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A Brief History of Bonaparte Public School


Posted By: Volunteer - Rich Lowe
Date: 1/15/2017 at 17:23:27

A Brief History of Bonaparte Public School

Written by Miss J. June Christy and read before a meeting of the Bonaparte Community Club on Thursday, Sept. 14, 1939.

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We have no record of active school work until 1844, just seven year's after our pioneer grandparents located in this beautiful little valley which later was laid out as the original town of Bonaparte, consisting of lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and west half of block 6 where our old home now stands.

The first school was built in 1844 on about the present site of the Hainline home. This crude structure was burned in 1859. Thos. Charlton was the first teacher, also Bonaparte's first postmaster. They lived in a brick cottage just south of us, later in the stone house on the Marshall Meek place. Mrs. Charlton was Ann Meek, being a sister of Robert, Isaiah and Joe Meek.

In those days each home had a number of children, so our industrious and progressive fathers were desirous of giving their offspring the advantage of better education, and in 1865 the Bonaparte Academy Assín was organized and the incorporators were Thos. Christy, Jos. A. Kean, Jacob G. Vale, Benj. Wagner, John T. Stewart, George W. Sturdivant, Isaiah Meek and A. H. Leach. Under their direction during the next two years was erected a beautiful school building costing $20,000 and dedicatled for the purpose of prompting education, literature, science and art.

E. P. Howe, a descendant from the famous Howe's Academy at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, was the first principal. He was a wonderful instructor, and my sister, Mrs. Bell, recalls distinctly, could conduct two classes simultaneously. She often tells of how the pupils spent their evenings studying lessons for the following day, and that it was well they did, as Prof. Howe would drop in quite unexpectedly to ascertain if they were really working on same. He afterward moved to Sacramento, Calif. and was always a teacher.

Ella Keebles of Pella was the first music teacher. Her father was presiident of Penn college. She was the sweetheart of Murray Cox, station agent here at the time and they were married very soon after she arrived in Bonaparte.

Source: Bonaparte Record, Bonaparte, Iowa; 28 Sept 1939


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