Douglas County KS Schools

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Douglas County KS School information provided by Raymond Stone 

Barker School

From the records of 1859-1869, indicate the difficulties of establishing a school in this area. A school board was eventually organized which included: E.D Hughson, William Yates, and Dr. Francis Barker. Dr. Barker had accumulated quite a bit of land in the area and decided to dedicate one acre of land to be used to build a school. This act probably is why the school became known as Barker.

During these early meetings, it was decide to have a three month school term. During a September, 1859 meeting it was discovered that J.H. Muzzy, the first teacher had not been paid his monthly salary of $25! A tax of one-half of one cent was levied to meet these expenditures. This tax was too collected by August I, of 1860.

By September of 1860, everyone could see the signs of an inevitable Civil War. A board meeting was called to order at the home of J.H.Muzzy in June of 1861.Rev. W.R. Upham moved to get at least an estimate for the construction of a school building. It was also approved to collect the delinquent taxes to meet the unpaid bills.

The next meeting was held on July 6. A plan was submitted for a 24’x36’ building. The board appointed a committee to expedite the financial needs to secure a price for the new construction.

During the next meeting in March 1862, the board decided to defer the construction and the collection of any tax, due to the turmoil our country was experiencing. The board however, was advised to start quarrying stone and accumulating building supplies for the construction when conditions improved.

A one acre tract of land was deeded to School District 20 on January 29, 1863 by Elizabeth F. and Dr. Francis Barker. This one acre tract was located in the SW corner of the SW ¼ of Sec. 16, T. 12, R. 19.

The final building design was to be, 24’x36’ with 10’ walls, seven windows and a double door in front. A meeting of June, 1863 modified the walls to a height of 12’, eight windows, three on each side and two in front.

Construction finally began in 1863, and the building was completed by September, 1864.A meeting was held in the school on November 15, 1864 to approve the expenditure of $35.00 for ten cords of hardwood the terms heating source.

The school board chairman for 1865 was Joseph Harrison. He chaired the annual meeting of 1865. Many debts were accrued during the war, so taxes were levied to eliminate these bills. They also approved to pay a teacher for a six month term for white students and three months for colored children

During the annual meeting for 1867, Barker School District No. 20 approved having both races attend school together. The enrollment for the term of 1867 was 62 students.

This original stone structure served the district until 1898. A brick building was then constructed. The original stone foundation remained to support the new building.

Other families in the district were: Titerington, Hetrick, Richards, and Gorill. A reunion was held 1949 and Dr. Gorill mentioned there was also a man with the first name of Langston. This man proved to be the grandfather of Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes of course, was the noted African American writer of New York. He also lived in Lawrence, and Topeka, before passing in 1967.

Lalia Walling taught 31 students in 1898. Students that year included: Archie and Verdie Bashore; Clarence and Jakie Brown; Norris Bryan; Sidney Clark; Dela and Bige Cragon; Belle and George Daniels; Edith and Lillie Deskin; Walter, Daisy and Flossie Gentry; Barr and Maud Gorill; Charlie, Nettie and Maud Hetrick; Nina, Oscar, and Ruby Holloway; Will Jones; Ida, Lizzie and Ella Lewis; Ethel, Brook and Winter Pontius; Ernie Richards, Hatie Rose; Oliver Thornton; Lawrence, Everrett and May Titterington. The school board consisted of J.M. Harrison, C.A. Richards and Noah Hetrick.

Teaching the term of 1899-1900 was Lalia Walling; followed by R.N. Davis, Alpha Lane, Mayme Brune, Stella Crossman, Minnie Lyons, Alice Hammond, Stellla Rudisill and Florence Pringle.

The early 20th century saw the organizing of the Central Protective Association (CPA). This organization used Barker School as their meeting place. The CPA was organized to protect the area from horse and cattle thieves. School District No. 20, was like many local communities, they had a horse thief among them. This character squatted along Harrison Creek. He had two rather plump horses, but had no way to feed them. The local members of the Central Protective Association, kept an eye on this guy. They discovered that he was robbing corn from area cornfields to feed his horses through the winter! He was finally caught, tried, convicted and sentenced. The Central Protective Association had done their work!

Schools of that time were known as meeting and gathering place for special events. The CPA held oyster suppers at Barker. They served steaming bowls of oysters along with crackers, vegetables, hand churned butter with biscuits, and of course steaming hot coffee. These meals were always free of charge.

Teaching 1910-1920 were; Flo Pringle, Myrtle Hird, Margaret DeForest, James Fink, Alice Wolverton, Opal Jones, Reta Brock and Ida Steele.John Anderson, Paul Winter and S. Rose, served as board members.

Teaching the 1920’s: Nora Norris, Leona Eberwein, Marie Husted, Olive King, Roberta Nottingham, Lois Rumsey, and Gretchen Gabriel. This decade ended with an enrollment of 22 students.

Teachers of the 1930's were Gretchen Gabriel, Erma Allison teaching three consecutive terms, Mildred Carter, Alice Held and Ruth Sawyer teaching the remaining three terms. There were twenty-eight children of school age in the district (ages 5-21) with thirteen enrolled in school. Twelve white and one black.

Teaching in the 1940’s; Irena polock, Irma Evans, Erma Rumsey Shank, Mildred Springer, Freda Lee, Margaret Foley, Nellie Streib, Mary Jamison and Doris Blough. Board members ending this decade were John Foster, J.A. Wingert and Russell Tukel.
Teaching the last decade of this school’s existence were: Mabel Neider, LouElla Salisbury, Lucille Horne and Alice Land.

Barker School District No. 20 disorganized in 1959 and was absorbed into Lecompton School District No. 36. An auction was held and Ed Stroda bought the building. It was then removed from the site in 1961.

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