Hancock Township Schools

Newspaper Articles in chronological date order--articles covering the entire township in general

LeMars Sentinel, November 18, 1890

HANCOCK:  (Special Correspondence)

At our election we were mostly tied.  The Talbot faction got trustee and
one justice.  The Griffith faction got assessor.  The remainder were
tied.  The township clerk appointed a day to draw cuts.  This has been
done, and the result was:  the first got both justices and one
constable.  You may query about the distinction of the two factions and
how it comes.  We outsiders, who look at the fun, find by observation
that the Griffith faction makes our taxes too high, by insisting that in
every school house there should be taught so much school each year.
While it is true, the money is levied and in Weare & Allison's bank for
safe keeping, we do not see why it is necessary for so much school to be
taught, also for five mills to be levied for the road fund.  This, you
see, makes quite a tax, and we cannot stand it, say the consistent side.
We have not education and feel that our children can get along without
it full as well.  Mr. Talbot has a fair education and he can advise.
Willie Carlisle, on the casting of lots, got to be township clerk.
While a stranger to us, we are told that he is one of the best young men
in the state.  Mr. Wm. Pike will doubtless turn the books over
faultless, so think we.     TIRREM.

LeMars Sentinel, November 10, 1891

HANCOCK: (Special Correspondence)

The Belle Vista is speculating on a new school house soon. They will erect
one themselves for district No. 5 and have a good school all at home.

LeMars Sentinel, Dec. 11, 1891

HANCOCK: (Special Correspondence)

Hoyt Hunter was seen on our streets last Sunday. Mr. Hunter taught seven
terms of school in Hancock and all are glad to see him when he comes. He is
now teaching the home school.

LeMars Sentinel, November 29, 1897, page 4, col. 4

Our County News
By our Correspondents and from

(Special Correspondence)

   Hancock schools are all running in good shape. The new school houses are finished and school running therein; the threatened discord that seemed to be bruing in their construction was largely an outside issue that the discontented ones hope to make. There was really no cause for all that was said by the outside world. One thing that Hancock can well be proud of, she has three first class school houses and hopes to reconstruct No. 3 the coming year; when this has been done each district will be well fixed and with proper care for many years she will be second to but few.

   At a meeting of our school board on the 17th, after everything was lined up in good shape, M. R. Griffith resigned the office of president of the school board, also director for district N. 3.  Mr. Griffith has represented No. 3 for many years, he was secretary of the school board when it was first organized, the year following was elected on the board and has ever since had that duty to perform. Jesse Washburn, Sr., was appointed as his successor in both cases. Mr. Washburn is an old school man and will be a credit to his district and township.

   Miss Maud Vanosdall expects to take charge of school No. 3 at the close of Mrs. Harlan’s present term. Miss Vandosdall is an old teacher in our town and will be welcomed back to our schools.

   The Rev. Thomas Willet, superintendent of the BelleVista Sunday school, is laying a splendid foundation for a Christmas tree and entertainment at No. 3 school house, a committee of ladies have been canvassing pretty thoroughly to raise funds in anticipation of the same. Christmas only comes once in a year and should not be forgotten. It furnishes splendid food for thought and the bettering of moral sentiment.

Submitted by Karen Harrington

LeMars Sentinel, May 23, 1930

Miss Katherine Stenger, public health nurse, visited schools in Perry,
Hancock and Sioux Townships last week.


1883 marks the entry of Hancock township schools on the county records. Twenty pupils were enrolled in the two buildings which were valued at $500 and the apparatus at $50.  By 1885 the number of schools in Hancock township had increased to four with an enrollment of 49 pupils.  The school year had lengthened to six months, according to the county record.

Living in the Hancock township community is a man who held various school offices in Hancock township for 50 years.  He also served on the Plymouth County Board of Education for 15 years, 1933-1948.  He still maintains a very active interest in the educational affairs in the Westfield Community School District. I refer to Mr. T. A. Ross, who still resides on his farm in Section 11, Hancock Township.  I now quote from a report written by him in 1954:


“I was born December 12, 1871, in Union County, South Dakota.  I was six years old in December 1877, when I started to school in Hancock township.  Our home was four miles by the road to the school. Our district was then known as Hancock District No. 2.  In 1885, the township board set up subdistrict No. 3.  That took in a lot of territory, but as there were not 30 children, two new districts could not be organized.

Nearly all of the schoolhouses built about that time were 16 feet by 20 feet with three windows on each side.  There was a provision in the Iowa School Law at that time providing that the school board could make any provision for a place to hold the school that would not cost more than $300.  It was not necessary to advertise for bids.

The schoolhouse in District No. 3 was built in about 1885. The schoolhouse in District No. 4 was built in the summer of 1888, going through the same procedure as erecting the building in District No. 3.

Later these old buildings were replaced by more modern structures.  People in Hancock township took a very active interest in their schools and in later years reported a successful P.T.A. organization in their community.  At one time, all four of the Hancock township schools were rated standard schools by the State Department of Public Instruction.  The school in District No. 2 was selected as a superior school by Miss Jessie Parker, State Rural School Supervisor.  Miss Parker, who later became State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was present to award the superior rating to Hancock District No. 2 school.”


Names frequently appearing on the Hancock township school records are: C. H. Nourse, Louis LeBarge, William Chapman, Thomas Willett, Jessie and G. I. Washburn, W. A. Comstock, John Kimball, Thomas Walsh, Cyrus Knapp, John Pike, William Nason, Mary Harrington, and many others. 

Among the teachers who served in Hancock Township for many years were Gertrude Tracy, Lucille and Grace Briggs, and Violet Fry.

Source: Portion of the speech/history presented by Keynote Speaker, Miss Christine Petersen, Westfield Community School Dedication, May 2, 1958~~as reprinted in the LeMars Sentinel, May 15, 1988.




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