Slagle School Was Used 44 Years
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, December 27, 1952.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

Started because of bad roads and long walks for children

Concern for the welfare of his daughter, Catherine’s school-age children, resulted in the forming of district nine in Township 58, Range 23, known as the Slagle School.

The Wayne Stucker family lived in the Prairie Valley school district, and the school was three miles from their home. Because of the distance, they paid tuition for their children to attend the Pond school; however, when the weather and roads were bad, the distance of three miles to school was too great to insure perfect attendance. There were other children living nearby, who were inconvenienced in the same way. For this reason Jonathan T. Wilson, the Stucker children’s maternal grandfather, living in the neighborhood, determined to establish a new district nearer these children’s homes.

In an interview with Mrs. E. S. Inman of Chillicothe, (who before her marriage was Orpha Stucker, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Stucker) it was found that in the forty-four years of Slagle School’s existence, four generations of her family were vitally connected with the school in different capacities.

Mr. Wilson, her grandfather, was the power behind its organization. The roads were almost impassable in the early spring of 1898, the year the school was formed, making it necessary for Mr. Wilson to ride horseback, day after day, as he interviewed patrons in the Prairie Valley, McCormick and Pond School districts in regard to organizing the new district.

Orpha Stucker and her seven brothers and sisters attended the school. Four of them, Orpha, Lola (who is now Mrs. Chris Shearer, living near Chillicothe), Lena and Floyd, were included in the school’s first enumeration. Her father and later her husband, the late E. S. Inman, served on the board of directors for years. Mrs. Inman served as clerk for some time. All nine of her children received their elementary education at Slagle School and two of her daughters, Eunice, now Mrs. Russell White, of Chillicothe, and Miss Mabel Inman of Phoenix, Arizona, each taught several terms of school there.

Mrs. White is now a member of the Chillicothe elementary school faculty in which she has been teaching for number of years. Miss Mabel, is teaching her ninth consecutive year in the Phoenix, Arizona, elementary school system. She is serving her second year as secretary of the Arizona Education Association Department of Classroom Teachers. She is also a member-at-large on the executive board of the Classroom Teachers Association, a member of the curriculum committee, and the advisory committee, and is serving as a member of the policy committee who is writing a “Hand-Book of Rules and Regulations,” for the system.

Mrs. Inman’s grandson, Darryl White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell White, went to Slagle School when he was in the second grade. His mother was teaching the school at that time. Darryl is now stationed at the Marana Air Base in Arizona.

Thus it is easy to understand how this little rural school became, (as Miss Mabel expresses it), “The nucleus for family dreams and planned destinies; an environment where children, living close to nature, also lived closer to God; a place where neighborhood activities held the community together.”

At their annual school meetings, held on the first Tuesday in April of 1898, districts two and five voted to detach a part of their territories to form the new district. On an appeal to F. Sparling, county commissioner, territory from district one, was also detached on the 23 day of April 1898, the same day the new district was established. Wayne Stucker and John Walsh had charge of organizing, presenting petitions and appeal.

The first meeting, which had been indicated by five notices posted in the district, was held in the Wayne Stucker store building May 7, 1898, just two weeks after the district had been formed. Jonathan Wilson was named chairman for this meeting and Mr. Walsh served as secretary. Mr. Stucker, Mr. Walsh, and William Eskin were elected the first directors. It was voted to have a six-month term of school. A tax of ten cents on the one hundred dollars assessed valuation in excess of forty cents was levied for school purposes.

At a special district meeting, held on June 21, 1898, it was voted to accept the land which had been given the district by Mrs. Charlotte Slagle for the school site. It also was voted at this meeting to borrow $300.00 for the purpose of building the schoolhouse. Three bonds, each for $100.00, were Purchased, and when they were paid in full on August22, 1903 they were burned according to law, and this procedure was witnessed by Wayne Stucker, president of the board, E. Phillips, William Eakin, C. A. Zeigler and John General, attested by N. C. Inman. At this time another bond for $200.00 was purchased, authorized by the board for the building fund, and when this bond was paid August, 8, 1906, the burning of it, in the home of H. L. Collins was witnessed by Mr. Stucker, Mr. Inman, Mr. Collins and his wife, Bertha.

At the first directors’ meeting, Mr. Eakin was made president of the board and Mr. Wilson was named clerk. The clerk was ordered to correspond with the boards of districts one, two and five in regard to a division of property as required by section 7973 of the school law. He also was ordered to file the enumeration of the district with the county clerk before the l5th of May. Of that enumeration, the following children attended Slagle’s first day of school: John Walsh 12, Lawrey Walsh 10, Nellie Walsh 9, James Walsh 7, Orpha Stucker 12, Lola Stucker 10, Lena Stucker 8, Floyd Stucker 6, Martha Davis 8,

Mary Davis 8, Wiley Davis 10, Arthur Buckalew 7, Bert Buckalew 10, Addie Buckalew 8, Roy Buckalew 7, Cecil Buckaloo 6, Dora Meeker 17, Emma Meeker 15, Bessie Meeker 11, Clyde Kelsey 14, Emery Kelsey 11, Harmon Kelsey 6, Wardy Wilson 11, Maud Wilson 12, Minnie Wilson 9, Gracie Wilson 7, Ada Kiehl 11, Pearl Kiehl 10, Nathaniel Morris 17, Henry Morris 9, Jessie Morris 7, Rebecca Morris 17, Zella Morris 10, James Oliver 18, George Sharp 7, Rosa Neal 11, Frank Neal 7, Luther Wilson 17, Arthur Wilson 17 (twins), Joseph Phillips 13, and Jessie Wasson 6.

The Wilson children enumerated are cousins of the Inman family, except the twins, Luther and Arthur (sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Wilson), who are their uncles. They now live at Woodward, Oklahoma.

Seven more children were added to the list the second term of school as follows: Maggie O’Connor 15, Ollie O’Connor 13, John O’Connor 6, Joseph Cuthbertson 15, Frank Cuthbertson 14, Jeannie Cuthbertson 11, Mattie Hammond 18.

Slagle’s resident taxpayers the first year were: John Walsh, Wayne Stucker, Joseph Eakin, R. Collins, George Buckalew, James Morris, William Davis, Henry Kiehl, A. W. Meeker, John Wilson, Thomas Wassen, J. T. Wilson, E. Phillips, Mr. Sharp and Frank Neal.

Frank Wietrick’s pay for building the schoolhouse was $26.97. Mr. Wietrick was the father of Mrs. Honor Israel of Chillicothe. Mrs. Ishrael has been a member of the Chillicothe school faculty for a number of years.

The building, which faced the south, was approximately 30x25 feet. It was constructed of native lumber, except for the siding.  The lumber was grown and sawed on the Slagle farm. There were three windows on either side of the building. In later years, when the schoolhouse was remodeled, the windows were all on the west side. The floor was of wide pine boards. Mr. Wietrick also built a recitation bench from pine lumber. Desks for the school were purchased Mother DeSales from the Leopolis School for the sum of $25.00. Water was carried for drinking purposes from different homes, often from a spring on the Slagle farm. This farm was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Inman in 1902.

Slagle’s first term of school began September 12, 1898, and ended March 17, 1899.

Miss Mary Martin, who lived 1 ½ miles northwest of the schoolhouse, was Slagle’s first teacher she had been teaching in the schools of Iowa. She was offered the school, while at home on her summer vacation, and agreed to teach for $25.00 per month.  Later two of her sisters Miss Rosa Martin and Miss Apollonia, now Mrs. Moylan of Chillicothe taught there. Miss Rosa Martin is now one of the faculty members in the Kansas City school system.  Mrs. Moylan, who has taught in the schools of Livingston County for a number of years, is now teaching the Green Grove School. With three sisters from the Martin family having taught school within its walls, without a doubt its members have the same nostalgic memories of Slagle School as do those of the Inman family.

Slagle School’s second teacher was Miss Pearl Cuthbertson, who lived in the neighborhood, one-half mile northwest of the school. Her brother, Frank, and her sister, Jennie, who is now Mrs. R. Bruiliskoskie of Enumclaw, Washington, went to school to her. She taught two terms. Other early teachers were Anna Webster, Elizabeth Dunner, Katherine Slattery, Eliza Dockery and Fannie Hoover. Miss Retta Butler of Wheeling taught her first term of school there. She is now employed as primary teacher in the Wheeling School, a position she has held for 34 years.

In the early years of the school, most of the teachers boarded in the Wayne Stucker home which was just across the road south from the schoolhouse. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Inman, who lived directly of the school site, kept many of the teachers. Miss Butler boarded in the H. L. Collins home.

Textbooks used and branches taught in the early years at Slagle School were Milne’s Arithmetic, Hunt’s Speller, Jones’ Readers, Reed and Kellog’s Grammar and Language, Fry’s Geography, Rader’s Civil Government, Baldwin’s Elementary Physiology, Stowell’s Advanced Physiology, Medial Slant Copy Books, Gordy’s Histories and

Milne’s Algebra. These texts were adopted on September 2, 1907.

The school’s first teacher was a lover of the fine arts. Mrs. Inman states that Miss Mary brought beauty and happiness into the lives of her boys and girls. She taught them lovely poems and encouraged them in public speaking by having them appear often in school programs, debates and plays. The schoolroom was never large enough to seat the audiences who came for miles to enjoy these entertainments.

One play especially stands out vividly in Mrs. Inman’s memory, the loved fairy tale of Cinderella.  It was a long play and all the costumes for it were designed by the teacher. Her imaginative brain and nimble fingers were able to fashion the glass slipper, the coach and six, and all the other magic called for, to the satisfaction and delight of her audience. The part of Cinderella was played by Bessie Newlan, now Mrs. George Boorn.  The prince was Luther Wilson. Miss Rosa Martin and Orpha Stucker (Mrs. Inman) were Cinderella’s step-sisters. Music for all the school entertainments was furnished by

Mr. Stucker and Mike Gilbert. Mr. Stucker played the violin and Mr. Gilbert played the guitar.

One summer in later years, Sunday School was held in the schoolhouse. Miss Bertha Haynes of Wheeling, who later married Lee Slagle, was superintendent.

The last term of school taught by Miss Evelyn Cooksey of Galt in 1941-42. The last board of directors was Harvey Constant, Billy Stucker and Gordon Breeden.

Under the new Missouri school law, enacted in 1943, Slagle School was consolidated, with other outlying districts, to form the Wheeling R-4 district. The building was sold in 1951 and razed.

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