Some Early Country Schools & Teachers
by Mary Agnes Ratcliffe Bellows ( 1846-1930)
Words in parenthesis and minor editing by Cecil Hartley Pottratz (1904-1977)
The first Clear Creek School and 1st in Union City Twp. was taught by Mrs. Jane Albert in the kitchen of the Alberta House in the winter of 1858-1859 (certificate issued by Supt. Flint of Waukon) for her own children, Shekeltons, Merritts and Rob and Jacob Wampler children. The log schoolhouse on Mt. Hope farm on the line of Ratcliffe and Merritt farms during the summer of 1859 ( On the bench west of the present road on the Allen Hartley-Waters line fence) and 1st school then taught by John Dutton Cole, a talented Englishman living near by, who was elected director and in the spring hired this writer for the summer term-certificate issued by Co. Supt. Armstrong and who finished the 32 mos. term before her 14th birthday. Early teachers were Misses Treanor (?) , Knapp and Jessie Ratcliffe.
The school house in English Bench Dist. was built in 1860 and the first teacher was John D. Cole in the winter of '60-'61. He removed to Lansing-enlisted in 1861, and as Lieut. Cole proved his devotion to the flag by snatching it from the falling color bearer and received a severe wound. Another early teacher was Miss Carrie Muller.
Early teachers in the district of French Creek (stated earlier as built about 1861) were Andrew Baldwin of Lansing who enlisted in 1861-the Misses Freelove and Adeline Baldwin, Miss Marie Lewis, Miss Marietta Noble of West Union and the Misses Amelia and Emma Wolcott of Lansing.
The Wheatland district school was built in 1860 or 61. Early teachers were Misses Pierce, Monk, Betsy and Isobel Larson, Sarah Albert and Willis Howard.
Notes from contributor:
- Mary Agnes Ratcliffe Bellows was the daughter of Benjamin Ratcliffe.She often contributed articles (signed M.A.R.B.) to the local newspaper(s) about the early farm ownerships, first schools, and life in general. She probably was mainly a local correspondent
- My mother, Cecil Hartley Pottratz, collected M.A.R.B.'s articles over the years. They are in my mother's handwriting, so she either copied them from someone's scrapbook (if they had been in the paper) or from an original from some relative.
-contributed by Neva Auenson