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Chautauqua County Historical and Genealogical Society

School Days Remembered

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A look back at days gone by of the town and  country schools that no long exist today. These are stories from people that attended these schools and have given their permission for them to be placed here for all to read.
 
If you attended any school in Chautauqua County and would like to write about it or a favorite teacher, best friend, class trip, Jr/ Senior prom, funniest  experience, sports you were in, day your school closed, etc. , please do so and send to:
 
 Chautauqua County Kansas
Historical and Genealogical Society
115 West Main
Sedan, Kansas 67361

 

My School Days in Chautauqua County Kansas

by Clarence D. Forbes

September 24, 2003

My first grade teachers name was Miss Miner, the second grade teachers name was Miss Myback and the third grade teachers name was Miss Pauline Casteel and the Principal and 6th grade teacher was Mr. Comstock. He was mostly bald with red hair and they all taught at Magga Kilmer school in Sedan.

IN the classes were Ruth McCullough, Donna June Miller, Betty Fox, Donald Tharp, Jack Polk, hold Denman, Richard Potter and a Host of others. In 1937 we moved to a farm house 1/8 miles of Limestone school. I was in the 4th grade. There was 5 Bruner kids, one Wilson boy, two McAfee kids, two that I dont remember their last names but one was Roy and he had lost the tip of his fore finger in an accident and their was 2 Clifford kids and me.

Our teacher was Mrs. Ester D. Clarke, she and her husband lived straight east of Limestone about 1 miles on north side of road. My brother Larry Forbes were born June 18, 1937 and we moved to the farm the latter part of August. I turned 10 years old on the 27th. School started after Labor Day and we went to school for 8 months so school was out the last Friday of May.

The school had a cistern for water and the water came from rain on south side of the roof there was a charcoal filtering system where water went into the cistern. There was a small horse barn on the south west property that was open on the south side for the horses that the Bruners rode and maybe the Wilson boy there was 3 stalls and room for hay.

In July of 1938 the men moved the cistern off the hole there was little water in it so they lowered Vernon Clifford and I into the cistern to clean it out. We scooped the water into a bucket and when we got all of it out, they lowered some water for us to clean the bottom with.

I dont remember the class sizes, but I know Dola Fern Bruner and the Wilson boy and I made up the 4th grade. Lois Bruner and Roys brother made up the 6th grade. Levona Bruner and Roy made up the 6th grade. I believe the Clifford (Vernon) might have been in the 6th grade too.

IN the summer time we would go fishing at Fletcher Ford west of Elgin on the big Caney river. There was the Bruners, Roy and Leona Petty, the McAfee and us the Forbes. We would take turns getting bait and doing the chores for the bait getters.

One time Dad and I had gone downstream from the Ford and we caught a 56 lb river cat. We had it weighed on Ackermans certified scales. In the fall of 1939 Dad was plowing Cliffords wheat field and plowed up a chipmunk it was out like a light so I took it home and put it in a bird cage. I entered it in the parade for the fair and won a $1.00 for second place as most unusual pet. I hid the $1.00 so I would have it for the fair, but forgot where I hid it. We found it when we got ready to move, I hid it on the ledge of our kitchen table (which I still have.)

Fur season was December and January. The hunting and fishing were from 1July till June 30th back then. Dad hunted and had traps that he set in the bluffs for Possum, skunks and coon. He had a black and tan hound that we called Major, Dad let me take Major and the single shot rifle to the plum thicket one eve about dark and we got 3 possum. Dad also hunted for coyote dens in the spring when he wasnt working on the W.P.S.

One day he took one of Moms old silk stockings and out 2 oranges in one side and two apples in the other side and tied the stockings closed and threw it around his neck in order for the fruit not to freeze. When he came home that evening he had 10 baby coyotes in the stocking. Dad always had a fishing hook in his billfold and he cut a stick long enough to reach the pups and tied the hook on the end and he got 10 pups that way and that meant $1.00 because of the bounty on the coyotes.

I dont remember anything going on at school but we did miss the three that was going to Sedan. Sometime after school started we moved a mile south and mile east of Limestone school. Dad asked if I could continue that year at Limestone and they said yet we were miles east of their line and into the Fowler school district.

I talked Dad out of 3 traps that I set that winter, he said not to run them of morning, look at them on the way home after school. I set them on west side of the north gulley, the south one by Spires house wasnt deep enough. I could look down on them when I was going to school. One morning after a snow I couldnt find one trap but I noticed movement and it was an almost while skunk. I think we got $25.00 for it. Where most skunks were from $10.00 to $15.00.

I had miles west to walk and then one full mile north to Limestone. I finished the 5th grade at Limestone, then that September I started to go to Fowler school. I walked mile to Hiway K99 then one full mile to Fowler, it was all to the east of the house. I remember Grandpa Puckett coming out and checking the field corn he wanted to make hominy and Dad said he didnt have nay white corn, Grandpa said that OK Ill use yellow. Dad never heard of yellow hominy but eh sure ate a lot of it. It was good. Of course today you can buy either or both.

Fowler school had windows on both north and south side of school house and a garage all made of stone and it had black Jack trees on south that helped shade the building. Limestone just had windows on the south. Some time during my 6th grade year, the folks moved to Peru and I rode to and from school with the teacher, she lived in Sedan. I was living with the Grand folks, Mr. And Mrs. E. C. Puckett.

I helped the teacher sweep, wash blackboards and dust the erasers. There was more girls than boys going to Fowler. I dont remember anything about going to Fowler that was exiting. I do remember we had to watch for snakes when going to the outhouse. I finished the 6th grade at Fowler and went to Peru to live with the folks for the summer but Dad didnt want me going to Peru school system. I dont know why, he never would say way.

When the school year started I moved back with the Grand parents this was the fall of 1940 and went to the 7th grade in Sedan. I took up snare drums and my aunt Mary Alice Puckett taught the class. The school year went smoothly and then I was in the 8th grade and up until December of 1941 I lived with the Grand folks. Then Dad and Grandpa went to Boeing in Wichita and got jobs as painters. They put a sealant on the gliders that Boeing was building. Dad rented a little place in Winfield for us but I finished the 8th grade living with Grandma Puckett. We were a family again after school was out.

I dont know when they closed the country schools or when the Limestone building was moved to within a miles of Sedan. They put it on the west side of Hiway. After my discharge from U. S. Navy the folks bought the old Golden place south of town. I married Ruth McCullough, we had three boys and 2 girls, one of the girls had rheumatic fever and died in 1973, then in 1986 the youngest son was electrocuted under his house so we had our problems but we used to drive around down the south of Sedan , the Limestone school was gone, Fowler was empty. My great grandson has a desk that I made have used when at Fowler, and Highrock was turned into a house.

Ruth is gone now, she Jackie and Danny are getting to know one another with my folks and Larry and most of her family. Ruth had Parkinsons for the last 9 years and Ive had open heart surgery and Im 76 years old, but Im not ready to go yet.