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. This article appeared 1 August, 1991.
Tawney School, District 71. was located a mile north and three east of Princeton, on the northeast corner of the intersection.
According to Gene Domnanish, now of Bella Vista, Ark., the district was organized in 1870 and was first known as Pleasant Ridge School, until the name was changed to Tawney about 1905.
Exact reason for the change is not known, although there were four Tawney children enrolled at the school in 1908, Orand, Aludy, Arthur and Pearl.
“Clara Domnanish, my aunt, was listed as neither tardy nor absent for two consecutive years.” Gene said, “My dad, born in 1880, attended Tawney for six years before quitting to help with the family farming..”
Phyllis (Fischer) Schamle, Wellsville RFD 2, remembers that “Middle Creek went through our farm and flooding was a big problem when crossing the low water bridge, so usually we cut
through the fields and neighbors farms going to school.”
“Our most exciting time was when a long train of gypsies came from the south and turned west by the schoolhouse, to cross Middle Creek, then continued north on (what was later) airport road (now Montana road).
“Being seven years old, I had heard many gypsy tales from my elders. All students were urged indoors with the doors locked. Everyone hid below the windows for fear of someone being carried off, peeking out only after most of the wagons had turned the corner.”
Such an assortment of people, wagons and animals! It was a sight to behold.”
Schamle continued, “We had a unique heavy chain fence that extended across the west and south side of the school grounds. It was great to sit on and swing, but during World War II there was a call for metal, so it was sold to help the war effort. “My sister, Pauline (Fischer) Green, 904 S. Maple, recalls an incident that involved an old horse blanket. It was usually kept in the baseball equipment closet. But one morning it was discovered spread out on the floor, left there by a transient who broke in for a night’s sleep.”
Bill Abbott, 940 Cypress, “went to Tawney one year, staying with my grandparents the first half of the year (1940-41) and with Fred and Gertie Martin the last half. I came from Kansas City, Kansas and have many pleasant memories of Tawney, such as playing softball with Ohio City (another rural school) and beating them.”
The school closed in 1942 and the last teacher was Leona (Gentry Akers, who noe lives at Oak Haven in Richmond. Among the last spupils were Phyllis Schmale, Pauline Green, Evan and Warren Phillips, Glen, Nadine, and Lena Mae Trout and Don Fischer.
Other teachers included Ruth (Currey) Goodwill, Charles Eichman, Agnes (Collins) Dagnett, Georgia Forrer, Cora Rice, Ethel Rice, Mabel Stokely, R.P. Wilson and Victor Jenson.
Former pupils still living in Franklin County, in addition to those already named, include: Salome (Collins) Reinecke, Kathryn (Loyd) Dagnett, Frances (Davies) Gregg, Grace (Phillips) Brown, Lamar Forrer, Marynell (Rathjen) New, Donna (Barber) Ferguson, Gladys (Louderback) Welton, Chester, George and Elmer Louderback.