Ray County Genealogy
|Grape Grove Twp||District #34||1860|
|The first school in Union district was started in 1858 with twenty pupils. The teacher received one dollar per pupil per month. This school lasted until 1860 when a schoolhouse was built on the James Leyda farm which was called "Union." This building was constructed of logs and lumber, very small and low, with sliding windows and one door. Pegs driven in the wall with rough boards laid over them served as desks. Mr. Wells was the first teacher. There were 45 pupils and his salary was forty dollars per month.
The early pioneers of this community were interested in education for their children and made the school possible. They were Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shirkey, Mr. and Mrs. Ash Teavault, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Myers, Mr. and Mrs. James Leyda, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Williams, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Manking.
In 1872 a new building was built about 100 yards south of where the present one stands, being completed during that term. The teacher, Mr. N. M. Hase, at noon marched the pupils with their books over to the new building and continued their classes that afternoon.
Community entertainments, such as spelling bees, ciphering matches, and literary societies were held.
The present building was built in 1901 and was still standing in the year 1970.
In 1917 the voters of the six school districts met at Union School for the purpose of voting on consolidation. These six districts became Consolidated School No. 2. In 1920-1921 a new high school was organized in the district. Most of the students who finished the eighth grade at Union were able to attend four years of higher learning at the Central High School within one-fourth mile of Union. In the 1925 Centralian, a book published by the high school students, is a picture of Union School with 44 students enrolled, with the late Leta Early Jeffers as teacher. Many of these students are the citizens of Union district today (1970), serving their community. They are Floyd Early, David Hoover, Fay Ross, Claude Summers, J. T. Williams, and Frances Fifer Bowman.
Many of the parents became active in "Central Community Club" work, organized in 1919. The motto of the organization was "Cooperation in Everything That is Worthwhile." Some of the men responsible for this organization in 1919 were J. H. Shirkey, Bush Rust, Arch Bright, S. E. Hogan, J. S. Bowman, S. G. Newham, S. A. Sandy, S. P. Clemens, L. T. Miller and others. Some of the projects carried out were a winter lyceum course, traveling library, the first chatauqua (1920), banquets in honor of boys' and girls' basketball teams, pig clubs, sewing and canning clubs, music, sales, child clinics, mother and daughter banquets, boys' clubs, and Ladies' Aid Society. Only two of these were still active in 1970: the mother and daughter banquets held annually and the Ladies' Aid Society. These were held in the beautiful country Church of the Bretheren called "Rockingham," just across the road from the Union school building. The "aid" was organized in 1905 by six members of the Union community. They met every Thursday and enjoyed a potluck dinner together.
The Union children were transported by bus to Hardin-Central Consolidated School No. 2 at Hardin, Mo. In 1970, there were several active members in the "Aid" who attended Union School in 1909: Mrs. Hester Rader Bowman, Mrs. Callie Manking Williams, Mrs. Lois Sandy Shirkey, and Mrs. Nell Shirkey Hogan.
There are many interesting facts we might continue to write concerning the 100 years of Union School's existence, but due to lack of space we must let the readers decide for themselves which is better: the good old-fashioned days of our fathers or our present modern days.
Teachers who taught at Union during the years were: Cleve Hollar (1901), Walter Mason, Paul Peeler, Helen Lowrance, Cecil Hogan, Opal Stiverson, Charles Board, Forest Smith, John Shirkey, Emily Shirkey, Miller Brunk, Irvin Brunk, Joe Newham, Louise Letzig, Helen Bowman, and Goldie Bowman.