A New Dayton School

1 April 1882, p. 8, col. 1
The Schools are having a vacation this week. We understand the two schools are to be continued under the present competent instructors, and we hope the following summer will witness the erection of a new school building. It is something that is much needed, and as the railroad pays over one-half the school tax, the district is abundantly able to build one. Patrons of the school will do well to consider the matter, and if brought to a vote to cast their ballots intelligently.

[The votes were cast intelligently,as it turned out.]

19 Aug 1882, p1, col 3
The school directors of the town of Dayton have this summer built a new school house in the village of Dayton. It is a one story structure, but has two rooms 36 feet square, and a belfry. It is built on one of the prettiest spots in the village, and is a credit to the village and town. Mr. H. C. Furness drew the plans, which were carried out by Mr. Geo. Jekyll, builder. The heating will be done by a Ruby furnace put in by Booth & Kendall of this city.

[Someone apparently noticed that there were in fact two stories.]

30 Aug 1882, p. 4, col. 3
The new school building is rapidly nearing completion and will be one of the prettiest buildings in the country. It is a two-story frame structure, 36 feet square, and a belfry.
A petition was also extensively signed, authorizing the sale of the old school building.

January 17, 1885, p. 5, cols. 1-2
Dayton has a neat, two-story public school, presided over by Ottawa ladies – Miss Jennie Crane in the higher department, with Miss Mary Miller in the primary. About 70 pupils are in attendance.

[The school building was in heavy use for concerts, plays, Sunday school, meetings, lectures, sermons, and school programs, in addition to its educational function.]

[That schoolhouse burned to the ground the day before Thanksgiving in 1890. It was replaced by the schoolhouse shown below. It opened in September 1891, and served the children of Dayton and the area for nearly 75 years. It was closed at the end of the school year in May 1965, a victim of the new fire safety code. The old building was not up to code, so the children were bused to the newer Wallace school.]

picture of school

Opened in 1891, this school replaced the one which burned in 1890


All extracts are from the Ottawa Free Trader newspaper.

Students in the Dayton School – 1938-1942

school-children-at-desks   school-children-at-desks

The following list of students in the upper grades of the Dayton School comes from the La Salle County Genealogy Guild’s notebook on county schools.

                                1938-1939
8th grade
John Reynolds
Ruth Ralrick
Melvin Davis 
7th grade
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Rosemary Davis
Raymond Mathews
6th grade
John McGrogan
5th grade
Theo Mathews
Billy Buckley
Mary Logsdon
Helen Eltrevoog
Robert Lattimore
Albert Davis
Herbert Davis
                               1939-1940
8th grade
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Raymond Mathews
7th grade
Rosemary Davis
6th grade
Herbert Davis
Robert Lattimore
Mary Logsdon
Theo Mathews
Helen Eltrevoog
Billy Buckley
Albert Davis
5th grade
Barbara Ralrick
Betty Mathews
Glenn Logsdon
Robert McGrogan
                              1940-1941
8th grade and beyond
Kenneth Buckley
Jack Reiner
Bjarne Eltrevoog
Rosemary Davis
Raymond Mathews
William Patterson (possibly 7th grade)
7th grade
Theodore Mathews
Billy Buckley
Mary Logsdon
Helen Eltrevoog
Robert Lattimore
Albert Davis
Herbert Davis
                              1941-1942
8th grade
Billy Buckley
Robert Lattimore
Helen Eltrevoog
Mary Logsdon
Theodore Mathews
Herbert Davis
7th grade
Betty Mathews
Edward Patterson
Albert Davis
Glenn Logsdon
Leo Taylor
Barbara Ralrick
Alice Newtson
6th Grade
Jimmie Lambert
John Edsad (?)
Colline Davis
5th grade
Ruth Schmidt
Imogen Davis
Nora Davis
Donald Patterson
Marshall Claude

The Dayton School in 1925

school-children-at-desksschool-children-at-desks

The Ottawa Daily Republican-Times published a special school section on March 20, 1925, which included this list of the pupils of the Dayton school.

           District 209 – Dayton school.

teachers:
Jennie L. Fraine, Emma C. Fraine;
pupils:
eighth grade: Helen Hallowell, Robert Meagher, Edith Reynolds, Donald Ainsley;
seventh grade: Evelyn Huston, James Gleeson, George Garcia;
sixth grade: Elizabeth Meagher, Howard Tanner, Olive Draper, Donald Blue, Olive Garcia, Emmett                        Gleeson, Paul Ainsley;
fifth grade: Joseph Jacobs, Burrel Draper;
fourth grade: Dorothy Davis, Frank Davis, Billie Gleeson,;
third grade: Esther Meagher, Roy Fraine, Glenn Thorson, Reynold Ainsley;
second grade: Margaret Thorson, Janie Huston, Irene Meigs, Dollie Davis, Vera Draper;
first grade: Zelda Garrow, Kenneth Fraine, Vernon Blue, Loretta Gleeson, Stanley Thorson, Russell                      Metge, Mary Ryan, Billie Prince, Joe Davis.

The teachers, Jennie and Emma Fraine, were sisters, and life-long residents of Dayton. Their parents, Charles and Clementine Fraine, came to the United States from France about 1875 and settled in Dayton. Miss Jennie retired around 1945 and died in 1949. Miss Emma retired in 1952, after 50 years of teaching, most of them in Dayton. She died in 1959.

Christmas at the Dayton School

Christmas play at Dayton School

This Christmas version of the Maypole was part of the annual Christmas program given in the clubhouse in Dayton about 1955. This annual affair was a highlight of the Christmas season. The program was a composite of the Christmas story, the anticipation of Santa Claus’s visit, singing carols, and, of course, plenty of Christmas goodies to reward the actors.

It’s hard to identify anyone because most of the faces are hidden, but if you know anyone, please leave a comment identifying them.

A Dayton School Report Card

maud-green-report-card

In April 1880, when Maud Green received this report card, she was 13 years old. She was an excellent student in all subjects except arithmetic and deportment. She was never absent nor tardy, so what then were her sins? Did she whisper during lessons? Did she daydream while the teacher was speaking? What behavior could have reduced the deportment grade to 70?

When she was older, Maud wrote some memories of her school days:

The desk tops were hinged and when the boys walked on them mischievously they sometimes dropped unexpectedly with disastrous results.  A bench ran around three sides of the room to accommodate more pupils.  The other furniture consisted of the teacher’s desk and a small organ. We all had slates instead of tablets and our slate pencils came covered with gold or silver paper.  Once we girls put boards over the corner of the fence to make a play-house at school & we all took rag-dolls to play with at recess.

The teacher, Ada Green, was a native of Dayton, having been born there in 1859. She was the daughter of David and Mary (Stadden) Green. She taught at the Dayton school only one more year, as she married William C. McMillan on March 10, 1881 and they left the area for Iowa.

Miss Fraine Retires

Retiring After 50 Years, Teacher Will Be Honored     Miss Fraine

Miss Emma C. Fraine of Dayton, a teacher for 50 continuous years in the rural schools of La Salle County, will terminate her teaching career at the end of the current school year.

To commemorate the occasion, residents of Dayton and the surrounding communities, her numerous friends and former students will honor her at a tea to be held Sunday from 2 to 5 in the Dayton Clubhouse. Miss Fraine is now a teacher at the Dayton school.

This well known teacher has spent her entire lifetime in the Dayton community and was born in the house in which she is residing. Her parents were early settlers, coming here from the village of Alsace, France, about the year 1875. She attended the elementary schools and the high school which was then taught in Dayton.

In 1902 Miss Fraine embarked on her teaching career which was to carry her over the span of a half century and many changes in the educational field. She first taught in a rural school north of Earlville, later going to Waltham Township to teach. She then taught in the Kleiber School northeast of Ottawa and in Grand Ridge. During the years she was busy furthering her own education and taking summer courses at DeKalb.

In the year 1907 she was assigned to teach the primary grades in the two-room Dayton school and has continued in that capacity ever since – a total of 45 years.

During those 45 years there have been nine teachers in the other room of the school. Miss Fraine’s co-workers included Ethel Wright, her sister, Jennie Fraine (now deceased), Francis Stangeland, Clark Raber, Verne Thompson, Mildred Masters Summins, Mrs. Geneva Beard, Delores Gretencord and the present teacher, Mrs. Naomi Trent.

Sunday’s tea is being planned by a large committee headed by Mrs. R. P. Schmidt and including all persons of the community which Miss Fraine has served so long. Her hundreds of friends, acquaintances, former pupils and their families will attend.

The chief entertainment of the afternoon for the one-time pupils of the Dayton School will be trying to identify themselves in the scores of pictures Miss Fraine has taken through the years and which will be on display in the clubhouse. The school house, too, will be open for those who wish to show their children or grandchildren where they were taught to read and learned the Golden Rule.1


  1. from an unidentified newspaper clipping, probably the Ottawa Republican-Times, in the spring of 1952

Cooking in the Schools

               Apple    potatoes    Oyster

School lunch and home ec classes are nothing new. In 1913, the Farmer’s Voice, a farm magazine, reported on the forward thinking of La Salle County schools.

LaSalle county is forging ahead in things educational. This is shown by the splendid county institutes that are being held there. An item in the LaSalle County School bulletin tells of the work being done in the rural and village schools. Cooking in the schools is the newest thing up there. In some cases the teacher had a little oil stove on which soups and various dishes were prepared. In one district during cold weather a warm drink at noon is always provided, and sometimes roasted apples. The families are interested in this new departure and furnish materials. Baked potatoes were prepared at one school, using the ashes and ash pan as an oven. Vegetable soup and oysters have also been prepared and various hot drinks. Some of the girls spend scraps of time at home looking up dishes that might be prepared at school.1


  1. Farmer’s Voice, May 15, 1913, p 15

A School Christmas Program

School Christmas program

This picture of a Dayton school Christmas program dates from about 1955. It was held in the Dayton clubhouse and as you can tell by the picture, told the traditional Christmas story, complete with shepherds and angels. The six angels are (l to r) unknown, Sandra Leonard, Jimmie Mathias, Sally Clifford, Ronnie Thompson, and Betty Jo Hughes If you can identify any of the others, please leave your information in a comment.

Mrs. Trent and Santa

Following the pageant, Mrs. Trent (teacher of grades 5 through 8) welcomed a rather pop-eyed Santa who distributed gifts from the tree. Again, if you can identify anyone in the pictures below, please leave a comment. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

.18       Dayton school Christmas party

 

The End of the Dayton School

newspaper clipping - end of Dayton school

Bell Silent, Dayton School To Be Sold

School’s out for good at Dayton. The 75-year-old school house is going to be sold.

It stands alone on the hill, with grass and weeds growing a foot high, the playground sets turning to rust. The only form of life around is the pigeons in the bell tower.

The school opened in September, 1891. A two-story frame building with a half dozen large rooms, it sits on the foundation of a former school, occupied from 1882 until it burned down the day before Thanksgiving in 1890.

Dayton’s first school, erected in 1849 where the elevator now stands, doubled as a church and a town hall.

Until about five years ago, no church had been built in Dayton since the school served the purpose, or the people went to church elsewhere.

The first board of school directors consisted of David Greene, Richard Stadden and Rees Morgan, who were elected October 6, 1849.

Among the property and equipment to be auction off at 1 p.m. June 25 are several slate blackboards, antique patio blocks and an old school bell.

The youngsters don’t hear the bell clanging on their way to school. Instead, they are bused to the Wallace school, which whom the Dayton school district has consolidated.

In the 1965 school year book, a poem on the school reads:

In eighteen-hundred eighty three. . .
Our Dayton stood new for all to see. . .
Many a child has come and gone . .
And with knowledge they carry on . . .
After 73 years of golden rule . .
The sun now sets on Dayton School . . .1


  1. Ottawa Republican-Times, May 25, 1966

 

Remember the old school desks?

Embed from Getty Images

When I started at the Dayton school in 1945, we had desks that looked like this, although not quite so heavily defaced. In first grade there was no ink bottle in the ink well provided for it, and I don’t recall having one even in the higher grades. By then we had ball point pens, but the hole for the ink well remained. What I do remember about this desk is how we learned to write our names in first grade. Miss Fraine, who taught grades one through four, would write our names in chalk, in her beautiful flowing handwriting, on the top of our desks. We each had a jar of corn kernels and would outline the name with the corn, to learn the shape of our names.

Embed from Getty Images

The desks were fastened in rows, with the back of one seat supporting the desk for the person behind. Seven or eight rows of these seats held the four grades in each room. Miss Fraine moved from row to row as each grade was called on for their lessons. By the time you reached fourth grade, you had heard those lessons several times over.

Gracie Green’s school days

card & ribbon

In 1881 little Gracie Green was an eight-year-old student in the Dayton school. She was a well-behaved student, since her teacher certified that she “during the winter term of five months has not whispered once neither has she been guilty of any act of misconduct.” Grace was the daughter of Isaac and Mary Jane (Trumbo) Green. She was born in Dayton in 1873. She did not marry, and died in Dayton in 1894. She is buried in the Dayton Cemetery.

Gracie Green

Her teacher was Miss Desdemona (Dessie) Root. Miss Root taught in the Wedron school in the summer of 1881 and then moved to the Dayton school for one year, where she was responsible for the success of many of the entertainments held at the school house. She received many compliments on how well she had prepared her students for their performances. Surely little Gracie did her well-behaved best in her part, whatever it was.

Walking on the Desks

A Pioneer School

Maud Green told her memories of school life in Dayton in the 1870s and 1880s. The school would not have been as isolated as the one shown above, as it was right in the heart of the village.

The desk tops were hinged and when the boys walked on them mischievously they sometimes dropped unexpectedly with disastrous results.  A bench ran around three sides of the room to accomodate more pupils.  The other furniture consisted of the teacher’s desk and a small organ. There was always something extra for Friday afternoon.  One teacher read us chapters of “The Swiss Family Robinson” each week and we spoke pieces and sometimes had a treat.  Once it was oyster soup!  We all had slates instead of tablets and our slate pencils came covered with gold or silver paper.  Once we girls put boards over the corner of the fence to make a play-house at school & we all took rag-dolls to play with at recess.  Our best “play house” at home was when the oats-bin was empty in what we called the “little barn” north of the house.  Of course we all wore sun bonnets.

Miss Emma Clementine Fraine

 

Miss Fraine bookmark     1952 Class list - Dayton school     Miss Fraine

In 1952, Miss Emma Fraine retired after fifty years of teaching, most of them at the Dayton school, where she taught grades one through four. The class lists shown above include only those students whom Miss Fraine had taught, so not all of the members of the upper grades are included. Her classroom was a single large room, on the first floor of the school. Each grade had its turn at recitation, with time to prepare for the next lesson while other classes were reciting. If you listened to the recitations of the classes ahead of yours, you could get a head start on the next year’s work. She was a firm believer in teaching reading by means of phonics and when phonics fell out of favor, she asked the school board to allow her to continue her existing ways, which they were glad to approve.

Her parents were Charles and Clemence Fraine, who were married 11 May 1878 in Ranrupt, France. They immigrated to the US and came to Dayton by 1882, where they raised their family: daughters Addie, who married Richard Thompson, 31 Dec 1901; Jennie, who also taught school in Dayton and surrounding towns; and Emma, and son, Jules.

The School Playground

Dayton school picnic

Shirley Walleck and Judy Jackson are sitting on the merry-go-round, which is unusually stationary. The more normal state of affairs was to have several children pushing it madly around, while others clung to the bars and screamed. This picture was taken around 1949, at a school picnic held in the schoolyard.

There was other playground equipment – swings, monkey bars, and that favorite of some of us – the giants. Also called a Maypole swing or an Octopus, you’ll never see one on a playground today, but we loved them. As seen in this picture, you ran around the pole holding on to the handles at the end of the chains until the centrifugal force swung you off your feet.

playground equipment

What do you remember about the playground equipment? Leave your stories in the comments.