Mount Everest School #96

Section 33-Township 18S-Range 18E

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 Flemingand written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. This article appeared 12 July, 1990.

When School District 96 was formed in 1892, it encompassed only 5 ¾ sections of land. But there were enough people in that small area to create a disagreement about where Mount Everest School should be built.

One faction wanted it to be built on the section line, as it was believed a road would be built through to that location. But another group, headed by Jasper Davis, wanted it on the northwest corner of his farm, now the Wendell Davis farm.

The schoolhouse was built on the section line in 1893, and one night Davis and his supporters slipped out, jacked the building up and were beginning to move it when dawn came and they were spotted.  A fight ensued and the Davis forces won. The school was moved to the site they had proposed.

Because of this beginning, the school, situated 2½ miles south and two east of Williamsburg, on the east side of the road, became known as Bloody 96.

The school was closed in 1943, and the last teacher to serve there was Esther Eaton. She had only three students, Don Burroughs, Merle Davis and Betty Eaton.

Among former Mount Everest students still living in Franklin County are Sam Hume, David Howard, Alla (Mallory) Keenon, Helen (Davis) Shofner, Leslie Mallory, Pauline Geiss, Wendell Davis, Eunice (Bishop) Ledom, Allen Bishop, Don Burroughs, Alvin Woodworth, Ruth (Hume) Davis, and Mildred (Aston) Fogle.

Most of the students who attended the eight grades walked to school.

The mill levy in 1894 was 15 and that brought in $411.05–$25 a month for the teacher, $50 for heat and repairs. The building itself was valued at $90.

The highest enrollment ever was 15.

When the school closed, patrons refused to consolidate with District 51 in Williamsburg. Instead District 96 patrons paid transportation and tuition for their three children. That was cheaper then becoming part of the Williamsburg District.

But, nine years later, when the state intervened, 96 did merge with Williamsburg.

The old school building was used for hay storage, for a time, but finally sustained so much damage from a storm that it was torn down.

And the old elm tree that guarded it has died.

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