The teacher's gift to students in 1906 - with a splendid colored cover showing our first president, George Washington, the American flag, and symbols of education - the lighted lamp, books, and more, plus lettering and trim in elegant gold that remains as true today as it was then.
The teacher's gift to students in 1906 - with a splendid colored cover showing our first president, George Washington, the American flag, and symbols of education - the lighted lamp, books, and more, plus lettering and trim in elegant gold that remains as true today as it was then.
Since school will soon be "out" and summer officially begin, let's consider this choice missive from 1906 labeled a souvenir. The booklet was a gift to the students of County Line public school, Dist. #126, located in Sumner Township, Fillmore County, from their teacher, Wm. A. Wilson. Mr. Wilson had charge of 23 students, grades one through eight, including Olive, Earl and Clifford Hazelton, Howard, Everett and Vera Keck, Anna and Winfred Neill, Elmer, George and Estella Wilson, John Steffens, Earl and Homer Ballinger, Luella and Harry Wintz, Ernest and Alta St. John, Anna, Enos and Elvah Allen, Edward Hinze, and Ray Green - as you can see, often several children from one family. Listed as the school board were F.A. Neill, J.F. Ballinger, and O.R. Steffens.

A touching poem graced the inner pages as follows, titled "The Close of School": The time has come to say farewell for now our term is through; to sound our present school days' knell and bid you all adieu. Farewell, a word that stirs our hearts, that moves our feelings strong, that sadness frequently imports and makes us linger long. For months together we have met and conned our lessons o'er, and done our best to know and get a part of learning's store. Thro' all the days I've labored hard, and often during night; your progress was my sole regard, your well-fare my delight. And oh! my pupils, I have tried to do the best I could, I've ope'd the book of knowledge wide and hope you've understood. Get wisdom, said the Sage of old, who spake in sayings wise; more precious she than gems or gold or any other prize. And richer far than greatest king or treasures of the mine, are they who drink from out her spring, or worship at her shrine. With all your getting therefore get an education true, 'twill be a crown with jewels set, a pow'r to each of you. And thanks for all your favors shown, for cheer, which toil beguiles, for roses in my pathway strewn for all your love and smiles. And at the parting of the ways, we at this moment stand, and soon we'll close our dear school days and take each other's hand. Most fondly do I wish you well, and hope you each may be an ornament where e'er you dwell and from all vices free. And now the swift, descending sun proclaims the time is here, so good-by each and ev'ry one, farewell, my pupils, dear.

This booklet is a precious memento as it indicates dear friends and relatives from the Racine area where my family, the Boucseins, lived for many years. O.R. Steffens was a brother to my grandfather, Harry Steffens, and Ort managed the Racine lumberyard for most of his career. He and Aunt Sadie were dear ones we girls visited often, and Uncle Ort was well known as a collector of Indian arrowheads and artifacts. He walked the Deer Creek and Bear Creek riverbanks as well as that of the Root River, scouring the former campgrounds and Indian mounds for these fascinating pieces. His incredible collection of arrowheads was once featured at the Fillmore County Historical Society, but later claimed by his family, who treasure it still. F.A. Neill was a longtime resident of the Hamilton area (north of Spring Valley) and the father of Anna and Winnie. Anna was a good neighbor and family friend, and I've written columns about the Neills and Anna's contribution to the community. She graduated from the Chautauqua School of Nursing in New York (by correspondence!) in 1912, and operated a nursing facility in her country home. She was mentored by Dr. Albert Plummer of Racine, father of Dr. Henry Plummer of Mayo renown, and she was acquainted with Dr. Will Mayo and his staff, and of course, the area doctors respected her skills.

Other students listed? The summer of 1949 I worked for the Earl Ballingers as a housemaid and nurse while Mrs. Ballinger recuperated from an illness, and Homer Ballinger was the father of my good friend and classmate, Marilyn. The Kecks married into my Steffens family, and so the names were mostly familiar. When one opened the tiny booklet, the frontispiece on fragile thin tissue paper reads: In memory of days spent together in the schoolroom, this token is presented with the compliments of Your Teacher. Inside the back cover is a lovely patriotic depiction of a school belfry with a flag flying in the breeze, and these words: In cities and in villages, in country districts scattered wide, above the schoolhouse door it floats - a thing of beauty and of pride. The poorest child, the richest heir - 'tis theirs in common to adore, for 'tis their flag that proudly floats - the flag above the schoolhouse door.

Ah, sweet memories. What do you remember of your school days - teachers, friends, pranks, outings, music, real learning?? Our teachers, administrators, school board, staff - they deserve our thanks and deepest respect.

Bless 'em all!