C.C. Hendrickson
Recalls County's
First School

Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, March 23, 1939

The possibility of a new or at least remodeled school building for the City of Lincoln has brought up the question of the first school in Lincoln county. There are few who have heard the story of this county’s first education institution and still fewer who can remember its existence. It is with pleasure the Sentinel-Republican presents facts as they have been supplied by C.C. Hendrickson, one of the pupils in that first school.

It was 70 years ago, in 1869, the county’s first school was opened. Located in Elkhorn township on what is known as "Uncle Mart" Hendrickson’s farm, the school was taught in a dugout. It was of the tuition type called in those days a "Subscription School," parents paying three dollars each month for each child enrolled. A term was limited to three months, making the year’s educational cost to the parents nine dollars per child.

The teacher, Marion Ivey, received $63 for the school season, as there was seven students the first year.

Not long ago, Mr. Hendrickson wandered to the spot where the first school was taught but there was nothing to indicate its former location and he realized that there was not one of his old companions there to greet him around the old dugout where they played 70 years ago. But the names of the seven who studied there together came back to him and it was a great satisfaction to know that five are still living: John and David Hendrickson, both of Lincoln; George Strange of California; Sarah Hall of Fort Hays; C.C. Hendrickson, cousin of John and David. The other two have passed away, one, Harrison Strange, lying in Lincoln cemetery, killed by an Indian foe.

School, back in ’69, was conducted along simple lines and pupils didn’t need so many books as the kiddies have today. All they had was a speller, an arithmetic, a reader and "copy" book," but from those they learned the essentials, all the education required in those pioneer days.

There was little need of "fancy" learning and the children likewise had no need for fine clothes. Their lunch baskets were not filled with pie, cake and and sandwiches as they are today, such foods being classed as luxuries. Instead, the lunch baskets were filled with such substantial foods as corn bread and buffalo meat.

We have come far in 70 years. Those still living, who were pupils of Marion Ivey in the first school, are now growing feeble, worn with the weight of their years. Addressing his cousin John Riley Hendrickson, C.C. Hendrickson concludes, "Dear John, when we are called to go, I hope we will meet with school mates of 70 years ago."

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