IAGenWeb Project

Adair County Iowa

USGenWeb Project




Lee No. 1, Bethel; Lee No.2, New Haven; Lee Center (No. 3); Lee No. 4, Musmaker; Lee No. 5, Ranch or Hemphill; Lee No. 6, Stringtown; and Lee No. 7 Buffalo Wallow, are the schools of Lee Township.
Most all had one acre playground coal house two outdoor toilets, sometimes a well, and a hitching rack.
The small buildings were community centers.  Stringtown, No. 6 was used as a church and Sunday school building from pioneer times until good road and automobiles.  Preachers drove out from Greenfield for afternoon services, Sunday school was also held at Musmaker and Bethel, with a minister coming once a month for services.  The church was later moved to Clara Chapel, in Grove Township
In 1880-1900, literary meetings were held in these schoolhouses, with debates, political meetings, ciphering matches, and neighbor hood get-togethers.
Number 1, the first rural mail route out of Greenfield, served this part of Lee township in the early 1900s.
These schools were taught by one teacher.  The one teacher sometimes had all eight grades, in addition to primary (now called kindergarten).  One school numbered 41pupils.  The rural school primary was similar to first grade in town now.  The children were required to go through several readers during the year.
The pot-bellied stove served more than the one purpose, to keep warm, and to dry overshoes and mittens, and to thaw frozen ink bottles.  Many a cork from the bottlers took off into space, and sometimes, ink, too.  During cold weather the children would move up into seats closer to the stove to keep warm.  No insulation!  If water was not available on the grounds, the children would take turns carrying it from the nearest farm house, which sometimes would be one-half mile.
About 1956, there was as feeling abroad that the children of the county would receive a better education if they could be taught in a larger school assembly.  It was voted and passed to build an elementary school in Greenfield, the county seat town, bringing the children from the surrounding area to the school.  In the fall of 1957, the new schoolhouse was ready.  The new yellow busses fanned out over the countryside to pick up the children and take them to the new elementary school and to the high-school in Greenfield.  That was the beginning of the passing of the one room schoolhouses in Lee Township, and others, as well.  A few country schoolhouses are still standing, to serve another purpose, this: grain storage, hog house, recreation centers, and one was rebuilt into a home for a former Greenfield girl, Sally Yeates, and her husband Walter Sedelow, both of whom are writers and teachers.  This school was Lee No. 1, Bethel.



Front row, left to right: Ralph Matthews, Charles McCaslen, Nell Carey, Kate Holliday, teacher; Lester Matthews, Irvin C. Matthews, Ira Witter, Jim Holliday.  Second row: Bob Atchison, Bert McCaslen, Margaret Carey, Jennie Atchison, Frank Stanley, John Elliott.  Back row: Will Holliday, Jim Carey, Annie Atchison, Bill Atchison, John Carey, Armon Matthews



Transcribed by Mary Cochran from Adair County History, 1976


Adair County

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