Early Schools of
Holt County, Missouri
First School in Benton Township
First School

It seems to be a question as to who was the first teacher to pursue his calling in Benton Township. By some of the old settlers it is claimed that an eastern man by the name of Latty, as early as 1842, taught a school one-fourth of a mile east of the present public school building which stands on land now owned by 'Squire Young. The primitive school house was a log cabin fourteen feet square.

By others it is maintained that the first school in the township was not taught until 1844, and that the original teacher was Professor John Collins, a noted instructor of youth in that early day. His school house was one and a half miles northwest of Mound City, at the foot of the bluff, on a farm first settled by the pioneer Edward Dodge, the father of Levi Dodge, the proprietor of the Pool of Siloam in Mound City.

Mound City Public Schools

Mound City was without a regular graded school till 1874, when a handsome two-story brick building was erected on Nebraska Street on a commanding elevation overlooking the business quarter of the town, and a wide expanse of surrounding country. The structure included two rooms below and one above, besides the halls, and was completed at a cost of $4,000.

Photo: "History of Holt and Atchison Counties, 1882"

In the fall of 1881, the school edifice was enlarged by a two-story front addition ninety-three by thirty-two feet, affording five new class rooms, besides halls, cloak rooms, etc., above and below.

These additions when entirely completed will cost over five thousand dollars. The first board of directors of this school were W. W. Frazer, Milton Herron, George Gillis, M. Houston, Wingate King and James Johnson.

The school opened in September, 1874, with Nelson Carr, Principal, assisted by Miss Mary L. Austin. September, 1875, the teachers were E. A. Welty, Principal, assisted by Miss Fanny Soper and Mrs. I. M. Bacon.

  • September, 1876, L. M. May was Principal, assisted by Mrs. I. M. Bacon and Miss Jose Wilkinson.
  • September, 1877, Professor Samuel P. Ruley was Principal, assisted by Miss Jose Wilkinson.
  • September, 1878, the teachers were Samuel P. Ruley, Principal, assisted by Miss Sallie C. Bennett and Mrs. I. M. Bacon.
  • September, 1879, W. R. Burton was Principal, assisted by Miss Sallie Bennett and Mrs. I. M. Bacon.
  • September, 1880, Professor W. F. Drake was Principal, and Miss Sallie C. Bennett and Mrs. I. M. Bacon assistants.
  • September, 1881, the teachers were Professor W. F. Drake, Miss Sallie C. Bennett, Mrs. I. M. Bacon and Miss Lomira Herron.
The present (1882) board of directors include G. H. Carpenter, President; W. M. Hamsher, Secretary; M. M. Smith, Treasurer. The other members are J. B. Denney, John F. Davis and W. T. Hiatt. The enrollment of the school includes two hundred and seventy nine pupils.

Source: "History of Holt and Atchison County, 1882"; Transcribed by Karyn, 2016

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Page updated on June 17, 2016 by Karyn
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