History of Manning School
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, July 17, 1957.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

In interviewing Emmett Raney of Chula it was learned that the first school site in Township 59, Range 22, Section 12, District 17, which is 2 ½ miles east of Chula, was across the road northeast of the present Manning School site.It was known as the Raney School, since James C. Raney, a barber, who was the father of Emmett Raney, gave the land, which was formerly owned by Thomas Traner.   Mr. Raney served as clerk of the district for many years.   It could not be ascertained when the first school was built.

Marion (Doc) Butler of Wheeling, started to school in this district in 1886 at the age of 7. He says the school at that time was known as Manning School. He had two brothers, Fred and Lester, and a sister Elizabeth, who also were pupils there.   They attended two years earlier than did Mr. Butler.   They were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Amos Butler, who lived near the school. His first teacher was Miss Doris Smith. Some other early teachers were Elvie Norman, who taught in 1889; a Miss Harper, and a Mr. Harper, John Smith, Mr. McCollum, Ella Wall, Jeff Mallory and brother, John Raney and Sally Stone.

The building was in bad repair at this time, faced the west and had three windows on each of the north and south sides.   Desks were home-made as were the long recitation benches.   The room was heated by a cordwood stove with a drum on top.   It was in the center of the room.

Between thirty and thirty-five pupils attended then. Some early pupils he recalled were: Jim Earl, Kate, Nellie, John and Milo Raney; Jenny and Greeley Turner; Nora Holmes;

Jim Douglas; Herman Coon; Jim Todd; Lizzie, Lester and Fred Butler; John and Viola White; Claude, Wade and Myrtle Manning; Arthur, Levi, Albert and Lucina Hurst; Brown and Dick Lightner; Ira and Henry Beales; Walter, Fields and Millie Loven; Del, Min, Bill and Clyde Cubberly; Aruh, George and Mary Hutchinson; Jesse and Sherman Longwith; Al, Charles , Jeff and Jim Wallace; Iva Rolla; Bruce, Ed and Delbert Gorman.

There was a cistern and a storm cellar on the school grounds. Games most popular then were baseball, black man, dare base, and snow-balling.

When the school burned, the second school building was erected on the present site and was known as the Manning School, since W. L. and Lucy Manning gave a deed for an acre of land for the school site on October 3, 1892, for the sum of $50.00. Mt. Zion Church, which was razed some years ago, stood one-half mile west of the school.

This building was frame, approximately 24x30 feet, facing the east with a door in that end. It had three window on the north and east sides. It had a shingle roof and a pine floor. The interior was plastered and painted white above the wainscoting, which was varnished. The blackboard extended across the west end above the rostrum.  There wee enough double desks to seat fifty pupils.   They faced the west. There were two recitation benches and a teacher’s desk on the rostrum.   Light for night entertainments was furnished by lanterns and lamps brought by the patrons of the school.

Some patrons at this time were families by the name of Trumbo, Raney, Manning, Gillispie, Phillips, Hampton, Earl, McClain, Patterson, Cubberly and VanHorn.

Games played were fox and geese, baseball, shinny, black man, and anti-over, spelling bees with neighboring schools, pie and box suppers, basket dinners at the close of school, were activities engaged in.

Henry Hampton, who lives in the district east of the school, started to Manning School in 1898. His first teacher was Cordia Fisher, who boarded in the home of Mrs. Florence Gregg.  Other teachers he recalled were Jennie Turner, Letha Salisbury, Melda Cole, J. J. Jordan, Abe Mallory and Eva Duff.  Mr. Hampton’s mother, Margaret McQuaid, came from Pennsylvania in 1866, attended the first school in the district.  She had one sister and one brother who were also pupils the school.

Frank Dayton of Chillicothe started to Manning School in 1896. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dayton lived one and one-half mile east of the school.   His brother, Joseph, and four sisters, Winifred, Mary, Kay and Agnes were pupils. His first teachers were Cordia Fisher, Nellie Cole, Maude Fields, A. Hart, and Marie Hart, his daughter; Anna and Lizzie Dunser. Mr. Hart and the pupils sang each morning before the lessons were started.   Miss Marie Hart now has a business college of her own in California.   Mr. Dayton’s mother whose maiden name was Ella Raney, was a pupil of the school in the early days.

Emmett Raney started to Manning School in 1902.   His parents lived a mile east of the school.   Two of his sisters and five brothers also attended.   His first teacher was Miss Maude Fields.   Miss Fields taught Manning School two terms.   She boarded in the Dayton and Raney homes.  She now lives in Chillicothe.

Mrs. Ernie Plaster, who was Edna Hutchinson, when she attended the school, lived with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Hutchinson one mile north of the school. Her father was an early pupil of the district, as were his brothers and sisters.

Lena Gorman, now Mrs. Frank Dayton, taught Manning School in 1915. Jim Raney and Jim Earl were two of the directors. She bought library books with the proceeds from a box supper and program that term.   She boarded at Sam Patterson’s and paid $3.00 a week board.   A teacher’s record book available, which started September 3, 1917, listed thirty-six pupils enrolled during Miss Gorman’s term.   Grades taught that year were 1-3-5-7.   Subjects taught were arithmetic, reading, grammar, language, history, agriculture, geography, writing and spelling.   There were ninety volumes listed in the library.   Ten trees were on the school grounds.   Her salary was $50.00 per month.

Gertrude Stith taught the 1918-19 term with twenty-nine enrolled from the age of five to sixteen years. There were thirteen boys and sixteen girls. Davidson’s Physiology, Brooks Literature, drawing and nature study, were subjects added during her term. The names of other texts used were Brook’s Readers, Bose Primer, Hazelton’s Arithmetic, Merrill’s Geography, Tarr and McMurray’s Grammar, Manley and Dailey History, Gordy’s Elementary and Advanced Citizenship, Benson and Bett’s Agriculture.   There were 210 volumes in the library at this time, among them There were 210 volumes in the library at this time, among them “Sunbonnet Babies” and “Overall Boys.” Her salary was $65.00.

Neva Grace Bowe taught the 1920-21 term with twenty-one enrolled.   Inez Casida was the next teacher. She received $90.00 salary. She recorded that the school seated forty-three pupils.   There were nineteen visitors that term.   There were twenty-three enrolled. There were 179 library volumes listed. Viola Heis taught the 1922-23 term.

It is interesting and a matter of record for future reference to list the titles of library volumes given by one of these teachers: 

City of Seven Hills

Stories of Missouri

Scudder’s Book of Legends

Merchant of Venice

Courtship of Miles Standish

Tales From Shakespeare

Stories of the Great Republic

Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates

Little Women

Indian Myths

The Boys Parkman

Warren’s Elements of Agriculture

Davis’ Productive Farming

Gher’s Productive Farming

Mann’s Beginning in Agriculture

Wilson’s Elements of Farm Practice

American Indians

Rivals for America

Travels at Home

The Man Without A Country

The Hoosier School Boy

Treasure Island

Type Studies From United States Geography

Geography readers on Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America

Industrial Studies of the United States

Stories of Great Americans

Robinson Crusoe

King Arthur and His Knights

Four Great Americans

A Dog of Flanders

The Little Book of the Flag

Black Beauty

Story of Lincoln

How We Are Fed

Language Through Nature

The Tree Dwellers

Good Health

Stories of Pioneer Life

The Eskimo Twins

Heart of Oak

Hiawatha Primer

Our Birds and Their Nestlings

The Little Brown Men

Three Little Cotton Tails

Seven Little Sisters

Builders of Our Country

Story of Cotton

King of Golden River

Bow Wow and Mew Mew

South American Geographical and Industrial Studies

Being A Boy

The names of 43 bulletins, all of them on farm problems, also were listed.

An old clerk’s record covering a 14 year period from September 11, 1931 to April 3, 1945, shows teacher’s salaries varied from $45.00 to $75.00 during this time. Teachers listed in the record were Delphia Duff, Mildred Pierce, Lela Mabel Shiflett, Oakland Brassfield, and Miss Cheatum. Bus drivers were Wade Smith and Leroy Gillispie. The highest enumeration of school age children in the district during these years, was thirty-three in 1937, eighteen girls and fifteen boys.   Expense for books, including World Books and supplementary books was $114.04. Textbook expense was $231.15. Tuition and bus fare amounted to $402.20.   Other expenses of considerable amounts were $111.35 for improving the building in 1931; $25.00 for wiring the school room in 1940; $10.00 for a flagpole in 1931. $7.88 for a new pump in 1934; $204.80 for anew heating plant from Markey Tin Shop in 1938; $16.65 for chairs from Falnigan Co., in 1939; $19.44 for paint and plaster from Farmer’s Mercantile Co., in 1939.

District chairmen, clerks and secretaries for the period included L. L. Gillispie, J. W. Earl, Richard Raney, J. C. Raney, E. A. Raney, O. A. Wilson, Grace Raney, Fred Pierce, Mrs. Frank Gillispie and Harold Raney.

A special school election was held June 21, 1932, to vote on free textbooks.   It carried. The special election was April 6, 1941, for the purpose of increasing the school levy from 20 to 30 cents was voted unanimously.

The current facts of the school were obtained from the present teacher, Mrs. Margaret O’Bryant, who has finished her fifth consecutive term there.   Mary and Mabel Shiflet, her sisters also taught Manning School.   Other schools Mrs. O’Bryant has taught in Livingston County are Banner and White Cloud. She is a graduate of Chillicothe High School and has semester hours from Kirksville, Maryville and William Jewell Colleges. She rides to and from school with Mrs. Evelyn Chapman, who teaches the Gordonville School.   She lives 2½ miles east of Eversonville.  

Students the last current year were Mary Jean, Barbara and Carol Ann Thomas; Nancy and Scott Hall; Larry and Gary Graves; Sheila and Ronnie Eckert; Charlotte Eckert; Charlotte and John Hinnen. All eight grades were taught, being correlated.   Projects to supplement the regular school work were carried out.   Maps and posters were made. The 9-point health system was followed. Pupils went to Chula to attend the health clinic.   A trip was made during the school term to Chillicothe to visit different business places.

The walls of the schoolroom are a pastel blue with a pastel pink ceiling.   Cross lighting comes from four windows on the south and four on the north. The windows have green shades. There is one door in the east, which opens out into a hallway.  The room has new hardwood floors.  There are fourteen desks.   There is a rostrum across the west end of the room and slate blackboards above it. There are two bulletin boards used for artwork and other displays.   The room is heated by a jacketed oil stove.  Wraps are hung in the hallway.   The room has a piano, primary table and one for the older children, eight folding chairs, two built-in bookcases on the east.   There is a hot plate used to warm soup at the noon hour.   The building faces the east. School ground equipment includes baseballs, basketballs, swings and two teeter-totters.   There is a well with a pump at the northeast corner and a flag and pole on the east side of the building. Games played include black man, baseball, Sheep-My-Pen, tag, Clap-in Clap-out, contest, jump the rope and charades.  

There is a community club, which meets once a month at night at the school.   The president, when the writer interviewed Mrs. O’Bryant, was Maxine Eckert. The miscellaneous programs given include the patrons and at times the pupils.   A special masquerade Halloween party was greatly enjoyed.   The 4-H Tri-Community Club meets at Manning School the first Thursday evening of every month. Mrs. Ruby Thomas is the leader.

A picture of Manning School pupils and teacher appeared in the Constitution-Tribune January 21, 1954, along with several other rural schools in the county, with an article on the benefits, etc., of the Bookmobile, which was titled “A Tax Supported Service on Wheels Takes Knowledge To Hundreds of Livingston County Families.” At that

Time on pupil was quoted as saying “I’ve read every book I’ve taken out and I reckon I’ve checked out every one I could think of.” The article remarked that he left with an armful. Mary Thomas, who had collided with Johnny Hinnen while playing a game, displayed a black eye that day, whereupon the bookmobile librarian, Mrs. Helen Berkshire of Mooresville, remarked that black-eyed blondes were rare.   At that time rivers were being studied in class, and it was with delight that the teacher, Mrs. O’Bryant welcomed the arrival of books on rivers and the film on the Mississippi.

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