Kansas State Board of Agriculture, First Biennial Report of Butler County, 1878, notes that Union Township, as the area was then known, had school districts Nos. 41 and 42 as early as 1874.
A larger, more prosperous city called Clay Center is in Clay County, Kansas. This Clay Center is in Butler County, an intersection at southeast 210th and Cole Creek. To get there one can drive west from Latham, south from Leon, east from Douglass, or north from Atlanta.
The Kansas One Room School House Project by Kansas Heritage includes the school in its 1944-45 list of Butler County schools. A second list, Heritage Project includes the school.
|Clay Center, District 41, Butler County, Kansas|
Did you ever hear the saying, "A dollar a day"?
From Skyways we learn about the number of schools and teacher pay in Butler County schools in 1878.
Schools. - Number or organized districts, 125; school population, 5,043; average salary of teachers, per month, male, $31.80, female, $26.65.
The term a "dollar a day" started with cowhands who were paid a dollar a day and food for their work. Teachers could rightly complain about pay back then for they were paid similar wages.
Before you get up on your high horse about the discrepancy in male and female pay consider this - male teachers often supported a family. Usually, female teachers taught for a year or two and married. Not always, mind you, but that was the way it was. Hey, don't get mad at the messenger (me), take it up with grandpa. Also, female teachers lived at home or with a student's family.
Again, from Skyways (id.):
School houses built during 1878, frame, 9. Total number of school houses, 123; log, 1; frame, 103; stone, 19. Value of all school property, $74,473. No report on shade trees.
In 1878, with a total of 123 schools for just over 5,000 students, the average school contained 40 children, but remember this list includes city schools such as those in El Dorado and Andover.
School attendance varied over the years. These small schools often had from ten to twenty children ranging in all ages. This can be seen from the few tattered old photos of schools and there students. Also, keep in mind there were no yellow school buses. Children walked to school, a few rode horses, so schools were as common as a QuikTrip and located every two to three miles in the more populated areas.. In school, the older children would help the younger ones.The teacher had her desk at the front of the class and would give personal instruction.
|Clay Center, Butler County|
|View from the west.|
|Stone Fence along the road to Latham|
Tour Butler County pdf