History of Linville District
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, November 30, 1956.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

District built log school building in 1863

Early records of Linville School were not obtainable but through interviews with several former pupils of the school, important data regarding the school was collected.

The school took its name from the Wiley Linville family, which lived on an adjacent farm across the road to the south of the schoolhouse.  Linville School is in Township 58, Range 24, Section 12, District 32, 4 ½ miles north of Chillicothe.

The first Linville School was built of logs on the same site as the present building.  It was chinked with mud.  W. L. Cox, whose father, John C. Cox, was one of the first twelve pupils, was able to give the following information about the first school built in, 1863. The little log schoolhouse, which was approximately 16x20 feet, faced the west, with a door in that end and a window in the east.  The back-less benches, about six feet long, were made of split logs. There were four benches on either side of the room and an aisle down the center of the dirt floor.  Pupils kept their books on the seat beside them.  The room was heated by a box-type wood burning stove. Forked sticks jutting out of the log walls held the children’s wraps and Mr. Cox vows that his father said once a disobedient boy was hung up on one of the sticks by the teacher.


The first teacher was a Mr. Thomas who charged a dollar per pupil per month.  Five of first pupils were J. C. Cox, Emery Burton, Jeff Linville, Charles and John Lyle. The first term of school was of four months duration. At this time there was a little Indian trading post three-quarters of a mile west and a half-mile north of the school. The proprietor was a Frenchman by the name of Schattear.

Some directors during the log school days were Wiley Linville, John Thompson and I. M. Anderson.

Scott McNally was another teacher in the first school and taught in 1869 the same year that Benjamin Dienst deeded the land for the school site.

Mrs. Maude Cox, who was Maude Knouse when she was a pupil at Linville School and when she later taught school in 1904, furnished the names of the following early teachers: Wright Smith, Jeff Reeves, Henry Glaze, Irene Smith, George Meyers, who walked 4½ miles to and from Linville School each day; Mr. Carson, who dropped dead while playing a Halloween prank, and whose term was finished by Ida Baker; Henry O’Neal, who taught in 1882; James Lowe, Jeff Linville, who taught two terms, the first in 1884; Laura Miller in 1887, teaching two consecutive terms: Frank Burns, Frank Miller, Anna Stewart, Lola Withers, Bessie St. Clare, Mrs. Albe Cook McCormick, Delbert Culling, John Gallatin, Grant Matthews, and Lucy Hall. For a period of two years at Linville School two teachers were hired.

Mrs. Cox’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Knauss, lived one-fourth mile south of the school. She had a sister, Lottie, who was also a pupil. Her first teacher was Jeff Linville. Her grandmother, Mrs. Wm. Knause owned a cupboard built from some of the first school’s lumber. The first building was bought by Benjamin Dienst who moved it a short distance across the field to his farm and used it for a shop.

W. L. Cox started to Linville School in the same building in which his father attended after the little log structure was abandoned.  One of his teachers, Henry O’Neal, also taught his father.  He boarded in the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, who live one and three-quarters of a mile southwest of the school. He paid $1.50 a week for board and received a $14.00 teaching salary and did his own janitorial work.  In 1885 he failed to get a school and became so despondent that he took his life, Mr. Cox said.

The second school building was frame but was boxed instead of weather-boarded.It was built on the same site as the first one by local carpenters who also built the desks, which were large enough to hold three or four pupils each. This building burned in 1924.

Games played then were tag, wood-tag, Chickie-Chickie-Me-Crainie-Crow, Pretty boys in town, Charades, town ball, mumble-peg, anti-over, Blackman, Fox and geese, and Shinny. Some mischievous boy cut a hole through the blackboard and the outside wall through which boys would poke sticks and weeds while other pupils wore working at the board.  Once someone got a squirt of long-green tobacco juice in his eye when the weed was removed.

Enrollment when Mr. Cox was age15 was 87 due to the fact that there were several coal miners in the district at that time with large families.

Some of the directors during his school days were John Cox, Mr. Anderson, John Knause, Alonzo Cox, and John Cooper.

Spelling bees with other schools nearby were events to which the pupils looked forward. Literary societies with debates then were popular.  Cyphering matches were held often with J. C. Cox, Sam Thompson and Henry Lowe the most adept pupils at it.  There was always a program at Christmas time with a tree.  The year of 1899 Mr. Cox remembers having plowed corn on December 24, going barefoot all afternoon.

Mr. Cox recalls one program, which included a dialogue in which the pupils were blacked with cork.  The doctor in the play supposedly sawed off the leg of John Hood with a wood saw and saw-buck.  Catsup was poured over the leg to make it more realistic.  He declares some of the women in the audience fainted.

Other entertainments well attended at the school were medicine shows with sleight-of-hand performances, and political speakings.

The schoolyard was fenced with wire on the north and south and had a board fence out to the road on the west. There was a large elm tree at the northwest corner. Water was carried from a spring one-fourth mile south of the school.

Miss Lizzie Morris, now Mrs. Lizzie Kriner, taught Linville School three terms beginning in 1912. Maude Haynes and Frances Green were also Linville School teachers.

Mrs. J. G. Sparling who was Celia Lowe when a pupil at Linville School and afterwards a teacher at Linville, furnished much important information about Linville and its teachers and pupils. Mrs. Sparling, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Lowe, comes from a family of teachers.  Her great-grandfather, John Lowe; her grandfather J. A. Lowe, her father, J. H. Lowe.  Mrs. Sparling and her son, Moyne Sparling, have been teachers.  Soon her grand-daughter, June Sparling, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Sparling, who is a junior at Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota, will join the five generations of teachers since she plans that as her work upon graduation.

Three of the children of Mignon Lowe, now Mrs. Harvey Sparling, who is a sister, of Mrs. Harrison Sparling have taught and are teachers now.  Betty Sparling taught at Manhattan State College in Kansas.  Jackie Sparling taught at Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa; Shirley Sparling is teaching in Vancouver, B. C., Canada.

Mrs. Sparling’s father J. H. Lowe, began teaching at the age of 15 and taught for many years in Grundy, Chariton and Livingston counties, some schools in the latter county being Brown, Raulie, Gibbs, and Kirk. She started to school at Gibbs School when her father was teaching there. The family later moved to the Linville district on the home place of her grandfather John A. Lowe after his death.John A. came to Livingston County in 1859 and took up his residence on a farm one-fourth mile south and three-fourth mile west of Linville School. His children, John H., Mary Jane, David, William, Isophene, Angenette, Lucian, Viola and Frank attended Linville School. John A. was a graduate of Linville Normal School and served as county commissioner in 1892.  The sisters and brothers of Mrs. Sparling who attended Linville School were Belle, John, Mignon, Charles and Andrew Lowe.

Her first teacher at Linville School was Albert Culling who taught three consecutive terms. He boarded at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Knause. Her second teacher was Mrs. Alta Cook McCormick, wife of James McCormick who was the high school principal and later county superintendent of schools. Mrs. McCormick also taught three consecutive terms. Mrs. Sparling declares that she gave the schoolroom a woman’s touch. The plain teacher’s desk was transformed into a very pretty one by covering the top of it with colorful oilcloth and fastening a flounce of bright cloth around the sides. Mrs. McCormick was able to instruct her pupils in the art of public speaking, having graduated a course in elocution. Linville School programs were therefore outstanding during her stay as teacher.  Through Mrs. McCormick’s training, Celia Lowe was called upon to give recitations many times at the Chillicothe High School, County Teacher’s Meetings, and other public entertainments.  Mrs. McCormick also stated that she started the first school library, which included some fifty books.  A cupboard was bought to store them in.

Mrs. Sparling’s other teachers at Linville School were Daisy White and J. N. Gallatin.

Mrs. Sparling furnished a good description of the Linville School she attended.  The building faced the west with four windows on the north and south and a door in the west. Two rows of double seats faced the blackboards, which extended across the east end of the room and on either side as far as the first windows. Boys sat on one side and girls on the other. There was a section of smaller seats through the center of the room. Recitation benches were in front of the blackboard. The building was heated by two stoves, a large one near the back center of the room and a smaller one near the front. Coal was used as fuel.  Wraps were hung on nails on either side of the back part of the room, the boys on one side the girls on the other.  Dinner pails were placed on the floor.  Pupils did much board work in most all their subjects and slates and pencils were used for seat work.

Entertainment at the school was very similar to that described by Mr. Cox in earlier days. Mrs. Sparling told of the community Christmas event for the first year of Mrs. McCormick’s teaching. Limbs of an oak tree were wrapped with tissue paper and tinfoil, with evergreen tied to the ends of the branches. Strings of popcorn and cranberries were its decorations. With pretty dolls, other toys and presents hung on it, she declares it was the most beautiful she has ever seen.

Dare base, what’s my trade, Grandmother Gray, and policeman were games played at Linville School, added to those already named.

Linville School produced not a few teachers. Besides its former pupils who later taught, other than those already mentioned there was Jean Cox, Ruth Cox, Billy Lee (Emerson) Beal, now teaching at Utica; Blanch (Smith) Olson, Maude (Edwards) McIrvin, Belle Lowe, John Lowe, Charles (Dickey) Cox, and Gladys Smith.

Mrs. Sparling furnished a list of Linville School’s early pupils.  They are: Howard, Laura and Ella Lyle; Charles, Melvin, May Joe, Frank, and Virgil Darr; Carey, Will and Henry Adams; Will, Jeff, Ed, Bud, Sam, Amanda, Susie, Mary and Sarah Linville; Allen and Sam Thompson; Lon, Edd, Annabell, Logan and Alta Regar; May, Frank, Joe and John Lyle; Alice, John, Sarah and Cordie Cox; Arthur and Eugenia James; Sadie and Emmet Knause; Ed and Joe Dienst; Sadie and Harry Shinn; Oscar, Ira and Charles Cox; Sterling and Charles Cox; Edward Sparling; Joe, Will, Calvin, Noy and Edna Cooper; Scott, Joe, John and Lizzie Anderson; Arthur Henderson, later a Chillicothe doctor, and sisters Laura, Mary and Jessie; Ida, Flora, Ed and Barbara Baker; Dorothy and Nanie Gibson. David Gordon was John Lowe’s seat-mate and afterwards practiced medicine in Chillicothe.

Pupils who attended later, when Mrs. Sparling went to Linville School were Mabel, Ethel, Stanley and Charles Meadow; Maud, Flora, Lena, Clarence, Ira, Ivan, Elsie, Beulah and Glen Thompson. Blanche, Winifred, Eunice and Galdys Smith; Elve, Flora and Bessie Anderson; Monet, Myrtle and Harry Hood; Virgil, Lloyd, Earl, Tom, Fay, Guy and Frank Cox; Ed, Dick, Fern, Lloyd and Ray Cooper; Flora and Bertha Johns; Clyta Marx; Bessie Adams; Allen, Alta, Jim, Lucian and Fay Steen; May and Pearl Cole; Joe, Frank and Virgil Darr; Maud and Valeria Edwards; Tye and Iva Johnson; Mattie and Dot Bradford; Gladys and Hazel Overton; and Edward Ragen.

Linville School was the center for the inter-denominational Sunday School for a long time.  It was held on Sunday afternoons.  G. A. Smith, who once taught at the Chillicothe Business College and also served at one time as superintendent of the Chillicothe High School, was the Sunday School superintendent. J. H. Lowe was the teacher, assisted by M. F. Forbis and Alice Adams. Sunday School picnics were an annual event.

Miss Belle Lowe, of Ames, Iowa, is an outstanding former pupil of Linville School.She started to Brown School at the age of five and a half years. Her father, John H. Lowe was the teacher. She later attended Gibbs and Raulie Schools and was graduated from the elementary grades at Linville School in 1900. She is a graduate of Chillicothe High School, Kirksville State Teacher’s College and Chicago University and also attended Missouri University.  She has taught in the Chillicothe public schools, first as an eighth grade teacher, then as a drawing and painting supervisor, later taught domestic science and manual training to the Chillicothe grade children.

She is retiring after serving for thirty-five years in the Iowa State College as experimental dietitian.  She won the first Christy Award, given in 1938 to the person who contributed most to the study of eggs and poultry.

She is internationally known for her book Experimental Cookery, a textbook which is the only one of its kind and is known and acclaimed in Europe as well as Canada and the United States. In addition she has written many articles for state bulletins and scientific magazines and has given radio talks and flown many places to give public addresses.

The following information was gleaned from a "Clerk’s Record Book" of the Linville School beginning May 6, 1930, covering a period of twenty-two years.The largest enumeration of school age children was thirty-six in 1932, ranging in age from sven to nineteen years of age.

Some of the major expenditures for that period were: Library books, $260.00; curtains and shades, $5.00; trimming and filter, $40.00; lumber, $40.00; heating plant, $195.00; roof repair, $25.00. Some surplus seats were sold to the Woodland School for $16.25 in 1941.

Teachers during this time were Ruth Cox, Edward Wilson, Helen Grudgell, Vera Hamilton, Emellen Martin, Marie Inman, Marion Jameison, Marion Newton, Mrs. Lizzie Eckert, Delphia O’Dell, Mrs. Pinkie Cole, Mary Lou Stagner and Thelma Harris.Salaries varied from $40.00 a month during the 1933-34 term to $200.00 for the 1951-52 term.

Directors and clerks included J. Adshire, L. F. Forbis, H. J. Sparling, Everett W. Anderson, W. O. Norman, H. K. Myers, Frank L. Cox, Mrs. S. P. Cox, Mrs. Ed Summerville, Mrs. Celia Sparling.

The schoolhouse was painted in 1931. A pump was installed in 1936 and a piano was purchased for $35.00 from A. E. Stoner that year.

Mrs. Ola Young taught Linville School from 1935 through 1955, retiring at the end of that term after teaching for twenty-five years in the rural schools of Missouri.She taught primary work for two years in a consolidated school in New Mexico.

The first health clinic was held in Linville in 1953 with the other schools nearby attending it, with more than one hundred children examined.

Much program work was done under her. "This Old House" was dramatized. It was built of fine wire and wall paper and an original script was written for it as well as all the other programs given. Mrs. Young thinks the prettiest program of all was on commencement day with the girls all in formals and a speaker for each part.

Mrs. Young took her pupils on several trips, once to Trenton to see the Christmas celebration, a trip to the Utica brick plant, to Pershing Park, and eight of the larger pupils were taken on a 650 mile trip to Hannibal, Jefferson City, and the Lake of the Ozarks.

Hot lunches were prepared by the pupils, with the assistance of the teacher.Proceeds from a pie supper were used to buy supplies. Pupils were divided into squads of three and each squad planned and served its own menus for one week.

Mrs. Eva Ward, who is Linville School’s present teacher and teaching her consecutive term, furnished a complete report of current information about Linville School.

She gives the present school-building’s description built after the one that burned.On the north are five full windows and five small ones on the south. The slate blackboard is on the east end of the room. The west end is a library room with shelves equipped for books and for the storage of playground equipment, such as baseballs, bats, gloves, basketball, volleyball, etc.The school has an excellent library, which is well arranged and neatly kept. There is a cloakroom in the northwest corner of the room.  It is larger than the library room and is equipped with hooks and hangers for wraps and has shelves for lunch boxes on one side of the room. Brooms, mops, and furniture polish, plus some chairs are stored in this room.There is also a small fountain and a small table in this room.

The library room and the cloak room are painted a sea foam green.A hall with double doors that lead into the main room has walls and the ceiling painted white. The floors of the library, cloak room and hall are covered with multi-colored linoleum.The hall is used for entrance only and is very attractive. The schoolroom has four rows of seats and in addition has four desk-type chairs for larger pupils and two for smaller ones so that the children may have greater freedom for study.These chairs are on the north side of the room next to the windows.

There is a work table and eight small chairs, two tables used by the children for art work and for the parents to put their lunch boxes on when attending P.T.A. meetings.

There is a permanent stage across the east end, which provides one of the best platforms for entertainments in the county.

The woodwork is varnished and the schoolroom floor is fir and boasts a new coat of varnish.The walls of the schoolhouse are two-tone, the upper two-thirds painted a sea foam green and the lower one-third a dusty rose. The ceiling is ivory.The windows are equipped with light-tight blinds and sash curtains, which were purchased last year.The room has a piano, radio and an electric record player. There is a new set of maps bought in 1955. The teacher’s desk and chair are of oak. They are located off the platform in the northeast corner of the room.  The coal furnace is in the northwest corner of the room. Just now the room is gay with autumn leaves which have been painted by the children.

The exterior of the schoolhouse is painted white. The flagpole is directly in front of the building. Drinking water comes from a cistern located at the northeast corner of the school-grounds near the building.The grounds are well kept, being mowed during the summer. There are twelve trees including hickory, locust, elm, Chinese elm and oak.

Indoor games the children enjoy are Chinese checkers, dart games, tenpins, Monopoly, etc.

This term there are thirteen pupils attending with all eight grades represented except the fourth grade.  The pupils are Martha Dowell, Marsha Garlick, Norma Jean Cox, Linda Dowell, Richard Garlick, Larry Miller, James Miller, Gary Hamilton, Mary Garlick, Jean Miller, James Pauls, Pamela Garlick and Ronnie Hamilton.

Units on transportation, communication, safety, shelter, forestry, minerals, etc. were completed last year and a number of units will be undertaken this term.Music books have been made by the pupils from the first to the eighth grades.

The children participated in the library work last year.Mrs. Ward and four of her pupils, Norma Jean Cox, James Miller, Mary Garlick and James Pauls occupied the window at Beardmore’s during book week. Linville School was also filmed by the Livingston County Library when making their library films for the county.

The health clinic for Woodland, McCormick, Minor and Linville schools is held each year at Linville School. Last year eighty-three children were examined. This number included the pre-school children.

Regular community meetings are held each third Thursday night.Officers are Joe Miller, president; Fred Lowman, vice-president; Mrs. Manford Cox, secretary and treasurer. Demonstration of regular school work was given by the pupils at the October meeting and the pupils have given special numbers at several meetings.

The president of the school board is Manford Cox, and members are Edward Summerville, and Raymond Garlick. Mrs. Edward Summerville is clerk.

Besides teaching in rural schools of Livingston County for thirteen years, Mrs. Ward taught four years at the State Training School for Girls at Chillicothe. She also teaches a class of adults at the New Providence Presbyterian Church, a mile south of her home.


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