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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XIII: the county school system,   pp. 78-90


Page 78

CHAPTER XIII
THE COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM
With respect to the early rural schools in Dunn County few records have been
preserved; perhaps because there was little to record in regard to them. Though
not insensible to the benefits of education, the pioneers were engaged in too hard a
struggle for existence, and had too little means, to be able to devote much money
for school purposes. Schools were started here and there, however, where there
was a sufficient population to support them, and teachers were engaged for a small
recompense. Many of them had received no special training for that work, but
as they were expected to instruct the pupils in little more than the three most ele-
mentary branches of education-reading, writing and arithmetic-their duties were
not p 1:ticularly hard. Perhaps their greatest troublc; lay ii !he management of
unruly children and in the primitive accommodations with which they had to put
up.
The first county school superintendent was Seriah Stevens, who took office in
1855, and apparently served ten years, as the next county superintendent men-
tioned was A. J. Messenger, who entered upon his duties in 1865. In 1859 the
county board of supervisors appropriated a total of 8144.96 for educational pur-
poses, which was distributed among the five towns then composing the county as
follows: Menomonie, $19.20; Eau Galle, S17.92; Rock Creek, S27.84; Spring
Brook, $44.48; and Dunn, $35.52.
In the following y ear, 1860 in which there were six towns, Peru having been
set off from Rock Creek-the total apportionment was S169.00.
A. J. Messenger was succeeded as county superintendent by Carol Lucas, who
served in 1866-67. By this time, if not before, the schools of Dunn County vere
receiving state aid, as the county board records in November, 1867, mention the sum
of 8959.27 as "State school money from state paid the several towns."
The successive countv superintendents up to 1892 (after the two already
mentioned) were: T. C. Golden, 1868-69; Carroll Lucas (second term), 1870-71;
W. S. Johnson, 1872-73; George Tonnar, 1874; George Schaffer, 1875-79; Florence
Ticknor, 1880-81; A. B. Finley, 1882-84; Mary B. Slyle, 1885-86; J. C. Sherwin,
1887-88; H. W. Reed, 1889:90; J. E. Florin, 1891-92. (For later superintendents
see chapter V).
With the meager records that have been found for these early years, it is impos-
sible to give a detailed account of the growth and development of the educational
system of the county. The tax apportionments from year to year show a steady
increase, and for the year 1900 there is a record to the effect "That there be levied
for school purposes a county school tax of SI10,800. 70, to be the same as the amount
apportioned to the several towns and Menomonie City by the state superintendent
for the year 1900."  As the amount set apart for Menomonie City was 82,519.17,
the apportionment for the rest of the county was $8,413.60.
From the year 1912 down to the present more definite information is available.
In that year the county was divided into 133 school districts, with 135 schools,
in which 163 teachers were employed. Of these schools 122 were one-room district
schools; two were two-room district schools; three were second-class state graded
schools; six were first-class state graded, and two were free high schools. Colfax
and Downing had high schools, that at Downing having been organized at the be-
ginning of the year. In the same year five teachers' institutes were held at ag many
different places in the county, and one school board meeting was held in the city of
Menomonie. The total expenses of the office of county superintendent of schools
(not including the superintendent's salary) were 8763.41, which had been previously
paid out of the general fund. In the following year, 1913, a sum of $2,532 was set
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