Schoolhouse and Cemetery

Schoolhouse and Cemetery, Olive Township, S.E. corner of S.W. 1/4 of Section 2

Written by Evelyn A. Wieck

The farm that the schoolhouse and cemetery were on was purchased from the government in 1855.  In 1861 1/2 acre was given for the purpose of a school.  For many years the farm belonged to the Heinrick Griebel family and the school was called the "Griebel School".  Glen Rusch of DeWitt is the present farm owner.  The graves may have been on the lot when the original schoolhouse was built.  No one remembers ever having a burial there or the names of those buried in the school yard.  Several older local residents remember that there were about a dozen graves.  The stones were of white slab, some 3 or 4 feet high and some smaller and about 4 inches thick.  On Decoration Day the children picked violets and other wild flowers and placed them on the graves.  The teacher often tied her horse to the fence to graze and it knocked some of the stones down.  It was once said a school director took a stone home to be used as a wash bench.  Later the stones were used to mark the bases and home plate by the children playing baseball in the school yard.

On July 10, 1956 at a special school election in the rural independent district, by a vote of 19 to 11, a $9,500.00 bond issue was passed for the purpose of the construction of a new school building.  In March 1957 the school board accepted a bit by Ray Waite, a contractor from Clinton to build a new school, which was constructed more to the north and west of the original one, covering some of the grave sites.  The old school building was purchased by Wesley Wieck and moved to his farm and converted into a shop.  In 1966, to comply with state regulations, the school district was consolidated with the Calamus Community School, Calamus Iowa.  Mrs. Ethyle Olson was the last teacher and the building has been made into a house.

Today nothing remains of the little pioneer cemetery...only the memories that it once was there.