Douglas County KS Schools
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Twin Mound School
Twin Mound District No. 32-
As we remember this rural Douglas County school, we leave the Lawrence city
limits and travel to the far southwest corner of our county, to the
community of "Twin Mound."
The community of Twin Mound stems from a Dublin, Indiana Quaker named Henry
Hiatt. Henry was born in 1816 and grew up near Dublin. He married Frances
Smith, a girl from New York. Henry Hiatt's sister, Edna Ann Hiatt married
Frances' brother, Aaron Smith.
Henry, Frances, their five children, and Frances' mother moved to Douglas
County, Kansas Territory in 1856, settling in the Bloomington area. Here he
built a saw mill. After a short time, he sold the mill and moved about seven
miles southwest near the two elongated hills, that rose above the prairie
that were to become known as "Twin Mounds." The name later changed to "Twin
The home Hiatt built was a stage line stop between Lawrence and Emporia. The
Twin Mound community once boasted a grist mill and general store which sold
groceries, hardware, dry goods and hides. A post office was also
In 1859, 160 acres was established as the Twin Mound town site. Settlers
began acquiring lots within the "town site". In 1865 a school board was
elected which included: John Sullivan, Henry Hiatt and Clinton Seaming. A
two acre site in Block 13 of Twin Mound was purchased for $25.00 and a small
one room structure was built. This district was known as District No. 32.
The first structure served until about 1880 when it was replaced by a much
more substantial stone building which still stands today.
Early teachers for District No. 32 includes: Elva Helstrom, Clara Brewster,
Eda Pryor, Henry Fisher, Bertha Crowder, Alma Nelson, Pearl Metsker, Camilla
Nelson, Minnie Lyons, Lena Terrell, C. C. Sinclair, Adelia Dean, Mamie Haus,
Ruth Burgett, Mary Decks, Gretchen McCall, Ethel Worswick.
Teachers during the 1920's and "30"s were: Bertha Wogahn, John Easton,
Gilmore Nichols, Nina Schlink, Camilla Maichel, Roseabell Gardner, Vivian
Hobson, Florence Smith, Loretta Shaw, Edith Moses, Cordella Penn and Coila
Thurber. The school board members for the term ending in 1930 were Henry
Montfoort, Elmer Thurber and George Sullivan.
The 1940's teachers were Dorothy Hart, Ruth Bertschinger, Mattie Crow, Olive
Schirmer, Anna Ward, Martha J. Demeritt and Charles Anderson. Clyde Haitt,
J.E. Goodyear and H.B> Maichel composed the school board for the term ending
The teachers serving the 1950's and 60's were Lila Haas, Rosella Melaas,
Lorena Brown, Donna Raney, Merle Holladay, Gwynn Grady, Iola Thompson and
The final year for Twin Mound School District No. 32 was 1966, with an
enrollment of only seven students. Twin mound No. 32. was the last rural
Douglas County school to consolidate? During its last term, the seven
students were: Cheryl Bagby, Steve Bagby, Kim Benander, Yvonne Benander,
Victor Benander, Janet Faust and Robert Schirmer.
A brief history of the Twin Mound Community
In April 1856, Henry Hiatt a native of Dublin, Indiana settled in the
Bloomington area of Douglas County, Kansas. Henry had met and married a New
York girl by the name of Frances Elizabeth Smith, while on a trip with her
brother, Aaron Smith. Aaron Burr Smith was married to Henry Hyatt’s sister
Elda Smith. Henry and Frances had five children which they brought to
Douglas County, along with the widowed mother of Frances. The family even
brought their house with them. The house pre-fabricated in Cincinnati, Ohio
and transported in sections to be re-assembled in Douglas County.
While in the Bloomington community, Henry and two partners started a saw
mill. Within a short time, henry had discovered a place a few miles
southwest which had two long hills protruding from the rolling prairie. Here
he moved his family and named the settlement he was about to embark upon
“Twin Mounds.” Eventually the “s” was no longer used.
Although, Henry was a devout abolitionist, he did not necessarily believe it
was wrong for others to have a differing view on the matter. It is believed
this is the reason he left the Bloomington area.
For the move to Twin Mounds, Henry had salvaged some lumber from his saw
mill, to start construction on the family’s new home. The new home was to be
two stories with walnut trimmed interior. At his new home in Twin mounds,
Henry planted many species of trees throughout the property.
The Hiatt family home became a relay station for the Lawrence to Emporia
stage line. Here the stage would get a fresh team of horses and the
passengers would receive water and refreshments.
The Hiatt home was used for several years as a stop for the Underground
Railroad. Henry would transport the slaves to Highland Park, Kansas (Topeka)
via covered wagon, on their treacherous trip eventually ending in Canada.
The Hiatt house was destroyed by fire in 1938.
A grist mill was built by Henry to the northeast of the home. At this
location a post office was established, as well as a general store. This
store provided much needed supplies for the community.
In only two short years after the move to Douglas County, family tragedy
struck. Henry’s wife Frances passed away leaving Henry with five young
children and an aging mother in-law to provide for. In 1862, Henry married
the niece of Frances’ Abigail Ann Mead. Abagail then raised the five
children and bore six more.
Henry Hiatt founded the Twin Mound Cemetery Association after the death of
Frances. Here is where Frances and many family members are buried, as well
many other early area pioneers. The small cemetery about one-half mile
northwest of the Hiatt home is still active today.
The townsite of Twin Mounds, consisting of 160 acres, was appointed to Henry
Hiatt as trustee on May 9, 1863. Immediately town lots were being purchased
to early pioneers, but the original town plat was not recorded until July,
Early area residents were; William Blackford, Joseph Doane, John Sullivan,
John Belshaw, L.M. Sawyer, D.M. Saniter, William Denton, Isaak Jackson, W.D.
Harding, W. Owens and G.A. Messer.
Recorded on the townsite plat was an area joining the school property,
called “College Square.” Henry Hiatt had big aggressive plans for the
community of Twin Mounds. He had hoped to draw investors from back east, to
form Twin Mounds Harmonic College. This institution was to include all
sexes, races and creeds. This dream obviously was never realized.
The legacy of Henry Hiatt ends with him selecting a large log, by which he
carved his own coffin. Henry Hiatt died on February 27, 1900. Marking his
grave is one of two Vermont granite mill stones that survived the fire which
destroyed the grist mill, post office and general store in 1880.
1938-Teacher Coila Thurber, back row third from left Beulah Grammer (My
Aunt), fifth from left Wilma Grammer (My Mother). Front row 2n from left
Alfred Grammer (My Uncle), far right Wesley Grammer (My Uncle)
Twin Mound School 1960's
Twin Mound School 1970's
Twin Mound School 2013
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