The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Compiled and Edited by Virginia Ross
Registrar for Daniel McMillan Chapter, N.S.D.A.R.19
Stronghurst Graphic, June 5, 1917
(This letter appeared in the paper touted as an example of the quality of education being obtained in Henderson County Schools and gives us a slice of the student's life at that time.)
"Gladstone, Ill. Jan.26, 1917-My name is Susie Brown. I am one of the seventh grade pupils of the Coloma school. It will no doubt be a great surprise to you to hear from an unknown friend but as our teacher, Miss Thompson, asked me to write to you, I will try and tell you about our school and surroundings.We have a large school for a county school since we have 51 pupils in all seven grades. Our school house is situated half way between Biggsville and Gladstone in Henderson County. It is also eight miles east of Burlington, Ia., which is situated on the Mississippi River where they are building a large wagon bridge where the river is one mile wide (MacArthur Bridge).
Our school house caught on fire Oct. 31st from a defective furnace pipe about 4 p.m. and by 6 p.m. it was burnt to the ground. We are now having school in a vacant house which is about 20 rods from my home. There are six rooms in this house and we use them all.A new school house is being built where the old one stood. The basement is divided into three different parts: a playroom, a furnace room and a coal room. The whole north side of our schoolroom is to be windows for it is the custom here nowadays not to have the south light. The school house is to face the south and we are to face the east so as to have the light fall over our left shoulder.
Since we have been having school in this vacant house, we have been having half hour noons because we have no place to play after we have eaten our dinner. When we get in our new school house we are going to have an hour noon, but I think an hour and a half would not be too long, for we will all have such good times.Some of the games we play are "Black Man," "Black Magic," "Bean Bag," "London Bridge is Falling Down," and "Needles Eye," "Wood Tag" and "Ball"...We have had some zero weather, but it is warmer now. We had snow here Christmas as there had been a large snowstorm a few days before. It doesn't seem to me like we have had very much cold weather here this winter; I guess it is because I have had so much fun.
There is a pond about a quarter of a mile from my home and we have had several "skating parties." Although I cannot skate, I have had heaps of fun... We get out about half past three while we are having half hour noons and some of the children go skating after school. The ice is not very smooth now because they are putting it up for summer.
During the month of December, Red Cross Stamps were given to all the schools in this state to sell to help the Red Cross Society. Our school sold the most of any country school in this county and Oquawka school, which is about eight miles from here sold the most of any school in the state.
I live on the Oak Grove Fruit Farm and the chief occupation here is the growing of fruits. The chief occupation in the neighborhood is farming with corn, wheat and oats grown. Most of the farmers have from 160 to 400 acres of land in their farms.All of us think a lot of our teacher. We took our final examination in physiology Jan.24 and will take Civics the rest of the term. I took the eighth grade work last year...Signed, Susie Brown, Gladstone,