Oak Grove #4/#27

Section 13, Township 18S, Range 18E. Deed O-762, from Robert Wyatt, 12 May 1871, for consideration of $2, 1 acre in NW 1/4 of S13 T18 R18.

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

Nov. 22, 1867:  “Had a hard morning’s ride through the raw wind & fog to Dist. No. 27.  Mr. Nye in charge.  20 pupils present, all small.  Reading & spelling sole occupation.  Many of the pupils without books.  House log, but comfortable.”

June 19, 1868:  “Visited school district no. 27.  School house log & at southern limit of district.  Enrolled 37 pupils, average attendance 20.  Teacher Carrie Carl.  Two pupils in arithmetic, ?? in geography.  School behind the average of Franklin County.  Teacher very well qualified and energetic.”

Oct. 9, 1868:  “During the week conferred with officers of School Boards on several occasions, & attended trial before County Commissioners on appeal of Dist. No. 4.  Action of Co. Supt. sustained in uniting District 4 & 43.”

Feb 16, 1868:   “Visited school in district 4.  Oliver Barnett teacher.  Log shanty abominable.  District broken by creeks & consequently attendance very irregular.  Bonds voted for a new school house, but the district greatly divided, and the prospects not encouraging.”

June 18, 1868—On petition of Schofield, Henderson and others, visited western side of the county  to examine the organizing of a new school district out of the western halt of Dist. 27. Found a new settlement of six or eight families with the prospects of immediate increase. As they are five miles from the nearest schoolhouse, it was deemed best to create a new district.

Oct 20, 1869:   School commences Sept. 6th.  Cephas Mosher teacher.  Readers analytical.  School in excellent condition.  Best school house in the county.  5 month term.

Oct. 16, 1869 and revisited Nov. 24:  “School commenced Oct. 11th.  W.E. Hutchinson, Teacher.  Visited Oct. 16th.  School not fairly organized.  Revisited Nov. 24.  School full & well in hand, but not enough ingenuity in instructing beginners in alphabet & reading.”

On 25 Jan 1881, SE quarter & E half of SW quarter of Sect 2-18-18 from #27 to a new district formed by the division of #34 and #64.

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 May, 1991.  

There were three schools in the Homewood area and ultimately they became closely associated.  The first, Oak Grove, District 27, was a log school building, constructed sometime prior to 1867 and located two miles south of Homewood.

The second school was Homewood, District 64, and it was located a half mile north and about a quarter east of the Homewood town site, on the south side of the road. It was constructed about 1870.

The town itself was slow to develop and Homewood and Oak Grove schools operated until 1906 when they consolidated into Homewood School, District 99. That school was built in town.

It is not known whether the original Homewood school (Dist. 64), was of log, rock  or frame construction or what became of it.

One resident of the area surmised that the name Homewood may have indicated that the first school was started in a home in the woods. Many early Franklin County schools were started in private homes.

The last Oak Grove schoolhouse, though, was a frame building and is now used as a shop on the Martin Reh farm.

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