Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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HISTORIC OCONTO COUNTY SCHOOLS
Morgan School

Oconto County, Wisconsin



This is an early 1970's photograph of the first school in Morgan. Built in 1878, it now stands at a different location on a private farm. The original site was at the northwest corner of where Highways "E" and "C" now cross.  It was replaced by a white frame building in 1885, when it was sold and moved.  It then became a blacksmith's shop and later was a farm outbuilding for pigs. Amy Harteau was the first school teacher.
photograph from the Holl collection

 
In 1904, when the law was passed establishing the two or three-room graded schools in all districts where the total enrollment averaged above 65, District No.1, Morgan, which had 90 on roll came under the provisions of the law. The district was divided, abandoning the old white frame school, to build two new schools. One was north of the old school, the other to the south. The old school was purchased by the Evangelical Church organization for $500. The building was rebuilt into a church, becoming "The Little White Church at the Cross Roads". (see photograph below)


"The first school district, District -1, was organized in 1878, and a small log school was built. The school had one window on each side. The equipment was meager. The desks were home-made, there were few books. A large stove set in a box of sand occupied the center of the room. Pupils near the stove roasted on one side and froze on the other. At closing time ink wells were buried in the sand to keep the ink from freezing.  Father (August Henry Birr) was the first school clerk and held the office for forty consecutive years. As the clerk, he bought the text books the children used and sold them to the pupils. Good discipline was the chief characteristic he required of a teacher. He asked each teacher to encourage the use of English on the playground, because "English is the American language", he said. Amy Harteau was the first teacher in the new log school. Her salary was $25 a month. She walked bare foot the three miles from her home to the school. She carried her precious shoes and put them on after she arrived at the school. The log school was sold to Mr. Tom Rymer, Sr., when the white frame school was built in 1885." Written by Lucille Ruth Helen Birr Getke

Photo contributed by:
Jill Gondek
Taken 2010


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