Green Grove School 
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, May 26, 1954.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune



History of the district southwest of Sturges dates back many years

Green Grove School is located in District 33 (originally No. 4), Section 7, Township 58, Range 23.  It is one and one-half miles northwest of Sturges and five miles northeast of Chillicothe.  Nestled in a grove of elm, hickory, and oak it took the name from the beautiful trees on the south ground.

L. C. Hill and wife gave a warranty deed of one acre of land to the trustees of the school on November 4, 1867, and the school first was held in 1868 with a four -month winter term.

Mrs. Frank Kriner, RFD 5, Chillicothe, did all the research work for this history, thoroughly searching through a number of school records dating back as far as May 3, 1870.  She remarked that Mr. and Mrs. Lee Steen are to be commended for faithfully preserving an almost complete set of teachers’ and clerks’ books for these many years.

Mrs. Kriner started to Green Grove School in 1886.  She was then Elizabeth Morris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Morris.  The family lived about one and one-half miles north of Green Grove.  She has seven brothers who all attended the school.  Later she taught Green Grove School six terms, out of the fifteen years she taught in the rural schools of Livingston County.  In 1915 she married Frank Kriner, who had also attended Green Grove School, starting to school there in 1883 when his parents moved to a farm one and one-half miles north of the school.  He attended his first term of school at Clarence, Missouri.  He lived but half a mile from the girl he was later to marry.  Mr. and Mrs. Kriner live a short distance northwest of the school, where they have lived since they married.

The first school building was frame, much of it built of native lumber.  It was approximately 24x48 with a cloak room 6x10.  It faced the east with three windows on the north and south.  The floor was of rough native lumber.  The blackboard was pine boards painted black.  Erasers were made of sheepskin, fleece out.  Tacked to boards.  Kerosene wall-bracket lamps with  reflectors were used to light the building.  Desks were of hardwood.

The cloakroom had shelves for dinner-pails.  Pupils drank from a single dipper.  It was such a treat for pupils to go for water, that they spoke ahead of time for the job.  The first well was dug in 1886.  It was thirty feet deep and six feet in diameter, walled with limestone.  A new bored well was made in 1896 by N. A. Lemon for $18.00.  It was 45 feet deep and tiled and curbed.

The school grounds sloped to the north and to the east.  The yard had many beautiful trees, some of the original ones still growing. 

Games played included Blackman, Dare Base, Anti-Over, Shinny, Drop-the-Handkerchief, Kitty, and Mouse and in the winter, Fox and Geese.

The school had a very small library in the early days.  There was a set of maps and a globe.  Texts used in 1885 were Normal series of Readers (5 books), Primary and Comprehensive English Language; Raub’s Elementary and Complete Arithmetic; penmanship, Practical Copy Books; Dungleson’s School Physiology; Montieth’s Elementary and Comprehensive Geography; Quackenboss’ Revised History; Shannon’s Civil Government; Murry’s Physical Geography; Ray’s Algebra.  In 1905, Textbooks used were Franklin’s readers, Sever’s Speller; Milne’s Arithmetic and Algebra; Rand and McNally’s Geography; Reed and Kellogg’s Grammar; Morris’ History and Shinn’s History; Baldwin’s Physiology and Stowell’s Physiology; Rader’s Civil Government.  Slates were used for handwork.

The first teacher recorded is George Whiteford, who taught a six-month term beginning September, 1870 and ending in February, 1871.  He drew a salary of $45.00 per month.

The first teacher’s record preserved is of a six month’s term beginning September 3, 1883, to February 22, 1884.  Ed Lorentz was the teacher.  His salary was $45.00 a month.  Names of pupils attending that year are Maggie Hough, Maud Howell, George, Fannie and Rose Harman, Theodore, Frank, Herman, Mary and Gertie Eseke, Rachel, Robert, Quals, Isabel, Charles and Richard Jeffrey, George, Jim, Frank, Lillie and Lizzie Kriner, George Marlowe, Harry and William Morris, Willie and Eddie Morris, Susie Pauli, Jessie Phillips, Rhoda, Ida, Albert Oliver and Rosa Sneary, Charles Summers, Stephen, Nannie, Mattie and Eddie Wilhite, Bowers, Jim Clarence, Gussie and Lizzie Williams, Annie Roe, Maggie Huff, Thomas, Laura, Nellie and Ab Gray, John and Emma Viserist, James, George, Marion and William Steen.

An almost unbroken line of names of teachers follows: John W. Fisk, Lewis Chapman, S. B. Tinkham, Jennie Spurlock, Angle Bryan, W. T. Harper, Addle Leeper, A. E. Stone, A. D. Fulkerson, E. G. Knause, Otis Broylee, Ed Lorentz, J. D. Linville, S. J. Hoge, W. T. Hudkins, Eva Ward, C. P. Willis, Virgie Dodds, Lizzie Harper, Ella Burgess, Lee Johnson, Ed Daly, J. J. Jordan, Bessie St. Clair, Nora Crowe, Jesse Hopper, Ethel Terrill, Lizzie Morris, Ila McCormack, Matilday Smith, C. B. Smith, Nellie Bruce, John Lowe, Jr., Grace Cleveland, Jessie Wooden, Marie Johnson, Eva Coburn, Lora Hudson, Harriett Hawker, Mildred Steel, Zelpha Wilson, Ola Hargrave, Mary Harper, Mrs. Jim Beaird, Appolenia Moylan, Bertha Timbrook, Bettie Eckart, Josephine Jordan, Nellie Thomas, Charlene Coleman and Mrs. Bessie Kimber who taught the 1953-54 term and has been re-employed to teach the 1954-55 term.

Salaries paid in the early days of the school were $20.00 for a spring term up to $45.00 for the winter term Wages gradually became better.  Many of the early teachers boarded at the G. A. Williams home and later with Mrs. Mabel Fifer.  Of late years, the teachers have driven from their homes.

Some of the early taxpayers of the district were Louis Hill, Levi Shinn, Robert Steen, John Morris, Sr., Billie Evans, John Hill, T. C. Wilhite, Dr. George A. Williams, Peter Hannan, John S. Patterson, Jeremiah Kriner, G. S. Benson, James Sneary, Theodore Eseke and Theodore Gray.

The first clerk recorded was Dr. George Williams, T. C. Wilhite followed and James K. Steen, father of Lee Steen, was clerk later.

Early members of the board were John S. Patterson, Peter Harmon, J. W. Hill, Dr. George A. Williams, Sr., George Williams, Jr., G. S. Benson, Jeremiah Kriner, George Steen, J. Edward Morris, C. B. Williams, and C. R. Wallace. Later there were R. L. Fifer, William Hill, Fred Hornicker, Russell Atkins, Ralph Morris, Tom Wilhite and others.

Present members of the board are Walter Edwards, Adron Loney and Ora Clay Morris and Mrs. Corrine Thompson, clerk.

Community activities held at the school were basket dinners on the last day, spelling matches, singing schools and Sunday School.  There were special programs given on holidays and on the last day of school.  Exhibitions in the early days were held, and later there were graduating exercises.

An interesting item in the minutes of the school clerk's record in 1891 is that of voting $10.50 in the interest of the Confederate Home at Higginsville.  No explanation of why this was done is given.  Mrs. Kriner thinks probably the voters were in sympathy with this movement since James K. Steen, who was clerk for almost fifty, was a Union soldier, yet who had two brothers who fought with the Confederate Army.

In 1905 the board voted to build a new schoolhouse and the contract was given to Gilmer Ogen for $660.00.  Specifications stated that the size of the building was to be 36x22xl2 with a cloakroom in front.  It was to face the north, with steps leading up to the porch. The building was painted one coat on the outside and two coats on the inside by Clay Morris, who also constructed all the outbuildings for the sum of $23.50.

Mrs. Kriner lists the following teachers as having entered other fields of work later: Ed Daly, served as sheriff, J. J. Jordan, county superintendent of schools; S. J. Hoge, County Recorder; Harriet Hawker and Ila McCormack, held city offices; L. A. Chapman, lawyer. Among the pupils were three preachers, all Baptists. Rev. James K. Steen, father of Lee Steen, Rev. Clay Morris, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church at Hot Springs, South Dakota, for nine years, and W. J. Diegelman, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Laramie, Wyoming, since 1935.  There were two doctors, Tom Gray, now deceased, and Miss Elizabeth Williams of California.  There were many teachers among the pupils including Nora Crowe Williams, Rosa Harmon, Lizzie Morris Kriner, Mary Rachel and Helen Bonderer, Alice Morris Bauer and Elizabeth Morris Coffman.  E. C. Knaus, one of the earliest teachers, was an uncle of the Morris children.

The present building has one full-length window and two high square windows on the west. There are seven windows on the east side.  The floor is of hardwood.  The slate blackboard extends across the south wall.  Two bookcases hold three sets of reference books and many textbooks.  There are maps and globes.  The desks are individual seats. There is a teacher's desk and chair.  There are worktables and a large jacketed coal stove. The room is lighted by electricity.

There is a merry-go-round on the school ground.  A beautiful flag is hoisted to the top of the flagpole each morning and taken down at the close of the school day.

Mrs. Bessie McKerlie Kimber taught grades 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 last school year.  Mrs. Kimber lives at 402 Walnut Street, Chillicothe and drove to school from her home each day.  This was her first term at Green Grove.  She has taught for 12 years in Livingston, Adair, Grundy, and Schuyler counties.  There were three graduates from this school term – Joan Surber, Lawrence Loney and Joe Tipton.  The pupils carried out the 9-point health program and went to Linville school for health tests.  The following six pupils received buttons:  Timmie and Aggie Steen, Terry Smith, Page Edwards and Joyce and Lawrence Loney.

The children play baseball, Blackman, Dare Base, Hide and Go Seek and Signal and Cowboy.

Mrs. Kimber took the pupils on a trip to Kansas City during the term. 

Pupils attending Green Grove the past school year are Joyce and Lawrence Loney, Richard and Karon Graham, Joan Surber, Page Edwards, Joe Tipton, Timmie and Aggie Steen, Darrell Sampsell, Terry Smith and Ronnie Duvall.