History of the
By Holice, Pam, and Deb
Extra special thanks to Holice B. Young for transcribing book. The excellent work she does continues to help many researchers! Thanks also, to Pam Rietsch, for sharing her books with genealogists!
Period of Early Growth
Louis Walter of Cheney, president of the first board of trustees of the Normal School, was elected to the lower house of the state legislature in the autumn of 1890. He was one of the few Democrats of the legislature. Senator Watt continued through the session of 1891 as a holdover, so Cheney was again represented in each house.
An appropriation of $18,300 for maintaining the State Normal School at Cheney for the biennium of 1891-93 was made by the second legislature, a sum far short of the amount requested by the board of trustees. The inadequacy of this amount, accentuated by the losses suffered in the fire of August 27, 1891, forced the school to incur a deficit before the end of the biennium.
"In the spring of 1891 the board contracted for a two-storied addition, 40 X 60, by which was supplied an assembly room library, laboratory and apartments for the Training School. These were newly-furnished and well equipped, when, on the night of August 27, 1891, just one week before the opening of the fall term, the entire building and its contents, including school furniture, library, text books, apparatus, piano, etc., were destroyed by fire.
"In keeping with the unflagging interest manifested in the school at all times by the citizens of Cheney, the trustees of the public school tendered the use of their building until further arrangements could be made, and their courtesy made it possible to open school at the appointed time. At the expiration of a week, however, a building had been secured and as well fitted for school purposes as the small rooms and narrow halls would admit, and the school, although increasing by the addition of students every week, is still crowded in this insufficient and poorly-located building.
"This inconvenience, as well as much of the expense for rents and for necessary alterations in the building, might have been obviated had not the policies for insurance, amounting to $5500, been made payable to the state, thus depriving the school of the use of its own funds until such should be given back to it by a special act of the legislature. Still this deficiency could have been easily met and overcome had not the appropriation made by the last legislature been so far short of the modest sum asked by the board for the equipment of the school and for its current expenses of the last two years.
"This lack of funds, resulting from the above-mentioned causes, would have inevitably closed the school but for the timely assistance rendered by the business men of Cheney and the members of the board. These gentlemen gave their joint notes in order to secure means for carrying on the work. * * * With a definite knowledge of the deficiency to be supplied, and a careful calculation of the current expenses for the next two years, and with the honest conviction that it is the part of wisdom and economy that our state institution should be worthy of the pride of her citizens and the admiration of all, and likewise sufficient for the demands of this progressive age, we do earnestly recommend and ask that an
appropriation of $48,306 be granted to supply the deficiency and pay the current expense--a detailed statement of which will be found in the secretary's report--and $75,000 for the erection of a new and permanent school building."
Despite the handicaps mentioned by Mr. Walter, the school continued to prosper. For the year 1891-92 two new members were added to the faculty, Nellie M. Gunn and Nellie G. Hutchinson. Miss Gunn had charge of music, reading and elocution. Miss Hutchinson was principal of the Training School and instructor in methods and criticisms. In January, 1892, Mr. Gillette retired from the school and Mr. Sutton was promoted to the principalship. In a report tot he board of trustees, October 15, 1892, Mr. Sutton pointed to an increase in enrollment the preceding year from fifty to one hundred four in the Normal School. A class of three had been graduated in 1892: Kate D. Brace, (Mrs. B. Gard Ewing), Spokane; Grace M. Nichols, Spokane; Elizabeth O. Hamblen (Mrs. W. M. Shaw), Spokane. Eleven were graduated the year following.
Principal Sutton reminded the trustees that the state authorized the Normal School to issue certificates and diplomas, but had failed to make them of any legal value. He recommended that the law be amended to enable students who received certificates after twenty-two weeks of work to teach from three to six months, the time varying with the qualifications of the persons receiving them.
"The state has not only failed to place any legal value in our certificates, but also in our diplomas. Considering the fact that this school was established for the special purpose of training teachers for the public schools, and that a majority of our students are licensed teachers when they enter the Normal, the state is surely placed in a peculiar position. Each student is pledged to serve the state two years as an equivalent for his tuition, and after several years of service and thorough preparation for teaching he is graduated with absolutely no standing in the profession. I am thoroughly convinced that no one influence will have a more direct effect in keeping desirable persons away then this lack of a legal value to our diplomas, and I believe that the matter needs nothing more than a plain statement to our legislators to induce them to make our diplomas a permanent license for those holding them to teach in any of the public schools of the state.
"In January, 1892, a training department was established. There are now four grades in this department, not including the preparatory classes, and more grades will be added as soon as more room can be provided. This department is of very great importance to the school, and should not be allowed to suffer for want of suitable accommodations. Here the student is enabled to teach under the most favorable circumstances, so far as methods are concerned, and at the same time is placed in a most trying position to test his efficiency. A student may learn a great deal about teaching by observation, but the best preparation for the work is experience in teaching under a competent critic."
Mr. Sutton also referred to the growing demands on the institution and asked the board to appeal to the legislature for $75,000 to erect a new building.
The financial needs of the Normal School, as prepared by the secretary to the board of trustees, were as follows:
Deficiency March 1, 1893 $15,682.94
In the United States, from the Federal government, down through most of the lesser political division, authority has been divided between the legislative and the executive branches of the government in such manner that one may "check against the other." In the State of Washington the power of veto is vested in the chief executive and the executive disapproval may be overridden only by a two-thirds majority of both houses of the legislature. In 1893 the State Normal School at Cheney felt the power of the executive veto applied by governor John H. McGraw, and since that time vetoes by governors have been a sort of nightmare for Cheney folk.
The estimates of the Normal School trustees was reduced materially by the legislature of 1893. The bill providing for maintenance and a new building finally passed, carrying appropriations of $25,000 for maintenance and $60,000 for a new building. Governor McGraw vetoed both appropriations in the interest of economy.
Dark days were ahead of the Normal School. Without a building, without money to pay the salaries of teachers, it looked as if the institution must close. But the people of Cheney and of other parts of Eastern Washington came to the defense of the Normal School, denounced the veto of the governor as a "political veto made to punish a certain section of the state," and urged that the matter be called to the attention of the emergency board. It was intimated that the governor, who was a member of the board, would not oppose the request of the Normal School to create an indebtedness of $25,000. Especially was his point of view current in Eastern Washington, for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, purporting to be the mouthpiece of the administration, had explained the veto as an "inadvertent mistake." Cheney's friends grasped at straws.
Knowing that the building appropriation, regardless of the decision of the emergency board, was lost for two years, the people of Cheney rallied and voted bonds to the amount of $19,000 for the erection of a public school building, which was turned over to the Normal School in the fall of 1893. In the election two hundred and sixty two favored the bon issue and only thirteen voted against it. The people of Cheney were united in their determination to keep the Normal School. The public school building was used by the Normal School from 1893 until 1896.
"Seldom does any proposition receive such a vote nearly unanimous. We
are proud of Cheney, Her people are made of the stuff that overcome obstacles, and we are confident that not on of our citizens will ever have cause to regret his action in voting in favor of the bonding.
"The day was all that could be desired, considering the unprecedented spring weather heretofore, and it was evident that a good vote would be cast. Our citizens arose bright and early, and everybody seemed determined to make votes for the proposition. Those who attempted to electioneer, however, found that they had a difficult task before them--that they could not find anyone to argue with them, as there was no opposition. While all were interested, the day was rather uneventful, for the reason already given. It was a decidedly one-sided affair from start to finish.
"The county auditor will immediately offer the bonds for sale, and as soon as they are sold the trustees will engage an architect to draw plans for the building. It is thought that actual work on the building will be commenced about the 10th of July, and an effort will be made to complete the structure by September 1, in order that the Normal School may begin the fall term in it.
"Should the enrollment of the two schools be increased to a considerable extent, as now seems probable, both the new and present buildings will be required for use until the state builds a suitable structure for the Normal."
The likelihood of a veto of the appropriations for the Normal School apparently was farthest from the minds of the people of Cheney in 1893, for after the passage of the bill by the legislature the delegation that had been at Olympia in the interests of the Normal School made a triumphal entry into their home town. On Saturday evening, March 11, a reception was held in Cheney in honor of D. F. Percival, S. G. Grubb, and W. J. Sutton. They were met at the station by three thousand citizens of Cheney and the surrounding country, including Marshall, Spangle, and Medical Lake, headed by the Cheney Wonder Band. The mayor and members of the city council, followed by the faculty and students of the Normal School, marched to the Hughes Opera House, where addresses of welcome were made by the mayor and others. The men who had returned from Olympia we informed by a committee of citizens that they were to meet at the opera house at 7:30 that evening.
On returning tot he opera house that evening the honor guests were met by a large group of citizens, and to each guest was presented a souvenir, engraved gold-headed canes. The presentation committee consisted of George H. Crossette, G. A. Fellows, and R. H. Manier. An etching of students of the Normal School was also presented to Mr. Sutton by Miss Helen Dow, a member of the graduating class. Representative Grubb and Mr. Sutton praised the work of the Spokane County delegation in the legislature and paid a special tribute to Hon. J. F. Edwards of Cheney. H. F. Suksdorf of Spangle was also remembered. The evening's entertainment closed with a grand ball.
Two days before the return of Mr. Sutton and the others from Olympia, on March 9, news had reached Cheney that the appropriation for the Normal School had carried.
"The passage of the general appropriation bill by the senate this evening places Cheney once more upon the ladder of progress. The Normal School is an assured fact, and the storm after the calm and anxious waiting of her loyal, tried and true friends has this evening broken forth in one grand demon-
eration. Anvils are booming on four corners, and the Wonder Band is serenading the board of trustees and the teacher. Old men of quiet and sedate habits, never known before to spend an evening away from home, tonight joined the loyal friends of the city in their demonstration of joy. The steam whistles of the city are blowing, and from every belfry ring the glad tidings of the victory won by Cheney's loyal friends, especially Hon D. F. Percival, Hon. S. G. Grubb, and Professor W. J. Sutton, who have labored so untiringly for the past two weeks with the different committees. To their united efforts is due the success met in removing all obstacles and disproving the unjust and outrageous charges placed upon the trustees and teachers of our Normal School. Cheney from today begins a period of great prosperity."
Rejoicing in Cheney, however, was strangled in its infancy. The correspondent of The Review expressed a hope which d not materialize. One week later, on March 23, 1893, quite a different story appeared in The Review, a message from Olympia, dated March 21:
"Two citizens of Cheney, Dr. F. A. Pomeroy and D. H. Stewart, arrived here to intercede with the governor in behalf of the normal school at their town. They entertained the belief that the governor could reconsider his action in vetoing the appropriation for the school and could revive the item vetoed, and they therefore sought to have at least new life put into the appropriation of $25,000 for maintenance of the school, even if he still disapproved the item of $60,000 for a new building. This errand was, of course, a fruitless one, as when the appropriation bill was filed with the secretary of state it passed entirely out of the governor's control. The Cheney men claimed to have high legal authority for the position they took as to the governor's powers in this matter, but it is probable that their legal advice was given them on the theory that the bill was yet in the governor's possession * * * The next effort of the Cheney men will doubtless be to induce the deficiency board," created by the recent legislature, to authorize the trustees of the school to incur expenses for the maintenance of the institution on some scale so that it may be expire."
A petition signed by students of the Normal School, praying the governor to recede from his veto, was sent to Olympia on March 18. Like other communications on this subject, it was disregarded at the capital.
Despite all the adverse criticism leveled against him by the press of the state, despite any influence that may have been contained in the explanation of the veto that was given by the Post-Intelligencer, Governor McGraw remained firm in the position he had taken against the Normal School appropriation. There is no doubt that the governor was anxious to cut appropriations and to
curb the reckless extravagance of the legislature during the early days of statehood. Money was being thrown away on the plea that the state was rich in natural resources, regardless of the fact that the state might not realize any cash returns on them for years to come. The scramble for state institutions was running up a tremendous bill which the available taxable wealth of the state would be forced to pay. Somebody was needed o hold the brake. When the governor saw an opportunity to "save" $85,000 by depriving the Eastern Washington Normal School, he did so.
Whether Governor McGraw had any ulterior motives in vetoing the Normal School bill in the absence of documentary evidence to sustain an opinion, will perhaps always remain a moot question. It was freely charged by East-side members of the legislature, and by others interested in the maintenance of the Normal School at Cheney, that the veto was intended to "punish" the East-side delegation for supporting Judge George Turner for the United States senate in opposition of Governor McGraw's "pet" candidate, John B. Allen. The governor's plea of economy was largely discounted in Spokane County, it being claimed that many items for which funds had been appropriated were needed less by the state than the institution at Cheney was needed.
Two years later, in his message to the legislature, Governor McGraw was still standing on the declaration he had made in 1893. He declared: "Our
public institutions, though handsomely endowed, are yet a charge against the revenues resulting from direct taxation, and they must so continue to be until another tide of immigration and the renewed prosperity attending it shall render the granted lands disposable. It was owing to no personal feeling or antipathy of opinion that the veto power was exercised in the cases of the Cheney and Whatcom normal school. While it is not to be denied that the normal training is essential to the best educational equipment of the state, and an admirable adjunct to the modern public school system of which Americans are so justly proud. I was fully persuaded that the people were sufficiently taxed for the support of facilities of higher education.
Edmond S. Meany, professor of history in the University of Washington, was a member of the house during the second and third sessions of the state legislatures. He says:
"The Enabling Act had used the plural in granting one hundred thousand acres of public land for normal schools. There was a perfect scramble for normal schools on the part of counties desiring some good state institution. The schools at Cheney and Ellensburg were created by the first legislature. Senator Henry Long of Chehalis was about to secure the third one when it was changed by amendment from a normal to a reform school, and the senator in disgust voted against his won bill as amended. In the second and third legislatures the present writer was chairman of the committee to which was referred bills for normal schools. Overwhelmed with the surprising number, he sought advice from "Uncle Joe' Megler, an older member, who said : 'Pigeonhole them all. We are trying to make it so ridiculous that these fellows will let up.' * * *
"IN all this there should be not be implied a lack of patriotism on the part of the citizens. Many of them had manifested a high quality of this virtue by facing death on the battlefields of the country and by staunchly upholding law and order during the disturbed days of strife in territorial times. It was simply a case of distorted civic perspective, where geography counted for more than history or economics. Strong efforts were made to check the public extravagance. Governor John H. McGraw, who was inaugurated in January, 1893, brought a howl of criticism upon himself for bravely wielding his veto pruning knife on the appropriation bills."
The interest of the faculty in the Normal especially of the principal, W. J. Sutton, was demonstrated at this time. Mr. Sutton was determined that the school year should be concluded and the class graduated, although no money for salaries was in sight. His appeal to members of the faculty to continue was effective, and the class of '93 was duly graduated. Then began the efforts to induce the emergency board to approve a deficit to defray the operating expenses of the institution. An effective resume of the "case" of the Normal School, which was published under an Olympia date line of August 21, 1893, is herewith give in full:
"The privilege of incurring an indebtedness of $25,000 for the maintenance of the Cheney Normal School was requested of the emergency board, which met today for the first time since its creation. The board is composed of the governor, state auditor, state treasurer, secretary (of state), and attorney general. Its office is to act in cases of emergency requiring the expenditure of a greater
sum of money than the amount appropriated by the legislature for any institution or department established by the laws of this state, or requiring the expenditure of money not specifically provided by law. The board may in its discretion grant or refuse a permit to make an expenditure in excess of the amount appropriated by the legislature for such institution or department of state.
"Just how long the board will remain in session it is impossible to determine, but there will be numerous applications for relief. It is estimated that at least $50,000 will be asked to tide over the public service until the next legislature. among other matters which will be submitted for consideration is an additional appropriation of about $10,000 for the world's fair commission: some means of meeting salaries and incidental expenses of the state land commission, for which the legislature failed to make an appropriation; relief for the agricultural college; for additional clerical assistance in state offices, and for assistance for the Cheney Normal School, the appropriation for which was vetoed by the governor. The matter is now before the board, the school being represented by Louis Walter, chairman of the board of trustees, H. F. Suksdorf, a trustee, and professor W. J. Sutton.
"The appropriation by the last legislature was for $60,000 for the erection of a building and $25,000 for the maintenance of the school, making $85,000 in all. This entire appropriation was wiped out by the governor as an unnecessary expense, and the trustees now petition the emergency board for the privilege of incurring an indebtedness of $25,000 for the maintenance of the school for two years.
"The representatives of the school, in their petition for incurring the indebtedness, contend:
"First--the Cheney State Normal School is the oldest institution of the kind in the state, having been in successful operation for three years. During this time the school has been visited by many leading educators of the state, who have, without exception, spoken in terms of highest praise regarding the work of the school. Despite the fact that the school has labored under many difficulties, good work has been done from the date of the organization, in October, 1890, until the present time. The school is now in a prosperous condition. There are enrolled in the normal and training departments one hundred fifty students. The faculty consists of six experienced teachers of unquestionable ability, all of whom have had special training for normal school work, themselves being graduates of the best normal schools in the East and each coming to us with an experience of from three to eight years in normal school work. These teachers were selected with great care for the special department of work to which they have been assigned, and results prove the wisdom of the choice.
"Second--the State of Washington entered into a contract with the trustees of the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy at the time the school was first established by act of the legislature, in the following terms: 'A normal school established in the City of Cheney. * * * Provided, that the trustees of the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy shall, prior to the first day of September, 1890, donate to the State of Washington the building and one block of ground containing eight acres, now occupied by said Benjamin P. Cheney Academy, within the limits of the City of Cheney, and valued at not less than $30,000, and shall convey the same to the State of Washington by a good and perfect title in fee simple, to be approved by the attorney general and accepted by the board of trustees hereinafter mentioned.' The terms of said contract were
compiled with by the trustees of the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy, and the property was duly transferred to the state. If the state fails to maintain the school at Cheney, she fails to perform her part of the contract entered into.
"Third--That when, in pursuance of said agreement, the Normal School was established at Cheney, the citizens of the city showed their appreciation of the school by taxing themselves to the utmost to make the city worthy of so important an institution. An excellent system of what works was immediately provided for, whereby the city is abundantly supplied with pure water. An electric light plant was established. The streets were graded and several miles of plank sidewalk laid. As here is no dormitory connected with the school, many citizens fitted up their homes for the special accommodation of Normal students. Furthermore, since the destruction of the academy building by fire, the school being conducted in quarters entirely inadequate in size and arrangement for the purpose, the citizens had bonded the district to erect a large public school building for the purpose of providing suitable quarters for the Normal School until such time as the state can afford to erect its own buildings. All this was done and is being done in full faith that the state would perform her part of the agreement and maintain the school at Cheney, failing to do which would be a breach of faith and a gross injustice to the citizens of Cheney.
"Fourth--By the establishment and organization of the Normal School at Cheney the state entered into an agreement, direct and implied, with the members of the board of trustees, with the members of the faculty and with the students, which agreement would be broken if the state fails to maintain the school at Cheney.
"Fifth--There has been accumulated, during the existence of the school, property to the value of $8,000, consisting of books, school furniture, apparatus, school fixtures, etc., which property, upon suspension of the Normal School at Cheney, would become practically worthless and a total loss to the state' whereas, if the school is maintained, it is sufficient for present needs.
"Sixth--In view of the fact that a large majority of the population of Eastern Washington is located in the so-called wheat belt, extending from Walla Walla in the south through the Palouse country to the Big Bend, including the populous cities of Eastern Washington, and the more densely populated rural districts, and in view of the further fact that said wheat belt is traversed in all directions by railroads, it appears to us good policy that a State Normal School should be maintained in the said section of the state, centrally located and of easy access. It will be seen at a glance that the city of Cheney fulfills these conditions as well as any other place that could have been selected. It offers further advantages in being located in close proximity to the metropolis of Eastern Washington.
"Seventh--During the last term there was organized one hundred eighty-two new school districts in the state. The number of teachers employed in the public schools is twenty-seven hundred, a small percentage of them being trained teachers.
The demand for teachers with normal-school training is very large from all over the state, and this demand could not be met in full even if there were three normal schools in operation and each school graduating fifty teachers annually. Furthermore, it is certainly the best policy, in the interest of our public schools, that we should supply this demand from the sons and daughters of out state, educated in our own institution, instead of going abroad for them."
Then, in a closing paragraph, it is announced that, "after a session lasting the greater part of the afternoon, the board voted not to grant the appropriation for the Cheney school."
Three days later the case of the Normal School was again brought before the emergency board. This time the trustees asked for $10,000 for one year's expenses, but again the board rejected the plea. A telegram from Olympia, dated August 24, reads as follows: "The emergency board granted no appropriation today. The claims of the Cheney State Board Normal School were again presented, the representatives this time moderating their request to $10,000 instead of $25,000, which the board also refused. Despite this the school will open September 20, and the citizens will provide the means and take chances on being reimbursed."
From many quarters of the state the point of view was advanced that the state was legally bound to provide maintenance for the Normal School. It was argued that the state must keep faith with the members of the faculty who had been employed for another year, and that faith must also be kept with the students, many of whom had already been a t considerable expense to attend the school and were to be graduated within another year. Many newspapers throughout the state believed that the Normal School had a "just claim" and that the governor was perhaps running counter to the wishes of the people, as expressed through the action of the legislature. The Spokane Chronicle, after delivering a tirade against the governor, summed up the case in these words: "The people of Cheney should not be discouraged by this opposition to their school. They have a legal claim against the state for its maintenance. It should be enforced by persistent efforts to maintain the school and by an appeal to the courts to compel the state authorities to comply with the contract made with the state and keep faith with the people who surrendered their academy that the state might establish a normal school in Eastern Washington in one of the most populous and important counties of the state. Let there be 'no such
word as fail,' but let them place their shoulders tot he wheel and all difficulties will disappear, as the juggernaut of public opinion passes over and crushes out all vindictive and illegal opposition."
W. C. Stone of Spokane, vice president of the Normal School from 1892 to 1897, in a letter to the present writer, dated October 28, 1922, gave the following account of the veto by Governor McGraw: "At the session of the legislature in the spring of 1893 a substantial appropriation was made for the future needs of the school and everybody was happy, with one notable exception. Governor McGraw was opposed to the continuance of the institution. He argued that one normal school was enough for the State of Washington. He tried to discourage the legislature from making any appropriation for the school, but, in spite of his labors, the bill passed both houses, supplying ample means to carry on the work. This was one of the last bills passed before the legislature adjourned.
"A few days after the adjournment, and following in the wake of a great celebration in Cheney over our good fortune, the news came flashing over the wires that Governor McGraw had vetoed the appropriation for the Cheney school. The loss by fire of our building in 1891 was a staggering blow, but this was a solar plexus, a knock-out. Things surely looked dark for the continuance of the institution. A decent funeral over the remains seemed about the best that could be done. Principal W. J. Sutton called a meeting of the faculty and stated that there was no provision made to take care of the salaries of the teachers for the remainder of the year. What as to be done? Out first (second) class to graduate was looking forward expectantly to June, when they were to receive their diplomas. With a commendable zeal the faculty unanimously said: 'We shall stay and complete the year and graduate this class, salary or no salary.' In justice to this brace body I can truthfully say that I believe no more loyal, self-sacrificing body of teachers ever lived. When the citizens of Cheney were informed of this action they said: 'With such devotion on the part of the instructors we must do something to keep this school alive until 1895, when we shall hope to have in the executive chair a man broad enough to recognize the wisdom of fostering and supporting such an institution as this' "Governor McGraw was to serve until 1897.)
"Mass meetings were held, committees were appointed and a plan evolved to raise sufficient money to pay in part the expenses necessary to keep the school alive. The faculty agreed to accept as pay for their services just enough to barely meet their actual living expenses. In addition, many of them said they would sing notes to enable the trustees to raise the funds absolutely required for the upkeep of the school. The plan adopted provided that the trustees and many of the leading citizens should sign notes, payable at intervals, to provide for the payment of bills that of necessity must be met. Such notes were drawn and signed by many of the citizens and also by the majority of the members of the faculty. As I recall, the faculty were to receive less than one-half of their salary an trust to a future legislature to pay the balance as well as to take care of the notes they had singed to pay the portion already received. I confess that, as shrewd financiers, their course would hardly have met the endorsement of the average banker. But out of such devotion the great things in life have been accomplished. (Incidentally, I may say that I recall that when my salary was paid for the amount the state was indebted to me it was to cover a period of twenty-one months,)"
School opened on September 20, 1893, amid the plaudits of many of the Eastern Washington newspapers. The Normal was soon housed in the new brick building erected by the people of Cheney. All went well save with those who were forced to mange their institution without money which they thought the state should have provided. Members of the faculty taught for months without pay. Mr. Sutton borrowed money at an interest rate of eighteen per cent per annum to pay necessary living expenses. Late in the fall of 1893, through the efforts of Louis Walter and other influential citizens of Cheney, the sum of $3,000 was borrowed to pay the faculty a part of their
salaries. Apart from the amount applied on salaries and a few of the most pressing accounts, no bills were paid until the following spring, when the state auditor permitted the issuance of certificates of indebtedness.
Certificates of indebtedness in behalf of the institution were issued only after a test case had been brought by Mr. Sutton, who put in a claim against the state for services as principal of the Normal School. A mandamus suit was begun to have the auditor show cause why he should not issue a certificate of indebtedness. The state supreme court issued a writ ordering the state auditor to issue the certificate or to show cause why it should not be issued. As the auditor could not show good cause for not doing so, he issued the certificate. The case was then dismissed.
By the autumn of 1894 it was generally believed that the next legislature would provide for the Normal School. The Spokesman-Review reported that Governor McGraw was convinced that the institution was meritorious and that he would not longer stand in the way of an appropriation. In a general review of the "case" of the Normal School, reprinted in The Cheney Sentinel, December 21, 1894, the Spokesman-Review said:
"Pluck was son a big fight for the State Normal School here--pluck and perseverance, mixed with ability and thoroughness. The school that, less than two years ago it was thought would have to expire for want of state funds to carry it through, is today the most successful normal school in the state and is crying our for more space in which to seat the incoming students. Today, in the thoroughness of its work, it ranks first in the entire Pacific Northwest.
"It has never attempted to rush out large classes on graduation day and advertise itself in this way, but it has made 'Thorough Education First: Diplomas Next' the inviolable rule, and many have been refused \diplomas
who, in ordinary schools, would have been allowed to pass. But high-grade graduates make high-grade teachers.
"During the past two years there has been a severe struggle against adversity. Yet the school has prospered as it never prospered before. When the state appropriation for the needed building and for the school's maintenance was unfortunately vetoed in March, 1893, it would have been compelled to close had it not been for the excellent reputation it has gained through the work of professor W. J. Sutton, the principal, and the other members of the faculty.
"Without a dollar in sight for salaries, Professor Sutton resolved to continue the school during 1893 and graduate the class. He explained the situation to Professor Stone and Miss Hutchinson, principal of the Training School. They, cheered by his loyalty to the school, decided to remain. It was a hard struggle. The faculty had no salary and small prospects of securing any. Many pupils who preferred the Cheney Normal went to the Ellensburg Normal, feeling that the former must close; but others, realizing the high standard of professor Sutton's work, preferred Cheney for even a single year.
"The faculty now comprises W. J. Sutton, principal history and philosophy of education; W. C. Stone, assistant principal, natural and physical sciences and grammar; Nellie G. Hutchinson, principal of the Training School, methods and vocal music; Mattie C. Hammond, history, literature, drawing, and geography methods. Grace F. Swearingen, civil government, rhetoric and composition; Helen A. Dow, reading, arithmetic, and grammar. Thus, with a corps of six teachers, one hundred and twenty pupils in the normal department and one hundred and ten in the training department, two hundred and thirty in all, have been instructed, while others schools with a similar number of pupils in the normal school have employed ten instructors. The difference in the number of instructors can be credited to the vim and patriotism of the faculty, Principal Sutton spending five hours daily in the classroom, while the assistants also cheerfully gave extra time and effort to the work.
"The local board of trustees was diligent and gave the school all the encouragement possible, but, notwithstanding their efforts, the teachers worked without pay from March, 1893, until late in the fall of that year. * * *
"Now that the Normal School has again been recognized by the state, its future is assured. Owing to the crowded condition of the school and the necessity for more space, the next legislature will be asked for an appropriation for a new building. It is believed that $60,000 will erect a structure sufficient for the needs of the school, and the smallest sum necessary is all that will be asked. Owing to the loss of the apparatus in the fire, and the inability to secure any since, owing to the unfortunate condition of the finances, it is desired that there also be an appropriation for scientific, physical, and chemical apparatus, costing from $1,000 to $1,500. The library, too, is small, and $1,000 is needed there. The legislature will be asked for $30,500 for two years' maintenance."
Follows then a detailed account of the work of the Training School, its purpose, the methods employed, and its influence upon the prospective teacher. An explanation is also given of the requirements for certificates and the value of the various certificates. The article continues:
"The necessity for the continuance of the school is apparent. Governor McGraw is satisfied that it is a meritorious and necessary institution and will no longer oppose it, while the state superintendent of public instruction favors it. The only other normal school in the state is at Ellensburg, and it is also
prosperous. The Ellensburg school is two hundred and seventy-two miles west of Spokane and one hundred and twenty miles this side of Tacoma. It is, therefore, to all intents and purposes a Western Washington school. If the Cheney school were abolished it would cost the pupils an average of $51 each per annum for railroad fare, counting one vacation trip home, or more then $7,000 for railroad fare along for the one huddled and fifty pupils that will be at the Cheney school this winter. The further fact that support by the state is only a temporary loan, as the normal schools have a large share of public lands to repay the state, makes their support less burdensome to the taxpayers."
C. W. Bean, superintendent of public instruction, is quoted as favoring the idea of more then one normal school in the state. After reviewing the normal-school situation in many states, a review tending to prove that the idea of a large, centrally-located normal school was not generally favored, the report of Superintendent Bean to the governor, according to the Spokesman-Review, showed: "That with twenty-six hundred positions to fill in the state, if teachers served eight years before retiring to other vocations--which he deems a most liberal estimate--we must prepare three hundred teachers each year, making an allowance for the increase in the number of positions. The two state normals have graduated together an average of about thirty per year since opening their doors to students, and 'certainly,' he says, 'much must be done ere we can claim the ability to man our schools with trained teachers.'"
In accordance with expectations, the legislature of 1895 appropriated $28,000 for the Normal School for maintenance, $60,000 for a new building, and a sum in addition sufficient to wipe out deficiencies. The steady growth of the institution under adverse condition was no doubt a means of inducing the legislature to make adequate provision for the maintenance of the school. Year by year it was being demonstrated that the Normal School was meeting an educational need of Eastern Washington. The enrollment in the Normal School proper for the year 1894-1895 was one hundred sixty-three, while the Training school enrollment had reached one hundred and forty-eight.
Also, there was available to the legislature of 1895 the favorable report of the board of official visitors for the year 1893-1894, whose members were W. B. Turner, superintendent of schools, Spokane County; E. L. Brunton, superintendent of schools, Walla Walla County, and H. N. Martin, superintendent of school, Lincoln County. after commending the work of the institution highly, the board said: "The spirit of loyalty tot he school that finds expression in the substantial aid extended by the citizens of Cheney is also reflected in the students, through whose cooperation the faculty find little trouble in maintaining a system of strict discipline. There is an earnestness manifested in the work and deportment of all that argues well for their own ability to teach and govern others in the future. * * * it is sincerely hoped that coming legislatures will not hesitate to place on a substantial basis and liberally
provide for the future of the State Normal School at Cheney, which has proved itself a necessity to the proper advancement of education in Eastern Washington."
The successful outcome of the struggle at Olympia for recognition, without which the Normal School could not hope to continue, was set forth ina dispatch from Olympia, published in the Spokesman-Review, March 16, 1895, as follows: "There is no institution in the state that ha more cause for rejoicing over the appropriations made by the legislature than the State Normal School at Cheney. The fact that two years ago it was in danger of dissolution and that now it stands a model institution, with an appropriation for a big building as a partial reward for the sufferings of the past twenty-two months, reflects, perhaps, the greatest credit upon the principal, Professor Sutton. During the past four weeks the Professor has been here superintending the work of getting appropriations through, and during that time he became acquainted with every member of the legislature. His open, frank manner and his reputation as an instructor and manager won votes rapidly for the school, as it won friends for him. In the work of advancing the legislation Professor Sutton was ably assisted by the Reverend Manier, who had just been rewarded for his earnest work by the appointment as trustee of the school by Governor McGraw. The people of Cheney will never know how much they owe these gentlemen, for the success of the normal school legislation just enacted. Other citizens of Cheney were here who aided in the work, but the complication made by the introduction of a fight for a school at Whatcom required a peculiar tact that was lacking until Sutton and Manier began the work. Governor McGraw has the kindliest feelings for the Cheney School. Its purification by fire has proved its worth to him, and there is no danger ahead for it."
The law by which money was made available for the erection of a new building for the State Normal School at Cheney created a special normal-school fund into which the proceeds of all sales of normal-school lands granted under the provisions of the Enabling Act were to be paid. From this fund, and none other, were to come all appropriations for normal-school buildings. Accordingly, it was specified that $60,000 should be available for the erection of building at Cheney, and $40,000 for the erection of a building at Whatcom.
In anticipation of the fund that was to be developed the sum of $100,000 was to be borrowed on bonds. These bonds were to be issued in denominations of $1,000, payable five to fifteen years at the option of the state, bearing interest at the rate of four per cent per annum, and redeemable only out of the fund created by Chapter XXXIV., Sessions Laws, 1895, Bonds were to be sold at par.
Until each time as the bonds could be sold warrants were to be issued, bearing interest at the rate of seven per cent, payable annually. It was further provided that, in case sufficient money was not available at nay time in the fund to pay interest on the warrants, interest should commence on the unpaid interest at the rate of seven per cent, payable annually. When the money realized from the sale of bonds had been placed in the state treasury, all outstanding warrants were to be redeemed, and thereafter warrants were to be taken up as rapidly as they were drawn and presented for payment. Many years elapsed, however, before these warrants were paid, and one governor, Albert E. Mead, twelve years afterward, declared they were a "cloud upon the state's credit." Provision for their retirement was not made until 1909.
You are the 1157th Visitor to this USGenNet Website Since September 6, 2004
You are the 1157th Visitor to this USGenNet Website Since September 6, 2004
Html by Debbie Axtman
This book is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library
[Index Page][WA AHGP][Mardos Memorial Library]