LeRoy School No. 6

Garden Grove Township, Decatur County, Iowa

Old school house in LeRoy, showing two one-room schoolhouses,
Gospel Ridge and Pleasant Ridge, moved in [1920],
which were used for classrooms upon consolidation.

No, I never went to LeRoy School but it is part of Garden Grove Township and is part of its history, this will be farm from complete, but anyone is welcome to add to it, or correct it where mistakes are.

What I have written has been gained from making many phone calls, personal visits, reading, and letters, much more is needed. Can you help?

The LeRoy Town Company was organized July 1880 and land was set aside in the northeast corner of the plat for a school to be know as Independent School District of LeRoy.

The following season, 1881, a large one-room schoolhouse was built by Flanagan & Barkhuff, carpenters from Garden Grove. The schoolhouse was also used for religious services till November 1890 when the first Presbyterian Church was dedicated.

James L. McCaull was the first teacher and he walked from his home north of Garden Grove to teach the eight grades in the one-room schoolhouse.

The town and surrounding area grew rapidly and in 1903-04 the old schoolhouse was moved away for a residence and a new two-story building [was] erected on the same site, to make room for the growing population.

Nellie Calhoun Baker, a living historian born 1890, attended this first school and when the new building was being built in 1903-04 [summer of 1904 by some accounts], the school was held over a grocery store, and she says the pupils called it "Corn Bread College."

In the new two-story building, the younger students went downstairs and the older ones on the second floor. Miss Fanny Swope and Mr. Arthur Mitchell were the first two teachers in the new building. James L. McCaull gave books to make a library and the first book put on the shelf was the Bible.

By 1910, the enrollment had grown so that other rooms were added to the two-story building and the school advanced to ten grades, with three teachers. Students wanting to go further than the tenth grade went other places, usually to Garden Grove. One living historian who did this and graduated in 1915 from Garden Grove is Nora Calhoun Kyner. She and Gladys Jordan drove a team of ponies on a two-wheeled cart to Garden Grove every day, weather permitting. When weather was bad, they stayed in Garden Grove.

LeRoy School, ca. 1910 after the other rooms were added. Teacher, Mr. Daughton. Back row; l to r: 1st girl Erma Stubbs (Sinclair); Julia Buchanan (Kellow); unknown; teacher, Mr. Daughton; Fern Hood (Phrimmer); Hazel Westfall (Marshall); Golda Lazenby; Gladys Jordan (Thompson); Will Throckmorton; Ora Krouch (Heaton) in right window; Vera Daughton; Helen Rushing; unknown; unknown; Lena Buchanan (Curry); Olive Jennings; Nora Calhoun (Kyner);
2nd row, in front of teacher Grace Sutton; sitting on ground, right to left, unknown; Johnnie Calhoun; 7th over, Harry Calhoun; 9th over, Lawrence Calhoun; Bert Tait, big black hat; Chester Sutton, big hat and eating.


LeRoy School, ca. 1910 after the other rooms were added.
Teacher, Mr. Daughton. Back row; l to r: 1st girl Erma Stubbs (Sinclair); Julia Buchanan (Kellow); unknown; teacher, Mr. Daughton; Fern Hood (Phrimmer); Hazel Westfall (Marshall); Golda Lazenby; Gladys Jordan (Thompson); Will Throckmorton; Ora Krouch (Heaton) in right window; Vera Daughton; Helen Rushing; unknown; unknown; Lena Buchanan (Curry); Olive Jennings; Nora Calhoun (Kyner);

2nd row, in front of teacher Grace Sutton; sitting on ground, right to left, unknown; Johnnie Calhoun; 7th over, Harry Calhoun; 9th over, Lawrence Calhoun; Bert Tait, big black hat; Chester Sutton, big hat and eating.

~ Submitted by Nellie Calhoun Baker.
By 1920, a consolidated area was established, taking in the country schools - Gospel Ridge, Pleasant Ridge, part of Tick Ridge, and White Hall [White Oak?] - which extended into Clarke County. More enrollment called for more space so the country school houses of Gospel Ridge and Pleasant Ridge were moved by Newt Boor and his steam engine in behind the two-story frame building in the northeast corner of the town of LeRoy. It now became a 12-grade school. The first class to graduate from this consolidated school was in 1922 and the four graduates were LeEtta Updike; Faye Krouch; Claude Hatfield and Johnnie Calhoun. The graduation exercises were held in the Presbyterian Church. The consolidated area brought the students to school in horse-drawn busses.

Transcriber's Note: LeRoy School was the first Decatur County school to consolidate.

There was much opposition to being consolidated and taking away a country school in each area.

Irene Boor Parsons says she can remember a sign that was painted on a sheet and tied onto one of the school busses. It pictured the two-story frame building on fire and a child jumping from a second story window. Thus the pressure for a fireproof building.

In 1922, a new modern brick building was erected in the present location. The curriculum followed that prescribed by the county and state and many students have gone far from their graduation from LeRoy. In addition to the usual academic courses a department of home economics; department of agriculture, and a department of commercial subjects. In 1947 there were 8 teachers employed. The music department and the athletic department have been proud of honors awarded to them.

The new modern brick building in LeRoy had a gymnasium, so it became the center of Basketball Tournaments. LeRoy had very good basketball teams and a good following, so it soon became the host of Sectional Tournaments, as well as county games.

Forrest Hagen will be remembered for his enthusiasm of sports and girls basketball especially, and he was superintendent at LeRoy for years. Mr. Hagan finally became president of the Iowa Athletic Association.

Somewhere in these years, the old horse-drawn busses were mechanized. Another living historian, Charles Ridgway, who was 98 in in January 1976, said he was on the school board then. Jim Buchanan, the village blacksmith for LeRoy, worked and mounted the old carriages on motor chastises. Charles said state said "couldn't be done" - but we did it because our blacksmith could do it, and did.

Many were the times the students had to walk because the roads got so muddy, the ruts so deep; and the mud so sticky, [Page 6] the snow too deep that going by foot or horseback was the only way to get anywhere.

The school in 1947 employed eight teachers.

As the years passed, the population was changing, roads improving, state requirements were getting stiffer and the smaller schools were being subjected to pressure to consolidate again. Distance seemed to mean nothing as they now had large heated buses, gravel and paved roads. There was opposition again as no one wanted to give up his school. Finally with much pressure, LeRoy, Garden Grove and Humeston formed the Mormon Trail School District [July 1] 1959. This was a combination of 11 school districts and 160 sections of land. Derby joined the district at a later date. Initially, grades were at LeRoy, Junior High at Humeston; and High School at Garden Grove. [A new building was constructed at Humeston in 1996 for the elementary school. The junior and senior high school is now located at Garden Grove.]

Thus the last class to graduate from LeRoy was 1959. Each has his own opinion as to what was gained by consolidation and reorganization.

Pages of time are turned but many are the memories of the good old school days in LeRoy -- 1881 to 1959. They still have school reunions there, and I am sure some of you can add more to the history of your school. The more that is written the more complete the history for our following generations. So come on, let us hear from you.

School Statistics of interest - from History of Decatur County, Iowa and Its People, published in 1915: "In the LeRoy District, one schoolhouse, worth $4,500; No. 3, Gospel Ridge, there is one male teacher, 13 enrolled, one $300 schoolhouse; No. 4, Tick Ridge, there are two female teachers, 15 enrolled, and one $800 schoolhouse; No. 5, Pleasant Ridge, there is one female teacher, 18 enrolled, and one $800 schoolhouse."

The LeRoy School System has been exceptionally fortunate in the quality of people selected to head it, many of them young people of high ideals, varied interests, and promise for a future.

History of LeRoy by Mary Buffum, published 1967 in the Leon Journal-Reporter: "Teachers that have taught in the LeRoy School -- James L. McCaull [of Garden Grove, later in an extensive grain business in Minneapolis, the first teacher in the 80's], John L. McCaull [brother of James and later associated with James in business], Cyrus Chase [an early pioneer], Ben Gaunt [, Jerry Cherryholmes, James Conwell [from Grand River, who was later a lawyer in Montana], Lew Jackson [of Leon, later an oil man in Oklahoma], George Wiley [who was a carpenter as well as a teacher and helped build both the two-room schoolhouse and the addition to it]; Henry W. Helmick [trained in the Highland Park College at Des Moines and later in the produce business in eastern Iowa]; Mary Calhoun; Fanny Swope; Mrs. Mary Stump; Miss Brant; Mary Buffum [a student at the State University of Iowa, was the teacher during the interim between the one-room and the two-room building, also later was the principal for one year of the three-teacher school], Bessie Hatfield [assisted Mary Buffum in the intermediate grades], Cecelia J. Coffey [of Weldon who assisted Mary Buffon in the primary room], Thomas Edwards [from the Teachers' College at Kirksville, Mo., and was the first superintendent after accreditation and when the building was being erected], Mrs. Hattie Slagg (Heaton) [also a teacher in the three-teacher system, having taught a few of the people whom some of us have known, such as Argie Buchanan Swanson, Fay Krouch, Calvin Wylie and many others], Roy V. Peasley [who is now in New York State still teaching], Forrest Hagan [a graduate of Des Moines University with a Master's Degree from the State University of Iowa], A. B. Rich [of Nebraska], D. P. Moore [from a Teachers' College in Missouri], Edna Bartlett, Mrs. Roy Peasley, Marie Brewer, Alice Culer, Mayme Ivy, Thirza Ivy, Nina Calhoun, Valera Sullivan, Helena Mendenhall, Helen Wheeler, Margaret Meyer, Vera Mitchell, Cecile Flora, Leslie W. Burns [a graduate of the Iowa State Teachers' College], C. L. Ferguson, Walter Warnock, M. H. Dake [who was a former Dubuque University professor], Hugh Vail; Daryl McCullough; Warren Eliason; Earl Spicer, and others.

Mrs. Leo Sullivan, who taught at LeRoy at two different times, sent me the following teachers:

1924, Roy Peasley, superintendent; high school, Mr. Latimer, William Berkey, Janette Haas; grades, Edna Bartlett, Ruth Peasley, Mayme Ivy, Twyla Mitchell, Valera Faubion;

1925, Forrest Hagan, superintendent; high school, Mr. Latimer, Mr. Berkey, Nellie Lewis; grades, Freda Bowman, Alice Downey, Frances Louise Penniwell, Valera Faubion;

1942, C. L. Ferguson, superintendent; Muriel Calvert, Mary Stiles, Mrs. Leo Sullivan;

1943, C. L. Ferguson, superintendent; Edna Bartlett Anderson, Margaret Sponsler, Louise Rickert, Valera Sullivan;

1944, W. L. Warnock, superintendent, Edna Anderson, Atha Palmer, Louise Rickert, Valera Sullivan;

1945, W. L. Warnock, superintendent, Mr. Burns, Lila Akes, Edna Anderson, Atha Palmer, Miss Proud, Valera Sullivan;

1946, Mr. Warnock, superintendent, Lila Akes, Don Butcher, Edna Anderson, Atha Palmer Thompson, Elva Butcher, Valera Sullivan;

1947, Mr. Warnock, superintendent, Mrs. Kemp, Miss Kerns, Mrs. Baker, Edna Anderson, Faye Krouch, Atha Thompson, Valera Sullivan;

1948, C. L. McKim, superintendent, Lila Akes, Ruth Kemp, Max Franklin, Edna Anderson, Faye Krouch, Helena Mendendall, Valera Sullivan;

1949-50-51, M. H. Dake, superintendent; Lila Akes, Esther Baker, Don Carnal, Max Franklin, Edna Anderson, Faye Krouch, Helena Mendenhall, Valera Sullivan.

By Zana Curry McKibben, Leon Journal-Reporter, Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, March 16, 1976
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby

Early school pictures were loaned by Nelli Calhoun Baker and Irene Boor Parsons.

Girls Basketball Team

1937 - 1938

Class of 1940

Leroy High School


Leroy HS, 1940


Leroy HS, 1940


Leroy HS, 1940

Leroy School

Aug. 2009
Mr. Burns, Miss Hogg; Carland Bevard, Beulah Lindsay, Beulah Euling, Ivy Baker, Lila Heaton, Virginia Thurlow, Mildred Stanley Doris Hanson, Virginia Saffell Richard Dale Baker, L.W. Burns, Harold Keith Akes, Fern Evelyn Stanley, Virginia Kathleen Saffell, Doandl Paul Ridgeway, Nile Brown Norton, Alfred Dale Weidenhaft Harold Akes
Dale Weidenshaft
Nile Norton, Dale Baker, Paul Ridgeway Deane Anderson, Beryl Kendall, Wilson Sullivan, Wayne Anderson, Barnard ?  
LeRoy Yearbook 1955

 Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
February 26, 1981, Page 10
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and Bob Bixby

50 Years Ago (1931)

LeRoy won the basketball tournament defeating Leon in the final game 24 - 20. The final consolation game ended Van Wert 12, Lamoni 13. An individual award for the outstanding player of the tournament went to Kenneth Sullivan of LeRoy on the basis of sportsmanship.

High point men were: Donnelson, Lamoni, 43; Thompson, LeRoy, 42; and Townsend, Leon, 38. However Donnelson played in five games and the other two boys in three games.

The county first team was chosen with the following: Thompson, LeRoy, forward; Townsend, Leon, forward; Barry, Leon, center; McGuire, LeRoy and Foland, Grand River, guards.

Second all-county team: Pickens, Davis City, and Donnelson, Lamoni, forwards; Parker, Lamoni, center; McCarty, Leon, and Waller, Garden Grove, guards.

Players of honorable mention: Redman, Van Wert; Hoadley, Van Wert; Baughman, Grand River; Richard, Weldon; Graves, Decatur; Painter, Pleasanton; Johnson, Leon; Spicer, LeRoy.
Teacher's Term report for the LeRoy District # 6
in the Township of Garden Grove, Decatur county.
September 6, 1909-May 27, 1910, John C. Duffield, Teacher
  1.    John Kyner   17
  2.    Harry Calhoun   17
  3.    Ora Krouch   16
  4.    Russell Doughton   15
  5.    Harry O. Jennings   13
  6.    Paul Jordan   13
  7.    Helen Stubbs   16
  8.    Jessie Burgin   15
  9.    Golda Lazenby   14
  10.    Hazel Westfall   14
  11.    Fern Hood   13
  12.    Lawrence Calhoun   13
  13.    Bert Tait   13
  14.    Willa Throckmorton   12
  15.    Vera Doughten   13
  16.    Julia Buchanan   13
  17.    Olive Jennings   11
  18.    Edgar Sullivan   14
  19.    Ray Rushing   12
  20.    Katie(?) Eggers   13
  21.    Ivan Webb   13
  22.    Edgar Burgin   13
  23.    Harold Sutton   14
  24.    Gladys Jordan   11
  25.    Nora Calhoun   11
  26.    Montie Benson   13
  27.    Vaughn Silvers   10
  28.    Lena Buchanan   12
  29.    Chester Sutton   12
  30.    Edith Woods   13
  31.    Erma Stubbs   14
  32.    Cecil Sherburne   13
  33.    Don Sullivan   12
  34.    Edna Woods   11
  35.    Cecil Ellis   11
  36.    Will Stubbs   11
  37.    Bertha Sherburne   10
  38.    Ira Burgin   10
  39.    Lee Krouch   10
  40.    Marie Webb   9
  41.    Clifford Throckmorton   9
  42.    John Cornell   15
  43.    Elizabeth Culver   15
  44.    Ivan Krouch   15
  45.    John Wylie   10
 Average daily attendance was 32 (even that is one good sized class). Average cost of tuition was $1.89. Teachers salary was $60.00 a month. Twelve different subjects were taught (no mention of how many grade levels in that classroom).

This may be more helpful as it gives the ages of the pupils during that school term.
~ Emily Ehler, submitted January 14, 2003
 Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
November 27, 1980

LeRoy, By Virginia Kyner

The Community Club was a monthly entertainment at the LeRoy Consolidated School. (Teacher) Valera Faubian Sullivan remembers when it was first organized with the parents meeting in the high school assembly while some took the children to play in the gym. It was decided this was no way to include everyone so it was decided to hold a monthly meeting with a program.

Officers were elected at the beginning of the school year and each month an entertainment committee was appointed. A teacher was generally on the committee and she or he would have the room prepare a program as well as people of the community would give skits, have songs, tap dancing, acrobatics, or just community singing. Many good programs were presented with a large crowd attending each month,

At the beginning of the school year, the Club would help with the teachers' reception with the Home Ec girls preparing the tea table and serving to all present and everyone meeting the new teachers and they in turn trying to remember parents as well as other people of the community.

At the close of the school year, the last day of school became a great celebration for everyone in the community. The children would come to school on the buses to receive their report cards and to turn in their books.

For several years the students bought their books which were sold back then the rental system was started with brand new books. A basic fee was paid and if you returned the book in good condition, that was all you paid. But if you damaged the book in any way, you have a fine to pay.

The last morning of school was spent going through the books to see that they had no torn pages or pencil marks. When all books were turned in the children were [let] out for another ballgame until parents came with baskets of food which had been designated by dividing the alphabet into categories of sandwiches, hot dish, salads, pie, cake and I remember large dishpans of bananas cut in half which were nearly always gone by the time the last of the line had gone through to fill their plates.

The afternoon was spent in visiting and the ball games were continued. The building was then turned over to Mr. Hatfield and his dog, Tilly, to prepare the rooms for the next school year. Other dogs came to school but Tilly was the only one allowed to go into the building except for Superintendent [Forrest] Hagan and his dog, Bulger, who performed for the first and second grade room.

The school assembly was used for programs presented to the entire school. There would be a magician to keep the children guessing or someone to give talks about other countries and those who were participating in the declamatory contests.

Article courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum, Leon IA and Bob Bixby
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2018
Original page created by Sharon Becker 2013; reformatted by Conni McDaniel Hall Oct 2019.
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