School: Granton, Granton School
District, JT. 4
Surnames: ALK ALLEN ANDERSON BEECKLER BERG BERGEMANN BOETTCHER BREED BROOKS BROWN CANFIELD CHASE CHITWOOD CONVERSE CRANDALL CROTHERS DAVIS DEMMING DORE DOWNER EDELBECK EDWARDS EISEMAN ERPENBACH FINIGAN FULLER FULTZ GARDNER GRASSER HALLOCK HART HIGGINS HUGHES JOHNSON KEMMETER KNORR KNUDSON LEE LIENHARD LORSCHETER MABIE MARSH NAEDLER NICHOLS NEINAS OSGOOD O'NEILL PAULSON PIETENPOL POTTER PRICE RATH RAUSCH RENNE RICK SAMPSON SCOTT SCHMIDTKE SHORTELL SPRY STALLMAN STRAND TURNER WAGNER WEIROUCK WHITE WILHELM WILLIAMS WINN WRIGHT
----Source: Granton Community Memories 1856-1976
Granton, Granton School District, JT. 4
This information was collected by Mrs. Dora Wage Winn and written up about 1933. Her daughter loaned us the original article.
GRANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, JT. 4
----Source: Granton Community Memories 1856-1976 The early settlers of Clark county were attracted here by dense forests of pine and hardwood. Several of these families settled in the northern part of the town of Grant and the southern part of the town of York, and soon the question of a school was foremost in the minds of the leaders of the community. There are not records to show just when the Jt. Dist. No. 4 towns of York and Grant was organized and the school board selected. But it recorded in the register of deeds that in 1886 a school board consisting of John J. Wright, Director Hiram Renne, Clerk and Noble E. Lee, Treasurer purchased one half acre in the extreme northeast corner of section 2 in the Town of Grant from John Nichols.
This site was on what was known as Windfall Corners and was the logical center of the newly formed district. The boundaries of the district are still the same as they were when first laid out. (1934) These corners derived their name from that fact that several years before any settler came to Clark County, a wind storm had passed through that section of the country and for about half a mile to the east and west of the corners, the virgin timber had been blown down and second growth timber had attained a sizable growth, so the name Windfall was given in designating this particular spot in the county.
On this half acre of land a small log building with a slant roof was built. Miss Electa Brooks (now deceased) of Lynn was hired as teacher and to this school came the children from the families of Joel Downer, Hiram Renne, John Nichols, L. Breed, John Canfield, Theo. Davis, Norman Hallock, Harmon Allen, Geo. Williams, Nelson Marsh and Hod Chase. Mrs. Cora Converse and Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller are the only ones living in the district at the present time who attended this first term of school.
During the summer of 1866 a small frame building was erected and the log structure was used for a woodshed. When it was time to open school in the fall, the school board was unable to secure a teacher. For some time it was feared that there would be no school that term. But their troubles were soon over when it was learned that a Miss Augusta Lee of Potsdam, N. Y., a young lady about 16 years old, was coming with her mother to visit relatives in the school district. Miss Lee's arrival was hailed with great joy and in a short time she was convinced that she could teach the school and visit her sisters at the same time. (One of the sisters was Ruth Pietenpol's mother. Later -- in the late 1930's she gave money to found the Granton Public Library named for her - Samson memorial Library.) A trip to Neillsville there seems to be a portion missing here an interview with the Co. Supt., John Dore, to open school Monday morning, and a certified teacher was ready. Miss Lee is now Mrs. Augusta Sampson of Minneapolis and she has many happy memories of those days of long ago.
To this little red school house came Spencer M. Marsh, youngest son of Nelson Marsh, first postmaster in this community, and here Spencer received his early education.
The first winter term was taught by Harold Chase, a well-educated man but with very peculiar habits. Many a wild story is told of those school days when all the big boys in the district came, for they were not needed at home to help during the winter months. The school furniture was all home made, just desks and benches. Slates and pencils were used by the pupils. The text books were not uniform, each child bringing to school whatever they had at home. There were several teachers during the next few years. Among them was a Miss Orinda Johnson of Melrose, Wis. She organized a singing school for the young folks, the first cultural organization in the community. Young folks from far and near gathered at the Red School house eager for a chance to learn and to sing. Miss Johnson later married Sidney R. Davis, and settled in the district. They were the parents of Mrs. Myron Osgood.
The school board made frequent visits to the District school, at least once a month some member was there to see that the property was being well cared for and that the teacher was able to maintain order. The County Supt., John Dore was also a frequent visitor. Whenever he came to visit he always took complete charge of the classes and disciplined the unruly. An amusing incident is told by one of the pupils during one visit by Mr. Dore. In those days great stress was laid on oral reading. The lines must be read with clearness and expression. When this little girl was called upon to read the lines given they had no meaning to her, they were just so many words to be pronounced and nothing more. The lines were, "Don't like the lecturer or dramatic star, try over hard to roll the British R." Mr. Dore was a man who did roll his "R" and pronounced all his words with a broad A. So over and over he read the lines to the little girl and she tried her best to please him by reading it her way. At last in desperation, she read the lines in perfect imitation of the Supt's broad "A's" and British "R's". At last she read it satisfactorily. The little girl is now Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller.
It was between 1880 and 1884 that the district voted to build a new larger schoolhouse. The school board was not able to enlarge the present site, so one acre of land was leased from Hiram Renne's pasture land. This was just across the road to the east of the red schoolhouse and by the side of the Adventist church. The red schoolhouse was sold to Samuel Ferguson in 1886, who remodeled it for residence. This was later moved to the site of the Mott Osgood home and 9 years ago it was destroyed by fire. Although it was considerably larger than the old one, in 2 or 3 years this one was crowded. The teacher was unable to hear all the classes so some of the older girls took charge of the work in the lower grades. About 1887 the District voted to add a 2nd story to this building and hire two teacher. Just who were the first teachers in the two room school, no one seems to remember, but E. A. Beeckler was one of the first to have charge of the upper room.
By this time the school was quite well organized. Uniform text books had been adopted. The school year was lengthened from 7 to 8 months. The terms were divided into 3 months Fall, 3 months Winter and 2 months Spring. The parents took great interest in their school and their visits were frequent. The teachers were welcome and honored guests in the home. Most of the social life of the community was built around the school. Spelling bees, exhibitions, literary societies were some of the gatherings arranged and presided over by the teachers. An organ in the Adventist church was always used for any entertainment and this helped make these programs outstanding. The last day of school was celebrated with a school picnic, held for many years in the grove back of the F. E. Winn home and attended by everyone in the District. A dance floor had been built there among the trees, with the branches overlapping to form a roof, and after the picnic dinner, the scholars would entertain their parents and friends.
In those days there was no playground equipment. During the noon recess period the children were supposed to amuse themselves. The girls "played house." Building homes for themselves between the pine stumps in the pasture back of the school house, or use a part of the sheds on the church grounds. In the northwest corner of the school yard, there was a large pine stump, this was the favorite eating place for the girls, with the older ones on the top and the younger ones around the roots. No one could ask for a better dining hall.
The school grounds were not in good shape for a ball diamond, so the boys laid one out in the pasture. A pine stump served as a marker for first base, a flat stone for second base, a granite boulder for third base and home plate was a line drawn in the dust by each batter. The pitcher's box was a hole dug in the ground. The balls were all home made. The best ones were those furnished by Carl and Willie Osgood, (cousins of Myron and Rella Osgood). The bats, too, were home made. Carl Osgood was again the best one to make these. He would choose a small straight piece of ash and shape it into a model bat. Some of the players were Truman and Frank Davis, Price and Rollie Lee, the Renne boys, Myron, Carl and Willie Osgood, the Grasser boys, Kearney, Albert, Mahlon, Luzerne and Miram Davis. It was on this kind of a ball diamond that Kearney Davis received his training that made him in later years a pitcher to be feared by many a rival team. (He gave his old catcher's mask to Jack Crothers in the early 30's, and taught him much about catching).
In the winter time the boys and girls slid down hill or went to the creek to skate. A small hand bell had been used to call school, but with the children going into the pasture or down to the creek, a larger bell was needed to call the children back to school on time. N. E. Lee, better known as Nell Lee, had been the treasurer of the District since the time of its organization, and to him was entrusted most of the buying of the school supplies. When the new bell arrived it was Rollie Lee's (a brother of Price Lee) job to deliver it to the teacher. If anyone was late to school that morning, it was not Rollie's fault, for he rang the bell every step of the way from his home to the school house, a distance of nearly half a mile.
In 1894 the District voted 25.00 to build a belfry and on March 6th, 1895, a large bell was installed. This bell is still in use. It cost about 17.50. (the one that is in the old green building).
Soon Granton became a thriving little milling town. Home and business places were soon established, and the school population was increasing. Because of the transient nature of the population, the school was not able to secure the best results because so many families were slow about buying text books. From that time free test books have been furnished.
The boys still played ball in the pasture but now a new set of players performed on this diamond. A few of them were Hale Davis, Mott and Rellie Osgood, Geo. Price, Ben Beeckler, Clare, Lynn and Earl Marsh, Vernie Wright, Chester Finigan, Arthur Stallman, Lynn Knorr, Philmore Kenmetter. Although spelling contests had been arranged between the school and some of the nearby district schools, it was in 1902 when the first matched game of baseball was played. J. E. Fultz of Thorp was the teacher, and games were played with the teams from the Lynn, Kurth Corners and the Merryvale schools.
In 1901 the district voted to have the subjects necessary for the 2nd grade certificates taught. (probably high school level work to qualify the student to begin teaching after a summer institute.) These were conducted for several weeks each summer by the Co. Sup't and instructors from the Normal schools at Greenwood. This increased the enrollment of the school so that by 1903 it was necessary to hire 3 teachers, but the building was large enough to take care of the increase until in 1905 it became apparent to everyone that another larger school house was a necessity.
A special school meeting was held on May 20th 1905, to consider the following proposition: to borrow 6,000 from the Sate Trust Funds to build a new 4 room school house. The district people voted in the affirmative.
Immediately a controversy arose over the new location of the building. The people in the village wanted the school established within their boundaries, while others, especially the people in the Town of York, wanted it erected on the same site, because their children had a long walk to school as it was, some living 3 miles from the school building.
Another special meeting was held on June 7th. This time to consider 4 propositions 1st, a building site 2nd, a plan of a building and the material 3rd, to perfect the building plan 4th, the organization of a high school. On the first ballot the question of a new site was tied 84 to 84. The meeting was then adjourned until June 10th. By this time a committee had selected a new site of 2 acres in the northeast quarter of Sec. 2, Town of Grant.
When the vote was taken at the session of the adjourned meeting, the new site was approved by a majority of 24. The 2 acres was purchased form N. E. Lee( he served as school Treasurer for 32 years but retired in 1898) for 400. The assembly then voted their approval of a 4 room building of solid brick, with pressed brick on the outside (why this plan was changed to build the concrete building is not explained on the records). A building committee consisting of P. J. Kemmetter, A. J. Knorr, Ross Paulson and S. L. Marsh was appointed to act with the school board. The members of this board were H. E. Williams, Dir. Scott Davis, treas. and E. A. Beeckler, Clerk.
The 4th proposition that of the organization of a high school lost by one vote, 94 for to 93 against.
The construction of the new building was not started until 1906, and was ready for occupancy by Jan 1907. The first teachers in this new building were J. M. Lorscheter, Margaret Hughes and Lottie Berg.
In 1908 the first basketball team was organized. Dr. R. R. Rath, who had recently graduated from Medical College in Milwaukee, had established an office in the village. He was an ardent lover of sports and with the help of Verne Edwards, the principal, established athletics as part of the school curriculum. The players were Vernie Wright, Earl Marsh, Arthur Stallman, Lynn Knorr and Philmore Kemmetter.
The enrollment of the school had increased rapidly so by the spring of 1908 it was necessary to hire the 4th teacher. The 11th grade work was also added to the course of study. By 1912 the 5th teacher was added.
In 1912 Mrs. Alma Knorr was elected Director, the first woman to be elected to the school board. By 1916 the rooms were filled to capacity. Several tuition pupils were coming in from the surrounding neighborhoods. The school course was equal to 3 years of high school. Most of the graduates would finish their high school work at Neillsville.
In May, 1917, a special meeting was called to consider building an addition to the school and organizing a 4 year high school. The committee and the school board decided against building an addition to the school and at the regular meeting the people voted to build a new building to be used for a high school. Although a motion to put off building until after the war was presented, it was lost.
The district voted to raise 18,000 for the new building and to give the school board authority to erect the kind of building their judgment deemed best.
School programs changed over the years. The first operetta "Rose-Red and Snow White" was given under the direction of the teachers Lela Potter, Effie Alt, Francis Brooks and Helen Demming. In 1915 Miss Iva Barager was hired as the teacher of the 7th and 8th grades and also had charge of the Home Ec. Work . . . . The library of the grade school was also used as a laboratory . . . .Mr. Strand was principal for three years from 1914 until 1917 when he enlisted in the 3rd Company CAC Wis. Unit. He and the company were on the ill-fated Tuscania en route to the war in Europe when all were lost at sea. Construction of the new High School building was started in 1917, but was not ready when school began. Part of the classes met in the Union Church. The act of moving from the old building to the new is told by Lydia Neinas: . . . . Work had been rushed so the High School grades could be moved as soon as possible and relieve the congestion in the old building. There was an enrollment of over 50 in what is now the Grammar Grade Room. One day in the middle if Feb., 1918 the grand word was given to us by C. W. White, our principal that if the new assembly room was swept and the extra lumber removed we could move. The job of sweeping went to Beulah Lee, Eva Wagner and Dora Winn. Clifton Paulson, Wallace Rausch and Mearl Lee disposed of the lumber. The boys carried the seats from the old building -- having been granted the greatest privilege -- to be ready to be installed in a modern high school building.
The new building was dedicated soon after. Judge O'Neill was the speaker. Mr. White was drafted and Mrs. E. V. Brown, wife of the Co. Agricultural Agent, finished the term for him. The first graduating class consisted of one pupil, Cliff Paulson. He also had the distinction of attending three school houses, the first in the old Windfall school, 11 years in the grade building and the last in the new school. Graduating exercises for the 8th grade and Cliff were held in the village hall one morning at the close of school. When Cliff did not show up, someone went to his home and found him still in bed. Either he overslept, or did not know that he was to graduate that morning.
(there appears to be a portion missing here as well)
In 1918-19 Miss Clara Wilhelm was the official coach, Cliff Paulson the manager. The team entered the tournament at Steven's Point. They were awarded the silver cup for the team that proved to be the best in appearance and conduct. The Circle Ladies offered a 5.00 prize for the highest average in the senior year. Lydia Neinas was the first to receive it. Others were Hope Wright, Marlow Bergemann and Carol Davis. The first junior prom was held in 1921. The commercial course was also begun in that year. In 1921 Marlow Bergemann won the first shorthand competition at Whitewater, the State Championship. Principals during those years were Mr. John Lienhard of Almond, Elton Boettcher of Bloomer and Mr. Glen Hart. There were 101 enrolled. Mrs. Vera Crandall was hired to teach music, a band, orchestra, and boys and girls glee clubs were organized. The athletic coach was Meric Overman. Milo Mabie and Geraldine Higgins won trips to State Forensic contests at Madison. Mr. Hart's basketball boys the conference Championship and trophy. In 1932 Milo Knudsen of Tomah took over as the principal.
The members of the school board in 1932 were Lloyd Spry, Wm. Naedler and Esther Schmidtke. (all of the above information is from the work of Dora Winn.)
During the difficult twenties and thirties the commercial and home ec. Programs had to be canceled. In the early 40's the agriculture department was begun, but there were a few years after Mr. Weirouck left that there was not an instructor to be had. After the was in 1946, Jack Chitwood was hired. The commercial department had been reestablished earlier.
An Ag shop was erected in 1948, and the gym built in 1955. After the consolidation of the rural schools in 1958, a new grade school was built. It was completed in 1961. Schools which in their entirety or partially became part of the Granton Area Schools were Romadka, Merry Vale, Pine Circle, Cozy Corner, Maple Grove, Poplar Grove, Sunbeam (Lynn), Mayflower, Roder, Cunningham, Wild Rose, Big Four and Kurth. The new grade school cost 175,000. The second floor of the high school was remodeled into larger classrooms in 1959 and further remodeling and the addition of a stage, music and home ec. classrooms was completed in 1966. Additional building for and expanded Manual Arts classroom and bus garage was done in 1973. In 1974, money was voted to begin a new physical education building including a new swimming pool. It was ready for use at the end of 1975.
Principals since 1936 were Mr. Edelbeck, Carl Eisemann, Robert Shortell, Harry Scott, Francis Turner, Henry Anderson, Lavern Rick, Clayton Gardner, and since his death in 1970, Donald Erpenbach.
The graduates of Granton have gone on to many occupations and professions. There were many dedicated teachers over the years who prepared their students well. It is impossible to list them, but their labors have been rewarded by seeing the significant contributions to society made by many of their pupils.
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