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From the “Scratcher” or notebook of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:
Nov. 26, 1867: “teacher Mr. Hughes. 28 pupils present. Building comfortable comparatively. Order excellent, but teacher not very intelligent nor energetic. Drill the school all the forenoon in Spelling & Reading.”
June 22, 1868: “Visited school in district no. 13, Miss Starr, teacher. Rode over territory at corners of 13, 12, 32 & 38 to examine into propriety of organizing new district in forks of Ottawa and Wolf Creeks. Also wrote orders for first meeting in district 51.”
June 25, 1868: “Wrote to the school board in district 13 arguing with them the duty and necessity of building a larger school house than they have dug foundations for, 20×24.”
Dec. 29, 1868: “Visited school in Dist. 13. Building a new stone [school building], but only temporarily seated. Thirty students in attendance. Mr. Bradford rather deficient in manner of use of English, but teaching a good school.”
Feb 19, 1869: “Revisited schools 13 & 48. Both doing well. Quite a falling off in attendance in district 48. Both Mr. Bradford & Mr. McClure teaching better schools than their education would seem to warrant.”
May 3, 1868: “Visited School 13. Bradford, teacher. Same as last winter. Uniformity of text books. 33 pupils all but four small. School commenced April 5. Doing well.”
Nov. 23, 1869: “School commenced Nov. 8th, 1869. Simeon B. Bradford teacher. Visited Nov. 23. House full. School doing well. Revisited Jan 6th 1870.”
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 19 July, 1990.
The first Emery Green School, District 13, was built in 1869, and the second school, which still stands, was closed in 1958. Emery Green School was located five miles east of Ottawa’s Main Street, and an eighth of a mile north of K-68 on the west side of the road.
Loreen (Perkins) Wherry started school there in 1904 when she was six years old. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lorin H Perkins, and we three youngsters came to Kansas in the spring of 1902 and lived on a rented farm in the Pleasant Ridge community for one year while my father, who was a carpenter, built a house and barn on the farm 5 ¾ miles east of Ottawa on Logan Street Rd., now K-68. This was the farm my folks bought and lived on the rest of their lives.”
She recalls that “The teacher was Helen McClanahan. Other teachers I remember while I was going to school were Jeanette Mahar, Milly Hoffman, Henry Hoffman. Mrs. Briggs, Mabel Arthur and Clara Morris.
There were usually 25 to 35 students each year and we used coal for heating fuel. The teachers did their own janitorial work and some of them lived with families in the district. There were always eight grades to be taught by one teacher.”
Wherry wrote recently, “The teachers used a little hand bell at 9 a.m., l p.m. and after the morning and afternoon 15-minute recess. School was dismissed at 4 p.m.
“The day started with a song or two by the whole school, then reading, writing and arithmetic in the forenoon. At 1 o’clock some teachers would read from an interesting storybook for a few minutes. Then we would have grammar, physiology and spelling.”
Students gave a Christmas program each year and there was a program and dinner on the last day of school. Teachers would drill students for that for three weeks and they would perform “dialogues, drills, pantomimes, songs and recitations. I remember sometimes some of the fathers came and built a temporary raised stage. Admission of 10 to 15 cents was charged.”
“Water had to be carried from across the road and larger kids were elected to be the ones to go after it each day.”
The last teacher was Carol Wells and other former teachers are Lucille Meyers, Leota Fanning and Pat Smith. The last pupils to attend the school were Lyle Turner, Nancy, Carolyn and Alice Toumberlin; Bob, Janet and David Kunard: Doug, Steve and Debra Crockett; David Carpenter and Ron and Janet Daugharthy.
The last school board was comprised of Carl L. Reed, Mrs. Felbert Evans and Mrs. Kathryn Daugharthy.
Former students still living in Franklin County are : Loreen Wheery, Mary Lee (Peterson) McElfresh, Mary Reed, Norma (Antone) Geiss, Orpha (Hoover) Potter, Onita (Hoover) Hornbuckle, Janet (Daugharthy) Mount, Nancy (Toumberlin) Watts, Lyle Turner, Lydia (Hope) Parks, Leroy Turner, Bob Kunard, Evelyn (Wallace) Bledsoe, Earl Medel, Nina (Barton) Jacobe, Vera (Barton) Anderson, Alice Mae (Turner) Broers, and Francis Jean (Manchester) Dennis.
Both the remains of the original stone school and the second frame building can be seen from K-68.