Minneola #5

Section 28, Township 15S, Range 19E

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From the “Scratcher” or notebook of Superintendent of Public Instruction Philetus Fales:

Nov. 6, 1867:  “Visited School Dist. 5.  School house a public nuisance.  Are fitting up a better room.  Recommended suspension of school till new building was ready for use.”

May 19, 1868:  “Visited schools in Centropolis & Minneola. . . School in Minneola apparently under admirable government.  But classes almost innumerable.  Heard five classes in five different 5th readers.”

July 9, 1868:  “. . . listened to alleged grievances per district 5 & 19.”

Nov. 11, 1868:  “Visited school in Minneola.  Twenty pupils present.  Shocking confusion of text books.  4 Fifth readers classes, 3 Fourth R. & 2 Third Reader.  Miss Nay doing the best she can under the circumstances.”

4 Nov 1869:    “Detached NE sect 20 and N sect 21 from #5 to form Union district #77 Douglas County and #64 Franklin County.”

Feb 17, 1869:   “Revisited schools in district 5 & 6.  Teachers not up to the mark.  Multiplicity of text books also a serious drawback.”

Jan 3, 1870:  “3 months.  A.D. Porter, teacher.  Multiplicity of readers.  Teacher doing tolerably well under the circumstances.”

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 11 October, 1990.

The town of Minneola, one mile east of Centropolis, nearly became the capital of Kansas.  The territorial capital at Lecompton had too many proslavery associations to satisfy the free-state legislature, so it was undertaken to create an entirely new city to serve as capital. The Legislature, in February 1858, made nine quarter-sections the Minneola townsite, the capital of the territory and work began. A hotel, legislative hall and other buildings were constructed.

But the question of the capital’s legality was passed to the U.S.attorney general, who ruled that it was, indeed, illegal. Having failed to become the capital, Minneola soon began to decline and the townsite was divided into farms.

The school was 1 ¾ miles east of Centropolis, it closed in 1959, and was sold at auction Nov. 5, 1961.

Of Minneola school, Mildred Poindexter, who lives in Douglas County, recalls:

“What stands out in my mind is when I started to school there were students 16 or older, so the boys gave the teacher a bad time.” One year the older boys climbed up into the attic during the noon hour, with one staying below. This boy would tie the bell rope around the waist of smaller pupils and then, one-by-one, we were pulled up into the attic.”

“When the teacher came out into the hall to ring the five-minute bell, there was no bell rope nor kids to be found. When the school board got the news there was quite a change. We not only got a new teacher, but there was no more monkey business the rest of the year.”

For a number of years in the 1930s there was a[n Air Mail] beacon light on the corner south of the school to direct airplanes flying at night.

The last teacher at Minneola was Edna Beuthien, and the last pupils included Francis Sherman, Lynn Schoonover, Becky Meyers, David Nelson and Alan Meyers.

Some former pupils still living in Franklin County are Becky (Meyers) O’Connor, Ted Nelson, David Nelson, Wilma (Nelson) Springer, Aurelia (Gibson) Johnson, Dudley Gibson, Raymond Gibson, Alan Meyers, Ernest Blackburn, Olive Reh and Maxine (Nelson) Stevens.

Some other Minneola teachers were Ann Rochold, Ina Bainer, Anna Bunyon, Beverly Dunlap, Thelma Robbins, Maydell Davis, Ruth Averill and Sarah Smith.

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