NMHS NEWSLETTER May 1985
THE NOBLE CAREER OF MARTHA WINESBURG BY Mrs. Edna L. Heeter and Dr. L. A. Bunker
“She taught my mother in the first grade at Central School in 1886.” “I was in the first grade at the West Ward School in 1908. My sister followed in 1912.” “Her last year of teaching was 1931-32.” Voices of former students still speak quietly of the remarkable span and talents of Martha Winesburg, North Manchester’s revered primary teacher.
For a full half century and an outstanding career, Martha Winesburg fostered a disciplined yet cheerful environment for learning, innovative in new techniques yet wise to maintain methods that served well in the past. She is remembered as a tall, erect person with blue eyes and white hair, always elegantly dressed and wearing hat and gloves. She had a blooming complexion and was always spotless.
Martha’s story begins on June 2, 1862, when she was born to James and Rachel (Heeter) Winesburg on the family farm in Sectionn 23, Chester Township, southeast of North Manchester. The 180-acre farm is now owned by George Winebrenner. The other children in the family were John Wesley, Mary E., William, and Franklin.
As a child she attended the Krisher School on the southeast corner across the road from the Krisher Cemetery on State Road 113 East. There was no high school at that time. Good students with eighth grade certificates were allowed to teach in rural one-room schools. Often a would-be teacher remained in school, assisting the teacher for a season or so, like the practice teaching of today.
We hear of Martha Winesburg at Servia and Liberty Mills. Since the Krisher School was near Servia, she may have begun teaching in the school where she had begun her education. It used to be said that she taught for 50 years. Her obituary counted 43; perhaps the informal years of training and part-time teaching were not included.
She was teaching first grade at the Central School in North Manchester in 1886. During the 1896-97 school year, the principal at Servia, John Werking, died of typhoid fever, and Winesburg replaced him and taught second primary grade. She continued in North Manchester schools until she resigned in 1931-32 because of ill health.
Winesburg was a dedicated teacher, attending biennial teacher institutes during the school year. She received a two-year normal certificate from Manchester College in 1908. This was doubtlessly acquired by summer short courses and perhaps night classes.
Summers in Posh Hotel?
Teachers’ pay was extremely low by modern standards, and there was no insurance plan, pension, or other benefits. As late as 1918, teachers were working in rural schools for $50 a month, often doing their own janitorial work and board with school patrons. Winesburg and other dedicated teachers spent a long life of teaching for small rewards.
Many summers, when school was out, Martha packed a steamer trunk and was off to Bay View, a rather swank summer resort on the east shore of Lake Michigan. We imagined her sipping tea and holding forth in high society, but actually, we learned later, she worked at the hotel during her vacations!
Martha is described as a strict teacher. She was, however, kind and considerate of each of her students. Students left her first and second grade classes prepared for the third. If a student needed to be punished, Martha took care of the matter herself.
She lived where Dr. and Mrs. Roger Sawyer live today on West South Street near the present Maple Park School. It was a one-story frame cottage up on the slope and had wood siding. She heated the home with coal and cooked on a coal and wood stove. There was, of course, an outdoor privy, and a washtub inside was used for baths.
One former student, Jack Miller (“I think I was one of her pets”), whose home was near Martha’s, did chores for her, such as carrying in wood and coal, mowing the lawn, and raking the leaves. She was a wonderful person to work for.
Mrs. Dorothy Joseph remembers Miss Mattie’s diligence in teaching musical scales. When Dorothy did not remember them, a gentle shaking was in order, but Dorothy had no hard feels as she felt she herself had a serious shortcoming for musical scales!
Mrs. L. O. Bemis (Ruby Olinger), a pupil in 1908, recalls the school bell and yardstick with which order was kept. She continues, “Her great effort was to teach the sounds of the vowels and consonants, illustrated by blackboard pictures with colored chalk.” Like the Laubach method of today, phonics made it possible for pupils to sound out words and learn to spell at the same time.
Classroom a Cheerful Place
The Winesburg classroom was a cheerful place, full of plants and in season beautiful pussy willows and spring flowers and goldenrod in the fall. At West Ward School she taught first and second grades in the same room, one studying while the other recited. A firm sense of discipline made this routine possible.
Classes were preceded by opening exercises, usually singing a patriotic song, like “My Country Tis of Thee,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or Rally Round the Flag,” accompanied by the wonderful organ, and sometimes the rousing “Marching Through Georgia.”
The shadow of the Civil War still hung over the country as late as the opening decade of this century, and at the end of the school year pupils hurried out from Decoration Day to march to the cemetery and the bridge with Civil War veterans. Once in a while they sang the touching “Tenting Tonight in the Old Campground.”
At Christmas the mood changed; they sang “Jingle Bells,” and the teacher read from a book, “The Bird’s Christmas Carol,” “Captain January,” or “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.”
Then to work with endless drills and practicing with Spencerian penmanship. The second graders wrote with ink from little glass wells in one corner of their desk. Miss Mattie toiled daily over the ink-stained youngsters, struggling with phonics, hoping to turn her classes into third graders. Years passed with each new “crop” of brights and dullards, but she was always cheerful and sustained her work well.
The high point of her life must have been the day in 1929 when the masons, who had been repairing the front of West Ward building, removed the canvas to display their work:
MARTHA WINESBURG SCHOOL cut into limestone and embedded over the front entrance!
Philip Seitner, a pupil at that time, years later wrote in the News-Journal a moving account of that week. All season long she had walked around without a hint of what was going on. Seitner wrote that he was overwhelmed when suddenly classes were dismissed, school board officials and other interested persons appeared, and the school was renamed in her honor.
She was 67 years old then and continued to teach all of 1931-32 when ill health forced her to resign from her life’s work. She died on November 5, 1935, and was buried beside her parents in the Oaklawn Cemetery.
“Hundreds of people, now themselves old, remember her with
respect and esteem as their first teacher.
She has had an influence for good in the community.”
Thank you Martha Winesburg.
STREET NAME IS PROMPT TRIBUTE TO V.P. by Fran Carlson 1983
Marshall Way in Scottsdale, Arizona, just west of Scottsdale Road, is a short, ordinary street, beginning at Indian School Road and running south six blocks, but it looms downtown commemorates one of the city’s most illustrious original winter residents, Thomas R. Marshall.
In the days of Vice President Marshall, the tranquil Marshall Way neighborhood bustled with traffic as visiting political leaders and important dispatches arrived from Washington. Today Marshall Way is the location of a variety of businesses in new and old buildings, as well as impressive art galleries filled with a treasury of artistic creations.
A large number of old homes have been remodeled into restaurants and other enterprises. A handful are still residences tucked beneath towering old trees.
The tiny agricultural community clustered around a main intersection at Scottsdale Road and Main Street. Marshalls’ house faced a narrow, unpaved country lane that is now busy Indian School Road, approximately where the parking lot of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour is today.
Buy Lots in 1913
Marshall did not choose Scottsdale by chance. His father-in-law, William E. Kimsey, a prosperous Indiana farmer, had been taking his family to that desert area since 1908 for Mrs. Kimsey’s health. Other members of the Kimsey clan followed and later became permanent residents. The Kimsey home was on the north side of present-day Indian School Road, just across from the Marshall place.
Thomas R. Marshall was a prominent lawyer who was elected governor of Indiana in 1908. His father, a country doctor, had died of tuberculosis, and when the younger Marshall began experiencing respiratory illnesses during the harsh Midwestern winters, he and his wife, Lois went to Scottsdale for a few months of healing sunshine. In 1913 they bought three lots across from her father’s place, and Kimsey built for them a neat, bungalow-style house. Wide comfortable porches surrounded their home, constructed entirely of redwood sawed by hand with a miter box.
The Marshalls enjoyed their Scottsdale winters to the fullest. Lois visited back and forth with her mother while her husband played golf at Ingleside Inn, puttered at various chores, and held lively political discussions on his front porch. Marshall, a Democrat, and his Republican father-in-law disagreed on many topics, but their arguments were always friendly; they liked and respected each other. Marshall was a genial, down-to-earth man and skilled story teller who fit right in with the neighboring farmers and who took his turn spinning yarns about political life when the men gathered at the local general store.
Marshalls Try a Low-Profile
Small Scottsdale** found itself with a national celebrity in residence when Marshall became vice president in 1913 and promptly named a street for him. Although members of the distinguished family tried to discourage invitations and made it clear that they were there for rest, the Phoenix socialites were not easily put off. They had never before paid the slightest attention to rural Scottsdale, but a vice-president…that was a different thing altogether!
Although society did its best, the Marshalls made the “long” journey to Phoenix only on rare occasions. The citizens of Phoenix did succeed in honoring them with an elaborate farewell banquet one year with 200 attending, and Marshall sometimes addressed the state legislature during his visits.
By all accounts, Marshall was a charming, witty man with blue-gray eyes and thick, iron-grey hair. He was in great demand as a speaker and attended dinners in Phoenix given by the Maricopa County Democratic organization. The state’s dignitaries attended these affairs, and the guests heard dozens of speeches, but it was Marshall who kept the audience “roaring with laughter”, according to the newspapers of that time.
His light-hearted attitude carried over into his official duties, although he approached them with a serious dedication. He mastered the intricacies of presiding over the Senate and is described as doing so “with grace and tact.” Marshall proved himself equal to taking over many governmental duties when President Wilson was too ill to carry out his responsibilities during his final years in office. Those were trying times for both Wilson and the nation, and Marshall’s quiet, capable assumption of almost all of the president’s ceremonial functions made the difficult situation easier.
Marshall Day Rally of 1917
Our entry into World War I in 1917 increased Marshall’s responsibilities in Washington and made his rest periods in Arizona more important. The vice president declined almost all social engagements, but Mrs. Marshall entertained Phoenix friends at luncheons at Ingleside Inn or invited them to her home for knitting parties. Knitting for the soldiers was a preoccupation among the ladies during those years. One winter Mrs. Marshall took 25 pounds of wool to Scottsdale and took it back to Washington knitted into warm socks and mufflers!
Patriotic rallies were popular in those war years, and the leaders of Phoenix organized a very special one for October 21, 1917. Since Marshall was reluctant to go to Phoenix, they took the celebration to him! Maricopa County declared that Sunday as Marshall Day and made plans for a rally in front of his house at 3:00 p.m.
The Phoenix Indian School Band made the long trip out to Scottsdale to play a formal concert of sacred and patriotic music. Hundreds drove on the unpaved country roads that led to the Marshall home. Tiny Scottsdale had never had so many visitors at one time. The road in front of the Marshalls was clogged with traffic, and all the adjacent streets were lined with cars. Rousing Sousa marches thundered over the desert, and Marshall addressed his audience from his front porch, urging them “to assist the government toward a successful promotion of the war.”
Marshall retired to Indiana in 1921 at the end of his second term and continued spending winters in Scottsdale until his death in 1925. In tribute to their leading citizen and most jovial neighbor, all of the businesses in Scottsdale closed during the time of Marshall’s final rites in Indianapolis. Lois Marshall’s father also died in 1925, and Lois returned to Scottsdale to live with her mother, now a permanent, year-round resident. After the death of Mrs. Kimsey, she lived her remaining years in Phoenix.
Both the Kimsey and Marshall homes are gone now, torn down to make way for new buildings, and Scottsdale’s former distinguished winter resident is a mere notation in the history books. In Scottsdale, however, he is remembered and honored by the street that bears his name…Marshall Way.
*Fran Carlson prepared this article for the Scottsdale Scene Magazine (October 1983). The article was recently reprinted in the Bulletin of the Whitley County Historical Society and is used here with Mrs. Carlson’s permission.
** William L. Kimsey, a nephew of Mrs. Marshall and
resident of Scottsdale, in recommending the Carlson article to the Bulletin,
wrote that Scottsdale in the
marshall era had fewer that 500 people, now almost 100,000.
I GUESS THEY HADN’T BEEN INVENTED!...by Blanche Cunningham
*Father (Harry E. Shoemaker) was the manager and at times the only employee of Horace Kinsey’s grain elevator just north of the depot. He worked six days a week, 6:00 to 6:00 for $10.00 a week. He bought two barns and a frame house on the corner of First and Colfax Streets for $800 about 1905.
In those days bread cost a nickel, as did laundry or toilet soap. In the fall Pop had shallow shelves built in the cellar and bought Northern Spies, Greenings, and Rambos (apples) for 50 cents a bushel and spread them on the shelves for winter use. Irish potatoes were 25 cents a bushel, sugar 5 cents a pound and flour 79 cents for a 25-pound bag.”
Mrs. Cunningham wrote that she did not buy the high school annual ($1.50, a “hold up”) which is “why I can’t remember #17” of the 17 graduates, Class of 1913 (Ethel Naber, Lois Wright, Ruth Kimmel, Mary Brookins, Esther Lautzenhiser, Marie Shively, Gladys Rockwell, Lottie Wolf, Ira Grossnickle, Ethel McPherson, Dwight Brown, Kellard Dohner, Charles Wilson, Warren Grossnickle, Ross Kennedy, herself, and #17!)
High school kids on Saturday night went to the college where three literary societies (Lincoln, Adelphian, and Majestical) put on programs in second floor rooms, such as music, debates. They walked the two miles each way and “sometimes if we were ‘lucky’ college boys walked us home.”
In 1900-1905 there were summer itinerant peddlers, including the Greek toting two heavy “telescope” type valises. Mama seldom let them in. One time she did, however; he had short lengths of lovely brocades, velvets, silks, laces, embroideries. I was quite fascinated by those materials. The peddlers went from house-to-house, bargaining, trying to sell what they had likely picked up “for a song” in large mercantile places like Chicago, wherever.
The scissor grinder man had a push cart on which were mounted his grinding wheels and tools for repairing and sharpening knives and scissors. He would go down the street calling out “scissors sharpened” and occasionally stopped and knocked on our door.
Each spring the rag man came. Bud and I, as little kids salvaged discarded clothes, any sort of rags, and crammed them into an empty 25-pound flour sack. We were happy to get a few pennies per pound for “paper rags.” Good quality paper was “rag” paper in contrast to newsprint, etc., made from wood pulp. He also had a push cart or sometimes a decrepit horse or mule hitched to a small wagon. He might also buy our collection of bones or rubber for salvage.
Tell Your Fortune, Lady?
Bands of gypsies in small covered wagons drawn by small ponies camped along the river south of town. Men were swarthy, suspicious-looking, not very trustworthy---“steal the pennies off a dead man’s eyes.” The women in long full skits, shoulder shawls with many strings of beads, earrings, trinkets were very colorful and always in two’s when they called at your door.
“Tell your fortune, lady? Only 50 cents.” Mama never let them inside. It was said while one “told your fortune” the other had “sticky” fingers (things missing when they left). They would camp for several days, two to three weeks, and were frequently chased away by town authorities. At the fair in North Manchester, there was always a tent or two of fortune tellers and, of course, tales of children being stolen, along with anything else left lying around loose at night.
Did you ever hear the story of Ragged Jack?
Well, he comes down the street with a pack on his back.
He comes in the morning, and he comes at night,
And he gobbles up everything in sight.
He stole all his furniture, he stole his wife,
He’d steal from a friend, he’d steal your life.
He gets beneath your window when you try to go to sleep.
And he calls out in a voice so mild and sweet,
“Any rags, any bones, any bottles today?
It’s your old dad, “Ragged Jack,” coming your way.”
Did you ever leave a little thing out all night?
Get up in the morning, and it’s gone from your sight!
Well, old man “Ragged Jack” has been your way.
He’s a very bad old man people say…
(Old song of early 1900’s)
In olden days, 80 years ago, my daddy bought Chicago examiner every Sunday. I read the funnies: The Katzenjammer Kids, Fritz and Hans who delighted in playing tricks on Der Captain & Mamma. There was Happy Hooligan with his tin can hat; Little Nemo; Buster Brown with Buster Brown suit, a tunic belted at the waist, the Buster Brown collar (Eton), knickers buckled at the knee. His dog was Tige, his playmate was Mary Jane. Later there was “Bringing Up Father” (whose knees were the talk of Bughouse Beach); Chic Jackson’s Roger Bean, with the maid, Goldie Stubbins. In the Indianapolis paper were the Hall Room boys, a couple of “el cheapos” trying all sorts of stunts to impress their various girl friends.
We did not buy milk and ice cream from the grocery. Many kept a cow in a stable in back. We sold milk to neighbors at 5 cents a quart. Charles Fanning had a low van pulled by one horse. He stood to drive and dipped milk from a 10-gallon metal milk can into my little stone crock, as he drove down our street ringing a little hand bell.
We did not have an electric fridge but a heavy wooden chest lined with metal with a drain pipe for melted ice. One compartment for food. The ice man came three or four times a week in the summer, carried big blocks of ice with tongs, and put them in the ice box. You paid him 10 cents – 15 cents a month.
A “Buffalo” Sundae For A Sweet Tooth
If you were good, Pop would take you to Burdge’s Drug Store and buy you a soda (for a dime). Scoop of ice cream in a tall glass, dollop of your choice of favorite syrup, then shot full of fizz bubbles to fill the glass. In 10 minutes it came up and “pinched” your nose. My favorite was a “buffalo” sundae – ice cream in sherbet glass, chocolate syrup all over, chopped pecans, and a nice big maraschino cherry on top, 10 cents!
At the grocery were jars of stick candy, cinnamon, clove, lemon. There were jawbreakers, licorice whips, nigger babies (also licorice), gum drops, chocolate drops, and candy beads on a string. This one throws me to this day: why we didn’t all die? Guess germs hadn’t been invented! One girl in third grade comes to school wearing her string of candy beads with the ends tied in back. In two or three days we finally urge her to untie and divide. The beads have been collecting dust, lint from the woolen dress, etc. In fact, it’s hard to tell now if they were pink, blue, or yellow originally. So she measures off with her thumb, a half dozen or so. Best friends first. You chewed off the specified number of beads, hand to the next in line, until all the beads are gone and until another girl can come up with another two cents to buy another string.
Taking Care of Baby
In 1900 there were plenty of babies but no Pampers, no Luvs. So the mama bought yards of white outing flannel, 10 cents a yard, cut it into 18” squares, and hemmed the edges. Supply safety pins, 5 cents … she’s in business. She washed these “dipes”, dried them on the grass in summer. She bathed the baby with a pinch of baking soda in the bath water (deodorant). She powdered him with corn starch or talcum (before Johnson and Johnson were born).
We read aloud in the evenings. We turned in early; men worked 6:00 to 6:00 and were plenty glad to turn in early. We had a small spinet-type ebony organ with real ivory keys. About 1910 Pop bought Edison phonograph with a morning glory horn, cylinder records. He would play it on Sundays. In the Summertime neighborhood kids sat on our porch to listen. In the winter they came inside where Mom had a dishpan full of popcorn or fresh roasted Spanish peanuts (19 cents a pound) from Jennings Grocery.
Lucile Wolfe, when she married Howard Young, had one room of her new house decorated solely with my pen and ink work. In return she sewed one of my graduation dresses (there were three). White ankle-length with over-the-elbow, white, silk gloves for graduation baccalaureate. For the reception a sil foulard in tan, peg top (draped on the hip). And the third a pink Lansdowne, split skirt inset with white lace and bead fringe around a lace collar.
Yes, here’s a yarn of next door neighbor, widow with one grown daughter, cashier at Jennings Grocery. To eke out a living she did washings. No machine. Pumped water which she heated on an iron stove in a boiler; poured into wooden tubs; and scrubbed the clothes on a corrugated washboard. No clothes wringer … huge ropes of sheets she had wrung out by hand, wrapped in her arms, rinsed, and dried in the sun. In the winter she strung lines in the house. Then she ironed them with heavy old “sad irons”. After she carefully folded them and put them into a willow basket, she hauled them on a child’s red wagon, thus delivered to the owner. Who said “the good old days”? Requiescat in pace, Mrs. Helm.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Blanche Cunningham has plenty of
wonderful tales to tell us about North Manchester 1900-1913. Our 90-year-old
correspondent, now living in Malvern, Arkansas, is a descendant of the Shoemaker
and Shipley families of Kosciusko County.
OUR 1985 NMHS OFFICERS: President, Keith Ross; Vice President, Mrs. Paul (Ramona) Miller; Secretary Robert Nelson; Treasurer Arthur Gilbert.