From “The hitching post…” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series about early Franklin County schools researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. No date noted.
Spring Creek School, District 67, which was organized in 1870, was located five miles east of K-68 and Main and three miles north, on the southwest corner. It was named for the small creek less than a half mile to the south.
Edmund Lister built a shed on one corner of the school grounds for the ponies of his three children: Evelyn (Lister) Fredeen, now of Fairway, who graduated from Spring Creek in 1923; Eleanor (Lister) Coppoc, St. Petersburg, Fla., 1926, and Ed Lister, a younger brother who was in the fifth grade when the family moved to Ottawa.
Mrs. Fredeen recalls that her father “also bought a two-wheel cart for us to ride to school in. I remember riding my pony to LeLoup for the eighth grade county exams and later going to the municipal auditorium in Ottawa for graduation. I remember, with great pleasure, that the teacher took us for a hike along Spring Creek and Wolf Creek on warm fall and spring days.”
Letha Figgins, 416 E. 14th, taught at Spring Creek from 1945 to 1966 and her fondest memories are of the two big parties held at Spring Creek each year. One was the masquerade party held at Halloween and the other “a Valentine party in February for which Iva (Graybill) Hunzicker made wonderful glazed donuts.”
Mrs. Figgins taught her own daughter all eight years of grade school.
Almeda (Sinclair) Edwards, Ottawa RFD 2, a former student, reports that The Ottawa Republican on Nov. 5, 1874, listed a tax levy for District 67 of 70 cents per $100 dollars of valuation.
“The land was probably owned by B.M. Thayer at that time. Spring Creek was a white frame building with a cloak room and porch on the east side. Throughout most of its history, coal was used for heat, although gas may have been used for a time in the ‘20s or ‘30s.
“The stage with small rooms on either side –one serving as the library, the other used for storage and kitchen duty—were added in the 1930s.
According to information gathered by Mrs. Edwards, Virginia (Heckman) Gilroy, Harry Wood Jr., Y’Vonne (Gilbert) O”Dea, Letha Figgins and others, the roll-up stage curtain featured an oil painting on the front by Arthur Kalb of Baldwin, commissioned for $27.50. It was replaced by a wine-color curtain in the early 1950s.
Electricity was added in the fall of 1937, at which time a hotplate was purchased.
Spring Creek was consolidated with Wellsville in 1966, but the school continued to be used as an attendance center in 1966-67. Enrollment that year was 12 and among those students were Jerry Carpenter, Melanie (O’Dea) Bartlow, Odree (O’Dea) O’Connor, Connie Rae (Price) Ditzig, Jackie, Jeff and Johnnie Linneman, Pat, Billy and Martin Callaghan. The last teacher was Thellsia Surber.
Other Spring Creek teachers include Maybelle (O’Dea) Benham, Jean (Lytle) Fisher, Helen Oshel, Helen Phillips, Mina Lingle, Eula Blankenbecker, Dorothy Coltrane, Wynona (Archer) Fiehler, Gertrude (Wright) Moore, Lois (Adams) Staadt, Kathryn Tulloss, Eleanor Lloyd and Nellie Nordyke.
Patrons voted to close the school at a special meeting June 19, 1967, and the board made it official July 5, 1967. Members of that board were Edith Gerhard, Y’Vonne O’Dea and Tom Seyler.
Don Schamie bought the addition to the school and added it to the existing home. Tom O’Dea bought the coal house and teeter totter. The land was cleared and returned to the adjoining farm. The school site now is occupied by a brick home and farm buildings, belonging to Roy Lamberson.
Former Spring Creek pupils still living in Franklin County, in addition to those previously mentioned, include: Madeline (Hutchinson) Fisher, Lucy (Rule) Crites, Max Cartmill, Ralph Hartpence, Lenora (Hartpence) Scott, Ballard Wood, Wilber H. Kristenson Jr., Dorothy (Kristenson) Nitcher, Betty (Gibson) Houdashelt, Jean (Gibson) Clayton, Harry Gibson, Wilbur “Hoot” Gibson, Kay (Kyle) Vogler, Jerry and Eddie Seyler, Brad O’Dea, Cena (O’Dea) Johnson, Terry Broers, Nancy (Broers) Coons, Troy and Max Brittingham, Marilyn (Brittingham) Foster, Rebecca (Brittingham) Roush, Elizabeth Ann (Carpenter) Thurmond, Larry Wood, Marty and Nick Jones, Janie (Elder) Currant, Richard Elder, Jeff and Gene Van Horn, Alura (Gilbert) Scott, Alana (Gilbert) Ball, Roger and Roberta Linneman and Clarence Burns.