Homewood School #64 / #99

Section 36, Township 17S, Range 18E.

25 Jan 1881, SE 1/4 & E 1/2 of SW 1/4 of S2 T18 R18 transferred from district #34 to #64.

link to locator map

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 6 June, 1991. 

Until 1906, Homewood area residents were served by Oak Grove School, a mile and a half south of the townsite, and Homewood School(district 64), a half mile north.

But that year the two districts consolidated to form the new Homewood District No. 99. A new schoolhouse was built but burned about a decade later and was replaced by the building that is still standing. Both were two-room schools.

German immigrants were the first to settle the area which bore several names. Claudia (Gentry) Payne, 1301 N. Cedar, said her grandfather, A.C.Titus was the civil engineer on the installation of the Kansas City-Burlington Railroad through the Homewood area in 1876.

In its infancy, the settlement was known as Forest Home, but the railroad said Titus could name the railroad depot which would give the community its name. He named it Maywood after his one-year-old daughter, May, who was Claudia Payne’s mother.

Later, though, it was discovered there was another community by that name, and so the name Homewood emerged (from Forest Home and Maywood).

The town was slow to develop until an 1864 treaty with the Indians was signed. After that, a Pennsylvania coal company bought up a large tract, but discovered that all of the coal in the vicinity was to the west, so its land was sold to settlers.

Chester R. Fredericks of Homewood recalls that during the 1920s and 1930s, the population peaked at about 200, and there were two grocery stores, a bank, a railroad depot, post office, three churches, a blacksmith shop, hardware store, grain elevator, lumberyard and creamery.

During the 1920s Homewood School offered two years of high school for credit.

The Fredericks family has lived in the area since the first schools were built. Fredericks said his great grandfather told him that in his time Indians camped along the creek on the south edge of the farm.

The farm, a mile southeast of Homewood, is now owned by Leroy Fredericks.

Chester Fredericks said his teacher was Irene Herron, who lives two miles west of Homewood. She taught three different stints at the school for a total of 11 years. She was teaching at Homewood in 1959 when the school was closed.

She remembers the Sunday afternoon in 1941, when she and others had gathered at school to practice for a play. “Mary Bogan came in and said Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. Everyone quit and went home to their families.

Others who taught at Homewood include Marjory Jefferies, Mary McClure, Mabel Nordyke, Blanche Sanders, W.O. Wood, Lillian Gentner, Benson Martin, Sidney Watson, Margaret Reed, Lucille Kellough, Stella Gould, Doris (Sloan) Bethell, Marion Goswick and a Mrs. Heath.

The last pupils to attend Homewood were Danny and Donnie Cochrane, Barry and Gene Brown, George Caple, Sharon, Lloyd and Robert McClure, Peggy, Betty, Patty, Doris and David Demoret.

Former pupils still living in Franklin County include: Martin Reh, Clinton Fredericks, Lila Mae (Guge) Miskimon, Ralph Latimer Jr., Charles Burns, Max Randel, Dorothy (Beeson) Baston, Charles Sanders, Lois (Stewart) Cromwell, Chester Fredericks, Leroy Fredericks, Max King, Lucille (Fredericks) King, Ann (Reh) McLain, Laura (Hetzel) Sutton, Kathryn Malburg, Marilyn (Shaub) Beeson and Marilyn (Howell) Bonine.

Also, Patricia (Whitaker) Watson, Doyle Reichard, Elaine (Reichard) Roberts, Albert Reichard, Jean (Reichard) Higbie, Kay (Hendrix) Shaffer, Imogene (Smith) Droddy, Donald Smith, Arthur Blackburn, Floyd Kochenower, Thomas Weigand, Chris Reekie, Jane (Anderson) Kitterman, Patsy (King) Kochenower, Alice (Fabert) Steward, Millard Wren, Charles King, Don Cochrane, Catherine (Roben) Kochenower, Lloyd McClure and Evelyn (Funk) Mathias.

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