School: Peterson School - Town of Thorp

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) 


Surnames: Peterson, Warden, Robinson, Diedrich, Crowley, McKee, Sorenson, Lee, Warner, Ignasiak, Kern, Halvorson, Smart, Lund, Nelson, Ogle, Jacobson.

----Source: THORP COURIER (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) 07/03/1952

The Peterson School of District No. 4 is located in the NW ¼ of SW ¼ Section 21 of the Town of Thorp, Clark County, Wis. It is about forty-two miles from Neillsville, the county seat. The area of the district is four and five eighths square miles. There are 123 people living on 34 farms. These statistics are for 1952. The population has decreased considerably during the last 25 years when this same area contained 52 farms.

The school enrollment has also decreased due to the decrease in the number of families and size of families. The enrollment decreased from 71 children in 1919 to only ten in 1951. In 1952 the school will be closed and pupils will attend Lincoln School in Stanley.

At first the Town of Thorp and Town of Worden were combined in one township and in 1894 a division was made. The North Fork School (Eidsvold) was very crowded, due to the large number of families living there. That was one reason for organizing Distr. No. 4 known as Peterson District.

Harry and Guy Warden and Joe Robinson cleared the land purchased from Reuben Warden. Fayette Diedrich was contracted to build the building which is still in use, though built in 1891. A wood structure 22 by 38 feet set on wooden blocks was first built. Later a hall was added to the front and a woodshed to the rear. A stone foundation was added later. The building was heated by a box stove which was a boxlike stove with no jacket. The first wood for the stove was cut off the school yard. Each year 16 cords of two foot long wood were purchased, as well as two cords of pine for kindling.

School opened in the fall of 1891 with Bill Warner as first teacher. He taught one semester and then Joie Roth was selected as teacher. Two other early teachers were Tom Crowley and M. S. McKee.

The first pump was made of wood. The well now in use was the third one drilled, and the rust in the water still hasn’t been eliminated.

The school was originally called the Warden school in honor of Reuben Warden who lived nest tot eh school. Because there was a Worden school in the town of Worden, the two schools were easily confused. Later the Warden school was officially named Peterson school in honor of P. A. Peterson, who lived on the former Warden farm.

Although there are a number of Polish children in the district today, there were none attending school when it was first built. The first settlers were Scandinavian, Irish, Old American Stock and some German. Some early settlers were Reuben Warden, J. Jacobson, Wm. Ogle, John Nelson, Andrew Lee, Elmer Warner, Julius Lund, John Smart, Jacob Halvorson, James Kern, John Warden, Bernard Hanson, Charles Carlson, Martin Ignasiak, Ara Warner, and Jens Sorenson.

Four teachers later taught in this school who were eighth grade graduates from this school. They were Mabel Warden (Mrs. Oscar Isenberger) still living in the district., Imogene Baker (Mrs. Leo Oberlie) of Gilman, Olive Warden (Mrs. Bert Miller), Withee, and Nora Ogle (Mrs. John Poppe) living in Michigan.

Two sets of twins attended school together one year. Howard and Harold Warden and Flossie and Floy Black.

On Nov. 8, 1914 this school received a citation from Governor Walter S. Goodland honoring its former pupils who were in the service of the U. S. Armed Forces. Thirty-eight names were on the honor roll then. One soldier, Andrew Sehm, was killed in action in France. Later Carl Lund was killed in action in the Pacific.

This school was one of ten Wisconsin schools so honored.

This information was obtained from older residents of the community and complied by Delores William, the only eighth grad student in Peterson school in 1951-1952, and was part of her study of the history of Clark County.



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