped in Desters Neighborhood, Mr. Kibbee there. Strikes me as among the very first (best) in the county.”
Dec. 24, 1869 “Visited school in Ohio City, Mr. Sutton teaching a good school. District only one in county which shows falling off in numbers.”
Nov. 22, 1870 “Trouble in district. School commenced Oct. 25. W.H. Sharp, teacher. Taught a.m. whilst Mr. Sharp was attending trial for assault and battery. School in fair condition.
Other teachers included Esther Walters, Mona (Larkin) Neff, Lillie Ruth Wilhite and Lena (Hobrock) Davis.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County include: Hazel (Pederson) Bones, Loretta (Schaub) Day, Don Barnes, Leta Mae (Foushee)Webster, Rex Foushee, Anice (Foushee) Schaub, Alice (Tawney) Atchison, Ralph and Ernest Tawney, Henry John Elder, Shirley (Sellers) Bowling, Don Berger, Dorothy (Moore) Louderback, Bob Moore, Marjory (Neeley) Williams, Don Fischer, Joe McCallus, Bud Schaub and Phyllis (Fischer) Schamle.