Volume 8, Number 7 - Spring 1984

Schools of the Past
School of Today
by Deonna Eutsler

The following is a list of the schools of the Hurley, Missouri area in alphabetical order before they were consolidated into the Hurley Reorganized School:
Black Jack, Cedar Hill, Chapel District School, Hampton, Henry, Hurley Grade School (Old), Missouri, Oak Hill, Oto, Possum Trot (Fair View), and Walnut Grove.

Black Jack was located west of Hurley and the school was built of Blocks. It was later destroyed by fire. The railroad deeded this land to H. Bland, William Crablin and William Hood for the Black Jack school district, May 28, 1885.

Cedar Hill was located at Quail Spur south of Hurley. The building still exists as a home for its occupants, who have remodeled it into a nice residence.

Chapel Hill was located northwest of Hurley. The writer was unable to find anymore information except that it existed.

District school was located on the present Clellie Steele farm north of Hurley. The building stood until several years ago, when it was torn down. The building was an old log school which served SubDistrict #2 from 1871 to 1890. The last school taught in the log school house was by Ruben Sells in 1890.2

Hampton school was located approximately six miles east of Hurley on a one acre tract of long. It is not known if it was destroyed or moved. The Missouri Land and Livestock Company (limited) deeded this land to R.T. Pruett, Jesse Hampton and G.W. Jenkins, Trustees of the School District #4 on November 4, November 23, 1894.

Henry school was located east of Hurley on a hill beyond the Loren Leath home. John L. Carpenter and Clara E. Carpenter deeded this land to School District #2 for as long as the school existed. The deed is dated March 4, 1888. The Henry School was named after Rosie Wright’s grandfather, Joseph Henry. The building is long since been moved to Purd Cox’s farm and is used as a barn today.

Hurley Grade (old) school was a one room frame building finished in the fall of 1909. The first teacher was Roy Sullivan. The school was located behind the Hurley Methodist Church on the Mildred Burman land.3

Missouri school was located at Union City and is a part of the church that still stand there.

Oak Hill school was located north of Hurley, near Brown’s Spring on the old Wade Kemp farm. The first fall term of school began in 1891.

Oto is located on AA highway approximately 8-10 miles southeast of Hurley. The school was located at the Jim Cox turn-off road, and was destroyed in order to build a new church. The builders dug a hole and pushed the old school into it and built the church on top of the school building. The church is still standing and serves the community today.

Possum Trot (Fair View #4) is located east of Union City and still stands today.3

Walnut Grove school was located east of Hurley and was destroyed by fire. Payton J. Forrister deeded. this land to J.W. Crumpley, T.C. Hudson, and W.A. McConnell, who was the director of school district #1, on March 19, 1881.

Mrs. Ada Jones remembers the Inmon school as being approximately nine miles east of Hurley next to the "Arch".

The majority of these early schools had several similarities such as a single teacher, one room, outdoor bathrooms (his and hers), pot-bellied stoves, and a wood pile. Each school also had a well with a pump or a water bucket to draw water with. Often a cup hung near the well for the children to drink from. The blackboards were hung on the front walls along with a few pieces of chalk to write the lessons of the day. The desks were doubled in size and were shared as well as books and other supplies.

School terms were different in length in each individual school. Some of the school terms varied from four months, eight month, or nine months depending on the year and the conditions of the community. The district required attendance for children in grades one through eight. Each child provided his own transportation, which was usually in the form of walking and this was often five miles.

The teacher qualifications were different from those of today. Some districts required a teacher to have an eighth grade education and then go to the county seat, Galena, for a test, or perhaps a 12th grade education and then go to college for ten hours of study before a contract could be issued. The pay for a teacher varied from $25.00 to $60.00 per month. Mr. Robert Cobb, who taught at Henry school said, "If you did the janitor work, they paid $90.00 a month". Mr. Cobb taught at Henry school during the years of 1929-1930.

There were not hot lunch programs during the early years. The children brought their own food from home. Some brought molasses and cornbread, bacon, sausage, and biscuits. Mr. Orie Wright said he could remember reaching for a couple of sausages and putting them in between biscuits and heading for school with them in his pockets. On the other hand Rosie Slaughter would gather her gallon syrup bucket could


carry enough food for three or four family members and heading for school.

Most of the people interviewed recalled enjoying their school years as we do today, but a pat on the back must be given because not many students would get up early enough today and walk the long miles to school.

These before mentioned schools did play sports at the recess period of school. Basketball was played on an outdoor court usually constructed on dirt. The baseball games were also played at recess and were popular among the students. The Hurley grade school court was located behind the Curtis and Donna Ray’s home in a field. Basketball games were played against other schools such as Clever, Crane, Marionville, and adjoining schools.

The colors of black and red have always been according to Mr. and Mrs. Redgie Wright. Mr. Wright said, "When we played, it was black and red." The mascot has been different in past years. Until 1949-1950 the Hurley teams were known as the Mountaineers.

Schools were consolidated and districts reorganized and the need for the construction on a new school became evident. Construction on Hurley High School began February 1927 and was completed in January, 1928. There were three board members-- Mr. E.R. Scott, Mr. Al Logan, the third member is not known. Mr. Clifford Kinsinger was the first superintendent at Hurley in 1928. The Hurley school district was supported by railroad taxes as opposed to the real estate taxes that support today’s school.

At the time of construction of the new high school there were no hot lunches, but at a later date the school paid Mr. Ray and Mrs. Freda Robb to serve meals to the students across the street from the school where Mr. and Mrs. Skip Andrus live today. The first lunch program was in 1947. This lunch program was located in the basement of the present high school. The first cooks were Mrs. Elsie Dean and Mrs. Sarah Eaton. Sometime after the lunchroom was completed a large amount of rain fell and as a result the lunchroom flooded. It resembled a swimming pool instead of an eating facility. Out of necessity, the lunchroom was changed to the home economics room. The superintendent during this time was Mr. Leonard Williams, who presently lives at Crane.

Mr. Redgie Wright contracted and got the bid to build the new addition of the school gymnasium to the present high school. The new gymnasium was constructed in 1953. The old school gymnasium became the lunchroom.7

The first buses were built by Mr. Charlie Young and Mr. Jim Gideon. The buses were built out of trucks with wood shells on the back and they had no seats but benches on each side and down the middle. The first drivers were Mr. Tony Cardwell and Mr. Vernon Eaton.

There were several janitors during these years, but most remembered were Mr. Lyman Wright, Mr. Ralph Wright, and Mr. Leonard Barnett.

The Hurley grade school was built by the WPA work program designed to allow local people to work and have a job. Mr. Marion Conrad, a Hurley resident worked on the program, and helped build the elementary school building during the Depression circa 1939. This program was a representation of civic responsibility and pride.’10

The 1983-84 school year is nearing the halfway mark of the century. Hurley’s superintendent is Mr. Marvin Spragg. The school board members are Mr.Tommy Gold, Mr. Gary Jones, Mr. David Dunn, Mr. Herschel Walles, Mr. Freddie Gold and Mr. Donnie Eutsler.



1. Houser, Charley. Stone County Courthouse, Galena, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
2. Langston, Fern. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
3. Cobb, Robert. Modesto, California. Interview, October, 1983.
4. Jones, Ada. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
5. Wright, Orie, Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
6. Slaughter, Rosie. Hurley, Missouri, Interview, October, 1983.
7. Wright, Redgie and Gertie. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
8. Hair, Mary. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.
9. Dean, Elsie, Mrs. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983
10. Conrad, Marion. Hurley, Missouri. Interview, October, 1983.

Editor’s Note: Deonna Eutsler, a sophomore at Hurley High School, is the first place winner of the Society’s 1984 Historical Essay Contest. She is a student in the General Business class of Mrs. Connie F. Buell.


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