Friday, February 10, 2012

A Short History of Stephen's School

by Ada Pilcher
Any similiarit to persons (living or dead) is purely intentional and the author will be held responsible.

(aunt minerva collection....typewritten story....all typos are mine)

It is believed that by some that the first Stephen's School was made of logs, but no one seems to know.
Teachers taught for a mite and were indeed lucky if they ever got paid.
One poor little Shrimp's contract read thus: "The fifteen dollars to be paid each month or whenever the taxes are collected." Poor little guy! He dare not go in debt for a lead pencil.
Was there discrimination? Listen to this: Francis Quigley taught one term for $30.00 per month. The next year a maiden got $15.00 per month.
There came a time when Alice Ray taught with 70 odd enrolled. Henry Leazenby taught at Wooderson with a like amount enrolled.
It was voted to take a mile off Wooderson and a mile off Stephens', thus making a new district. Tempers got hot--there were a few fist fights--someone suggested naming the new district "Battle Creek". The name stuck. Little children in the southern part of the district had a long way to wade the snow.
A vote was taken to move the schoolhouse. Isaac Neff was hired to move the building, using many horses. He also was to build a rock foundation and 2 outside priveys.
W.S. Pilcher was contracted to dig a well. He was bound to have witched for water, since he located the well very near the boy's toilet and on lower ground.
The School Board meetings were held like most others in the sticks, until an attorney got himself elected to the School Board. He said, "Now, things will be done according to law and order." The old farmers raised their hackles and solemnly swore, "One would think that one was attending a swearing in of the Supreme Court."
Jake Fitzpatrick and Minnie Pilcher were champion spellers for years. Alice Hunt excelled at cyphering; that is if she could choose addition.
This building was located on a public road--not well traveled; however, politicians and book agents always found it. Their line was always the same,"I may be talking to a future president." None of the Stephen's boys quite made it, but they were in "spittin' " distance of one Harry who did.
Wars took their toll. Emmett Hobbs died in the Spanish American War. Wess Gibson made the sacrafice in World War I. Even the flue epidemic of 1918 claimed a teacher, Vern Sallee took it and died in a short time.
Bags of assifidity notn only kept away disease, but also scared away witches. In wild onion time, even the school yard stank to high heaven.
Not counting the time the schoolhouse burned, the worst calamity was when a stray dog wondered in and stuck his hind leg up to a red hot stove.
Most folks brought lunches in gallon syrup buckets. Some had childen and an apple, while others had cornbread soaked with sorghum molasses.
Henry & Emma Maxwell , Myrtle and Della Pilcher, Alta Murphy and Lura Harrison went back to Stephens' to teach.
One day while Will Stephens was teaching, he said, "I will break you folks of this slang." Everytime someone spit out some slang, he wrote it on the board..."Fer pity sakes", "Leapin' lizards", "Well Texas goobers." Just then, Will yelled, "Gee Whillecans." Ada Pilcher, who never excelled in conduct, arose from the back seat, slowly went to the board and wrote, "Gee Whillecans". There was not a snicker. This ended all mention of slang. This year was 1904. Compare it with today's cursing. There was not a word up there as bad as "gosh" or "darn".
Mrs. John Harrison taught Stephens' last term. When she turned the key in the door, the pupils were bussed to Gilman City.
This ends may little groups of laughter as well as a few tears.

(what is CHILDEN?)
note: Henry & Emma Maxwell were children of my great great grandpa James Maxwell)

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