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Education for their children was important to most early settlers in our country. Early on, much of this education occurred in someone’s home or in a special log cabin. Typically, log cabin schools were built of round logs chinked and daubed with mud, floors were bare earth, seats were often stools constructed by splitting a log trimming off a flat side with four pegs on the rounded bottom side for legs. No records of a log cabin school in Blue Mound have been found to date.
Later, school districts were formed and frame wooden buildings became the norm. In Blue Mound, published records reveal an early school in the area named Burner and a later one named Blue Mound. Condron School was two miles to the east.
Keep scrolling for more information on each school, or use the following links to advance directly to a specific school.
Note to self: When did it become District #97 and what was it before?
Burner was the name of an early school located just northwest of the Blue Mound four corners on land owned by J. S. Burner (Jacob S. Burner: 1818 - O1/27/1899). It is shown on the 1878 Livingston County Atlas. The Burner School located in Blue Mound Township was also mentioned on Page 551 in A History of Northwest Missouri (Volume I) edited by Walter Williams and published in 1915. The Burner School was also noted in the 1937 Centennial Constitution-Tribune Newspaper edition as an early school in Livingston County. The Burner School also allegedly once served as a Post Office. The building later burned (and no evidence exists today). The only other mention of the Burner School is in the accounts of the Great Tornado of 1883. Both the original account published in the Chillicothe Crises on June 28, 1883 and by Jim Jones’s 100 year reflection published in the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune in the June 15, 1983 revealed that the Burner School was destroyed by the 1883 tornado.
At this date, we have been unable to locate any teacher or student records for Burner School.
Blue Mound School
The 1896 Livingston County Atlas shows this school at its present location - on the east side of the north/south road (Route Z) and on the south side of the east/west road (no designation?). The front of the building (28 feet by 31 feet) faced west with six windows on the north and four windows on the south. There was an anteroom on the west, with one window on the west and a door that opened to the south. A dug well with a pump was just a few feet south of the entrance. There was a “coal shed” just a south of the well. The school also had a flag pole.
Play ground equipment in the 1940's consisted of a merry-go-round, two swings, and a slide.
After the school closed in the spring of 1957, it was purchased by Mr. Clarence Christmas (1883 - 1958) and converted into a home. Mr. Christmas was struck by an automobile and killed about a year later while he was crossing the road after leaving church. The Reverend and Mrs. James W. Porter (1916 -1997) purchased the building from Mr. Christmas’s daughter (Mrs. Zullig). They converted the building by making the anteroom into a bathroom and changed the entrance to the south side. They also ran a dog kennel at his location for many years. Reverend Porter passed away and Estella A. Porter (1917 - 2000) sold the property in 1998/99 to the Green’s (early owners of the Blue Mound rock quarry). Stella died in 2000.
At this time the building is owned by Hunt Midwest Mining, a Division of Hunt Enterprises (which includes the Kansas City Chiefs), and is used as a lab for rock inspection and storage.
School years 1932 - 1950 from teacher records on file in the Livingston County Clerk’s Office, Chillicothe, Missouri.
Some of the happiest times I can remember were when we had Community Club to keep our Grade A rating for the Blue Mound School. It was either that or P.T.A. And we could get a lot more members as a Community Club. We met once a month with games, refreshments or a carry in supper. Once each school term we had a chilli and oyster soup supper.
Another highlight was the pie and box supper held each fall as a money making project. Also, the basket dinner held on the last day of school was great fun.
Donald started in the first grade at the Blue Mound School in 1922. (This is the same location and building that is still in use today.) He went to all the grades there, and remembers the big old stove in the Northeast corner. One of his teachers was Mr. Doughtery (sp.?). Everyone liked him. Seems like he didn’t get paid much, maybe $30 or $35 per month. Mr. Doughtery sent him home from school once or twice because of skunk odor on his clothing. Donald had been dressing skunks that he had trapped to sell the hides. When he go into the warm school room and as his clothing warmed up the odor would start.
Mrs. Cleo Jones Willard
My students were Buddy Bradford, Raymond Lee Hoyt, Jimmie Johnson, Mary Minnis, Kelly Maberry, Eugene Minnis, Robert Lee Powers, Charles Stoner, Minnie Johnson, Elizabeth Bradford, Keith Gray, Mae Johnson, Bobby Minnis, Edna Powers, Barbara Jean Saunders, Jack Tanner, Clyde Whitacre, Joe Whitacre, Betty Beever, Margaret Beever, Mary Kathryn Bradford, William Bradford, Dorothy Mae Gray, Roy Hawkins, Dorothy Powers, and Pauline Wells.
In preparation for teaching, I attended all 8 grades at Baxter School (the next one north of Blue Mound) and then went two winters at Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman State). With 65 hours, I felt equipped to handle almost anything, but soon found out that there was a lot I didn’t know.
I only applied for Blue Mound because it was one of the highest paying schools in the county ($80 per month), but was considered one of the toughest discipline-wise. Three directors and a clerk composed the school board. Most of them knew more about me than they needed to know as I only lived 3 miles from them all of my life, but I had to go see each one of them and leave my written application with the clerk
After I was hired with 65 hours of advanced education, I was still not qualified to teach some subjects and I had to take teachers exams in those subjects and make a passing grade at the County Superintendent’s office (Mr. J. A. Boucher). I remember thinking that I knew a lot about agriculture, but that test surprised me. I passed but not with flying colors.
While teaching at Blue Mound School I lived about 3 miles north near the junction of Route C and Route Z with my parents. I don’t remember much about my first day. I had 24 pupils and of course we were just one happy family. I was probably more nervous than the students.
I usually tried to get to school by 8:00 am in summer and 7:45 in winter. I wrote the assignments on the chalkboard and rang the 8:30 bell and brought in water and fuel in the winter. Then I rang the 8:55 bell for the students to use the toilet and get a drink. Lessons started at 9:00 with another bell. Everyone lined up outside and came in to their seats quietly. We had what they called an opening where we recited the pledge of allegiance to the flag, sang a patriotic song and had a prayer (sometimes it was the Lord’s Prayer).
Reading classes were scheduled first thing each morning. I called them up on front seats near my desk, or the little ones would sometimes just stand around my desk. On days were they worked at their seats, I’d walk to each one. When you had several classes it worked better for the teacher to have part of the class in discussion while the others worked at their seats. Then we would switch the order the next day. If some days we didn’t get the reading done before the 10:00 to 10:15 recess, we would just finish after recess.
My schedule called for arithmetic or math from 10:30 until lunch at 12:00. We then lined up to wash our hands. Some poured the water from a cup, others poured on a little liquid soap, then some more water, and then someone passed out the paper towels. Most of us ate until 12:30. Lunches at school were mostly what the kids had at home. Lots of biscuits with butter and jelly. Some times they brought what we called side meat or bacon and usually some kind of fruit, mostly apples. On occasion there would be cookies, cake or even cold pancakes with butter and jelly. I remember taking cold soup bean sandwiches. We put cooked beans between two slices of buttered bread. There was also homemade cornbread or biscuits. Some wanted to take longer and did, but we usually played softball the rest of the lunch hour. At 1:00 the bell rang and they lined up to come back in.
Most of the days for 10 or 15 minutes, I would read from a good book to them depending on how much we had accomplished before lunch or their behavior. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we had spelling after lunch. On Tuesday and Thursday, we had English. Afternoon recess was from 1:30 to 1:45, and the students usually chose an activity or just did what they wanted to do as an individual. We had a soft ball and bat and a teeter totter, but no swings. The smaller kids played Ring-Around-the-Rosy at recess and all of the kids played Blackman, Red Rover, Hide and Seek, Softball and Fox and Goose in the winter. Inside it was always Fruit Basket Upset.
After this recess, the subjects were varied according to grades. There was civics, geography, agriculture, social studies and others that I have forgotten. In many instances the older students helped the younger ones with their lessons. School was dismissed at 4:00, but in winter we only took a half hour for lunch and dismissed at 3:30.
Things went well until one day I called on a boy in the 5th grade to answer a question. He didn’t speak and as I looked at him I could see that his jaws were locked and not a sound came out. Well, I couldn’t have that so I jumped to me feet and grabbed him and shook him. His jaws unlocked and his color began to return. Afterward, I found out that this was a condition he had had all of his life, but no one bothered to tell me. Needless to say that incident really scared me. He lived close to the school and would always stay after school and help me clean up at the end of the day.
I also remember one little first grade boy who went to the bathroom while at the chalkboard and I had to clean it up. I also remember a child throwing up and making me sick as I cleaned it up. I would clean a little bit and then go outside and throw up myself. I did this several times before I got it all cleaned up!
My duties were quite varied at the school. Every Friday erasers had to be dusted, the chalkboard washed and the water bucket and wash pan cleaned. We had to put sweeping compound on the wooden floor before we swept to keep the dust down. In winter, I had to build the fire and also take and the ashes. We kept a pan of water on top of he stove to keep moisture in the air and this always had to be checked.
We were also required to have one big program and that was usually a pie or box supper. The girls either brought one or the other. The boys then bought the boxes or pies. They were actually auctioned off. If you bought a box, you got to eat whatever was in it with the girl that brought it. If you bought a pie, you could choose to eat it or take it home and it was announced before it was auctioned off. Usually someone in the community was an auctioneer. The money from these affairs was used for playground equipment, books or school supplies. Usually the students and the teacher worked out some of that together, but if there was something needed worse there was very little spent on playground equipment.
In October, we always had a 2 day District Teacher’s meeting for all of the rural school teachers in the district. Ours was to be held in Maryville that year. Since I had never been there I was looking forward to those 2 days off and going to have a good time with fellow college friends. About a week before the meeting, I discovered some of my students had head lice. I contacted the board members and the County Superintendent to get their advice on what to do. One of the mothers was a registered nurse and she told me she would help since she had four children in school. The County Superintendent told me to ask the parents to wash their children’s heads. Well, I did and the next morning some hadn’t. One mother had put yellow cow louse powder in her daughter’s blonde hair while others had failed to do anything. A mother who was also a registered nurse came to school and we put a drop of kerosene in the water and she helped me wash all the student’s heads and mine as well. (I had taken four of the girls home with me to stay all night earlier in the week, so I probably had the lice too.)
This all happened on Wednesday and the teachers meeting was on Thursday and Friday. I remember going to see Johnny Hoyt about what to do. He told me to go on and have a good time which was hard for me to do. This whole incident had kind of taken the wind out of my sails!
After that, every time I Johnny saw me, he would call me “The old louse catcher” and just chuckle.
After the teacher’s meeting, I had a head inspection every morning. About 4 days later I found some lice in a girl’s hair and combed them out on a paper so she could see them and sent her home. I told her not to come back until she got rid of them and she didn’t. It worried me because she was to take the eighth grade finals in Chillicothe with three others and I had been working especially hard to prepare her. Luckily, her Brother who had a bur hair cut didn’t have the lice and he carried her work home each night and brought it back the next morning until she came back. All of them passed their eighth grade finals.
Having attended a rural school for eight years was a big help for me. I always played with the children. I remember playing baseball and running for first base which was at the end of the bar that held the teeter totters. I fell and caught the end that bar in my chest. I ripped my blouse and stuffed a towel inside for a bandage and them wore a jacket over it for the rest of the day. I soon healed and kept right on playing with the kids. I wanted to do the things with my kids that I had liked for my teachers to do with me.
The thing I punished a child for that may not have been proper was: A second grade boy from a relatively poor family came to school with a new bright blue and black plaid wool cap on morning and was so proud of it. I shall never forget. Somehow unbeknownst to me another second grade boy had taken an old ax he had found in the coal shed and chopped holes in the cap. When I saw it, I was so disgusted that I told him if had such an urge to chop he could just do so until he fulfilled that desire. It was a very hot day and I would go out and check to see if he was still chopping. He did for quite some time. I still fell sorry for the other little boy.
While I was teaching my parents allowed me to drive our 1939 Chevrolet if I kept gas in it. One morning I had failed to do this and ran out on the way, not too far from home. My Dad told me I could just walk, so walk I did and reached school at 8:30. I rang the bell so the ones that had started back home would know that I was there. All but one returned. He was son of the School Board President and I was sure that I would be fired for being late. His Dad was gone he stayed home all day. The next morning his Dad came to came to school with him and apologized for his son’s actions and said if he had been home he would have come right back to school which relieved me and would have saved me a lot of worry had I known sooner.
Anyway, I planned to be married when school was out. But, my Father needed my Husband to help sow oats which came earlier than the end of school. So, we were married on March 28, 1942 before school was out on the 17th of April.
I remember that Mr. Whited had a store in the front part of his house just south of the school house. (However, Lawrence Hoyt and his wife were the last ones that I remember really having a real store in Blue Mound.) John Wilson had the store there when Mr. Paul taught (1938-1939).
Lillian Mantzey Pease
Teaching in the Blue Mound School was one of my early teaching experiences which will long be remembered. Since that time I taught in grades school, junior high school, and high school for 27 years. I have been married for 51 years and have one Daughter, two Grand Daughters, and two Great Grand Daughters.
When I taught at Blue Mound my name was Mantzey and I lived with Everett and Marie Haynes about a half a mile south of the school. They charged me $16 a month for room and board I walked to school as did most of the students.
A typical school day started at 9:00 a.m. I first started the fire and got the room ready for lessons. We progressed through each day in lessons with the first grade through the eighth grade.
I taught reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, and government. The State Department of Education provided a state guide for the teachers. My educational requirements to teach a rural school was to pass a test, administered by the County Superintendent, and a summer of college after high school graduation. After passing the county exam, I was issued a county teachers certificate.
We had a 15 minute recess in mid-morning and, one hour for lunch (he students brought lunches of sandwiches, fruit and cookies)and play activities, and another recess in mid-afternoon. The school day ended at 4:00 p.m. In addition to teaching, I had janitorial work, such as sweeping, dusting, fixing fires in the furnace, carrying out the ashes and so on.
Recess games were: tag, ball games, hide and go seek, fox and geese in the snow, hop scotch, and jump rope. The school had baseballs and bats and swings for play ground equipment.
We had some special activities including some of my favorites: programs at Thanksgiving and Christmas (given by the students for the community), spelling bees, pie and box suppers (with the proceeds going for school supplies), and school board elections (Everett Haynes was a school board member). Another important day was when the County Superintendent visited because he evaluated the teacher’s work.
Joe G. Dillard
went to Central School in Chillicothe for the first two grades and started
in the third grade at Blue Mound School in the fall of 1945. There were 13
students that year. See photo below:
Photo of 1945-1946 Blue Mound School students taken by their teacher, Mrs. Trenton Adams, and scanned by Lori Olsen. Front row - left to right: Linda Joyce Berry (?), Jani Sue Hoyt, Dee Dee Ann Adams, Joe G. Dillard, Gene Earl Berry, Billy Saunders (Dean Saunders in front of Billy), and James Alvin Berry. Back row - left to right: Charlene Saunders (?), Richard Lee Adams, Shirley Elaine Beever, John Dillard, Gary Rex Brown (leaning over Joe Dillard’s shoulder). Photo was taken about 1/4 mile west of the school on the south side of the road in front of a play shack built by the Saunders.
Mrs. Trenton Adams was our teacher for that school year as well as the next. I was also privileged to have Ms. Kathryn Lou Baker and Lillian (Mantzy) Pease as teachers, both of whom I had a severe crush on. Such beautiful women I had never seen before! I left Blue Mound School in the fall of 1950 and entered the eighth grade at the old Chillicothe High School.
My Brother and I sure didn’t have to walk very far to get to school, since our property joined the school yard on the east side.
I really enjoyed my school years in Blue Mound. The individual attention was great. With so few students, you were bound to get a lot of it, even if you didn’t misbehave. I also enjoyed recess and the special chores we got to do, such as clean the chalk board erasers, bring in the water from the well, or bring in the coal form the coal shed.
I also remember that going to the rest room was much different than in town. At Blue Mound, you had to go outside to the outhouse. There was one for the girls and one for the boys. They were located near the end of the schoolhouse property on the southeast side. There was a privacy panel in front of the “houses” with a single door to the inside, but three different “seating positions” (a bench-like affair with 3 eight to ten inch holes cut in the top side) inside.
Pie and box suppers were major events. The women would bring supper in a box or basket and a person would auction them off to the highest bidder with the top bidder getting to eat supper with the gal who brought it. I think the pies were just auctioned off to the highest bidder.
One incident I remember was when one of the teachers allowed some of the kids to tie an old American flag on the merry-go-round and use it to pull the other kids. One of my Uncles who had served in the Navy during World War II saw was happening and came to school and gave us a spirited lecture on proper flag etiquette. We didn’t use the flag to pull the merry-go-round after that.
Another memorable school yard event was the construction of a Bilby Tower during the summer of 1948. The 90 foot tall steel tower was the tallest structure ever built in Blue Mound. And for a small lad of 11, it was one of the biggest thrills to hit the area in a long time!
The tower was erected directly above a Triangulation Station (a bronze marker set in concrete) named “MOUND” just north of the school house by the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The workers came each night and worked up in the tower with beams of light that they would shine from one tower to the next. Their purpose was to conduct geodetic surveys to better determine the size and shape of the earth and the exact positions of points on its surface. After they finished their work they took the tower down and trucked it off to the next site.
My Brother and I built a platform in a nearby tree and would go up in the evening and shine flash lights to imitate what they were doing. I imagine that the workers got a real kick out of that.
Lina Linscott Griffin
I attended Blue Mound School from 1952 - 1953. Classmates I remember were: Lilian Zullig, Sharon Zullig, Junior Zullig, Dolly Cobb, Betty Faye Cobb, Sharon Condron, Roger Suttherland, Jeanette Suttherland, Richard Haynes, Warren Hoyt, and Charlotte Haynes. There may have been others, but these are the ones I remember.
My teacher was Bess Tutt. I only attended 2 years (7th and 8th grades). We had a graduation ceremony when we finished 8th grade. However, before we could begin 9th grade in Chillicothe we had to take a written test at the First Baptist Church in Chillicothe to see if we were taught adequately to enter 9th grade. We all passed successfully.
I really didn’t have any favorite activities, although I did enjoy a map game we used to play in geography class called Map Find. We were given a location to find on the map and were challenged to see what class mate could find it first. I liked competition!
At recess we played games like Red Light - Green Light and Ring-Around-The-Rosy. When it snowed we played a game called Fox by making a ring in the snow ans seeing who could get to home base without the fox catching us. All we had for playground equipment was swings.
Most of the kids walked to school. Mrs. (Helen) Hoyt would drive Warren to school and the Zullig children were also driven as they lived a long way from the school.
Lunches brought to school were sandwiches, fruit and chips. When it was cold the children would sometimes bring hot soup or cocoa in their thermos. I lived close enough to school to walk home for lunch. We lived on the west side of the road just south of Mount Hope Church.
There was a grocery store just south of the school house. It was owned and operated by Luther Whited and was called the Whited Grocery Store. I remember he used to set out on the big porch in front of the store and play his fiddle. He had a dog that would “sing” along as he played.
A typical day at school started at 9:00 a.m. and got out at 4:00 p.m. The teacher had all grades; 1st through 8th . She would usually start with the lowest grade and asked the other grades to be quiet and study their lessons. Sometimes she would alternate starting times with the middle grades or the highest ones. Recess was at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Our restrooms were outside, one for the boys and one for the girls.
I don’t remember any unusual happenings while I was there. We did have box suppers. The girls would spend a lot of time decorating boxes and filling them with food. Then they were auctioned off to the highest bidder at the school box supper and the person with the highest bid would eat the box supper with the girl that night. Money from the auction was used to buy school supplies.
The most unusual thing that happened in the community was when Junior Zullig came to the Church to pick up his family and accidentally ran over and killed his Grandfather who lived in the old school house after it closed. Another happening was when the Green Rock Quarry was blasting rock and one the size of a basketball came through the roof of our house and fell into my bedroom near a window where I often sat by! Luckily I was not home at the time or I might not be here today.
* Unless otherwise noted, information excerpted from “Rural and Small Town Schools in Livingston County, Missouri”, Complied by Leo Hopper, July 1986. 92pp. and from notes supplied by Charlotte Haynes Condron, one time Blue Mound resident and Blue Mound School pupil.
** Early teachers listed for Blue Mound School (and Burner School?) by Leo Hopper in his book, “Rural and Small Town Schools in Livingston County” included Kate Hoyt, Carrie Hoyt, Grace Hoyt, Hazel Coanser, Alice Williams, Horace Linnville, and Edith Miller. Ellenore Haynes supplied the following names of teachers: Mary (Thomas) Bacon and Z. Lorena Owen. Howard Brown remembered that his 6th Grade teacher (1928?) was Anna Hargrave (married Ralph Brown, Howard’s Brother). A Charles Kern was listed as a school teacher in Blue Mound in 1893-1894 in Volume VIII of the “Missouri State Gazetteer and Business Directory”.
*** Sources: 1932/33 - 1949/50 based on records turned in by teachers and kept at the County Clerk’s Office, Livingston County Courthouse, Chillicothe, Missouri. No specific records available before 32/33. Charlotte Haynes Condron, a one time Blue Mound resident and Blue Mound School pupil provided the information from 1950/51 to !956/57.
The Condron School
Condron School was located 2 miles east of Blue Mound at the S.E. Corner of Section 30, Township 56, Range 23. It was named after Peter Condron, a nearby large land owner. No building exists today. An early school house was built before 1878 on the top of a ridge near the center of the school yard. A new school house was built sometime in 1885. Records show that the school board met at the new one on 9/11/1885 to dispose of the old one. It was sold to Peter Condron for $18.55. The new building was built by M. G. Blakely for $100.00. It was a 20 by 28 foot building and was 10 feet in height. There was no anteroom, but it had a concrete porch with a projecting cover over the door. There were three windows east and west, a jacketed stove in the center of the room, and a big wood box.
The blackboard and teacher’s desk was in the south part of the room. Kerosene lamps with reflectors provided light on dark days. There was a horse shed and a fuel shed nearby. Many trees grew in and near the school yard. At one time, a sorghum mill operated nearby. Sunday School classes were also held in the school house.
There is a record of a 1907 insurance policy from the Cyclone, Tornado and Wind-Storm Insurance Company signed by E. D. Haynes, C.E. Warner and J. L. Condron, members of the school board. J.A. Lewis was listed as President of the company with Hugh Tudor as the secretary. The company was located in Dawn, Missouri. The school board paid 85 cents to insure the school for $350 for a term of 5 years. Land for the school was donated by Edward D. and America Haynes by quit-claim deed on 11/10/1900.
After the school closed (Date?), the building was purchased by Elmo Burton and torn down. He salvaged some of the good pine grade lumber. Earnest Wheelbarger bought the acre of ground.
In addition to the teachers listed below, the following ones also taught there: Gladys Singleton Colliver, Grace Perry, Esther Perry, Stella Baymiller, Josephine Condron, and Miss Newton
Sources on information are: Lori Olson and “Rural and Small Town Schools in Livingston County” , Leo Hopper, Compiler, July 1986, 92 pp.
Annual Enumeration of District Number 9, Township 56, Range 23, Livingston County, Mo. May 6th, 1898.
Condron School Teachers
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Joe G Dillard