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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 30 January, 1992.
Central School, District 79, was one of two Franklin County schools with the same name. The other Central School was District 26, southwest of Princeton.
The District 79 school was located two miles east of LeLoup on the north side of the road. The district was organized in 1872 and the school was built in 1883 by Jess Collins. The school board members then were James Copple, J.P. Stephens and L.P. Cayot.
The teacher at the time the school closed in 1946 was June Nicholson. Her students that year were Duane Fiehler, Gene, Shirley, Pat and Ella Louise O’Connor.
An acre of land was bought for $18 in 1875 from J.J. Athlerly who lived in Chautauqua County, New York. The deed specified that the parties buying the land were “to keep a fence around it sufficient to turn stock on the line between the school house and the remainder of the quarter section.” If this was not done, the seller could regain possession by paying appraised value.
Hazel Cobb of Wellsville recalls that playground equipment was bought with proceeds from community ice cream socials, box suppers and other events. “It was a great thrill when enough money was accumulated to buy a swing set or other item. I remember one boy getting hurt pretty bad when he was hit with a swing seat.”
Gene “Joe” O’Connor, also of Wellsville, reminisces, “for two years during the Thirties, my brother Charles and I were the only students in school. Our teacher, Frances (Cline) Bozworth, would take us for walks in the timber during the noon hour, where we had picnics. “One such time I saw an owl that evidently was asleep. I thought I’d catch it, which I did, but it also caught me, too, by sinking its talons deep into my chest.”
From 1935 through 1937, the school did not operate and the children went to LeLoup and Wellsville. Central reopened in 1938. The district was dissolved in 1950. The teacher at the time the school closed in 1946 was June Nicholson. Her students that year were Duane Fiehler, Gene, Shirley, Pat and Ella Louise O’Connor.
In the late 1950s, the schoolhouse was sold to Gene Barnett who sold it later to Mildred Allison. She later sold it to Corky Price who finally sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Cantabury in 1966. They remodeled it into a home where they have lived since.
Nellie Nordyke attended Central in 1918-19, later taught there, and finally became Franklin County superintendent of schools. Other teachers included Ruth Russell, Ila Daugherty, Juanita Collins, Golda Bivens, Nadine Seymore, Florence Eye, Ida Winkler and Ethel Bellis.
Former students still living in Franklin County include Duane Fiehler, Gene, Ella Louise, Pat and Ralph O’Connor, Hazel Cobb and David and Richard Burgoon.