Some of Cooksville's class photos of 1947
The collection of student class photographs was donated by Edith, the Cooksville School teacher in the mid-1940s. The donation came about because Edith had attended the recent “175th Celebration of Cooksville: 1842-2017,” a program presented in the Cooksville Schoolhouse on June 10, 2017. Edith’s son had driven her down from her home in Oshkosh to attend the event, which featured a presentation by Jerry Apps and a slide show by Larry Reed about the history of Cooksville, from the past to the present.
|Edith with her Cooksville Class in the old photograph|
One of the slides in the history presentation was the photograph (above) of Edith's Cooksville school class miss-dated “1934” with the young teacher standing behind her students next to the schoolhouse.
|Edith viewing her and her class, at the June 2017 "Celebration" in Cooksville|
When Edith saw that slide projected on the screen at the presentation, she quietly laughed and mentioned that she was the teacher in the photograph with her students! Except, Edith said, the caption on the photo should read “1944,” when she was teaching in Cooksville, not “1934.” She wasn't that old! The audience cheered and applauded at the wonderful coincidence of Edith being in attendance to see herself up on the screen—and applauded loudly when she corrected the date of the photo. Edith happily posed for more photos that day this past summer, including one of herself looking up at the screen, where she was then 19 years old posing with her students in 1944. That was 73 years ago, and now Edith is… oh, well, we shouldn’t tell a lady’s age.
When Edith returned to Oshkosh after the program this summer she sent a letter to Larry, the Cooksville historian, in which she enclosed a number of individual class photos of her pupils from 1947—young smiling boys and girls of varying ages, most identified with their names—names that still resonate in Cooksville’s family histories.
Edith wrote in her letter accompanying the photos:
“Cooksville is a special place. I am happy you & others are keeping it vital. Your church (Larry’s) was a town hall when I was in Cooksville. Franz & Melvin kept the township road equipment in the basement. In 1946 we had our annual Christmas program there because our school was too small for the crowd. In 1946, I became 21 & Olga Porter came to Holm’s (where she was boarding) to get me & take me to the polls. She wanted to make sure I voted. Keep up the good work. (signed) Edith Cavey Johnson.”
The second recent school-related donation to the Cooksville Archives was a framed piece of stitchery stitched by someone named “Elizabeth” in 1881. The stitchery stated the ten strict “Rules of Our School.”(Number nine was “Don’t spit.”) But we do not know which well-mannered one-room schoolhouse in the Town of Porter was the one where students were admonished by these rules not to “fidget,” not to say “bad words,” and to do “what the teacher says.”
|"Rules of Our School" 1881|
The simply framed “Rules” sewn by "Elizabeth" were recently discovered in, and rescued from, the Town of Porter dump, now known at the “Recycling Center,” by the sharp-eyed Center Monitor, Russ Skjolaas, who gave the charming artifact to Bob Degner, a Saturday regular at the Recycling Center, who in turn donated it to the Cooksville Archives.
Thanks to Edith, Russ and Bob for saving and sharing these pieces of bygone-school days in old Cooksville and the Town of Porter.
|Cooksville Schoolhouse, c.1930|
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