Vaughn School, Four Miles from Avalon Was Begun in 1870
Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, September December 16, 1956.

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by Mrs. Luther Boone, Wheeling, Missouri

reprinted with the permission of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

Classes Last Were Held in 1947-48; Building Now Used By W. O. W. Club

Vaughan School is in District 89, Fairview Township 56, Range 23, Section 18, four miles west of Avalon.  

In the district, comprising parts of Condron and Smith-Campbell districts, was formed in 1870.

The first school was built on ground, which was located in the northwest corner of the Andrew McKerrow yard.  He deeded the acre of land for school purposes.

There was a subscription school in the vicinity before Vaughan School was formed.  In an interview with John Hoyt of Dawn, it was learned that his mother, Amanda Messer and Martha Rose, who later married Charles Goff, were among the first subscription pupils.

Mrs. George Barnhart of Dawn, furnished most of the data for the school’s early history, having compiled a record of the school for the Constitution-Tribune’s Centennial edition in 1937.  She obtained much of the information from Mrs. Maggie Marshall, who was Dan Vaughan’s daughter. The school was named for Mr. Vaughan because he laid out the district, helped build the school, hired the first teacher and served as the first director.  His land cornered the school site on the south.

Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Mary Good and Mrs. Charles Goff were among the first Vaughan School pupils. Four generations of the Goff family received their education at Vaughan School.

Early directors included Jeff Linville, Nick Barnhart, Mark Brooks, John Hoyt, Mat McKerrow, Phil Barnhart, Charles Goff and Nate McDaniel.

Vaughan School’s first teacher was Miss Maggie McCleary, a sister of Judge James McCleary who lived on the Hickory Grove farm1 ¾ miles north of the school.  Other early teachers include Mr. Abbott, Effie Quirk, Tillie Niven, Dick Stagner, William Milloy, Bertha Coe, Pearl Altman, Wilson Rever, Frank Riley, Mollie Brooks, Mr. Crooks, Mary Coe, Fannie Duncan, Alice Oliver, Charles Kerns, Everett Kerns, Pat Campbell, John Hoyt, Millie Greener, Retta Fullerton, Clarence Robinson, a Vaughan School pupil.

Mrs. Barnhart’s record shows that enrollment during the early days of the school ranged from 75 to 100, with an average attendance of 75.  School terms were divided into approximately two and one-half months of spring and five months of winter. 

George Barnhart of Dawn, and Mr. Hoyt described the first Vaughan schoolhouse.  It was a frame building approximately 30x40 feet facing the south and three windows on the south and three windows on both the east and west sides.  There was a low porch across the south end of the building.  Flooring was of six-inch pine boards.  The walls had wainscoting, which extended up from the floor about two feet. The remainder of the walls and ceiling were ceiled.  The desks faced the south and seated approximately 65 to 70 pupils.  The desks had shelves underneath the tops for books.  Later, drop-top desks were installed. 

There were long, back-less benches on the east and west sides of the room.  The teacher’s desk was a table-top type and was in the center of the room.  There were painted blackboards on each side of the south door and along the east and west walls extending to the first window.  The vestibule, approximately 10x30, joined the main room on the south.  It had an outside door, and two doors on the west which led into the schoolroom.  There were hooks on the east and west ends of the vestibule for wraps and shelves for dinner buckets.  Wood for fuel was stacked in this room. 

Three kerosene bracket type lamps, with reflectors, on either side, furnished light. 

The school had an organ and songs were sung each morning in the opening exercises.

There was a fence on the south and east of the school grounds, which served as a hitching rack. It was made of wooden posts and gas pipe. 

Elm trees were planted in the school yard in 1890.  Water was carried in a cedar bucket from the McKerrow farm a half-quarter mile west of the school.  Pupils drank from a tin dipper.  A cistern was dug when the new schoolhouse was built.

Games played included Mumble-peg, Hounds and Deer, Blackman, Tag and Shinny. 

Among library selections were David Copperfield, Shakepeare’s plays, Greek myths, Leather Stocking Tales, Oliver Twist, Hedpath’s Ancient History and Cooper’s works.

A literary society was organized, in the early days of the school, which existed for more than twenty years.   It was organized at the beginning of school and lasted throughout the term.  Meetings were held weekly, at night.  They included miscellaneous programs.  Special attractions at these entertainments were the debates and the Shield’s family orchestra

Mrs. Nellie Head, who was Nellie Shields, was interviewed.  Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Shields, who live done-fourth mile north of the school.  She had three sisters and three brothers who attended Vaughan School.  Her father, sister, Ada and the three boys, Ethelbert, Wilbur and Clem composed the members of the orchestra.  Mr. Shields and Wilbur played violins; Ethelbert played cello; Clem the triangle; and Ada the organ.  Clem was quite small and often grew sleepy before the entertainment was over and had to be awakened when it was time for the orchestra to play.  Wilbur now lives in Ventura, California, and is an accomplished musician, having composed music for the violin. He has a violin repair shop. 

Some of the debaters were Nick Barnhart, John Hoyt, Sr., Mr. Prosser, Buckner Matthews, Dick Stagner, M. L. Brooks, Mr. Rahrer, Dan Vaughan, Henry Kern, Mr. Elsas, and later, Pat Matthews, George Barnhart, Irl Linville, Cleve Linville and Horace Linville.

Cypering and spelling matches were enjoyed.  Some of the outstanding spellers were Grace Elsas, Edward Elsas, Bert Mitchell, Abbie Brooks and Bessie Gaines.

Writing schools were held. They were subscription affairs, pupils paying so much for a term of 12 lessons, which were given weekly at the schoolhouse at night.

Singing schools were formed on the same basis.  Some of the teachers were Henry Kern, Mr. Crooks and Herbert Kitteridge, who was the grandfather of Dr. Kitteridge, dentist, at Chillicothe.

Sunday School was held often at the schoolhouse through the years.  Harvey Moore, Frank Rohrer, Mrs. Allimon and J. C. Linville served as superintendents.

Mrs. Anna Kerr, who was Anna Winfrey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Winfrey, and who lived three-quarters of a mile north of Vaughan School, remembers one bad storm during school hours.  The children and the teacher went to the Vaughan’s basement until the storm was past.  The cyclone struck about a mile east of the schoolhouse, destroying two homes.

A new schoolhouse was built in 1910 in the southeast corner of the schoolyard, nearer the road.  The old building was torn down.  Charles and James Goff built the new schoolhouse. 

Members of the board at this time were John Byers, Mat McKerrow, and P. H. Barnhart.  Miss Kate Hoyt was the first teacher in the new building.

This structure is still standing and is being used W. O. W. Extension Club for meetings.

It is weather-boarded, approximately 24x30 feet and faces the east.  It has three short high windows on the south and six long, two sash windows on the north.  The 8x10 anteroom, which was used for wraps and dinner pails, joins the main room on the east. It has one window in the north, one in the east and an outside door in the south.  The door in the west opens into the school room.

There are black boards on the east wall, on either side of the room.

Desks faced the east. The room is heated by a jacketed coal stove.

The building has a bungalow type roof.  The well is near the northwest corner of the building.  There are trees on the west part of the school grounds.  Roads run by Vaughan School on the east and south and there are pastures on the west and north.

Some teachers after 1910 were Jemima Glenn, Lula Evans, Anna Dunlap, Carrie Hoyt, Gusta Byers, Mabel Rambo, Oliver Perry, Grace Hoyt, Del Venard, and Helen and Mary Drake.

Most of the teachers from 1921 to 1943 were found listed in a district record book beginning April 5, 1921.  They were Mary Atherton, Bwynetha Green, Rachel Young, Golda Lisenby, Katheryn Johns, Neva Bruce, Velma Bingham, Helen Hoyt, Helen Linville, Ermil Sullivan, Louise, Randall and Mary Harper.

Board members from 1921 to the present year include W. W. Goff, Fred Goff, J. N. Barnhart, H. H. Barnhart, George Barnhart, Heck Perry, Bert Hoyt, Eugene Hoyt, William McMillan, Gifford Applebury, and Bill Zeisler.  Secretaries have been Charles Albaugh, H. J. Kimber, Irl Linville, Bertha Linville, Mona Barnhart, Mrs. F. M. Goff, Jewell Wheeler, J. N. Perry, Demar Goff, Leila Goff, Ruth Linville, Alvis Applebury and Mrs. Ray Hoyt.  Some of these secretaries also served as directors.

The first minutes in the record book were signed by Chat Albaugh, clerk.  W. O. Goff was president.  It was voted at this time (April 12, 1922) to let the contract for digging a cistern to the lowest bidder.  The cistern was to be 18 feet deep, eight feet at base and lined with brick.  L. R. Martin was given the contract for $150.00.

A stove was purchased in 1927 from Nichols and Co., for $101.25.  In February of 1927 a Victrola was purchased for $25.00.  A pump was installed in 1929.  World Books were bought in 1932 and a piano in 1936.  A heating plant was installed in 1937.

In the list of resident taxpayers for 1922 were Albert Hosfield, Earl Linville, T. C. Vaughan, O. W. McDowell, Harry Kimber, S. E. Miller, J. H. Carrick, Ed Welch, George Barnhart, Charles Welch, P. H. Barnhart, John Davenport, R. E. Haynes, John Hoyt, Eugene Hoyt, Thomas Perry, P. M. Goff, W. O. Goff, Paul Barit, Charles Kidwell and Charles Albaugh.

The highest enumeration found recorded in the district was that of 1925 with 26.  Birthdays of the children were listed in the enumeration of 1933.

A teacher’s record book beginning April 22, 1921, and ending with the term of 1924-25 had the following information: Mary Drake was the teacher in 1921 with 17 enrolled.  The daily program for that year included the study of reading and arithmetic in all the grades; history and civics in the eighth grade; eighth grade grammar, sixth grade history, fourth and sixth grade language; nature study for the fourth and sixth grades; agriculture, geography and physiology by the eighth grade; spelling in grades 4-6-8; and story hour for the first and second grades.

Mary Atherton was the next teacher, followed by Bwynetha Green, Rachel Young, and Golda Lisenby with 22 enrolled.  The term of 1924-25 was the last record in the book. 

A homecoming with basket dinner was held at the Vaughan schoolhouse in 1934 for former teachers, pupils and their families.  It was met with such success that similar get-to-gethers were held the second Sunday in August for several years.  One hundred attended the first meeting, two hundred the second and one hundred-fifty in 1936, from various states including Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico. 

Mrs. Barnhart relates that Mrs. Bertha Coe Jones was the oldest teacher attending the homecoming in 1934 and at this time it had been 41 years since she had taught Vaughan School. Sixteen of her former pupils wee present that year and the following year 25 attended.  In honor of the 1935 meeting, M. M. Hoyt, former pupil, wrote the following poem:

We are here today in memory

Of days long past and gone,

When as teachers and as pupils,

We assembled at the Vaughan.

Our days are filled with pleasure,

No thought of war or strife.

‘twas simple preparation

To pass us on to life.

The old school site is sacred,

In our hearts ‘tis ever young.

As in days when we were children

When the happy songs were sung.

In our hearts for our dear teachers

There is nothing left but love.

Though some are absent from us,

We will meet them all above.

Dear friends who have passed away,

In our hearts we hold so dear.

They are happy with their maker,

In our memory they are here.

To the younger generation

Who are meeting here at


As we older ones are passing,

It is time for you to carry on.

July 31, 1948, The Vaughan School board of directors met with the Smith-Campbell School at the latter schoolhouse, and it was agreed that Vaughan grade pupils would attend the Smith-Campbell School beginning the term of 1948-49.

Mrs. Emma Manning was Vaughan School’s last teacher.

Mr. Hoyt related that five of his sisters, Verna, Gladys, Carrie, Grace and Mary all attended Vaughan School and later, all taught school, Carrie and Grace at Vaughan School.

Carrie married Graydon LaBunyon and moved to Libby, Montana, were she served as county superintendent of schools for three years.  She now writes insurance for the New York Life.

Grace Hoyt is a graduate of Maryville State Teacher’s College, Peabody College in Nashville, Washington State College at Pullman and is a graduate of the University of Washington.  She has taught in Missouri, Montana, Idaho and Washington.  Her present position is that of psychological examiner, central guidance staff, in the Spokane public schools.

Mary Hoyt, who lives in Napa, California, is a graduate of the Fresno State College.  She established a counseling system in the Napa High School in 1940-41, serving as head counselor.  In 1942 she became the principal of Lincoln School at Napa and is still serving in that capacity.  She is president of the California Elementary School Administrator’s Association, the honor that any elementary principal in the state can be given.

Clarence Robinson of Illinois taught school for three years after finishing his elementary education at Vaughan School.  He then served as rural carrier for many years. 

Frank Elsas was employed by the postal service in Kansas City for many years.  He was a former Vaughan School pupil.

Miss Ruth Linville, a former Vaughan School pupil, has served as principal of Highview School in the second ward of Chillicothe High School, a position she has held for some time.

Gusta Byers is a nurse at the Missouri Methodist Hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri.

George Gaines, who lives in Washington, operated a private telephone company and has built a pretentious home at the foot of Mt. Rainier.  His brother, Lamar Gaines, became the city engineer of Seattle, Washington, and helped lay out streets and parks for the city.

William and Paul Barhart and Bert Hoyt served overseas in the World War I.

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