Linn County Schools to 1878

All excerpts below are from: The History of Linn County Iowa,
Published by Chicago, Western Historical Co. 1878.
Transcribed by Terry Carlson for IaGenWeb. 

Please keep in mind that as with all transcribed data errors are possible.
Information is provided here for personal research only.


"A brick district school house was built in 1856, three-quarters of a mile northwest, which was used by the town pupils until about 1868, when a frame school house was built in town.  This is now taught by Miss Kate Wilson, of Mount Vernon, with about forty pupils." p. 585.

Back to top

Center Point

"The first school in the vicinity was a log district school, built before the town was formed, just northwest of town.  This is still standing, remodeled as a residence of Mrs. Burket.  School was taught here in the Winter of 1856, by a Mr. Wilox, who was followed by Thomas S. Johnson.  Afterward a log house in town was used for school purposes, and a school house was built in 1858, in which school was first taught by J. H. Hammond, succeeded by G. V. Dunbar.  An addition of equal size was made to the school house in 1875, so that there are now four good-sized school rooms.  These are taught by O. F. Fisher, Principal, assisted by Mrs. Leonard, Miss Clarinda Wilson and Mrs. Louisa Sweeney." P. 576.

Back to top

Cedar Rapids

"The graded school system in Cedar Rapids was inaugurated in 1861, but in 1856, when W. W. Smith built the Washington school building, the first graded school may be said to have been begun. The building was commenced in 1855, but was not ready for occupancy until 1856, and then only a few rooms were used. It was not fully used until 1865, when Prof. C. W. Burton took charge. The first teacher who commenced the work of grading the school was Prof. Humphrey, who taught three years. There were about 300 pupils attending under this system at that time. Mr. Humphrey was succeeded in his work, so ‘well begun, by Mr. Ingalls, who managed the school for one year or more; but it was not until the Fall of 1865, when Mr. C. W. Burton took charge of the schools, that the system began to prove a success. The people had been for years sending their children to school and permitting them to study whatever they desired. During Mr. Burton’s first and second years, he had a catalogue prepared and issued, fixing definitely what a scholar should study in the grade in which he belonged. In 1866, rooms were rented in different parts of the city to meet the increased demand for seats.

The school buildings in the various wards have been named in honor of the Presidents of the United States, in regular order. In the Summer of 1867, the Adams School was built. This is a brick building, costing about $5,000, and is situated on the corner of Madison and Daniels streets. The Jefferson School is a brick building of two stories, containing six rooms, and is located on Linn street, between Jackson and Van Buren, and was erected in 1968, at a cost of $12,000. The Monroe School was the next one built, and is located on Ligare street, corner of Adams. It is a brick structure, has two floors, containing six rooms. It was erected in 1873, at a cost of $17,000, including the lots upon which it stands. The Madison School was erected in 1877, on the corner of Third and King streets, and was built in place of one destroyed by fire. It is built of brick, is two stories high, contains eight rooms, and cost $11,500. There are also three frame buildings that were built in 1877. The Adams Frame is located near the Adams School. The James Street Frame is located on First street, corner of Huntington, on the West Side. Time Check Frame is located in “Time Check.” the locality near the railroad machine shop."

The teachers in the various departments. as far as can be given at this season, are:
    High School ( Washington ).—Miss M. A. Robertson, Principal; Miss J. Ada Sherman, 1st Assistant; Miss Sallie A. Thompson, 2d Assistant; Miss M. J. Couden. Grammar Department; Miss Louie E. Chambers, Grammar Department; Miss E. J. Fordyce, Miss E. C. Stearns.
    Adams School—Miss Ada R. Smith, Principal; Miss Annie E. Ferguson, Miss Phoebe Coleman, Miss M. L. Barnes.
    Jefferson SchoolP. D. St. John, Principal ; Miss Hattie A. Glass, Miss N. J. Stifler, Miss Ella Jones and Miss Mary Deacon.
    Monroe SchoolFrank Culler, Principal ; Miss A. J. Norris, Miss Emma Forsyth. Miss Lillie Haran. Miss Emma Norris and Miss Carrie Fordyce.
    Madison SchoolJoseph F. Dey, Principal; Miss Mary Card, Miss Julia Brown, Miss Anna McDaniels, Miss Bell Byers. Miss Flora Joyslin.
    Adams FrameMiss Aurelia Whittam.
    James Street FrameMiss Carrie Russell.
    “ Time Check School.”—Miss M. L. Prescott.

    The number of school children in the city is 3.200; average daily attendance, 1,500.
    The Superintendent in charge of all of the schools of the city is Prof. J. W. Akers.
    The Board of Education consists of the following named gentlemen J. S. Anderson, President, M. A. Higley, Thomas Devendorf, C. W. Burton, Chas. H. Clark, A. H. Spangler.
    The officers of the Board are: John W. Henderson, Treasurer; Warren Harman, Secretary, and J. W. Akers, Superintendent.
    Standing Committees—Finance. M. A. Higley, Charles Clark; Teachers, C. W. Burton, T. Devendorf; Repairs and Supplies, T. Devendorf, M. A. Higley; Building Committee, A. H. Spangler, M. A. Higley, T. Devendorf; Salaries, Charles H. Clark, A. H. Spangler, C. IV. Burton; Rules, Regulations and Text Books, E. W. Burton, A. H. Spangler, Charles H. Clark.
    In the High School, the Superintendent receives $1,500 per annum; Principal, $100 per month; First Assistant, $65 per month; Second Assistant, per month, and those in the Grammar Department, $60 per month.
    The remaining teachers in the various schools are divided into four classes—First class, $50 per month; second class, $45 per month ; third class, $40 per month; fourth class (or inexperienced teachers), $30 per month.
    The schools of Cedar Rapids have been steadily improving, until at the present writing they are considered the equal of any in the State.  Pages 497-498. 

Back to top

Central City

"The first school of which trace can be obtained was held by Joseph Smith in his house during 1859.  A school house was built in the grove on the west side of the river in 1871, to which an addition was made during the last year.  The present teachers are:  Miss Carrie McLeod, Principal; and Miss Lillian Baker." p. 593.

Back to top


"The first school house in this vicinity was erected in 1850.  It was a little cabin, made of lynn poles, and school was first taught there by Israel Clark.  Another, one-quarter of a mile east of town, afterward known as the Ely school house, was built in the fall of 1854, and first taught by R. Rowe.  This was moved nearer to the town plat when the latter was laid off.  A new frame school house of one room was built in Ely in the fall of 1876, where school was first taught by Isaac Heller, who was afterward drowned in the Cedar River.  Al Weaver taught the next winter." p.585.

Back to top


"In 1865, Mrs. Hester Fuller taught the first school in Fairfax, in the Congregational Church.  School was continued there for two or three years by R. W. Gunnison, Anna McLaughlin, and others; then a one-story frame school house was erected.  A good two-story frame school building has since been erected, where Miss Mary K. Hedges now teaches.  Two teachers are employed in winter." p. 591.

Back to top


"The first school house was erected in 1856, and John Russell chosen teacher.  The present building was put up in 1874, and is a credit to the place.  Samuel Armstrong was the last teacher." p. 602.

Back to top


"The first school house was built west of town a quarter of a mile, about 1845, on the land of A. J. McKean.  About 1855 or 1856, a brick one-story school house was built in the western part of the town, where Dr. G. F. Wetherel and John Breneman taught the first term. After a few years, this became too small, and the old United Brethren church was rented for school purposes in 1859 and 1860.  After that, a one-story frame building with two large rooms was erected in the southwestern part of the town.  A few years later, it was found necessary to build a large, two-story frame school house of four rooms, immediately east of the former one, and both are now used." P. 570.

Back to top

Mount Vernon

"The first was near the saw-mill two miles southwest, called Stewart's school house.  This was built in 1841, and was afterward burned down and rebuilt.  The second was a frame building, between Mount Vernon and Lisbon.  The third was in Lisbon, and the next was in Mount Vernon.  This was built in 1852, by Lindsley & Long, and was purchased by the Baptist Society for church use.  This was a district school, and was first taught by L. H. Mason.  About Ten years ago, the present large two-story brick building was erected, at a cost of about $9,000.  For the past term the teachers were: J. C. Johnson, Principal; Miss Jennie Alexander, Grammar room; Miss Belle Watts, Intermediate; Miss C. M. Webster, Primary." P. 566-7.

Back to top


"The first school was held in the Winter of 1854-5, three-quarters of a mile south, at Joseph McManus' house, by Ellison D. Marsh.  The first school in town was by J. F. Wishard, in 1856, in the house built by Charles Morris and afterward burned down.  The next school was in H. M. Campbell's house, by Mr. Crew, then by Mr. Miller; and in 1858, a one-story brick building, 28x30 feet in size, was erected. This was used until a new school house was erected, since when it has been used as a dwelling.  The present school house, a two-story frame building, with two rooms was erected in 1871.  John S. Willard first taught in it, while Miss Rosetta Sargent is the present teacher.  Two teachers are employed in Winter." p. 587.

Back to top


Photo by Evelyn Evans
(Click on thumbnail to see full image)

"Probably the first school was taught in 1854 by Miss Wickham. In 1855, J. C. Davis taught over Mr. Powell's store.  The present school house was built south of the town in 1856.  The present teachers are Miss Ida Burtis in summer and Mr. Buel Evans in winter, having an attendance of from thirty to fifty, according to season." p. 597.

Back to top


"The first school house was situated one mile east and a half mile north. Later a school was established one mile east until 1872, when the present two-story frame building was erected at a cost of about $2,000, in which Prof. Edward Ford first taught for two winters, then Miss Thompson, L. C. Brown and others; Warren Whitney and Miss Effie Fields taught last winter, while Mary E. Hudson now teaches.  There are about sixty pupils." p. 598-9.

Back to top


"The first school house was a small log building built in 1842. This was used until 1855, when a one-story frame house was built on High Street, in which Miss Rhoda Thompson first taught. This building is now used as a dwelling.  Soon after New Linden was established, the Springville school house was moved three-quarters of a mile west by action of the school district, and a new school site was located at New Linden, leaving Springville without educational facilities. In 1865 the present two-story brick school house was erected on the east side, at a cost of $1,200." p. 604.

Back to top


"There is a good school house in this place.  The first teacher was B. J. Roy.  The last was Miss Ophelia Harrison." p. 611.

Back to top

Troy Mills

" Until the fall of 1871, the nearest school was one mile south.  In that year a frame building 24 x 30 feet in size, was erected in the village, and first taught by Isaac Booth.  The present teacher is Mary Allen." p. 601.

Back to top


"The only building on the village site in 1861 was the district school house. In 1843, a log school house was built on the site of the present building, and was taught by Miss Malvina Wilcox, Romelia Peet, William Gillilan, Jr., and A. Warrington. After that term the building was moved one-half mile northwest, where school was held for four years longer by E. Barkley, J. Porter, William Carbee and Mrs. C. Sherwood. In 1854, a new frame school house of one-story was built at the old site, when S. H. Marshall was the first teacher.  That building was afterward burned down, and the present two-story frame school house was erected.  The present teachers are Miss Viola Leanard and Cenie Nuckolls." p. 610.

Back to top


"The first school was a small stone building, built by the district in 1859, and first taught by Jacob Shankling.  The building is now standing, vacant, near the south end of the old town.  About 1868, a new two-story brick school house was built at a cost of $2,600, and since that time Waubeek has been formed into an independent school district.  The two school rooms are taught by Miss Mary Cutler, Principal; and Miss Kennedy, Assistant." P.596.

Back to top


"School was first held as a primary department of the College, at which there was an attendance of twenty during the first year.  A district school was then organized and held in a small dwelling now standing vacant in the western part of town.  School was held there until 1861, when the present two-story brick building, about 24x40 feet in size, was constructed west of the business part of town.  There are two rooms, now taught by Stephen I. Harrison and Miss Sadie Bowman." p. 581.

Back to top

Join Our Team

Contact the Linn County Coordinator