Marshall School No. 1698

Marshall School: Teacher - Douglas Stirling. Back Row on step: Jean Smith, Goldie Deal, Edna Cowell, Shirley Mix, Charlotte Smith. Front: Stewart McKague, Alex Kaiser, Johnny Kaiser, Henry Kaiser, Fred Geschwendt, Wesley Somerville, Roger Sommerville, Ruth Cowell, Eileen Mix, Dorothy Deal.

Marshall School District was established on September 19, 1907, located on the SW quarter of 22-16-22-W4. Directions from Vulcan – East 13 miles on Highway 534, turn South on Range Road 223 for 2½ miles; from Champion – East 9 miles on Highway 529, turn North on Range Road 223 for 7½ miles. Latitude 50.36086, Longitude -112.95966

Excerpts from Margaret Davis’ account in “Wheat Country – a history of Vulcan and District”:

Marshall School was probably built in 1907. As we found a tax receipt dated 1909, we know the school was in operation at that time. When the district was formed, it was called Marshall in honor of its oldest resident. It was built by Mr. Leslie Bowden. The school was built on Greenway’s homestead, in the northwest corner of SW 22-16-22-4. Mr. Marshall was Mrs. Greenway’s father and his homestead was across the road and one-half mile south, where Alex Fritzler lived later.

This was a large school (usually over twenty pupils) where elementary grades from one to eight were taught. Mrs. Chappel was the first teacher at Marshall. She was a sister of the District Registrar, Herbert Cooper, who operated the Reid Hill Store and Post Office. Mrs. Chappel was followed by Mr. Leal, Miss Tuttle, Miss Sue Johnson (later Mrs. O. Hickman), Miss Emma Douglass (Mrs. L. W. Laws), Miss Ruby Thompson (Mrs. Cecil Smith), Miss Mary Douglass (Mrs. J. Phelan), and Mrs. Caine who lived in the Champion District later.

During the cold weather school attendance was poor, as some children lived quite a distance away. Those mornings the pupils often did exercises or ran around the room awhile to keep warm, because it took several hours for the large coal heater to warm the school enough for classes. Consequently a school term was adapted from March until Christmas with a two-week holiday in July.

After Mrs. Caine, the next teachers were Miss Zilda Sloane, Mrs. Gertrude Mannen, Miss Blanche Stevens, Miss Amundson, Miss Juanita Tuttle, Miss Pocatella, Miss Dorothy Peak, Mr. Flynn, Mr. Cameron McKinnon, and Miss Marjorie Kirk. During this time the school year was changed to September through June to correspond with town schools.

A big event in the fall was the school fair, usually held at Reid Hill Hall, where competition with the surrounding schools was keen. The highlight of the year was the Christmas concert, where pupils did their best to entertain their proud parents. In the spring interest would turn to softball. A team was chosen to play against other schools, and winning was a triumph for good old Marshall School! Finally, the year often finished with a lively party or picnic in June.

The teachers following Miss Kirk were Miss Marjorie Irvine, Miss Frances Warnen, Mr. Ralph Jamieson, Miss Edna Orr, Miss Agnes Patterson (now Mrs. H. Ferguson), Mr. Andy Scollon, Mr. Doug Sterling, Miss Inez Irvine (Mrs. E. Prater), and Miss Helen Meadows (Mrs. O. M. Roe). The last teacher was Miss Cecelia McIntosh, who taught in 1944.

That summer Sunny Glen and Sandpit Schools were moved to a new site thirteen miles east of Vulcan. Children from the Marshall District attended this school. Later Marshall was also moved to form a third room for the Reid Hill Consolidated School. (New Reid Hill School)

Among those who served on the school board in the earlier years were: Guy Walker, Frank Davis and Harvey Mack.

Pupils were Donald and Flossie Smith, Roy and May Davis, Grace Cooper, Lester, Grace, Ruth, Earl and Ben Bently, Leona and Mamie Greenway, Roy Fitzpatrick, Billy Mack, Arthur Warner, Lois and Donald Bishop, Dennis and Lillian Ashmore, Grace Chappel, Weldon and Dewy Greenlee, Merle McKay, Lillian Fernley, Ethel Ainsworth, Roy, Edgar, Francis and Adrien Taylor, Goldie Campbell, Alec and Jake Fritzler.

In those days drinking water was not supplied at the school, and the pupils had to bring water from home. The teacher warned the pupils not to drink water out of a shallow well near the school, as it was contaminated with dead gophers and such. The children got so terribly thirsty, they would fill their lunch pails (jam cans) with this water and sneak behind the school and relieve their parched throats.

There is one incident of later years I’m sure will be remembered by many. Skunks had denned up for the winter under the school. One morning the following spring, a skunk had been trapped and killed and it was almost unbearable to stay in the school. Lo and Behold, who should pop in that morning, “The School Inspector!”

The Peter Fritzler family of Marshall School District, may have set some sort of a record in that there were nine of them attending over a period of 23 years.

In the spring of the year the pupils were given garden seeds to plant for the competition in the fall fair. Our Fair was held at Reid Hill. Young and old really enjoyed these affairs. There were exhibits of baking and handiwork. There were races of all kinds with school yells lead by a cheerleader. One remembered yell went like this:


That’s the way to spell it,

and here’s the way to yell it.


More information about Marshall School may be found in “Wheat Country – a history of Vulcan and District,” “Cleverville Champion 1905 to 1970”  and “Champion and District School Reunion 1906-1961”, at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Village of Champion Office, the Champion Pioneer Club and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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