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OF VAN WERT, Decatur County, IOWA
1880 - 1980





  At one time, Long Creek Twp. had nine independent school districts. With the decline in the rural population and the small town, it became necessary to reorganize the smaller districts into the larger one, Van Wert. Many of the older generation of today will have fond memories of their school days in the rural schools, which will be listed below, giving the names of a few of the teachers (not given in order of teaching) who taught at each school.





WOODARD SCHOOL, Section 31, was closed in 1953 with Evelyn Smith (Palmer) as teacher. A few teachers were Elizabeth Follmer, Mary Miller (Foland), Rose Smith, Lenna Cummins (Beers), Zora Cummins, Nora Johnson, Zora Overholtzer, Gladys Overholtzer, Edith McKee, Rosamond Ramsey, Beulah Foland, Eula Overholtzer, Betty Poore, Mary Lux, Nina Boswell, Irene Schwalbe and others. An account of this school is found in the October 9, 1975 issue of the Leon paper along with pictures.

The schoolhouse was sold to Lloyd McCarl, moved to his farm and made into a garage.


GOOD HOPE SCHOOL, Section 26, was built in 1874 and closed in 1951 with Ruby Lee Peters as teacher.

A few other teachers were: Mary Sears, Ralph Rumley, Helen Rumley (Young), Leo Boatman, Rose Lamoree, Maude Hampton, Jessie Metler, Ada and Ruby Crees, Pearl Gittinger, Leo Price, Cora Tetfer, Mae Waddell, Virginia Crawford, Louise Wagner, Edith Ball, Lela Myers, and Merna Beers.

The school was sold to Horace Redman, left standing and used as a corn crib.


WEST SCHOOL, Section 20. The first school was built of logs on the William West farm, thus, giving it the name of West. It closed in 1954 with Lucille Reed as teacher.

Other teachers were: Lois Sankey, Nora Johnson, Ella Doolittle, George O. Johnson, Maude Hampton, Edith Ball, Mike Crees, LaVonne Smith, Violet Hall, Dorothy Richardson (Lewis), Maxine Laird, Mary Delk and Merna Beers. The school was sold to Owen Larkin, now the Darel Foland farm, and used as a hay barn.

A violent windstorm struck the building May 1975, taking out the north end.


ROUND KNOLL SCHOOL, Section 4. The first school was built of brick and was located about one half mile north of present building. It closed in 1951 with Lois Davenport as the teacher.

Other teachers were: Oscar Weber, Ed and Effie Lipseit, Miss Hattie Boatman, Zora Glazebrook, Mary Strong, Ruby Crees, Hettie Euritt (Palmer), Madge Woodard, Elmer Houck, Louis South, Violet Hall, and Betty Fry.

This school still [1980] stands on the Georgia Cox farm, now owned by LeRoy Allison of Lincoln, Illinois, used for storage.


HAWKEYE SCHOOL, Section 36, was built around 1873. It closed 1951 with Naomi Bowen as teacher.

Other teachers were: Lillian Eaton, 1874; Avis Strong, Martin Boatman, India and Lottie Daily, Emma Hacker, Lulu Rumley, Ann Conwell, Doris O'Hair, Miss Yost, Mrs. Sam Metier, Mabel Kelley, Letha Krouch, Madge Stedman, Kathryn Havard, Helen Stuteville and Clarice Stream.

The schoolhouse was sold to Carroll Tompkins and used as a hay barn.


The HOLLINGSHEAD RURAL SCHOOL that was Franklin No. 3, received its name because a Mr. Hollingshead donated one acre of land for the purpose of a rural school. This was some time during the l880s. This school still stands on land owned by O. & W. Ag. Enterprise, Inc., and the O'Hairs use it for storage. The school closed at the end of the first semester in January, 1959. The pupils and teacher, Mrs. Ruth McGahuey, were incorporated into the Weldon School at this time. Many memories remain of the fun times at box suppers and PTA meetings when even the adults entertained.

The school was used for a home a short time when Mr. and Mrs. Jesse O'Hair lost their home (across the road from the school) to a fire. There were just a few students and only several weeks of the spring term remaining so school was held in the J.A. O'Hair home. By the time the fall term arrived, Jesse and Violet had their new home constructed so school went on as usual.

Some of the teachers at Hollingshead School were: Neva Kelley Jamison, 19l7 - 1919; Lillian Houck Jones, 1923 - 1925; Ethel Bulkeley, 1920 - 1921; Ethel B. Leffler, 1925 - 1928; Mabel Stover Garton, 1921 - 1923; Mary Delk, 1928 - 1928; Delma Euritt, 1936 - 1937; Leona Gardner, 1930 - 1931; Betty Cochran Redman, 1937 - 1938; Harold Fuller, 1940 - 1941; Mrs. Louis G. Brolin, Corrine Hamaker, Virginia Bethards, Aletha Newman, Ruth McGahuey, Leota Johnson, Ruth Rodgers, Annabelle (Flynn) Discoll. Hollingstead also shared the music teacher with Popcorn School.


In 1874 the first Popcorn Schoolhouse was built of brick structure in Franklin Township on 3/4 acre of land located 1 1/2 miles east of Van Wert and one mile south. It was purchased of C.J. Barrackman for $30.00. It was named Popcorn School because the children brought lots of popcorn to school.

The second schoolhouse as pictured was built on the old foundation in the summer of1897 by Penniwell Brothers. In 1924, it was voted to have eight month school terms. Over a period of years things were done to bring the school up to standardization. Some of them were moving the stove to the back of the schoolhouse, building a new chimney, putting in ventilation registers in the school foundation, buying a record player and records, new library books and maps, laying crushed brick walks to the outbuilding and coal house, putting new wooden lattice screens in front of the outhouses and some playground equipment. In the winter when Edna (Wood) Kelley taught the first time, the parents would take turns and furnish a hot dish for the entire school. This was brought about 11:30 and placed on top of the heating stove to keep warm until noon. This was really enjoyed by the pupils and teacher along with their lunches brought from home.

In the spring of 1931, the school participated in a State Chorus which was held at the KRNT Theatre in Des Moines. there were 2,000 grade pupils in the State on the stage at one time.

Naomi Bulkeley was teacher in 1937 to 1939, Doris (Redman) Houck had a school band. In 1948 a music teacher was hired by the Franklin School Board President, Marvin Gordan. This continued until the schools were closed.

The annex was built onto the school in the summer of 1950 by Ivan Corsbie. This made more room for coats, caps, overshoes, water fountain, hot plate and lunch pails.

In 1954, all schools in Franklin Township went to the Weldon Gym and put on a musical program with makeup and costumes, directed by Mrs. Claire Faust, the music teacher. The PTA was very active all through the years.

When the number of pupils dropped, the adults in the community would help put on the programs for the box and pie suppers.

Old Popcorn was closed in the spring of 1959, and a farewell party was held for all teachers and pupils who had ever taught or gone to school there. There were 25 pupils who attended their first term here and six former teachers present at the party. Three generations of the Ira Price and John Fierce families, attended this school. Lillie (Fierce) Corsbie got all of her schooling here. All four of the children, Mrs. Mamie (Gordon) Craig, Mrs. Mildred Adams, Mrs. Mable Horney, and Merlyn Corsbie and nine of her 14 grandchildren, Meryle, Kenneth, Ronald, and Donald Gordon, Robert, Richard and Russell Horney, and Kathy and Michael Adams, all attended this school.

The schoolhouse was torn down in 1964 and the cement and foundation were buried. The trees were cut in 1964 or 1965 and the ground has been farmed every year since.

Music teachers at Popcorn from 1948 to 1959:
Mrs. Selma (Lipsett) Thompson, Mrs. Claire Faust, Mrs. LaNelle Buckingham, Mrs. Joan Findley, Mrs. Flossie Gillham, and Mrs. Helen Flockhart.

Teachers from 1800 to 1959 were:

Jessie E. Hacker, Lanie Meek,  Dora Barrackman,
Kate Curry, Anise Strong,  Nettie Starr,  India Dailey,
Lotta Daily,  Harriet Kirkpatrick,  Rafe Porter,
Edna Moore, Ina Overholtzer, Daisy Ross,
Helen Gardner,  Lennie Gardner,  Kate Lathrop,
Hazel Hawkins,  Verlie Price,  Rose Lamoree,
Jennie Ritter,  W.R. Hines,  Edmund Blair,
Neva Curry,  Gladys Chambers,  Eunice Long,
Jane Follmer,  Berniece Ochlatree,  Rose Lamoree,
Annie Bunch,  Nellie Pearcy,  Margaret Jane Jones,
Iva Garton,  Louise Oldaker,  Jennis Edge,
Edna Wood,  Naomi Bulkeley,  Edna (Wood) Kelley,
Helen Halverson,  Letha Krouch,  Doris (Redman) Houck,
Berniece Fullerton,  Robert Conwell,  Beatrice Andrews,
Gretchen Miller,  Ethel Bunch,  Florence Fulton,
Josephine Shook,  Hazel Christensen, and Myrtle Miller.
Selma (Lipsett) Thompson and Naomi Bowen filled in at the time Ethel Bunch passed away Christmas, 1950.

~ Taken from the records of Lillie (Fierce) Corsbie.

To Be Continued . . . . . . . .
Pages 77 - 81
Contributed, Courtesy of Larry McElwee
Dodge City, Kansas