From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Nov. 11, 1868: “Detached from dist 49 all that territory lying east of 8 Mile Creek and temporarily attached to it. Reason people on the east side factious and disposed to rule or ruin. Organized the part cut off into a new district (55) and called first meeting. It is understood that next summer territory to some extent will be added thereto from adjoining districts. But it did not seem best to make further changes at present. Also administered oath to Robt Reed, chairman of committee appointed to appraise school lands in Peoria township.”
Sept 10, 1869 and Oct. 11: “[Term began] Sept. 6. Lizzie Porter. School pretty much a failure. Colored. Closes Dec. 3.”
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 13 September, 1990.
Sand Creek School, District 55, was located a mile west of US-59 on Sand Creek Road., cater-cornered from what is now Sand Creek Nursery (see locator map)
The district was organized Nov. 11, 1868, and the second school house was built in 1912. The original building was moved a half mile north and converted into a home, which later burned.
Sand Creek School closed at the end of school in 1959. The building later was moved to 1114 N. Cherry and remodeled into a home, now occupied by Haruyasu and Janet Takayanagi.
According to Herb Crawford, 1523 S. Oak, a former student, “In the early 1930s it was one of the few schools in the area with electricity. It also had a furnace in the basement and an outside opening provided access to a coal chute. A student living nearby started the furnace early in the morning so that there was warmth when the children arrived.
“The school room had blackboards across the north and west walls and a small library was in an area over the basement steps. The recitation bench sat in front of the rows of school desks. The teachers desk was on a slightly raised platform, which also was used as a stage.
Crawford recalls the winter of 1936, when he ice skated to school across frozen fields for at least two weeks after an ice storm. Diagonally across from the school (at what is now the nursery) was a farm pond. “At times when it was frozen, the school children would spend their lunch hour and before school, ice skating.”
His sister, Mary Wheeler, recalls that she started school at Sand Creek in 1913.“Walter Mayden was the teacher that year. For the next five years Lena Hutchens was the teacher. She was excellent and later became county superintendent,”
She remembers one morning when all of the pupils beat the teacher to school by an hour. “It was the first day of daylight savings, during the First World War. The parents all sent their children off to school one hour early and the teacher came at her regular time. There must have been a lack of communication.”
Another of her recollections is of a band of gypsies passing by the school one afternoon as the children were having recess. The children feared going home, but got there safely.
That night all the farmers in the neighborhood nailed their corn cribs shut and locked the chicken houses.”
Wheeler moved to California 51 years ago but has visited Ottawa approximately 30 times since.
The J.H. and Jennie (Hume) Crawford farm was located west of the school and from 1909 to 1937, at least one of the 11 Crawford children were in attendance.
A county superintendent’s bulletin in 1915 charterized Sand Creek School as a model school building, “with left side heating and furnace heat.
He added,”Miss Lena Hutcheins, the present teacher, is very satisfactorily serving the district.. To the district contemplating a new building in the future, I would suggest that they visit Sand Creek and get the plans of the building. It is the best offered for a one-room school.”
When Sand Creek closed, the students were bused to Green Dell School, until it also closed.
The school’s last teacher was Inez Loyd, 631 S. Cherry. Other teachers include Mabel (Robbins) Gilliland, Wilma Lantis, Ethyl Funk, Eunice (Wray) Williamson and Lena Hutchins.
Among the last pupils were Jack and Bob Hayden, Janice Roehl, John Steinman, Leon Graves, Barbie Hull and Neil Bishop.
Some students not previously mentioned who still live in the county are Margaret (Crawford) Curry, Woodrow Crawford, Nellie (Crawford) Howell, Cleda (Crawford) Hayden, Charley Roehl, Katherine (Hayden) Gatewood, Edgar Hull, Robert Hull, Russell Nordyke, Ruth (Milan) Dickerson, Robert, George and Jack Ledom, Vera (Thomas) Vallier and Howard Wallace.
The last school board was Gardner Hayden, Paul Steinman and Charley Roehl.