Written by Mrs. Harry W. (Vena Hamilton) Wilson of Towanda, Kansas THURSDAY, SEPT 26, 1963, PAPER UNKNOWN.
"How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood when fond recollections presents them to view." How well do I remember the yellow backed sand book, from which we sand these words, at Old Morgan School or District No. 11. That was at the early turn of the century. Come and relive with me some of those days. Our school was no better or worse than all the one room, one teacher schools of that day. The coats hung on nails across the back of the school room with our overshoes on the floor beneath. A set of corner shelves held our dinner buckets, mostly syrup pails, and the water bucket and a long handles tin dipper. Thus when one got a cold we all soon had one. Germs had not been discovered then. To the front of the room were the painted black boards above which laid the teacher's switchers. One lone dictionary on a stand. One small set of encyclopedias and a large turnover chart by which the teacher illustrated lessons in Physiology. One pictures, I remember, was of a man with a red face and bleary eyes demonstrating what the use of alcohol would do to a person. This constituted our library. The seats were double and "oh" what a time we had closing our seat mates. Teachers desk and chair at the center front and the front row of seats was used by the class in recitation and when through we passed back to our seats and desk and the next class was called. There was always a class in recitation. All the seats were usually in use and the attendance was thirty to forty. I remember when the first source of study and grading came into use. Before that time each student went through his book and then commenced another, ect. until he finished school. Sometimes the boys, especially, were twenty years old. They had to help at home until corn was shucked, ect. then in spring, school was out in March, or the boys had to quit to help with the field work. These boys sometimes gave a woman teacher a hard time being unruly. The teacher did not usually stay more one year. The pot bellied stove stood in the center of a boxed-in-square lined with tin and veered with a layer of ashes (to prevent fire hazards). The teacher built his own fires and did his own sweeping, which was fierce especially in muddy weather, was no such thing as a floor sweeper, carried in his own kindling and coal. Teachers salary was $30 to $40 a month. I think I can still smell those stocking and shoes drying as we sat around that stove after playing in the snow at the noon hour. The stove would be hot and the steam arising from our wet clothes and we would hold our books before our faces so they would not burn. If we liked the teacher, we would clean the black boards and take the erasers out side and clap them together to get rid of thee chalk dust. The boys would bring in the coal, a hod full at a time. We carried the drinking water from Kliewers, a short distance down the road, and it was a contest to get to the teacher after dismissed at first recess and ask if so and so and I could go after the water. One teacher made us ask correctly. If we said, "can me and Rosie get the water," we were passed up but if we asked, "may Rosie and I get the water," we then had her permission. Of course only two could go and we would carry awhile and then set it down and change sides and then do on. I wonder how full our bucket was and how clean when we got back to school. When school took up we all marched in past that bucket and took a drink and took our seats. No use asking for a drink during study hours. Stormy days we would stay inside and play fruit basket upset, blind man's bluff or hide the thimble. On the black boards we would pair off and play jacks or tic tac tow. Friday after last recess, we looked forward to spelling and cyphering contests. The teacher chose two captains and each took a side of the school room. Then as we were chosen we moved to his side of the room. They chose all even to the smallest. Younger ones did no last long but we had our chance. Teacher gave out all the problems or words and favored the younger ones with easier words and problems. The one who spelled or cyphered the west was the winner. Or course, about once a year, our school would give an exhibition, we called it. Now - we would say a program. This consisted of plays, recitations and music. Sometimes a box supper was given. On the school grounds we played games together. I marvel now at how considerate the older ones were to the younger ones. Those bid boys would play whip-cracker with the younger ones on the end. They would go easy until all the little ones were cracked off and then, Oh! Boy!, they went to it. We also played dare-base, London bridge, tug of war, Andy over, baseball and when snow was on we small ones brought our sleds and the big boys would pull us and try to dump us. Some noons when ice was on, we went to Puckett's pond near by to skate. The teacher would go too, and take her alarm clock so we would get back on time. Everyone carried his lunch in a syrup pail. Sometime we exchanged food. There are several German families and I remember that I like to exchange with one girl because she brought the little cookie called pepper nuts. Tasted my first dill pickle brought by a German girl. Morgan School District was organized May 16, 1858. It constituted not quite four sections of land. The first school was held in an upstairs room of the Ed Morgan home. My brothers, Harlan, Roy and Bates Hamilton went to school there. The very first teachers were Cora Case, later Mrs. J.O. Whitemore. Ann Linter later Mrs. Joe Harrison, Georgiana Black. These names given to me by my mother, Mrs. Mary Hamilton, who served many years on No. 11 school board. The following teachers were recorded at the county superentent of schools office: Mollie Barrows, 1871; Madelina Conwell and Sadie Dodge, three months school 1873; Nellie Welch and Florence Stearns, Towanda (Mrs. A D Wait), 1875; Ella Graham, six months school (Mrs. Riley Morgan), 1887; John Corfman, dix months school 1898; Gertrude Mordough, six months school 1899; Main McCraner, 1900' Mary Human (Mrs. John Joseph), six months school, 1902; AS Crank, five and one half months school 1903; Manie McCraner 1904; Earl Jones, 1905' Emma Stroke-Bainard, 1906; Berha Corfman, 1907; Alice Lill, 1908; ORANGE Wood resined, L. L. Clark 1909; Lena Pilfer, 1910; Emma Boller, 1911; Edith Lambert, 1912; Doris Marshall , 1913; Nellie Joseph, 1914; Blanche Hull, 1915; Crank Boywer, 1916; Crystal Mossman, 1918; Lucy Bowyer, 1919 and 1920; Letha Merryfield, 1921; Esther Jagnaw, eight months school, 1922 and 1923; Newel Fresh, 1924, Fred O. Qualls, 1925; Hilda Klassen, 1926; Vernon Zieman, 1927-29; Nola Gray, 1930-31; Helen Bradley, 1932; Ethel Gamble, 1933; Geraldion Green 1934 and 1935; Katy Deck, 1936-38; Marjorie Sparks, 1939 and 40; Dorothy Hagan, 1941; Anna Dacha, 1942 and 1943; Wilma Thiessen 1944-1948. In 1949, No 11 consolidated with No. 65 which is Pleasant Hill - No. 69 - No. 126 and is now known as Countryside, District 174.