1900 Clintonian: History

SOURCE: 1900 Clintonian yearbook. There are not a lot of photos in this book. There are many stories and poems by students and there is a lot of historical/genealogical information too.

History of the Clinton Schools

Taken from the Clinton County History, with additions, bringing the history up to date.

From Clinton's very inception, unusual attention has been paid to the proper development and maintenance of a system of public schools.  A policy, both liberal and provident, has always been followed, ever since the winter of 1855-56, when such pioneer Clintonians as the Pearces, Wallikers, Jurneys, Perrins and others, determined to have a school nearer than Lyons.  Accordingly, a dispensation was procured from the District Directors of Lyons Township, and the public school system of Clinton inaugurated in an old log hut, that stoood near the present location of W. J. Young's upper mill.  There Isaac Baldwin during that winter, faithfully taught about thirty scholars, now dead, or scattered far and wide, and many of them sending their own children to school.  Furniture, books and heating appliances were all equally primitive, the room being warmed by a cook stove.  The greatest annoyance was the amount of tobacco juice left on the floor, after religious services were held in the antique "skule" house during evenings.

The following is the complete roll of the school taught by Mr. Baldwin: James Arnold, Fanny Barrett, Caroline Coggswell, George A. Coggswell, John Crowley, Charles Crozer, James Crozer, Frank Crozer, Emma Crozer, Eugene and Myrtin Davis, Daniel Jurney, Frank M. Jurney, John K., Mary E. and Millard F. Jurney, H. M. Parish, Adam C. Perry, Eunice A. B. Pearce, Sarah A. M. Pearce, Laurence L. Pearce, Edwar and Rachel Perrin, Noble Perrin, Elizabeth Perrin (Scott), Mary Perrin (Miller), Milton Shoecraft, Melvina Starr (Perrin), Edwin S. Stockwell, Charles Walliker, Jacob Walliker, Mary Walliker (Krom).

In July, 1856, was organized Clinton School District No. 1, and on July 25th, 1856, was held the first school election, when the Board was elected with J. C. Bucher as President, H. McCormick as Secretary and D. H. Pearce as Treasurer.  The first Board meeting was held August 16th, at Isaac Baldwin's office.  In September following, 173 pupils were entitled to the benefits of the public school.  During the next winter the school occupied a frame building, now standing on Fifth avenue, east of Third street.  Mr. Baldwin was succeeded by Miss Lorena Clark, and after her came Mr. E. R. Morgan and Miss Jennie Lewis.  One day the two had so bitter a quarrel that they both appealed to and sent for the Directors, but naturally enough became reconciled, and eventually were married.  The above-mentioned and other rented frame buildings sufficed the schools until 1860.  One of the early school houses was an old frame, afterward changed to a "gothic" shape and is located in the rear of Pipping's Sixth avenue market.  That building was also used as a station on a trunk line of the "Underground Railway," and in its basement or attic, many a cowering fugitive was safely sheltered, waiting for the human blood-hounds in pursuit, to lose the trail and give up the search, before venturing on the road to Canada and freedom.  As a double relic this building merits preservation.

September 11th, 1858, the district embraced Sections 6, 7, and 8, in Town 81, Range 7 and Section 12, in Township 81, Range 6.  In the winter of 1859-60, the schools were taught by Grove P. Jenks and Mary Fuller.  Mr. E. P. Dole, who died several years ago in Bloomington, Ill., was the Secretary of the Board in 1858, and made an inventory of the property then belonging to the District, which is interesting as a contrast to the present: One table, thirty-two sound and seven damaged chairs, nine benches, two desks with broken locks, one blackboard, one ditto, very small, two stoves and pipes, two pails and cups, two small bells.

In the spring of 1859 a $6,000 tax was voted to erect a school building; for some reason it was deemed illegal, was again voted Sept. 6th, and finally rescinded October 5th.  At the annual school meeting in March, 1860, the treasury was empty, but a tax, payable the following January, was anticipated, and the Board, Messrs. W. F. Coan, F. P. Wilcox, C. H. Toll and J. C. Bucher, by an ingenious scrip issue, advanced the amount, about $4, 000.  Thus was built, on the east side of DeWitt Park, the first and then ample schoolhouse, after plany by Robert Leslie, who for $3 per day (good wages at that time), superintended its construction.  In September, 1860, 445 pupils, between the ages of five and twenty-one years, were registered in the District.  In November, the school opened with a corps of good teachers, viz:  William Sanderson, who succeeded Jenks as Principal, and afterward became a resident of Princeton, and a member of the Legislature, and Misses Jennie N. Clark and Sarah Rogers, assistants.  Sanderson left in 1861, and Julia A. Titus took his place, followed in 1862 by H. Grant, of Galena, succeeded by Simon Shoecraft.

The number of pupils steadily increased, till in 1863, the school meeting instructed the Directors to build such a school-house as they deemed necessary.  Accordingly was built, by an issue of $5,000 of ten-year bonds, the present brick school-house west of DeWitt Park, which was in 1865, enlarged to a seating capacity of 450 pupils. 

In the fall of 1864, C. H. Leadbetter became Principal, and in the spring of 1866 was succeeded by George W. Frost, who for four years had charge of the schools.

In 1866, a small building in the rear of the Episcopal Church, was purchased, and used to accommodate the swarming children, for whom Turner Hall was also fitted as a temporary school-room in 1869, while the magnificient South Clinton building was being erected.  But even that, costing $15,000, and seating over 400 pupils, did not adequately relieve the pressure in the central part of the town, so that in June, 1870, a special tax of $10,000 resulted, by January 1st, 1871, in opening the immense three-story building west of Clinton Park, with a seating capacity for 475 scholars.

W. B. Howe, of Sterling, was Superintendent from 1870 for a year, and from the same year to his removal West in 1877, C. E. Bentley was the efficient Secretary of the Board.

In 1871, Mr. Henry Sabin became Superintendent, after Mr. Frost served a brief term in the spring and summer, and the new regime of the Clinton Schools began.  Mr. Sabin made the first real attempt to grade the city schools according to the method adopted in nearly all large cities where proper systems were maintained, and his rare organizing ability, aided by exceptionally able assistants, all ladies, resulted in making the public schools the pride of every Clinton citizen, and unsurpassed at the time in thoroughness and morale by any in the state.  The course of study from the primary to the graduating class required, usually, twelve years, four of which were spent in the High School, graduates from which were admitted into the State University at Iowa City without examination.

In 1879, the number of pupils in attendance in all the schools of the city, out of about 3000 minors over five years of age, was 1, 424.  The number of teachers was 29, wiht an average monthly pay roll of $1,500.  During the next decade Clinton grew very rapidly, making it necessary in 1882 to construct a four room school on Oak street, called the Franklin School, and a four room school on Eleventh avenue, called the Lincoln School.  Each of these buildings was increased to a six room school in a few years.

In the fall of 1887, Mr. Sabin was elected to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, entering upon his duties in January, 1880.  Mr. R. S. Bingham, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, was elected his successor and served one year and a half.

The old High School building proving inadequate in its capacity and facilities, a new High School was built in 1880, on a site purchased from the Catholic Church, at an expense of $5,500, the building itself costing $40,000.  At this time this was the best High School in the State of Iowa.  It was one of the first High Schools in the state equipped with science laboratory and a school library, offering facilities for laboratory work to the students of science.

In 1889, Mr. O. P. Bostwick, of Galena, Ill., was elected to the superintendency of the Clinton Schools.  At that time there were 1800 pupils in attendance, and the teaching force numbered 48.

By the annexation of the Town of Chancy, in 1892, a good four room school was added to the district, which in 1896 was increased to an eight room building, at an expense of $10,000.

In 1892 the Grammar School was erected at a cost of $36,000.  This building contains eight school rooms, four recitation rooms, and an auditorium on the third floor, with a seating capacity of 800.  All the pupils in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades of the city were sent to this Central Grammar School, thus relieving at that time the overcrowded condition of the ward schools.  Graduating exercises were introduced, special teachers provided for literature, science, music and drawing, and the school was organized partly on the deparmental plan.  The greater efficiency thus given to the Grammar School work resulted in greatly increasing the enrollment in the grammar grades.

The old Brown School was moved to a site on Seventh avenue, which had been purchased at a cost of $3,000, and the building repaired at an expense of $1,000, making a comfortable school, which accommodated the primary pupils in the western part of the city.

In 1898 the Hawthorn School was built in Ringwood, on a site purchased at an expense of $3,500.  The school has a capacity of eight rooms, four of which were finished and furnished.  The building is equipped with all modern conveniences, with heating and ventilating systems of the most approved type.  No expense was spared to make the school a model building in all its appointments, looking to the convenience and comfort of the pupils.  The cost of this building with four rooms finished was $15,000.

The school year closing June 8th, 1899, showed an enrollment of 3,618 pupils, as compared with 1,424 in 1879; 86 teachers were employed to conduct the schools as compared with 29 in 1879.  The average monthly pay roll in 1899 was a little over $4,000, almost three times that of twenty years ago.

Senior Class

Anderson, Hattie  Aikens, Fred Abbott, Myra
Benjamin, Mabel Bacchus, Edward Claussen, George
Cooke, Ella Dickerson, Ralph Dozier, Missouri
Enburg, Selma Everhart, Ray Frehse, Frieda
Fredrickson, Anna Graesle, Albert Harbron, George
Haywood, Margaret Jensen, Anna Kincaid, Anna
Kinch, Leroy Kilday, Rosa Keister, Louis
Lorenzen, Lora Millard, Neva Mead, Emery 
McClure, Bessie Mead, Hattie Miller, Jennie
Morrison, Lula Skinner, Emma Meyer, Elise
Norman, Glenn Phelps, Nellie  Ries, Sabina
Reppert, Clarence Sugg, Florence Smullin, Harris
Shew, Mattie Smith, Maude Witzigman, Katharine
Wilson, Frank Walker, Bessie  

Junior Class

Baldwin, Agnes  Bacchus, Mae Beer, Myrtle
Briggs, Warren Brown, Cecil Carstensen, Alfred
Calnan, Harry  Carey, Edward Cary, Guy
Carson, Myra Clark, Winnie Cullen, Stella
Desmond, Charlotte Duffy, Fannie Fallon, Bessie
Golden, Eliza Goodwin, Essie Hansen, Fred
Harding, Lee Haywood, Clara Hodgson, Mabel
Holmes, Ethel Holway, Ollie Hooks, Elizabeth
Howat, Helen Hansen, Emelia Howes, Mae
Jaenicke, Kurt Johnstone, Anna Johnstone, John
Keith, Willis Kelsey, Fay Lachmund, Ralph
McGuire, Thomas Mallman, Leon Matzen, Louise
Meyer, Irene McCone, Ola Miller, Mamie
Mudgett, Bertha Nolan, Maude Parks, Grace
Peck, Maud Peterson, Ethel Peterson, Bernice
Poorman, Nellie Potter, Carrie Rizer, Robert
Schoener, Carrie Smith, Dora Switzer, Hazel
Smith, Maud Stone, Ruby Van Auken, Clarice
Welsh, Kittie Woodruff, Mamie Wells, Florence

Sophomore Class

Anderson, Beda  Armstrong, Carroll Bradbury, Charles
Buckman, Thos. Bannister, Ernest Brick, Edmund
Booth, Lena Bowman, Ethel Calnan, Bert
Curtis, Florence Cooper, Agnes Corby, Charlotte
Christy, Mabel  Curtis, Edith Curtis, Eugene
Dall, Mary Donnelly, John Dewell, Fred
Dickerson, Alice Donlan, Charles Dunham, Mabel
Fahr, Luella Fairchild, Jennie Forsee, Jennie
Gibson, Florence Golden, May Heenan, Frank
Hopkins, Arthur Howsen, Elmer Humphres, Anna
Ireland, Frank Jackson, Litta Jackson, Faye
Kleinsmith, Emma Kleisly, Elfrieda Koone, LaVeta
Krenz, Alma Meta Langenhagen, Elsie Lambertson, Pearl
Larsen, Christine Leslie, Donald Lind, Anna
Loveder, Lizzie McCarthy, Nellie Mumby, Loui
Mudgett, Grace McDonald, Harry Milbourne, Vera
Morrison, Edna Mitchell, Maurice Mead, Maud
McCone, Mildred Nissly, Donna Palsgrove, Charles
Posten, Elsie Potter, Hattie Purcell, John
Powers, Hazel Pascal, Lee Rizer, Charles
Robb, Kathryn Ross, Leonard Scanlan, Margerite
Smith, Mabel Smith, Harold Sweeney, George
Salzer, George Sturdevant, Annette Taylor, Florence
Tilson, Rose Tyler, Ella Thompson, Dottie
Van Allen, Bessie VanEpps, Mabel Weston, Leonard
Walker, Mabel Wideman, Eva  Winklehaus, Louie
Work, Flora Wallace, Mollie Wilson, Mamie
Waterbury, Ethel Williamson, Max  

Freshman Class

Andrews, Leta  Benson, Martin Benson, Carrie
Bevier, Lee Bliss, Nettie Bohart, George
Bulger, Winnifred Burdick, Halla Burke, Kittie
Beale, Charles Callahan, Soretta Callender, Mamie
Claussen, Charles Clancy, Lillian Clark, Timothy
Coan, Edwin Cone, Daniel Conner, Hollis
Cook, Lillian Dall, Peter Davie, Fred
Dayton, George Donlan, Mabel Donnelly, Margaret
Duffy, Margaret Dunn, Ethel Enberg, Jennie
Esperson, Herbert Evans, Ethel Ferguson, Bessie
Fuller, Edith Fuller, Clarice Golden, Etta
Gosnell, Ruth Graesle, Eddie Groom, Frances
Haywood, Murray Hein, Grace  Hemingway, Lydia
Himebook, Ida Hoffman, Sue Hufman, Willie
Hullinger, Eleanor Handell, Edna Iverson, Walter
Johnston, Esther Kademan, Robert Kimbell, Frank
Knudsen, Louis Krehl, Maude Kreim, Clyde
Lambertson, Ruby Lawler, Willie Lea, Mabel
Leonard, Alice Lorenzen, Ernest Lorenzen, Robert
Lubbers, Albert Merritt, Libbie Mead, Maud
Mudgett, Jay Murray, Maude Nolan, Mabel
Nagel, Minnie Pipping, Fay Plunkett, Alice
Reid, Margaret Rimmer, John Ryan, Camilla
Salzer, Emma Scanlan, Alice Scott, Belle
Shaff, John Skinner, Carl Sloan, Mabel
Smith, Mark Spencer, Mary Stevenson, Lilla
Sugg, Rush Swales, Mae Sweet, Ada
Scheible, Edward Taylor, Gertrude Walde, Florence
Walliker, Martha Wells, Mildred Ward, Mabelle
Waters, Chester Willis, Florence Wolffe, Anna
Wilson, Clara Watts, Silvia