From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales.
June 20, 1868: “Difficulties having arisen in the school board of district 28, the parties applied to Sup’t to settle it. Clerk and party claim that under instruction of Annual Meeting they had power to employ Miss ___ to teach the school. Director and treasurer hired another. Both parties have been trying for two weeks to get and keep possession of the school. After hearing the case and examining witnesses, the Sup’t gave his opinion in writing, that the action of the majority of the board was binding and that the teacher employed by the director and treasurer could draw her pay whether she taught the school or not.”
Aug. 12, 1868: “Visited School in Dist. 28. Miss Parker, teacher. Unhappy division in district and hence only nine pupils in attendance. Appointed Isaac Blanck Clerk of of Dist. 12 vice Mr. Bullard cut off into new district.”
Jan 5, 1869: “Visited school in Dist. 28, Mr. Franklin, teacher. Excellent teacher, but failing to some extent, through wretched divisions in the district. Any school must suffer, in fact, fail where there is constant wrangling amongst the parents.”
Oct. 29th, 1869: “[Term began] Sept. 20. Six months. Mr. Kimball, Teacher. 1st class, but only 12 pupils present. Cause, sickness & labor. Visited Oct. 29th. Revisited Dec. 22. School full. Doing first rate.”
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. The article appeared 9 August, 1990.
Pleasant Ridge School, Dist. 28, was located three miles north of Rantoul and a half mile west, on the north side of the road.
The first schoolhouse was constructed before 1870 and the last building, constructed in 1930, is now home to the Don Barrett family.
According to Irene Peckham, Rantoul RFD 1, “The last term of school was 1961-62 and Bessie Steward was the teacher. She now lives in Indiana with her daughter.”
“Some of the students at that time were: Ricky Eneihen, Patricia Eneihen, Paul Shoemaker, Barbara Shoemaker, Sandra Shoemaker, Kathy Devore, Cathy Blankenship, Sidney Blankenship, Sherry Ball, Marla Ball, Delbert Ball, Mike Ball, Linda Kirkland, Linda Peckham, Beverly Moss, Roy Moss and Diana Moss.”
Peckham’s husband, James, was a student at Pleasant Ridge in 1928, when the original building burned. His father, Harry E. Peckham, was on the school board.
“All of our family have been connected with this school,” Peckham recalled. I taught there the term of 1944-45, my husband and his sister, Mary Ethel Peckham, attended school there, and our three children, Harry, Charles and Linda, also attended there. My husband was on the school board at one time.”
After the school burned, classes were held in a house for two years until a new building was completed.
Other former teachers are Josephine Strafus, Alice Turner Broers, Odena Detwiler, Jean Lytle, Verna Williams , Leila Neblong, Maude Detwiler and Ambrose Whytal.
In 1939, the Pleasant Ridge basketball team won the Douglas County Rural League championship for the third straight year, gaining permanent possession of the traveling trophy.
In competition at the Baldwin High School gymnasium, they defeated Coal Creek, 12-9, and they beat Midland for the championship, 19-9.
The team was coached by their teacher, Mrs. John Morton, of Ottawa, who was assisted by George Woodward of Ottawa University, who was doing his practice teaching at Pleasant Ridge. Because of the scarcity of boys at the school, girls also played on the team.
Frances (Phares) Warnock, 1420 S. Cedar, who was a member of that team, is trying to find out what happened to the trophy. She asks anyone who might know to call her at 242-4269.
Besides her, other former pupils known to be living in Franklin County are: Milford Ball, Roy Taylor, Paul and Phil McCracken, Bill and David Burgoon, Jim Poe, James Phares, Betty (Phares) Blankenship, Bill Garrett, Betty (Ball) Keller, George Lee Eneihen, Lawrence Eneihen ( senior and junior), Retta Mae (Finch) Bryan, Joan (Van Loenen) Detwiler, Dorothy (Phares) Crowley, Cathy Blankenship, Jim and Harry Peckham, Alma (Ball) Mock, Lois (Ball) Barber, Elva (Adkins ) Ball, Mary Mae (Hargrove) Dennison, and Patricia, Ricky and Margaret Eneihan.