Through the Years:
Monroe County Schools
Monroe County’s history is rich with people who were educated in small district schools long before there was a consolidated, public school system. While there were probably many private and parochial classes taught in the days of Monroe County’s early settlers, no known county educational records exist before the state mandated formation of early school districts in the 1830s.
For many of the Monroe County pioneers, the one-room, rural schoolhouses or small township schools were the only chance of a formal education for their children. These district schools usually had a single teacher who taught “Readin’, ‘Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic” to a group of students in the first through eight grades. The teacher was often a graduating student who returned after three or four years with a teaching certificate and assumed the role of new teacher.
The schoolhouses were frequently the central meeting place for many of the county’s rural communities and small towns. In addition to daily classes, spelling bees and other school related activities, the buildings were often used for Sabbath meetings, pie suppers, dances, town assemblies or election halls. These gatherings were essential for communication and social activity in these small communities and helped knit together the scattered population.
With the emergence of statewide road systems in the mid 20th century, however, it became easier to transport students to larger, more centralized schools. The district schools soon began to be replaced by consolidated schools but many survived into the 1960s. At one time, there were around 120 rural schools in Monroe County. In 1946-47, there were 83. By 1961-2, this number had dwindled to 14 schools.
Below is our compiled list of approx 100 Monroe County schools active sometime during the period 1839 through 1957. If you have additional information on these or other Monroe County schools, please contact me.
Note: While all schools show a link to their respective page, they may not contain any data yet. Schools with information will be highlighted.
Sources: “Early Schools in Monroe County” and various articles to include “One Room School House History” by Steve Chinn and “Burton Reminisces about One-Room Schools” from the Joplin, MO Independent. LPP