School: Town of York, Merry Vale School
Contact: Michelle

Merry Vale School



Merry Vale has been an appropriate name for the school district number 3 in the Town of York, 3 miles from the village of Granton on county trunk K. However, for 30 years, it was known as School District No. 3, Town of York. The box socials, Halloween and Christmas programs, the yearly picnic which included a ball game between pupils and parents and the ten gallons of ice cream, also activities on the wooded area about mile north of the school house and sledding down the iced ravines and road hill were joyous occasions for all participants. Other special events included Thanksgiving dinners, speaking, reading and spelling contests, grain judging, piling wood and square dancing on Loren and Amelia Hales' new barn floor on a rainy picnic day in 1921.

The school district was organized about 1879. At that time a house was rented from Geo. Campbell for 8 and Arlette Verbeck from the Town of Weston was hired for 3 months of teaching commencing December 1, 1879. She had a 3rd grade certificate with a "teacher's standing" in the several branches upon a scale of 10: Ortheopy - 8, Orthography - 7, Reading - 9, Penmanship - 6, Mental Arithmetic - 4, Written Arithmetic - 5, English Grammar - 9, Geography - 7, Theory and Art of Teaching - 10.

The first school board members were S. D. Gibson, clerk G. H. Idle, director and H. S. Chase, treasurer. The school showed a balance of $144.23 on hand as of August 30, 1880.

The first school house was built by Joseph Marsh in 1880 and 1881, at a cost of $295.00. The land had been cleared by Wesley Bolten and G. W. Campbell for $7. The furnishings cost $62.25, including '12 patent" seats.

The enrollment soon outgrew the original wood frame school. During the summer of 1888 plans were made to build a brick school. In December of same year 6 "jobs were let". The first that of hauling 30 wagon loads of sand, a full wagon box to be called a load, was let to H. A. King at 75 cents per load to be delivered by the first of June 1889. Second job to furnish 8 cords of good quarry stone was let to A. W. Hales at $6.50 per cord. Third job of hauling 14,000 bricks was let to A. H. Tucker at $1.20 per M. Seth Chapel received the job of furnishing "3-40 feet sticks 8x10 inches and 2-26 feet sticks 8x10 inches to be strictly sound white oak timber at $17.50 delivered on the grounds." H. Windover would haul the lime when needed at 15 cents per barrel. G. A. Root was let the job of hauling timber from Loyal or Spokeville "on the grounds and putting it up in good shape with strips in between the layers, one M. Of lath to count as 100 feet of lumber and the shingles the same at $1.39 per M." On March 8, 1890, the old school house was sold to Bert (A. W.) Hales for $50 which he used as a granary for many years.

Two outhouses were sold to the highest bidder July 1891. Web Winn paid $1.05 for first choice and s. Winn 45 cents for second choice. In 1898 it was voted to build a woodshed at the cost of $50.

Sixty-five years after the brick school was built the district members voted to borrow $10,000 from the State Trust Funds to remodel and modernize the school to keep it open. This included modern plumbing, oil furnace, new lights and new seating. Most of the west side became windows, with the closing of the east and north side windows.

The consolidation date to Granton Public School District was 1959. However, the school was use for some of the third and fourth grade classes. Until about 1881, 3 months winter school commencing about Dec. 1 and 3 months summer school commencing about May 15 was held. Then the winter term increased to 4 months. Beginning Nov. 1889 the pupils attended 5 months of winter and 4 months of spring school. In 1903-04 a teacher was hired for nine months of continuous teaching. The second teacher was Ellen Covey of the Town of York her salary was $25 a month. Katie Isham then taught the winter term of 3 months for $22 a month. The 26 other teachers of the 19th century were Mary Johnson, Nora Renne, Effie Allen, H. S. Chase (first male teacher), Laura Allen, Cora Waterman, Ella Ferris, A. W. Tucker, Ella Worden, Lois Sawyer, Bertha Hallock, Mrs. Hannah Wright, Ernest Wicker, E. M. Lindsley, L. A. Beechler, Edna Osgood, Arthur Hallock, Sadie Graves, Mabel Gibson and Frank Snyder.

Twenty-two different teachers taught the next twenty years from 1900-1920. The first 8 taught 2 to 6 month terms. The last 13 and also E. H. Billing taught one or more 9 month terms. F. L. Snyder, Ina Arms, G. C. Deutsch, Mae Taplin, Louisa McIntyre, Mamie Randorf, Lillian McGinnis, H. J. McIntyre, Ethel Alton, Mildred Thoreson, Bessie Wright, Elsie Krause, Ora Davis, Blanche Morris, Vera Beechler, Pearl Beechler, Mariah Davis, Haidee Beechler, Ferne Williams, Alta Wright and Theodora Gallagher. In the next 38 years there were 14 more teachers: Barbara Olson, Ora Davis, Verna Kosmosky, Lucille Sharp, Esther Braatz, Irma Bartz, Glyde Graves, Ethyl Walker and Russell Gardner, who taught for 5 years from 1937-1941. Russell's sister Mamie taught for 8 years, 1944-51. Also teaching was Cecelia Poziambka, Margaret Beechler, Mary Yankee and Bertha Holt who was the teacher at Merry Vale when it was consolidated in 1959.

Mamie Randorf had 54 pupils in 1901-02. Three years later the enrollment had declined to 35 pupils. Mrs. Holt taught 10 students in 1958-59. Salaries fluctuated over the years with the economic condition and the supply of teachers. Salaries began at $25 a month in 1879 increasing to 127 in 1926 and dropping considerably during the Depression years - $65 was paid in 1933. The wage increased to $372 in 1958.

Providing heat in the schoolroom was a matter of concern until the oil furnace was installed. Usually supplying wood was let to the lowest bidder. However, some years the school board had to find someone to supply the wood. Some years the teachers were required to build the fire early in the morning and other years a farmer, school lad of the teacher was hired to do it. Before a well was dug, water was carried from Art Phipps' farm about 1/8 mile to the east by two older boys who were reimbursed for their services. One year Art Phipps was paid $5 for the water.

The cost of cleaning the school house ranged from $6 in 1896 to $85 in 1956. At the annual meeting of 1891 the job of cleaning the school 3 times a year and the out houses twice was let to Geo. Root for $7.50. By 1911 the requirements also included scrubbing the floor every month and cleaning the chimney once a year. In 1915 the storm windows had to be washed. For many years the floor was oiled, later it was sanded, sealed and waxed.

At present the school house and woodshed remain unused except for storage. It is owned by the Granton Public School District and land leased from Richard and Betty Eibergen for 1 a year.

----Source: Granton Community Memories 1856-1976



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