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Kansas ORSH List -- Ellsworth County

The Kansas Heritage Server would like to thank Lu Adams for contributing this information on the Ellsworth County schools. Nancy Kaiser prepared the information for presentation here.

Ellsworth County School Districts 1867-1946
1 Ellsworth Ellsworth
2 Grove

West Empire

3 Buckeye West Empire
4 Kanopolis Clear Creek Amalia Brenner Sommers 1923
5 Bluff Creek (Border) Trivoli
6. Clear Creek Clear Creek (border) closed 1875
7 Pleasant Valley Wilson
8 Vanago East Empire
9 Elkhorn Garfield
10 Wilson Wilson
11 Blood Creek Nobel (No longer standing)
12 Trivoli Trivoli
13 Buffalo Columbia
14 Oak Creek Sherman
15 Range Langley
16 Ash Creek Ash Creek standing 7 miSHW14eastside
17 Prosper Green Garden
18 Yingst East Empire(named for family nearby)
19 Excelsior Excelsior I to 1910
20 Black Wolf Point Pleasant-advance


Columbia to 1910

21 Advance Black Wolf 32-35 Schmoekel
22 Langley Langley
23 Carneiro Carneiro
24 Holyrood Valley
25 Henry Lincoln (was Janssen to 1912)
26 Lorraine Green Garden Union to 1910
27 Eden Park Carneiro
28 Terra Cotta Carneiro
29 Stoltenberg Palacky
30 Franklin Thomas
31 Holyoke Thomas
32   Lorraine Area Open in 1896-97
33 Murray Hill Val
34 Walnut Grove Sherman
35 Spring Creek Ellsworth
36 Nebraska Clear Creek
37 Bradley Springs Thomas
38 Cass Ridge Lincoln
39 Pleasant Hill Noble
40 Oxide Lincoln
41 Shamel Clear Creek
42 Paradise Garfield
43 South Palacky Palacky
44 Liberty Noble
45 Dry Ridge Ellsworth (Roy School) Helen Grant
46 South Excelsior (border) Noble 7th rd Excelsior II to 1912
47 Ziska Noble
48 Bunker Hill Trivoli
49 Little Wolf Black Wolf
50 Cain City Valley
51 Radcliffe W. Empire
52 Delight Mulberry
53 Burmeister Black Wolf
54 Limestone Ridge Sherman
55 Lone Star Mulberry
56 Eagle College Langley
57 Buckbee Thomas
58 Pawnee Flats Mulberrry
59 North Palacky Palacky (Palacky to 1930)
60 Sylvan Glen Black Wolf
61 Summit Sherman
62 Progress Palacky (bufo-1910 Charity-1914
63 Fairview Columbia
64 Sunrise Wilson
65 Indian Ridge Garfield
66 Mt Pleasant Ash Creek (Vinegar Hill to 1917)
67 Mud Creek Ash Creek
68 Weaver Clear Creek Range 7 Section 30
69 Bushton Teacher Valley (last listed a teacher 1901-02)
70 Masmer Garfield
71 Prairie Star Wilson (Amalia Sommers 1 yr)
72 Canyon Lincoln (Damon to 1908)
73 Hillside Thomas
74 Daisy  
75 Cottonwood Grove Clear Creek
76 Yankee Run East Empire
Jt. 1 Yordy Mulberry
R.H.S. #1 Lorraine Green Garden
R.H.S. jt 1 Holyrood Valley
St Pauls Parochial School Ellsworth Sherman
St Pauls Parochial School Holyrood Valley closed in 1958

The following are news items from the Ellsworth Reporter regarding the various schools in Ellsworth County. Each item identified the school by district and name and provides date of information. Insight to routine business of the schools is seen in this reporting. Lu Adams compiled and contributed this information.

District #2 Gove School June 3, 1890 provisions made to put electric lights in the school. The council appropriated $10.00 toward expenses. Seats will be fixed up for public comfort. Now the board ought to have the weeds cut down.

District #3 Buckeye School Mrs. William F. (Emma) Doan was teacher in the first school taught in the Buckeye District. The school was held in an unused broom factory belonging to Sam Livingston. She was paid in trade. September 9, 1943 Three rural schools, including Buckeye, Grove and Yankee Run did not open due to polio in the vicinity of the school. Hope to reopen Monday.

District #6 Clear Creek July 17, 1875 Miss Clara Loomis taught 15 students. Miss Ella Faris received the highest prize most perfect marks. The dialogue “The girl of the period” was performed by Flora and Sarah Cunningham. August 31, 1899 – Miss Nora Faris is the teacher employed for the year. District #8 Vanango School November 30, 1899 there will be a box supper at the Vanango School house on the night of December 1st. Money will be used to defray expenses of a Christmas tree.

District #9 Elkhorn School April 9, 1907 school closed after 7-month term, the teacher was Miss Lydia Bloyd of Lincoln. Patrons showed appreciation with a fine dinner. There was an oration by Professor Denning and Master Harold Thornburgh furnished splendid music with phonograph. District #13 Buffalo Creek in Columbia Township August 1881 Voted to give $30. a month for 4-month contract and $25 a month for summer term.

District #14 Oak Creek School April 7, 1887 The Oak Creek School closed Friday, with patrons meeting for a feast. Afternoon exercises were an April Fool speech by Miss Flora Young and Chester Chapman. “What I’ll do when I get big” by Alpha Seavers. Elmer Chapman received the best attendance and behavior prize. Miss Mattie Gallagher, teacher. December 1924. Last Friday evening the Oak Creek School House was packed with a crowd of 30 people for entertainment and a box supper. Each pupil did himself credit. After the school program the young people of the neighborhood gave the play “Miss Mollie”, which everyone present said was the best school play ever seen. Due credit is given to Miss Albright, Dorothy Terry, Nora Peterman, Frances Crane, Bula Slaight, Will Terry, Gerald Slaight, and Jack Terry. After the play the ladies quartet sang several selections. Then came the selling of the baskets. In the voting contest, Miss Albright received the box of chocolates as the most popular lady and Elmer Husemen the jar of nuts. The net proceeds were $58.71. The school building is modern in every way with a basement furnace, running water, cloak rooms, indoor toilets, stage, piano and everything to make a good school. July 30, 1931 Oak Creek School 5 miles north of Ellsworth was closed last year due to lack of pupils. Opened again this fall with Miss Mildred Jelinek, teacher.

District #15 Range School Langley Township April 8, 1897, school social was a success. Miss Ella Cadwell, teacher.

District #16 Ash Creek School April 2, 25, Box supper. Ruby Rathbun won the box of chocolates for being the prettiest girl and Ben Goff the pickles for the biggest mouth. Anna Reed, teacher. District #17 Prosper School June 8, 1899 Green Garden held their annual meeting. 50 enthusiastic patrons attended. August, 1898, Four school houses sold last Monday to the highest bidder. District #17 was bought for $155.

District #20 Black Wolf January, 1907 Report for district: enrollment 17, Mamie McKitrick, teacher. District #21 Advance School Black Wolf Township June 29, 1893 Electors of school district #21 have repaired and enlarged the school. The old bell was replaced.

District #25 Henry School January 30, 12 school will be closed due to smallpox District 28 Terra Cotta February 24, 1938 Teachers of the Terra Cotta, Eden Park and Pawnee Schools had a valentine party afternoon for the pupils of the districts. District #29 Stoltenberg School November 3, 1927 put in slate blackboards.

District #34 Walnut Grove School May 6, 1926 Northeast of town. ......Closing with a big dinner. Miss Viola Huseman, teacher. February 17, 1916 ......To be a play and box supper at Walnut Grove. Married ladies will be trimmed in red, single ladies in white, and children's boxes in blue. Children's' boxes will sell at 25 cents. There will be a cake for the prettiest girl and pickles for the homliest man.

District #35 Spring Creek School December 1899. Miss Nellie Parker's three month term of school will close tomorrow. She has been employed to teach another term of 3 months, to begin immediately after the holidays. August 15, 1901 A new schoolhouse will be built in District #35.

District #38 Cass Ridge One Room School May 1, 1879 A new stone school house was erected on on Turkey Creek. January 1887 A neck tie festival will be held at the Miles Woodmanse School, on Cass Ridge with proceeds to Sunday school...All are invited. September 29, 1949 Public sale of property on October 21, 1949 beginning at 2:00 p.m. on the site of the buildings: Cass Ridge School, located 5 1/2 miles west, 3 1/2 miles north of Ellsworth, on Section 9 in Lincoln Township. Building measuring 36 x 20 with 2 toilets, coal shed, desks, stove, books, chairs, merry-go-round, and other school property.

District #39 Pleasant Hill November 3, 1927. . . fitted with adjustable single seats.

District #40 Oxide One Room Country School April 13, 1899 Last week Miss Nellie Parker closed a very successful term at Oxide. She left Sunday for Emporia to a teachers' course at the state normal school. 1918 the school was replaced at a cost of $1,400. 1982 the school was torn down, verified in newspaper article with picture.

District #42 Paradise School April 6, 1961 Superintendent Clover attended closing exercises. Program was followed by a dinner. Miss Mary Shorthill of Shawnee was co-teacher.

District #43 South Palacky April 1, 1915 term of districts near Holyrood closed last Monday with Miss Stella Duley teacher for 2nd term.

District #44 Black Wolf April 7, 1881 Black Wolf had 27 students, 18 primary 59 tardy with average daily attendance of 16. J. W. Farmer, Teacher

District #45 - Dry Ridge School. (Known as Roy School) December 1907 The box supper at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wade Flanders, for Roy School pupils was a great success. Muddy roads and a good crowd. Boxes sold for $14.50. Two cakes were given away, one to the prettiest girl, Miss Hazel Flanders, another to the hungriest looking man, Chester Chapman. February 1, 1923 - trying out hot lunch plan. Teacher Jessie Flanders is pleased. April 12, 1932, Miss Helen Thayer was hired for $80. which is $10 less than last year.

District #47 Ziska School November 30, 1905. There was an anniversary celebration of dedication of Aiska in whose honor the school was named. There will be an address in Bohemian by Mr. Winslow Sekavec on the life of Ziska. Professor Howes will speak in English on the traits and characteristics of Ziska as a great Bohemian General. People will furnish food to eat and good music. Proceeds are used for school benefit.

District #49 Little Wolf One Room Country School July 1880, Thomas precincts were changed to Little Wolf. Elections to be held at school. May 11, 1899, the school closed with entertainment. Miss Lola Gebhardt, 2nd year teacher. Program recitations: Allen and Alabama Thrash, Georgia and Mary Votruba, Earnest and Slava Svaty. Songs of school and Rhymes of the Seasons by Five Girls. September 21, 1899, Miss Lola Gebhardt concluded her summer in Ohio with relatives to begin school on October 22nd. May, 1901, Miss Florence Lyons, teacher just finished the term.

District #50 Cain City School December 26, 1912. <Cain City> One of the finest country schools erected this year in Southwest part of county.

District #51 Radcliff August 31, 1899 Miss Hattie Shavely, teacher.

District #52 Delight School August 15, 1901, new schoolhouses will be built in District 35 and 52.

District #53 Burmeister Black Wolf District January 28, 1897 The box social given in District 53 was a success. Miss Lillian Cochran, teacher. Program participants were: Ed, Clara, Hattie Burmeister; Fred Haase, Carrie and Lottie Kipp, Willie Dearsmith, Louisa Higbam, Mayme Charvat, Ethel O'Donnell, Will Leith, Mr. Nixon, Roger Cain, Nettie Beyler, Ida Weick, Merre Cochrane, Sarah Getty and a Whistling Solo by Fritz Bornschein.

District #55 Lone Star School March 29, 1906 A box social will be held with a lot of pretty girls and full boxes.

District #57 Buckbee School, Thomas Township March 22, 1894, Miss Grace Flanders, teacher, is taking one weeks rest and will return to work in District 57 the 1st of September. Contracted for 6 months, three in fall and three in April. She has been teaching at Hillside #73. February 23, 1939, Mrs. Mae Jackson, teacher and students toured the Reporter Office.

District #62 Progress School January 1902, the first contribution to the McKinley Memorial Fund came from District #62 in the amount of $1.40. Miss Albiha Dlaba, teacher

District #65 Indian Ridge School February 3, 1933 North of Kanopolis was broken into and robbed. Fountain pen and clock were missing.

District #68 Weaver School October 2, 1902, the Weaver School District complains from patrons because the school is entirely fenced and teams of horses and children cannot get to school. This is absolutely wrong and should not be tolerated. Open up a road to the school and it ought to be done at once.

District #69 (Bushton Area - No Name Given) January 30, 1902, the school purchased a full set of Rand McNally Maps.

District #72 Canyon One Room Country School April 6, 1939, teacher Miss Matilda Hoffman, visited Reporter and the Lilejstrom bakery with the following students: Robert, Betty, Floyd, Merle Dean, Donnajean and Howard Kempke, and Caroline and Robert Heitschmidt, Oleatha George, and Arline Hoffman. September 29, 1949, at 3:00 p.m. on site the public sale of the school will be held. Canyon School ground are located 7 miles south, 3 miles west of Ellsworth on the Oxide Road. Signed, Lillian M. Bailey, County Superintendent.

District #73 Hillside Thomas Township March 22, 1894, Miss Grace Flanders, teacher closed the school term on Friday.

I am attaching another article from Lu Adams about the Ellsworth County Schools. It is a compilation from several sources... Prepared by Nancy Kaiser

Early Days Ellsworth County Schools

The first school in Ellsworth County was a dugout on the bank of Thompson Creek near the Robert B. Hudson homestead. It was started in 1866 and taught by Rachel White. This should have been District #1, but because of Indian scares the first school closed and did not finish a term. Many of the families fled, and when they returned, the school was resumed the following fall with Ellsworth organized as the 1st District. The first school was not financed through taxation, but through subscription with families to donate whatever they could to the cause, (coal, time, boarding for the teacher, logs for the walls).

The district was organized in 1867 and that same year the school was moved to a dugout on the Scates Place and taught by Maggie Hudson.

Due to Indian scares, the site was again changed to a log cabin built in 1868 on a promontory east of Thompson Creek. This "loggie" school was organized and supervised by the following board: Elisha Scates, Director; L.R. Johnson as clear; and Robert Hudson as treasurer. The "loggie" was 17x17, with benches from split logs around the walls. A tree, not used to make benches, was stripped of limbs with pegs for steps, was used to keep a constant lookout for Indians. On October 9, 1868. a Negro ranch hand, not the lookout in the tree, brought warning of approaching savages. Those who did not flee the country remained in Fort Hudson until mid-December. A Negro age 27, Hamilton Harvey attended as a student. The old Grove School replaced the "loggie" (a picture of the loggie is in the School house on the museum ground) and annual reunions were events of great interest though the years. The Grove school ceased to exist when it was combined with the Buckeye School in the 1940's.

These first school sites in Ellsworth County were in the vicinity about seven to eight miles southeast of the present day Kanopolis and south of the Buckeye Cemetery. A rock that probably served as a front door stepping stone of the log cabin school is all that remains.

(Six great-grandchildren of Robert B. Hudson continue to live in Ellsworth County as of March, 2000. They are Robert Hudson, Darlene Rush, Richard Hoffman, Joyce Harrell, Rolland Bircher (deceased 2-2000), and Don B. Bircher. The teacher of the first school, Maggie Hudson was their great aunt.

School was also held in the Faris Caves, dug into Dakota sandstone bluff. This was 12 feet square and 10 feet high. Norma Faris, daughter of Anzi, taught 2 years. The school was heated with a fireplace and had a spring running right through the school room.

Another rural school, was known as the David's Star School and later St. Paul's Day School. It was built in 1878 as a combined church and school building. A moveable partition, which was taken out for church services, made it unnecessary to heat the whole building. Another parochial school was built at Holyrood in 1883. Like David's Star it was first held in the church building which was located a mile east of Holy rood. Later a separate school building was built and later moved to Holyrood.

The first school in Ellsworth was a small frame building south of the tracks, built prior to 1868. School there was taught by Mr. Wellington.

In 1869 a small stone schoolhouse was erected, the first permanent school in town. This school was built on the southwest corner of what is now the Ellswoth Elementary School block.

By 1873, this small stone building proved inadequate and $10,0000 in bonds was voted for a new school It was a two-story brick building, with cupola, and contained six rooms. It stood in the middle of the block and was ready for school in the 1875 term.

The two story brick schoolhouse was in use from 1875 to 1898 when a new building, the Fairchild School, was built. The two story addition with gymnasium and auditorium was added in 1912. The Fairchild school was razed to make room for the present Elementary School building.

For a time, Ellsworth also had a East and West Primary School. East Primary was located in Priesker Park area on third street and the East located on the east end of 3rd street. A two-story frame building on the northeast corner of the grade school block was used for the grades.

A separate High School building did not come until 1917 when Silverwood High School was built. The present complex continued to grow with vocational agriculture and industrial arts building added to the campus in 1948, a gymnasium in 1957, the commons and classrooms in 1967 and the Martin Wing in 1983.

Wilson: Early in 1872 steps were taken to erect a schoolhouse. It was partly blown down by a wind storm and work upon it was not resumed until 1874, when a very fine stone building was erected in the southeast part of town. It was surmounted by a cupola. It had only tow rooms, one above and one below, It was used only by pupils well advanced in their studies; the others attended school in another building nearby. When more capable, they were allowed to attend the "higher school".

Kanopolis: The first school in Kanopolis was organized in 1889. The school building was located on block 88, purchased from the Kanopolis Land Company. The plans were drawn up by the celebrated architect, Arthur Peabody of Wichita. It was a large three story brick structure, trimmed with red and white brick which were made in Kanopolis. The main building was about 32 feet by 76 feet, and the building in the rear was 25 feet by 38 feet. There were sever classrooms with wardrobes in each. In the basement was the furnace and storage room. The total height of the tower of the building was 88 feet. Taking it all in all, it was the largest and most complete school and the finest public building in Ellsworth County.

Quoting from the Kanopolis Journal, May 24, 1890: "While having an beautiful school building, we have also a good school under excellent management of Professor James T. Nolan. Our school has been thoroughly graded and classified, and is doing as good work as any other school in the county. To prove this, we need only add that the following named pupils of the school attended and passed the teacher's examination, which was held at Ellsworth on April 26, 1890: Maud Farris, Minnie Harkness, Lunda Adams, Lawrence McKeever and Allen Kreider. This, we think, is sufficient proof of the school's proficiency."

Holyrood: The first school was a frame structure opened in September, 1885 with grades one to nine. Walter Maze was the principal. In 1906 a two story brick building was erected. The Holyrood Rural High School was founded in 1920.

Lorraine: the first school in the Lorraine vicinity was District 26, organized in 1880. The town site of Lorraine was developed in 1888. It was named for Lorraine Stanley, daughter of Frisco railroad Official of Wichita. Lorraine had the distinction of having the first consolidated grade school in Kansas. Mr. Fairchild, county superintendent made a trip to Topeka to have the legislature pass a special bill to make consolidation possible. The people built a central school building and transported the pupils to school in horse drawn buses. The date, June 8, 1898, appears on the cornerstone of the present grade school building.

In September, 1999, the following memories of the Lorraine school was published in the Reporter: H.L. Steinberg came to Kansas in the spring of 1877 and bought a tract of land about one mile northeast of what is now Lorraine. The first school building in the Lorraine district was a sod building on the northeast corner of his land. Later, a one room frame building was erected nearby. School work was carried on there until 1898.

Photo of H.L. Steinberg and his wife. He was born in Hanover, Germany. His son, Walter Steinberg, married the daughter of Heye Janssen. They had 4 daughters and 3 of the daughters were teachers and graduates of McPherson College. Lorraine used to be a highly educated and cultural minded community. Photo Credit: ElDean Kohrs (ekohrs@hometelco.net)

Steinberg knew the one-room rural school well, for he attended classes in one and taught in two in Minnesota before coming to Kansas, where he served on the board of yet another on-room school

He knew of their inadequacies: lack of planning, heat, discipline, facilities and teacher preparation. His own advanced education, totaling less than two years, was obtained at an academy in Monee, Illinois, where Professor E. Jansen was Principal.

A magazine article telling of consolidation of schools in Ohio was brought to the attention of Steinberg and other Lorraine area residents. This was the beginning of the idea to consolidate the schools of Green Garden Township. Following informal discussions, it was generally agreed that such a consolidation would be educationally sound and that the town of Lorraine should be the site of a proposed school building.

Steinberg and several other interested persons went to Ellsworth to discuss the consolidation idea with Edward T. Fairchild, county superintendent. Fairchild liked the idea and went to Topeka where he sought the introduction of a bill making it legal to consolidate districts. The Kansas Legislature approved the law in 1897.

It was June 8, 1898, that School District No 26 was organized. Members of the board of education for this new district were: Steinberg, John Franz and R.W. Cook.

A new white, four room frame structure was opened for school October 10, 1898. W.S. Bean was the first principal. Valera C. Anderson taught the intermediate grades and Johanna Janssen taught the primary classes.

The first term, eight months, closed May 30, 1899. Thus, the first consolidated school west of the Mississippi River proved to be successful. (As of September 1999, Ellen Steinberg Truhlar and her husband, Joe, reside on the farm her grandfather bought in 1877. She is a retired school teacher and her two sisters, Irene Kohrs and Berneice Steinberg, also were teachers.)

Herschel Janssen of rural Lorraine is the son of Johanna Janssen, who taught in that first consolidated school just more than 100 years ago.

The Kansas Heritage Server would like to thank Dean Kohrs (ekohrs@hometelco.net) for contributing this information.

My great grandfather established the first unified school district in Green Garden Township. I think there are pictures of him and the school. I went to the school in Thomas Township 600 yards from my door for two years. Only the storm cellar still exists. The same is true for Lincoln Township.

Saturday, July 5, 2003 9:02 PM

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