Douglas County KS Schools
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Douglas County KS School information provided by
Barber District No. 82
This native stone building was built in 1871. The one and one half acre
piece of land, south of the community of Kanwaka, was purchased form Katie
Gillispie on November 13 of 1871. The first school board consisting of S.E.
Ray, David Thomas and John Lohr, hired Solomon Geary to construct the
24’x36’ stone structure. The building was to have 18 inch thick walls, as
was the foundation. A brick chimney was to be constructed and the arches
over the windows and front door were to be trimmed with brick. The agreement
with the builder was to pay him $600 for the construction of the school.
This first board, decided to name the school after an early settler, and
free-stater Thomas W. Barber. Barber, his brother Robert, and brother-in-law
Thomas Pierson were heavily involved in the struggle between the free-state
and proslavery conflict prevalent in the area at the time. Pro-slavery
advocate Samuel J. Jones, of Virginia, was appointed the first sheriff of
Douglas County by the acting territorial governor and fellow Virginian
Daniel Woodson on August 27, 1855. This appointment upset the “free-staters”
Douglas County, and violence erupted! On December 6, 1855 Thomas, Robert and
Pierson were on their way to help their Lawrence neighbors during the brief
“Wakarusa War”, where they encountered a group of pro-slavery men coming
returning from Lecompton to Franklin. Two of this party ordered the Barber
group to stop, and started arguing over a claim. Thomas Barber, being the
only unarmed man of the entire group, was shot in his side and fell to the
ground, dead! He was eventually buried in Oread Cemetery (now known as
Some early board members, teachers and students are listed below:
Board members for 1898; Albert Schellhorn, M.B. Ray and M. Doran. Teaching
that term was W.J Parnell. Students were: Earl, Ernest, Edger and Elsie
Cline; Charles Herschel; Minnie, Lucy, Edward, Albert Dodson; Frank, George
and Effie Dornan; Richard, Millie and Thomas Harris; Ennis and Elmer Irwin;
Lilly, Izetta and Jennie Patterson; Nellie, Ernest and Elmer Ray; Herman,
Carl, Albert and Hugo Schellhorn; Ada Scheere; Edward and William Slusser.
Teaching 1899-1910 was: Minnie Tracy, Bessie Richardson, Carrie Cothlin,
Anna Becket, Minnie Gant, Alice Cooper, Eda Louis Stella Cressman, Iva
Mitchell and Ethel Ward.
Iva Mitchell taught the term ending in 1910. She was followed by Eva
Schrader, Ollie Ryan, Ella Scott, and Florence Havekotte.
The next decade was taught by: Lois Volyer, Helen johns, Elnora Anderson,
Winnie Beck, Alta Murray, Helen Brown, Evelyn Strimple, Louise Freeze,
Elaine Winkleman and George Coffman.
The 1930’s saw a decline in enrollment, ranging between 9 and 13 pupils.
Teaching those years were Nora Vitt, Marian Grist, Argel Rasmussen, Mary
Ross F.E. Ross, Elizabeth Bunton, Martha Albaugh, Isabel Rasmussen, Mrs.
Coffman and Shelley Urton.
Due to declining enrollment, the 1940’s only had two teachers, Mabel McNees
and Mary Dews, who taught the last year for Barber School District No. 82,
the year of 1945-46.
The district was disorganized January 3, 1949,and consolidated with Yarnold
District No. 40.
The ruins of the school are now owned by the United States government and
part of the Kansas State Park system.
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