Augusta Wisconsin High School History

Written in 1906.  The first decade of the 20th Century

The Wisconsin History of Augusta Wisconsin Schools from the 1857 to 1906

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The Public Schools of Augusta [Wisconsin], History to 1906
Written for the [Eau Claire Wisconsin] Leader by Frank L. Clarke1912 Photo Augusta Wisconsin History High School
Published June 5, 1906

It is not the eye that sees the beauties of heaven, nor the ear that hears the sweetness of the music or the glad tidings of a prosperous accident; but the soul that perceives all the relishes of sensual and intellectual perceptions: and the more and excellent the soul is, the greater and more savory are its perceptions.  And if a child behold the rich ermine, or the diamonds of a starry night, or the order of the world, or hears the discourses of the apostles; because he makes no reflex act on himself and sees not what he sees, he can have but the pleasure of a fool or the deliciousness of a mull.

The importance of educations was realized by the early settlers of Augusta, Wisconsin, and not withstanding the poverty, and the hardships, and the labors of the pioneer life, are of their first thoughts was of the education of the youth so that they might enjoy the pleasures of knowledge.

The first school in Augusta was opened in 1857, with a Miss Parland as teacher.  It was located on the north side and was kept in a little board shanty.  The number of pupils was necessarily small, for there was but a few families in the community at the time.

In 1859 a district school was organized and a new school house was built.  It was the little building that was removed last summer to make room for the German Lutheran church and it stood on the ground where C. W. Culbertson’s house now stands.  For several years it was a small school and it has been impossible to learn who the first teachers were after Miss Parland until 1865.  That year Lydia Hoxhurst, now Mrs. Jas. Young was the teacher and it is said that she was a most excellent one.

That was in the fall and winter of 1865.  The next year the school was divided.  The advanced pupils remained in the regular school building with Miss Libbie Denison as teacher, while the primary grade was under the tutelage of Martha Robbins; no Mrs. Stoddard Field, of Osseo.  She kept the school in the rooms over Dr. Spencer’s residence, then known as Spencer’s hall.

At the beginning of the fall term in 1867, Mary Day was the teacher of the advanced grade and Miss Lillian Hall, of the primary grade.  Miss Day had to give up the school within a short time, however and Mrs. F. N. Thomas took her place for the term.  For the spring term Sarah Reed was employed as teacher.

Meantime, the school population had grown and it became necessary to build a Professor AJ Huttonnew school hours.  The new building was built on the ground near the present school building and had rooms to accommodate four departments.

[Professor A. J. Hutton, Augusta Wisconsin High School Principal, 1867]

For the year 1867-1869 a Mr. Tillingbast was principal of the school.  The next year Prof. A. J. Hutton, of Whitewater, was employed as principal.  He was a most excellent teacher, but before he finished the year, we was called to more advanced work in a school in the southern part of the state, and Prof. E. H. Sprague, of Elkhorn, succeeded him.   He was also a good teacher and remained in charge of the school for two years.

Prof. Sprague was followed in 1872 by a man by the name of Jacobs, who came from Winona.  He was no good and the school board, after looking around for some time, selected T. E. Williams, a young man from Eau Claire, just out of college.  He took hold of the disorganized situations in a masterful way and had got matters nicely squared way when the schoolhouse was destroyed by fire.  The school did not stop, however, but was moved into the building now F. W. Rick’s saloon and the school year was finished there.

A new school house was built on the foundation of the one destroyed and about the same general style.

The next year the school moved to the new building and Mr. Williams was again employed as principal.  He remained at the head of the school continuously until 1883, except for a short time in 1877.  That year he thought to retire from the profession because of ill health and man by the name of Beade was employed as principal.  Mr. Beade was a good teacher, but was wanting in the essentials of administration and his work failed.  He taught only a portion of the year and then Mr. Williams came back and remained until 1883

By this time the school had outgrown its former importance and had been organized as a high school.  The work of teaching in the high school, together with that of superintendence had become too exacting for one and an assistant in high school became necessary.  For this position a young man by the name of Augusta High School circa 1900L. W. Wood, but a year out of River Falls normal school, was employed and proved to be a most excellent teacher, full of school spirit and a leader of your people, especially young men.  At the close of the school year Mr. Williams concluded to retire from the profession and his long service of the Augusta schools was closed.

Prof. Williams, we all called him “Professor,” although he disliked the term, preferred the ordinary “Mr.” or by the older ones, the short name, “Tom,” was every inch a man.  There were no frills about him, nor fancies, nor deceits.  The student body worshipped him and word was law.  He scarcely ever frowned and corporal punishment was to a thing to be abhorred.  He taught by practice as well as from the next and joined heartily in all the sports of the young people, excelling in athletics and playing any position assigned him on the diamond when a base ball game was on hand.  His influence upon the youth was of that kink that lasts and many a young man and many a young woman was directed by him into the way of life that terminated in success.

The writer was student in those days and the memories of them are pleasant indeed.  Many of the boys and girls have gone since then, some to other parts and some to the higher life.  Among the boys there was Frank Miller, a big, strapping fellow, a thought student and bashful as a maiden; he we to Michigan and has since been lost track of.  Freeman Works went to farming, but failed in health and passed to the higher life.  Mansfield Arries lives at Merrell now and his brother Will lives on a farm in Scott’s Valley, is married and has a find family of about dozen nice boys and girls, some of them married.  Will Day is in the west, prosperous and unmarried.  Ed Brown married Ollie Randall and they live at Peshtigo, and Ab. Stone, who married Cora Coon, is now a game warden in Barron County.  The Stevens boys, Sylvester and Will live in Eau Claire now.  Will Roberts is in the west, weighs about three hundred pounds, and is a railroad accountant.  Alfred Bennot went into the railroad business and for years has been a conductor, running on a passenger train out of Denver, Colorado.  He quit that job a short time ago and is now one of the firm of L. L. Williams & co., furniture dealers, Eau Claire.

And of the girls, the sweetest and liveliest bunch that ever lived.  There was Lettie Loucks and Martha hatch, Allie Searl, Bertha Sheon, Carrie Chadbourne, Georgie Walrath, Novena Clarke, Neil Snow, Allie Waldron, Allie Buckman and TE Williams, Principalothers whose names we do not recall.  In the morning, when school had been “called,” they would get around the old organ and sing “Fawn Footed Nannie,” or some other of the school songs in a way that has never since been excelled.  They were nice girls and the boys liked them.

[Professor T. E. Williams, Augusta Wisconsin High School, Principal 1883]

But we have departed from our purpose, which was to write the history of Augusta schools.

In 1884 L. W. Wood, who had been assistant principal the year before, was chosen by the school band to take charge of the school.  He was somewhat different than Mr. Williams, but at once won his way to success.  He was an ideal instructor, a good organizer and a leader of the young.  He too, like his predecessor, was held in the highest regard by the student body, and too, he left an impress upon the youth that will only be erased when the death angel comes to point the higher way.  He was in charge of the school for thirteen years, leaving in 1897, to take a better position at Neillsville.  He is now state inspector of rural schools, appointed last year (1905) by State Superintendent Cary. 

Prof. Albert Hedler followed Mr. Wood and remained three years, 1898 to 1900.  He was a good teacher, but left to take up the study of law in Milwaukee.

In 1901 Prof. G. O. Banting was the principal and remained two years.  H resigned to accept the principal ship of the Waupaca school, a position which he still holds.

W. H. Sheppard followed Prof. Banting in 1903-1904 and was succeeded in 1905 by the present principal, J. E. Hale. Prof. hale is a fine teacher and is doing fine work.  The school spirit possesses him and he is doing strenuous work, putting it upon the highest level.

In 1887 the old school house was too small to accommodate the school population and a new building was erected on the lots on the west of the old building and the two lower grades were transferred.

Again in 1882 the high school building had become inadequate and a special school meeting was held to decide upon plans for the future.  At this meeting it was voted to build a new school house and a building committee was appointed. Augusta High School

As a result the old school house was torn down and a new one erected at a cost of about $30,000.  The new building was ready for occupancy at the beginning of the school year 1903.  It is a thoroughly modern building, one of the finest in the state, and is thoroughly equipped in every detail: Library, gymnasium, steam heat, electric lights and every modern convenience.  The school has been brought to the highest standard of excellence is notable throughout northern Wisconsin for the quality of its graduates.

Four courses of four years each are offered in the high school, and will admit to the state university or any college in the state, and to the junior year of any state normal [college].  Four years of Latin and two of German are given, and will prepare the pupil for such special courses as engineering, medicine, or dentistry.

The school contains eight grades below the high school, each graded seated in a separate room and instructed by a special teacher.

Free text books are furnished all pupils of the school without rental.
Admission to the high school is made either on a diploma from the district school, a certificate of membership from another high school, a diploma from a state graded school or a three-year high school, or by examination.

Admission to the grades is made by promotion from another school, or by examination.

Tuition:  High school, 50 cents a week; grades 1, 2, 3, and 4, 35 cents a week; grades 5 and 6 forty cents a week, and grades 7 and 8, students pay 45 cents a week.

High school tuition is free to pupils coming from districts having no state high school.

Tuition pupils are invited tour our school.  We have ample room, equipment, Professor LW Woodstext-books and teaching force and can accommodate many such pupils.
Board and room can be had at usual prices and in good homes.  The principal keeps a directory for the assistance of tuition pupils, and we be glad to assist them in getting good school homes.  He solicits correspondence in regard to the school.
[Principal, Augusta Wisconsin High School 1905, Professor L. W. Woods]

Following is the high school faculty [in Augusta Wisconsin, 1906]:
Supervising Principal: John E. Hale
Assistant Principal: Arthur Huelson
History and Mathematics: Daisy M. Allen
English and Science: Leunice Octbker
Latin, German and Literature: Lydia Wheelock
Extra: Lucius Allen

Following are members of the school board:
Director: G. W. Paul
Treasurer: H. A. Linder
Clerk: W. E. Johnson

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Transcribed from Wisconsin Historical Society Archives This transcription is copyright 2006 by authors of this site and Prorganize. Use of this information must cite this source,, including the copyright and this web site