A HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY SCHOOLS
(from a book written in 1893)

The following text was transcribed from chapters on the history of education in individual Kansas counties found on pages 117-118 in:

THE COLUMBIAN HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN KANSAS...
compiled by Kansas educators and published under the auspices of the Kansas State Historical Society, for the Columbian Exposition.
(Topeka, Kan. : Hamilton Printing Company : E. H. Snow, state printer, 1893)

HISTORY AND GROWTH OF SCHOOLS, BY COUNTIES

DECATUR COUNTY

by W. S. Langmade

DECATUR COUNTY -- School districts Nos. 1, 2, and 3, of Decatur county, were organized August 9, 1879, by H. D. Colvin, acting superintendent of the unorganized county. The first schoolhouse was built in district No. 1, which included Oberlin, afterward the county seat. The house was a small log building, with a dirt roof, and with benches for seats. The first school was taught by Mrs. Sue Kneff. At the end of the second term, taught by R. O. Kindig, the school having outgrown the little log building, a frame addition was attached, which made it large enough to accommodate 50 pupils. This building was used until 1883, when a frame building, containing three rooms, was erected. This was the first frame schoolhouse built in the county. In 1887, the school having again outgrown its accommodations, a $16,000 brick building was erected, containing eight rooms, heated by steam, and fitted up with modern conveniences and first-class apparatus.

The oldest schoolhouse in the county now in use is in district No. 3. It was built in 1879, and was the second schoolhouse built in the county. The first school in this house was taught by Miss Ida Loucks, at a salary of $12 per month.

The first county superintendent, 1879-80, was H. D. Colvin; the second, 1880-83, D. W. Burt; the third, 1883-89, Geo. F. Hodge; the fourth, 1889-93, T. B. Wolfe; and the fifth and present superintendent, Miss Emma McCleery.

In 1892, there were in the county about 120 teachers, and 3,000 persons of school age. There are 106 districts, two-thirds of which have frame school buildings, the remainder being sod.

The first normal institute of Decatur county was held in Oberlin, in 1880, with D. W. Burt as conductor, and Mrs. Sue Kneff and R. O. Kindig as instructors. Fifteen teachers were in attendance. In 1892, there were four instructors employed, and 115 teachers in attendance.

Oberlin has been chosen as the site for the National G. A. R. Memorial College, which was chartered January 21, 1891, and is to be erected in 1894. This college was founded by the Women's Relief Corps of Kansas, and has received the indorsement of the four national patriotic organizations, the G. A. R., the W. R. C., the S. of V., and the L. A. S. These societies are putting forth strenuous effort to raise the required fund for buildings and endowment.


Transcribed by Rita Troxel, Kansas State Library -- January, 2003

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