Thursday, February 21, 2013

Genny Altenhofen Remembered

This article appeared in the Chariton Herald-Patriot on February 21, 2013
by Bill Howes Associate Editor

Altenhofen Remembered for her Kindness, and Importance to Community

When Genevieve "Genny" Altenhofen died last April, her husband, Ron, lost a dear spouse and the community lost a kind, warm-hearted person who loved to help others.  A longtime teacher in the Chariton School district, Genny was affectionately known as "Mrs. A" by her students and she left behind a legacy of being dedicated to education and those she taught.
Her baking and cooking skills were well respected and highly valued in the community as well.  Genny always had a smile and friendly greeting for everyone she knew and will always be remembered.
This Saturday, February 23, would have been Genny and Ron's 50th wedding anniversary and Ron wanted to honor her with an article as a tribute to the kind of person she was and the value she had in the community.
Genny died suddenly from health complications in April at the age of 71.  She taught in the Chariton school system for 35 years and she lived in Chariton for almost 50 years.
Genny moved to Chariton in the fall  of 1962 and took a position at the Lucas County Extension Office as a home economist.  She earned a degree in home economics from Parsons College in Fairfield and did a five-month internship at the extension service in Harlan before coming to Chariton.
Ron served in the Army in Korea and when he came home from Korea in the summer of 1962, he and Genny got engaged.  They were married on February 23, 1963, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fairfield.
As a home economist, Genny taught many classes on nutrition to parents in Chariton and she was basically in charge of the Lucas County 4-H system.  Genny was credited with and proud of encouraging many 4-H members to take projects to the State Fair.After having two children, Genny resigned from the Extension Office and studied to earn a teaching certificate.  She began teaching in the English Literature department at CHS in the fall of 1966.  She began as a substitute and she got on fulltime shortly after she started.  She taught English Literature for juniors at CHS along with World Religion and college prep classes.  She later earned an MA in English Literature from the University of Iowa.
As a teacher at CHS, she was a junior class sponsor and was in charge of magazine subscription sales. The sales are what paid for the Junior-Senior Prom, which she was in charge of too.  She also was in charge of the Junior Class Homecoming floats.
Mrs. A inspired her pupils with her passion for poetry, theater, literature and art.  She adored Ernest Hemingway and her classroom became a favorite hangout for students in the mornings and they dubbed themselves "The Breakfast Club".
Genny's dedication to education and her students will always be remembered.  In recognition of this, her students nominated her for the Golden Apple Aeward for Teacher of the Year.  She retired from teaching in 2001.
In her spare time, Genny loved thoughtful solitude that included reading, tending her garden, and creating beautiful crocheted, embroidered and needle point works of art.  She disliked idle time and idle conversation and liked to make the most of her valuable time using her hands.  The works of her hands will be remembered for generations.
Genny was an adept cook and baker as well.  She did all kinds of cooking and liked to make casseroles and bake cakes and pies.  Genny and Ron were both born and raised Catholic and both attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Chariton.  Ron still attends Sacred Heart and is a member of the local Knights of Columbus chapter, Sacred Heart Council 4151.
Genny liked cutting pies at Sacred Heart during the fish fries held there during Lent.  She had one helper who helped her cut pies, but mainly did it herself for over 10 years.  She also taught religious education classes to children at Sacred Heart.
Two fellow Sacred Heart parishioners, Evelyn Pollard and Jaynane Hardie, wrote a poem in Genny's honor following her death.  The poem was up at the funeral for everyone to read.  In the poem the two women tell Genny that they will miss her guidance on the dinners that they serve and her helpful hints on what to do and which words to use.  They also say, "May God fold you into his arms and give you rest.  We were blessed to call you our friend."
Genny made Teddy bears for a hobby and once took a couple of them to Chariton Nursing and Rehab Center in Chariton.  A couple of people there really liked them and so she decided to donate many more to CNRC and Lucas County Health Center as well.
Ron and Genny had two children including Angela and Paul.  Angela is single and lives in Chicago and Paul is married and he and his wife, Jeannette, live in Englewood, Colorado, with their two children, John and Erin.  Englewood is a suburb of Denver.
Ron is a self-employed carpenter and building decks has been his specialty.  Genny and Ron have two successful children as Angela is an artist for Oriental Institute of Chicago and Paul owns a bicycle business in Sheridan, Colorado, where he sells and repairs bikes. 
Genny was like a beutiful flower to all those that knew her, said Ron.  Her memory will live on in people's hearts like a flower that never dies.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Martha Anderson - Her Life as a Teacher

This article was taken from a transcribed tape from the Lucas County Historical Museum
The article appeared in the Lucas County Genealogical Society Newsletter January 2010
I was the second of nine children born to Fred & Muriel Anderson, four girls, then four boys and at last a little sister.  i attended Bancroft School, Garfield for Junior high and the Bancroft building for high school, later renamed the Alma Clay School.

My father worked as a carpenter and expected his boys to follow in his footsteps.  No one needed a high school education, especially not the girls.  He had to quit school after the fourth grade to help harvest the crops, as most boys did.  He could solve our problems in his head faster than we could on paper.  Many of the houses were erected by my father in Chariton and I can't drive a straight nail.

My older sister, Lois, paved the way for us and enrolled in the Normal Training Course for teachers at Bancroft school, which housed the high school at that time.  Little did she know that I would follow as she lead.  As did Agatha, Nancy, Thomas, Raymond and Glen who also became teachers.  My mother saw some of the trials and tribulations of teaching.  She prevailed upon the youngest to seek other training.

I was not old enough to teach when I graduated and could not receive my certificate until I was 18 years of age.  Until that year they had provided provisional certificates to 17 year olds, but not to me.  Too many teachers that year.  I worked at Bates Studio my first year out of school and decided that would be my life's work.  No, not me.  Chariton was having its first extension school from Cedar Falls, Iowa teacher's college and my mother planned that I should go without consulting me.  She was the one that planned with Mr. Bates that I should work afternoons in the studio and enroll in a refresher course.  My father would resent my going to Normal Training, she said, if i did not use it.

Yes, I took the refresher course and applied at Grove school.  I shall never forget my first day of school.  The first Monday in September of 1922, rain - out came the new rubber boots ,with heels, for their initiation..  I walked to Grove school, just north of Chariton on Highway 14.  I had never attended a rural school.  Here I was with a student taller than I.  Students in double seats, 26 of them.  All grades.  How to get all classes into a crowded day.

Mud at recess, mud for the teacher to clean up when the day was done.  Flies buzzing around our lunch boxes lined up against the wall in the hallway.  The stone water fountain filled with water, now hot, carried from the neighbors well early that morning.  The long roller towel well used on muddy hands before the lunch boxes could be opened.

In the afternoon, town boys, two of my brothers included who had come to watch the construction of our new shale covered road, shall I say highway, rolled mud dies into the room, no screens of course, my father thought I should have punished them on the spot.  But who was to catch them?

So this was teaching for $65 a month.

There was the Christmas program when teacher was to timid to announce the program and prevailed upon the big sister of the Apgar children to do the job.  I did have a fever blister on my lip.  The teacher and the students were standing in the drafty stairway all during the program to give room to our parents in the double seats.

Then there was the fire, caused by a faulty furnace pipe letting sparks fall on the kindling stored under it.  I had warned the director of this condition but it had not been repaired.  Nothing was saved, all my patterns and art supplies from Normal Training had gone up in smoke.  How could I begin again, I was no artist.  The cook shack of the construction company was secured and we were to begin school the first week in March.  A blizzard arrived and filled the new school house, which had to be scooped and dried out.  We used it the rest of the term.  We about froze that month and smothered the next in that little shack.

When school was out I went on a trip with my aunt and uncle without trying for a school.  When I came back, to my surprise my Dad had secured one for me and the director was waiting for my signature on the contract.  It was to teach at Whitebreast Center where I taught for 3 years.  And then one year at Hazel Dell before returning to teach at Grove in a new building which had been built.  There I taught my last three years of country school and left at $100 a month, to earn a two year diploma and accept a position at Coon Rapids at a lower salary than I had received at Grove.  It was during the depression and last of the three years I spent there was a trying one.  Teachers were paid with warrants that could not be cashed and there was no chance to get home to Chariton until some friendly person would be willing to cash and hold the warrants.

So in 1934 I returned to Chariton at a lower salary than I had even received at Coon Rapids, $87.50.  Mr. Calgall, our Superintendent, assigned me to Alma Clay, 3rd grade.  The level I taught for 35 years.  When the Alma Clay building was demolished I taught one year at Van Allen and then at Columbus 3rd grade from which I resigned in 1969.  Thus, after 46 years of teaching, drawing from $65 a month to $9,272 for 190 days.  From a school of 4 pupils at Hazel Dell after 3 pupils had moved away.  From the lunch buckets that had attracted the flies at Grove Rural School to the cafeteria duty at Alma Clay and in the new building at Van Allen and Columbus where the children were fed in the gym.  From the jacketed stove on which we heated food in fruit jars in a big boiler at Whitebreast Center and where I shook down the ashes on Friday night to be ready for a new fire on Monday when my uncle would bring me back from a week away from home.  At 6 degrees below zero one Friday night how I laid the papers for the kindling, only to find the grate had been too hot and only ashes remained to be cleaned out on Monday.  From the cook shack at Grove School to the modern restrooms at Van Allen and Columbus.

Yes, these are some of my teaching experiences, but I look back to Mrs. Gittinger with her salary of $18 to $25, I guess they call them wages, to Alma Clay my first teacher and how after I received my first degree from Drake University, I was able to return to Chariton to teach in the same building with her, the same building that had been called the Bancraft Building, until it was renamed the Alma Clay building, shortly before she passed awayl

I look back to Mrs. Elsie Newell, who taught the 8th grade overflow at the Garfield School where we sat in double seats borrowed from rural schools during the population explosion.  Yes, I was the one who slid down the bank and was rescued by her friendly hand.  I was the one who learned psalms every morning to Opal McDowell, the county superintendent who was also our Business and Professional Club President.  To Mabel Hobbs, my 8th grade teacher for one month before Mrs. Newell was hired, and, who was principal of Alma Clay when I taught 3rd grade therel

I was invited to become a charter member of the Delta Cappa Gamma society for key women teachers in 1955.  And although retired from teaching, I still have teaching at heart as I meet with the Chariton Retired Teachers and retain membership in the Iowa State Teachers Association and the National Association of Educationl

I am sure that my father influenced my teaching career.  He didn't let me stop teaching because of a burned building and the loss of my Normal teaching creations.  He was proud of his family, all teachers, three brothers married teachers and my mother too, who turned me back to teaching instead of a career in photography.

Teachers at Cory School #6 1899-1950

Stella Mauk                            Esther Niswender
Cora Clouse                            Kathryn Noble
Regia Talbot                           Marvel Graves
Amanda Westling                 Esther Lowe
Marie Swanson                      Esther L. Liggett
Gertrude Lyons                      Zelma Mullins
Clara Stafford                          Mildred Bingaman
Mary Wilkie                            Leola McCormick
Muriel Drake                          Vera Inbody
Sarah White                            Berniece Campbell
Susie Bryan                             Dorothy Fast
Florence Lyons                      Charlotte Johnson
Nellie Blanchard                    Betty Webb
Ethel McAfee                          Eithel Shore
Laura Kellar                            Minnie Reeves
Elva Bridges

Teachers at Puckerbrush School 1869-1962

1869 - 1907                                                              1908 - 1962
Marion Pfrimmer           Sarah Jane Wetter          Nina Ashby                   Vashti Pfrimmer
Maggie Admire               Elizabeth Childers           Josie Norris                   Ethel Campbell
George Howard              Thomas Evans                 Mary Cochran               George Ashby
Lydia Lel Pfrimmer       Jenny Childers                 Fern Foster                   Anna Dyken
Sydney Howard              Mollie Freel                      Ida Doherty                  Anna Dyken Pfrimmer
George R. Reeside          Maggie Primm                 Lacy Lanning                Elma W. Wilson
Ella Evans                        Maggie Moorehouse       Anna Palfreyman         Zelma German
L.A. Simpson                   J.P. Baker                         Mildred Shelton           Charlotte Pfrimmer
Maggie Evans                  Nellie E. Welcher            Vera Wilson                   Mildred A. Dougherty
Anna Kneeland                Carrie Hanelton              Ardys L. Tredennick   Dorothy A. Eubank
James Edwards               William A. Miller             Myrtle Wallace             Hazel Crooks
Bessie O. Whitcomb        Keo Ensley                       Leta Crooks                  Ruth Bobenhouse
Lulu Cumpson                  Olive Cain                        Lila L. Thompson        Jean McKinsey
E.F. Deisher                     Edith Ashby                     E. May Hamilton          May Cooper
Mrs. E.F. Deisher            Ada Baugh                       Marie Curtis                  Opal Kittleson
Sarah White                     Ollie Evans                      Ava B. Snodgrass          Leta Nicholson
Clark T. Knotts                P.O. Sylvara                    Georgia Ann Black        Vera Eubank
Clarence Keen                  Victora Osbern               Frances Snuggs
Flora Tool                         Frances Foxal
Bertha Phelps                  M. Cox
Ruby Penick                        

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ella McCann Herald - Tells Her Story

This story was taken from The McCann Family Book 
compiled by Ella McCann Herald - 1985
Early Childhood
I was born on a farm about seven miles northwest of Lucas in Jackson Township, Lucas County, Iowa on April 19, 1916.  My parents were Thomas and Edith Roberts McCann.  My parents had rented a farm from Frank Pim and had moved to that farm on March 1, 1915 only two weeks after their marriage.  My father had completed a business course at the Chariton Business College and had graduated from Elliott's Business College in Burlington, Iowa.  He returned to Lucas County and worked for a time in one of the county offices in the court house.  His one love was farming - hence the partnership with Frank Pim.  Mr. Pim liked my parents very much and wanted them to stay on his farm.  He decided to build a new farm home, so during the winter of 1917 - 1918 while the new home was being built, my parents and I lived in the garage.  It was a very cold, snowy winter - not too pleasant for any of us especially my mother, who was pregnant.  The carpenters stayed with us during the week so cooking for extra men was an added responsibility for Mother.  On Saturday, May 18, 1918, a second girl, Enid, was born.  Daddy wanted to be nearer his family, so in the spring of 1919 we ended the partnership with Mr. Pim and purchased an unimproved 80 acres which joined my grandparents, the Lawrence McCann's on the east.  They built a new home, a barn and a few other necessary buildings.  At the end of one year my dad had an opportunity to sell this farm at a profit of $100 per acres.  They sold the 80 and bought 160 acres just one half mile to the west.  Some of our wonderful neighbors included the Jones', Harry Carson's, Ray Taylor's, Jim Fulton's, Uncle Lonnie's, Airy's, Newsome's and others.  We had a huge orchard on this farm - mostly apples and peaches.  In the fall we used a cider press and made gallons of cider.  The cider we did not drink or share with family and friends, we stored in huge, wooden barrels and by spring we had our own vinegar.  Mother canned hundreds of quarts of apples and peaches.  We had a well-stocked cave for our winter's supply of food.

My father worked with horses so to replenish our power supply we usually had two or three mares each spring with little colts.  One of our fun chores in the fall was going nutting.  We gathered walnuts, hickory nuts and hazel nuts for our mother to have when she made cakes, cookies or candies.  We usually milked seven to ten cows.  This gave us our own milk, cream and butter.  We separated the milk, sold the cream to a creamery and gave the skim milk to the hogs.  One unpleasant memory I have that happened on this farm was a powerful kick on my right leg by one of our mules, Jerry.  Jerry had been harnessed and was being led to water by one of the hired men.  His bridle had blinders on it and he did not see a small child as I raced up from behind to beat him to the well.  His well-aimed kick cut the muscles in my leg but did not break the skin.  I was very fortunate.

One month after my fifth birthday I remember much activity around the house.  Mother phoned Mrs. Alex Jones and asked her to come up right away.  Enid and I were shooed out the front door and told to go next door, to Harry Carson's.  When we returned home later in the day we were told Dr. Niblock had brought us a new baby sister, Audrey.  This was on Tuesday, May 17, 1921.  Inez Storie of Derby stayed with us a few weeks and helped care for Mother and the baby.

The toys I remember as a little girl were a little red wagon and a sled which we shared.  The wagon was a much used, almost necessary, possession.  When hogs were butchered in the fall, they were split in two and hauled to the smoke house via the little red wagon.  Wood was hauled from the wood pile to the house, cobs were hauled from the barn to the cob box near the kitchen, corn and other feed was carried from the cribs to the chicken house and big sisters pulled little sisters around the farm for entertainment and to get everyone out of Mother's way for a while.  We always had a nice Christmas and always hung our stockings over the back of a chair.  I remember a little iron bank in the shape of an elephant and a special doll, which I still have.  Our stockings were filled with candy, nuts and some fruit.  Christmas was a happy, joyous time and we were very involved with family and friends in school and church activities. 
 School Days
 I started to the Goshen School in September 1921.  We lived only one fourth mile from the school so, of course, I walked along with the other boys and girls who lived in our direction.  Schoolmates I remember from my days at Goshen are the DeWitts;, five Roberts girls (no relation), Bill and Jeanette Fulton, Bernice, Fern and Hermoline Hawkins, three Carson boys, Frances Jones, Marion and Warren Mitchell, Louise Blue, Lawrence, Bernard, Richard and Betty McCann.  My first teacher was Ada Eaton.  Teachers who followed were Leota Roberts, Vera Herring, Georgia Horton Hitt, Gladys Viertz Sinclair, Moselle Throckmorton Blue and Mae Bingaman.  We each had our own lunch pail.  The school building was heated by a large pot-bellied stove which was near the center of the room.  On very cold mornings we hovered near the stove until the room began to get warm.  On these same days we kept our lunch boxes near the stove, too.  Our food would have frozen in the hall where we kept our coats and boots.  during my years at Goshen there was probably an average of 15 to 20 students.  During a typical school day the teacher did her best to hear every grade in every subject.  i well remember listening to the older ones recite.  A I became an upper classman, I often helped the little ones.

Once a year, usually in early fall, the teacher was expected to present a program with school talent.  Less than half of the schools had a piano or an organ so if a teacher wasn't musically inclined, it wasn't always easy to prepare an interesting variety program of an hour or longer.  During the evening there were other games or amusements - cake walks, guessing games and box suppers.  The box supper was very popular - each lady or young girl prepared a lunch for two and decorated an attractive box hoping her favorite boy friend would buy it and eat with her.  Someone in the crowd would auction the boxes and the bidding was often quite spirited.  The money cleared at these programs was used to buy supplies - perhaps a used piano, a water fountain, new flag or whatever might be needed.  Our parents bought our textbooks and other supplies at Fluke's Book Store (now Young's) in Chariton.  Books were very expensive and they would seldom take trade-ins.  The only books I remember specifically are the Rose Primer (there was a large red rose on the outside cover) and my third grade Language book.  The language book contained many poems which we memorized.

My best friend in rural school was Louise Blue.  Louise married one of my high school classmates, who has since died.  Louise lives in California now and is the mother of three married sons.

Our school yard contained one acre, as did most rural school yards.  During recess time and the lunch hour we often played "ante-over" - either throw the ball over the school building or the coal shed.  Another good game was "steal sticks".  I recall many accidents which involved two children as they met head-on while dashing around the corner of the building to steal sticks.  Ralph Woods and I met this way one day and I was out cold for several minutes.  I was 6 or 7 years old and he was in the eighth grade, probably 14 and a real big boy.  Winter months found us playing the fox-and-geese or if there was snow on the ground we brought our sleds to school and went coasting in the neighbor's field adjoining the schoolyard.

All my years as a student in rural schools were eight month terms.  I even taught a few eight month terms but do not remember when the school year was changed to nine months.

During our years in rural schools we always wore underwear with long legs and long sleeves.  Of course, we wore long cotton hose to cover the underwear.  Our dresses had long sleeves for the same reason.  I recall how we used to beg Mother to let us shed the miserably, scratchy underwear in the spring.  it seemed like hundred degree weather was almost here before she would give in.

Uncle Lonnie and Aunt Mae lived less than one mile east of us.  Their sons, Lawrence, Bernard and Richard were about the same ages as Enid, Audrey and me.  Aunt Mae was ill and in the hospital several times during the years we all lived on the Mormon Tail Road.  Uncle Lonnie and the boys always stayed with us while she was hospitalized.  We had two full-sized beds and a baby bed so we really doubled up.  On especially cold nights Mother heated the flat irons, wrapped them in towels and put them at our feet to help keep us warm in bed.  I remember sleeping with my dad and three or four others.  What a bed full; I also remember what a busy little boy Richard was.  He liked to clean the ashes out of the wood stove when my mother turned her back and went to the mail box.  He was such a cute little guy with the blackest, curliest hair you ever did see.  Mother used to say she just couldn't be cross with him - such a cutie and his mother so ill.

Special foods I like to think about as I was growing up are cinnamon rolls, home made bread, soup beans and all kinds of soup.  What a thrill to come in the house from school and smell the home made bread and cinnamon rolls.  My mother was an exceptionally good cook and an immaculate housekeeperHer meals were attractive, varied and delectable.  She certainly had plenty of practice.  We always had at least one full-time hired man and during the busy summer season we usually had three to six extra.  Besides this we had city cousins who came several summers to spend four to six weeks on the farm.

My first chores at home were setting the table and making the beds.  Later I carried wood from the woodpile to the back porch so stoves could be kept burning around the clock.  I also filled the lamps (we had 3 or sometimes 4) with kerosene each evening so the lights would burn until bedtime.  During the summer we all picked wild raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries.  A few summers we picked strawberries and cherries at Fred McKinght's on the shares plan - we kept half, they kept half.  Ironing - now that was a hot job!  We had to keep the stove very hot so the flat irons would be very hot.  We ironed everything - as I have said before, my mother was very particular about all aspects of housekeeping and ironing was no exception.  We all did our share.  A few summers, when we were milking several cows, my father and the hired men went to the fields early and the milking chores were shifted to Enid, Audrey and me.  A chore disliked by all three of us was leading the horse to pull hay into the barn or up to the stack.  I did most of this in the hayfield but Audrey thought she had the assignment at the barn most often.  We had one hired man, a neighbor boy, who was very ornery about pulling the rope back before the horse and girl were ready.  We soon learned a few tricks - a favorite one was letting the horse walk or stand on the rope.  Daddy didn't think this was very funny, he said it slowed them down which I am sure it did.  When I became old enough to handle a team of horses (about 12) Daddy purchased a cultivator for me.  I felt very proud to be able to handle my own horses, Nig and Coalie, and cultivator while cultivating corn, one row at a time.

Washday at our home was often a day of annoying experiences.  A gasoline-powered engine furnished the power to operate the washing machine.  Our father had to crank the engine to start it.  If the engine stopped before the washing was completed, which it usually did - and several times, one of us was sent to find our dad and return him to the washhouse.  He was good to spend most of the wash day near that pesky engine.  In spite of all the trials and tribulations of that engine and of the many other exasperating incidents that people encounter from day to day, the roughest language I ever heard my father use was, "Well.. I'll be dod-durned".

I remember a day one summer when I was quite small and my mother was very cross with me.  I pored a bottle of red food coloring (just purchased from the Watkins man) in the water pans where our 25 to 30 ducklings came to drink.  I thought the little pink ducks were very pretty but Mother didn't agree with me.  I was spanked.  I managed to experience the usual catastrophes of small children.  When I was two, my cousin Lawrence, dropped a cave door shut.  My left hand was resting on the frame of the cave door and the end of my ring finger was nearly severed.  A few stitches and all was well.  One year later I landed on a tin can as I fell out of the car.  The cut completely severed the lobe of my left ear.  Mother carefully held the lobe in place while my dad drove the three miles to Derby.  Dr. Niblock soon had the severed lobe back in place.
Teen Years
In 1929, when I was 12 years old, we moved to a farm near Lucas where we had a lovely home - water in the kitchen, hardwood floors, a full basement with a furnace, and a beautiful lawn with many, many shade and evergreen trees.  (I never lived in a home with indoor plumbing or electricity until after Frank and I were married in 1939).  The saddest part of this move (for me) was the fact that even though we had moved less than ten miles we were in a different school district.  I would be a freshman at the Lucas High School in the fall and I didn't know a single person in the area.

I weighed less than one hundred pounds when I started to high school.  There were about 20 in my class and I was soon acquainted and happy.  Daddy bought a horse for me and I rode the 3½ miles to and from school each day.  There was a pony barn within a block of the school so this was another little chore twice a day.  Eight of us kept our horses in this barn so when school was dismissed it was a wild race to get to the barn and head for home.  Often, when the weather was extremely cold.  I walked to school.  It took at least twenty minutes longer to get there but it was easier to keep warm while walking.  There were sixty to seventy students in the high school any of the four years I attended.  There were three teachers - the superintendent, the principal and one other.  During my first two years the superintendent, M.F. Wornstaff, was also the basketball coach.  My favorite subjects were Home economics, Algebra, Geometry, English and Drama.  I had the leading part in two class plays - one when I was a freshman and one when I was a senior.  One of my favorite teachers was Esther Niswender who taught Home Economics.  Many times during our lunch hour I'd walk downtown to the post office to pick up her mail.  She was dating a man from Villisca, Iowa and I felt like I was playing a part in their romance.  She married him soon after school was out and died in childbirth a couple of years later.  We didn't have any choice of courses.  I didn't realize until several years later how restricted students are who attend such small high schools.  My closest friends in high school were Annie Laurie Plows, Martha Rogers, Ruth Spencer and Athyl Pettinger.  Martha was a classmate and we were very close friends.  She graduated from Northwestern University, married Charles Olson and they live in Rochelle, Illinois.

Athyl was the youngest sister of my high school boyfriend, Lloyd Pettinger.  Lloyd, Frank Johnson, Annie Laurie and I often double dated.  We attended a few out of town ball games, went tobogganing and sledding in the winter, picnicking and an occasional movie in the summer.  We had birthday and holiday parties in our homes.  In early December of my senior year our school building burned to the ground.  The building had been built in the early 1900's and was constructed of wood with a stucco covering.  It housed all grades - kindergarten through twelfth.  Classrooms were found and it was soon "School as usual" in various churches and buildings around town.  All high school classes were held in the gymnasium.  I graduated from Lucas High School in May of 1933.  I had completed four very happy, care-free years.  I loved my teachers, made many friends and really treasure my memories.

 A major project that affected all of Lucas County and southern Iowa took place during the time I was in high school.  It was the paving of Highway #34.  All the other roads in the area were dirt roads.  My father was a devout Catholic and part of his religion was to see that he and his family attended church on Sunday.  During the year there were often times when the roads were drifted full of snow or were impassable because of mud.  The paving of #34 and the gravel on the other roads a few years later certainly improved the travel conditions of the rural people.
Becoming a Young Adult
Graduating from Lucas High School certainly didn't prepare me for any work.  I enrolled in Chariton Junior College taking a few college courses and some High School Normal Training courses.  At the end of the year I passed a battery of tests which qualified me as a teacher with a Normal Training Certificate.  In the fall of 1936 I began my first term of teaching - at Centennial School in Pleasant Township.  I know I learned more that year than any other term I ever taught.  The directors asked me to return to teach the next term but I wanted to get closer to home.  I didn't have an automobile - I couldn't have afforded it.  I nearly always got home one way or another on Friday evening and Lloyd brought me back to Whittlatches on Sunday evening.  I taught the next year at Hazel Dell (our home school) the next two years.  I received $50.00 a month for the first two terms I taught and $80.00 a month for the two terms at Palestine.  I paid $3.00 per week board and room all four years.

In the fall of 1938 a friend of mine, Clifford Funk, returned to Lucas County from Pennsylvania where he had been working.  Accompanying him was a friend of his with whom he had been working, Frank Herald of near Pittsburgh.  Frank and I dated during the winter and on March 26, 1939 we were married at the Little Brown Church at Nashua, Iowa.  Within ten days we were in route to Pennsylvania and our first apartment in Scottdale.  Frank was employed by Guthrie, Marsh Peterson and they were building the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  From Scottdale, we moved to Berlin and then to Huntington - following the phases of the turnpike.  After following construction for a year and a half, we moved to Detroit, Michigan where Frank was employed by U.S. Radiator.  The high humidity and the general climate in Detroit was not a healthy situation for us.  We loaded up our belongings and headed for Iowa. 
We Move To The Farm
In the spring of 1942 we moved to the Otto Brown farm near the Chariton Sale Barn.  We rented the 160 acre farm for $628.00 cash rent.  We acquired our livestock and machinery one thing at a time.  We purchased five Guernsey cows from Ed Fowler who had been operating a dairy.  Frank bought a used F20 tractor for $676, a wagon for $75 and a plow for $22.50.  He remembers buying a barrel of lubricating oil for $12.50 (25 cents per quart).  Some time later we bought more cows to add to our herd, also a nice team of gray mares and a small flock of sheep.  Getting started in farming was not easy.  I took a job teaching again and taught four years until Janice was born on July 30, 1946.

With Janice's arrival, I again gave up my teaching job.  It was very important to me that I care for her while she was small and developing her habits and personality traits.  Nothing seemed more worthwhile than to be with her and watch her grow and develop.  Frank and I were both thirty years old this summer and how we did enjoy our new baby.  Most of our outside activities centered around family oriented groups - relatives, Farm Bureau, friends and neighbors.  The Gene Abels', the Carl Jacksons' and Jerry Smiths' were special friends.  The men exchanged work and the ladies cooked for the group.  There were nine children in our group so we had lots of birthdays to celebrate and many other excuses for get-togethers.  Our good neighbors were the Earl Allens', Otto Browns', Joe Catreniches', Hilma Webb and sons, Will Evans', and Charlie Shanks'.  About this time the women in the area met to organize a club which they named the Three Mile Lane Club.  (This club continues to be active today and meets once a month at the members homes).

My parents divorced on March 20, 1945 and my father purchased a 471 acre farm in Lincoln Township about five miles northeast of Chariton, Iowa.  A couple of years later he purchased the 445 acre farm which joined him on the west from C.C. Pickerell.  In December of 1949 Frank, Janice and I moved to the Pickerell Farm and were in partnership with my father until his death on April 1, 1961.  Besides the farming operation, we had a herd of Hereford cattle and for a few years we had sheep.  Janice was a horse lover so Frank bought her first pony when she was very young.  Collie dogs were special to her, too, so from her first horse, Beauty, and her first collie, Peggy, we had a succession of riding horses and collie dogs until she completed college.
Earning a Living
Meanwhile, back to the schoolroom.  My main career, besides being a wife and mother has been in Education.  I had been approached by several school boards wanting me to teach their school.  the farm economy wasn't all that good, I loved teaching and we certainly could use the extra income.  I returned to the classroom and Janice started to school.  I was more than willing to teach until Janice completed her schooling.  Little did I realize that I had begun a career that would see me complete my college education and with retirement at the end of the 1980-1981 school term have taught forty one years in the Lucas County and Knoxville Community School systems.  I received a B.S. in Education from Drake University in 1958, the same year I started teaching in the Knoxville Schools.

Working conditions have made a tremendous change since my first teaching experience.  I had attended a one room rural school so I had an idea what to expect.  I was barely eighteen years old, there were twenty six students from 5 to 16 years old and in nine grades - Kindergarten through eighth grade.  Housekeeping and janitorial tasks added variety to the day.  Floors in the school buildings were usually rough wood so were difficult to keep clean.  I don't know how many tons of coal I carried that first winter but it was several - the winter was a severe one.  Carrying out the cinders and ashes was an added chore.  Water had to be carried from an adjoining farmhouse and two of the bigger boys volunteered for this.  Rural school libraries were very inadequate so I made a special effort to visit the county superintendent's office every week end to select a box of books for my students' supplemental reading.  Pay day was a trying ordeal.  Pleasant Township had nine school districts - with one director for each district - but only one secretary and one treasurer for the entire township.  Can you imagine getting to the secretary for the order, back to your own director to have it signed, then to the treasurer for the check?  Townships in our county are six miles square so for a teacher without a vehicle, what a challenge!  Clell Whitlatch was a dear, dear friend - several times he picked up my order and did the rounds for me.  I taught a few other places where they tried to see how difficult they could make it.  For that first year I received fifty dollars a month for eight months.  In contract the last year I taught, the teachers on my pay step received over twenty thousand dollars for 190 contracted days.  The teachers of today are certainly better trained.  They also have much more to work with in the line of equipment and materials.  There is professional guidance for special problems and there are special teachers for Art, Music, Library and Physical Education.  It bothers me a little to hear them complain about their playground duty once a week or to fuss about being delayed a few minutes after school to explain some "trivial" matter to an upset parent.

I was very fortunate during my teaching career to have had a super set of administrators.  In the rural schools they were Helen Pfrimmer, Cecil Stephens, Gladys Kiburz and Leonard Hasse, County Superintendents.  In the Knoxville Schools I taught under Floyd Davis, Carl Miles and  Dr. Ross Speece.  My principals at Knoxville were Jim Comer, Richard Greenlee, Raymond Ash, Roy Kunkel and Jim Brown - all dedicated, sincere, caring individuals.

Some of the main accomplishments of my working years are completing work for my college degree and getting extra hours to improve my knowledge in specific areas; helping Fran with some of our home and farm expenses; Frank and I both helping Janice with college costs so she would have extra time for study and wouldn't graduate with loans staring her in the face; building up a retirement fund in both Social Security and IPERS (Iowa Public Employees Retirement System); and last but not least a world of friends - both co-workers and students.  The last two years I taught I had the thrill of working with two former third grade students, Joel Tonda and Elaine Sandmeier, both Art instructors in the Knoxville School System.

Some very valuable things I learned from teaching are the importance of cooperation and the need for understanding.  Because of the many broken homes, the tight economic situation which often means both parents are employed or, even worse, maybe neither parent is employed, children of today are at a real disadvantage.  Drugs and TV are two other outside pressures.  I always tried to have time to listen to any child who needed a shoulder to cry on who just needed a hug at a particular time.  Children of today need much more of a teacher's time than when I began teaching.  Third graders enjoy sharing their experiences.  (I taught third grade for twenty-two years and found them to be delightful.)  From my own experience I would advise young people of today to train for a job - this does not have to be a college degree - but get some skills so that you will be able to support yourself if the need arises.  Today's ADC programs and Low Rent Housing Units seem to fill a need but it seems to reduce the incentive to pay your own way, especially for a young, healthy individual.
Retirement
I suppose I first thought about retirement when I approached sixty years of age.  My Uncle Ray Roberts advised me that as long as I had good health and enjoyed my work I should keep teaching until I was 65.  The benefits from IPERS and Social Security were structured to a  retirement age of 65 and since I felt fine and enjoyed the youngsters I'm glad I retired when I did.

Getting up early over the years didn't bother me and I was fortunate that I had a very good friend teaching in the Knoxville system, too.  Arlene McKnight and I exchanged rides for eighteen of my twenty three years in Knoxville.  The one thing that did disturb me was the icy roads and we certainly do have them in Iowa.  If the weather was bad when I went to bed, I slept very little.  Frank says I'm a born worrier but the ice and blowing snow weren't very restful conditions to dream about.  There is a state law in Iowa that reads "If buses cannot get to rural homes to pick up children because of impassable roads or other acts of God, school will not be in session".  This was a blessing for the teachers who drove distances, too, because we weren't required to go at these times either.  Any lost days, caused by weather or unforeseen circumstances, were made up at the end of the calendar  year.

At the time of my father's death in 1961, Enid, Audrey and I were faced with the task of settling his estate.  Daddy's will gave Frank and me the option of buying the farm we lived on at the appraised value.  We were happy to be able to buy it.  Enid bought the Coles farm (which Daddy had purchased only the year before) and the farm where Daddy lived.  Audrey received her equal share in cash.  We continued to live on the farm until 1979.  Early in 1978 Frank was experiencing health problems and we both wondered if we should consider selling the farm.  The three of us talked it over and decided to list it with Robert Chappell, Realtor.  On January 5, 1979 Jim and Paula Coffey of Denver, Colorado made a down payment on the farm and we considered it sold.  They were to get possession April 1, 1979 so Frank was faced with the big job of getting ready for a closing out sale which was held on March 17.  Janice came home to be with us, we had a good day for the sale and things sold exceptionally well.  It was hard to see some of the machinery and livestock leave but we were glad when the day was over and glad that one of us hadn't had to do it alone.

A new home was the next order of business but Frank had a field of corn on the chosen site.  We kept fifteen acres at the very southwest corner of the farm, where the Good (also known as Franklin) School had once stood.  The corn was harvested and Alvin Halferty and his carpenters built our home.  Work had begun in early October and progressed according to schedule.  We moved in on March 30, 1979 - the kitchen cupboards were incomplete, carpeting was not down and the heat was not connected.  By May 1 this was all completed and masons were laying the brick for the outside walls..

Retirement has brought involvement in many interests.  I've worked diligently on Family Genealogy since 1961.  While researching my mother's family, the Roberts', I discovered I was eligible for DAR membership through the Revolutionary War services of my great-great-great grandfather, Ruben Roberts.  I have been a DAR member since 1979 and am currently Regent of Old Thirteen Chapter DAR in Chariton.

I helped organize the Lucas County Genealogical Society, served as president two years and am treasurer this year.  We have published three books - History of Lucas County Iowa - 1978, Cemeteries of Lucas County - 1980 and Marriages of Lucas County Iowa - 1983 and I have helped with all of them.

I have been a volunteer at the Lucas County Memorial Hospital for several years.  At the present time I am president of the Lucas COunty Hospital Auxiliary, I feel especially helpful when I volunteer as surgical hostess.

I'm also active in Daughters of Veterans of the Civil War through a great-grandfather, John L. Roberts.  I have served as our tent's president and am chaplain of the State Department Daughters of Union Veterans of them Civil War.
Creativity
My favorite pastime, besides genealogy, is handwork.  Samplers, needlepoint, afghans, quilts, tatting and knitting keep my fingers busy.  I've shared my handwork with Janice, sisters, nieces and friends as well as entering it in area fairs.  I'm a member of a Friendship Quilting club and we meet twice a month to quilt for members.  In my spare time, I have pieced ten quilts since retirement.  Frank has many hobbies and has kept busy with gardening, fencing, lawn work and general farm activities.  We both have reasonably good health and enjoy retirement, but I must admit it hasn't been as serene and quiet as I had thought it might be.

As I complete my brief story to close this genealogy of the McCann Family, I have one eye on the road, which passes, in front of our home.  A construction crew has been very busy the past two months building the road up top grade and changing it in various ways preparatory to paving a nine-mile stretch in 1987.  It has been a frustrating time for us and is causing Frank an endless amount of work and worry in tearing out fences and building new ones.  Hopefully, when the new pavement is complete and all our roads and lawns are once again in an orderly state, we can calmly look back and say it was all worth while.

I have been working on this record for over fifteen years.  no one who has not done genealogical research can understand the hours, miles and dollars invested to gain one small piece of information; neither can he understand the joy at finding that information.  In my years of record keeping and research, I have become especially cognizant of the fact that no family history is static.  Marriages, divorces and births will continue to occur.  I hope that you will enter them in your own copy and that you will report them to me.  I would also appreciate  corrections in data, hoping such corrections will be made in a spirit of understanding the potential for error in such a work.

There are some gaps in the record as in a few instances I have not heard from the descendants.  neither was I able to make any contact with relatives in Ireland - I kept hoping to find the name of Edward and Lawrence's father.  The material included is as accurate as I can make it; forgive its errors.  Thank you to those who helped with so many details to make it as complete as possible.

There is no way I can list all contributors of data, but I do want to thank my aunt, Julia McCann Macken, who has been a great help not only for her recollections and her family data but with encouragement along the way.  I must give special recognition to my husband, Frank, who has given time to drive me to various courthouses and cemeteries in search of hidden records or decaying tombstones.  Also to daughter, Janice, for a super abundance of encouragement, supportive love and the loan of her electric typewriter to speed me along the way.  To all of my cousins, you have been great:  Without your stories, pictures and cooperation, the book of The McCann Family would not have been.  I appreciate all your efforts and hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed compiling it.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Derby High School Alumni Picnic

From the Chariton Leader - August 1, 1933
Sixty-three were in attendance at the Derby High School alumni picnic held at the Crist grove last Sunday.  At the business session a permanent organization was effected, and Laurel Snook was chosen president; Mrs. Merwin Rash, vice president; Miss Barbara Decker, secretary.  A secretary from each of the ten classes was appointed and included in the organization.  The meeting next year will be held the first Sunday in August.  Those present according to classes were as follows:
1923 - Mr. and Mrs. Walter McNay and two children; Mr. and Mrs. Mardis Sheets, all of Derby.
1924 - Mr. and Mrs. Rowe Love, Granger, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Darrah and son, of Chariton; Mr. and Mrs. Jim Herring and son; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Herring and children; Mr. and Mrs. Laurel Snook and daughter, Derby; Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Wollett and children, Chariton.
1925 - Mr. and Mrs. Archie Baker, Des Moines; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hitt; Miss Lelia Connor; Miss Mildred Airy; Kenneth Ross, Derby.
1926 - Mrs. Merwin Rash and four children; Mrs. Faye Throckmorton; Mr. and Mrs. Ted Lewis and baby; Miss Doris Fredrick; Miss Barbara Decker; Bernard Baker; Harold Ross, all of Derby.
1927 - Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Blue; Miss Avis Blue; Mr. and Mrs. Arden Snook; Claire Throckmorton all of Derby; Mr. and Mrs. James Davis.
1928 - Miss Louise Snook
1929 - Miss Josephine Sowder; Loren Barger.
1930 - Miss Pauline Sowder
1932 - Miss Juanita Sowder
1933 - Clyde Sowder
Teachers present were Miss Louise Oeblman and Mrs. Opal Duncan.  Visitors were Maxine and Kathryn Winslow of Des Moines.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Alma Clay - Remembered as a Teacher With Heart

The following article, written by Martha Anderson in 1956 following an interview with Alma Clay, has been selected for possible inclusion in a forthcoming book by Iowa Teachers about early life in Iowa schools near the turn of the century.  The project is part of a bicentennial effort by the Retired Teacher's Association.
Miss Alma Clay -
She was born in Sweden, but she loved American children.

I was one of the more than 1,500 "Beginners" who returned this love.  She was lame, but she played our games.  She had opportunities for advancement in other cities, but she stayed, yes, stayed as an answer to my parents often expressed wish, as another, and then another of my brothers and sisters approached the age to enter the portals of learning.  Their hope, that all nine of us should receive this initiation to education in the "Preliminary" with Alma Clay was realized when our "baby", Dorothy passed those portals.  Nor, were we the only ones privileged to do so.

Alma Clay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clay, was born in Elfsborg Ian Vastergotland, Sweden on April 9, 1872.  While she was just an infant, Alma was injured in a fall from the bed, an injury that left one limb shorter than the other.

In 1890, Alma immigrated to America with her parents and brother, Oscar.  The family came directly to Chariton by train, where they established their permanent home.

Little Alma attended school at Columbus and Franklin buildings, and graduated from the Chariton High School in 1889.  She attended college at Iowa State Teachers, the University of Iowa and Chautauqua, New York.

After three years of teaching in the rural schools of Lucas County, Miss Clay started her long service in Chariton in 1894, at a salary of $30 a month, at a time when the records of the Board of Education included a notation of a contract let for the purchase of coal at nine cents a bushel to heat her room.  This first teaching position was at the Franklin Building in a department classified as the "Preliminary" and no is known as the "Kindergarten".

In this capacity, Alma had classes for "Beginners" the first half of the term and for "First Graders" the last half, until 1909, when another teacher was hired to take over the duties of "First Grade".

Alma remained in this capacity for thirty-four years, endearing herself to parents and children alike.

In 1896 The Board permitted Supt. Cart to assign the teachers to their respective rooms.  Miss Clay was assigned to the Bancroft Building, where she remained until forced to give up her duties because of a fatal illness.

As a result of her faithfulness to duty, and her way with youngsters in her charge, Alma was made "Primary Supervisor" in 1918 with the "magnanimous salary" of $85 a month.

From that time on, she received the highest salary paid to any teacher in the grades, reaching her maximum salary of $125 in 1925.  In her capacity as "Supervisor", Miss Clay visited the other grade buildings, supervising and advising the other "Primary" teachers, in addition to her teaching duties.

It was at "Bancroft Preliminary" that I met Miss Clay, though she was hardly a stranger to me, my oldest sister having preceded me by one year.  I remember, the spotless white blouses with high collars, the long black skirts that helped to conceal her limp.  I remember her blond hair fluffed loosely around a pleasant face, with a "Psyche Knott" piled high on the crown of her head, the sparkle in those blue eyes, how she smiled at me when the "Chicken Pox" came popping out in school during my turn at the blackboard and I had to go home, leaving my teacher and my class for a whole week.  These things I remember as I teach "Third Grade" in the Alma Clay Building, where I was once a "Beginner" in Miss Alma Clay's "Preliminary".

Says my sister, Agatha, "She was always so kind, she had such a way of handling the little epileptic child in our class, that we were never afraid".  Says Dorothy, "I remember that our whole class went to the Lutheran Church to see her as she lay in state.  The stores closed and everyone went to see her".

About two years before her passing, Miss Clay developed a cancerous growth which resulted in an operation.  She was never well from that time; however, she returned to her duties where she remained during her unending pain.

In the fall of 1928, Miss Clay was confined to her bed and died on September 26, 1928, leaving behind her many happy memories and a hot of friends.

On September 12, 1928 at a special meeting of the Board of Education a petition signed by many friends, pupils, former pupils, and P.T.A. associates was presented to the directors.  The petition was immediately accepted and the request - "To change the name of the Bancroft Building to honor Miss Clay, Chariton's most beloved teacher, who for 34 years has served devotedly the Primary Department, and that a bronze table bearing the name Alma Clay Building be placed in the main hall of the building", was granted.  Thus Miss Clay's last days were made happier when informed of this supreme honor accorded her.  This is but one of the honors accorded Miss Clay.

The Seniors of 1928 dedicated the "Charitonian", their year book, to this beloved teacher.  Within this treasured volume is inscribed this tribute - "To Miss Alma Clay - Primary Teacher of Chariton Schools for 34 years.  To one who, with untiring effort and unlimited patience has guided our youth; and to one who typifies the Spirit of Education, we, in recognition and appreciation of her devoted services, respectfully dedicate this Charitonian".

She was one of the first teachers to hold a life certificate for teaching in the state of Iowa.

Immediately after their arrival in Chariton, Alma and her parents affiliated with the First Lutheran Church.  Later Alma taught Sunday School classes, and always took part in church work.  It is said that, if Alma had a hobby, it was her church work.

Miss Clay was one of the organizers of the "Iowa Missionary Society" and held many positions of confidence within the Conference and the Synodical Body.  She supported a native worker in India for many years.  In her will, Alma left the Society gifts for "Home and Foreign Missions" in India, China and Bethphage, as well as to the "Children's Mission" within her own Conference.

Because of her untiring efforts, the "Missionary Society" and friends, in true appreciation and wishing to perpetuate the memory of Alma Clay established a $500 scholarship in Augustana College of the Lutheran Foundation, its purpose being, "To help, inspire and prepare young women for lives in Christian Service at home and in foreign fields".

Said the "Chariton Leader Newspaper", "She was a woman of strong character, high ideals, noble principles and spread joy and sunshine among her neighbors and friends.  These traits won for her a place in the hearts of her wide circle of friends and acquaintances that few persons are so fortunate to possess.  The innumerable children, who have been her pupils, loved her for her kindness and sweet sunny temperament.  She was a blessing to her community and in her passing all who knew her feel they have sustained a personal loss.  It is probable that no woman has ever resided in Chariton who will be more gratefully remembered than Alma Clay".

Said Victor Swartzendruver, editor of "The Herald Patriot", Alma Clay was an unusual woman, and she did unusual things in that she dedicated her life to service, and so she gave it - She taught gentleness because she sensed the obligation owing to Him who made us, and to the common nature we all share.  She taught honesty because she realized that honesty means honor.  She taught humility because she understood that true humility is a right estimate of ourselves as seen by the Creator of us all.  She taught industry because she realized that all time is lost that might have been employed to a better purpose.  She taught all the virtues because she recognized the fundamentals of useful living and these she impressed on her students.  She was a remarkable teacher, because she did more than teach the book text, efficient as she was in this.

"And so Alma Clay is gone, and if the reader can find nothing else from her life to remember and think about, let it occasionally be recalled that the life and being of Alma Clay among Chariton people was proof that persons, noble beyond the ordinary, do move among us.  Her service at Chariton was a thing of beauty and use, and let her example give us faith, and impress us that it is possible in this worldly age to approach, even yet, the high minded state that is intended for all of us.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Greenville Log School

From the Chariton Patriot
October 29, 1903
     The picnic for the reunion of the old scholars and teachers that attended school in the Greenville log school house which was held at Nathan Gilbert's Saturday, October 24th, was a grand success.  The dinner was spread on a long table and served in the same manner their picnic dinners were when the old log school house stood on the hill.  After dinner a program was first carried out by the old scholars, L.N. McKinley making the principle address giving a full history of the old school.  After the old school finished their program, another representative of the school today, of which Miss Maude Foster is teacher, formed a part of the interesting exercises.  Only three of the teachers who taught in the old log school house are living.  They are Wm. West, Miss Sheeks of Wayne County and Mrs. Clayton of Bloomfield.  The scholars that attended the old school who were present were, Nathan, Malisa, Amos and Elizabeth Gilbert, Mrs. Woods of Moravia, Sarah Milemon of Marshfield, IN., L.N., S.C. and A.P. McKinley, James Gittinger of Seymour, George Sears, N.W. Kendall, Mrs. King and Mrs. Adams.  This old school house stood about eighteen rods south and three rods west of the Greenville Cemetery.  It was built in the summer of 1853 and torn down in 1863.  This school was not run as our schools of today are.  There were no taxes to run this school.  Every scholar had to pay a tuition fee.  It was known as a subscription school.  After the picnic was over the Greenville baseball team picked a couple of the best players from the Mound scrub team and played the crack team of Washington Center the game stood 2 to 22 in favor of Greenville.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Retires After Teaching 46 Years - Martha Anderson

Miss Martha Anderson, Her Life as a Teacher
(this was taken from the Chariton Leader of March 4, 1969)
     Miss Anderson, third grade teacher at Columbus Elementary School, has announced that she will retire from teaching at the end of this year and end a 46 year teaching career.
     She began teaching at Grove school just north of Chariton in 1922 with a Normal Training Certificate and a salary of $65 a month.
     Before that first year was out the school burned due to faulty furnace pipes and she finished the term in a construction company cook shack from which snow had to be scooped on its opening day.
     "All of my art and Normal Training projects went up in smoke when that school house burned," she said.
     After teaching at Whitebreast Center and Hazel Dell rural schools she returned to the new Grove school building to teach for three more terms.
     "I left rural teaching at a salary of $100 per month to earn a two year elementary diploma at Iowa State Teacher's College to qualify for town teaching." she explained.
     Her first three years after graduation were spent at Coon Rapids with lower wages than at her last rural school.  During the last year at Coon Rapids the teachers were paid with warrants which could seldom be cashed - so they were marooned there.
     In 1934 she returned to Chariton to teach, at a salary of $87.50, which was lower than even at Coon Rapids.
     "I was assigned to the Alma Clay third grade where I taught until the grades were transferred to the new buildings," she recalled.
     She then taught one year at the Van Allen third grade before transferring to Columbus where this year she will complete 35 years of helping Chariton third graders toward their education.
     "In my 46 years of teaching I taught several sons and daughters of former pupils and even the grandson of Wavell Hickman Patterson, now of Corydon, who attended Whitebreast Center," she said.
     "At Hazel Dell there were seven students at the beginning of the year and four at the end.  I returned to Whitebreast the next year where there were plenty of challenges."
     "One year at Alma Clay there were 46 enrolled but two were out most of the time with whooping cough."
     "I'll never live down the joke played on me by my teacher 'friends' the day I went to lunch at my boarding house, forgetting I was supposed to supervise the sack lunch group in the gym.  They filled in for me and then intercepted my note of apology to the Superintendent without letting me know."
     Miss Anderson began "preliminary" school in the Bancroft building with Miss Alma Clay, for whom the building was named, and attended High School there.
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     Miss Martha Irene Anderson passed away January 2, 1996 at the age of 92.  Martha was born November 15, 1903.
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Veteran Teacher Remembers - at age 91

This article appeared in the Russell paper on December 18, 1947:

Countyan recalls Oath of Lincoln - School Mourned

Editors Note:  Miss Carrie E. Allen, Russell, observed her 91st birthday December 15, 1947.  This makes her, undoubtedly, the oldest native resident of Lucas County (as of December 18, 1947).  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tandy Allen, were parents of 12 children, of which Miss Carrie is the eldest.  Her story of how she attended Lucas County schools and grew to womanhood, engaging in teaching in the County, is entrancing.  She was Lucas County Superintendent from Jan. 1, 1890 to Jan. 1, 1896.  She has had a remarkable life of Christian service.  Her story, filled with happenings of a by-gone day, was written by her at the request of the editor.  We know you will enjoy it as much as we did. 

When you requested some data and a resume of my 92 years, you probably knew that my life and that of the state of Iowa almost coincided in time, and thus I have taken on the scene, so to speak, in Lucas County through most of its history.

The state was admitted into the Union in December 1846, and the writer had the grace to make her entrance in December 1856, in Cedar Township where the first permanent settlement in Lucas County was made in 1847.  Thus, I have had opportunity to observe the vast and varied changes, which have come about in the span of the life-time, and the far reaching effects of such changes on both the state and in the mode of living of its people.  It is interesting to note the contrast in each.

I have never kept a dairy for any length of time (a fact which I now regret) and so I must depend on memory, but it still serves me fairly well.

In comparing early pioneering life with that of the present, let us imagine, if we can, the setting or surroundings of the settler's house.  Their first home was a one-room, built of logs as were all the other homes in this region, and also the stables and shops, if any, and churches, even.  They were heated by big fireplaces that literally ate cords of wood on cold days.  Cooking was done by the same fire.  There were no roads except the "State Road", for many years.  No fences, no houses near, no orchards nor gardens and fields until time elapsed in which they could be grown.  This place was near the present Dickerville School.  A neighbor named Baldwin came soon but soon sold his place to Matthew Hixon and he still owned it in 1872.  The Perry Seblers family came in the early '50's and at the east of the county, Uncle Douglas Allen and his sons, Milton and John, came to make their home in 1848 and they were followed by Elijah and Edgar Allen and James Edgar Allen and James Robinson.  Elijah was my father's brother and the others were first cousins.  Their farms were adjoining and occupied about all the east third of Cedar outside of LaGrange.
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La Grange

I frequently hear the question, "Was there ever a town on the spot they now call LaGrange?"
History says there was, and I quote, "Samuel Prather of Cedar Township owned a 40-acre tract adjoining the Monroe County line which he decided to lay out in a town.  He had this surveyed and plotted into 12 blocks containing 88 lots.  The blocks were designated by the letters of the alphabet."

Not all the lots were sold, but most of them were.  That was in 1856, so I was a near neighbor of LaGrange all its corporate life.  As a child I often went on errands to the village post office and stores with the children of John and Aaron Goltry, who lived west of us.

LaGrange was a two-street town in the shape of the letter "T", the state road, now Highway 34, composing the cross bar and the upright forming the road leading to the cemetery north of town, then on to the homes of Douglas Allen and his two sons, Milton and John, who had settled there in 1848.  Two other sons, Joseph and Franklin, had died there unmarried, in 1853 and two cousins, Elijah and Edgar Allen, had established homes adjoining them on the west.  I do not know the date but they were charter members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church organized in LaGrange in 1851.  The town was a stage coach station when my father Tandy Allen first came to Iowa in 1852, too young to enter land, but he returned in 1854 and entered some adjoining his brother, Elijah, and purchased the claim of one of his deceased cousins.  "LaGrange", again quoting, "had two hotels, one drug store, four dry goods stores, two blacksmith shops and numerous other shops and at one time, three churches, the Presbyterian, Christian and Methodist.  A great deal of business was carried on before and during the Civil war, but all this was before we had a railroad nearer than Eddyville."

As young people we rode on horseback wherever we went, as not even spring wagons had reached the Iowa Frontier then.  My father gave each of his six daughters a side-saddle when she reached her middle teens.  And I think that in my case that occasion furnished about the biggest thrill of my life, to that date.

But again, for while some women ride, no one would be seen now on a side-saddle or in a long black riding skirt.

Even Russell was in its infancy then and we could see only the Van Gilder and the King homes south from the state road.  The failure of the railroad to pass through LaGrange killed it and brought Russell into existence about 1887.

"Uncle Peter" Youtsey was the oldest settler west of LaGrange and the Trowbridges and Charles Noble was the leading blacksmith for many years.  Uncle Peter offered large tracts of land and he settled his four daughters in a home on each side of the state road, Mrs. E. Stout, Mrs. Simon Scott, Mrs. William Goltry and Mrs. Tobias McGil.  Senator McGill was a descendant of hers.  None of the families remain in Lucas County at the present time except the Goltrys.
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