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 21 March, 1991.
Pleasant View School, District 78, was located 3 ½ miles north and 1 ½ miles west of Williamsburg, on the south side of the road.
It was this school that often served as the focal point for what locals called “wolf drives” in the early part of the century. According to Helen (Dehn) Goodwill of Williamsburg, hundreds of people gathered in the area for the drives, which really were coyote drives. Several square miles would be encircled and at a designated time everyone began walking toward a central point, which happened to be the school. “As everyone neared the center, the coyotes became more concentrated and were killed,” Goodwill explained.If the drive was held during the week, school was closed so everyone could participate.When the drive was over and the coyotes tallied, local womenserved food and refreshments at the school.
Ruth (Pinkston) Figgins of Kansas City recalls, “I taught there four years during the Thirties and remember the coal oil (kerosene) lights that sat on wall brackets to give light for community meetings we had.”
“The last day of school was always a big event with a program put on by the kids and a potluck dinner. Final grade cards were given out and there was much curiosity to see who passed and who flunked. I had from four to twenty pupils.”
Lee Figgins of Pomona recalls that the school board once had a policythat teachers could teach only two years at a time. “I had one teacher for two years, and she came back later and taught me for another two years,” he said.
The last year of school at Pleasant View was1942-43. According to Figgins, in the spring of 1950 a farmer was burning his pasture and the fire got out of control and destroyed the building.
Wilma Duncan was the last teacher. Roy Brown, Mrs. C.E. Smith and Martin Mooney comprised the last school board.
The last students to attend Pleasant View were Beverly Jean and Judy Coleen Gaunt, June Olivia Price, Joan Marie and Sharon LaVonne Smith, Claude Smith Jr., Marsha Thornton and Julian Fain Price.
Former students still living in Franklin County include Byron and Lee Figgins, Leona Wren, Ralph McHarry, Leon Wizen, Bayne (Scott) Hull, Forna (Rosenbaum) Flager and Helen (Dehn) Goodwill.