Thursday, December 24, 2020

Academic excellence (& a rooster) at Myers School

Here it is Christmas Eve and the coldest early morning of the season, to date, so I've pulled out a photo from warmer days --- taken in front of Myers School about 1912-13 on a late spring or early fall day when not a shoe was in sight.

I can identify only three of the scholars --- my aunt, Flora Myers, is the little girl in the check dress second from right in the front row. She is standing shoulder to shoulder with her first-cousin, Harold Johnson, and Harold's brother, Richard, is the little boy fifth from right in the front row. My dad would have been an infant when this photo was taken.

Myers School was located in Section 27 of Benton Township, so-called because it was located on land donated by the Myers family and at one time populated largely by scholars who were Myers cousins. The Daniel Myers on the map was my great-grandfather and Irwin Myers, my grandfather; Mt. Carmel was the family church. The family settlement had been founded by Daniel's parents, Jacob and Harriet (Dick) Myers and their home farm was owned by time this map was produced, in 1908, by J.F. Anderson.

Some 20 years later, on Christmas Eve 1931, Myers School made the front page of The Chariton Herald-Patriot with this little report, celebrating academic excellence and reporting on the scholars' holiday play, "Kidnapping Betty," which does not seem especially Christmassy. Here's the report, headlined, "Myers School Maintains High Scholastic Average With 12 Above 90%." I find it interesting that a live rooster apparently was in attendance, too.


The Myers school of Benton township shows a report of 12 pupils, out of the 19 on the roll, that made grades above 90 percent. Those 12 pupils are Gail Parker, Neil Myers, Martha Ann Myers, Dean Burnett, Dorothy Wilson, Dean Parker, Margaret Wilson, Jack Thomas, Hayes Cumptston Jr., Wallace Patterson, Frances Myers and Cleo Myers. There were 14 pupils neither absent nor tardy.

On Thursday evening December 17, the school presented the play, "Kidnapping Betty." The cast was as follows: Dan Fielding (Stanton Poush), Betty Meadows (Margaret Wilson), Nat Meadows (Wallace Patterson), Mollie Fielding (Cleo Myers), Joanna Fielding (Frances Myers), Bud Simpson (Hayes Cumpston Jr.) and Sally Perkins (Harold Rasmus).

Although the roads were bad, the school house was filled to its full capacity and everyone enjoyed the play that the school had so well rendered.

Lindsey Wilson received the prize for guessing correctly the number of grains of corn that a hungry rooster would eat. The rooster ate 13 grains.


By this time, my dad was attending Chariton High School, but four of his little first-cousins are included in the list --- Neil and Martha Ann Myers, children of Nolan and Mary (Stephens) Myers, and Cleo and Frances Myers, daughters of John and R.G. (Burley) Myers. Cleo and Frances were taken in by my grandparents after their mother died, so I always looked upon them as aunts.


Western Iowa Karen said...

I love to look at historical pictures. I don't know much about Iowa geography as I have lived in the western part of the state for 43 years. My husband brought me here after we were married in 1977. We were going to help his parents with their church. His dad was a Nazarene minister in Sioux City, Iowa.

Tanya said...

I love these old school pictures. When you say that you can identify only three of the students, you're saying there were no names written on the back, correct? A couple of the girls in the very back look familiar, but I can't place them.