The first school district in Black Hawk Township was organized in 1855.
The first school district in Black Hawk Township was organized in March, 1855, consisting of the southeast quarter and that part of sections 13 and 14 in black Hawk Township lying east of the Black Hawk Creek. At a special meeting of the board consisting of Warren Baldwin as president, A. J. Tappwas, treasurer, and D. N. Ward, secretary, held September 8, 1855, it was voted to build a schoolhouse, and a tax of 1 percent was levied on all taxable property in the district. The building committee was instructed to build such a schoolhouse as it deemed best for the money. The first school was located on the triangle south of the Byron Sergeant home in section 23 and was built of native lumber. The president of the board went to Dubuque to purchase the siding lumber for the school; and on the way home he was waterbound and was forced to leave his load in Buchanan County because of bad storms. It was not until the spring of 1856 that the lumber finally arrived and the building was enclosed
A summer term was taught that year by Aseneth Worthington, who received a salary of $10 a month and boarded with the patrons of the school part time, spending the rest of her time at her home across Black Hawk Creek. The district was operated as an independent district until 1858, when the township was organized into a sub-district, remaining that way until 1876 when it became an independent district to be called District No. 1 and known as Jockeytown.
School House Burned
Sometime during the year 1876 the school building burned down. When it was replaced it was located on the northwest side of the Waterloo-Eldora road, where school was held until it became a part of the Hudson Consolidated School District and was moved to Hudson.
Byron Sergeant, a community-minded citizen, attended fifty-three annual meetings of the Jockeytown district. The school was on land which he owned.
A few years later, after the building of the Jockeytown school, it was decided to divide the school because of the number of pupils enrolled, and a school was established in an empty store building in Hudson. This building stood about where the Hudson Hardware is now located. Robert McNally's father was employed as teacher at a salary of $28 per month. In the summer of 1865 this building was blown down during a tornado.
Bitter Fight For A School Site
There developed a very bitter and lengthy fight over the location of a new building, but through the influence of A. Cottrell it was built southwest of Hudson near the center of the district. Mrs. Harriette Klingman, nee Harriette Brandhorst, says the school house was just across the road from the old George Ward home known as the Frank Bowen farm, now owned by Dr. and Mrs. F. H. Rueling. She also states that Louise Cottrell was her first teacher when she started to school in 1879.
The school building was of wood construction, about 45 feet in length with three windows on each side. There was a large hall in front to hang wraps and leave overshoes, and at the other end of the building was a rostrum a foot higher that the main floor where the teacher had her desk and chair. The seats were wooden with iron frames and the building was heated with a big old drum heater where one's face would burn while the other side froze. Some of the other students were five uncles and two aunts of Lee Watters. Across the pasture lived Lee Watters' grandfather, Daniel Watters. The courses taught at the time were reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling, and the favorite recreation for both boys and girls was baseball.
In the winter term of 1874 and 1875 there were 52 pupils enrolled at the school - 31 boys and 21 girls - ranging in age from 5 to 21 years. R. W. Hanna (the third white child born in Black Hawk County) was the teacher at the salary of $36 per month.
School Built in Hudson
In 1888 the schoolhouse was sold and a new four-room school was built in Hudson, where most of the pupils then lived. It was located one an acre of ground purchased from Phillip Shaffner at a cost of $2,800 by C. F. Brandhorst, George Severance and Phillip Shaffner, the directors at that time. Mr. and Mrs. George Holmes, uncle and aunt of Dale Holmes' father were the first teachers. Only two rooms were used at first and then only during the winter term, one room being large enough to take care of the number of pupils attending the spring and fall terms. Some of the later teachers were O. J. McManus, J. L. Gillin and Clara Redford Vanderveer.
In the fall of 1894 the third room was added, with William Bough as principal and Mary Brandhorst Bowen as primary teacher. That fall the school was divided into eight grades. George Thompson and Mae Loonan McManus were later teachers.
Start High School at 1902
A ninth grade was added in 1902, and in the spring of 1903 the first commencement exercises were held in the united Brethren Church, supervised by George A. Glenny, who was principal at that time. In 1902 the fourth room was finished and used during winter terms, and in 1906 there were enough pupils to start the tenth grade. In 1911 the eleventh grade was started but was dropped during the winter term for various reasons and the school district paid the tuition of the Hudson pupils who attended high school in nearby towns.
The Rev. J. A. Eaker was principal in 1904 and at different times later the following were principals of the school: Louise Lamb, Mrs. Harry Howell and Elizabeth McAvoy.
The school house caught fire on three different occasions but the damage was never great.
The first vote for consolidation was April 27, 1915, when 105 votes were cast in favor of consolidation and 55 against, this being short of the required two - thirds majority. Steps were immediately to change some boundary lines of the proposed district, and another election was called for May 20, 1915. The following school election notice was published in the Hudson Herald of May 6, 1915:
|"A school election for the consolidation of schools will be held
in the Town Hall, Hudson, Iowa, Thursday, May 20, 1915, from 1:00 o'clock
P.M. until 6:00 P.M. The proposed district will take in seventeen sections,
as follows: All of section 13, the south 1/2 of section 14, all of section
15, the east 1/2 of section 16, all of sections 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,
the south half of section 28, east half of section 28, east half of
northeast 1/4 of section 28, the southeast 3/4 of section 29, all of
sections 33, 34, 35, 36, all in the township 88, Range 14; the north
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