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By: Mona Ruttman

       It may come as somewhat of a surprise to learn there were 264 school districts established in Woodward County before Statehood. It’s not quite so surprising, though, once one remembers that Territorial Woodward County consisted of the western end of the Cherokee Outlet (or Strip, as some prefer), an area roughly sixty miles north-south and fifty miles east-west. All of present Harper and Woodward counties, the northern part of Ellis and the western end of Woods counties were contained within the borders of county “N”, Oklahoma Territory, when it was opened for settlement September 16, 1893. A little over a year later, November 6, 1894, the name of the county seat, Woodward, was given to the county and it remained so until November 16, 1907.1

       The dust had hardly settled before thoughts were turned to establishing schools. Woodward had been established in 1887 as a depot for the Southern Kansas Railroad, later the Santa Fe.2 Therefore, there were already families living there. Combined with the newly arrived settlers, they formed the first school district on January 19, 1894. Not far behind was Elm Grove, District No. 2, along the North Canadian River in the southeast part of the county, on January 23 with Shattuck, No. 3, following on February 3. This was the first district in present Ellis County. The first school in present Harper County was formed June 15, 1894 (#22 Otter Creek/May). Freedom, #38, first called Anderson, then White Cloud, came along on March 23, 1895, and was the first school in the western side of Woods County.3

       Practical though it was, this practice of numbering the districts as they were formed led to a random numerical distribution that made it difficult to locate a given school.4 It did, however, make it easy to follow the settlement pattern. Thirty-two districts were established during 1894, seventeen in 1895 and only four in 1896. Ellis County formed one in 1897, Woodward added three, including Ft. Supply #57, in 1898, and six were scattered around in 1899, for a total of sixty-three schools by the beginning of the new One of these, #41, had been dissolved and added to #19; in 1901, the number was re-assigned in Ellis County, and, after Statehood, once again on December 17, 1908, it was used for a different district in Woodward County! This is the only number assigned that many times.5

       A dozen new schools appeared in 1900, followed by forty-eight in 1901, sixty-five in 1902 and thirty-eight in 1903. This rapid accumulation came as a result of the “Free Homes” Bill (the Flynn Act) which was passed in 1900 by the United States Congress.6 This new law removed the requirement to pay for the land, which, in this area, had been set as one dollar per acre.

       Nearly all of the homesteads had been claimed by 19037, and the pace of new districts slowed down; fifteen were started in 1904, with a like number in 1905. Four more in 1906 and three in 1907 ended the fourteen-year territorial period with a total of 264 districts having been formed in old N County.8

       It would be impossible to say how many schools were in session at any given time. From very early on, schools were being annexed to nearby districts. Some years, a district might be unable to hold school, but, in the next year or two, they would be back. Technically, if school was not in session for at least three months, it would be “lost”. I think this was not always the case, though.9

        Soon after Statehood in 1907, Ellis and Harper counties renumbered their districts. Starting in the northeast corner of their respective areas, they followed the pattern set by sections in a township, i.e., from right to left, then reversed for the next row, until the county had been covered.10 This made it much easier to locate any given district. Woodward kept the original numbering. As the need arose to have another school, a number formerly used in one of the other counties was reassigned, so that after 1907 it wasn’t always apparent which area had been settled first. For example, Pea Ridge, just below the Cimarron River in the far northern part of the county, was probably the last school to form an original district, yet it was given the number 3, first given to Shattuck.11 Some large districts were split, and in some cases, a new district was created out of parts of those surrounding it.12 Western Woods County seems to have kept most of the original numbers. The county as a whole was a combination of original numbers along with some renumbering. 13

        The northern part of Ellis County had sixty-two schools, the same as before statehood.14 Harper county had sixty-six and eventually organized another eleven for a total of seventy-seven.15 Originally there were twenty-seven districts in the western end of Woods County with thirty-two eventually identified.16 Woodward County had 109 original districts formed later to total 122.17

        An oddity to be dealt with in locating a school is the need to know the district number as well as the name, for several shared identical names. There were three Sunny Slopes in northern Ellis County alone, one in Harper, and one in Woodward. Woodward County had five Pleasant Valleys, another three Pleasant Hills, two Enterprise, while Woods County chimed in with another one.18

        School was held wherever accommodations could be found. Many times the first terms were in claim homes.19 This may have been a dugout20, a soddie or a cross--a half sod/half dugout 21; and these came in all styles. Morning Star #236 “...was in a half-dugout in the side of a creek bank.”22 Where timber was available, the familiar log cabin appeared. Lone Star #11, though, used their blackjacks to build picket style.23 One district in Harper County just named their school Picket (#143, Harper #68) but later changed it to Prairie View.24

        Whatever the case, a frame building was provided as soon as possible. 25 Lost Canyon #30, originally to be called Cedar, was maybe a bit too quick. The district lay several miles southeast of Mooreland, the nearest place to obtain lumber. The trip was a long one for wagons, so it was dark well before the men reached the site, and they just left the wagons there overnight. When they returned the next morning, nothing was there! Thinking someone had stolen the materials, they started a search. To everyone’s surprise, and relief, the lumber was soon found, intact, in a nearby canyon, where it had been mistakenly delivered in the dark.26

        Interiors followed the same general pattern of students’ and teachers’ desks, with whatever equipment could be provided. Much of the early furniture was crude and homemade. Starting in mid-November, 1963, and running through the end of March the following year, The Woodward County Journal ran a series of short stories contributed by readers who had either attended or taught in some of the earliest county schools. Many of these concerned the buildings and their contents. Golda McCaslin Riling wrote that Enterprise #151, in the southwest part of the county, was first a one-room sod house with dirt floors. In order to floor it, money was raised by holding a box supper. (These were entertainment evenings during which decorated boxes filled with food for two were auctioned off. The man who bought the box then ate with the lady who had prepared it. They were still holding box suppers when this writer attended a rural school in the 1930s.) The flooring for Enterprise was thus obtained. It was made of twelve-inch planks which didn’t fit together very tightly. Dropped pencils were gone forever, and surely it must have been drafty in the winter. Student seats and desks were homemade, but the district purchased a chair for the teacher. 27

        Irene Jones reported the first term for Bricker #62 was in a dugout, while the second was in the Bricker kitchen, with boards nailed around the wall for desks. Each child brought his or her own chair.28 Mrs. Ralph Dennis recalled “...long benches placed along the walls were used for seats.”29 At Picket #143 (Harper #68), seats were made of split logs held up by stakes driven into holes made in the dirt floor. Presumably, the desks were of similar construction.30 No moving of these to sweep!

        If you were lucky, the school had a blackboard or slate-board, but it might just be a painted space on the plastered wall!”31 Books were whatever the family could provide from their former home states. One teacher mentioned five states as being represented. 32 These books were handed down from child to child. Rarely would a child receive a new book.33

        Stoves were fueled by “cow chips’ at first; later, the district might afford wood or coal.34 Water was either brought from home or shared from a bucket pumped full and brought into the building. Usually, a common dipper was used, but some pupils brought their own tin cups.35 Lunches were brought in syrup pails, or any bucket with a bail. Homemade bread with jams and jellies were common fare.36 Coats were hung on nails when not needed for warmth.37 Restrooms were small, outside buildings placed at the rear of the school yard and moved from time to time as needed.38 Teachers were expected to be their own janitors and sometimes janitorial duties were included in the contract.39

        Besides the evening entertainment’s, such as box suppers already mentioned, recreation was integrated through the school day. Kids played games as they’ve always done. The enjoyed many activities such as baseball, blackman, ante-over, dare-base and others. Later, playground equipment, such as a merry-go-round, teeter-totter or a slide, might be added.40

        The time after the last recess on Friday was often set aside for cleaning the room and then enjoying some kind of “match”. Ciphering matches consisted of pitting one team against another in solving arithmetic problems given out by the teacher. The pupil who gave an incorrect answer or was beaten by his partner was “down”. Spelling matches were similar unless they were spelling “Railroad style”. In this, after the lead off spelled railroad, the opposite speller must spell a work starting with the last letter, “D”, perhaps for dog; his opposite then followed with a word starting with the last letter, “G”, and so on. This not only was a test of spelling, but of memory, for, if he spelled a previously used word, the student was also down. Someone, usually the teacher, kept a list to check against in case of a dispute.41

        The Oklahoma Territorial Legislature had set a term of school as not less than three months, to be held between October1 and June 1, in each year.42 They also established three classes of teacher certification. Fifteen areas of study were covered in stringent testing for a First Grade Certificate. A percentage grade average of not less that 90%, with no score less than 70%, was required and the recipient must be twenty years old or older. This permitted three years of teaching.

        A Second Grade Certificate, good for two years, was issued to those who made an 80% average, with no score less than 60%, in thirteen specified areas, if they had taught three months and were at least eighteen years old.

        Third Grade Certificates required the teacher to be at least sixteen and have a 70% average, with no grade less than 50% in seven areas. This grade certificate, good for one year, would be issued no more than twice to an individual.43

        Examination questions were prepared by The Territorial Board of Education, printed under the authority of the Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction and sent to County Superintendents throughout the Territory, to be given on the last Friday and Saturday of January, April, or October. After the tests were scored, the appropriate certificate was issued by the County Superintendent for use in his or her county.44

        As mentioned previously, these questions were designed to thoroughly test the teachers’ knowledge of the For example, an arithmetic question on the October 1898 test was: “A farmer has 110 acres of land; he plows 3 acres for 7 cows, and pastures 4 acres for 9 cows; how many cows did he keep, and many sheep, if 2/3 of the number of cows equals 2/5 the number of sheep?” Geography included, “Name in order the bodies of water on which you would sail from Omaha to St. Petersburg.”45 Unfortunately, the answers were not included!

        Provision was also made for a Territorial Certificate, which would be good under certain conditions, for the lifetime of the individual.46 Normal School diplomas, too, were considered to be Territorial Certificates.47

        Regulations changed, probably as experience dictated. The 1893 law reduced some of the required courses as well as the age and experience needed for a certificate.48 A copy of a Third Grade Certificate issued in 1895 to a Miss Katie Myers showed grades for the specified seven courses, 49 while one issued in 1902 to Miss Edna Coffey gave those for eleven. 50 The early certificates had the course listed with space provided for the grade to be recorded. No hiding a weak spot from the local school board!

        In order to prepare for these exams, prospective teachers attended Normal Institutes. These were two to four weeks in length and were held in Woodward from 1894 through 1913 for twenty-two terms. (Three were held in 1894.) Attendance records show eight persons for the April 1894 session with a steady increase until a peak of 154 was reached in 1911.51 Some attended Normal School at Alva. 52

        Salaries were low, but so were prices. Lily Hargis Murray reported earning $35 and $40 per month between 1901 and 1905, but paying $2 per week for her room and board. “At that time on those salaries, I was able to buy for myself a piano—organ, $125., a new Davis sewing machine, $40., and attended the World’s Fair at St. Louis in 1905, besides attending four summer sessions of Normal Training School held in Woodward."53 Mary Burger Peoples (Mrs. C.C.) also taught during this time period and said she “...wore calico print dresses which cost from ten cents to twelve cents a yard and [I] made them myself.”54

        Some schools were unable to tax themselves at first. Thus, those families with school-aged children pledged to pay $1.00 per child per month, so the teacher’s pay depended upon the enrollment.55 These subscription schools would be replaced with “free” schools as soon as possible, but, even so, pay could be uncertain. If the district was short of funds, the banks would discount the warrants. Often, these had to be held for a year before the teacher could get the full amount. 56

        Districts could be very large and with families on each quarter, enrollments were sometimes humongous. Ninety students in one small school room met the teacher at Valley #14 in l895. 57 Doby #25 (Harper #32) bested that, though. It covered the whole township in 1895, and in 1905 had ninety-four pupils.58 This kind of situation usually led to new districts being formed. 59

        Mother Nature can be unpredictable here on the High Plains. In 1903 there was no flood control locally, nor were there bridges over the North Canadian River. If a person wanted on the other side of the river, it was necessary to ford the stream. Flood water could loosen the bottom sand on normally firm areas and unexpectedly become quicksand, a decidedly scary situation. Debris of all sorts sped downstream with high water, making a crossing perilous; throw in cold weather with ice and just getting to school was an adventure. 60

        Prairie fires, tornadoes, blizzards--all swept across the area and Flora Bourne saw them all.61 As frightening as anything nature could throw at a school were the fires started by hot stove pipes. Teachers and pupils were on their own to save the situation. Mrs. James Turnbull said of her experience that the boys carried buckets of water from a nearby neighbor’s well; buckets full were handed up to other boys on the roof while she threw water on the ceiling. The wind kept the flames in one spot and they managed to douse them. I agree with her when she said, “I guess a miracle happened that day.”62

        Two similar instances were recalled for The Woodward County Journal articles. A log cabin (later Mutual school) fire was stopped by students,63 and a “grass fire” within the sod building at Dudley #23 scared the teacher into flight until she was convinced that the sod would not burn.64

        Rattlesnakes and skunks were hazards of a different kind. The canyons that cut through the county from northwest to southeast are still home to the diamond back rattle snake, while the prairie or ground rattler can be found most anywhere. Skunks are seen—-or at least smelled--throughout the county. Mountain View #42 sprouted a wall of snake skins after some of the boys determined to make the school area safer by killing every snake they65 could find in the nearby canyon. The teacher at Plainview #92 had a harrowing pre-school exercise one morning. Hearing a strange noise, she hurried outside to find a rattler attempting to make breakfast of a small rabbit. When she tried to hit it with a shovel, it turned on her; she escaped into the building until the snake returned to the rabbit. Gathering some rocks, she threw them until the snake was disabled enough to allow her to get close with the shovel, and she was soon able to kill it.66

        Another teacher shared her memory of a nice spring day when she left the door open so they could enjoy the fresh air, only it got a little “fresher” than she expected. After spotting a skunk headed straight for class, she managed to shut the door in time to keep it out, but his hurt feelings at such treatment were made plain to all.67

        In the earliest schools pupils progressed from one reading level to the next, so that they were considered to be in whatever grade they were reading. Eventually, though, they were required to pass a test administered by the County Superintendent if they wished to graduate. This test was prepared by the Territorial Board of Education and sent out to the County Superintendents to be given on a set date set by the Territorial Superintendent of Public Instruction. Question covered arithmetic, reading, geography, penmanship, grammar, composition and spelling, U.S. History and physiology. (The March 24-25, 1898, test is included in as Appendix I of this paper, if anyone would like to try their hand at graduation from the Common Schools of Oklahoma Territory.68

        To take this test, a student might have to go to the court 69 house as Cecil Wells remembered doing, or there might be a number of schools gathered at a common location for the test as recalled by Dortha Highfill. Eight schools were represented when she was with the eighth graders who took the exam at West Union #97.70 Later, superintendents traveled to each school, and the tests were given to the students in their own classroom.71

        The rural population decreased after the peak homestead days of the early 1900s. Schools transferred students to more populous nearby districts and finally annexed to them. One hundred twenty-one schools in Woodward County reported paying a teacher for at least a three-month term in 1911. That figure dropped to 116 in 1912, and after 1913, there was a slow but steady decline in the numbers recorded.72

        Schools annexing to nearby districts created large areas that soon began to re-organize into consolidated districts. Laverne, in Harper County, became Consolidated #1 in 1912; Rosston, May, Buffalo, Selman, Willard and Paruna followed, making seven of these. Quinlan, C #1, and Tangier, C #2, were formed in 1919, followed by Mutual and Sharon in 1920 and Ft. Supply, Mooreland, Curtis and Richmond in 1921 to make eight consolidated districts in Woodward County. Ellis County started consolidation in 1920 with the formation of Fargo as District #2. Gage and Shattuck soon followed. Although a number of districts are now in Arnett’s school system, Arnett itself is outside of the original Cherokee Outlet. Dates for western Woods County consolidations were not found, but Farry C #2, Freedom, C #3 and Centerview, C #4, were all in that area.73

        In turn, these consolidated districts began to reform until at present, 1993, there are ten independent districts in the former County "N", (not including Arnett, as noted above); Ellis County has three, Harper County two, western Woods County one, and Woodward County four.74

        Much of the population loss that brought about these consolidations can be attributed to the “dirty thirties”. Northwestern Oklahoma was in the very middle of the Dust Bowl. Those days will never be forgotten by anyone who lived through them. Some days even lighting the kerosene lamps was of little help.75 “Often we could not see the coal house from the school building... no one left the school until some father came to take the children home.”76 Melvin L. Korn was Tangier Superintendent when the “Black Blizzard" of March 1935 struck. Total darkness fell, and to get from his office to the teacherage he had to feel his way on hands and knees. He reported that fine, sticky dust frequently settled on desks, dust so fine it couldn’t be brushed off and a wet cloth only produced mud. With all windows wide open they used gasoline to remove the film. Only when the smell was gone could the windows be closed.77

        Many people left the area at this time, hoping to find jobs elsewhere. Many more left for the same reason in the early forties when World War II was being fought. Some returned when the war was over, but many never returned to the region. So few families were left in the rural areas that a crisis occurred for the schools. For years there was a shortage of teachers as well as fewer and fewer students. Schools began to transfer their pupils to larger districts; and then the Oklahoma Legislature stepped in.

        Consolidation laws had been passed before, but nothing like House Bill 85 in 1947. The bill had many parts, but basically it provided that any district having no students to transfer to another district, already transferring those it had, or having less than thirteen pupils, was to be disorganized and annexed to one or more nearby districts.78 This was one time that thirteen was a lucky number! People were distraught at the thought of losing their school and therefore their identity as a community, but throughout Oklahoma hundreds of school districts were disorganized on July 16, 1947. One hundred and one districts in the former County "N" alone were dissolved on that date, with many more carrying other 1947 dates as their final notation.79 Some continued to hold school for a few more years, but when Mayfield #71 annexed to Mooreland on July 8, 1953, the one-room rural school era in old “N” County had ended.80

        In 1893, the United States had been caught in a devastating depression. Area—wide, drought plagued the land for several years. Families came to “The Strip” expecting (hoping) to make a new start, to put old failures behind them. Some succeeded, but many found themselves forced to move on. One ninety-year-old shared his observation of the situation, saying there were so many kids at Chick (#63) that a partition was put down the center to make two rooms, one for the lower and one for the upper grades, and another teacher was hired. Five years later, most of the quarter sections were empty, the people had starved 81

        Despite the very real physical and financial hardships faced by the homesteaders, they evidenced an equally serious commitment to educating their children. If a school wasn’t started by the county, they took care of it themselves. More than one schools was a going concern before it had an official sanction. A couple of examples are Mitten #135 and Cedar Bluff #212.

        South of what later became Tangier, school was held in the home of Henry and Eva Laubach for their children and any neighbor children who wanted to attend. Sometime in 1901 a two-storied house was built, with the second story being one large room that was outfitted with school furniture. In March 1902, a district was organized and a building started on land donated by Charles Mitten, for whom the school was named. The first term was held there in the fall of 1903.82

        Mick Wycoff, who lived in the canyon country south of Freedom, built a school house, hired a teacher, and sent his children and those of his workers off to what was called simply the Mick Wycoff Ranch School. Sometime in 1903 it was reorganized as District #212. By 1910, many families had moved from the area and a new building was raised on the west side of the district, near Doe Creek. People sometimes called it Doe Creek School, too.83

        Rural schools have many times been given a bad rap, one they didn’t deserve. I can think of no other institution that had such a unifying effect on any given area. Not only did they provide the education needed by the children (if anyone thinks it was an inferior education, I suggest that they try the Common School Exam in Appendix I), schools brought the adults most of whom were strangers to one another, together as a community. In many instances, languages other than English were spoken in the homes; schools then became tools for the Americanization of whole families.

        Given the transportation and communication limitations of the Territorial and early Statehood days, schools served as social centers. Money—raising events gave neighbors an opportunity to catch up with what was going on at the same time that they were working to provide materials for teaching, treats for Christmas, or whatever the school cause.

        The one-room rural school has passed into history, but the results they produced are with us yet. The commitment of the pioneers to provide a better life for their children seldom faltered. The skills developed in those small schools, both educational and social, served the students well. Those going on to high school could do so knowing theory were well prepared. Those staying on the farms/ranches functioned well in their communities. Many rose to leadership positions in the commercial centers that developed to serve the needs for the settlers. Although few of these towns survive, the spirit of community is alive and well. Speak of Catesby, Persimmon, Kibby, Richmond. ..and natives of the area know immediately of someone “who came from there.”

        The one-room schools are gone, but the communities they helped to forge provided the foundation for our present. Let’s not forget them.


Index to Newspaper Articles
l. Woodward County Journal, March 5, 1964, “Stories of the Early-Day Schools of Woodward County”, Charles G. Baxter and Mrs. C. E. Williams. Cited hereafter as Woodward County Journal.

2. Louise B. James, Below Devil’s Gap, The Story of Woodward CountyPage 71.

3. County “N” Boundary Book, 1894-l907.

4. See Appendix A for a school map.  Harper Co.  Woods Co.

5. County “N” Boundary Book, l894-l907, and School Plat Book, 1920, (for Woodward County).

6. United States Statutes at Large, Vol. 31, 179, as cited by A. M. Gibson in “Oklahoma Geological Survey Guide Book XV, Alabaster Caverns and Woodward County”, 1969, Page 31.

7. Ibid., 35.

8. County “N” Boundary Book, 1894-1907

9. County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook, (Woodward County), 1894-1902/03 and 1907/08-1918/1919 shows several districts not reporting a teacher for a year or two, but then picking up again. See Districts #6, 12, 45 and others.

10. Sage and Sod, Harper County Oklahoma, 1885-1974 Vol. 2, 334-335; Record of School District Plats , Vol. 1, County Superintendent (Ellis County). See Appendix B for map Cited hereafter as Sage and Sod.

11. School District Plat, Woodward County 1920,.
This date is misleading. The plats start with the original District #l47, formed 27 Mar 1902. The last half of this book has the Woodward County School District Plats listed as 1 Mar 1908 however, there are some missing and some that were established later in the year.

12. Examples are Woods County, Unity #78, the eastern half became Houston Valley #93; Woodward County, Happy Valley #35 was created from parts of Locust Grove #150, Woodward View #18, Mitten #135 and Little Jewel #216. Happy Valley #35 was a reassigned number after Statehood,the original having been in Harper County.

13. Mildred Julian Hager, (Compiler), "Oklahoma ‘N’ County Schools, 1894-1907." 1991. (Copy in Woods County Commissioners Office).

14. See Appendix C for a list of original and 1908 Ellis County District numbers.

15. See Appendix D for a list of original and Harper County District numbers. This list was compiled from Sage And Sod, Pages 335-401.

16. See Appendix E for the Woods County list, compiled from Hager, “Oklahoma ‘N’ County Schools 1894-1907.”

17. See Appendix F for the Woodward list of school districts.

18. See Appendices C, D, E, and F.

19. Metta Woodward, (Compiler,) “Pioneer Teachers of Woodward County,” unpublished manuscript, 1951, Irene Jones. Cited hereafter as Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”. This despite the 1893 Statutes of Oklahoma provision that there be “...a good and sufficient school building....”, Page 1109.

20. Woodward County Journal, Jan. 2, 1964, Pearl Jones Berg.

21. Sage and Sod, W. S. Jordan, Page 374.

22. Woodward County Journal, Nov. 14, 1963, Melvin Boweers.

23. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Irene Jones.

24.Sage and Sod, Mabel Simmons Thomas and Garrett Williams, Page 354.

25. Evelyn Fritzler, Tangier History 1889-1961, 1987, 15. Cited hereafter as Fritzler, Tangier.

26. C. A. Ridenour, personal conversations while picking peaches, circa 1963-64.

27. Woodward County Journal, Jan. 9, 1964, Golda McCaslin riling. Also, Jan. 16, 1964, Mrs. George Landon.

28. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Irene Jones.

29. Sage and Sod, Mrs. Ralph Dennis, Page 391.

30. Ibid., Mabel Simmons Thomas and Garrett Williams, 354.

31. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Flora Bourne.

32. Ibid., States listed were Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and Kansas.

33. Woodward County Journal, Jan. 23, 1964, Mrs. George Sunderland

34. Ibid., Flora Bourne and Annie Mitchell Turnbull. Also Woodward County Journal, Jan. 2, 1964, Mrs. Turnbull.

35.Sage and Sod, Mrs. Inez Waugh and Mrs. Nona Job, Page 363.

36. Ibid., Ruby Krez Frey, 369. Also, Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Mrs. Lily Hargis Murray.

37. Woodward County Journal, Jan. 9, 1964, Golda McCaslin Riling.

38. Ibid., Jan. 16, 1964, Mrs. Sam Stricker.

39. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Mrs. Lily Hargis Murray and Irene Jones. Also Woodward County Histories, Vol. II, Arlene Wells, Page 520. Cited hereafter as Woodward Histories.

40. Sage and Sod, Mrs. Inez Waugh and Mrs. Nona Job, Page 363. Also Woodward Histories, Mabel Cammerer Steele, Page 523.

41. Our Ellis County Heritage 1885-1979, Mable Schwab, Page 279, Sage and Sod,Mrs. Inez Waugh and Mrs. Nona Job, Page 363, Woodward County Journal, Feb. 20, 1964, Grace E. McDowell; also, Feb. 27, 1964, Sam Reynolds; Mona Ruttman, personal knowledge of rural school routines. Cited here after as Ellis County Heritage.

42. The Statutes of Oklahoma, 1890, Page 1109.

43. Ibid., 1121.

44. Ibid. 1121-22.

45. Biennial Reports of the Department of Public Instruction, 1-7, “Forth Biennial Report”, Pages 51-52, 53.

46. The Statutes of Oklahoma, 1890, Pages 1122-23.

47. The Annual Catalogue and Courses of Study of The Northwestern Territorial Normal School, Alva, OK, 1902-1903, Page 16.

48. The Statutes of Oklahoma, 1904-95.

49. Sage and Sod, 340. See Appendix G for copy of the certificate.

50. Ibid., 356. See Appendices H for a copy of the certificate.

51. Record of Attendance Normal Institute and record of Normal Institute “N” County Territory of Oklahoma. A picture of the 1910 class is in the Plat Book of Woodward County for that year.

52. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Annie Mitchell Turnbull.

53. Ibid., Lily Hargis Murray.

54. Ibid., Mary Burger Peoples.

55. Ibid., Annie Mitchell Turnbull.

56. Ibid., Bessie Gray Smith.

57. Ibid., Arthur Wallace Anderson.

58. Sage and Sod, Elizabeth Parker Southern, Page 339.

59. Ibid., Florence Lipsey, 330.

60. Woodward, “Pioneer Teachers”, Bessie Gray Smith.

61. Ibid., Flora Bourne. Also, see Sage and Sod, Frank, Albert and W. T. Koch for a 1912 snow storm, Page 375.

62. Ibid., Annie Mitchell Turnbull.

63. Woodward County Journal, Jan. 30, 1964, Harry Stamp.

64. Ibid., Nov. 14, 1963 and Nov. 21, 1963, Mrs. Chester Smith.

65. Ibid., Feb. 6, 1964, Gladys Fithen Alley (Mrs. C. L.).

66. The Mooreland Leader, Sept. 16, 1993, Marjorie Carpenter.

67. Woodward Histories, Mrs. Veva Maxted, Page 521.

68. Appendix I, “Questions used in the Examination of Applicants for Graduation from the Common Schools Held on March 24-25, 1898”, Pages 47-50.

69. Woodward Histories, Cecil Wells, Page 520.

70. The Mooreland Leader, Aug. 26, 1993, Dortha Highfill.

71. Mona Ruttman, personal knowledge.

72. See Appendix J for a compilation of County Superintendents reports, 1908-1919.

73. Appendix K, List of former Consolidated Schools and present Independent Schools.

74. Ibid., See also the Current Districts map, Appendix L

75. Sage and Sod, Ethel G. Fleming Casler, Page 343.

76. Our Ellis County Heritage, Margaret Manuel Larason, Page 284.

77. Fritzler, Tangier, Page 45.

78. Official Session Laws, 1947 (Oklahoma), HB 85, Pages 499-500.

79. See Appendices C, D, E, F.

80. Ibid., F.

81. Clyde Richmond, September, 1993.

82. Fritzler, Tangier, 15. Also Woodward County Journal, Dec. 12, 1963, Marie Laubach.

83. The Mooreland Leader, Sept. 9, 1883, Wildia Blevins.


The Annual Catalogue and Courses of Study of The Northwestern Territorial Normal School, Alva, OK, 1902-1903, (Alva, OK: Review Publishing Co.).

Biennial Reports of the Department of Public Instruction 1-7 (Guthrie, O. T.; Leader Printing Co., 1905).

County N Boundary Book, 1894-1907.

County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook
, (Ellis County), 1912-13.

County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook, (Harper County), 1907-08 through 1912-22.

County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook, (Woods County) 1908-09 through 1916-17.

County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook, , (Woodward County), 1894-95 through 1902-03, 1907-08 through 1918-19.

County Superintendent of Schools Yearbook, (Woodward County), 1936.

Fritzler, Evelyn S. Tangier History, 1889-1961, Mar, 1978.

Hager, Mildred Julian, (Compiler), “Oklahoma ‘M’ County Schools, 1894-1907”, 1991.

The Mooreland Leader, “Land Run of ‘93, Settling The Strip - County Schools”, Series, Aug. 24, 1993 - Sept. 23, 1993.

Official Session Laws, 1947, (State of Oklahoma).

Our Ellis County Heritage, 1885-1979, Vol. 2, (Ellis County Historical Society, 1979).

Plat Book of Woodward County Woodward County. Ashland, KS; Western Publishing 1910

Record of Attendance at Normal Institute and record of Normal Institute, “N” County, Territory of Oklahoma, 1894-1913.

Record of School District Plats, vol. 1, county Superintendent Ellis County.

Record of School District Boundaries, Vol. 1, Woodward County.

Sage and Sod, Harper County Oklahoma, 1885-1974, Vol. 2, (Harper County Historical Society; 1975.)

School District Plats, Woodward County, 1920.

The Statutes of Oklahoma, 1890
, (Guthrie, OK: State Capital Printing Co., 1891).

The Statutes of Oklahoma, 1893, (Guthrie, OK: State Capital Printing Co., 1893).

Woodward County Family Histories, 1907-1957, Vol. 2, (Plains Indians and Pioneers Historical Foundation, 1975).

Woodward County Journal, “Stories of the Early-Day Schools of Woodward County”, Series, Nov. 7, 1963 - March 26, 1964.

Woodward County School Census, 1912-1913 through 1923-1924.

Woodward, Metta, (Complier), “Pioneer Teachers of Woodward County”, (Unpublished manuscript, 1951).


James, Louise B., Below Devil’s Gap. The Story of Woodwrad County, Perkins, OK: Evans Publications, 1984.

Myers, Arthur J., et. all, Guide to Alabaster Caverns and Woodward County, Oklahoma

Geological Survey, Guide Book XV, (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1969)

4 - Appendix A School Map

10 - Appendix B Map of Ellis County showing old and new District numbers.

14 - Appendix C List of original and Ellis county District numbers.

15 - Appendix D List of origiand and Harper County District numbers.

16 - Appendix E List of original and Woods County District numbers.

17 - Appendix F List of Woodward County Districts.

49 - Appendix G Teaching Certivicate of Katie Myers.

50 - Appendix H Teaching Certificate of Edna Coffey.

68 - Appendix I Test questions for graduation.

72 - Appendix J Compilation of Superintendents reports.

73 - Appendix K List of Former Consolidated Schools and present Independent Schools

74 - Appendix L Present Consolidated Schools Districts - List and map.

NOTE: Mona Ruttman is a retired Woodward County school teacher. She has spent many hours researching this information, which is an unpublished work. The original copy of this information is available at the Plains Indian And Pioneer Museum, Woodward, OK. ©Mona Ruttman, reprinted here with permission. Thanks Mona.

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