(from a book written in 1893)

The following text was transcribed from chapters on the history of education in individual Kansas counties found on pages 199-203 in:

compiled by Kansas educators and published under the auspices of the Kansas State Historical Society, for the Columbian Exposition.
(Topeka, Kan. : Hamilton Printing Company : E. H. Snow, state printer, 1893)



SEDGWICK COUNTY -- No history of this county was prepared by the proper officer. The following is the history of the schools of Wichita, its county seat, and a city of the first class:

Wichita Schools -- In 1868, the first cabin was built where the city of Wichita now stands. In 1870, the town was founded. In 1871, the first church and first schoolhouse were built. In 1872, the first railroad was constructed, the first bank opened, and the first newspaper started. The population increased from the occupants of one cabin, in 1868, to 50, as indicated by the census of 1870; 4,911, by the census of 1880; 23,835, by the census of 1890, and 28,000, the estimate in 1892.

Following the first cabins came the first schoolhouse, with William Finn, now a resident of Sedgwick, as schoolmaster. Mr. Finn's school commenced November 1, 1869, and continued three months. His average attendance was 17. His salary was to be $45 per month, and was to be raised by subscription. Mr. Finn sent to Topeka for the books for his school, paying for them out of his own pocket. Not half of the money subscribed was raised, and Mr. Finn, at the end of the term, was $50 in debt, although he had a little money of his own when he started. Through the kindly assistance of Hon. J. R. Mead, who was one of his patrons and friends, Mr. Finn purchased a surveying outfit, and left the profession of teaching.

Mr. Finn was an excellent young man, and his school a success. He has furnished us with a cut of the dugout which was his schoolhouse. It stood at the north of the present site of the city. It was about 13 feet square, had a dormer window, and was covered with a dirt roof.

Miss Jessie Hunter taught a private school, in the spring of 1870, in a building north of the present courthouse. She also taught, in the spring of 1871, in the Presbyterian Church building, near the present site of the Missouri Pacific depot, on Wichita street. Mrs. William West taught in the fall of 1871. In 1871, school bonds to the extent of $5,000 were voted, and a wooden building was erected on the present site of the high-school building, on Emporia avenue. The ground was donated by Hon. J. R. Mead, who also gave the school a bell, costing $75 in St. Louis. This was the first bell to ring out over school or church in the Arkansas valley, in Kansas. Mrs. Snover, from Michigan, and Mrs. Robert West taught the first school in the new building.

The following is a list of the officers of the board of education:

Superintendent: ------ Beggs
President: John Martin
Clerk: H. H. Oakley

Superintendent: John Tucker
President: A. H. Fabrique
Clerk: E. B. Allen

Superintendent: B. C. Ward
President: W. S. Woodman
Clerk: W. E. Stanley

Superintendent: B. C. Ward
President: R. L. West
Clerk: W. E. Stanley

Superintendent: J. F. Gowdy
President: H. J. Hills
Clerk: W. E. Stanley

Superintendent: O. F. McKim
President: W. B. Smith
Clerk: W. E. Stanley

Superintendent: O. F. McKim
President: W. B. Smith
Clerk: O. F. McKim

Superintendent: G. H. Woodward
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: C. A. Walker

Superintendent: L. G. A. Copley
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: C. A. Walker

Superintendent: E. L. Halleck
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: C. A. Walker

Superintendent: G. E. Campbell
President: Kos Harris
Clerk: C. A. Walker

Superintendent: G. E. Campbell
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: C. A. Walker

Superintendent: M. Chidester
President: M. W. Levy, H. W. Abbott, H. L. Taylor
Clerk: A. C. Burwell

Superintendent: M. Chidester
President: E. J. Brown
Clerk: A. C. Burwell

Superintendent: M. Chidester
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: A. C. Burwell

Superintendent: R. W. Stevenson
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: A. C. Burwell

Superintendent: R. W. Stevenson
President: M. W. Levy
Clerk: J. J. Fegtly

Superintendent: R. W. Stevenson
President: A. H. Ward
Clerk: T. J. Irwin

Superintendent: W. Richardson
President: J. D. Van Nuys
Clerk: T. J. Irwin

The high school principals have been: 1878, B. D. Hammond; 1879, T. J. Fuller; 1880, L. K. Webb; 1881-83, E. A. Wood; 1884, J. G. Steffee; 1885-93, U. P. Shull.

The curriculum of the high school embraces: (1) A university course, including Latin and Greek, whence graduates are received without examination at the State University. (2) An English course. (3) A business course, including practical stenography. Each course requires four years for completion. The number of graduates of the high school is 132. The present senior class numbers 32, and the enrollment is 320.

The normal school was opened in 1890, under the management of Miss Mary E. Rowe, late of Washington, D. C. Miss Rowe is assisted by two critic teachers and the supervisors.

Twenty-seven young ladies have graduated from this school. Of this number, 20 are employed in the city schools, one is teaching in Indianapolis, and one is teaching in Indianapolis, and one in St. Louis.

The board of education for 1892 is constituted as follows: J. D. Van Nuys, president; A. H. Ward, L. M. Cox, Van Werden, Geo. E. Campbell, V. K. Stanley, E. R. Powell, John H. Fazel, James Allison, Giles Davis, F. A. Davis, L. R. Cole, Thos. J. Irwin, secretary; C. S. Caldwell, treasurer; F. W. Wibkin, superintendent buildings and grounds; and William Richardson, superintendent of instruction.

Supervisors are employed in the subjects of drawing, penmanship, and music.

A teacher's meeting is held on the third Saturday of each month, from 9 till 12 o'clock. These meetings are conducted by the superintendent. Teachers are appointed to present papers on various subjects. A discussion follows each paper, attended with free interchange of thought. The meetings are popular with both board and teachers.

Grade meetings are called by the superintendent and supervisors, at which grade matters are discussed, and the work of the different departments is laid out.

A record of the scholarship of every pupil is kept. This is made from daily recitations, and from tests given from time to time by teachers or superintendent. In order to gain promotion, pupils are required to rank 75 in taking the average of teacher's estimate and examination. The work is broader than the text-books studied, and the questions are drawn partly from subjects presented in addition to the text-book. The unusually-large ration of pupils in the high school bears testimony both to the value and popularity of the school, and to the work done below.

The discipline of the schools is mild, but firm, the pupils being taught that "self-government is the essence of all government," and that to be a lady or a gentleman satisfies every demand.

The following institutions have been established in Wichita, and receive from the citizens of the city and vicinity a liberal patronage:

Western School of Elocution and Oratory - This school was incorporated under the laws of Kansas in 1891, with power to grant diplomas and confer degrees. It has a board of trustees. Its aim is to give prominence to oratory, to fit its pupils for the pulpit, the bar, and the public duties of life. George W. Hoss, LL. D., is the president.

Central Memorial University - Central Memorial University has the following department: (1) College of liberal arts, (2) normal school, (3) preparatory department, (4) conservatory of music, (5) school of fine art, (6) commercial department. J. S. Griffin, A. M., is president, and professor of modern languages, with the following corps of instructors: H. B. Scott, A. M., professor of mathematics; B. M. Davis, B. Sc., professor of physics and chemistry; J. H. McGibbons, A. M., professor of Greek and Latin; M. A. Carleton, B. Sc., professor of botany and biology; T.W. Butcher, history and English; J. H. Whyte, principal commercial department; Mrs. M. A. Walden, director and teacher of voice culture; Mrs. Georgia McCoy, director and teacher of pianoforte and harmony; Miss Emily Jekyll, director of school of fine art; Miss H. Rae Woodman, A. B., English literature; Mrs. Bettie Davis Lucy, M. L., principal preparatory department.

Wichita University - Under the direction of the Synod of the Interior of the Reformed Church of the United States. The faculty is : Alfred S. Miller, A. M., Ph.D., president, professor of the natural and applied sciences and literature; Rev. Solomon A. Alt, A. M., professor of mental and moral sciences and languages; Miss Helen N. Carpenter, professor of mathematics; George W. Hoss, A. M., LL. D., instructor in elocution and oratory; Miss Alice Jones, assistant in mathematics; Rev. John W. Love, A. M., lecturer on biblical literature and antiquities; Judge Christopher Reed, A. M., LL. B., lecturer on civil law; William H. Rauch, Esq., A. M. lecturer on commercial law; Hon. E. B. Allen, M. D., lecturer on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene; L. A. Shaw, principal of commercial department; Rev. Solomon A. Alt, A. M., principal of shorthand department; Mrs. Mary E. Nuss, instrumental and vocal music; Laura J. Nuss, piano and theory; Mrs. Eva Steffee, violin; Mrs. Laura M. Hughes, director of art department; Miss Edith Merrill, model school.

Fairmount Institute is a corporation under the laws of Kansas, by virtue of a charter filed February 24, 1892, and is an outgrowth of the Fairmount College corporation, which was organized about five years earlier. The beautiful building erected by the latter corporation has passed into the possession of the former, together with the 20-acre campus upon which the building stands. The courses of study comprise English, classical, scientific, normal, music, and art. The institute prepares pupils for admission to the leading colleges and universities of the United States, and fits for the duties of life those pupils who cannot afford, or who do not wish, to go to college.

Fairmount Institute is located on the brow of a hill overlooking the city of Wichita, the county seat of Sedgwick county, and is reached from the city by means of an electric street-car line, which extends almost to the institute grounds.

The building is of brick and stone, with terra cotta trimmings, and is one of the handsomest and most substantial school buildings in the West.

The teachers are: Rev. R. M. Tunnell, principal; Miss Harriet R. Pease, preceptress; Miss Marie Mathis, modern languages; Mrs. Lillian H. Garst, music. The officers of the board of trustees are: W. J. Corner, president; L. D. Lewelling, treasurer; H. A. Clifford, secretary and financial agent.

All Hallows Academy - In September, 1887, this academy was established by the Rev. M. J. Casey, for the higher education of young ladies. It is under the direct control of the Sisters of Charity, B. V. M., who give unwearying attention to the welfare of every pupil, and who, by their labors through many difficulties, have succeeded in causing their school to be recognized as one of the best institutes of its kind.

The academy is provided with efficient teachers, who, by precept and example, urge thoroughness in everything.

The departments of music and art are well-equipped. The opportunities offered for the study of vocal and instrumental music are not surpassed anywhere, while in the art department the method is that used by the best art schools in the country.

At present. All Hallows Academy is in a flourishing condition, the increasing number of pupils having obliged the sisters to add to their already large building an extensive wing, which is now in process of erection.

Pro-Cathedral Parochial School, under the direction of the Sisters of Charity; Wichita Telegraph College, J. B. Martin, principal; Wichita Business College, E. H. Fritsch, principal; and a school of shorthand and typewriting, N. J. Waterbury, principal, are the remaining private and denominational schools located at Wichita.

Lewis Academy (by J. M. Naylor, principal) - This institution was incorporated in April, 1884, by a board of 12 trustees, who were elected by the Presbytery of Emporia, and who were instructed to proceed to locate an academy somewhere within the "bounds of the Presbytery." The sum of $20,000 was secured by subscription from the citizens of Wichita, Kas., and the vicinity. The academy was located on the southeast corner of Third and Market streets, in Wichita. A fine and commodious building was erected. J. M. Naylor, Miss Lucy A. DuBois and Miss Linda M. Abell were selected as a corps of instructors, and the school was duly organized for work in September, 1886, with an enrollment of 102 pupils.

The building was entirely completed by September, 1887, and such additional departments of instruction were added as were needed. On October 9, 1887, the building was formally dedicated to the cause of Christian education. Rev. Herrick Johnson, D. D., of Chicago, delivered the address and offered the dedicatory prayer.

Thus, by the activity of the board of trustees, the tireless energy of Rev. J. D. Hewitt, D. D., and the generous donation of $25,000 by Col. H. W. Lewis, an institution devoted to secondary education, and second to none in its appointments, was opened to the world. This school was organized by men whose sole desire was, and is, to make it an efficient agency in honoring God and saving souls. Its entire influence is intended and expected to be, now and during the ages to come, on the side of Christ and for the spread of His gospel.

The school is very unique in its organization, for the prattling child may enter the kindergarten and pass through all grades under the same roof, until he or she is prepared, either as a classical student to enter any university in the country, or, having graduated from either the scientific, the normal, the art, or the music course, is well prepared to step forth into life. The moral tone of the school and the daily systematic study of the Bible required, produce marked effects on the lives and characters of the pupils. Many are brought to a saving knowledge of Christ as their Savior, and many of our young men dedicate themselves to the gospel ministry. All but nine of the 57 graduates are professing Christians.

Graduates enter many of the colleges without examination, and maintain high positions in their classes.

The executive officers of the institution are: H. W. Lewis, president; J. M. Naylor, Ph. D., principal; H. W. Rule, treasurer.

transcribed by Rita Troxel, State Library of Kansas



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