History of the Oakdale School

 

Fulton & Milton Twps., Rock Co., WI

 

Written in 1925 by Mrs. David A. Arnold; transcribed by Ardis Arnold

 

Courtesy of Clark Kidder

The activity of the Rock County historians during recent months regarding interesting
early history had brought to light some old, yellowed papers on file in Joint District Number Two, Fulton and Milton, formerly known as the Mazo [Mizo] District, and now as Oakdale.
One paper, the lease to the land on which Oakdale School is located, is dated 1846.
Mention is made of "Territory of Wisconsin", and the property is described as "1/4 acre in the S. E. corner of Sec. 24 of Town 4, R 12." The land was bought from Joel WOOD for one dollar. The lease was signed by John L. KIMBALL and Charles S. IOULAN for Rock County, Wisconsin Territory, and notarized by John KIMBALL.
Another interesting paper states that the first school meeting of this district was held
on October fourteenth, 1845 at the home of Joel WOOD who lived where the Paul WIXOM farm is now located. The residence, in 1845, was in the northwest corner of the part of the farm which lies across the highway from the present dwelling and faced the town line road. It was a few rods south of the old John ARNOLD homestead, now owned by Harry ARNOLD. An old abandoned well marks the spot where the buildings stood.
At this school meeting the voters made Joel WOOD their chairman, and Joel
WOOD, Alexander CLINTON, and Warren SWEET were named trustees. Bernut BEARDSLEY, who owned the Percy BALCH farm and the Charles ARNOLD farm adjoining, was the clerk. They unanimously voted to raise one hundred dollars to build a log school, eighteen-by-twenty feet. At the next meeting, a few weeks later, they voted to rescind that motion deciding on a frame building "twenty feet wide by twenty four feet by nine and one-half in the clear (high)". Six windows were to be in the building with twelve panes of glass, nine inches by twelve inches, in each window. Benches with writing tables were to be built on three sides of the building and benches with backs were to be placed in the front of the room.
In the minutes, it was stated that two-thirds of the public money be used for a winter
school and one-third for a summer session. The trustees were authorized to receive one-third of the tax money of each person taxed "in labor in the erection of the schoolhouse, if performed when called upon by the trustees".
A paper dated 1862 mentions the fact that a new district north now known as the
Merrifield District, was being formed. The south half of section 13 and the southeast one-fourth of section fourteen of town four, north of range twelve east, was taken from the district and added to this new district. The detached property was some of the Merrifield farm now owned by Ottar VEIN and parts of the John McCULOOCH and U. G. MILLER farms owned now by Floyd ARNOLD and Mr. U. G. MILLER. Another yellowed paper mentions that a new district was being formed there, later known as the LACKNER District.
In 1858, fifty-seven acres were added to Oakdale, and this, according to an old
county atlas was the Mary KIDDER property. All this alterations were signed by J. D. SLOCUM, Superintendent of Schools in the town of Fulton and L. B. HUDSON, Superintendent of Schools in the Town of Milton. Mr. HUDSON was an uncle of C. T. HUDSON, now living in Milton Junction.
A school contract, dated 1857, with R. W. McHENRY, a teacher, was given for
three months at twenty-six dollars per month. It was specified that the teacher must board himself.
On October fourteenth, 1925, the families of the district and their friends marked the
eighty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the school. A program was presented, and a picnic dinner was served. Several early settlers, then quite aged, and now deceased, were present to tell what they remember of former years.

Additional Information
Notes taken by Mrs. David A. ARNOLD (Eva HUDSON)
No further minutes of meetings were filed until 1910 when Mr. O. G STRIEGL,
then of Milton Junction, probably took up the office of clerk and the records since then are complete.
Judging from the antique appearance of the little box used for years to keep the
school district papers, it is perhaps the one used by these early pioneers of 1845 and had perhaps become too crowded so that the intervening records have been destroyed.
In another paper mention is made of the detachment of the LACKNER property from this district and the attachment of this land to Dist. No, 9, a new district being formed and now known as the Rex KIDDER District.
In 1858, 57 acres of land which was at that time a part of Dist. No. 5, Fulton, was
added to our District. This according to the county atlas was the Mary KIDDER property. There were other alterations, some of them rather inaccurately described and therefore quite difficult to locate.
These alterations were signed by J. D. SLOCUM, Supt. of Schools in the Town of
Fulton and by L. B. HUDSON, Supt. of Schools for Milton. Mr. HUDSON was a great Uncle of Mrs. Harry ARNOLD (Grace HUDSON) and Mrs. David ARNOLD (Eva HUDSON), also Will HUDSON whose children attended this school.
The first treasurer's bond on file was given by Nathan GRAVES for $100, with Kiah
MELVIN as his surety and given in the presence of Joseph KIDDER and Hannah GRAVES. It was approved by Joseph B. KIDDER and Alexander CLINTON.
A bond dated April 30, 1958, was given by Warren SWEET as treasurer with J. B.
KIDDER as his surety and signed by Warren SWEET, Sarah KIDDER and Joseph KIDDER.
There is also a school contract dated 1857, with R. W. McHENRY, a teacher, who
was hired to teach the school for 3 months at $26 per month. This contract is signed by Joel WOOD. This is not an extremely low wage for those days since many people can remember of teachers' wages being as low as $18 per month. It was specified in this contract that the teacher should board himself.
Another paper contains the information that Warren SWEET resigned the office of
treasurer in 1861 and the Supt. of Schools for Fulton appointed Henry KIDDER to fill the vacancy till the next annual meeting. Mr. KIDDER gave his bond, which was signed by William JANES in the presence of A. C. DODGE.
A legal paper of much interest bears the date April 17, 1846. In the old legal form
used in this paper the words "Territory of Wisconsin" is used. According to this paper which is the lease of the land, our school house is located on the 1/4 acre in the South East corner of Sec. 24, of Town 4, Range 12 and our present school ground was bought from Mr. Joel WOOD for $1.00 to be held by the District as long as it is used for school purposes but when no longer used for such purpose it reverts to the heirs of Mr. WOOD with "all the improvements and appurtenances thereon." (The lease was signed as described above.)
This paper is well preserved and shows the attention given to details even in the days
of few laws and perhaps less strict enforcement. The fact that this paper has been so well preserved through these 80 years also shows careful handling on the part of those people who have been entrusted with public property.
No attempt has been made to tell who some of these people referred to were, and on
what farms they lived, or to give any details in connection with the construction of the first railroad. The old buildings near the track on the George KIDDER farm have early historical significance and no doubt there are other landmarks; but there are those with us today who can relate much of that history.
It is hoped that the young people of this District will be further inspired to carry on the
educational work of this community through a little knowledge gleaned from this short history of the early pioneer days as revealed by old documents. Not days of automobiles and airships; radio and telephone; but days of hardships and privations interesting to read about but which required sterling worth to endure.

©2006 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth