on each photo for a larger view.
the Oconto County
Reporter –History of Little Suamico 1969-70
believe written by
associated with St. John’s is the Cottonwood Schoolhouse, not
many of the same persons were organizers of both, but also because the
school building now serves the church as a parish hall.
church, the settlers organized a school before a building was available
to house it. The beginnings of the School District No. 4 goes
to 1892 under the leadership of Henry Koehne, director of the school
Obediah Ferdon, clerk and Alex Zoeller, treasurer. For the
few years, the scholars met in Ferdon’s home on county trunk
S to learn
their three “R’s” under the tutelage of
Gusta Jacques. Ferdon received
$4 a month rent for the use of his home and the school teacher was paid
$30, out of which $10 went for room and board. Until August
year, when it was destroyed by fire the house was the oldest in the
district. (It had been owned for the last years by the
Two of the Little Suamico youngsters who attended school there were
Ed Allen (Edna DeMaiffe) and the late Minnie Koehne Liebert.
Early in the
summer of 1894, John Virtues obtained 26 signatures on a petition to be
presented to the town board requesting authorization for a school
to encompass a cited territory. The petition notarized by
of the Peace William W. Foster, was favorably considered by the board
Harry D. Whitcomb, Obediah Ferdon and Henry G. Bramschrieber, and
district No. 4 was born.
A few days
later, on June 9, the new district called its first meeting and again
Henry Koehne as director of the board, John Gierke as treasurer, and
Aland as clerk. So many people turned out for the meeting
gathering had to move from the house to the barn to conduct the
summer, the school board contracted Gust Papenfus to build a
on land leased from Asa Foster Sr., (grandfather of the present Asa
For the sum of $490 Papenfus furnished both material and labor,
seats and desks. Grandfather Koehne donated the blackboards.
By 1905 there
were 48 students enrolled in grades one through eight in the one room
Some of the boys, their education interrupted while helping their
become established in a new land, were as old as 18. The task
by the young school teachers in handling so many students of varying
in discipline as well as teaching- was formidable, and all for the
of $25 a month. School was held for six months out of each
66 years of its existence, Cottonwood had 34 teachers all of women with
the exception of Willard Allen who now serves as mail carrier for the
The roster reads as follows:
Rose Touchette, Vira McGinnis, Ester Minian, Pearl Trechette, Kathryn
Laura (Johnson)Virtues, Ida (McDowell) Herbert, Clarice Roy, Lenore
Kathryn Noonan, Mrs. Gertrude Larson, Ethel Armstrong, Georgia LaVigne,
Berna Berman, Mrs. Violet Laduron, Muriel (Coopman) Hicks, Willard
Mae (Young) Koehne, Bernice (Krueger) Bergh, Mildred Murphy, Margaret
Mary (Whitcomb) Papenfus, Helen (Carey) Daul, Alice (Lorang) Koehne,
(Berth) Pagel, Patricia (Young) Mathey, Margaret (Jahnke) Sarvick,
(Ward) Kennin, Alice Thome, Nora Johnson, Caryl (Leigh) Hazen, Janet
Reed, Mary Ann Otrodovec and Laurell LaCount.
tenure of one of the early teachers, a tree planting was carried on
the new school, each student responsible for planting and caring for
cottonwood. Not all the new trees made it, and the first
to die was the one planted by Margaret Virtues. When Margaret
died soon after, the students read into this an ominous significance
became keenly interested in the survival of their particular trees.
Most of the
trees grew and flourished, however, and in 1919, when the school board
began searching for a name they decided on Cottonwood Grove School.
Early in 1960
the last class met at Cottonwood school. The following year
No. 4 became part of the Oconto Falls school system and
went the way of most of the one-room country schools which have been
in the past decade.
It was however,
rescued from oblivion when the congregation of St. John’s
the building at a cost of $801 from the Oconto Falls school
The one-time school house was extensively remodeled inside and out and
has become an attractive and serviceable parish hall.
click on each photo for a larger view.
Souvenir - District Number Four
Lena Luebke, Jake Brendemihl,
Tom Brendemihl, Fred Ruiter, Vivian Kohne, Ida Reiter, Viola Ingram,
Hornbrook, Walter Hornbrook, Emma Luebke, Ella Bauman, Marnie Ferdon,
Brendemihl, Erwin Fredon, Obadiah Ferdon, Ella Durand, Grace Virtues,
Zoeller, Helen Jankauski, Anna Jankauski, Mary Jankauski, Lillian
Klimer Jankauski, Alex Zoeller, Clyde Williams, Ross Williams, John
Chester Ferdon, Elmer Ferdon, John Weber, Will Ferdon, Joe Jankauski,
Hornibrook, Adeline Zoeller, Francis Zoeller, Louisa Virtues, Margaret
Virtues, Edward Durand, Leona Ruiter, Floyd Ferdon, Arthur Ferdon, John
Zoeller, Ormie Virtues, Otto Luebke.
Row—L to R: Elsie Ferdon, Vivian Koehne, Grace Virtues,
Margaret Virtues, Tillie Brendemuhl, Laura Johnston (Teacher), Russell
Moore, Jake Brendemuhl. 2nd R: Ethel Richard, Dorothy Virtues, Mae
Lucy Brendemuhl, Jack Brendemuhl, Gopher Moore, -- Lindsley, Alex
Ruben Plouff, — Lindsley. 3rd R: Myrtle Plouff, lola
Papenfus, Olive Virtues,
Beatrice Papenfus, Beatrice Koehne, Myrtle Brendemuhl, Art Brendemuhl,
Louis Ward, Frank Ferdon, Henry Koehne, Carl Ward, Art Richard.
Front: Betty Geano, Johnny Zoeller, Lucille Foster, Isobel Zoeller, 2nd
Row: Lucille Geano, Arliss Foster, Spike Ferdon, Gerry Foster, Gloria
3rd Row: Hulda Friedman, unknown, Helen Foster, Bill Friedman, Elaine
unknown. 4th Row: Gene Foster, Earl Koehne. Last Row: Dan Koehne,
Papenfus, Elmer Lade, Helen Friedman, Erma Lade.
Row: Marvin Durand,
Lucille Pleckman, Ruth Durand, Florence Peters, Gloria Zoeller, Ruben
Lillian Stephenson, Gertrude Zoeller. Second Row: John Zoeller, David
Rudolph Retatty, Betty Geano, Lucille Geano, Lucille Foster.
Row: Norbert Lepinski,
Billy Gokey, Donald Laabs, Lester Blan, Angeline Lepinski, Mona
Second Row: Robert Laabs, Elva Durand, Gertrude Zoeller,
Lepinski, David Stephenson, Fred Foster, Phyllis Friedman. Third Row:
Durand, Neal Eichman,
Lillian Stephenson, Ruth Durand, Velma Blan.
Larsen, Bobby Laabs, Donald Laabs,Jim Virtues, Raymond Ostrenga, Roy
Bobby Gzonka, Lowell Virtues, Celtus Laabs, Frank Gzonka.
Durand, Joan Grzonka, Neil Eichman, Phyliss Friedman, Eva Durand,
Grzonka, Teacher Adela Berth, Billy Gokey, Fred Foster and Jerome
Durand, Phyliss Friedman, Neil Eichman, Jerome Pansier, Wesley Durand
Left to Right:
Ronnie Joachim, Nancy Barrett, Roy Laabs, Bernadine Ostrenga, Bill
Lowell Virtues, Marilyn Barrett, Bob Grzonka, Glen Virtues,
Durand, Frank Grzonka, Helen Eichman, Karen Joachim, Raymond Ostrenga,
Eddie Eichman, Bob Laabs, Donald Laabs, Jack Koehne, Jim Virtues,
Ione Durand, Ray Ostrenga, Marilyn Barrett, Cletus Laabs, Helen
Donald Laabs, Nancy Barrett; Mrs. Tuome. Second Row: Gerrie Foster,
Koehne, Bernadine Ostrenga, Audrey Larsen, Virginia Jankowski, Ruth
Elaine Jankowski, Susan Vincent, Georgianna Pyrek, Marge Koehne, --
Gerald Vincent. Front Row: Al Barrett, Bill Koehne, -- Vincent, Eddie
Glen Virtues, Roy Laabs, Jim Ostrenga, Fred Koehne, Bill Walla.
Row: Marjorie Koehne,
Bernadine Ostrenga, Mary Koehne, James Ostrenga, Virginia Jankowski,
Larsen, Elaine Jankowski, Albert Barrett, Danny Koehne, Geraldine
Back Row: Carol Plouff, Ruth Thome, lone Durand, Nancy Barrett, Marilyn
Barrett, Sherry Plouff, Mrs. Thome, Roy Laabs, Glen Virtues, Edward
William Koehne, William Walla, Fred Koehne. Absent-Robert
Koehne, Al Barrett,
Ken Krueger, Ted Schultz, Richard Grzonka, Ronnie Ostrenga, Bill
Judy Koehne, Diana Wilbur, Laurie Krueger, Sharon Matuszewski, Jean
Anna Larsen, Pat Matuezewski
photo) Back Row: Billy
Walla, Mary Koehne, Billy Koehne, Bernadine Ostrenga, Carol Plouff,
Jankowski. 3rd Row: Jim Ostenga, Fred Koehne, Kenneth Krueger, Billy
Albert Barrctt, Audrey Larsen. 2nd Row: Judy Koehne, Jean
Jackie Plouff, Sharon Laabs. Front Row: David Grzonka, Laurie Krueger,
Patsy Matuszewski, Richard Grzonka, Anna Lee Larsen .
Krueger, Ted Schultz, Diana Wilbur, Patsy Matuszewski, Sharon
Jim Ostrenga, Sharon Laabs, Ken Krueger, Dan Koehne, Ron Ostrenca, Mary
Koehne, Elaine Jankowski, Richard Grzonka, Judy Koehne, Anna Larsen,
Larsen, Billy Foster, Jean Koehne, Allie Barrett, Gerrie Foster,
Delia Wilbur, Miss Ward, Margie Koehne.
Row: Ronald Ostrenga,
James Barrett, Gerald Matuszewski, Billy Gronka, David Grzonka, Sharon
Matuszewski, Patsy Matuszewski, Second Row: Richard Grzonka, Jean
Anna Lee Larson, Judy Koehne, Billy Foster, AIbert Barrett, Danny
Dennis Deaton, Third Row: Mrs. Kennin, Diane Deaton, Marjorie Koehne,
Laabs, Billy Zachow, Elaine Jankowski, Audry Larsen, Gerrie Foster.
Allie Barrett, Danny Koehne, Bill Zachow, Gerrie Foster, Sharon Laabs,
Diane Deaton, Mary Frisque, Mrs. Hazen 2nd Row: David Grzonka, Raymond
Frisque, Dennis Deaton, Richard Grzonka, Ruth Frisque, Jean and Judy
Anna Larsen. 1st Row: Ronnie Ostrenga, Gerald Matuszewski, Jim Barrett,
Patsy and Sharon Matuszewski, Darlene McGraw, Christine Grzonka,
Grade Class Trip
Row: Laurell LaCount
(Teacher), Jim Gatz, Shirley Ostrenga, Pat Matuszewski, Sharon
Christine Grzonka, Carol Mundt, Billy Grzonka, Jim Barrett. 2nd Row:
Kolberger, Robert Benedict, Gary Kaminski, Anthony Frisque, Chris
Jean Ann Pagel, Cecila Frisque, Busier Matuszewski. Front Row: Paul
Gary Friedman, Roger Friedman, Jim Koehne. Nancy Friedman, Bonnie
Darrel Mundt, Randy Pagel, Cindy Mundt.
Foster, Judy Koehne
Boyce, Sherry Plouff Kamps,
Marge Koehne Sutrick,