Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Prof. Goltry's scholars

I think I'm in love --- with this faded old photograph of Prof. Charles F. Goltry's scholars at Chariton Academy, taken during 1896. Wish it were in a little better shape. The surface is scratched and it has faded during the last 117 years. And of course everyone shown here is long dead.

But unlike the content of many photos from this era involving many people --- subjects arranged with military precision staring into the camera like so many deer caught in headlights --- there's life in the faces of the young people grouped rather informally here. Will Gookin (far left in the second row down from the top) looks like trouble, for instance, and Lillie Woods (fifth to his left) looks as if she had eyes principally for Will Gookin.

Better yet, everyone in the photo, with one exception, is identified. It came to the Lucas County Historical Society from Carrie Williamson back in 1969, but who took the time to write all the names on the back isn't known. Here they are, beginning with the back row (right click on "open in new window" and enlarge for a better look):

Back row: Nettie Troxel, May Hamilton, Lillie Douglass, Edith Walker, Maude Rickey, Margaret Taylor, Lois Molesworth, Alice Powell and Josie Barger.

Second row down: Will Gookin, Alfred Nelson, Adda Callahan, Ida Yont, May Huntley, Lillie Woods, Burdette Rodgers, Elsie Courter, Della Arnold Anderson, Ira Wells, Nora Teas, Mary Briles, Wilma Nelson, Albert Kennedy, Lloyd Courier and Emory Parsons.

Third row down: Prof. Goltry, Bert Plotts, (unidentified), Virgil Scott, Thede Lemley, Fred Goltry, Joe Morrison, Enos Anderson, Emmet Carr, Jay Colegrove and Clarence Williamson.

Fourth row down: Cora Buffington, Mrs. Goltry, Vernie Bond, Roy Douglas, Mable Black, Harry McNeely, Lilly Fain, Rena Logan, Oscar Stone, Ida Patterson, Adda Clouse, Carrie Hamilton, Sadie Dale and Viola Staker.

Front row: Tom Black, Alice Howard, Jessie Hopkins, Cora Combs, Lizzy Troxel, Carrie Barger, Mable Price, Dora Clouse, Mary Linstrom, Ina Champlain, Minnie Vannoy, Olive James, May Renolds, Bessie Whitcome, Lura Staker, Fanny Snuggs and Tessie Courter.


Charles Fitzgerald Goltry, whose students these were, was something of a renaissance man --- and I've relied upon his obituary, posted at Find A Grave, and a biographical sketch in the 1896 A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa for details.

Born during 1863 in Cedar Township to John and Barbara Jane (McGill) Goltry, he started teaching rural school in Cedar Township at age 20 after completing a course of study at an academy in Shenandoah, then in 1885 entered Drake University in Des Moines, where he excelled and eared his degree in classical studies during 1889.

After three years as principal of the Russell schools, he enrolled in a special course in chemistry and chemical analysis at Indiana State University, then accepted a position as professor of ancient languages at Central Christian College in Albany, Missouri, and a year later moved to the Humeston Normal College to teach physics and chemistry.

During 1892, Charles married Clara E Crim and two years later, during November of 1894, they established the Chariton Academy together. The academy was described as "a school for students desiring to fit themselves for teaching or for special business." By 1895, enrollment had grown from 11 to 62.

During November of 1896 he was appointed to serve, too, as Lucas County superintendent of schools, then re-elected to two additional terms. He also served for a time as superintendent of Chariton schools.

During 1902, however, Charles moved his family to Chicago and took up the study of medicine, graduating from the osteopathic physician program at National Medical College during 1907 and receiving his M.D. degree a year later from Bennett Medical College, also in Chicago.

Dr. Goltry began his practice in Cody, Nebraska, then moved to Westboro, Missouri, and in 1922 returned home to Russell where he practiced medicine until his health failed during 1949, when he was 86. He died a year later and was buried in the Chariton Cemetery near his first wife, Clara, who had died during 1909. Charles had married during 1925 as his second wife the widow Effie (Anderson) Raines, some 20 years his junior. She lived until 1975, then was buried, too, in the Chariton Cemetery.


Carol Pierce Coulson said...

Great information Frank. Harry McNeely was my great-uncle, brother to my Grandmother Myrtle McNeely Pierce. Fun to learn new information about him.
I grew up hearing lots about Doc Goltry, unfortunately I don't remember any of the stories!

Charles M. Wright said...

Thanks, Frank, for sharing this photo and for providing names to go with it. Dr. Charles Fitzgerald Goltry (1863-1950) was a first cousin to my Grandmother Mollie (Goltry) Wright (1868-1954). She said he was always called Steve by his family and friends but she had no idea how he acquired that nickname.

I correspond with a wonderful lady living in Warden, Washington named Isabelle Van Nice Winship who will be 98 years old in December. She was valedictorian of the RHS class of 1933. Her roots in eastern Lucas County are deep and she has an amazing memory of her early years there and the stories of her parents and pioneer grandparents who were among the earliest settlers of the region. Not long ago she sent to me a copy of a photo of her father Lester R. Van Nice and his friend Fred Goltry, a younger brother of Dr. C. F. "Steve" Goltry which she said was taken when they were students at the Chariton Academy. Isabelle wrote that she never heard her father mention his studies at the academy but he talked about how Chariton looked in those days and "what stores were where." He said that the south side of the square used to be all saloons, brightly lit up at night. And why wouldn't teenage boys who left farms to stay in the city and attend the academy not be amazed at such a sight and accompanying sounds.

Isabelle's father had also been a student at LaGrange School when C. F. Goltry taught there. She wrote that it was sometime between 1881 and 1891 for her father was born in 1875 and his first teacher had been his "double cousin" Miss Carrie E. Allen. He recalled that C. F. Goltry always carried a yardstick in the classroom and once when he was gazing out a window at the treetops, he was jolted back to reality at the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the aisle, then the loud whack of the yardstick on his desktop. When he protested, "I wasn't doing anything!" Professor Goltry replied, "Well, you'd better get to doing something!" -- insisting at least on a semblance of studying.

Isabelle's father said that Professor Goltry believed in giving his young students at LaGrange time to exercise outdoors after they finished lunch. He amused the citizens of the town with one of his activities. He had a very long rope that he laid out in a big loop. He required every student to take hold of it, the biggest and strongest at the center front to help pull along the others. Then he took hold of the ends and "drove" his whole school up and down the streets of town, calling directions to the leaders as if they were horses.