Molar School, District #5
Worth County Reporter--Spring 1990
By Bill Gladstone & Pansy Rinehart

The Molar school District #5 was adjacent to the Iowa border and about 1 1/2 miles east of MO highway 169. The land was deeded to "directors of sub. District (then#6 for the consideration of one dollar by Joseph and Nancy Waugh. Reading as the SW corner of Section 36, Township 66, Range 30; dated 4 November 1872.
All at once, this information, found in Worth County's deed records, startled me, for well I knew, when I taught my eight years there, that the legal description was the SE corner of the SW 1/4 of #35, said to have been given by the Early family.
I began asking questions and Juanita Humphrey said she had a page copied from the old 1878 Worth County Atlas showing the school located in Section 36, with no road going north or south but only a trail southwestward meandering down through the fields toward Irena. She also told me that Preach Sanders had told her that the first Molar School was a little red schoolhouse that stood across the road east of the building where both she and I had taught. This was confirmed by Marion Maudlin whose father had owned the land just across the road south since 1908. His father told him of the little, red schoolhouse standing nearly on the bank of Wolf Creek, a stream that joins Middlefork Grand River a little further south.
The deed by Joseph and Nancy Waugh is to "the directors of the sub.district". I stand for correction, for I have asked several who cannot tell me, but I believe that 'sub. District' means subscription school where teachers were paid with donations of money or some commodity and school terms were as long as the funds were donated. (Ed. Note: Early day issues of the county papers carry several advertisements for subscription school).
My grandmother, Catherine Gregg Young, spent her school days at the Ward School, which was just over the county line in Harrison County. She told me that the Ward School was a subscription school and that parents pledged support of money, or donated things like ham, apples, molasses, potatoes, chickens, pigs…whatever they had they could give. Since her family was so poor, she and her sisters had to quit school but a kind, well-to-do neighbor, Greenberry Powell, paid for the Gregg children and several others. My grandmother moved to the Ward district in 1869, which is close to the time that the Molar was listed as a "sub.school".
Further scanning of the old deeds to the land where the Molar building so lately stood discloses that Walden, listed as owner in the old 1878 Atlas, transferred the plot of land to a James Nichols on 16 November 1878, the deed calling for 160 acres, more or less; the common terminology when listing acres of land. Two more transfers carry the same terminology; then in 1887 Ella Hudson deeds to Christie Early, "all of the SE fourth, of the SE 1/4 #35 except one acre on the SE corner."
Apparently the new Molar building was built just prior to 1887. Further transfers of Christie and James Early are to their son, Ivan Early and wife, on March 2, 1903. Just as Mrs. Iris Early Brown recently stated concerning her grandparents donating the land.
I was interested in the many stories about the little, red schoolhouse. One wonders if the site was moved because of the ravages of Wolf Branch. Or could the site have been changed for a reason completely different.
When the rural schools were disorganized by reorganization into Worth County R-I, the school buildings were sold at auction by the board of Directors. Jim Maudlin purchased the Molar building along with the Honey Grove. For a few years the building was used as a residence by Doris Maudlin Burns and Clarence Burns. Later, the interior of the building was removed so that large bales of hay could be stored. Wind, weather and old age took their toll on the old building and the remains were burned about a year ago. The land was then sold back to Iris early Brown.
I taught the Molar School for eight terms from 1935 through the spring of 1943. Uncle Sam chose to call my husband Pat to be inducted in the October, 1943, call-up. So regretfully, I asked the directors to release me from my contract as we were making arrangements to move back to Allendale where I could be near my family when Pat was gone. We sold our cattle, most of our hogs, a large flock of laying hens and moved into an old shack located where I now live.
Just prior to the opening of the fall term of 1943 I learned of a vacancy in the Allendale School and I was employed as teacher of the upper-grade room. Mrs. Leta Hammer was the teacher of the primary room. Also, in September 1943, the government decided that no more men over 36 years of age would be inducted and Pat was not called. As it turned out, out move to Allendale was unnecessary. Miss Phoebe Lou Blake (Troutman) was hired as my replacement at the Molar.
The Molar patrons were very proud of their school and very cooperative as parents. It was during the time that I taught there that the State Department of Education made a concerted effort to upgrade the rural schools. One by one we met the requirements and in 1941 the Molar received a first class rating. We had an excellent hot-lunch program with the now Mrs. Berniece Fletchall as cook. At times she was assisted by Mrs. Iris Brown, Mrs. Loren Horn, Mrs. Orman Davis, Mrs. Charles Motsinger, Doris Maudlin, Mrs. Grace Maudlin.
Teachers other than myself who can be recalled are: Ivan Early, Gladys Rinehart, Iris Brown, Opal Mapes, Freida Goff (Motsinger), Gladys Hass, Cora Early, Edith Simmons, Nellie Wisecup, Violet Hunter, Velma Griffith, Juanita Humphrey, Phoebe Lou Blake, Ardith Combs (Yates) and Opal Fisher.
Phillip Motsinger, one of the directors, lived just across the road east of the schoolhouse. He and his big, friendly collie, Shep frequently visited at recess time. On one occasion he brought a sidesaddle to show the children. Willard and Marion Maudlin had a spirited, spotted pony tied in the schoolyard and soon the children were trying out the saddle on the pony which didn't like the idea. Of course, the children wanted the teacher to experience riding in a sidesaddle. I took a fast, thrilling ride, "pulling leather" all of the way, before I finally got control of the steed. Phillip and the children enjoyed the exhibition.
In these days of good hard surfaced roads and school busses the young parents of now a days can hardly imagine the difficulty of getting to school in bad weather.
I lived about 11/2 miles south of the school and usually walked. During the icy winter of 1936/37 I wore out the back of my coat (no slacks then) sliding down the hills. Between our house and the schoolhouse there were several steep hills aptly called The Washboard. I would start down a hill, fall, slide to the bottom, crawl up the next hill, only to fall again. Finally, Pat make me some creepers out of mower sections, which I strapped over my overshoes and I managed to stay on my feet most of the time.
On one bitterly cold morning I arrived at school, filled the stove with coal, and began to warm myself. I knew that my cheeks and nose were frost bitten. Very soon the telephone rang and John Fletchall, who had several children, said that there would be no school that day as it was 26 degrees below zero. He told me not to waste any coal as the coal shed was nearly empty and the roads were snow-blocked. I replied that I had to get warm. Another director, Elvin Brown was listening on the party line and asked if I was all right and, if not, he and Iris would come to the schoolhouse.
Everyone in the district was very good to me. Many mornings I warmed at Jim Maudlin's as I walked to school. One time Ray and Loren Baker's father brought his shovel and helped me out of a deep snowdrift. I had been walking on crusted snow that was deeper than my height and I had fallen through. I was already exhausted from wading drifts for over a mile but, luckily, I was in front of the Baker home and Bill came to help me. Of course the school children faced the same weather conditions but I tried to get to school early enough that I would have the stove warm by the time they arrived.
That year I was paid the magnificent sum of $45 a month. When school was out in the spring the directors had a bit of money left in the teachers fund and they paid me an additional $45. Times were very difficult then and I was deeply appreciative of the extra money.
Aside from the Maudlin and Baker families already mentioned there was Iris and Elvin Brown, Orman and Edna Davis, Clarence Burns, John and Grace Maudlin, John and Eva Fletchall, Ben and Mabel Fletchall, Floyd and Eunice Rinehart and the families of Verne Dehart, Claude Robertson, Loren Horn, the Alexander's and the Morton's.
On the last day of school the parents usually came with well-filled baskets of food as a treat for pupils and teacher. I would supply wieners for all, which in those days was quite a treat.
My memories of the Molar are very pleasant memories. Without the assistance of Juanita Humphrey, Marion Maudlin, and Iris Brown I would not have learned the story of the little red schoolhouse. Lastly, my thanks to Mrs. Clydie Maudlin Fletchall for her confirmation of the little red schoolhouse story and especially for her picture of the Molar school of 1914.