Green School, Near Avalon
Has Long and Rich History
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, July 24, 1956.
by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri
reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune
Slates, McGuffey, Pie suppers, and Debates Recalled by Writer
Though no records of Green School were available for this history, a rather complete story of it was obtained through several interviews, and a letter from Mrs. R. R. Garr of Granby, who was a pupil there and later taught the school, and also through several communications from B. P. Green of Mountain View, California, whose father, John S. Green, gave the land for the school site.
Through the years, there have been three schoolhouses built on this location, which is in District 2, Township 56, Range 23, Section 3, on the southwest quarter of the section and the southwest acre of the southwest quarter, two miles north and two miles west of Avalon. At the time the first school was built, there was a tiny village by the name of Cavendish a mile west of it, which had a postoffice, and a church, (Reece Chapel).
Mrs. Garr’s father, W. H. Coburn, attended the first school, and, recalling his description of it, she believes it had a clapboard roof, puncheon seats and a fireplace. Wraps were hung on hooks along the wall. B. P. Green and Effie Green (Mrs. Olive Rambo Cook’s mother) also attended the school. Mrs. Garr writes that her father and his brothers, Alonzo and Charles, and sisters, Lucinda and Leuticia, walked 1 1/4 miles to attend the brief terms held in those days. The school, which was built by Joseph Kern, was destroyed by a tornado in 1885. Mr. Green writes that the cyclone demolished the building but left the school floor intact and on it was an organ in its case which was left unscathed by the twister.
Sunday school was held in the first building, and the congregation had purchased the organ and placed it in a case to keep the school children from wrecking it. Mr. Green’s father organized the first Sunday school there and was active in its work until a few months before his death.
The tornado of 1885 is also remembered by Mrs. Matthias Peterson who was Dove Fullerton. She remembers that her brother carried her sister, who was ill, to the cave to escape it. Mrs. Josie Runkle of Chillicothe, also remembers about it.
Mr. Green writes that he attended school there until he finished his elementary schooling and that some of his children, namely Martha, Merle, John S., Waunee, Russell, Annie May and Ada Laurie attended the Green school. The Green residence was on the northwest quarter of Section 3, was on the south side of the road and fronted north, and the schoolhouse was on the north side of the road and faced the south.
Mont Hortenstein of Avalon attended Green school at the same time as did Mr. Green. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Hortenstein who lived 2 miles southwest of the school. He informs that the school first was called Pleasant Valley. Two teachers were employed in the school the year he started, 1878. They were Ellen Tobias, his aunt, who lived with his family, and John Kellar. Some of his other teachers were Minta Foster, Fletcher Kerns, Mary Albritian, Frank Kerns and Josie Mead. His brothers, Roy and Carl, were also pupils. He believes the district was formed some time in the 60's. He stated that there were 80 pupils enrolled his first term, which was divided into two months in the spring and four months in the winter. Teacher’s salaries were around $25 per month.
Some of his schoolmates were Jennie, Bess, Mattie, Bob, Sam and Miles Fullerton; Christ, John, William and Sophia Heinbach; Rupert, Minnie, Kate, Charles, Fred Kern; Tom, Annie, James, Ed and Mary Smith; Charles Hickman; Lawrence, Ernest and Erma Mann; James, John, Martha, Emma and William Duskin; John, Gail and Ross Linton; Gene, Ed, Mary, Nellie and Winnie Walker; Frank and Mary Weidener; Mart Hires, Fin Fullerton; Frank, Al, and Waldo Wollam; Tom, Mark, Mercie and Clara Vanwormer; Louis, Katie, Joe, John and Bennie Pfaff; Ella Shoe, Minnie, Maggie, Charlot and Josie Peters; James and Callie McKinney; Hattie Stratton, Peter, George, Ed and Mary Pfaff, Seth and Cap Green; Charlie and Zack Muster; Lina and Smith Chittick, B. P. Olive and Effie Green; Mal McGinty and Audrey and Mag Beaver.
Green’s first building was a frame structure painted white with three windows in both the east and west sides and a door in the south. It had wainscoting around the walls and built in benches about a foot in width along each side of the room. There were two long rows of desks and two short ones. The long, wood-burning stove was in the center of the room. The teacher’s desk had a hinged lid in the middle section with a compartment beneath for school supplies. There were stationary parts on either side of the lid. The blackboard was on the north.
Mr. Hartenstine remembers one school play in which he took part. It was titled “Robbing the Doctor’s Office” and he played the part of the thief, was caught by the Negro caretaker, biffed on the head and stuffed in a salt barrel and promptly rolled off the stage.
Spelling schools were usually held on Saturday night. Mandiff Butler taught writing. Scholars paid $1 to attend a term of three months, held once week at night. The Spencerian method was taught. James Jeffors taught singing.
Games played were Drop Ball, Blackman, Crack-the-Whip, Hide-and-Go-Seek, and Anti-Over.
The school ground had a stile in front with a walk to the door. There were a few cottonwood and elm trees at the edge of the grounds.
Mrs. Lina Patterson, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Chittick lived one-half mile west and three-quarters of a mile south of the school, remembers the well with water drawn with a windlass in an iron-bound wooden bucket. Her first teacher was Molly Albritian. William Tobias was one of the directors at that time.
F. L. Linton started to Green in 1894 at the age of 6. His parents, came from Pennsylvania and settled on the farm near the school where he still lives, in 1892. His father was a Civil War veteran. His sisters and brothers: Stella, Hallie, John Albert and George also went to Green. His first teacher was Virgie Turner from Bedford. William Keith, C. E. Bedell, Nellie Haynes, Anna Jennings, John Linton (his brother) and Buell Mayberry were some of his other teachers.
Mrs. Garr’s written descriptions of her memoriam of Green School are so vivid and intensely interesting that they are here given verbatim:
“The second Green schoolhouse was a large, frame building painted white with green shutters. It faced both crossroads near the road. There was a cross-lighting of windows, there being three each on both the east and west sides and one in the south of the anteroom or cloak room. There were doors in this room on the east and west and a center door which led into the main room. The floors were pine. There were four rows of double desks facing north and the seats could be raised up and down to permit easier cleaning. They were graduated sizes and were made of hard pine and oak with iron filigree sides which continued down for legs. These iron legs were screwed to the floor.
Most of the desks, when I taught there, were fairly new, but regardless, many bore the initials or names of former occupants carved on them with a pocket knife. Occasionally a heart-shaped design with initials or names bore evidence of a would-be lover. An ink-well in the center was kept full for the penmanship hour. The usual factory-type desk with an inner recess, covered with a lid plus a drawer on each side, held the necessary facilities for the teacher. Here in the center space were kept the register and wooden abacus. The drawers were always full of compositions, and examination papers and those modern grade cards were kept locked in one of the sections.
The top of the desk held the small brass school bell, perhaps a bouquet of wild asters, goldenrod or buckbrush berries, a Webster’s dictionary, and a motley collection of articles confiscated from pupils and held until the close of the day. This desk faced the south. The chair was the usual round-seat, half-back type in use everywhere. Recitation benches extended the entire length on either side to the north wall. The smaller pupils stood on these at east and west wall in order to reach all the blackboard space. The north wall was covered by these lovely slate blackboards, also, except for a small space occupied by a chimney cupboard that divided them equally as to spaces. This cupboard held the boxes of chalk and other supplies. Wainscoting extended the entire distance around the room. Long shelves at the east and southwest wall held the lunch boxes, girls on the east and boys on the west.
“Large farm lanterns and rayo lamps supplied by patrons, furnished light for night functions as I later knew it. Long rows of hooks for wraps were on either side of the entrance door, the east row for girls and the west row for boys. Overshoes were either left here or placed under the owner’s desk. The cloakroom was not used for wraps except in the early fall, since it was unheated. On stormy or rainy days it was used for games.
“The school ground sloped to the north. A deep ditch drained the yard just over the fence from the north boundary. Here the smaller boys liked to play. Maple and elm trees stood in the northwest corner and half way on the west boundary. The smaller girls used this space for playhouse sites. There was one ash and one maple on the east border. A sturdy iron fence with its rods extended through equally strong wooden posts, fenced the yard on the west and south. This was primarily constructed for a hitching rack. Many students became adept at walking the rods.
“There was a coal and kindling house set a short distance from the east door with an opening facing the south at fence level so fuel could be unloaded without entering the yard. There was an entrance door in the north end.
“A well in my father’s pasture directly across the road west from the school, conveniently supplied the drinking water, a welcome diversion for a 2-girl or boy team to go after the water. How often this wooden bucket had to be filled each day! The dipper in the brass-bound wooden pail, provided the pupils with refreshing drink and communicable diseases!
“A basketball court was the only play equipment on the grounds before and when I taught there. Miss Powell introduced this modern game into the district. Other games enjoyed were “Pussy-Wants-a-Corner,” Blackboard and slate games of box tit-tat-toe, Hull-Cull (a guessing game played with hulled corn), favorite indoor games. Some wonderful paper dominoes and checker games were contributed by homes that used the “Lion” coffee packages. There were home-made game boards for checkers and fox and geese was also played with buttons or corn as part of the equipment. Outdoor games included anti-over, I Spy Poison, Ring-Around-Rosey, New York, Dare Base, Black Man, Wood Tag, Whip-Cracker which was a dangerous game as someone usually got hurt. Leap Frog was probably the boys favorite game. Winter sports included Fox and Geese, Hockey and coasting on homemade wooden sleds. Boys became adept at making whistles and sling-shots from willow sprouts and some carved baskets from hickory nuts. Bows and arrows were made in the winter months, while many an arsenal was whittled out during the winter months from soft pine.
“For past time (during school hours) paper wads were tossed at some unsuspecting victim, often the teacher. One boy of my school days, Everett Mitchell, was the envy of the other boys because he could wiggle his ears madly while pretending to be studying.
Cora Rickets, whose birthday fell on February 29, received much sympathy for having so few birthdays.
“To secure the prompt attention of the teacher, fingers were snapped noisily. Could it be that the poorest students were the most skilled in this art? Jokes were often played on the teachers, a tack put in his chair with the point up, or perhaps some live or very much dead, small animal was found in the desk. It seemed much valuable time was lost trying to track down the culprit.
“I started to Green at the age of 5. Mr. Keith was my first teacher. I first used a McGuffey reader and later Franklin and Jones readers and groups then, were promoted mostly by ability to read orally and to spell. Many students attended until in their early 20s, and the two long recitation benches were often full of small and young students, as well as the older ones. A reader was usually read through many times during the school term with many of the poems memorized.
“The first grade was required to give the alphabet by sight, and from memory, before they were allowed to read “I See a Man,” the first lesson in one of the readers following the McGuffey’s. The first pages of that reader were devoted to the alphabet, in both script and print. Much emphasis was given to oral spelling from the first reader continuing on through the grades. Prizes were given for the most headmarks.
“A physiology test stressed the dangers of the use of alcohol and tobacco. Parsing was the high point of interest in the English study, while history seemed an endless panorama of dates. Naming the presidents of the United States and giving the dates of their terms of office was a requirement no good student was expected to fail to pass. Memorizing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States was an exciting contest in which I remember that once I was the winner, but I have always thought that my closest competitor, Don Runkle, graciously permitted me to win by a day.
“Miss Powell, a teacher I have mentioned previously, and who lives at Avalon, helped secure our first library, opening up a new world and avenues of thought for many of us. “Aunt Martha’s Corner Cupboard’ took us to many foreign lands and answered many questions as to where various articles used in our everyday life came from. The Alcott writings, ‘Black Beauty’, and ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ were some of the books from which he read an interesting chapter each day to eager boys and girls hungry for more knowledge and entertainment. It was a much used library by both parents and students, hence by the time I taught there, it was quite depleted. I consider Mr. Powell as one of the most outstanding and successful teachers of his time, discarding the use of a hickory stick for more modern and effective methods of discipline, and I feel that he and his brother, Clarence, from Rolla, Missouri, who taught an adjoining school, brought a new ear of thinking to our community.
“Webster’s unabridged dictionary was, to my childhood memory, a most wonderful book, with its colored pages of flags, birds, fishes, etc. It was such fun to leaf through its pages and study the pictures of strange animals, birds and things of far-away places.
“Slates were used by all pupils for seat work and their size and the quality of their binding, depended largely on the cash available for their purchase in the homes of the pupils plus the use for which the slate was needed. There were single and double varieties, some framed with wood and others decorated with red, white and blue felt. The A.B.C. class used small ones, while advanced pupils working intricate problems of square and cube root, usually owned a large, hinged, double type slate, which folded to make a convenient place for storing the slate pencils and a most unsanitary ‘slate rag’ which was used the clean the slate.
“Slate pencils were easily broken and as easily lost, so even the small pieces were hoarded for emergencies, and sometimes a soft slate material was gathered for use from the banks of streams. Red keel, too, was collected to draw or write on scraps of paper brought from home. At recess and noon intermissions, most exciting games of Box tic-tat-toe and Hang Man were played on the slates or blackboards if there was a plentiful supply of chalk.
“Felt erasers were used as far back as I can remember. There was a constant need for them to be dusted by willing pupils who carried them outside and hit them together until no chalk dust remained to fall into the hair, skin and clothing of the duster.
“When paper and pencils were first introduced for seat work, many parents complained of the cost of supply and the waste of paper and pencils. Penny pencils of unpainted wood, with a tiny tip of rubber inserted in one end, were used by most pupils. The colorful illustrated cover of the pencil tablets was treasured, to be tacked on the wall. The imperative use of paper and pencils began when teachers began giving examinations or test questions instead of the former oral questioning. These were written on the blackboard by the teacher, numbering sometimes as many as 20. Penmanship was first taught from copies set by the teacher or exercises of continuous circles, etc., which comprised the penmanship hour. Later copy books with set copies relieved the teacher of this nightly task of setting 40 or 60 copies. Drawing books were unheard of for years, and any drawing usually depended on the pupil’s skill alone, since few teachers had any knowledge of art.
“Literary societies, spelling and cyphering matches, writing and singing schools provided much needed diversion, and developed community spirit and cooperation, though never referred to as such in those days. The schoolhouse would be packed t an early hour with pupils and patrons who remained until a late hour of 9 or 10 o’clock to hear the debaters exhaust all their information such as “Resolved That There Is More Pleasure in Anticipation Than in Realization.” A pie or box supper, with a miscellaneous program of songs, recitations and dialogues, sometimes spiced with a pantomime number or a flag drill, was a never-to-be-forgotten event. The favorite speech of a pre-school or A.B.C. pupils was “When I got up to say my speech, my heart went pitty-pat, when I thought I heard somebody say, ‘Whose little girl (or boy) is that?’”
“The speech was preceded by and completed with a low bow, if the pupil was not self-conscious, and was richly interpreted by many gestures. The little boy’s favorite was ‘Joe cut off his toe and hung it up to dry, Joe began to laugh and the girls began to cry.’ I recall that my brother, Homer, used to entertain with his version and interpreting gestures of Joe Bowers.
“Those box suppers were really gala affairs. Many evenings were spent decorating the most unusual or attractive covered box, and many of them were really works of art and contained delicacies of pressed chicken sandwiches, homemade pies and cakes, candy, popcorn balls, pickles, and perhaps a special treat of oranges or bananas shared by the owner with the one who was the highest bidder for the box at the sale following the program.
“The auctioneer was usually one of the men in the district. Practically every home was represented in fair or foul weather. Mute testimony of interest were the teams hitched to lumber wagons or spring wagons. There would be a few buggies and horseback riders, often riding bareback a mile or so to gather at the dimly-lighted schoolhouse at an early hour. Patrons and their children often walked a mile or more when roads were too muddy or frozen too hard for travel by horsepower. Bobsleds furnished added pleasure when snow covered the ground, the drivers stopping all along the way to pick up neighbors. The bed of the sled would be covered with straw or hay plus many heavy comforters, quilts and lindsey blankets, with addition of heated stones or bricks to add to the comfort of the passengers during the wintry night’s ride.
“This school building saw the introduction of the first rural telephone line when a company was organized at a meeting held there. Meetings were held there to obtain information in regard to the first rural mail route which was first routed one-half mile west of the school. The first phonograph was displayed there by a patron of an adjoining district, Cor Campbell school. It was an Edison with a huge horn and cylindrical records, that when played kept the audience spellbound, and all felt amply repaid for the fee of the five to ten cents admission charged. Radio programs with earphones followed in due time at group meetings, commercial agents displaying their wares at community gatherings and thereby introducing this means of home education and entertainment.
“Later, meetings convened for the purpose of securing rural electricity. Medicine shows, political speakings with programs of fiddling and eats afterwards, had their place in rural school entertainment and information. Then Grange, extension work and organization of men, women and youth with 4-H, kept step with other districts in the community advancement. At these meetings visual education of travels, industry and national and world events has been displayed. The traveling library made its bi-monthly stops there and in this wise, plentiful reading matter was provided for residents of the district as well as for the needs of the school.
“Perhaps few school districts have provided as many teachers from pupils completing merely a rural school education. Don and Elsie Runkle (brother and sister), Archie Noble, Esther Patterson, one entire family of Martins, are a few of the ones of which I have knowledge, besides myself.
“One student, Rex Mitchell, formerly of St. Louis, became a Methodist minister. He introduced the game of baseball to the students. Don Runkle is a contractor and carpenter; Mamie Wingo (Reynolds) held a position at the State Training School for Girls.
“During one summer’s vacation, I trained a large group of older young folks for a home talent play. The play was written by Stephen Blackhurst, who was a nearby resident. He wrote the play while attending the University of Missouri. The theme was a plea for better living conditions on the farm. This was staged in a big tent on the school lawn and was attended by many from near and far. It no doubt provided the nucleus of thought for the need of better homes, farms, schools and roads.
“When I taught there, I introduced the individual drinking cup and covered water fountain, and individual towels; also the use of the Rose Primer and the Sunbonnet Girls and Overall Boys series. This provided more reading material for the first graders who were taught by word and sentence method, instead of A.B.C. We secured a better heating system, a heater with a jacket, and desks were rearranged according to size instead of preference of the pupils on the first day of school. A globe, more maps and some art studies were added, as well as a microscope, curtains for the windows to control direct light rays. More library books were added. I found it a most cooperative district from the standpoint of both patrons and pupils. Mr. Gale Linton was clerk of the district at that time.”
“The second building was destroyed by fire from a defective flue in 1937 and a third building was constructed on the same site in 1938.
“A list of some of the teachers who have taught at Green through the years other than those already mentioned, were furnished by F. L. Linton as follows: Hattie Thompson, Fletcher Kern, Nellie Miller, Fred Fair, Oscar Hargrave, Miss Hapes, Ruth Wells, Luetta Minnick, Murel Bennett, Olive Thorne, A. W. Powell, Emma Dent, Miss Thomas, Appolonia Moyland, Bonnie Whitacre, Bettie Bonderer, Delphia Arrasmith, Gladys Doan, Frances Fullerton, Mrs. Zirkle and Arthur Powell.
Mrs. Cleo Willard, who has taught Green School the last two terms and has been employed for the 1956-57 term, furnished the current history of the school:
It is painted a light gray on the ceiling and top part of walls with darker gray on the lower walls. The ends are a light green. There are 13 windows in the building. Six of them on the north, three on the west, one in the library, one in the restroom, one to the cloakroom and one between the utility room and cloakroom. There is an inside door into the hall and one outside. The floor has been sanded and finished with gym finish.
There are 25 individual desks facing the east. The blackboard is green and is 21 feet long. There are two large bulletin boards and all other available wall space is used. The following framed pictures hang in the front of the room: “George Washington,” “The Cleaners,” “Blue Boy” and “The Horse Fair.” Required colored pictures 9 x 12 inches are placed on the bulletin board when they are studied. An oil burner is at the back of the room. The outer hall is used for pails and coats besides the cloakroom which is about 5x10 feet with shelves for lunches and coats. Playground equipment, washing supplies, are kept in the utility room which is about 5x5 feet.
The musical equipment includes a piano, record player, and radio. Rhythm band instruments consist of rhythm sticks, jingle clogs, bells, triangles, tambourine, tone block, cymbals and drum. The pupils purchased these with money from a pie supper. One large table is used for art work and many other things.
The teacher’s desk is a large, regular school desk located at present in the front of the room. There re two dozen folding chairs. The library is a separate room in the southeast corner of the main room. There are four shelves all around two sides. This room is about 5x8 feet. There is a bookshelf in the main room for reference books. Equipment also includes a coffee maker and hot plate. The building faces the south and the main part of it is 36x26x13 feet.
The well is to the northeast corner of the school house. There re several ash and elm trees around the fence to the school grounds. The flag pole is on the southwest corner of the grounds to the front of the building. Playground equipment includes a gym bar, twirlies or giant stride and teeter totter and volley ball poles. Kickball, croquet, softball, volley ball, soccer, Blackman, dodge ball, two deep and too late for supper are the outdoor games played. Indoors, checkers, dominoes, bean bag, clap in and clap out, hide the thimble, musical games, tag, guess who and ping pong are played.
A health clinic was held the past year at the school, the pupils participating 100 per cent. Bedford was invited to the clinic.
Several places of interest were toured during October of last year, among them Producers Creamery and milk plant, Constitution-Tribune office, Utica Brick plant, Lambert’s Glove Factory, Light and Water Plant and Sefton’s greenhouse.
Among community activities at school is the Green School P.T.A., which was organized in 1940 the time Hubert Paul was teacher. There were 16 charter members with Mrs. Willis Haynes first President and Mrs. Ralph Shipley, Secretary. The president for the coming year is Mrs. Bill Beever, Jr. This organization meets the first Friday afternoon of each month and Community night is the Third Friday night. Programs for Community night include a potluck supper, chili supper, Christmas program and last day of school program given by the children. The past year, Community night programs have included a talk and film by the State Patrolman, Conservation films and chili supper.
The P.T.A. sponsors the 9-point health program, and always presents the eighth grade graduates with Bibles. Money is earned for its projects with bake sales, ice cream suppers, Gypsy baskets and patchwork apron.
Pupils attending last term were Josephine and Annabelle Campbell, Johnny and Jimmy Smith, Larry Drummond, Larry Utley, Joyce and Mary Louise Lauhoff, Scotty and Tonie Bigelow, Raymond Lewis, Beth and Steve Beever, Beulah, Linda, Dale and Bonnie Coon, Marvin, Judy and Raymond Mitchell and Carole Stone. There were six in the first grade, three in the second, four in the third, one in the fifth, three in the sixth, two in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Mrs. Willard attended Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College. She lives approximately seven miles south of Chillicothe and drives about five miles to school.
Present directors are W. P. Beever, Jr., Mrs. W. L. Smith, Clerk; Paul Lauhoff, president, and W. L. Smith.