Allamakee co. IAGenWeb Project - School Records
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School Tid-bits
A grab-bag of misc. school items

The Winnebago Mission School
Eastern Iowa's Indian School

Ninety years ago In the days when white settlers were swarming into the newly-opened Black Hawk Purchase the United States government was conducting an' experiment in vocational education in what is now Allamakee county, Iowa. Along with reading and writing and arithmetic the Indian boys received practical instruction in farming and the girls' in sewing. The story of the government's attempt to equip the Winnebagoes with the tools of civilization is told by Bruce E. Mahan in a recent number of The Palimpsest published by the State Historical society of Iowa. The school, a substantial, two-story structure of stone, was located on Yellow river, about six miles up stream from the Mississippi, and approximately ten miles from Fort Crawford. Rev. David Lowey, a Presbyterian minister who had been appointed teacher for the Winnebagoes by President Andrew Jackson, opened the school in the spring of 1835 with his wife as his assistant. At first few pupils came, but later the attendance grew slowly but steadily, necessitating an increase In the teaching staff. A granddaughter of Rev. Lowry writes: “Zachary Taylor, then commandant at Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien, and his wife and daughter used to come over and have dinner at the mission and once Mrs. Taylor brought my grandmother a setting of turkey eggs.” "My grandmother was quite successful in handling the little savages and when they got unruly with the other teachers they were sent to her. They all loved her and sometimes her room would be so crowded with Indian children sitting on the floor and everywhere there was scarcely room to walk." The removal of the "Winnebagoes from western Wisconsin and eastern Iowa to their new home in the Neutral Ground resulted in the abandonment of the school on Yellow river in 1840. It was reopened near the present site of Fort Atkinson, la., and there the government continued to instruct the Indian boys and girls until the Winnebagoes were removed from Iowa to Minnesota in 1848.
~Davenport Democrat and Leader, January 5, 1925
~contributed by Cindy Bray Lovell


The Old Indian Mission

Study of early history of this territory is being made by many who are interested in the National Park idea that is being worked out here. The following article on the Indian Mission by Mrs. Mame Entwisle was given at the regular meeting of the Women's Club.

In these days when there is so much interest in state parks, old landmarks and everything that has helped to make history, I decided I would endeavour to write about the Old Mission. As it is one of the things that stands out in my memory. When I was a little girl I had some very peculiar ideas about Indian Mission, which stood about 1 1/2 miles from the village of Ion. I am sorry now that I did not realize at the time what it would mean in about 43 years to remember everything about it. But I did climb the stairs, and I remember the big chimney. My companions were all afraid that some Indian would bob out from some corner and get us.

Long before Iowa was really Iowa and long before fads and fancies in education were fashionable, the U.S. Government had established one experimental school in the wilderness that later became Allamakee County, this institution might be Iowa's First State Agriculture College. The Mission School for Indians, established in 1834, was built on the banks of Yellow River, in the East part of Section 19, Fairview Township. This was the first permanent settlement in the county. Here the county was organized, the first election was held, the first marriage, and probably the first white child was born here.

The Old Mission should have been kept as a perpetual memorial to the heroic pioneers of our region. But by the time the realization became general, the stone wall, had begun to crumble. Joseph M. Street, a Kentuckian who had been made a Gov. Agent for the Winneabago Indians at Prairie du Chien trying to make conditions better for his charges, with the help of other pioneers decided on this location. The contract was let to Samuel Gilbert, however, before the work was actually started, Street was ordered to the Sac and Fox Agency. The task of building the school fell to Colonel Zachery Taylor, later President of the U.S., who was then Commandant at Fort Crawford. Rev. David Lowery of Cumberland, a Presbyterian minister had received the approval of Pres. Andrew Johnson as the teacher at the new school. In the spring of 1835 he was able to open the school. He was assisted by his wife. He labored faithfully, not only with their education but trying to convert the savages. He was quite successful as long as they remained at the Mission. But most of them relapsed into their heathenism as soon as they left Rev. Lowery's care.

December 1837, 15 boys and 2 girls were enrolled. The girls were taught all forms of domestic art, and as there were 200 acres of land, the boys were taught to till the soil. Mrs. Lowry was very much liked by the little savages and was able to quell many a storm when they were not satisfied. A granddaughter of Rev. and Mrs. Lowery, in some of her writings of the Mission, says she can remember how her grandmother's room would be full of little Indians. She also writes of Col. Zachery Taylor, Commandent of Ft. Crawford, with his wife and daughter visiting at the Mission and remaining for dinner. One time Mrs. Taylor brought her grandmother a setting of turkey eggs.

The year 1839 was the one flourishing year in the school's brief history.

~Monona Leader, July 9, 1931, Monona, IA, pg 1
~transcribed by Cindy (Maust) Smith
Transcriber's Note: This article was transcribed as originally printed. Some words & phrases may be offensive to modern readers.


More information about the Mission school can be found on this website. Use the search function on the Home page.

The First Allamakee co. Schools

The first school in the county, other than the one started by the U. S. government at the Old Mission, was opened in Postville. It was in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Post, in the summer of 1848. But the first school house was built at Hardin in 1849. Early in the fifties Reuben Smith, builder of the Old Stone House in 1857, opened a school house on his farm, to which he admitted children of the neighborhood and for whom he hired a teacher.
~Undated newspaper clipping
~contributed by Mary Durr

Punishment by Teachers

Miss Ada Buemer was a pupil in a school in Allamakee county, Iowa. Her health was not good, and her father sent a request to the teacher, Mr. Migner, that she be excused from school afternoons and from studying algebra. He refused to excuse her from algebra. A few days after she was present in the morning, when Migner called for her excuse for absence the previous afternoon, to which Ada replied she had brought an excuse for all afternoons. He replied that she must bring an excuse. She responded: "I brought you an excuse for all afternoons from my father." He replied: "None of your sass, or I will take the hickory to you," reaching for it. She said: "Don't strike me." He thereupon gave her severe punishment, producing marks which remained two months. He sent her to her seat, saying: "Do you understand me now?" She replied: "No, Sir, I do not," not knowing for what she was punished. On the day previous he compelled her to appear in the algebra class. She said she supposed she supposed she was excused from algebra, and had not prepared for the lesson. He told her she was not excused.

Migner was arrested for assault and battery, and before a Justice of the Peace was fined. He appealed to the District Court, where the decision of the Justice was affirmed. He appealed to the Supreme Court, where the cause was determined at the December term, 1878, and remanded for rehearing. It came back to the Supreme Court, at the recent term, where the decision of the lower courts was affirmed. The Court holds:
-That punishment with a rod, which leaves marks or welts on the person of the pupil two months, or much less time, is immoderate and excessive.
-In no case can the punishment be justifiable unless it is inflicted for some definite offense which the pupil has committed, and the pupil must understand for what the punishment is inflicted.
-If the rules of school require certain studies at particular hours, and the parent may not excuse therefrom, the teacher can not resort to whipping for failure of a pupil to pursue such studies at the hours fixed.

The remedy is by expulsion. Flogging girls 21 years old by big men veated with a little brief authority will not find much favor in the Supreme Court of Iowa, or any other Court. A big whip hung up in a school-room is the best evidence in the world that the teacher is not fit to teach school and govern pupils. The time has passed for attempting to educate the mind by brute force
~Winona Daily Republican; Winona, Minnesota; March 14, 1879
~contributed by S. Ferrall

Schools must now teach Physiology & Hygiene

Office of County Superintendent of Schools, Allamakee Co. Iowa
Waukon, Io., May 25th, 1886
To Directors, School Officers and Patrons of Schools:

The law now makes it the duty of School Boards to provide for the teaching of Physiology and Hygiene in all the schools; and this under no less penalty than that those School Boards which do not comply shall be deprived of the semi-annual apportionment.

The law emphasizes special features of Physiology and Hygiene, so that Board of Directors are under the necessity of selecting and adopting text books in this branch of common school; and too, the law makes it the duty of the County Superintendent to select books for the use of teachers in all county institutes.

It being then, obligatory upon me, after careful examination, for the use of teachers in the institutes, as the law directs, I have selected "How we live," costing 40 cents, and "The Eclectic Physiology" costing 60 cents, the one intended for the younger pupils, and the other for those more advanced. The books fully meet the requirements of the law. Many of the teachers and school boards already have these books.

Copies of these text-books can be secured at the Bookstores in Waukon, Lansing and Postville, or from the Publishers. "How we Live," is published by D. Appleton & Co., Chicago, and "The Eclectic Physiology," is published by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio.

I have no jurisdiction over School Boards in the matter of the selection of these text-books, or those of any other kind. What is said above, I offer merely by way of suggestion, that, if possible, while Boards MUST select and adopt books, we shall have books on at least one subject, which shall be in uniform use throughout the County.

Section 2 of this new act, the law, makes it the duty of the County Superintendent to include in his annual report to the State Superintendent "The manner and extent to which the requirements of this act are complied with in the schools and institutes under his charge." I hope, therefore, that School Boards, as soon as they comply with the law, provide for the teaching of Physiology and Hygiene as the law directs, will at once report to me, that none may be left out of the next annual report, and thus their right to the public money be endangered. The law says: "And only such schools and educational institutions reporting compliance as above required shall receive the proportion of school funds or allowance of public money to which they would be entitled."
~Postville Weekly Review, Saturday, June 12, 1886, Postville, IA, pg 2
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

Association of Teachers

In 1888, the principals and superintendents of the Fourth Congressional District formed an association. Some well known names appeared in that group, such as John B. Knoepfler, of Allamakee County, who succeeded Mr. Sabin at the end of the latter's first term as State superintendent of public instruction, and Edwin G. Cooley, later Chicago's superintendent of schools.
~Northwestern Iowa, Its History and Traditions 1804-1926
, Vol. 1, by Arthur F. Allen
~contributed by Roseanna Zehner

Graduate Student

Orville Carl Schultz, 1915-16, residence: Postville, Iowa. Born at Postville. Iowa, Oct. 29, 1892; earned B.Sc. at Iowa State College in 1915. Research Assistant in Botany, Rutgers College.
~'Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Rutgers College'; Rutgers College, Association of the Alumni, 1916, pg 313 ~contributed by S. Ferrall

Eldo E. Kluss, Ford Model "A" School exam, 1928

Can you pass the exam!! Can you pass the exam?

The Ford Motor co. wrote a letter to F.C. Ruckdaschel, employer of Eldo E. Kluss, giving Kluss' exam results. A copy of the test questions & answers was included. Click either document to read the exam questions, the letter & some background info. about E.E. Kluss.

~source: original documents
~contributed by S. Ferrall, great-granddaughter of F.C. Ruckdaschel

Declamatory Contests

1908 -
Miss Myrtle Gunderson, the representative of the Waukon High School at the District Declamatory Contest held at Waverly last Friday evening, was awarded first honors and the gold medal by the judges. This victory qualifies Miss Gunderson to compete in the State contest which will be held at Rheinbeck Friday April 10. Miss Hazel Stillman accompanied Miss Gunderson to Waverly, and having been her teacher in elocution is entitled to considerable credit for the victorious performance. They arrived home on Saturday evening's train and were met at the depot by the High School pupils and given a most uproarious welcome. They were escorted to the Cota theatre where the hilarity continued for some time.
~Reprinted in the Decorah Public Opinion from the Allamakee Journal, November 18, 1908, page 6 ~contributed by Cindy (Maust) Smith

1914 -
Waukon, Iowa, March 9 - Waukon high school pupils won the silver cup in the Allamakee county annual declamatory contest here. The winning pupils were:
Humorous, Nancy Raymond, Waukon; dramatic, Louis Pye, Waukon; oratorical, Otto Ney, Waukon.
~Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, Monday, March 9, 1914, Cedar Rapids, IA, pg 9
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

The Allamakee County High School Declamatory Contest was held in the Turner Opera House, Postville, Friday evening last, was well attended and it could not have been less than highly appreciated. The Lansing, Waukon and Postville schools each had three representatives in the contest and with a bunch of loyal fans present to cheer them on, each contestant was spurred to his best and acquitted themselves in a manner that reflected credit alike on the schools and their representatives. Postville played the part of good host and let the visitors have all the peaches and cream, contenting themselves with sour grapes. Honors in the three classes were awarded in the order named, as follows:
Oratorical - Otto Ney, Waukon; Lloyd Eastman, Lansing; Wesley Burdick, Postville
Dramatic - Helen Beeman, Waukon; Hazel Larson(?), Lansing; Irene Clark, Postville
Humorous - Lloyd Olson, Lansing; Nancy Raymond, Waukon; Joe Harris, Postville
The judges were Supt. Hetler, Lawler; Supt. Dooley, New Hampton; Miss Hoag, Ossian. As a preliminary to the contest a ball game was pulled off in the afternoon between the Lansing and Waukon High School teams, and as it was the first ball game played in Postville in years a big crowd was present. It was a game of the good old fashioned sort, with heaps of hits and scads of scores, the finish being Lansing 26, Waukon 18. Supt. Hilliard of Postville was the umpire and emerged from the fracas with a good reputation and a bean unblemished by pop bottle bruises.
~Postville Review, Friday, May 7, 1915,pg 1~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

1935 -
Winners of the Allamakee county rural declamatory contest Saturday were: Group one, Gertrude Arlien of Waterloo Ridge, first; grades one to four class, Phyllis Gast of Linton township, first; group two, Norma Hagen of Wheatland school in Union City township, first, and Edith Grahn of West Grove school, Post township, second; oratorical, Noel Melcher of Linton township, first. Mrs. J.E. Cassidy was judge. Music included clarinet solo by Francis Intlekofer and violin duet by Mary McCullough and Margaret Link.
~Cedar Rapids Gazette, Wednesday, April 17, 1935, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Page 12 ~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

County Essay Winners

1916 -
Waukon, Aug 24 - Special: All Allamakee county shares in the pride of the family of Mr. and Mrs. Link of Jefferson township, whose two sons, Carl and Elmer Link are enjoying a free trip to the town state fair on account of their having won respectively the essay and spelling contests of the county. Two years ago Ambrose Link won the county essay contest and two years previous to that Harland Link won the county essay contest. Carl Link is 15 years of age and Elmer is 12, and the two boys will enjoy the sights at the fair to the fullest extent.
~Cedar Rapids Daily Republican, August 25, 1916, Cedar Rapids, IA, pg 3
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

1946 -
Three winning essays were chosen Saturday by judges in the Allamakee county section of the statewide Iowa essay contest in which Allamakee county schools had 24 entries. Entries were submitted to County Superintendent M.H. Goede and were judged Saturday.

Wayne Welch of Lansing, a student at St. Patrick's school in Waukon, was winner of first place in Allamakee county's contest. His essay was entitled "Iowa, the Best State in which to Live, Work and Prosper," and presented the case of Iowa as it would appeal to a returning veteran. Wayne is in the ninth grade and is 13 years old. He had his preliminary schooling in French Creek No. 1 school.

Joyce Uren of Lansing, a tenth grade student in the Lansing schools, won second place on her essay, "Iowa, Its Past, Present and Future." Joyce is 14 years old.

Mildred Powell, third place winner, is an eleventh grade student in Waukon high school, and is 16 years old. Her essay was entitled, "Iowa, the Best State in the Nation."

Essays were judged on a basis of originality, presentation of facts which would be usable in giving publicity to Iowa and her resources, and on neatness and form. Judges were Mrs. Herman Thompson of Waukon, who teaches at Lansing; Mrs. Milton Kiesau of Postville, and Mrs. Leslie K. Hull of Waukon. There will be a district judging of prize-winning papers, followed by state finals in which $250 prize money is being offered by the Iowa Development commission.
~source: Postville Herald, Wednesday, April 3, 1946, Postville, Iowa, pg 8
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

WAUKON - Winning essayists on the Allamakee county section of the state wide Iowa essay contest were Mildred Powell, 16, Waukon; Wayne Welch,13, Lansing parochial school, and Joyce Wren, 14, Lansing public school.
~source: Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 4, 1946, Cedar Rapids, IA, pg 12
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

1936 School Bus Trip

On Thursday of last week Martin Broderick took the following who have been riding on his bus the past year on a trip to neighboring places of interest. Mabel Pixler, Roy, Ruth and Edna Cahalan, Hazel Walsh, Harry and Helen Jones, Laurayne O'Brien, Helen Kinley, Wilbur Inger, Bernice Charland, all of near Waukon Junction; Armand Klees, Alfred Peterson, Marguerite Pettit, Marcus Smith, Cletus Huffman, Martina and Bob Broderick, all of Rossville; Clara Kl(?), Mildred Rolfs, Velma Evans, Helen Hefner, Geneva Gilson, all of Waukon; and Paul Selberg of Waukon. There were 7 members absent.

The following were our visitors: Valeria Canoe, Marle Klees, Ray and June Huffman, Helen Cowell all of Rossville; Bernita Ross and Elva Lea Walters of Volney.

About nine o'clock we left Waukon and motored to Fort Atkinson state park where we ate our dinner from baskets brought by everyone. Mr. Broderick furnished the ice cream. The rest of the time was spent in looking over the fort house and some playing a game of kittenball. About 1:30 we decided we would go to see the Bily Bros. clocks. On our way we stopped at the smallest church at Festina. Mr. Biley (sic) gave us a short history of each clock and told how one worked. This was very interesting and enjoyed by all. We then drove to the Decorah park where we exercised our muscles for the long ride home. We arrived home tired but happy. We wish to thank Mr. Broderick most sincerely for the good time we had.
~Monona Leader, Thursday, June 4, 1936, Monona, Iowa, pg 2 (Volney news column)
~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith

1938 Kiwanis sportsmanship trophies

1938 Kiwanis sportsmanship trophies

Reading from left to right in the above picture, taken by R.H. Hintz, President of Lansing Kiwanis Club, are Fred Schafer, who presented the Kiwanis sportsmanship trophies: Paul Jordan, New Albin; Clara Ellen Gronna, of the Waterville championship girls; Leo Sebastian, Postville boys; and Sup't B.H. Graeber, also of Postville, representing his girls team, who won the sportsmanship trophy award, as did the New Albin boys.
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, IA, 1938 ~contributed by Errin Wilker

George Bachelder Poem is Published, 1950

A poem by George Bachelder, Postville high student, has been accepted for publication in "Tepies", a publication of the Iowa Tuberculosis and Health Association. The poem centers around an animated TB germ which strikes down a man who knows nothing about the disease. The title —"He Didn't Understand" ~Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 1, 1950 ~contributed by S. Ferrall

School Nurses Meet, 1977

The Iowa State Department of Health held the regional meeting for school and county nurses in Waterloo on Oct. 4. Those attending from the area were, Mrs. Iva Gaunitz; Lansing school nurse; Mrs. Carole Johnson and Mrs. Norma Flage, Waukon school nurses and Mrs. Arlene Ingles, county nurse.

Speakers topics were, "Hypertension: The Most Deadly High" and "Cardiac Problems in Infancy and Childhood." Information was also given concerning the new immunization law which will require all Iowa school children to be immunized or be in the process of immunization by the second school semester.
~Postville Herald, Wednesday, October 19, 1977, pg 13 ~contributed by Cindy Maust Smith


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