From the “Scratcher” or notebook of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Oct. 29, 1868: “Visited School in district No. 33. Found a very slim attendance but a very competent teacher, Mr. Ira Coe. School in the second week. Visited some of the parents to urge sending the pupils to school.”
Jan 11, 1869: “Visited school in Wycoff district. School in its second lesson with seven weeks more of school. Progress made by pupils praise-worthy.”
Feb 12, 1869: “Revisited schools in district 33 & 41–Coe and Kibbe teachers. I deem them the two most successful teachers in the public schools of Franklin County this winter.”
Nov. 30, 1869: “[Term] commenced Nov. 15. Ira Coe, Teacher. School visited Nov. 30. First best.”
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 25 October, 1990.
Wycoff School, District 33, was located southwest of Ottawa in the Wycoff community, two miles west of old US-50 on Greenwood Road and a quarter mile north.
Flora Smith, Ottawa RFD 1, provides most of the history on this school. Her husband, who is 81, attended all grades there. According to them, there were two schools at the site.
There are no records available to indicate when either were was built, but the first one was largely destroyed by flood, according to Una Hinderliter, 92, the oldest former Wycoff pupil still living in Franklin County.
The second school was ravished during the 1951 flood. “All school equipment, piano, desks, past records, books and so forth were destroyed.
“Somehow word of the flood and the school’s losses were heard of by school children in Finland. A large box of toys arrived for the school as a consolation from the school children in Finland, “ Mrs. Smith reports.
Water was piped indoors in a sink in the second school, gas was used for heating and electricity brightened the school in 1941.
Esther Hegberg of Ottawa began teaching at Wycoff in 1954, replacing Almira Shular.
Under her tenure, a class in music was held once a week. The first music teacher was Lillian Lantis of Ottawa, who taught two years. She was followed by Dorothy Detwiler, who taught six years.
Whenever music was being taught, Mrs. Hegberg retired to the back of the school to conduct a kindergarten class for several pre-school children.
In 1962 Wycoff consolidated with Ottawa U.S.D. 290 and the school building was sold to C.A. Scribner and moved.
The last pupils to attend at Wycoff were Carole Smith, David Haverty, Jim Bonine, LeAnne Buse, Randy Roseberry, Terry Anne James, Connie James, Roy Pahiman and Teresa Watts.
The last school board members were Cecil Schneider, Gordon James and Ray V. Smith.
Other teachers recalled by former pupils include Nettie Rorton, Lynn Woods, Esther Lancaster, Etta Blanche Smith, Ruth (Drake) Farris, Evaline Hammond, Louise ThompsonMary Jackson, Helen (Tussing) Mitchell, Vera Jones, Ruth Averill and Mable (Canfield) Pflug.
Other pupils still living in Franklin County include Alvin and Larry Hinderliter, Audrey (Watts) Reed and Teresa (Watts) Miller, Randy Roseberry, Jerry and Milton Farris, Eleanor Cohen, Loyd Schneiber, Charles Ratcliff, Betty (Fabert) Jones, Keith, Norman and Floyd Watts, Eugene and Rolland Bromert, Carl Thompson, Maxine (Thompson) Reed, Lawrence Lundstedt, Ray Smith,
Russell Reams, David Wells, Dan Ledom and Joe Bowen.
Mrs. Smith writes: “Rural schools served as a focal point in community life and many happy memories are recalled of school plays, music and recitations given by the Wycoff students and their teachers. Programs were held in the Wycoff Community building, one-half mile south of the school, which had a large stage on which to perform.
“One of the highlights of country life that hasn’t been mentioned in previous school articles had to do with last-day-of school activities.
Parents would begin arriving at mid-morning with an abundance of food for the ‘school dinner,’ which followed a program prepared by the teacher and pupils. Several hours of outdoor games, with dads participating, usually followed in the afternoon.”