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"Eau Claire County History, 1949"


History of Lowes Creek School Area

Piecing together the local history of eight or nine decades, old teachers met and greeted old students at the Lowes Creek School on Friday evening Nov. 17, when a large crowd gathered to take part in a homecoming celebration.

The program for the reunion included musical numbers by Lillian Porter Zahn and her mother and by a college quartette comprised of Marvin Foster, Everett Blakely, Roy Campbell and Ellard Clifton.  A recitation was given by Ruth Finstad of Altoona.

Speaking of the part a school can play as the center of a school district, Miss Mildred Wilcox, County Superintendent of Schools said earnestly, "I hope never to see the time when the last rural school will be gone from Wisconsin."  Miss Wilcox had been hoping for some time thta a program might be instituted which would creat an opportunity to get a record of the early history of the county and the 13 towns while there were stil some of the old settlers living who might recall names and dates.  Such a program would also bring to the farmers assistance in the solution of their local problems in erosion and reforestation, and would enable them to study crop changes.

Commends Club Activities.

Miss Wilcox complimented Mrs. Kyes, president of the Community Club, and her committee, and stated that she was not at all surprised to see Lowes Creek first to promote such plans after having been guest at some of the club's interesting meetings.

E. D. Rounds, of this city, gave a short talk in which he linked the history of the district on Lowe's Creek with the story of the Sioux and Chippewa as they were affected by the boundary passing through the district and separating the two tribes according to the treaty of 1825.  Following the Indians were the French who lost their dream of an empire to Great Britain in 1763 but left behind their names on 14 to 71 counties, one of which is Eau Claire.

Relinquishing all but Canada of her vast colonial empire, 20 years later, England paved the way for the "Magna Carta of the Northwest" in the Ordinance of 1787, which not only set aside section 16 of each township for schools but added 72 sections in every state as university lands, thus creating the quintuplets, the five state universities of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, with Iowa and Minnesota added for good measure.  Pres.  Hutchens of Chicago U, in an article run the week before, makes special mention of these universities and their influence on educational trends of today.

From 1818 until 1853 all of Western Wisconsin was in Crawford county with Prairie du Chien as the county seat.  Then Chippewa county was set off and in 1855 the 18 sections which now make Eau Claire County were set aside as the town of Clearwater in Chippewa County.  The following year the legislature created Eau Claire County.

First School Erected.

Randall states:  "The first school house erected in the county was on the Sparta road three miles from Eau Claire in what was known as the Olin and Bebee neighborhood, in the fall of 1857."  This is now known as the Robbins school, District No. 1, in the Town of Washington.  It is interesting to know that Mr. Robbins and Mrs. Olin from this district were chosen as officers of the new county.  It no doubt accommodated some families who now belong to District No. 3, the Lowes Creek School.  So far, neither district nor county records show what year this school was organized.

In 1867, a bright young woman, Nancy Price, taught the school.  Later marrying Daniel Wood, and often boarding the teacher in later years.

A complete list of the teachers who had tuaght since 1873 was read and responses were given through letters of  friends by a number which included:  Ethel Moody Osborn; Emma Skatvold, Mrs. George Hirst, who is spending the winter at the Penny Farms, at Ocean Cove Springs in Florida in Florida with her husband, a retired Episcopal rector; Naomi Jurden, Mrs. Marshall Johnson, who sent her greetings through the committee.

Five of the teachers were present:  Mrs. Clara Stantion Hanson who had been in charge in 1904 and enjoyed the meeting her "first graders" who attended the celebration with their families; Beulah Turney who named from memory her many pupils; Minnie Spehle Winter, who was there when the school house burned; Dagmar Stai; and Margaret McFaul who is teaching her fifth year in the district.

A roster of families of the district throughout the years was read in conclusion and many of the names which were included brought back childhood memories to those who were present.

Letters Received.

Among the letters read wa a letter received by Mrs. Kyes from Mrs. Wood's daughter, Mary, who lives in Appleton, where her husband for many years was a trustee of Lawrence college.  Mary, now Mrs. J. B. Goodrich, regretted that she was unable to be with her old friends on the occasion.  A smilar letter was received from the Berthold's.

Another letter which arrived in time for the meeting was posted in time for the meeting was posted in Dallas, Tex., by John R. Coon, who carried the story on to 1896.

November 16, 1939

Lowes Creek District School, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Dear Friends -- A letter from Mrs. Clinton Hatch has just been received stating that your school is to have a Homecoming on November 17 and those in charge wished to hear from all old teachers.

My association with the Lowes Creek School takes me back a long way -- as I recall it was in the fall of 1896 and passed an examination and obtained a second grade teachers' certificate.  I flunked in Algebra so did not get a first.  I believe the second grade allowed me to teach in the county for two eyars.  The second year was at Ludington which was known at that time as "Sugar Town".

I have been trying to recall some of the names of the students and people who lived in that community.  I remember the Neiser family who lived just east of the school.  The Bauer family lived down toward the mill pond.  Geo. Larkin was the miller.  Mr. Stevens and Mr. Donaldson lived on south of the mill pond.  These two men were on the school board along with an elderly man who lived about a mile east.  I believe his name was Blake and I recall, was a very fine old gentleman.  I boarded at the Wood home.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wood were then alive.  George Wood was at home and Mary went to school to me.

About that time George Wood was courting one Grace Adams whom he later married.  I remember relieving George many times at the milk stool so he could keep a date.  The Wood family were fine people and I enjoyed my stay in their home.  I believe the school district paid me $26.00 per month and I paid $10.00 for board.  Speaking about board I recall that during the winter I had fried chicken every day for a week in my lunch which was prepared by Mrs. Wood.  When I got home for the weekend my Mother had a special treat for me of fried chicken.

Mr. Chas. Doub who lived on the Blake place at that time had three children at home.  Ruth, Fritz and I do not remember the smaller one.  I recall taking hold of Fritz at one time by the collar and some of the buttons cmae off his shirt.

I believe Mr. Borgen had two children, a large boy, I believe Hans by name and Frieda the girl.  She was one fine little girl.  I remember one day Hans Borgen and Willie White had a knock down and drag out in the corner near the door.  There was a cupboard where the children kept their lunch pails and the fight was behind this.  It certainly was a good one.  They were separated and it seems that at recess Willie jumped the fence and did not come back.  Willie was not a bad boy.  He just did not like to go to school.

It seems to me that I recall giving an entertainment during the year to raise some money for a bell.  I had some of my friends out from town and I believe one boy put on some kind of a show.  He used to write plays.  I do not remember his name.  We raised enough for the bell and some carpenter built a cupola on top of the building for it.

There was a family whose name was Kalanquin or something that sounds like that who lived near the Daub place who had quite a large family and there was another large family one mile south of Stevens place, but I do not recall the names.  I remember that it came to me after I had started teaching that some of the large boys had spread the information around that they were just going to take the new teacher out and throw him over the back fence.  I talked them out of it after they had come to school.

So much for my recollections.  I enjoyed very much my year in this school.  I met people and made firends who were really worth while and appreciate being reminded of this homecoming so I can recall and mill over in my mind those pleasant experiences of some forty three years ago.

I have been in Texas now thirty one years.  I like it here.  It is a wonderful state and a wonderful country.  WE have a variety of natural resources -- minerals, oil, industries of one kind and another.  We grow anything here that can be grown in most any part of the United States and many things that cannot be grown elsewhere.  We have more sheep and goats than any other state and I believe more cattle.  The climate is mild and the summers hot.  They are not they are long.  It is real warm most every day from the fifteenth of June to the fifteenth of September, but you have nine months winter and we have very little.

Please accept my most cordial greetings for your reunion and with best wishes to all.  Yours sincerely,

By -- John R. Coon



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