Douglas County KS Schools

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Douglas County KS School information provided by Raymond Stone 

From Phillip Metsker:
This is Colyer School built in 1879 on the corner of my family farm. My great-grandfather was on the first school board. My grandfather, dad, and also myself attended school here and now my wife and I own it. This picture was taken right after the school was finished. The school was to cost $1000 to build, it was $1100 because the bell tower and bell was added. One of the school board members was upset that it cost $100 more than it was supposed to, so he brought his horse and a rope and pulled the bell and bell tower off the new schoolhouse.

Updated Interview:
Colyer School District No. 42 Southwest Douglas County, Kansas
It is believed (from a recent interview with Phil Metsker owner of the Colyer School) that the first building to be used as a school for this district was located on the southwest corner of the intersection of N. 600 Road and E. 800 Road. This building was wood frame construction. It sat just west across the intersection from the 1885 Progressive Church of the Brethren.
The Metsker families were some of the earliest settlers in Douglas County. Phil’s great, great, grandfather homesteaded the land and built a log cabin here in 1858. This cabin was destroyed by fire in the 1860’s and a new home was constructed in 1869.It was Phil’s second great uncle that donated the land for the construction of Apple Pie School District No. 27.
The sum of $1000 was approved for the construction of the second and last building to be used as a school. This expenditure was exceeded by one hundred dollars due to the addition of a bell and tower. This additional $100 expense created quite a stir in the community. Some felt it should be paid for by the three school board members. To settle the disagreement, Frank Lutz one of the board members, removed the bell and tower, and repaired the roof. This original bell remains the property of Phil Metsker.
Both Phil and his father attended Colyer School. Phil’s father attended Colyer through eighth grade and Phil through three grades, until its closure.
The original schoolyard included a well and two hitching posts on the southeast corner. Originally the building only had one door, in the front of the building. It was discovered by the health department that the plans for a fire escape were not acceptable. Those plans were that the older students would open a window, where the teacher would place a wooden bench/stool. Designated students would then jump out the window! For some reason the county health department did not like this plan. The second door at the southwest corner of the building was then added, as an emergency escape route.
The original schoolyard also included two out houses west of the school, a softball field and playground equipment. The swings were relocated to Marion Springs School. Phil mentioned the highly competitive softball games that took place on that field.
The first term of school held here was that of 1897-98, and Kate C. Clark taught 35 students. The school board consisted of James Ulrich, D. L. Burton and A. E. Metsker. Pupils for that year included: Goldie Burrton; Maude, Ernest, Ray and Mamie Clark; Fred, Jesse, May and Chester Ford; Melanie and John Gormont; Eva, Oscar and Mattie Lutz; Clay Murphy; Lula North; Leda and Charlie Oehrle; John Reed; Roy, Minnie George, Alice, and Ethie Shuler; Jesse, Maude and Merle Studebaker; Lizzie, Willie, John and Earl Thompson; Maud Ulrich; Annie, Birdie, Howard and Grover Van Kunkle.
Sonora Metsker taught the 1898-99 term, with C. M. Laptad teaching the 1899-00 term.
The first decade of the new century had the following teachers: Luella Barton, Artis Metsker, Sonora Metsker, Grace Creel, Pearl Metsker, Lola Flory, T. E. Vincent, and D. L. Burton. Members of the Board were: A. E. Metsker, A. G. Shaw, and D. L. Burton.
The next ten years were taught by: Lanora Preston, Laura watts, Ethel Kindred, and C. Fay Gorbutt, Board Members were: D. L. Burton, A. E. Metsker and B. H. Powell.
Teaching the 1920’s were: Elizabeth Sturdy, Mildred Longanecker, Telitha Newton, Bessie Brown, and Mary Allen teaching 14 students for the session ending in 1930. Members of the Board were Frank Lutz, Otto Hack and Frank Scott.
The decade of the 1930’s were taught by; Dorothy Cummings, Inez Herlan, Bessie Surles, Beatrice Clark, Dorothy Nuffer, Marzella Dwyer and Irene Rusking. Board members were Floyd Heffner, Olin Heffner and Otto Hack.
The 1940’s were taught by: Goldie Carpenter and Arlene Flory. The school was then closed for five years with student being sent to nearby Lone Star (due to small enrollment). With an enrollment of 9 students, the school was re-opened in the autumn of 1949, with Nancy Wilcox teaching. The Board Members were John Metsker, Frank Lutz and Orlyn Vaughn.
Teachers for the 1950’s were: Betha Gibler, Estella Tiejens and Betty Hoover. Lloyd Hoffman, Frank Lutz, Hugh Boyce and Orlyn Vaughn were the Board members.
The 1960’s proved to be the end for Colyer School. Teachers were Betty Hoover and Belle Welter. With an enrollment of 10 students, the 1961-62 session was the last for Colyer School District No. 42.Making the decision to disorganize were Board Members Hugh Boyce, Marily Miller and Orlyn Vaughn. The district was disorganized and consolidated with Marion Springs District No. 101. Because the new Marion Springs building was not yet completed, the students were sent to the rural schools of Exceline and Central, until construction was finished.
In spring of 1963, John P. Metsker bought the building at auction. It still remains in the Metsker family.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Phil and Debbie Douglass-Metsker, for allowing me (Raymond Stone)  in their home and sharing their Metsker family history, as well as their history with Colyer School no. 42.

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