Stone School Got Its Name from the Rock It Was Made Of
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, December 10, 1954.

Return to Schools page


History of District, South of Dawn, Begins With Wagon Trip in 1865.

Aaron Cross, who with his wife and twin sons, Elmer and Ellsworth, then 16 months old, came to Dawn by covered wagon from Belleville, O., in the fall of 1865. It was he who deeded land for Stone's first school site. The other family coming with them was Mr. and Mrs. John Brooks and nine-month old son, Frank. It was Frank Brooks, now living in Atlantic Highlands, N. J., a pupil in the early years of the school, who furnished the earliest history of Stone School through a letter written to Miss Bessie Morgan at Dawn, who is also a former pupil of the school, south of Dawn

After the six-week wagon trek, Mr. Gross, (Mr. Brooks' grandfather) settled on a farm two miles south of Dawn and soon afterwards gave the plot of ground for the school. It was in the southwest corner of the farm on the main road and only a few hundred feet from the Cross residence. This was in district no. 7, Twp. 56, Range 24. Mr. Brooks states that, "although the district was sparsely settled, already it contained a number of families, some of them quite large, and thus a school was sorely needed." However, the twins were just old enough to begin school when the first stone schoolhouse was built. From notations in an old expense book of 1870, recording that old seats were sold and new ones purchased, it would seem the very first school existed before this date.

Helped Build the School

Stone school took its name from the material of which it was made. Mr. Brooks relates that it was a very pretentious structure. It faced the west. These sand stones were quarried in the neighborhood, and Mr. Brooks tells that it was said much of the labor in getting the stones from the quarry and other work in the building was volunteered. Miss Morgan's father, William H. Morgan, was one of the helpers. He also served the school as director for a number of years.

From the time the school started until its close in 1928, the school records have been kept in the family of Mrs. John Jenkins of Dawn, who furnished several old records for this history. Her father, Charles McAlear, was township clerk of the district from 1871 to 1875. Thomas Jenkins, her father-in-law, served as clerk until about 1912, when at his death, the records fell into the hands of his son and Mrs. Jenkins' husband, John Jenkins, who also served for many years on the school board.

A subdistrict record book of finances beginning Nov. 25, 1870, is the oldest available. A notation in the front of the book states, "section 21 of the school law of 1870: makes it the duty of township clerks to settle with local directors on the third Saturday of April and September of each year."

An entry in the book on Jan. 6, 1871, states that $270 was paid Flavian Bonderer for building the schoolhouse. Forty dollars was paid for seats and desks. Freight on the furniture, which came from St. Louis to Utica, was $26.50. The old seats were sold to D. E. Davies, the highest bidder, Nov 18, 1871 for $1.05.

Fifty-Five Enumerated

The first enumeration of school-age children found in the district was that of March 31, 1871, listing 55, twenty-eight boys and twenty-seven girls. The names of these children listed, together with those recorded by Hermon Ree, teacher, whose term was from May 8 to July 8, 1871 were: William H. Henry, Frederick, Ellen, Kate and Emily Lewis; William J., Samuel, George, Isabel, Rose and N. J. Wilson; Thomas, Sarah, Isaac and Robert Blann; Amos, Charles, Edward and Hanna Wright; Elmer, Ellsworth and Libbie Cross; Luther, Anna, Mamie and Maria Neelands; Frank and Ella Brooks; William, Benjamin, Hugh and Lizzie Davis; John and Smith Johnson; N. D. & M. M. Reynolds; Margaret and Annie James; Laura Simmons; Betsy, Erastus, Frank, Charles, Fredrick, Herman, Albert, Jenny, Hannah, Amelia, Ermelie Shinogle; James Pearson; Libbie, Mary and Hattie Jones; George Morris, Mary Brooks; William and Agnes Wilson, Willie, George, Johnny, Otis, and Anna Barr; Milisea Willson, Isaac and Robert Blann, and Albert Snyder.

New names added to the enumeration list the next year were those of the Glick Children, Naomi, Emma, Sarah, Belle, Chase, John and Mabell; J. S. Morris; Frank, Joseph and Lucy Bealer; Carrie, Hattie and Acbil Hafer; and Mary Morgan. Other early pupils mentioned in Mr. Brooks' letter were Mary, Will, John and Jennett Jenkins. He states that "in my time, Thomas E. Jenkins was a most prominent and able member of the debating society held regularly through the winter terms, supplying a lot of good entertainment at no cost whatever." He mentions Edward, Martha and Charles Mantzey, and the foster children of John Collar, Clara and Cora, "a prominent family who lived northwest from the school and on whose farm is the old neighborhood cemetery, where many of the pupils of the old school and their parents are now resting."

Edited Dawn Newspaper

Mr. Brooks left Dawn for a time after he finished Stone school and went to live with his grandmother Cross in New Jersey where he attended High school for two years. He later returned to Dawn where he lived for a number of years, editing the Dawn Clipper.

Directors sighing the minutes of the March 31, 1871, meeting were D. E. Davies, John Brooks and Aaron Cross. Teachers wages for that year totaled $160. Repairs on the schoolhouse and premises amounted to $10. Expense for fuel was $35.

The minutes of April, 1872, state that Henry Glick was appointed chairman and D. E. Davies, secretary, John Brooks and Nathan Elliott, members of the board. Minutes up to the year of 1896 are recorded in this book. Directors for that twenty-five year period included Aaron Cross, Henry Glick, D. E. Davies. John Brooks, Nathan Elliott, John Collar, T. E. Jenkins, William Lewis, G. W. Pool, T. S. Powell, G. Mantzey, Morgan Hughes, William H. Morgan, James Mossbarger and William Vanstane.

Thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents was paid R. Reed and company for repairing the school house and $66.14 was spent for lumber for repairs on the school house on December 1, 1873. $40 was paid J. F. Sykes for plastering it.

Thirteen rods of pine fence were purchased in December 1874 for $28.50, and on Dec 25, 1875, a half acre of land was purchased from Aaron Cross north of the school lot for $15. Lightning rods were purchased Aug. 1, 1877 for $57.25.

A Pine Board Fence

It was voted to build a pine board fence in front of the schoolhouse in 1874. Specifications were that it must be thirteen rods in length; however, later minutes record that 40 rods were built. It was voted to have a two-year supply of wood on the school grounds that the fuel might be dry when needed instead of being full of sap. The job of fencing, supplying wood and furnishing window blinds was to be let to the lowest bidder. Later minutes state that John Brooks obtained the contract. He was to supply and rick 12 cords of 30 inch length wood on the school ground at $1.90 per cord. The forty rods of pine fence was to be furnished for $70. Twelve additional dollars was allowed for painting doors, windows, etc. Incidental expenses of that year were $5, making a total expense for the year of $299.80. A six months term of school was voted in 1875; seven months in 1876 and six months in 1877. A notation in the minutes of 1879 state: "On motion a vote was taken to permit Watkin Jones enumeration and personal property to be taken in District 4-56-24 for school purposes.

A new fence was built in 1881, the contract going to F. F. Brooks, and on April 3, 1883, it was voted to dig a well on the school ground. An eight-month term was voted in 1888.

Teachers from 1871 through 1896 included Harmon Ree, A. C. Stagner, R. P. Stagner, his brother; Alonzo Bean, Fannie Duncan, G. W. Pool, Emma Dietrich, R. Morgan, Jr., Mary Lewis, Belle Tracy, W. H. Barry, J. J. Nellis, H. L. Snyder, Sue Harper and S. J. Lewis.

The teacher's register first signed by Hermon Ree, had the following notation in the front of the book: "No scribbling permitted and the book must be kept clean." Subjects and texts he taught were Webster's Orthography, McGuffy Readers, Spencerian Writing, Ray's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd part arithmetic; Montieth's Geography, Clark's Grammar, A. H. Benedict's system of penmanship.

Fifty Pupils In School

A. C. Stagner taught the term beginning Nov. 15, 1875, and ending March 10, 1876. There were fifty enrolled that term from the age of 5 to 19.

He was followed by his brother, R. P. Stagner, who taught the spring term beginning April 17 and closing July 7, 1876. Mr. Brooks informs us that Mr. Stagner's mother was a midwife "whose skill contributed much to the growth of the school, including a couple of my sisters."

Alonzo Bean from Reasoner, Ia., a cousin of Mr. Brooks' mother, taught the term of Oct. 16, 1876 to Feb. 7, 1877. The register for this period was arranged for recording, not only attendance, but deportment and scholarship as well, while the one used, beginning Sept. 6, 1886, had forms for daily and term records. It was arranged by E. E. White, A.M., ex-commissioner of common schools of Ohio and was published by Van Antwerp Bragg and company of Cincinnati and New York. Fanny Duncan was the first teacher to sign this register. Several of the teachers made interesting comments on various affairs in this particular register. Some of hers included: "Barnum and Bailey show Sept 21, 1886," "Election Day. Snowed all day, Mar 26, 1887." "May basket (Peonies and Roses)" "I.O.O.F. gave ice cream and strawberry festival June 30." One week in November the following comment, "Too cold for them."

R. Morgan, Jr., taught the next term, October 17, 1887, to March 9, 1888. Some of his comments recorded: "All tardy except 7. Bad Break." "Local Option election, Tuesday Nov. 7, 1887." "Thanksgiving Day November 14. 1887. No school. Ate turkey at home" "Song and dance show at Dawn tonight, (November 25)." "Spelling school. Good crowd (December 1887)." "County lodge I.O.O.F. met at Baptist church (January) "Bazaar, oyster supper and masquerade ball at Dawn January 1888.""Speaking at Stone school, Jan. 17, 1888." Protracted meeting at Dawn. Brother Jameison. Fine Sleighing. (January 1888)." "A terrible snowstorm Dec. 19 and 20, 1887. Only two pupils, Eddie and Martha Mantzey attended school." Remarks about pupils included: "Raw from England (Johnnie and Robert Williams) They were smart boys." "Moved to Johnson district to our loss and regret." was written of Eva Lewis.

Cleveland There in 1887

During Mr. Morgan's term a very historical incident occurred at Stone school. Signing the visitor's register, Oct. 18, 1887, was President Grover Cleveland. Under the address column was written, Washington, D.C. Since he first served from 1885 to 1889, this event happened during his first term as President of the United States. It is regrettalbe no one can be found who remembers why this illustrious personage happened to visit Stone school. Under remarks, (evidently written by the teacher) are these comments: "It gave his great pleasure to call on us. He gave us good advice. Told the boys to study hard; that some of them may be President some day and then they could marry a pretty girl and veto bills, go fishing etc."

On November 5 of that year G. G. West of St. Louis, a United States Senator, signed the register. Written diagonally across these names (by the teacher no doubt) is this remark: "This is grand to pass down to posterity."

One hundred ten visitors registered from 1886 through 1891, from ten school districts, and from the following cities, towns and states: Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Bar Harbor, Me. New York City, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Chicago, Vineland, N.J., St. Joseph, and these Missouri towns: Egypt, Lima, Avalon, Plymouth and Bedford.

Belle Tracy taught from Oct. 1, 1888, to Feb. 2, 1889. There were 47 enrolled for the five-month term.

Disappointed by Rain

Mary Jenkins taught the spring term of 1889 from April 8 to June 28. She commented: "I intended to go to Chillicothe. Rained all day. Sadly disappointed." (Week-end of second week of May.)

Mary Lewis taught from Sept. 30, 1889, to March 1890. She also taught the spring term of that year. Some of her remarks: "Sale October 11." "Thanksgiving day noted for stormy weather and turkey." "Christmas Day. More turkey and goose."

In the director's minutes of May 7, 1890, was found this notation. "Meeting held at S.A. Wagy's corn crib." At this time G. W. Pool was elected teacher to teach five months, $30 the rest of the time." A new slate cloth blackboard was ordered at the meeting of Nov. 10, 1890. Specifications were, that it must be three foot three inches long and the usual width. Another notation in the minutes states "G. W. Pool, teacher, had pupils read, write and sing for those present. All done well," Signed T. E. Jenkins, clerk.

G. W. Pool's term was from Oct. 6, 1890 to Feb. 21, 1891. There were 30 enrolled. Some of his remarks found in the register: "Whooping cough to begin with." "Election day. Three tickets in the field. Democrat, Republican and Independent. Mansur, Democrat. Pettyjohn, Republican. Donivan, Independent. for Congress November 4, 1890. Democrats carried." "School board met. Decided to order books." Two weeks later the following notations were recorded: "New books arrived, Amen!" "November 27, six out of school--sick." "November 28, news of E. Llewellyn's death. Funeral December 3, here at 3 p.m." December 18, entire school visited Johnson school. Had a grand good time eating popcorn, taffy, playing ball and reciting all as one school. Miss Mary Lewis, the teacher, was there and on the road home, "laughted, sang and had great fun." "Our monthly meeting a grand success. Succeeded in getting the patrons interested." Sunday School Festival at dawn New Year's Day, 1891. It rained and snowed. I froze. It cleared off in the night. Snow two feet deep." "Birthday dinner at Mr. Mantzey's Jan. 15, 1891." "Johnson school visited us. A real good time all together." "Fourth monthly entertainment a grand success. Proceeds, $6.90 (January 23)." "Purchased dictionary January 28." "February 3, coldest day of the season." Mr. Brooks gives this interesting comment about Mr. Pool. He lived in the neighborhood, married Naomi Glick and taught Stone a couple of terms. Penmanship was his specialty. History was another, and also order!

New Texts in 1891

S. J. Lewis taught the winter term of 1891. The term began October 5, but no closing date was recorded. Barnes U. S. History and Harvey's Grammar were introduced in to the schools at this time.

Other teachers remembered by Mr. Brooks include J. J. Nellis of Dawn, whose wife was Mary Brown, daughter of "Uncle Abraham Brown: Miss Sue Harper of near Chillicothe, who soon afterward became the wife of Bert Cole, bookkeeper and clerk for Henry Bushnell; Miss Emma Dietrich of Utica, who lived with the Welch family, tenants of the Neeland farm about a mile north of the school," and was so favored there, that beside getting board for $3 per week, one the sons drove her to school every day." It is not know the exact years these teachers taught.

Mr. Brooks will observe his 90th birthday December 30. He and Mrs. Brooks observed their 64th wedding anniversary October 22. They have two daughters and a son.

William J. Hughes, who lives on a farm a short distance south of Dawn, started to school at Stone in 1889 at the age of four. His mother and father were both early day pupils at Stone. His mother's maiden name was Miss Margaret James. She and his aunt, Miss Anna James, came with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. William James from Wales, and settled in the Dawn community in 1866. Miss Margaret was then 7 years old. She later was married to his father, Morgan J. Hughes. Morgan Hughes attended Stone school in 1871 when he was working on the farm of Capt. John Collar.

Miss Anna James later was married to Robert W. Jones.

Miss Margaret James, a cousin, daughter of Edward James, also attended Stone school. She later married Thomas J. Evans. Edward James was killed in a cyclone which passed through the community June 20, 1883. This cyclone destroyed much property in the Stone district.

Hughes Family Attended

Mr. Hughes had two sisters, Anna and Maggie, and brother, John, who went to Stone. The family lived a half mile south and 3/4 mile east of the first Stone schoolhouse.

Mr. Hughes' first teacher was Miss Mary Lewis, one of four children in the same family who taught Stone school, the others being Miss Eva Lewis and Sam and Tom Lewis. Their father, David W. Lewis, was superintendent of the Sunday school at Stone in 1890. He led the singing too, using a tuning fork. The family lived in the Johnson district, about two and one-half miles southwest of Stone. Some other teachers he recalled was G. W. Pool, Mr. Powelson, Lillian Greener, Sam Lewis, Emma Jones, who later was marred to David Griffiths of Dawn; Mr. Tuttle; Anna Morgan, a sister of R. Morgan, Jr., who taught the school in 1887-88; Joshua Turner, Miss Nellie Thomas of Braymer who now lives at San Diego, Calif. (she taught in 1895); Mable Williams of New Cambria who is now Mrs. Arthur Wilson of Piasa, Ill. She taught Stone the spring term of 1897. A recent letter to Mr. Hughes states that when she taught, the pupils would repeat the following each morning: "Good morning is a golden key, that opens every door for you and me." Before they were dismissed for the day, they would repeat: "Good night I say, and close the door, of each glad day." Miss Williams boarded in the Thomas Powell home one mile north of the school. Miss Eva Lewis was another one of his teachers. He remembers a Washington Day program given the year she taught in which all the pupils took part, repeating four line verses about the life of Washington. Mr. Hughes recalls that the last verse was--"In 1799 the Nations tears were shed, to see the Patriot's life resign, and sleep among the dead."

To New Site in 1899

Stone school was moved in the spring of 1899 so that it might be more centrally located. Land for the school site was given by Mr. Hughes' mother, Mrs. Margaret Hughes.

The building was completed and reach for the fall term of school.

The old building was razed by John Morgan and Charles Travine who hauled the rocks to the new location a half mile south and a half mile east of the first school site. Most of the rocks from the old building were usable, but some were replaced by sandstone rocks from the farm of Miss Morgan's father. John Louiselle and Henry Marshall of Braymer were the stone masons.

Evan James was the first teacher in the new school building.

Miss Bessie Morgan of Dawn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Morgan, who lived one and one half miles east of the school, started to Stone school in 1899. She furnished the date for most of the latter history of the school, since no records of the school were obtainable after 1896.

The second building faced the south. It was approximately 36 x 50 feet. It had three windows each on the east and west sides. There were blackboards along the north end and smaller ones in the north west and north east corners of the room.

Anteroom For Wraps

There were double doors in the south end. Later an anteroom, approximately 6X10 was built to keep the wind and rain from the main room. It was used for wraps and overshoes. It was painted white.

An eight-month term was held that year, and before the school closed, a nine-month term was voted.

Walls and ceilings of the room were plastered, and the woodwork was painted a dark color. Floors were oiled. The manufactured desks, four rows of them, were double.

The building was lighted by bracket lamps hung on the walls. Patrons also brought lanterns when there was an entertainment at the school house.

Miss Morgan studied spelling, reading, writing, grammar, history, physiology, civil government, geography, algebra and drawing.

Her first teacher was Miss Louise Gray. Other teachers were Evan James, Homer Hawkins, Mrs. Anna Bush, Miss Grace Murry, Henry T. Griffith, Nellie Tudor, Wilfred Sullivan, Achsah Riddell, Ada Mossbarger, Lena Johnson, Grace Hughes, Theodosa Griffith, Albert Evans, Martha Jones. Later teachers at Stone were Ruth Thomas, Virgil Vanstane, Bessie Brooks, Bessie Tutt, Gladys Griffith, Edith Miller, Letha Chapman and Opal Tomlin, who taught the last term at Stone. Most of the teachers came from home. Mrs. Margaret Hughes boarded some of the teachers. Earlier teachers boarded in the Gus Mantzey home. The last teacher boarded with Mrs. Gomer Evans.

Scripture Reading Included

Pupils used slates for seat work. The school had a globe and a good set of maps. The teachers had music in the school. The school had a piano. Opening exercises often included scripture reading.

Community activities at the school included singing schools taught by Mr. Jeffers. There were spelling matches with other schools. Sunday school was held often at the schoolhouse in the early years. Benjamin Knox was usually the superintendent. Programs were held at school on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the last day of school.

An entertainment Miss Morgan remembers was one where she went in February and came home in March. It was a Negro Minstrel put on by the boys of the school. One of their songs with "Rufus, Rastus, Johnson Brown, what you goin' to do when the rent comes 'round?" The program was followed by a pie and box supper. The teacher that year was Achsah Riddell. Bookcases were bought with the proceeds from the entertainment.

Until a well was dug on the school grounds in later years, the pupils went in twos to the home of Mrs. Margaret Hughes for drinking water. When they returned with it, they were allowed to pass it up and down the aisles during school hours. It was carried in a wooden bucket with a wooden dipper having brass hoops.

Miss Morgan recalled how kind Mrs. Margaret Hughes always was to teachers and pupils, often inviting them to stay in her home during a bad storm until it had passed.

Miss Morgan has a souvenir booklet of Stone school for the year of 1901 which was presented to her by her teacher. E. J. James. Directors at that time were Henry H. Lewis, President, William R. Morgan, James W. Pearson, Thomas E. Jenkins, clerk. On the booklet is pictured crossed quills above an ink pot. Gold oak leaves and a stack of books are pictured with a cresset on top of them. Below this is written in gold: Stone school-Livingston County, Missouri. There were 37 pupils names listed, twenty boys and seventeen girls.

The morning of Jan. 18, 1905, while the fourth grade class was reading about a home burning, George Minnis, who was going by the school house with a load of hogs, rushed in to tell the teacher and pupils that the building was on fire. Only the woodwork, floors and roof burned.

The walls stood and the building was rebuilt about May of 1905 and then the seven-month term of school was completed.

Stone school closed in the spring of 1926. The building still stands and is being used as a grain bin.

Many of Stone pupils and teachers have made successful businessmen and women. Anna Morgan became an osteopathic physician practicing in the east. Virgil Vanstane is an outstanding surgeon and physician in Chicago. Henry Griffiths is a lawyer in Kansas City. Thomas Lewis, a former teacher, was a teacher in the Dennison University at Greenville, O., for years. Sam Lewis, his brother, became a doctor at Columbus Junction, Ia.

Note by Jim Jones. The walls of the building, somewhat deteriorated, were still standing in the early or middle 1970's, when they were bulldozed. No traces remain. The roof and woodwork had mostly disappeared before then. A few typographical errors and misspelled names in the newspaper article have been corrected.