Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wayne County's "Old Blue School" & Ryan Cemetery

Find a Grave photo by Doris Christensen
Clint Milthorpe's principal claim to fame in Chariton involved the 40 or so years he spent as town marshal and/or constable prior to his death at age 80 during late December, 1943.

But he also was interested in local history and for at least four years sponsored a reunion at what then was known as Mayflower School, previously "Old Blue," north of Millerton and not far south of the Lucas-Wayne County line. Clint still owned a part of his family's old farm in that neighborhood at the time.

Here's a report of  the 1938 reunion, published in The Chariton Leader of June 28 that year. Note the reference to nearby Ryan Cemetery, now for the most part vanished:


Twenty-three persons Sunday attended the fourth annual reunion of students of Old Blue School, Clint Milthrope of Chariton, sponsor of the reunion, reported Monday. Bad road conditions and another reunion at Clio cut attendance below that of previous meetings, he said.

Old Blue School is in Wayne county, near the Lucas County line.

The Sunday program included a few informal talks, with Frank Lynch of Lineville giving the principal address. Milthorpe was another speaker and recalled some of the school's early history.

The first school taught in this district was by Creight Benson. It was in a log school house about a half mile north of the present location. They then built a large frame building, which was painted blue, and it was from this that it received its name of "The Old Blue," Milthorpe explained; "this building was built at the present location.

"When I first attended this school the country was thinly settled and east from where I lived there was section after section of prairie land. There were two stage coaches, one running from Chariton to Freedom and then to little New York and Corydon. They carried the mail and passengers. The other stage ran from Chariton to Corydon the same day.

"An unusual incident occurred in those early days. A young man named Sams, who lived with his folks on what is known as the John Teater place, was trailing a deer one day when a blizzard came up and he became lost and was not found until the snows went off that spring. He was buried in the Ryan Cemetery, about three-quarters of a mile north of where the school now stands.

"I want to mention particularly one of our school teachers, M.G. McCollough, who lived just west of our school district and was a farmer. I think he taught our school two terms. He was highly educated. He was Scotch-Irish and it was said that he was educated for the Catholic priesthood. He was a Cumberland Presbyterian. He afterwards went to Atlanta, Ga., and headed the schools there. As is often the case us kids did not appreciate a man like McCollough. He was very high-tempered in his discipline and we didn't realize his worth until years later. Let us pay a tribute to him today.

In conclusion, Milthorpe said, "Another of our teachers who taught in 1873 was Asbury Evens and he is now living at Russell, still being very active at the age of 85 years."

 At the Sunday reunion in addition to Milthorpe and Lynch were: W.A. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. O.B. Walmer, Sarah Nevada Hart, J.I. Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Gartin, C.M. Hawkins and Marion Hawkins, all of Corydon; Mrs. Frank Lynch, Lineville; Floyd Fisk, Hazel Williams, Carroll Vaughn, Mrs. Mary Ryun Pearson, H.R. Pearson and Twila Pearson, all of Cambria; Mrs. Charles E. Gartin, Clifford Wayne Gartin and Charles F. Gartin, all of Chariton, and M.A. Williams and L.K. Williams, both of Derby.

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