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EARLY SCHOOLS OF SHELBY COUNTY, MISSOURI
Salt River Township
The first school was taught by John B. Lewis, in 1838, in a small schoolhouse that stood on the present  site of Bacon's Chapel. This house was built of round logs, had a puncheon floor, a clap-board roof, rough benches and the windows were composed of greased paper. Some of Mr. Lewis's pupils were Isaac, John and Mary A. Wailes; Anderton [?], Cornelia and Mary Tobin; George and Mary Lewis. He had about 10 in all.
Judge Samuel Huston taught a school just over the line, in Macon County, in 1841, which was resorted to by a majority of the children in the north western portion of this township. Jack Griffin taught another school near him.
Tiger Fork Township
A house built by William Payne Jr., on Alexander Buford's farm [section 7], was used for a school house..probably the first in the township. The first school in the Winchell neighborhood was taught in the summer of 1838, at Mr. James Lear's on Tiger, five miles west of Greenfield, by Fannie M. Winchell, then 16 years of age and now the wife of Col. Thomas L. Anderson, of Palmyra. Afterward the same school was taught by Miss Sarah M. Winchell, who became the wife of Judge John D.L. Dryden. Renssalaer Winchell and his brother Elisha B. Winchell.....also taught the school. The first school house was built in 1841. It stood on section 23 and was known as Bragg's school house because of its nearness to the residence of S.I. Bragg. It was built by the citizens, of hewed logs, and was a good, substantial building. The first teacher in this school house was R.B. Settle, in 1841. He had 25 or 30 pupils: the children of S.I. Bragg, Thomas Claggett, Hugh Anderson, Thomas Lear, William White and Harry White.
The first school house was built some time in 1859. It stood in the southwestern part of the town and was still standing in 1884. Among the first teachers was Charles M. King.
Shelbina Collegiate Institute
The Shelbina Collegiate Institute was built in 1877 at a cost of about $6,000. Dr. Leo Bair was the first president. In 1884 the principal was Erastus L. Ripley. A.B. and Mrs. Caroline A. Ripley, Mrs. I.D.A. Winter, Miss Ada A. Williams and Miss Rosa Moreman were his assistants. In 1884 the number of students was about 90. The board of directors was composed of William A. Reid, president; J.W. Ford, treasurer; C.H. Myers, secretary; and Chester Cotton, S.B. Parson, J.H. Ford and O.L. Jewett.
The first school was taught by a Mr. Strong. His successor was Dr. D.H. Matthews. Another early teacher was a Miss Galbreath. Perhaps the first room used as a private school room was in Higbee and Brown's building near the Presbyterian Church. The first public school house, a brick building, was built in 1865.
In 1859 the first school house was built. It was a frame building and was located in the western part of town, south of the track. The first teacher was a man named Shaw, a Massachusetts Yankee and a graduate of Harvard. The school house that was in use in 1884, was completed in November 1871 at a cost of $4,500. S.J. Linthicum was the contractor and builder. The first school was begun in this building on September 1, 1872, with the Johnson family as teachers-Professor C.B. Johnson, Mrs. E.B. Johnson and their son C.N. Johnson.
A school was taught in the Bethel Colonie's church building and the children of the colonists universally attended. Moses Miller was the first teacher in the church and had 130 scholars of all ages and attainments and of both sexes. Charles Ruge succeeded him and also Esq. Harrison Baer and Charles Knight. The elementary English branches were taught and English was the language used in the school room; the scholars learned German at home.
In the North East corner of Bethel Township. Some records indicate that it may have been organized as early as 1850. The early building stood near the Garrison house near the Tiger Fork River. An old picture from 1894 of the pupils and teachers of this school lists: "Ella Marquette, Edna Marquette, Anna Kate Wilson, Clara Morrey, Ellis Wilson, Christy Wilson, Frank Whitelock, Paul Brown, Grover Smoot, Cye Latimer, Lonnie Wilson, Dick Latimer, Willie Sanders, Grover Todd, Harry Vanskike, Cecil Wilson, Harry McElhiney, Laura May Moore, Gracie Houghland, Ada Wilson, Frankie Morre, May Houghland, Laura Morrey, Marguerite Morrey, Tina Sanders, Ethel Whitelock, Virgie Todd, Ollie Whitelock, Pearl Wilson, Joda Wilson, Loyd Moore, Percy McElhiney, Edna McElhiney, Sidney Wear, Solon Wilson, Nellie Moore, Lula Moore, Jim Whitelock, Charley Morrey, Lavinia Todd, Hurley White, Jessie Smoot, Cliff Wilson, Joe Thrasher, Harlan Thoroughman, Otie Todd, Herbert Moore, Lilith Calloway, Lena Smoot, Edd Smoot, Lena Garrison, Mason Wilson, Tandy Todd, Mason Wilson, Leola Moore, Clarence Wilson, Alec. Todd, Rubert Moore, Abner Houghland, Ollie Howe, Bud Todd, Edna Moore, Walter Moore, John Will Lepford, June Vanskike, Henry Wear, Dee Moore, Sam Holderieath, Nellie Latimer, Joe Latimer, Mal Houghland and teachers Miss Susie Houghland and Charles Wailes."
Submitted by: Fern Comstock
Gurdane School 1901-1902 Teacher: Ernest Jewett
Pupils: Harry Boyd, Melissa Boyd, Asa Collins, Gwendola Fitzpatrick, Bertha Henniger, Grace Henniger, Nola Henniger, Clyde Porter, Earl Porter, June Porter, Will Porter, Carl Ratliff, Ivy Ratliff, Edith Snyder, Norvel Snyder, Tot Snyder, Earl Todd, Bates White, Clarence White.
The following was submitted by Nikki Manuel:
College at Leonard
In the year 1890, Rev. John T. Welsh originated the idea of a college at Leonard. The college was based on a scholarship plan. The building was a good, substantial frame building, two stories and a large auditorium on the second floor and five classrooms on the first floor. This first school, under the presidency of Rev. Welsh, assisted by W.L. Shouse, received a goodly patronage, and satisfactory work and higher education received a new impetus thereabouts. The school continued some six years, during which time Rev. O. P. Shrout, a popular man in the Christian Church, had a turn at the work, but the scholarships taken in the building were running out, and interest lagged, until finally, for a lack of sufficient patronage, as is the tendency of all schools that have dotted our county, it was a hardship to make necessary funds to sustain the school and the building was sold to T.P. Manuel, who in turn sold it and finally it was torn down and the lumber was converted into the house in which Henry Stuart now lives.
In 1874, the school opened for the first term. William H. and his wife, Nancy Vaden-Trosper Shofstall donated the land for the school on March 25, 1874. The land was deeded to John C. Garnett, Benjamin Singleton, and George W. Rhodes, as trustees. Mr. Wm. D. Caldwell was listed as President of the Board of Education and James C. Booth as Clerk in 1875.
As early as the fall of 1857 Hezekiah Ellis opened a select school in the old Methodist church building. He had as his able assistants R.C. Arendt and Miss. Parmelia White. In 1858 Mr. Ellis opened school in the Shelbyville Seminary. His assistants were Prof. Dodd, R.C. Arendt, and Miss. Draper. At the death of his father, six months later, Mr. Ellis resigned, his assistants finished the term. In 1860, Mr. Ellis opened a school of his own in the Carothers block. Rev. Joseph Dines was an assistant in a seminary in 1859; Prof. Leonard in 1860. The early settlers at Shelbyville bitterly opposed public schools and fought bitterly every proposition to institute such a school in there midst. Such a school building was erected, however, after the war. It was a frame building and contained four rooms. Mrs. Manville was principal for four years, and she was followed by Miss. Minta Foster, eight years, then a new building of brick was erected of four nice rooms, and later this building was remolded with an addition of four rooms and the Shelbyville public school developed into a high school. This building stood three blocks east of the courthouse. W.L. Shouse has charge of the school during its days that it was on upward grade, and Shelbyville today feels indebted to him for the early development of her school.
Note: At least some of this information is from a 1911 Shelby Co. History
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Lea Ann Oliver Robertson Shelby Co., MOGenWeb Project coordinator.
Thanks to Nikki Manuel and Suzanne Graves Crawford, for the information on this page.
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