The following text was transcribed from chapters on the history of education in individual Kansas counties found on pages 142-143 in:
MANKATO SCHOOLS -- While the original settlers were still scrambling for choice farms within the boundaries of Center township, Jewell county, a portion of them still dwelling in the "prairie schooner" which conveyed them to the new colony, and while others had just completed the rude shelter which, for the present, was to be called by the endearing name of home, the noble settlers found time to arrange for the mental development of the rising generation; and in the summer of 1874 the necessary funds were raised by subscription, and Miss Sadie Shaw engaged to instruct the children in the rudiments of an education, in the district of which Mankato is now a part.
In 1873, arrangements were made for the erection of a schoolhouse of two departments, which was completed and ready for use the following year.
The first term of school paid for out of the public treasury was taught in the new building, by J. W. Pickel, for which he received a salary of $30 per month, which was good pay compared with the salary of D. J. Vance, who, in the early settlement of the town, stood behind a soap box and transacted the business of postmaster for $12 per year, and also of our venerable townsman, L. J. Gould, who willingly contracted to carry the mail to and from Jewell City for $2 per quarter.
The first attempt at grading the schools was made in 1889, by Miss Emma Dorant who was for three years an efficient principal.
This building sufficed for the accommodation of the district until 1884, when the increase of school population necessitated more commodious quarters. A fine structure of four departments, built of native stone, was ready for use in 1885.
The first principal to wield the scepter in the new building was Professor Metcalf. A rapid growth of the city marked the progress of the next few years, and in 1890 the schools had again outgrown their accommodations, and two new departments were added, making the present value of our school property $16,000.
Between the time of the erection of the first stone structure and the time of the building of the last addition, the schools had been presided over by four different principals —- Professor Metcalf, Prof. Wm. Embaugh, Professor Southard, of Pennsylvania, and Prof. J. G. Long, also of Pennsylvania.
The supervision of the schools, with their additional departments, now came under the direction of Prof. E. M. Brockett, a graduate of Valparaiso, Ind., Normal School, Mr. Brockett is a man of wide experience in the educational field, and though still young, has been engaged in teaching in Minnesota and Ohio, and in both normal and public-school work in the States of Missouri and Kansas. Under his administration our city schools, as well as our county normals, of which he was for several years conductor, rapidly advanced to prominence, and attracted many students from all parts of the county. This increase in numbers created a demand for a more comprehensive curriculum and a greater number of teachers. By untiring efforts, Professor Brockett succeeded in securing the employment of an assistant, and in so thoroughly revising and improving the course of study that the pupils of the schools are now, without examination, admitted to all the educational institutions of the State. With Professor Brockett still at the helm, assisted by W. S. Pate, as assistant principal, E. A. Ross, of grammar departments, Mrs. C. A. Spencer, intermediate, and Misses Bina LaBar and Anna Converse in primary grades, our schools are now in the midst of their most successful season.
Mention may here be made of our school library, consisting of about 300 volumes, well and carefully selected. Of this library we are justly proud, since the greater part of it has been secured by the united efforts of the present teachers and pupils.
transcribed by Rita Troxel, State Library of Kansas
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