An Early History of Cache County…

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Compiled by M. R. Hovey, Secretary, Logan Chamber of Commerce. January 1, 1923 to January 1, 1925. Also as printed in the Logan Journal, beginning August 4, 1923.

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Early Public Schools

A house of worship and school building combined was one of the first buildings erected in practically every settlement in Cache Valley, or provision was made for the religious meetings and school to be conducted in the private homes until such building could be built. The statement that the colonizers in North America were more successful that those in South America for the reason those who colonized North America come to seek God and not gold, has no better application than in the colonization of Cache Valley. The settlers knew that if they succeeded in colonizing Cache Valley they must stay close to God and to do this well and advance, they must of course have schools.

As previously mentioned, the first meeting and school house in Logan was erected of logs on West Center, near the present building known as the Parkinson Hospital, corner of Center and Second West. The building was completed early in December 1859, and the first day school was held in January 1860, with Edward W. Smith as the teacher. The religious services were also held in the building. Charles Wright and Miss Davis also taught school in this building.

As the settlement increased in population and it received its charter in 1865 which provided for the creation of a school district more and better school buildings became necessary. Three schoolhouses were planned alike and built in the different wards of the city. They were about 25 feet by 50 feet, built of adobes and the windows were made rather high in the walls so the pupils could not look out and have their attention distracted from their studies. The First Ward schoolhouse was not built until 1870, and it stood where the present Lyric Theatre building is located. It was made of stone. The Second Ward school was located a little south of the corner of First South and Third West. The Third Ward school was built just a short distance west of the present Ellis school building and the Fourth Ward school on the courthouse property near the Harris Block.

These schoolhouses were built by donations of labor, money and materials from the people, who were indeed community builders. Following is a partial list, dated 1865, of some of the contributions made for the construction of one of the schools and shows how the people in those days had to scheme and labor to get public buildings of any kind—

The teachers in the First Ward school were John Chambers, Charles O. Card, Harriet Preston, Charles G. Davis, Phoebe Davis and Ida Ione Cook. Mr. Charles. O. Card also taught in the Second Ward school. For years Mr. William H. Apperly taught in the Third Ward school. Moses Thatcher, Lottie and Bell Benson, C. W. Penrose, later in the presidency of the L. D. S. Church, and Joseph E. Hyde, were some of the teachers in the Fourth Ward school. Miss Louisa Ballif and Harriet Preston conducted private schools for a number of years.

The fees for the public schools were $3.00 for a term for each student. Some of the early schoolbooks were Wilson’s readers, Ray’s arithmetic’s, Webster’s Blue Back spellers and Monteith’s geographies.

A school district was created and the first school election was held in August 1872, and the following were elected as the school trustees: Charles O. Card, Alvin Crockett and Robert Davidson.

These trustees also had supervision over the Logan High School or seminary held in the Lindquist Hall, now occupied by Mrs. Mattie B. Hansen on the corner of First East and Second North. From this seminary the Brigham Young College was evolved.

With the growing school population, it was not long until the ward school buildings were not adequate, so a bond issue for $25.00 was passed, and part of the present Woodruff school building, the Card school (now used as a meeting house for the 12th Ward), the Ellis school and the Webster school building, now a part of the 10th Ward meeting house, were constructed. The Woodruff, being a central school, was to take care of any overflow of the schools in other parts of the city.

At this time Miss Ida Ione Cook who was an able educator, was the Superintendent of the schools and the following were the teachers employed: W. G. Reese, W. S. Langton, W. G. Raymond, T. H. Merrill, J. H. Squires, Miss Bessie Morehead, Miss Rhoda Bowen, Miss Francis Maughan, Miss Mary A. Thain, Miss Armenia Parry, Miss V. Dobbs, Miss May Richman and Miss Francis Wood. The trustees were S. A. Langton, William Edwards, Richard Yeates, Andreas Peterson and Christian Larson.