Hardin Water Tower

Hardin-Central School

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School History

Little Brick School

On June 8, 1889, one acre of ground was purchased from Tom E. Cheatham for the purpose of building a school. The first directors were Jim Claytor, Ransom Green, and William Dye.

It was known as Little Brick School District No. 3.

This being a large district, it was known to have 50-60 pupils in the early history. In 1903-1904 it became a graded school, having grades one through eight.

Its list of teachers through the years have been many. A few of the early teachers were G. E. Kelso, Hattie McGrew, Allie Sprinkel, and Allen Broughton. The last teacher was Nadine Huffman. 

The school was often the social center for the community and some of the favorite entertainments in its early history were spelling bees and literary societies. Later it became the center for 4-H club community meetings and extension club entertainments.

The school was in session until the consolidation with Hardin School District in 1950. 

Oak Grove School

In 1858, Argyle Taylor Boggess, Sr., and Marion Phillips, trustees, paid to George W. Frazier $1.00 for one acre of land, located south of Hardin on the Ozark Short Line, for the purpose of a school and playground.

The first schoolhouse was made of logs and burned. A white frame building was built and it was known as the Oak Grove School District No. 10.

One of the first teachers was Paris Swinney. He was remembered by his love for singing which he did on Friday nights.

A Literary Society was organized on December 17, 1898. Officers were President W. H. George, Vice-President W. R. Meador, Secretary and Treasurer William Eslinger. Debating was a favorite form of entertainment.

In the 1900s, Oak Grove had spelling matches with Little Brick, Mallory, and Prairie Valley districts.

The school consolidated with Hardin in 1950, and the last teacher was Mrs. Robert L. Carter.

Mallory School

Mallory Schoolhouse was built in the fall of 1872. One acre of land was purchased from James R. and Mary Freeman for the sum of twenty dollars. The Deed was recorded September 12, 1872. Mallory School District was in the southeast corner of Ray County.

The first records were sent to the County School Superintendent in 1907. The first eighth grade graduates on record were DeWitt and Leland McQueen who graduated in 1908.

In the year 1938-1939, the enrollment was 35. In 1945, the enrollment was so small it was decided to close the school and send the children by bus to the Hardin School.

The Mallory School District became part of the Hardin Consolidated School District No. 8 on May 25, 1950. 

Prairie Valley School

Prairie Valley School was built on land owned by Captain Rankin in the 1800s. It was destroyed in a windstorm in 1903 and was rebuilt the following summer. When Mr. Rankin sold the land in 1919 to Robert and Luther Stanton, an acre of land was set aside for the school. School continued there until 1936 when the children were transported to the Hardin school. The school building was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1946

Plum Grove School

Plum Grove School was organized in the year 1855. An acre of ground was deeded by John G. Clark to build a schoolhouse. The name "Plum Grove" was decided on because the house was built in a plum grove. Joseph E. Black, Sr., was the first teacher and John G. Clark, Haden Trigg, and John (or Jonathan) Harris served as trustees.

School was usually in session at two different periods per year: a winter term of five months and a summer term of three months. Salary ranged from $16.00 to $30.00 per month.

John G. Clark is the grandfather of Mrs. M. H. (Ruby Shaw) McCorkendale and great grandfather of Zetella Harrison, Roy Falknor, Sr., Mrs. Madge Johnson, Frazier McCorkendale, Fred Clark, and Mrs. Ada (Clark) Fifer. Debates and singing schools were also held at the schoolhouse.

Shackelford School

The beginning of education in Shackelford district dates back to the coming of Mr. Bennett Stratton in 1833, Mr. James G. Stevenson in 1842, and Mr. John Shackelford in 1853. Just as soon as the population was sufficiently large, the early pioneer began to make provision for the education of his children. The first permanent building in Shackelford district was in 1871. The building was constructed by Mr. Josiah Beery of Morton. The first school was taught by John W. Spurlock. The first term was taught in the summer for a period of three months. That winter, a six months' term was taught by the same teacher. The enrollment was 75. The second teacher was Thomas Lavelock. The third teacher was Thomas Dacy.

In 1874, the following men were elected directors: U. G. Edbar, clerk; C. O. Harlison; and Fauntley Walker.  T. M. Deacy taught the school from 1874 until 1883 at a salary of $45 per month. In 1866, while Miss Lizzie Rouch was teacher, Arbor Day was celebrated by planting a number of shade trees.

While Miss Leyda Rhodes was teaching in 1923, sewing and manual training were introduced in the school. Several prizes were won at the county meet and a nice display of the work was made at Hardin. Playground equipment was added and the library had over 200 volumes. The enrollment in 1925 was 32.

Shackelford school closed in 1945. The children went to the Union School in the Central Consolidated District. Mrs. Roy Bowman was the last teacher at Shackelford School.

Midland School

The records of Midland School dates back as far as 1869. Data from W. L. Linville shows that the school was founded three or four years earlier than the records show. It was at that time known as the Dale School.

The Dale School was included first in District No. 3, which was later divided by the creek which ran through the district. This division was made in 1880. Morris Osborne was the teacher with a salary of $40 per month.

Ten years later, the school was moved to what is now known as the C. E. Stratton farm. Its name was changed to Midland.

John Bales was the first teacher with a salary of $40 per month. This shows salaries did not increase very rapidly.

In October 1902 when Claud Trauber was teacher, the building burned. Origin of the fire is unknown. It was rebuilt immediately and the term completed. This school continued in District No. 3 until 1917. It was then included in Consolidated District No. 2. Midland School building was moved to north of the old Central High School in 1950 where grade children were taught by Mable McKemy.

Some of the teachers who taught at Midland in the early years were Ben Bowles, John Hoover, Cecil Hogan, Opal Deardorff, Goldie Hogan, Grace Early, Floy Boles, and Milton Early.

Riffe School

About the year 1850 a group of men cleared off a piece of land on a farm owned by Mr. Thomas Wollard, owned by Fleet and Frances Rust in 1970. They built a log schoolhouse called Riffe School after a prominent citizen of the community. Since this was the only school in the community, children came from a distance to attend. After a number of years, the building was destroyed by fire and another was built about three-fourths of a mile west on land owned by Mr. Pugh. About 1917 it was included in the organization of High School District C-2 or Central High School. It continued to be used as a grade school until the children were taken by bus to the Central High School. As many as three generations of some families in the community attended school there. About 1948 or 1949 the building was sold and torn down.

Union School

The first school in Union district was started in 1858 with twenty pupils. The teacher received one dollar per pupil per month. This school lasted until 1860 when a schoolhouse was built on the James Leyda farm which was called "Union." This building was constructed of logs and lumber, very small and low, with sliding windows and one door. Pegs driven in the wall with rough boards laid over them served as desks. Mr. Wells was the first teacher. There were 45 pupils and his salary was forty dollars per month.

The early pioneers of this community were interested in education for their children and made the school possible. They were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shirkey, Mr. and Mrs. Ash Teavault, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Myers, Mr. and Mrs. James Leyda, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Williams, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Manking.

In 1872 a new building was built about 100 yards south of where the present one stands, being completed during that term. The teacher, Mr. N. M. Hase, at noon marched the pupils with their books over to the new building and continued their classes that afternoon.

Community entertainments, such as spelling bees, ciphering matches, and literary societies were held.

The present building was built in 1901 and was still standing in the year 1970.

In 1917 the voters of the six school districts met at Union School for the purpose of voting on consolidation. These six districts became Consolidated School No. 2. In 1920-1921 a new high school was organized in the district. Most of the students who finished the eighth grade at Union were able to attend four years of higher learning at the Central High School within one-fourth mile of Union. In the 1925 Centralian, a book published by the high school students, is a picture of Union School with 44 students enrolled, with the late Leta Early Jeffers as teacher. Many of these students are the citizens of Union district today (1970), serving their community. They are Floyd Early, David Hoover, Fay Ross, Claude Summers, J. T. Williams, and Frances Fifer Bowman.

Many of the parents became active in "Central Community Club" work, organized in 1919. The motto of the organization was "Cooperation in Everything That is Worthwhile." Some of the men responsible for this organization in 1919 were J. H. Shirkey, Bush Rust, Arch Bright, S. E. Hogan, J. S. Bowman, S. G. Newham, S. A. Sandy, S. P. Clemens, L. T. Miller and others. Some of the projects carried out were a winter lyceum course, traveling library, the first chatauqua (1920), banquets in honor of boys' and girls' basketball teams, pig clubs, sewing and canning clubs, music, sales, child clinics, mother and daughter banquets, boys' clubs, and Ladies' Aid Society. Only two of these were still active in 1970: the mother and daughter banquets held annually and the Ladies' Aid Society. These were held in the beautiful country Church of the Bretheren called "Rockingham," just across the road from the Union school building. The "aid" was organized in 1905 by six members of the Union community. They met every Thursday and enjoyed a potluck dinner together.

The Union children were transported by bus to Hardin-Central Consolidated School No. 2 at Hardin, Mo. In 1970, there were several active members in the "Aid" who attended Union School in 1909: Mrs. Hester Rader Bowman, Mrs. Callie Manking Williams, Mrs. Lois Sandy Shirkey, and Mrs. Nell Shirkey Hogan.

There are many interesting facts we might continue to write concerning the 100 years of Union School's existence, but due to lack of space we must let the readers decide for themselves which is better: the good old-fashioned days of our fathers or our present modern days.

Teachers who taught at Union during the years were: Cleve Hollar (1901), Walter Mason, Paul Peeler, Helen Lowrance, Cecil Hogan, Opal Stiverson, Charles Board, Forest Smith, John Shirkey, Emily Shirkey, Miller Brunk, Irvin Brunk, Joe Newham, Louise Letzig, Helen Bowman, and Goldie Bowman.

Stratton School

The first Stratton school was built on ground donated by Mr. Daniel Stratton in whose honor the school was named. The school first opened as a subscription school with Miss Marilda Starr as teacher. For compensation the teacher received one dollar per pupil. There was no salary in addition to this. About 50 pupils were enrolled. The subscription school continued for 2 or 3 years, and then the teacher received $25.00 per month.

One night in January 1891, the schoolhouse burned to the ground. Miss Kate Wright was teaching at the time. School was discontinued for the remainder of the year. There was a bitter fight over where to rebuild. In the summer of 1891 a new building was constructed on the old site. Mr. Joe Stratton, son of Mr. Daniel Stratton, had charge of the work. School opened in September 1891, with Mr. John Bales as teacher. About a month later, the school building burned again. It was not rebuilt until the summer of 1892 and later enlarged.

Some of the old settlers who did their share in making the school and community a success were Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Stratton, John Early, Henry Hawkins, S. K. Newham, Jeff Bowman, Addison Harper, Sam Endsley, Ap Herring, Tom Ball, and Mr. and Mrs. Baker.

Stratton School was one of the largest schools after the consolidation and was a leader in athletics. Plays were given for entertainment of the patrons of the district. Every effort was made to make the school fit the educational and social needs of the community. In 1925 the enrollment was 41. The school closed with the consolidation in 1949.

Central School

On Feb. 2, 1917, patrons of the Rockingham Community met at the Union School to discuss the possibility of consolidating the following districts: Union, Stratton, Midland, Plum Grove, Shackelford, and Riffe. An election was held, and the consolidation carried by a vote of 52 to 51.

On Feb. 5, 1917, a meeting was held at the Bank of Hardin to organize a board for the new district. It was decided to hold future meetings at the Union School. At a future meeting it was decided to build a two-room building for a two-year high school. Since voting bonds were out of the question, the building was built with donations of labor and money.

In August of 1917, permission was obtained to use the Rockingham Church for school purposes until the new building could be completed. During the spring of 1918, the new building was completed and school continued there.

School opened the first year with one teacher, Miss Martha Davis, and an enrolment of 32 Freshmen and 4 Sophomores. In the fall of 1918, another teacher was added and three years of high school work were added. During the summer of 1919, another room was added, another teacher employed, and four years of high school offered. Central was approved as a first-class high school. In the middle 1920s, a fourth teacher was added and the basement remodeled for Home Economics and Vocational Agriculture. Several bond elections were held but all failed to carry; therefore, all of this was done by donations.

In 1936, some of the grade schools on the outer edge of the district were closed and one of them moved across the road from the high school making it possible to centralize the students by using the Union School which was nearby.  A school bus was purchased, and for the first time, transportation was available to the students.

In 1950, with a dwindling enrollment and educational expenses mounting, it was decided to close the high school and send them to neighboring schools. All of the elementary students were brought to the former high school building. A bond election was held to build a modern building but again it failed. In 1966, with the enrollment getting low, the Board of Education thought the students would have a better chance with the new methods of teaching by closing the school and merging with the Hardin Public School.

Hardin Public Schools

To those pioneers of the community of Hardin who had the spiritual vision to foresee the need of public schools, to those who created and developed those schools and to those who have supported them through times of prosperity and adversity, we give credit for the Hardin Public Schools.

In our early settlements, the first schools were subscription schools. Hardin is said to have had four such schools. One of the earliest was located north of Hardin on land owned by Mr. and Mrs. V. M. Shirley; another southeast of Little Brick, called the Hughes School. Another was the Esrey School, located one mile north of Hardin near the home of Niles Esrey. Mr. Clampitt was the first teacher. The school was closed about 1894. The first site for a public school within the city limits of Hardin on West Elm Street was purchased in 1870 for $150.00 [$2,310 in 2007 dollars]. The trustees were R. V. Wall, S. H. Flournoy, and W. W. McGrew. The first school building cost $700.00 [$10,780 in 2007$]. Miss Mary Snowden taught the first elementary school. Her home was nearby. It was a subscription school. This school was operated until about 1900. During the last years it was an African American school.  One of the first African American teachers was Mr. Spears.

In 1901 the school district of Hardin, with R. V. Wall, president, and trustees E. S. Hunt, S. H. Flournoy, C. O. Mansur, E. M. Carter, and E. M. Shepherd sold this site for $326.00 [$8,024 in 2007$]. The African American school was then in a residence converted into a school building. This was located where Mr. and Mrs. Connie Bandy lived in 1970. This was called the Douglas School, and Lula Morten was the first teacher. Other teachers were Shirley White, Maude Baker, Britty Marten, and the last teacher was Mrs. Taft Finch. The largest enrollment was about 50. When the enrollment dwindled, the Hardin district hired Mr. and Mrs. Herman Turley to transport the pupils to Richmond to the Lincoln School.

In 1889-1892 a plot of land on East Elm Street was purchased by the school board for $300.00 [$6840 in 2007$]. Anson Merrifield was president and trustees were James Lentz and James McMichael.

A four-room building was constructed, two rooms above for the upper grades and two below for the elementary staffed by four teachers.

Prior to September 1906, the building was enlarged by adding on two rooms to the southeast, one below and one above with laboratory. Later, two more rooms, one above and one below, were added on to the southwest part of the school.

In 1907, C. G. Truitt was Superintendent and W. N. King was Principal. There were three graduates. The grades from this school were accepted by the University of Missouri and the Normal Schools. 

In 1917-18 during the administration of Superintendent R. E. Stewart, it was decided to enlarge the school building by adding more rooms to the east and west of the old building and by superimposing a gymnasium over the entire second story. This building was used until 1954.

The cornerstone laying for the new school building took place in April 1954. The buliding was ready for occupancy in 1954. L. D. Brantley was superintendent and Mrs. Forrest (Mary B.) Frazier was principal.

Mary Boggess came to Hardin to teach in 1921. She was married to Forrest Frazier in 1922. She taught Social Science, Latin, and Dramatics 43 years and was high school principal 35 years.

Upon retirement in 1965, a reception with program by former students and superintendents was given by the community. A plaque in her honor was placed on the east entrance wall of the Hardin High School building.

"It has been said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. In this age of space and peacetime wars, we in the same sense can say that every hour of the day, the sun is shining on someone who has learned under Mary B. Frazier." --Quote from program given in Mrs. Frazier's honor on May 22, 1965. 

Adapted from Hardin, Missouri: A Centennial History (1870-1970).

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