I had enjoyed the school articles in The Reporter and suggested
to several persons that they should rite about the Allendale School
and the Eureka School. Since no one volunteered I started. I had
many happy memories of the seven years I spent as a student at
the Eureka School. As I read through the Eureka article in The
Reporter (things seems to look different in print) I recalled
an incident that happened at the Eureka School before I became
a student. My memory of that event is the most vivid of any of
my memories of Eureka.
The year was 1916 and I was almost 4 years old. I was attending a Christmas program at the Eureka with my cousins Marie, Ethel and Edna Wachhlotz.
I was sitting on the lap of Santa Claus telling him about how I wanted a doll for Christmas. There was a doll sitting by the Christmas tree and I was sure it was for me. The candles on the tree had been lit and all of a sudden the tree was on fire.
Quickly, Santa set me aside, ripped off his beard, grabbed an old blanket that was part of the stage curtain and smothered the flames. What disillusionment it was for a little girl to find that he wasn't Santa Claus. But what a thrill it was that the little doll, which really was for me, wasn't hurt.
In accounting for the teachers at the Eureka there were three years for which I could not account. When I was working on this article I called Irene Combs about the picture of her room which is in this issue. We talked about the Allendale School and finally Irene said, "I sure enjoyed the Eureka School article but I wish you had included me in the list of teachers."
So the missing three years were filled in. Irene had taught at the Eureka for two years and her sister, Gladys Martin, had taught there one year.
The Gentry and Worth County History of 1882 credits Major Calvin
Hartwell with the establishment of one of the earliest schools
in what is now Worth County. To quote, "One among the earliest
attempts to establish a school was that of Major Calvin Hartwell,
who taught in the northeast part of the township (Smith). He understood
and appreciated educational facilities, and so thoroughly interested
was he in the cause of education among the masses that he opened
a free school for the benefit of his own and his neighbor's children.
Among the pupils of the school were: William Adams, Ezra, Eli
and Levi Roach, John Carroll, Melvina and Jane Allen, and James
and Joseph Adams. The first schoolhouse (and church building)
was erected in Lot's Grove in 1855, and was a frame building,
twenty by twenty-eight feet in dimensions."
In researching Major Hartwell we find that he came to the region from Ohio about the year 1850, first settling north of Albany (Athens). He entered land in Smith Township in 1855. This forty acres lay just north of the site later chosen for the Eureka schoolhouse. In the spring of 1858 he entered eighty acres in section33, three-fourths of a mile southwest of the newly established town of Allenville.
A few years ago I saw a clump of lavender Bouncing Bets near some limestone rocks I thought had been the foundation for a home at one time. Ed Brown assured me that indeed the Hartwell home had stood near the spot I described.
Mrs. Margaret Brewer, who lived in the northeast edge of Allendale, also had classes in her home. Frank Campbell told me, during the Allendale Centennial, that the present Wilson Osborne house was built around the original Brewer log-frame house. This fact was confirmed by Judge Wilbur Osborne; he and Wilson being great, great grandsons of Mrs. Brewer.
Soon after the town of Allenville was laid out the town authorities established a school. To quote again from the Gentry and Worth County History: "The first efforts on the part of the people of Allendale to secure educational advantages for the young possibly dates as far back as 1856, soon after the town was founded, when they erected a log cabin, designated as a schoolhouse, and employed a teacher."
This old log schoolhouse, northwest from the public square, was on a plot that was part of the already established cemetery. This was in the east section of the present cemetery, near the sough drive. Just a few years ago some of the rocks remained from the foundation. The early burials were in the far northwest corner of the cemetery.
It is of special interest to me that, "Octavius Pyle donated to the township school district, August 7, 1857, a plot ten rods by ten rods for the erection of a schoolhouse." Perhaps, you recall from the Eureka School article that he also donated the site for the Eureka School article that he also donated the site for the Eureka School.
Originally, the land, in and around Allenville, had been entered in 1855 by William Allen who sold many of his acres to Pyle. I have always wondered why the Allen's stayed in their thriving little town for only about two years.
It is recorded that Sampson Bardemas, from Illinois, was the teacher in 1865. He was succeeded by Robert Cunningham; then Miss Laura Hern from Ohio. Many years ago John Robertson told me that Hartwell was the first teacher in the building. Others have stated that one of the Pyle's was the first teacher. Hartwell left the community in 1861 for Iowa.
To quote once again from the Gentry and Worth County History: "In 1869, the old log schoolhouse was burned; then the present commodious and neat looking building was erected. It is a two-story frame edifice, painted white and supplied with green shutters. Each story contains a large room, hall and cloak closet. The building presents an attractive appearance; the location is a good one a convenient distance from the business part of town. The cost of the building was $2500." The land for the new school building was donated by the aforementioned Mrs. Brewer who had acquired Allen land holdings to the north and east of town.
Teachers must have come and gone with marked frequency because it is recorded that the following teachers taught only a three-month term and that must have been the case here. Those teaching in that span were: W.H. Conn, Mrs. Rella Urmer, Miss Nannie DeWitt, John Mason, Miss Anna Detrick, John W. Caster, Mrs. J.F. Fry, H.K. Linger, Thomas Campbell, Henry Hass, Felix G. Smith, G.M. Caster, H.W. Simpson and Miss Cora Garrison. The early history stated that there were 80 students enrolled when Miss Garrison taught. All ages, all grades. What! No teachers aids or special music, art or physical education assistants.
Other elementary teachers who have taught at Allendale are: Elisha Kidney, Zene Danford, Ruth Williams, Frank Cloud, G.M. Roberts, Jim Severson, Ada Husdon, Cy Witmer, Flora Dungy, Jessie Davidson, Della Hobbs, LuElla Wilkinson, Chris Evans, Jessie Miller, Leslie King, Mabel Nash. Mildred Burks, Etha Stark, Alma Lambert, Audrey Knight, Maude Preston, Bessie Bond (Yeater), Chloris Ridge (Bressler), Ella Neal (Clements), Arlene Gabbert (Scadden), Cleda Combs (Daniels), Leta Hammer, Gladys Martin, Irene Martin (Combs), Marie Hauber (Ross), Melborne House, Grace Martin, Mildred Runyon, Pluma Conn, Evelyn Groom, Arch Findley, Mattie Silvey, Ruth Barnes, Dean Tandy, Eunice Dawson, Pansy Rinehart, Alma Lambert Harker (second time around), Gayle Wilkinson, Lorene Hughes and Lois Rinehart.
Ortis Hammer related a story that happened when my mother, LuElla Wilkinson, was teaching. H, Ortis, and Alfred Wilkinson were enrolled in the first grade. Ortis and Alfred both thought they had an "in" with the teacher and that they could do about anything they wanted. Alfred, because he was the little brother of the teacher and Ortis, because the teacher worked weekends and during vacations in the store operated by his father, C.A. Hammer.
As restless small boys often do, they began making folded-paper gliders and sailing them around the room. It wasn't long until they had attracted the teacher's attention who told them not to be doing that. Thinking that they were immune from punishment they continued and were even joined by some of the older boys who were certain that the teacher would not punish the smaller boys and therefore wouldn't punish them.
Soon two very surprised little boys found themselves hanging by their galluses (suspenders) from two large coat hooks. At first they thought it was pretty funny. In fact, they put on quite a show for the rest of the students. But very soon it wasn't very funny any longer. Their feet wouldn't touch the floor and they couldn't unhook each other as they first thought.
The teacher's little brother, Alfred, began to cry and complain that "his pants were hurting him". Through his tears Alfred told his sister that he was going to tell their Mother what she had done to him.
"Go ahead and tell her, but be sure and tell her what you were doing before it happened," replied the teacher.
In the early 1920's the outlying districts of Adams, Eureka, Center East, Jones East, and a portion of Amity were consolidated with Allendale district to conduct a two-year high school. The first session was held in the old Gord Murray house, just across the street from the R.L.D.S. church. The high school was held in the Murray house for two years with Guy Curry as the instructor.
(In the Eureka article I stated that the high school started in 1923 but a closer study of the records show that it began in 1921.)
In the summer of 1922 the school board asked the R.L.D.S. authorities if they could rent the church building for the high school unit. The records of the R.L.D.S. Church show the following entry for July 22, 1922. "A business meeting was held at the church for the purpose of considering the proposition submitted by the Board of Trustees of the consolidated school of Allendale, for the use of the church for school purposes "
By a close vote the request was denied and the high school spent a second year in the Murray house.
The vote was very close and during the next year there was a lot of controversy among the church members regarding the matter. The following year the matter was submitted again for consideration. Quoting the church record again, "August 13, 1923. Resolved that the Saints of Allendale look with favor upon leasing the church building for the use of the high school, at a rate of $20 per month, for eight months, and that the Bishop of Lamoni Stake be authorized to enter into such a contract with the school board of Allendale." The minutes continue with considerable discussion and conclude with, "the resolution was adopted by vote of 6 for and 5 against." The minutes were signed by Mrs. G.D. (Margaret) Carr, Sec'y.
I recall attending Sunday school during that year while the building was leased. We children were told not to meddle with materials in the desks, which had replaced the regular church pews. The boys used the geometry compasses to threaten, and sometimes jab, we girls with the sharp points. High school was held in the church building for the 1923-24 term with Russell Haney as teacher.
Then the minutes of the church dated May 111, 1924, indicate that a committee was appointed to repair the plastering, wallpaper the room, renew the window blinds and to repair the damage done to the rock foundation of the church. The boys had a hide-away underneath the building where they played cards and smoked a bit.
I attended 8th grade at Allendale in 1924-25. In the lower rooms were Miss Chloris Ridge teaching first and second grades and Miss Bessie Bond teaching three and four. In the upper story Miss Maude Preston was the instructor of grades 5 through 8. The grades 5 through 8 were taught in an alternated manner as outlined by the Missouri State Course of Study. In even numbered years the 6th and 8th grades were taught and in uneven years the 5th and 7th. It was quite a jump for those completing the 4th grade to have to jump to the 6th grade, then back to five and then to eight.
Unable to find a house to house the high school students, the school board, in the late summer of 1924, readied the elementary building to include the high school students. The upper room was partitioned and stairway was built on the outside of the building so elementary classes would not be disturbed by the high school students. The high school opened in 1924-25 with about 25 students and john Ashcroft and Miss Bobbie Campbell as teachers.
Other later high school teachers were Lucille Hass, Malcolm Barnes, Helen Spangler, Henry Mether, Omar Hunt and Sadie Simmons.
The district continued to operate a high school until 1934-35 when the consolidation was dissolved and the high school students began attending Grant City. Tuition was $45 per term. Those attending Grant City had the choice of a daily horseback ride of tight to ten miles each way or staying in Grant City during the week, as highway 46 was not yet completed.
I was a teacher at Allendale from 1943 through 1949. I chose the 1947 picture, not only because a majority of the group have chosen to stay in the local area, but because of an experience shared by that group which bonded me to them more closely than any other group I taught. The bonding occurred on April 29, 1947.
It was a calm, sultry afternoon. The school grounds were muddy so we were spending the 2:15 recess indoors. As usual, during inclement weather, several of the older groups were playing dominoes, while smaller children were at the chalkboard. I was seated near a west window and was attracted to the beautiful, but menacing, clouds in the northwestern sky.
We had just completed a science unit on Weather and had collected pictures of various cloud types. I asked the children to come to the window and observe the mammato-cumulus clouds. They resemble upside down loops, for the sir currents pushing downward into the low pressure area, plus a ground draft pushing upward, creates an unusual bag-like series of formations.
The entire western sky was filled with such clouds and vivid lightning was frequent. Our storms usually don't come from the northwest area but I was very anxious; I felt that a storm was developing.
Suddenly, Mrs. Victoria Wilkinson, who operated the Allendale Café, burst into the room with the warning that we immediately seek shelter for word had been received by Sheriff Albert Maudlin, who operated an electrical shop in Allendale, that a tornado was approaching Worth, MO. It's a well known fact that a tornado usually travels in a northeasterly direction. We were in a target area. Victoria had driven to the very door and she quickly took her two children, along with a few others, and headed for the Hobert Combs cave which was just a block off Main Street.
I started the remaining pupils across the street south, through a muddy, newly planted garden, to seek shelter in the cave of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Glenn. The school board had always advised me to go there in case of an emergency. Already, Mr. and Mrs. Rame Paxson, Ola Monk and Mrs. Glenn were inside as I tried to pack twenty more frightened youngsters into the limited space.
There were problems of footing because there were many empty fruit jars on the floor, as well as baskets of left over potatoes, apples and such. The children all faced one direction, as we had been instructed, and the older ones held some of the younger tots in their arms. I tried to console them, for all were wondering about home and parents, and I'm sure we all had a prayer in our hearts for protection. Rame Paxson and someone else were standing on the steps watching the storm clouds, ready to close the door if necessary.
Just then June Baker screamed that her little sister, Mary Belle, had pulled from her grasp and was running out of the cave to go home. I pursued, but instead of going home, she ran into the schoolhouse. I was close behind her as she rummaged through her desk but at my call she dashed into the cook-room with me following, out the east door and back through the west door into the classroom. Again she was fumbling through her desk as I tried to capture her. Our through the east door again but this time I slammed the door shut and closed the lock.
She was cornered now but in those few moments at her desk she triumphantly came up with a double-box of crayons. The crayons had been purchased that very morning and a box of sixteen colors was a new thing on the market.
Trustingly, and holding my hand, she now went willingly with me across the muddy garden. All of a sudden she pulled away from me and turned back; the box was falling apart and she was dropping the crayons.
This time I gathered the kicking, crying child into my arms, as I tried to reach my other charges and the safety of the cave. At that moment Homer Brewitt, who had arrived to check on the safety of his daughter, Phyllis, came running and took Mary Belle from me.
As we ducked into the cave, a glance showed the snaky end of the funnel as it dropped down over the town of Worth. All of the children were trying to touch me and to hold onto me. They felt deserted and some had feared for my safety. I tried to comfort them and I told them about the cloud.
The men peeked out of the door and relayed the information that we were out of the tornado path. They watched the storm through the trees in the park and saw the funnel dip down a second time in the Hurst neighborhood.
As we emerged from the cave the storm formation was just south, southeast, of town, almost directly behind my home. As we watched a lot of debris could be seen in the air and a large, shining object, which I later learned was a tin roof, appeared from near the Clayton Ross home. I started to run out of the yard but was restrained by Homer Brewitt who asked me where I thought I was going. I replied, "That's our barn and Pat's at home!"
Homer assured me that the debris was further south than our home and that Pat was in town. Pat had come to town to warn me about the cloud because he knew I would be frightened being at school. He had learned that the children and I were already safely in the cave. The children and I continued to watch as the funnel went up into a dark cloud, then suddenly reformed and darted down, nearly due east of town, where it destroyed the Lorin Groom home.
By that time several of the parents and school director Zene Hammer had arrived in the yard. Zene promptly dismissed school for the day. I hadn't even thought of that; it had seemed an eternity, but it certainly was not four o'clock.
As I went to find my husband, Pat, I soon encountered Bill Baker cuddling his small, terrified daughter in his arms. She still clutched the battered crayon box with a few crayons, plus another brand new box of crayons which Ortis Hammer had given her when he heard about her effort to save her crayons.
Little Mary Belle had a big smile for me through her tears as she licked on an ice cream cone. Her daddy dais, "I think you should give Pansy a big kiss." She promptly gave me a very sticky, tear-salty kiss and then nestled back into Daddy's arms.
Those horror filled moments of togetherness gave me a special feeling for that group of 1946-47. Something that we shared.
In 1952 there again was consolidation. Technically, I guess it wasn't consolidation but rather reorganization when the eastern 2/3 of the county formed a new district known as Worth County R-I. Now high school pupils could attend without the hardship of paying tuition. Due to the economy of those years, families with more than one child in high school had trouble in paying tuition. All of the rural schools were closed and the elementary children were transported into Allendale, Denver, Worth, Oxford and Grant City. All of the high school students were transported into Grant City. In a very few instances there was some student trading with adjoining districts.
At this time the Eureka schoolhouse was moved into Allendale and positioned just west of the Allendale building. A large connecting hall, containing rest rooms and a cloak- room, joined the buildings. Mrs. Eunice Dawson, who had been teaching at the Eureka for 30 consecutive years, continued as the teacher.
In June 1956 the Grant City School building was struck by lightning. All of the main building was destroyed by fire. Only the south annex, an addition made in 1917 to house the state funded Vocational Ag and Home Economic classes, remained. This part is now used as the Grant City Community Hall.
By state recommendation, a proposal emerged to construct a central High School/Elementary building and bring all of the outlying schools into the Grant City center. A bitter controversy ensued over the proposal and several elections were held. Finally, the plan was scaled down to build only the high school building, including room for a Jr. High. The building was completed for the 1958-59 school year.
It is interesting to note that one of our local boys, Macklin Wilkinson of St. Joseph, was in charge of much of the construction. The outlying centers of Denver, Worth, Allendale and Oxford continued to operate, although many parents chose to send their children into Grant City classrooms, already crowded.
At the Allendale Center special education students were transported to the classroom of Mrs. Dawson, who also continued to teach grades one and two. Mrs. Rose Findley taught grades three and four, and in the upper room Mrs. Lois Rinehart taught grades five and six. An excellent hot-lunch program was provided by the district with Mrs. Edith Ross as the cook.
During the Christmas vacation of 1964 Mrs. Lois Rinehart was killed in a tragic automobile accident as she was returning from Mt. Ayr with her daughter, Nancy, who was also killed.
The school board made the decision to transfer the few students of Mrs. Rinehart into Grant City to complete the year. There was strong opposition to the move in the Allendale community but the students soon enjoyed the stimulation of having other class members, special activities, along with art, music and physical education classes. That year I had been temporarily transferred to Allendale and Mrs. Findley into the Grant City School.
At the opening of school in the fall of 1965 the entire Allendale group was transported into Grant City, thus closing the long history of the Allendale School.
So, the old frame school building stood empty and deserted. Within a few years the school district offered the school building and contents for sale at auction. The bidding was lively, several were interested in the lumber in the building while others were interested in the deep will on the school grounds as a source of water for the town. C.O. Daniels was the high bidder.
For a few years he used the building to house the many antiques that he had collected over the years. Then the lower rooms were remodeled as an apartment for his daughter's family. At one time the east room housed a beauty shop operated by Mrs. Darlene Miller.
Later, while the apartment was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John McClure, a fire started in the electrical wiring and in the early hours of July, 1974, the building was consumed. The McClure family, Johnnie, Verla, JoAnn and Jerry barely escaped from the building, dressed in their nightclothes.
One hundred and nine years of Allendale school
! Through the transition from the log cabin in 1865 to the neat, frame, two-story building in 1870 and then to the addition of the Eureka schoolhouse in 1952. And finally to the closing of the school in 1965.
Many, many families were represented by the pupils enrolled. Many of those pupils, of course, still reside in this community and nearby areas. I hope they all recall fondly their classmates, teachers and those half-forgotten memories of their happy days in the Allendale School.