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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Plymouth Reporter December 16, 1916


Below is given the Green bush School History as written by Edwin J. CONGER and is particularly interesting at the present time as the new school recently erected at Greenbush was opened not long ago with appropriate dedicatory exercises at which time the history was presented by Mr. CONGER:

Greenbush School History

For the many dates, teachers, names and various historical facts found in this article, I am greatly indebted to Mrs. H. C. WADE and to a school history written by Miss NOLAN and Miss BRENNAN.

Sixty-eight years ago, when Wisconsin was about to enter upon its career as a state, while Sheboygan County was yet a wilderness and Plymouth City was not yet in existence, a few pioneers of Greenbush united and established the first school in this town.

School opened in the spring of '48, in a log shanty which Mr. WADE, the first settler had used as a sugar camp. It was near the present residence of Mrs. P. M. SHELDON. The fireplace was covered and the arch removed. There were no desks, but rude benches were constructed. Betsey ROBERTS was the teacher. She had fifteen pupils enrolled and the district included the entire town.

When the time came for the winter school, a warmer place was required and the institution of learning was transferred to a log house, which stood on the present Wm. WESSEL farm. Three benches were placed in the room each occupied by five or six pupils and Mr. Golusha MANSFIELD was hired as teacher. In 1848 a frame school was built on the hill west of the village, near the mill pond and almost opposite Mrs. P. M. SHELDON's residence on the Plank road. This building had an extra entry room for hanging wraps and a high shelf upon each side for dinner pails. There was one seat next to the wall and extending around the room. A long desk was built in front of this seat, but was used by six or eight of the larger pupils. This seating arrangement was not particularly convenient as one end of the seat and desk came flat against the wall. Whenever a pupil at the farther end of the seat wished to leave, it was necessary for all of those seated next to him, to stand or file out and let him pass. The only occupant of the center of the room was a huge box stove.

Outside there was no end to the sport, which could be had on the edge of the mill pond or in the nearby woods, which were still inhabited by both deer and the peaceful Winnebagoes.

Mr. MANSFIELD was followed by Mr. CORBUTT and Judge CARY.

In 1858 this locality had been somewhat cleared and settled and the schoolhouse which we vacated last Saturday was erected. Mr. M. FLINT was hired as the first teacher. There was however, but one department and that was on the lower floor.

In 1859, the school had grown so large that two teachers were necessary and a primary department was added. The first primary teacher was Miss Franc TAYLOR. Her successors were: Mrs. Rodman MANNING, Nettie STODDARD, Martha GILMAN, Ella MILLER, Emma CARPENTER, Sarah PEEBLES, Mary Van KUREN, Edith HAYDEN, Florence COLMAN. Mathilda DAMM, Clara STODDARD, Mary SHUFFLEBOTHAM, Alice L. STANNARD and Lucy FORD, all of these having taught between 1859 and 1880. The teachers for the higher department for the same period were: William SWEETLAND, Gilbert PUTNAM, Reverend MANNING, Rodman MANNING, Hollis WADE, William BUTLER, Hubert STRATTON, Mary BROWN, Henry ROBERTS, Thomas COLE, Alfred BLACKBURN, Albert KEACH, L. B. GRAHAM, G. L. GILMAN. L. McNALLY and C. B. KNIGHT.

In 1874 the members of the Masonic and Good Templars Lodges offered to finish off the upper part of the school house for the use of it. That is why the call hole in the door of room number four is there, as this room was used as an anteroom for the lodge.

It may be interesting to note the different kinds of punishment in vogue in the earlier days. Sometimes a stick was split and put over the nose of the pupil, or he was forced to bend over a nail in the floor with his finger upon it until the teacher released him. Another greatly dreaded punishment was the erasing of a chalk mark from the blackboard with the nose. More often the guilty one was laid across the teacher's knee. Another teacher loved willow whips, which were very plentiful at the nearby Mullet and they were kept in one corner of the room.

However, the ugly and unruly disposition in the old time schools, was never very prominent among the Greenbush boys and girls. Possibly, the school absorbed some of the sweetness from that old maple sugar camp and retained it.

After 1881, Florence COLMAN, the primary teacher, was succeeded by: Minnie FRANEY, Minnie ROBERTS, Mamie MILLER, Myrta GILSON, Emma TILLOTSON, Ida LEWIS, Veronica HERRLING, Flossie BARBER, Wella SEBALD, Jessie KEACH, Elsie COUCH, Stella PARMENTER, and Susie UBBELOHDE. The teachers for the higher department were: C. B. KNIGHT, C. W. PFEIFFER, E. E. COUCH, Rodman MELVIN, J. J. McGOVERN, Martin HUGHES, Michael K. REILLEY and O. H. GURLEY, the latter having taught here for nine years.

By 1899, the school having greatly increased, it became necessary to add a third department. The three department school was opened with A. HABERKORN in the upper department, Susie UBBELOHDE in the intermediate, and Myrta WILLIAMS in the primary. Mr. HABERKORN, not remaining the entire term, was succeeded by A. J. STRASSBURGER.

In 1901 a law was passed granting aid to graded schools, under certain conditions. The Greenbush school conformed to these requirements and became a State Graded School.

In 1901, the first commencement exercises were held under the direction of Mr. STRASSBURGER. The four graduates, Mary DeMUNCK, Maggie GANNON, Annie MAYHEW and Edward FAAS, taught school for awhile but they have now all deserted the ranks.

The principals following Mr. STRASSBURGER were: Guy WELLS, Hanna BRENNAN, George HEWITT, Harvey JONES, Harley LYON, Eldridge BUCK, J. G. KONOP, Albert TROJAHN, Bert WELLS, Raymond HILSE, Josephine RAMAKER, Daniel DOPP and our present principal Lester W. CONGER.

The middle form teachers for the same period were: Ida HAZELTON, Lillian BENNINK, Merle OVERTON, Martha EVANS, Edna HOUWERS, Elle DOBRIENT, and our present teacher, Mabel JACKSON.

The primary teachers were: Hanna BRENNAN, Gertrude FITZGERALD, Ione LOFTUS, Rose DONOVAN and Emma SAECKER.

Last year the State Department considering that the old clapboarded building had given sufficient service having been in use since 1858, a period of fifty-seven years, condemned it for further school purposes. Within seven months, having started on April 18th, 1916, Mr. Abram DeSCHMIDT has erected a building, which, in the words of the State Department of Education in an article published in the Educational School Bulletin at Madison, is the best graded school in a town of the size of Greenbush, to be found in the State of Wisconsin.

Edwin J. CONGER.
November 29, 1916
Greenbush, Wis.

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