Link to Gage County, Nebraska

The Schools of Gage County

Report of Superintendent Filley.
Beatrice, Dec. 15, 1871
Hon. J.M. McKenzie, State Supt. of Public Instruction, Lincoln, Neb.

Submitted by: Brenda Busing

Source: The Beatrice Express, January 6, 1872

DEAR SIR:--The following is a correct report of the educational condition of Gage County from Dec. 1st, 1870 to Dec. 1, 1871.

I have issued no first grade certificates; 22 of the second; and 28 of the third grade; total, 50. The number of male teachers receiving second grade certificates, twelve; number of females, ten; number of males receiving third grade certificates, seventeen; number of females, eleven.

The county at the present time is divided into forty six districts, many of which are very irregular. Dividing districts is one of the worst difficulties I have to contend with. It has been my aim to form them three miles square, making four districts in a township, but in many instances this is impracticable. We must be governed by circumstances. This applies more particularly to those lying along the Blue, as this stream runs diagonally through the county.

The people of Gage county deserve great credit for the interest manifested in the cause of education. When we take into consideration, the difficulties with which they have to contend, in opening their farms, most of them with limited means, living in small, uncomfortable houses themselves, many of which are "dug outs," and see the elegant school houses they are erecting in all parts of the county, in which to educate their children, we can but admire their zeal in this cause, and think that Gage county has a glorious future.

District No. 1 (Adams Twp.-Sec. 3)
District No. 2 (Adams Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 3 (Holt Twp.-Sec. 10)
District No. 4 (Clatonia Twp.-Sec. 24)
District No. 5 (Grant Twp.-Sec. 21)
District No. 6 (Hanover Twp.-Sec. 36)
District No. 7 (Mud Creek Twp. (Now Filley Twp.)-Sec. 18)
District No. 8 (Hooker Twp.-Sec. 12)
District No. 9 (Mud Creek Twp.-Sec. 33)
District No. 10 (Midland Twp.-Sec. 30)
District No. 11 (Midland Twp.-Sec. 11)
District No. 12 (Blakely Twp.-Sec. 4)
District No. 13 (Grant Twp.-Sec. 31)
District No. 14 (Blakely Twp.-Sec. 14)
District No. 15 (Midland Twp. (Beatrice)-Sec. 33)
District No. 16 (Rockford Twp.-Sec. 5)
District No. 17 (Sherman Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 18 (Rockford Twp.-Sec. 11)
District No. 19 (Rockford Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 20 (Midland Twp.-Sec. 24)
District No. 21 (Blakely Twp.-Sec. 23)
District No. 22 (Blakely Twp.-Sec. 19)
District No. 23 (Sicily Twp.-Sec. 16)
District No. 24 (Blue Springs Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 25 (Island Grove Twp.-Sec. 9)
District No. 26 (Island Grove Twp.-Sec. 23)
District No. 27 (Liberty Twp.-Sec. 2)
District No. 28 (Nemaha Twp.-Sec. 24)
District No. 29 (Rockford Twp.-Sec. 29)
District No. 30 (Adams Twp.-Sec. 27)
District No. 31 (Wymore Twp.-Sec. 22)
District No. 32 (Midland Twp.-Sec. 7)
District No. 33 (Grant Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 34 (Beatrice Twp. (Now Riverside)-Sec. 12)
District No. 35 (Sicily Twp.-Sec.12)
District No. 36 (Liberty Twp.-Sec. 23)
District No. 37 (Rockford Twp.-Sec. 35)
District No. 38 (Logan Twp.-Sec. 2)
District No. 39 (Logan Twp.-Sec. 8)
District No. 40 (Lincoln Twp.-Sec. 7)
District No. 41 (Holt Twp.-Sec. 32)
District No. 42 (Grant Twp.-Sec. 2)
District No. 43 (Mud Creek Twp. (Now Filley)-Sec. 3)
District No. 44 (Hanover Twp.-Sec. 32)
District No. 45 (Hooker Twp.-Sec. 17)
District No. 46 (Elm Twp.-Sec. 12)

District No. 1
Situated at Cropsey, in the north east corner of the county. The people in this district have labored earnestly in the cause of education, built a commodious frame house, finished it in good style, and furnished it with the Richmond, Indiana, desks. They have struggled hard to build their house but have it completed; employ only first class teachers, and are willing to pay a fair remuneration therefor.

This is known as the Moore district. There are several good teachers in the Moore family, one of whom, Mr. C.E. Moore has charge of the school this winter.

District No. 2
Near Laona, is commonly called the Gale district. This is a very intelligent community, and the children are as well advanced in their studies as any district out side of Beatrice. The present boudaries will undoubtedly be changed over, and we may then expect to see a house erected that will be a credit to the county. Mr. Fuller, one of the live teachers of Gage county, taught the summer term and this winter finds him in the same district, which fact shows that the people appreciate a good school, and are determined that this shall be one of the best in the county. Mr. Fuller makes teaching a profession and spares neither pains nor money to fit himself for his calling.

District No. 3
This district has built a neat frame school house this summer, 18x22 at a cost of $625. They use, also, the Indiana desks, house painted inside and out. They have a very successful school in operation, under the supervision of Miss Holt, an experienced and competent teacher, recently from New England. This portion of the county is being settled rapidly, and educational matters are in a prosperous condition.

District No. 4
Erected a fine house this season, 20x30, frame, 12 feet story, at a cost of $1,000. Their former teacher, Mr. Rickard, is with them again this winter, at $40 per month. The people in No. 4 are determined to educate their children, regardless of expense. The State land which has recently come into market is in this portion of the county, and nearly every quarter section will be occupied early next season, and good school houses will follow.

District No. 5
This district includes Roperville. Their house, which is a frame about 16x24, is situated on an eminence, which for health and beauty of scenery cannot be surpassed in the Blue Valley. The people of Roperville sustain good schools, and have been very fortunate in their selection of teachers. Mr. Wagner, a thorough and efficient teacher, has the school this winter.

District No. 6
Recently divided, and has no house at present, but it is hoped will erect one at an early day.

District No. 7
On Cedar Creek, nine miles north-east of Beatrice, has only a log house yet, but it is comfortable, and the people of the district are looking anxiously for the time when a substantial school house will be built--probably of stone, as there is an abundance of this material in this portion of the county.

District No. 8
About eighteen miles north-east of Beatrice, comprises Hooker, and is alive in educational matters. They have a good comfortable log house, and Mr. Zuver, the Director, informs me that they expect soon to erect a house--probably of brick, capable of seating fifty scholars, which they intend to furnish with the latest improved patent desks and everything that will make it inviting to teacher and pupil. Mr. Zuver is a practiced teacher, and he furnished the district with a golbe and other apparatus for the school room, at his own expense.

District No. 9
Ten miles east of Beatrice, on Mud Creek, has built a handsome stone school house, 24x36, with two ante-rooms, blinds and everything complete, at a cost of $1,500. It is finished in workmanlike manner, is well proportioned, and is furnished with a sufficient number of Sherwood patent desks from Chicago to accommadate fifty pupils. Also a set of Guyot's Outline Maps and Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, and a Teacher's desk. As an evidence of the educational interest in this district. I will mention that at the time the money was raised for their house there were only five persons in the district between five and twenty-one years of age. Mr. Weaverling, a very worthy young man, has charge of the school this winter, at fifty dollars per month. He is a very successful teacher, and intends to make it a profession. He is trying to qualify himself for his high calling, and is well calculated for the profession he has chosen.

District No. 10
Two miles east of Beatrice, on Bear Creek, has also a stone school house, which they have recently built, very neat, substantial and well proportioned. It is 20x30, and cost probably $1,200. They have a successful school in operation. Here, as in nearly every district in the county, we see an enterprise worthy of commendation.

District No. 11
Five miles north of Beatrice. Here we find at present only a log school house, but earnest efforts are being put forth to erect a nice school house soon. Mr. A.J. Pethoud is teaching the school this winter. He is about procuring a globe and other apparatus for the school-room at his own expense, for which the district should be very thankful. Mr. Pethoud is an earnest, thorough and energetic man, and is teaching a good school.

District No. 12
Has as yet only a temporary house, but what is lacking in the house is made up in the teacher, Mr. Pickering, who is a well educated man and very successful in the school room.

District No. 13
In No. 13 we also find a log house, but there is here, as in other districts, a desire to build a good house as soon as possible, and they are doing all in their power to sustain a good school.

District No. 14
Five miles north-west of Beatrice, has a neat frame house, about 16x24, patent desks, and everything necessary for comfort and convenience.

District No. 15
The Beatrice district. -- Here we find a substantial and commodious two-story brick house, 12 feet story, planned especiallly for a graded school. The main building is 33x44, with a projection 12x20 feet, a belfry, and is a well furnished building in every respect. The house is divided into three rooms. The two lower rooms are 20x30 in the clear; the upper one, 31x42. The house will seat 200 scholars; is furnished with the best Richmond, Ind., desks and everything necessary for a first-class school. The house cost $7,000, and is the best house in the State for the price. They have an excellent school here of about one hundred and fifty pupils. Mr. C.B. Palmer, the Principal, is a thorough scholar, has had much experience in graded schools, and is building up one here that Beatric emay well be proud of. He is assisted by three excellent female teachers, Mrs. Wagner, Mrs. Curtis, and Miss Blodgett. Beatrice is paying her teachers $230 per month, but is getting value received for every dollar. The present building will soon be inadequate to meet the demands of the town. It is hoped that before the day comes, a school building sufficiently large to accommodate several hundred students will be erected and under the supervision of an able corps of teachers, that we may draw students from all parts of the State. There is no better point in the State to build up such a school than Beatrice.

District No. 16
Four miles east of Beatrice, near Bear Creek. The people have built a neat frame house, well proportioned, painted inside and out, and will soon furnish it with the patent desks. A good school is maintained here summer and winter.

District No. 17
This district is on the south branch of Mud Creek. The inhabitants here deserve much credit for erecting a very fine stone school house, 21x27, with ante-rooms, blinds, Sherwood's patent desks, well, and everything necessary to the success of a good school, at a cost of $1,089 and this when there were only seven persons in the district between the ages of five and twenty-one years.--Facts speak for themselves; comment is unnecessary.

District No. 18
9 Miles south-east of Beatrice, has also a splendid stone school house, nearly completed, 23x33 feet, height of room 12 feet (which is the height usually adopted about here), two ante-rooms, and will cost when completed about $1,600. It is to be furnished with Sherwood's patent desks, and no pains or expense will be spared to make it a model school house in every respect. No. 18 has suffered for the want of a school house, but will soon have as good a one as any district outside of Beatrice.

District No. 19
Has a stone house, 20x30, with furniture of home manufacture as yet, but the inhabitants in this vicinity are wide awake in educational matters, and will place good furniture in the school room as soon as possible.

District No. 20
Has also a fine stone school house, 24x30, with ante-rooms, patent desks, well, and everything complete, at a cost of $1,500. This house is beautifully located, two miles west of Beatrice, and will soon be one of the best schools in the county.

District No. 21
Joins the last mentioned district on the west. They have nearly completed a fine brick school house, 20x36, with all the modern improvements, at a cost of about $1,400. It will be ready to occupy, and a school started some time during the present month.

District No. 22
Has only a log school house at present, but intends during the coming season to erect a frame house 24x36, when we may expect to see a number one school house in every respect. The district board are in earnest in the matter--know what a good school is, and are determined to have one.

District No. 23
Has built a frame house this fall: cannot give the exact dimensions: has a competent teacher in the school room, and is going ahead all right.

District No. 24
The Blue Springs district. They have built a fine school house, 16x24, furnished it with patent desks of a good quality, and have a school of about forty scholars, under charge of Mr. Nelson Korner, an experienced teacher. This district should take some steps immediately to erect a house suitable for a graded school. Blue Springs is rapidly increasing in population, and the house they now occupy will soon be too small to meet the demands of the district. It is hoped the people will look to this, and at an early day erect a commodious house.

District No. 25
Has only a temporary house at present, but the district board deserve great credit for their untiring efforts to sustain a school under the present circumstances. They have nearly money enough raised for a house, and will put it to good use soon.

District No. 26
On Plum Creek, in the southeastern part of the county, has built a nice frame house; cannot give the exact size; cost about $500; furniture of home manufacture. They have a good school in operation, and are leaving nothing undone to properly educate their children.

District No. 27
Has as yet only a log house, with disks of home manufacture. This district needs a good school house, and I presume there is nearly enough money secured to build one. In less than a year they will probably build a house that will be an ornament to the district. The school is taught this winter by Mr. Pritchard, a man of sound judgment, who knows what a good school is, and is doing all he can to make it a success.

District No. 28
Has built a very fine frame house this season, 20x30, at a cost of about $800. It is beautifully located in the Nemaha Valley; is furnished with the Indiana desks, and everything necessary for comfort and convenience. They have a good school in session this winter, and prospects are bright for the future.

District No. 29
Has no permanent house yet, but expects to build a very nice stone house next summer. The people of this district are wide awake in educational matters, and we anticipate a commodious house, with all the modern improvements.

District No. 30
Has a frame house about 20x30, but as yet no patent desks. The people of this district are earnest workers in the cause of education; employ good teachers, and consequently have good schools.

District No. 31
Has a frame house about 16x24, desks of home manufacture yet, but will undoubtedly seat their house in the spring with the patent desks.

District No. 32
Has a frame house about 16x24, desks of home manufacture yet, but will undoubtedly seat their house in the spring with the patent desks.

District No. 33
Has no permanent house, but steps will be taken soon to erect one that will meet the demands of the community. This district is in the neighborhood of the State land, and will advance in educational matters speedily.

District No. 34
On the west side of the Blue, about four miles below Beatice. They have just completed a splendid stone building, 21x29, at a cost of $1,000, with home made desks at present, but patent desks will soon be introduced. They have a good school in operation, and everything is moving finely.

District No. 35
Is building a frame house, and intends to complete it in time for a winter school.

District No. 36
Has a temporary house, but with Mr. Bolinger, an earnest practical man for their teacher, the children are advancing rapidly. A good house is needed, and it is hoped will soon be built.

District No. 37
Is a new district, and has no house yet, but a good school is in progress at a private house this winter. The Director infoms me that they intend to build a house next summer, probably of stone, 21x29, 12 foot story, furnished complete, shich will cost $1,500.

District No. 38
Also new, no house in the district yet, but they are doing all they can in the matter.

District No. 39
Also new. Have rented a house, and will start a school in a few days.

District No. 40
Ten miles west of Beatrice, has built a very handsome frame house, which is painted, furnished with blinds, patent desks, and everything necessary for a first-class school.

District No. 41
Has nearly money enough raised to build a good one. They have a school in progress, in charge of a number one teacher.

District No. 42
Has a good log house, and intends to start a school in a few days.

District No. 43
Has no house yet, and but a few children in the district, but measures will be taken to build soon.

District No. 44
Has a log school house, and is trying to start a school this winter.

District No. 45
Has no house, but the people in the district are of the right metal, and there is no doubt but that they will come out all right soon.

District No. 46
Has a log house, and will start a school in a few days. This district was formed but a few days since, and the fact of their being prepared for a school so soon is sufficient evidence that we need have no fears for them.


Indeed, this is applicable to every district in the county. I think they deserve credit for their earnest efforts to educate their children. All over the county we find neat, comfortable and commodious buildings, many of which are model country school houses, and I believe are as good as can be found in any State in the Union. There seems to be a disposition in this county to excel in this matter, and nearly every house is furnished with the latest improved patent desks.

The foregoing is a brief statement of the educational condition of every district in the county; and while some of the schools are not what we would like to have them, taken as a whole I think they are as good as can be expected for the age of the state.

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