Wednesday, March 12, 2008

1909: Happenings in Adair County

As Grandmother Lottie Hart skillfully traced her fingers over the piano keys and the melody flowed, what was happening in 1909 in Adair County? Most of the information that I was able to gather at this stage was in the order of "facts" or "data". Such things are usually the 1st to gather. They represent yet screen the everyday lived experience of the people. I am ever mindful as I wonder: what was life like? I know these facts below are good starters for me, but they are part of a longer journey of discovery:
  • R.W. Hart was Judge of the Second District. (1, page 53) (R.W. Hart was Lottie's Uncle; Lottie's father, Robert Nelson Hart, was R.W. Hart's brother. Mother remembers her Mother talking about "Uncle Dick".)
  • Of children of school age, enrollment of pupils in school had increased substantially from 1868 when only 1/2 of those enumerated were enrolled. In 1909, 5538 (87%) were enrolled of the 6402 enumerated. (1, page 175)
  • John R. Kirk was President of the Normal School. In 1909-10, 42 were listed as faculty with 59 graduates. (1, page 239)
  • The 1909-1910 Principal or Supervisor of the Training School at the Normal School was Miss Gertrude Longnecker. (1, page 215)
  • "In 1907 there was erected on the campus the Model Rural School House, which stands as the most distinctive feature of the institution. For years President Kirk has been a close student of rural schools. He has thought deeply upon the many problems of the rural school system, but he has been most interested in the country school houses." ... "A model rural school has been maintained in this building ever since it has been completed. A high grade teacher has been employed to conduct the school, and country children near town have been brought to school daily in a covered wagon and taken back again in the afternoon." (1, page 211)
  • Marie Turner Harvey was employed as a critic teacher in the Normal School practice school and later developed the model rural school on campus. (1, page 208) (Mrs. Harvey would play an important role in the early education of Lottie and Fred's family.)
  • Friedman-Shelby Shoe Company Factory was completed in 1908. Violette reports that the factory employed 300 people with total wages of $2,500 per week. Daily output is 1200 pairs of shoes. (1, pages 298-300) (If my calculator serves me correctly, that is $8.33 as average wage.)
  • Coal output for the county in 1909 was reported at 564,328 tons. (1, page 304).
  • In about 1910, the Sojourners Club raised money for providing a fountain for horses and dogs on the square. (2, page 168)
  • 1910 populations were listed as follows: Adair County: 22,700; Kirksville: 6,347; Connelsville: 652; Novinger: 1,711; Brashear: 458; Gibbs: 229. (2, page 215)
  • Vaudeville likely played at the Opera House in Kirksville. (3) (See picture of the Kirksville Opera House as you scroll down on this site.) (I need to check on the details of this.)
  • Violette reported that "The strongest denominations are the Methodists and Baptists." (1, page 114)
  • The Presbyterian Synod of Missouri convened in Kirksville. (1, page 143)
  • W.C. Templeton was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Two Mission Sunday Schools were organized in 1909, with one on Centennial Avenue and the other on West Patterson. These were the only Mission Sunday Schools in Kirksville at that time. (1, page 143)
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics for 1902 reported 2,696 farms in Adair County on June 1, 1900. (1, page 289)
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 1909 county production of wheat as 2,148 acres (with average yield of 17 bushels/acre), 62,296 acres in corn (29 bushels/acre), 3,640 acres in oats (25 bushes per acre), 73,309 acres in hay and forage. (1, page 287)
  • The county assessor's live stock census for 1909 listed: 9,409 horses, 1,335 mules, 42 asses and jennets, 24,209 cattle, 11,108 sheep, 9,623 hogs. (1, page 290)
  • The Selby Poultry Company was incorporated in 1901 with headquarters in Kirksville and branches in Edina, Hannibal, and Quincy. Eggs, butter and poultry were chief products bought and shipped to market; hides, furs, pelts, tallow and feathers were also purchased but in variable quantities. This firm paid $40,000 for produce to people of the county in 1896 and $75,000 in 1910. The chief market for produce was New York. (1, 290-91).
  • Regarding Farmers' Markets, "Adair County farmers---mostly the women of the household---raised flocks of chickens, perhaps 50 to the farm. Every farm had a hen house, but the laying hens also found comfortable places in the barn and in the machine shed in which to lay their eggs. Once or sometimes twice a day some member of the household gathered eggs. They were accumulated in cases, in buckets, or in crocks for several days before being taken to the store where they were bartered or sold. Home storage at best was a damp, cool cellar but because the eggs did not get to the buyer every day their quality was not tops and Missouri eggs did not bring the highest prices when they arrived in St. Louis, Chicago, or New York. New York was the principal market for Adair County poultry and eggs." (2, pages 178-179).
  • In 1911, Violette reports the miles of track in the county owned by railroad companies: Wabash Railroad: 24 miles; "O.K." Railroad: 32 miles; Santa Fe Railroad: exact amount not listed; Iowa and St. Louis Railroad: 21 miles. (1, pages 318, 322, 323, 325)
  • "For some years recently there has been some agitation in favor of trolley lines connecting Kirksille with towns in other counties. Among the routes proposed the one most talked about was to run from Hannibal to Kirksville. During the year 1910 the matter was talked of very extensively, but as yet nothing material has developed." (1, page 326)
  • 135 students graduate from A.S.O. (American School of Osteopathy). The student body is described as cosmopolitan with men and women from all parts of the country and some from foreign lands. R.E. Hamilton is Dean of faculty at A.S.O. (1, page 264)
(1) Violette, E.M. (1911). History of Adair County. Published by The Denslow History Company. Kirksville, Missouri: The Journal Printing Company.

(2) Kirksville-Adair County Bicentennial Committee. (1976). A Book of Adair County History. Kirksville, Missouri: Simpson Printing Company.

Postcards from Aunt Della Brenz's correspondence. Above: State Normal School with President John R. Kirk (inset). Below: Scott J. Miller Rural School, Kirksville, Mo.

Glinda's notes: I almost always share entries that relate to family history with Mother before I post them. We talk about them. I have more questions and Mother has more memories. Often, she says she will ask her sister Ruth.

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