Ancestors Back to School Days

Because so many of my ancestors (including my immediate family members, my mother and my brother) were school teachers, my files are loaded with school pictures. September makes me think of those first cool fall days when I’d pack a lunch, put on my freshly pressed brand new plaid dress with a white collar and cuffs (I may have worn other things, but those school day plaids are what I picture), collected all the notebooks and pencils that held so much promise of mysteries to be unraveled, and set off for the first of school days.

In Killbuck when we were living with Grandma that meant walking up School House Hill to the building built in 1922 . Later, from 8th through 12th grade, my family lived on School House Hill, and I just waited for my best friend Beverly Carpenter to come up the hill on school days and we’d walk the rest of the way to the new schoolhouse.

The earliest picture I found, printed as a postcard, seems to be at the Killbuck School that was on Main Street, before the big brick school on School House Hill was built in 1922. The first schoolhouse was a 2-room building constructed in 1880, then came a brick building on Main Street.  I can’t identify any of the children (although it is possible the girl 4th from the right in the first row was my Grandmother) or the teacher. But from the flag’s strange arrangement of stars, I can tell you it was Between July 4, 1890 and 1891, the only year that flag was in use.

School Days 1890

Killbuck, the old Elementary School 1890

The next picture shows my grandmother sitting next to the teacher. The sign says “Intermediate [?] School – Mrs. Henderson, teacher- March 9, ’93 [1893] – Photo by J. G. Purdy.”

Killbuck School, Vera Anderson to left of teacher. 1893

Killbuck School, Vera Anderson to left of teacher. 1893

Now I want you to get a close look at the chapeaux my grandmother and the girl to her left are holding in their laps. Sporty, huh?

School Days in Killbuck 1863

Killbuck School, Vera Anderson holding a tam. 1893

Grandmother Vera Anderson was in the first class  to graduate from Killbuck High School.  Two students graduated in 1899. My grandfather Doc Stout led the movement to establish a high school, which opened the year she started high school. (Before that those who wanted to continue their school days had to go away from home to a private academy.)

Now a jump to a new century. My Mother, Harriette Kaser, was one year younger than her brother Bill (William J. Anderson).  They were inseparable as young kids, and when Bill started to school, Harriette would sneak away from home and show up at the school every day. Finally the teacher gave up and let her attend. Since her Grandmother Hattie Stout had already taught her to read, it was not a problem.

Here are Harriette (9) and Bill (10) in the bottom row, 2nd and 3rd from the right. January 24, 1916  is the date on the picture. Teacher, Miss Helen Williams. A childish hand has written the first names of all the students on the back –with some questionable spelling.  I assume this is grade 5.

School Days 1916

Killbuck School, Harriette and Bill Anderson Jan 24 1916, Miss Helen Williams Teacher

Here’s my father with a startling shock of hair in 8th grade at Millersburg. (My mother taught high school in that same school in the 1950’s).

School Days in Millersburg

Millersburg Elementary School, Paul Kaser in center of front row Circa 1922

My mother graduated from high school 2 months before she turned 16 years old, in 1924. She went to Ohio State University to study medicine, but after a year and a half was called upon to teach in a one-room school in Holmes County.  By 1928, she was in Killbuck school pictures as the teacher rather than the student. She coached the girls basketball team, putting up a fight with the school officials to allow the girls to wear proper uniforms instead of dresses.

School days basketball

Killbuck H.S. Girls Basketball, Harriette Anderson, Coach 1928 –age 21

The team won County Championships for several years. Harriette was Senior class advisor to classes when the students–particularly farm boys who took time off to work the fields and graduated late as a result–could be older than she was. She always appreciated the support she received from the first superintendent who hired her, Donald Egger.

School Days, Killbuck, 1929

Killbuck Graduating Class, 1929, Harriette Kaser Teacher, Donald Egger, Superintendent.

A picture with no date, taken on the fire escape at the back of Killbuck’s brick school building, that was later an apartment house. I’m guessing circa 1930. My Aunt Sarah Anderson (who made cherry pudding) lived in an apartment there late in life. The only person I know very well is Ken Carpenter, the teacher. His wife (later) Verne Carpenter, was my fourth grade teacher. Ken and Verne were good friends of my parents and you saw them on vacation here.

 

Killbuck school days circa 1930

Killbuck old school , Ken Carpenter teacher, A.A. Burkey Supt Circa 1930

Of course teaching in a small town school, meant that Harriette knew the families of  most of her students, which could be both an advantage and a disadvantage.  She even taught quite a few of her nieces and nephews. When I went to high school in Killbuck, I avoided her classes, but after we moved to Hilliard, Ohio, my brother had mother for a teacher. In the 1940’s she taught my cousins Herbert Anderson, Romona Anderson and JoAnn Anderson.  Here’s a class in 1948.

School Days in Killbuck

Senior Class, Romona Anderson center row 3rd from left circa 1948

If you are from Killbuck, or had relatives who went to school there, and would like to know the names that I have on the backs of the pictures, please leave a note in the comment section.  I don’t know all of them, though, and would be happy for any identifications you can share.

And wherever you went to school, how about sharing your school days memories?

P.S.  While I was in high school, a separate building was constructed on School House hill to house the elementary school. Now there is only an elementary school in Killbuck, as the High School was consolidated along with so many rural and small town schools back in the 60’s. I always thought it took the heart right out of the community because everyone got together at the school for athletic games, for Saturday night dances, and for school carnivals throughout the year.

9 thoughts on “Ancestors Back to School Days

  1. merr

    Wonderful photos! Such a collection, too. Everything was much more formal way back. But even I remember as a child getting dressed up for school photos, particularly class photos. It was a big deal!

    Reply
  2. Chris

    Hi Vera! I’m still working out the Holmes & Coshocton Co. layout, but I’m certain our families must have crossed paths at one time. Do any of your photos mention Scheibes or Evans? Thanks ~Chris

    Reply

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