Bancroft News

One-room country schools were abundant near Bancroft

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Charles Borchard from JVCS in Huron was the speaker at the Presbyterian Church on Oct. 10. Thank you very much for your service to us.

Harvest was in full swing all over Kingsbury County, with the beginnings of a pile of grain on the ground at Bancroft. Then rain came which stopped the activity ... for a while. Some fields have been prepared for spring planting as soon as the crop was taken off. This has all been possible because of the beautiful warm sunny days we have been having. It has been an absolutely wonderful, gorgeous time of the year with the golden trees and corn fields and the darker brown of the soybeans. Hay seems to be very plentiful this year as well, with lots of the big round bales visible wherever you look. There are still a lot of green fields and lawns and flowers of every hue.

As I was writing this LATE one night, my doorbell rang. I quickly looked to see if my outside light was bright, indicating that someone was out there. Nope! I know it is the month of Halloween, but it’s a little early to be playing “trick or treat.”

HISTORY

Little has been written about the schools of LeSeuer Township and Bancroft. Among the earliest recollections of a school is that the Kruger School had to be moved off the railroad right-of-way when the tracks were laid in 1888. This may well have been the first school in the township as it was given the number one for its district number.

The one-room country school is no longer evident in this area, and with its passing goes the sound of excited children playing drop the hankie, pump-pump-pull away, tag and many other games. The teacher’s bell can no longer be heard as it rings to bring the students back into class, nor do we hear the YCL pledge. They are all a part of the past, a past which cannot be forgotten.

It wasn’t always this way — one-room schoolhouses were in abundance around 1900 with their pot-bellied stoves and coal buckets. There was the Kruger School, followed by the Dirksen, Toby, Engelking and Halverson Schools. The Kruger School has perhaps the richest country school history for the Bancroft area, as the earliest teacher who can be recalled came in 1889.

The teacher was Maggie Wall (later to be Mrs. Ed Kenny) who, daughter Lillie recalls, came from Manchester by oxen. Her first job was to teach in the town school, but the accommodations weren’t very good. She was asked to sleep in the corner on a pile of straw in the home of Charlie Dill’s parents, who lived across the road from the school. She later taught at the Kruger School, where in 1889 one of her best pupils was Mrs. Adelia Eggena.

In 1912, Miss Ethelwynne Wing was the teacher, and she must have had trouble with her pupils on a day near Christmas, because six of the students were standing next to the blackboard (with backs to the room) as punishment. Students were Bertha Kruger, Rena Claassen, Louisa Kruger, Henry Dirksen, Renno Claassen and Henry Kruger.

The Kruger School class of 1913 was Vera Hyenga, Clarence Kruger, Florence Underwood, (prof.) Arthur Rusche, Roland Hyenga, Lillie Rusche, Violet Kruger, Earl Kruger, Harvey and Ray Taschner, and Albert Rusche.

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