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McIntosh County 1884 - 1984: Progress in Education

Herbert Roth, author and editor, McIntosh County Centennial committee, 1984, hardcover, 314 pages


The knowledgeable educator and editor, Herbert Roth, compiled this public education legacy with extensive photographs of rural school students, high school graduates, architecture, long-term educators, and students, both rural and town.

A special tribute to benefactor John Henry Wishek and his wife, Nina Farley Wishek, reflect the cultural imprints of Nina's educator, writer, historian, and poetess -- as evidenced through her impressive pioneer history, Along The Trails of Yesterday with her pioneer poems Rose Berries in Autumn. Tribute is given also to benefactor George W. Lilly, an influential early pioneer and business-partner of John Wishek. On page four, two pioneer poems are The Prairie and To Dakota, with Madonna on the Prairie on flyleaf. Besides Nina Farley's poetry, she was the first school teacher in the first school in the countyseat. The Arvada School was dedicated to her memory at the Pioneer School Dedication, now re-located to the McIntosh County Heritage Center.

"The Very First to Come" recounts George Lilly's memoirs of Early American (Yankee) settlers to arrive and settle Hoskins village, only one year previous of 1885's great influx of German-Russian immigrants from Tripp and Ipswich, South Dakota. Besides photos and listings of county officials, early village histories are surveyed for Hoskins, Ashley, Danzig, Lehr, Venturia, Wishek, and Zeeland.

The historic perspectives of public education in McIntosh county is perceived as responding to social and political changes, especially release from regional isolation and changing feminine roles, after World War II. Prior to World War II and electronic news media, both the English and German Bible remained an influential source of academic instruction. The changing roles of county and township boards in guiding educational curriculum are empowered more to state agencies, as represented by Superintendent of Schools; (shown with photos of these respective public school officials).

"Back to the One Room School House" reveals the unraveling of local community identity, in favor of higher expectations for both social and academic resources. The impact of increased American "mobility" with faster transportation, leveraged "consolidation" policies for quality education (1948-1958), later encountering 1984 factors of student enrollment declines and decreased rural population.

An impressive pictorial history in photographs on pages 65-105, the Rural School District Histories are treasures surviving from rural townships: Danzig, Venturia, Albrights Valley, Antelope, Beresina, Berlin, Blumenthal, Coldwater, Fred George (pronounced Yur-kee), Frieda, Friedensthal, Green Lake, Hoffnungsthal, Hoskins, Iowa, Jewell, Kisslingberry, Lowell, Lowenthal, Lydia, Salem, Rosenfield, Rosenthal, Springfield, Strasburg, Moscow, and Ottmar.

The Ashley Public School history starts with photos from "1913 Pinion," first yearbook with portions printed in both English and German. (German text is re-produced on pages 119 and 120.) Photos of graduating classes continue from 1913-1984.

The Lehr Public School history displays graduate class photos. The Wishek Public School history begins in 1911 with special excerpts from the 1907-1919 school records entrusted by Gietz Herr. On page 228, another historic vignette is the Washington-Lincoln Salutation (February 21, 1917) dramatized by the young student "Pleasant Hour Theatre." Valedictorian and Salutatorian honors are listed from 1921-1984, besides sports and graduation photos. The Zeeland Public School history features graduate's photos (1929-1984). A "memoriam" to pioneers and community leaders, preceeds assorted "indexes" to County and City Histories, County Officials, county's Rural School Districts and Public School Histories for 8th grade and high school graduates.
McIntosh County Courthouse, erected 1920

Book review by Jay Gage, Exhibits Curator, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and the traveling exhibition, "The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakotas Prairies."


McIntosh County 1884 - 1984: Progress in Education

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