Hungerford No. 7 Memories


School Daze Memories from former students, teachers and records!


By Cleo Sipma, unknown date of writing

Time: Late 1800’s-1950s
For the farm boy or girl, their schooling for the lower grades was in the one-room country school.  The teacher was not only the teacher, but principal and head man or woman of the show, as the saying goes. 

Lee Woolworth, now of Sioux City, said that the time he spent as a schoolboy in the country “was the greatest time in my life.”  Lee attended Hungerford No. 7, east and north of James, Iowa.

Fern Sturtevant Hartman and her husband, Walter (Red) Hartman, Jr. both attended country schools.  Fern began school at Liberty Consolidated and then transferred to Hungerford No. 7 for the 7th and 8th grade, then went back to Liberty for her freshman year.  She and Walter graduated from Hinton High.  She recalls having Frank Yoerger and Alton (Pete) Forsberg as her teachers at Liberty.  Red remembers attending the school, which is still located on the Dale Riediger farm, for four years and then on to the Spies school through 8th grade.  He and three other children rode to school on a cart pulled by a donkey named Jack.  He said that Jack could open any gate and would go on home leaving them to pull the cart home after school. As is the case with many families in this area, the parents and their children both attended the same country school.  Walter Hartman, Sr. went to the Spies school and Florence Hartman to the Riediger school for the last two years in grade school.  Red Hartman says he wouldn’t trade the country school experience for anything.

Dorthea Becker was one of Red’s teachers at the Riediger school. She rode to school on a horse.  Alma and Dorthea Becker both taught school in the area.  Alma taught at the Spies school, which was located east on K-42, north two miles and ½ mile east.

The Becker girls attended LeMars high school, taking a Normal training course and passing a state test which qualified them to teach in country school. Dorthea retired from teaching at the Hinton Community School in 1968.  Alma left the teaching profession in 1941.

She said her pay during the Depression years was $50 per month. She feels that the teachers of today are much better prepared to teach than they were when she taught.

The pupils in the country school were taught to be independent in their studying and in doing assignments, she said, because the teacher was busy with Kindergarten through 8th Grade students.  She taught a school of 23 pupils.

One teacher of a country school heard this dire message at the end of his first year of teaching:
“They don’t aim to hire you back for next year. The Board says you’re a fair to middlin’ teacher, but you’ve burned just too darned much coal this winter.”

NOTE: Dorthea Becker taught Hungerford No. 1 school, years 1937-1938.  Alma Becker taught Hungerford No. 4 school, 1936-1940.


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