Bradford School Records Complete From Start in 1877
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, July 8, 1960.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune


According to information obtained from an article which appeared in the Centennial edition of the Constitution-Tribune, the Bradford school district was one of two formed from the old Smith school district in 1877.

The Smith school was built in the 1850’s on the farm of William Harrison Smith, who came in a buggy with his bride from Illinois in 1838. This log school was located about a half mile north and east of what was later the Bradford school site, which was some four miles east of Chillicothe.

William Smith was a great uncle of Mrs. Ruth (Bradford) Walker, who lives near Chillicothe. She had three great uncles, John, William and Dave, who taught at Bradford, as did two of her aunts, Misses Laura and Josie Bradford, and later her sister, Mrs. Laura (Bradford) Shapaugh. Mrs. Walker also taught the school during the terms of 1930-31 and 1932-33. She later served as clerk of her district.

She received her elementary education at Bradford, having lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Bradford, just across the road north and east of the school. Her brothers, Jim and Todd, and sisters, Laura (Bradford) Shapaugh and Mary Alice (Bradford) Dome, all attended the school. After the death of her parents, she and her husband, Owen Walker, moved to her old home where they now reside. Their three children, Joe, David, and Marilyn, now Mrs. Rex Rhoades of Chillicothe, were pupils of the school. Joe is studying to be a veterinarian at Missouri University. David was a sophomore in the Chillicothe High School and Mrs. Rhoades plans to enter Missouri University in the fall.

All five of Todd’s children, the eldest son of Jim, Laura’s daughter, Mrs. Jane Alice Johnson of Woodward, Kentucky, were Bradford scholars. Mrs. Johnson has taught two terms of school at Woodward and Mary Alice’s daughter, Miss Marlene Dome of Brunswick is majoring in home economics at MU.

Mrs. Walker was instrumental in obtaining important data about the school not found in the records. Before her marriage she was tax collector of her township for six years, was employed at the Chillicothe High School cafeteria for a year, then was employed at the bus station and is currently cafeteria manager at Dewey school, a position she has held for three years.

From Miss Mabell Cranmer of Chillicothe, Mrs. Walker obtained names of some of the early pupils who attended the old Smith school. Among them were W. T. Mayo, Elizabeth Jeter, Scott and Bruce McMillen, Mike and Lou Gilbert, Ben and Joe Beazell, Tom Hoge, L. A. Martin, Charles Bradford, and members of the Pond, Bowman, Wilson and Cleveland families. Isaac Wilson became a teacher and W. T., a relative of Miss Cranmer’s, later moved to California and was elected lieutenant governor. Some of these families were later included in the Bradford school district.

Records since the formation of the district in 1877 have been carefully preserved and were in the hands of the last school clerk, Mrs. Jewell Jeffries, living near Chillicothe, who was very cooperative with the writer, making all of them available. Mr. Jeffries also served on the school board a number of years and their two sons were pupils of the school, finishing their elementary education there.

Mrs. Bertha (McMillen) McVey of near Chillicothe, a former Bradford pupil, was interviewed. She was able to give a description of the building as it looked when she attended. She lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Scott McMillen, a mile west of the school. Her two sisters, Lottie and Bertha Bell, and a brother, Frank, also attended. She started to school in 1884 at the age of 6. Some of her teachers were John Smith, Elva Norman, Laura Bradford, Josephine Bradford, and a Mrs. Scovell.

Mrs. McVey described the building as having four windows, both on the north and south sides, with a door in the east. The blackboards were on the west wall and extended on each side past the window nearest the west wall.

She studied McGuffy’s readers, Ray’s Arithmetic, physiology, algebra, higher arithmetic, language, history, geography. Slates and copybooks were used. One of the copies appearing in the book was "Time Is Money."

Some of the former pupils whom she recalled as achieving success in later life were John Drake, who became president of Nickerson College at Nickerson, Kansas; Tom Hoge, elected mayor of Chillicothe in 1900 and who served as councilman-at-large in 1899; George Hoge, councilman-at-large in 1917-19; Clarence Prager, a former teacher, who taught at C. B. C.; and two practicing physicians in the district, Dr. Freeman and Dr. Pursley, both M. D.’s. Miss Estelle Popham, a former teacher, received a doctor’s degree in English and is teaching business in Hunter College in New York City. Her mother, Lucy Popham, lives 1½ miles north of the Bradford school site.

Mrs. McVey stated that games popular with the children were whip-crack, ball, fox and geese, ring-around-the-rosy, drop-the-handkerchief and antiover.

There were literary societies and spelling bees and last-day-of-school programs with a basket dinner at the noon hour.

These last-day-of-school basket dinners were always red-letter occasions for pupils, teacher and patrons alike. The following poem found by the writer among the school records of the late Apollonia Moylan asserts this fact:


Jes’ afore noon, Miss Simpson stops and sits in her cheer,

‘Til you could almost hear a pin drop and yer feelin’ kinda queer,

And she says, "We’ll put the books up and not study anymore,"

And jes’ then you hear a buggy, and it stops in front the door,

And sure enough it’s dinner come, and all the country folks a crowdin’

Through the doorway and crackin’ funny jokes.

And sudden like some feller brays, jes’ like old webber’s mule,

"Let’s eat!" – and what a treat, on the last day of school.


Floyd Cranmer, who lives on the farm where he was born, which was ¾ mile from Bradford school, was interviewed. He is the only other descendant of the first families living in the district. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George L. Cranmer. His brothers, George and Roy, were also pupils at the school. Floyd started to school in 1894. His father served on the school board for many years, and Floyd was serving as one of the directors when the school closed, with Jewell Jeffries as president and A. W. Bradford, clerk. His aunt, Sallie Bradford, was one of the early teachers of the school. In the picture, which accompanies this history, he is shown sitting on her lap.

He informed there was but one school building through the years. It was frame, made of native lumber painted white, approximately 30x40 feet. There were two rows of seven or eight double desks on either side of the room. The first blackboards were painted and slate ones were later installed. The room was heated with a wood-burning, drum-type stove. Later a jacketed furnace was installed. In later years an anti-room was built on the east which had double outside doors and a window in the north and south sides. A wooden porch in the early days of the school was replaced by a concrete platform.

Director’s minutes of 1904 records show that Floyd Cranmer and Lawrence Graham were paid $2 monthly to carry water to the school.

Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Cranmer’s daughters, Marjorie, now Mrs. Bader of Dallas, Texas, and Nina Jean, now Mrs. Dave Scruby of Evergreen, Colorado, received their elementary education at Bradford. Marjorie was in Civil Service work in Honolulu for a year and a half before her marriage and Nina Jean was employed by Braniff Airways of Kansas City for more than a year.

Minutes record that the first meeting of the new Bradford district was held in the home of Frank Kelly January 25, 1877, for the purpose of forming the new district, which district, according to the minutes, was in the south side of District 2, Township 56, Range 23, and was composed of sections 34-35-36, 27-26-25 and a fraction of the fourth mile of 22-23 and 24 of the old district divided. William H. Smith was chairman of the meeting. Solomon Hoge was elected as a director to serve three years, Jourdan Drake two and David Bradford one. A. J. Glore served as clerk. The school took its name from a sister of W. E. Smith who married a Bradford.

Four months later, April 3, 1877, a meeting was held at the David Bradford home of the newly formed District 7, Township 58, Range 23. At this meeting a 5-month term of school was voted with the appropriation of $200 for same. There were additional appropriations of $400 for the building of a schoolhouse and $50 for the 1-acre school site, which was purchased from William E. Smith, $100 for seats and $25 allowed for construction of privies. It was voted to borrow $575 for the building, which was erected by Daniel D. Drake. Directors were to be responsible for locating the building on the southeast corner of the northeast one-quarter of Section 34, Township 58, Range 23. This site was six miles east of Chillicothe.

On June 1, 1877 at a call meeting held in the old Smith school, it was voted to change the site from the southeast corner of the northeast quarter to the northeast corner of the southeast quarter instead. George Bowman was chairman at this meeting.

Other early chairmen, clerks and directors of the school were A. J. Glore, Dr. J. B. Freeman, Sam Beselle, T. J. Story, John Hunter, S. B. Wilhite, G. W. Kent, Jordon Drake, T. B. McMillen, W. F. Kent, W. H. Chatman, W. H. Hughes, C. I. Ireland, Solomon Hoge, Israel Hoge, G. L. Cranmer, J. T. Higgins, J. T. Graham, W. H. Chinn, David Bradford, C. O. Bradford, W. H. Smith, John Burris, A. W. Bradford, Leo Bauer, John Knapler, R. L. Cranmer, Frank Killian, J. P. Marx, George Collins, Arthur Gilbert, U. M. Babb, M. P. Martin, H. J. Bauer.

Those serving later included F. A. Cranmer, Frank Saale, H. P. Hanson, Lloyd Pryor, Gordon Darling, G. V. Johnson, Jewell Jeffries, C. E. Cartright, Clyde Frizzell, J. H. Gallatin, Leonard Olenhouse, Ruth Bradford, Mary Saale, Edward Bauer, Mrs. F. A. Cranmer, W. H. Killian and G. V. Johnson.

From the records, it was possible to obtain a complete list of all teachers of the school. They follow: D. F. Smith, a great uncle of Mrs. Walker who lived at the home place, was the first. He was a Civil War veteran and received $40 a month. School started September 30, 1877, with 50 enrolled. J. E. Pardonner, 1878, $40 salary with five months school; James A. Jones, 1879-80; Frank S. Miller, 1881, $35; D. T. Smith, 1881-82, six months; J. F. Smith, 1882-83. Texts and subjects taught by him were McGuffey’s readers and speller, orthography, Ray’s Practical and Mental Arithmetic, Quackenbe’s history, Harvey’s grammar, Ray’s algebra.

W. B. Hoge taught in 1883. He added Outter’s physiology to the curriculum. A notation stated that the room would seat 48 pupils. W. T. Smith, 1884; C. W. Stewart, 1885-86. He added Cornell’s geography. Laura Bradford taught the summer term of 1886 at a salary of $22.50 and the winter term of 1887 at a salary of $40. J. R. Day, 1886, winter, $35; S. J. Jones, 1888; Ella Casey, 1889, $40. Note attached to her contract reads: "Said teacher agrees to teach higher arithmetic and algebra in connection with the studies required by law. Said teacher also agrees to strictly enforce the rules made by the board."

Elva Norman, 1890, spring two months, $25. Also winter for $40; Virgie Dodds, 1891, $40; Sally Cranmer, spring of 1892, $23; W. T. Scovil, 1892, $40; J. F. Powelson, 1893; Sallie Cranmer, 1894, $40; Berta Winn, spring of 1895, $20; Josie Bradford, 1896, $30; also taught summer term of 1897 at a salary of $25 for two months. It was in her contract that she was to furnish the chalk and broom.

Daisy White, 1897, winter, 5 months at $35; Mabel Way, 1898; May Higgins, 1899; J. F. Graham, six months, winter of 1899, $40. "Did his janitor work as all the others did."

Nat McBride, winter of 1900, five months at $42.50; Miss Emma Brown, spring of 1901, $25; Miss Gertrude White, winter of 1901, $35; Elizabeth Dunser, spring of 1902, $25; Miss Emma Brown, winter of 1902, $40; Mary Hogan, spring of 1903, $25; Wesley Israel, winter of 1903, $32.50; Miss Lola Withers is also recorded as teaching the winter of 1903 for $35. Daisy White taught the spring of 1904 for $25; Ella Lou Redd, winter of 1904, $40; Maria Hart, spring of 1905, $30, also winter of that year for $35; Rosa Martin taught all the year of 1906 for $37; Eva K. Campbell, spring of 1907, $40; John A. Bowe, winter of 1907, $50; Ella Case, 1908, $45; C. H. Prager, winter of 1909, $35, also taught winters of 1911 and 1912 for $50. Sadie Close, 1910 for $40; Apollonia Martin, spring (three months) 1911, spring of 1912 for $35 and winter of the same year (five months) for $50.

Gertrude Thomas, 1913, 1914-15-16, $40 and $45; Mabel Ducey, 1917, Elseie Bradbury, 1918, $50; Cecil Miller, 1918-19, $55, and 1919-20 for $65. Term was lengthened to eight months beginning 1918-19.

Agnes Maloney, 1920-21, $90; Leta Maharg, 1921-22 and 1922-23 for $100; Esther Maloney, 1923-24, $90; Estelle Popham, 1924-25, $90; A. W. Powell, 1925-26, $100. R. J. Potter, 1926-27, $95; Laura Bradford, 1927-28 and 1928-29 for $90. One hundred and ten visitors were recorded her first term. Apollonia Moylan, 1929-30, $90; Ruth Bradford, 1930-31, for $90. C. W. Bauer, 1931-32, $80; Ruth Bradford, 1932-33, $60.

The decline in teachers’ salaries for the next 10 years was due to the depression years. The writer has found the same condition existing in each school that she has written about, which operated as late as 1932. C. W. Bauer taught the 1933-34 term for $50. During this term, visitors at Christmas, Valentine and last-day-of-school (75 in all) are recorded. Mr. Bauer also taught the 1934-35 term for $55. Marian Lawler, 1935-36. The Pond and Jones teachers and pupils were visitors of the school in October of this term. Anita Benson, 1936-37, $50; Laura Bradford Shapaugh is also recorded as having taught this term for a salary of $50.

Albert Hageman taught in 1937-38, $50; G. L. Goben, 1938-39, $50; Roberta Bryan, 1939-40, $70. Beula Dunn taught the 1940-41 term for two months and the term was finished by Lucille Crumpton for $70; Mary E. Dinsmore, 1941-42, $75; Mrs. Russell White, 1942-43, $90; Mary Frances Morris, 1943-44, $98.56; Inez Bates, 1944-45, $98.40. She also taught the 1945-46 term at a salary of $103.20. Betty Ferguson Colton, 1946-47, $80.20; the first of the year of 1947 her salary was raised to $92. Josephine Jordan, 1947-48, $125.89; Margaret Evans, 1948-49, $162.30.

Thelma Harris Anderson was the last teacher at Bradford, having taught the term of 1949-50 as the school ceased to operate at the close of this term. Mrs. Anderson drove to and from the school, from Chillicothe where she stayed with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. B. R. Harris.

Some interesting facts were found recorded in the register of orders beginning in 1877. Five hundred dollars was paid to the builder, Daniel D. Drake, half of it in July of 1877 and the remainder in September of that year. One hundred dollars of the amount paid him was borrowed from Andrew Leeper and $103.75 was borrowed from William Kent to pay for the desks. The blackboards cost $3.50 plus $5.50 for lumber.

A cistern was dug in 1878 for $23.50 plus $4.50 for rock to wall it with and $7.33 for spouting and fixtures. A new fence was built that year at a cost of $114.04.

A new floor was laid July 16, 1887, by George Babb at a cost $42.50. A contract was drawn with J. S. Dockum April 11, 1891, for painting and repairing the schoolhouse. He was to receive 12 cents a yard for 2-coat work, the best grade of oil paint to be used. The house was to be painted white and the shutters green. The blackboard was to be given two coats of paint as was all the inside woodwork. The bill comes to $31.70.

Contracts for firewood were often recorded, such as that of October, 1894, stating that the contract for five cords of wood at $2.35 a cord was awarded to Frank Kelly. Two cords were to be seasoned pin oak and the remainder to be green hickory cut ready for the stove and delivered to the schoolhouse by November 7.

New seats were installed in 1896 at a cost of $24.90. A new fence was built in April of 1897. Stipulations for it were that the north and east sections were to be chain with posts 16 feet apart. The south and west sides were to be made of planks. The interior was re-plastered by James Stevenson in 1899. Cost was $13 for a 3-coat job of cement and one coat of plaster of Paris. It was in the contract that all the old plastering was to be removed. Trees were planted in the school yard in 1900 by S. B. Wilhite. It is not recorded that he received any pay for planting them.

The school was repainted by J. F. Oliver in 1901. His wages were $1.25 a day, which amounted to $9.60 for a 2-coat job. A foundation wall was built in 1902 by Fred Alberts, who also covered the abandoned well, graded around the building and cleaned the stove- pipe and flue, all for $37.50.

The minutes of September 4, 1899 record the names of patrons who re-shingled the roof. They were Charles Bradford, Baud Bradford, John Hunter, Major Bird and Ben Kent. Ike Evans bored a well in 1905. After the old well was abandoned and before the new one was dug, it was the custom of the board to hire two of the older boys attending school to carry water for the pupils from a near-by well. Roy Cranmer and Back Kent were hired in 1901. They received $1 a month. Three years later, Roy’s brother, Floyd Cranmer and Lawrence Graham got the job for $2 monthly. W. J. Alley and Roy were first hired by the board to dig the well at a charge of 45 cents per foot. It was to be lined with tile, but later minutes state that Mr. Evans did the work, receiving 50 cents a foot which came to a total of $30.50. The well, five feet in diameter, 18 feet deep, was walled with brick.

A new coal stove was purchased in 1906 for $24.50 and a coal house was built. Coal delivered cost $2.65 a ton. Free textbooks were furnished for the first grade through the fourth in 1916. The school was again repaired that year at a cost of $197.13, and again in 1949 at a cost of $606.70, the contract let to G. M. German.

In the minutes of July, 1887, a set of rules made by the board are recorded: "1. No snowballing allowed. 2. No riding on sleds or wagons. 3. No skating on pond allowed. 4. No scholar allowed to go farther than 150 yards from the school grounds without the teacher’s permission. 5. Boys and girls shall have separate playgrounds. Any scholar violating these rules shall be punished by the teacher, and on refusing to be punished by the teacher shall notify the directors, and for first offense is to be dismissed for one week from school, and for second offense of violating these rules shall be expelled from school. The teacher is required to pay strict attention to these rules and see that they are obeyed, and on the failure of the teacher to enforce these rules, she shall be subject to expulsion from teaching the school. These rules are to be read every Monday morning so that no scholar shall or can plead ignorant thereof.

The set of rules were signed by J. W. Bird, chairman, and Fred Burris, clerk.

Later rules added in September of 1893 stated that no pupil was allowed to go to Babb’s store without the teacher’s permission and that no scholar could go to Bradford’s barn.

Mrs. Walker interviewed U. M. Babb to find out more about the store mentioned in the 1893 minutes. Mr. Babb’s maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Uriah Kent, moved to the farm where he now resides 112 years ago, coming here from Pennsylvania. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. George Babb, who built the store in 1892. It was located just north of the Burlington railroad, and at that time there was depot located just east of the store known as Cream Ridge and a post office known as Medicine. The store was closed about 1907 or 1908.

Mr. Babb, who attended Jacksnipe school, lives on the farm alone and does his own farm work.

He was 79 in May of this year. His children, Samuel, Raymond, Elmer, Mary E. (Wilkerson), Carl, Earl, Robert and Bill, all attended Bradford. The old store building which was converted into a workshop, still stands.

The following 17 names were listed in 1882 subject to property taxation: Solomon Hoge, George Kent, John Glore, George Glore, William E. Smith, Jordan Drake, Theodore McMillan, W. B. Kent, William Kent, William H. Smith, William Thornington, Andrew Thornington, Abner Thornington, D. T. Smith, John Smith, Israel Hoge and John Bird. Enumeration of school-age pupils was 53 in 1895.

The enumeration of school-age children for 1899 recorded 25 boys and 24 girls. Taxpayers that year included John Bauer, George Cranmer, Fred Glore, John Hunter, James Graham, Andrew Thornington, Jordon Drake, Joseph Marx, Scott McMillen, George Kent, Charles Sampson, Mary Bradford, John Higgins, George Cranmer, John Tye, Mrs. Katherine Gladeux, Stephen Wilhite.

In a 10-year period the following additional names were listed: Charles Hapes, Ernest Glore, Aaron Powers, Mike Kline, Sprague Williams, Charles Ireland, G. W. Cranmer, William Chatman, G. A. Pursley, C. Slack, J. H. Wittington, P. C. Thomas, F. Killian, W. H. Chinn, A. Mack, Marion McDonald, L. H. Keith, Eugene Wilder, M. E. Bradford, C. E. Gregor, and Liman Brummer.

School activities in later years included those of the Homemaker, Bradford Boosters and Handcraft clubs.

Complying with the new Missouri state school law enacted in 1948, Bradford became a part of Wheeling Reorganized District 4-IV and at the end of the term of 1949-50 ceased to operate.

Last-pupils were Marilyn Walker, David Walker, Shirley Cortright, Jerry Wilkerson, Harry Hayen and Carolyn Fryer.

In 1951 the building was sold to Leonard Simmer of Chillicothe, who later transferred it to Earl Sallee, and he, in turn, sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Herring of Chula. They moved the building February 24, 1954, to their property in the northwest part of Chula where they own an entire block. The schoolhouse has been extensively remodeled as a house for the family of eight, and thus ends the story of another Livingston County rural school, that made its influence felt through the years of its operation and which will ever remain a power for good in the lives of all those who were privileged to enjoy its benefits.