Tells Half-Century of Sampsel School
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, October 23, 1953.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

Moody School Building, moved there in 1921, dates back even longer

Sampsel School is located in District 46, Township 58, and Range 25. Two corner lots, approximately 50x100 were given for the school’s site by George D. Wagner in 1903.

The school was built by J. A. Walker and Charles Dawkins. It was a one-roomed building approximately 40x24, which faced the west. Desks, which faced the west, had tops which raised and lowered. The teacher’s desk was in the west end of the building.

John Hargrove was the first teacher, in 1903 followed by Miss Cole, who taught two terms. Miss Cole later was married to Everett Stith and now lives four and one-half miles north of Sampsel. Mrs. Stith and A. D. Walker of Sampsel furnished most of the school’s early history.

In an interview, Mrs. Stith said that opening exercises at the school when she taught, consisted of reading a chapter from the Bible, repeating the Lord’s Prayer and often singing a hymn. School terms at that time were six months long. Subjects studied were Franklin readers, Stowell’s Physiology, Milne’s Arithmetic and Algebra, Patrick’s Grammar, Progressive Spelling, Rand-McNally’s Geography, Civil Government, literature, and ancient history.

Games played were ball, blackman, and prisoner’s base. Literary societies and spelling matches were held occasionally at the school.

The first board members were Tom Brookshire, G. D. Wagner, and William R. Walker (father of A. D. Walker).

Mrs. Stith boarded in the homes of J. A. Walker and G. D. Wagner. She paid $3.00 a week for room and board.  Her salary was $35.00 per month.

Early teachers who followed Miss Cole were Mary Horton, Grace Brant, Alice Bennett, Foy Trimble, Rhoda Ragan and Lela Minnick. According to information furnished by Charles Wagner, his aunt, Rachel (Walker) Mast taught her first term of school as early as 1895 and 1896.

Early patrons of the district included the names of McWilliams, Caladine, Walker, Ware, Brookshire, Gann, Larimore, Wagner, Frazier, Buster, Bledsaw, Whitaker, Austin, Todd, Keith, Roberts, Treon and Minnick.

In 1920 it was voted to have a consolidated high school at Sampsel. The high school opened September 6, 1920, with a two-year accredited school.

Names of the high school pupils attending the first year and their addresses follow: Joseph Greenwood, North Carolina; Hugh McClure, Mooresville, Missouri; Raymond Wilson, California, (state); Edwin Wilson, Chillicothe; George Dryden, Sedalia; Roy Ewen, (deceased); Elizabeth (Dryden) Minnick, Lock Springs; Ruth (Lewis) Kispert, California (state); Juanita (Hayes) Vandyke, Altamont; Eunice (Akers) Wagner, Chillicothe; Gladys (Mast) Chapin, Chillicothe; Oakland Douglas (who furnished this information), Chillicothe; Naomi (Sexsmith) Lay, Chillicothe; Anna (Thompson) Wells, Wheeling; Faye Cusick (deceased).

In 1921 the high school moved to the former grade school building and the original building was enlarged to twice its size, partitioned into two rooms, by means of sliding doors. A three-year high school was maintained. In 1922-23 a room was added upstairs, which made three rooms in the building, a full four-year high school was held. Most of the materials and labor for the added rooms was donated.

The members of the first graduating class in May 1923, were: Joseph Greenwood, Raymond Wilson, Hugh McClure, Gladys Mast, Eunice Akers, and Ruth Lewis.

In the thirteen years the high school functioned, twenty trophies were won in Basketball, track, oratorical and music contests.

The high school closed in May 1933. Graduating that year were: Mildred (Grouse) Walker, Chillicothe; Mary (Dryden) Gann, Cameron; Catherine (Holman) Dawkins (deceased); Roy Hicklin, Chillicothe; Wesley Cooper, Cameron; Albert Arnett, Jr., Montana (state). This building now serves as a community center.

When the high school moved in 1921 to the former grade building, the Moody School, which was located in District 7, Sampsel township, Section 33, two miles southwest of Sampsel, was moved to two lots west of the original grade school building. These lots, comprising approximately one-fourth acre, were purchased by the school board. This building, which has recently been remodeled, still serves as Sampsel’s grade school.

Interesting facts about the Moody School in its original setting have been discovered, therefore a short history of the school follows:

Moody School

It could not be determined when Moody School was first established; however in an interview with Mrs. J. M. Roberts of Sampsel, it was learned that the building was very old at the time she attended in 1885, at the age of fourteen. Her husband, now past eighty-five, stated that he helped Smith Walker build benches and desks for the school of native lumber.

Mrs. Martha Shumate of Larned, Kansas, who was Miss Martha Brown when she taught there in 1891, had this to say of the building: “The house was just a shack, built of box siding and the cracks covered with slate. It was ceiled inside. The window frames were loose and rattled. Some of the window panes were broken with shingles tacked over the holes. The old wood stove, was dangerous.” She writes that the schoolhouse sat in a grove of shell bark hickory trees and the boys kept a supply of the shell bark peeled for kindling which was piled in one corner of the building.

School board members at that time were Monah Reecer and Smith Walker, whose children made up most of the school’s personnel. Miss Brown, who lived five miles from the school, rode horseback to and from school. Mr. Roberts recalls that she came to see him in regard to teaching Moody School, and that he recommended her to the school board as a capable teacher. He said she was riding horseback the day she came to see him. Mrs. Shumate writes that she rode one of his father’s work horses to school, “and COULD he gallop!” She rode a sidesaddle with her right knee thrown over the saddle’s horn and her foot in the stirrup. Her riding habit was a long, very full, black skirt, which she wore over her regular attire.  She would have to pull up the under part of the skirt enough to find the stirrup and the skirt would fall below her foot “in a long, stylish way.” When it rained she carried a parasol. She writes, “wouldn’t that be a picture show these days?” She says the school term was divided into a four-month winter term and a three-month summer term.  The larger boys only had four months of school as they were needed on the farm during the summer term. A new building was erected in 1893. At this time Miss Elizabeth Moody gave the acre of land for the school’s site on August 4, 1893.  The school is named for the Moody family, which lived across the road one-fourth mile south of the school. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts say this building was erected on the same spot where the previous school building had stood. Mrs. Fred Eberlin of Breckenridge, who was Amanda Reecer when she attended Moody School, writes that her first teacher in 1895, was Miss Rachel Walker, whose married name is Mast.  Other teachers named by her follow: John Peniston, Miss Eades, Charles Greenwood, Elma Dryden, Lovie McCLure, Robert Locke and Eva Hilt. Her last teacher was Asa Brookshire, whom she considers her “outstanding teacher.” She writes that there were literary societies, spelling matches, church and Sunday School services, box and pie suppers at Moody School while she was a pupil there. Her father, Monah Reecer, served on the school board for years. She writes that the land where the schoolhouse stood, overflowed during rainy seasons. The writer was privileged to visit recently, the spot where this little school once stood. Nothing remains except one tree, which might have been there when the school functioned. The Reecer home was pointed out, and it seems well-preserved. The river has claimed the Moody home. Mrs. Elmer Skinner of Kidder, who was Maude Hicks when she attended Moody School in 1900, was helpful in supplying names of those she felt would be able to give data for Moody School’s history. Her family lived on the Moody farm. Her first teacher’s name was Miss Elma Dryden. Some of her schoolmates were Roscoe, Harve, Cora and Amanda Reecer; Grover and Eva Gann; Aaron and Laura Walker. In an interview with Mrs. E. T. Johnson of Chillicothe, it was found that she taught Moody School 42 years ago. She was then Miss Jessie Maddox. She taught two terms and had approximately 42 students attending. In later years, Mr. Drury Wilson now of Cleveland, Oklahoma, taught Moody School. He comes back occasionally to visit friends in Sampsel. As in other rural schools, pupils from Sampsel have found success in their chosen fields. Charles D. Wagner, a pupil at Sampsel, took a postal examination in Kansas City in 1906 and served the Kansas City post office for 33½ years, though he completed but an eighth grade education. Later he moved to Sampsel and has done well.

A. D. (Dan) Walker, of Sampsel, a former pupil served as representative to Jefferson City during 1937-38.  He is now serving as field man for the State’s Sales Tax Department.  Dr. Foy Trimble of St. Joseph, a former pupil and teacher, was a commander during World War I and is now a practicing physician in St. Joseph. Mrs. Bessie Grimes of Chillicothe, who is Sampsel’s present teacher furnished all information about the school’s latest history. Mrs. Grimes drives to school each day from her home. This is her second term at Sampsel. She previously taught in Daviess and Grundy Counties for seven years, and served as substitute teacher in the Chillicothe schools for six years.  She says she finds the cooperation of the patrons of Sampsel School one of the highlights of her zest for teaching. The present building is modern. It has five windows on the west side and a window on the south, which are all fitted with storm windows. The building is insulated. 

The anteroom on the south has a built-in sink on the west side, with a built-in storage space beneath.  On the east side of it is a pole with coat hangers, and above this is a shelf which extends the length of the anteroom. There is a window in the west. The top part of the outside door is glass. The floor of the anteroom is of concrete. A medicine chest with a first-aid kit, and a paper cup container and towel rack are part of the anteroom’s equipment. A door lead’s from the anteroom into the main building. This room has 36 desks which face the north, and across the front of the room there is a slate blackboard. The teacher’s desk is of metal. It was purchased last year. The chair is an office type. A long table along the east wall is used for reference books, with two shelves beneath, one used for the bookmobile books. There is a study table in the back room by the south window. There are two cupboard-type cabinets, a recitation bench, an electric clock, six folding chairs, a flag pole, a full set of maps, globe and many reference books, a large dictionary, a piano and a radio. 

The building was heated with an oil-burning furnace, which stands in the southeast corner of the room. Mrs. Grimes is teaching arithmetic in all the grades from the first to the eighth inclusive, and in other subjects she is teaching the xxxxxxx Playground equipment includes a merry-go-round, swing, teeter-totter, slides, trapeze chains with rings, baseballs and bats, volley-ball and a baseball diamond. Games played are dodge ball, black-man, dare-base, throw-the-wicket, pig-in-the-pen, jump-the-rope, charades and anti-over. Last term, nineteen students received their 9-point health pins. The children were given X-Ray examinations for TB. A bus was chartered on the 2nd of May, with Clyde Copple of Dawn as driver, and the children were taken to Kansas City’ Union Station. From there they went to Swope Park to enjoy the lunches brought from home. The money for this project was raised by having a pie supper, which netted $165.00. Earlier, a trip was enjoyed to one of Chillicothe’s printing presses, the water plant, the power and light plant and a bakery. The trip concluded with lunch at the teacher’s home after which they all went to a picture show.

The 28 pupils attending Sampsel last year were Ardith Douglas, Barbara Douglas, Shirley and Margaret Goodman, Stephen and David Martin, Carol, Delbert, Joyce and June Miller, Gary Still, David Daley, J. R. Dell, Frank and Jerry Gaston, Jennie and Sherry Killian, Connie Jones, Karon Tiberghien, Cecil Walker, Darrell and Darlene Plowman, Larry Walker, Mary Pat Van Zant, Marjorie Powers, Sharon Snyder, Gary Sprouse and Lois Whittworth.   The bus drivers were Mrs. Ernest Douglas and Chet James. The children came from Raulie, Kirk, Brown, Sneed and Sampsel school districts. Directors last year were Kenneth Walker, president, Roger Van Zant, Harry Nelson Walker, and Mrs. W. T. Morris, clerk. The second Thursday evenings of each month, it is the meeting date of the town’s community club. Interesting programs by patrons, often assisted by the children, are enjoyed. Box and pie suppers are held occasionally. The school children give a Christmas program each year at the Mount Olive Church.

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