Source: NMHS Newsletter Aug 1997

Acme School

It you drive out of North Manchester toward the west today on Highway 114 it is not far to the West Manchester Church of the Brethren on the south(left) side of the road. At the edge of the churchyard in the northeast corner very near the road is a small brick building. This is school number 6 or Acme school and much of the story-or should I say stories- of Acme school have been wonderfully preserved for us in pages written in 1926 and 1927 by E. E. Frantz who was a student at Acme and then a teacher there for many years. Ida Miller Winger, Alice King Eby, Bertha Miller Neher, and the Ebbinghouse Brothers were other well-known teachers or students there.

When Frantz was writing the story of Acme white settlement in the vicinity of North Manchester was not yet 100 years old. The first cabin within the present limits of North Manchester, erected in 1836 by Peter Ogan had just recently been torn down. An amazing percentage of the persons who came to Wabash county in those early days came here from Montgomery County, Ohio and many were of German heritage. The area in 1830 was heavily forested with walnut, poplar, oak and elm most common. Some Indians were in the area but many had moved to settlements south of the Wabash river.

Both the Wabash and Erie Canal and the National Road were important means of transportation. The National Road advanced across Indiana in the 1830s and the Canal reached Huntington in 1835. From those regular means of transportation some came further by foot or horseback and later by wagon through the mud to choose a place for their cabin.

E. E. Frantz tells the story of his grandfather, Christian E. Frantz coming to Indiana like this: "In 1839, he in company with one of his cousins, carrying axe, gun and knapsack, walked via the National road from near Springfield Ohio to Richmond Indiana; thence by Indian trails northward across Wayne, Randolph and into Jay County, where they found the head-waters of the Salamonie river, which they followed to the Wabash, at Lagro. They then came to Manchester (it was not North Manchester until later) and to a place three miles north of Acme where he purchased the land that became his home for sixty years. At this time he "deadened" a few acres of timber and returned to Ohio by the same route, married and in 1841 came with his bride and a little furniture via canal to Lagro, thence to the spot chosen for his homestead."

Alice King Eby wrote "Life among the Acme people was marked by moderation and conservatism in all the details of life. The people were neither very rich nor very poor. Nearly every one owned his own home, paid his debts, worked hard six days in the week, and spent one day in rest, worship and in good fellowship with his friends." Many were German Baptist Brethren, some were Lutheran. They tended to marry with their church fraternity. It was a united community strong in faith, morals, industrious and characterized by simple living.


Source: Bertha Miller Neher, STORIES OF DAYS LONG GONE IN THE ACME SCHOOL, pp. 5-6.


The children of the Acme district formed a little world of their own. For them the sun rose at the eastern end of the district and set at the western. Beyond these limits they knew there were other similar worlds with whom they had some communication, but for whom they cared little. That any other school could be so good or any other place so well worth living in were questions that to them were scarcely worthy of a second thought.

Were I an artist with the skill of an Angelo, if I should try to paint for you a picture of the dear old place as memory brings it back to me, I should not be able to do the subject justice. The little brick schoolhouse stood facing the road. Just back of it stood the old-fashioned frame church where our parents gathered for worship on the quiet Sabbath days. Just west of the spacious playground rose a walnut covered hill whose slopes made beautiful coasting places in the winter time. South of the schoolhouse was the cemetery and a little beyond it the rippling river. A short distance eastward was a valley through which ran a creek with woods along its banks. Here, when the trees were in leaf and the hillsides covered with wild flowers, was an ideal playground, a veritable children's paradise.

The Acme district was about two miles square, and rather thickly settled. One bond of union among the people of this district was that most of them were members of the Brethren church, a quiet, plain, country people whose religious as well as secular interests were common to all.

For many years this district had no special name, being known simply as District No. 6. But one winter a progressive young man from some distance was sent there to teach, and being well pleased with his school and his pupils, he one day suggested that we ought to have a name. Most of the neighboring schools had names, some of them not very euphonious to be sure, but they were names. There were Pleasant, and Independence, and Center, and Antioch, and Goose Heaven and Hen Peck. Now what should we call our school?

For several days all sorts of possible and impossible names were discussed, and it soon seemed as if we could never agree. Almost every one objected to every other person's suggestion and the teacher was in despair. Then one morning he appeared with his face wreathed in smiles.

"I've found our name!" he said immediately, "the very best name of all."

"What is it?" came the eager question from every side.

"Acme!" he replied and was met by looks of inquiry and astonishment for no one there had ever heard that name before.

"Acme means the best," he hastened to explain befoe any one should voice his disapproval," and since we have the best school, why should we not call our district by that name?" Without a dissenting voice we adopted the name. With some difficulty a scaffold was erected on which the teacher climbed to write the name in colored chalk high over the door, and that was our christening. And Acme it is to this day.

Source: Ruth M. Brubaker, THE HISTORY OF PLEASANT TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS 1835-1962 (1979), p. 61-67.


It is thought this school was organized about 1849. The first was not located as we know today. In fact it was not even called District VI. For then it was known as District I. This change came a few years later. At this time the school stood on the corner of Amos Stoneburner place, in section 36.

The log house was about twenty by thirty feet, resting upon large corner stones. The roof was made of clapboard and the sides faced the East and West with the ends to the North and South. The door was in the middle of the east side and a window at each end and at the west side. With so few windows, and standing in the midst of large forest trees the burning of candles was often necessary. The room was sealed above and also part of the side wall.

The seats were made of plank supported by large wooden pins driven into the logs of the side-walls. There was a large stove in the center surrounded by some plain heavy puncheon benches, without backs.

In 1857-58, this schoolhouse was abandoned, and the two new frame ones were built. It was also thought that in 1855 school was held in the home of David Cripe and taught by John Cripe.

Those who attended this school were from several of the Cripe families, the Paynes, Kuhnleys, and others. "Dutch" was the common language. The course of study consisted of little more than the three "R's". Children on the last day of school were treated to apples and candy.

The first frame schoolhouse was built two miles west of North Manchester in about 1857 or 1858. It was twenty by thirty, rested upon large cornerstones, and located about where the present building now stands. It had twelve windows; four on each side, two each on the ends. The door was on the north end. The interior walls were sealed but not painted for a number of years.

The furniture consisted of a large stove near the center, surround on three sides by benches without backs. There were about eighteen double desks arranged in two rows along the east and west side, the one on the east for the boys and the one on the west for the girls. The teacher's desk occupied a place near the center on the south end. The only blackboard was one about three by six feet, which hung on the south wall. There were no pictures nor maps. The chief wall attractions being whips hanging above the blackboard.

The frame building was used until 1875 when it became too small and too cold. It was torn down and the brick one erected.

Records, dated January 1859, show that the men here named, were paid the following amounts toward the construction of the frame building:

Noah Alsbaugh, for plans and specifications $.50
Phillip Wertenberger 10.00
Henry Butterbaugh 25.00
Jacob Butterbaugh 53.00
Joseph Crill 53.95
William Rager 15.00
Peter Crill 19.95
Fred Ebbinghouse (boarding the carpenters) 25.00
Fred Ebbinghouse (boarding the carpenters) 25.00
J. Miller 20.00
                                                                                       Total $223.31

Course study during the 1850s to 1870 were mainly subjects as we think of today. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, some attention being also given to grammar, United States History and geography. Sometimes one can find a textbook that was used in those days.

"Pennsylvania Dutch" was the common playground language, as also in most of the homes. The English language was taught in the school so most pupils could learn two languages and often used a mixture.

Spelling bees, held frequently during the winter evenings, were the chief neighborhood social events. To the young and old and especially the good "speller" from miles around would come. Not only did they spell but the younger ones had games they would play during recess which was just as much enjoyed. A verse was found in Isaiah Buterbaugh's geography text--"Round is the ring that has no end. So is my love to you, my friend. And as the apple falls to the ground Kiss your Love as she comes around."

Among the best spellers of those days was Noah Cripe. he easily took first place. David Cripe and Isaiah Butterbaugh also ranked as good spellers. From neighboring schools came other good spellers, John and Dan Smith and the Amiss brothers.

For a time, debating and literary meetings were about as popular as the spelling bees at school.

Such questions as the following were discussed with favor: "Pursuit or Possession," "Pen or Possession," "Pen or Sword," "Horse or Cow," but the one which caused trouble was the discussion of a kind of a farmer secret order called the "Grange." Some of the good debaters were the Ebbinghouse brothers, the Amiss brothers, the Smith brothers, William Naber, George Swank and others.

Also many enjoyed the singing school conducted by Henry Mohler.

Pupils who attended this early school during the 1857-75 came from the following families: Joseph Crill, Peter Crill, Jacob Butterbaugh, Daniel Cripe, Sr., Jacob Cripe, Sr., David Cripe, Sr., Fred A. Ebbinghouse, Lantz, Zimmermans, and Tillmans from the old mill. William Ragers, Hinkles, and Hayworth children, from the old blacksmith shops where Carpers, Matterns, jacob Isenberger, Jonathan Grossnickle, William Miller, John Browns, Daniel King, Bob Harvard, Esli Frantz, Jacob Cooks, Isaiah Butterbaugh, Clark and the Sharps.

After the brick house was built in 1875, it was used for some forty years as a school. During this time many changes took place. The term of school was gradually lengthened from four to eight months and the course of study being constantly widened to include such innovations as Human Physiology and Hygiene, Composition, Writing, Music, Art, Domestic Sciences, nature Study and many others some that are not heard of even today.

For a good many years this schoolhouse was only known as District VI. But when Mr. R.L. Amber was teaching in 1884-86, he gave it the name "Acme" and it has gone by the name since. More know it by the name than by the number today.

As the germ theory of disease gained sway the slate gave way to the tablet, the common drinking cup to individual cups and fountains. Better heating and ventilating systems were also installed. Better glass for the windows for more light and the use of lamps to help with the candles.

With the growth of the finer arts, good pictures took place of the switches on the walls. Better furniture, maps, charts, globes, better trained teachers, and better reference books came during the latter years.

The widespread tendency for centralization of schools has given them better graded courses to study and changes the goal from the eighth grade diploma to high school and college diplomas and has made the little red schoolhouse a mere monument of the past.

As the course of study was enlarged spelling lost first place in the course; interest in the old spelling match declined. For a time, about 1890-1910, there was great interest in the ciphering matches held in all country schools which was a test in speed and accuracy in the use of the four fundamental arithmetical processes. With the advent of modern entertainment and amusement, both the spelling and ciphering matches soon lost their hold.

During the passing years, there were two great events of the school years; namely Christmas, with its program of song, dialog, and recitations, along with the usual treat of candy and oranges, and the other "the Last Day Of School."

On the last day of school, children all appeared in their Sunday clothes with clean faces and combed hair. The girls moved in groups, arm in arm, dressed in the best. Their chief decorations were their new aprons with strings tied in large bows; bright hair ribbons on the ends of long braids, or often with hair nicely combed and flowing loosely about their shoulders.

The forenoon program consisted of classwork which was constantly being interrupted by the incoming of fond fathers and mothers with their basket filled in preparation for the "BIG DINNER." Boards were laid upon the desks, making two or three long tables, upon which was placed the best of eats. Fried chicken, fried ham, sausage, butter, bread, pie of all kinds, cakes of all colors, cookies, jellies, and jams were among the good things. Parents, teachers, and children all stood quietly about the tables until the blessing was said then all eagerly ate of their choice, until all were well fed.

After the tables were cleared away
And the children had had their last play,
All gathered at the call of the bell
Each his part of the program to tell.

Recitations, dialog, and songs were given by the children. Grade cards and reward of merit cards were passed out by the teachers. Some brief remarks concerning the splendid work of the teacher and of the school were often made by one or more of the patrons, and so in the midst of high tension and often tears, the day closed, and another year had passed.

The period from 1885-1895 marked the beginning of the present era of more advanced learning. A desire for something beyond the old school was evidenced by the following activities.

A writing school was conducted by Professor Builford Weaver during winter evenings for several years, from which many benefited. About the same time there was an awakening along musical lines and for several years the old "Singing School" held sway. Lively evening sessions were held under the leadership of Rev. Isaac Miller and Emanuel Leckrone. Middle-aged and youth crowded the schoolhouse, and for many of the community, this was the sum total of their musical training. The tuning fork was the only musical instrument, and with the exception of organs in a very few homes, there were no musical instruments in the community. The songbooks used contained chiefly religious songs with music written in character or "buckwheat" notes.

The singing was one of few kinds of social gatherings and was valuable in a spiritual and cultural way as well as social.

In the fall of 1889, Miss May Shanacy, an Irish lady of culture and forceful personality, took charge of the school. In addition to some of the older pupils of her school, she gathered about her other students and wide-awake people of the community and formed what was called the "Carey and Hawthorne Reading Circle."

The organization continued two or three years and was the means of stimulating an interest in literature and perhaps in higher education in general. Out of this group came nine school teachers, who taught various numbers of years ranging from one to twenty-six. Various other lines of life work were chosen--one a foreign missionary, two ministers of the gospel, one a physician, one a nurse, one a railway mail clerk, one the wife of a college president, one a merchant, one a railway engineer, and several continued as farmers.

After several years the Reading Circle was supplanted by a Literary and Debating Club which met at "Acme" one evening each week during most of the school year. This continued for several years, exhibiting the best in musical, literary, oratorical, dramatic, and forensic efforts, of which the members were capable. This was valuable to the participants and more or less entertaining to the usually crowded house.

About 1885-1890 various aggressive students found their way into school beyond the Common grades. Since there was as yet no well-organized Pleasant Township High School, those desiring advanced learning went either to North Manchester High School or to colleges such as Valparaiso, Logansport, Terre Haute, and Mt. Morris, and later to Manchester College.


This person was a most outstanding character of the Acme community and deserved a special mention. Alice was a child reared in a home of very modest means, but in an atmosphere of culture and highest moral and religious tendencies. She, with her very intimate classmate Bertha Miller Neher, a person of positive personality and superior intellect, who scored worthily as a writer and speaker along moral and religious lines, active in Sunday school and public school work.

Alice soon responded to her deepest religious natures prepared herself for a definite religious work, became instructor and author of religious courses at Manchester College.

Again, in response to the call to service, she gave herself, as "Messenger of Light," to the heathen people of India, where she worked for many years. The comforts and pleasures of home among friends in the greatest land on Earth, the chance of acquiring property sufficient for the maintenance of home and old age were all given that she might live for others.

Modesty, kindness, unselfishness, purity, conscience and positive convictions of righteousness carried to their consummation with a smile are the marks by which they knew her. Her life spoke loudly and long, as we proclaim her the "Greatest Acmean."

Extracts From T.H. Hardman

This is telling of how a boy felt when moving from one place to another, or how he remembers it years after.

His first impressions of the school were the most lasting. My older brother, Rolland, and I first attended school in St. Joseph County. We came to Wabash County in 1879. Being strangers we hesitated to start in, but when the first Monday morning came, Walter, his younger brother, and Tom, after some delay, got to school rather late. Opening the door they were met by one lone smiling face; namely, that of the teacher, Maggie Dolan. They were the only two pupils the first morning. In the afternoon, his older brother Rolland and his step sister, Hannah Crill, came and they were the only pupils that day, sort of a family affair.

By the second day the director had notified others of the opening of school and they had fair size group.

He couldn't recall the names of all the pupils of the first year, but did recall the Tillman family of five boys who lived at the old grist mill. Newt Lautzenhiser, Sarah and Ellen, daughters of Jacob Butterbaugh, Lulu Mohler, and Charley Crill. The second year school was much larger, and included the Hull family, Cal Dillman, and Mort Kennard. The two latter were full grown young men, farm hands with little to do in the winter. Miss Emma Shaffer Strickler was the teacher and have often wondered since how she was able to manage so well, that bunch of big boys.

Recalling distinctly when time for the holiday recess, those big boys demanded that the teacher provide a treat for the school. As the time approached they became more insistent, but the teacher would not promise, and at last on Friday before Christmas, Cal and Mort deliberately picked up the teacher and carried her out the door, and gave us younger folks to understand that we must not attempt to let her in. It was very cold, so another pupil and I raised a window, gave her her wraps and she went to her boarding house. After about an hour she returned with a basket of candy which she passed to all of us.

Another event which impressed him much was the sickness and death of one of our classmates, Orville Smoke. There were two boys and two girls in the family of splendid people. He has many times since been with the sick and dying, there have been deaths in our own family but Orville was his first playmate to die and it made a great impression on his mind for years to come.   -The End-

There have been a number of teachers for the Acme School but the one who stood out the most was the one who gave the name to No. VI "Acme." [Mr. R.L. Amber, 1884-86]

With the growth of things it also became time to close this school. In 1915-16, School No. VI or Acme was closed. Since then the building for several years was used as residence by Nicholas Reed and later by Mr. D.J. Butterbaugh and family. In 1923, township trustee, George F. Ogden, transferred the school property to the trustees of West Manchester Church. Just a short time before this the West Manchester Aid Society had gotten permission from the township trustee to use the building as a meeting place.

After it was turned over to the church the Aid Society made the following improvements: roofed the building, papered the walls, did some painting, installed some supply cupboards, and electric lights. In July 1923, it was dedicated for Christian service by a suitable program. In addition to the Aid society, it is used for Sunday School, church business sessions, religious programs, family gatherings and other community gatherings. During the time the church was being re--arranged, it was used by the primary department of the Sunday school.

This building is still in good repair and there have been many a good dinner held in it. The ladies of the church still have their meetings there and many others also.

List of some of the teachers at Acme School, the year, and if known the classes they taught with total number of pupils:

1849 John Milkes
1855 John Cripe, Joel Ohmart, William West, Mr. Cappus
1857-58 John Shaffer
1858-59 Darius Lautzenhiser
1859-60 Daniel Wertenberger
1860-61 William Rager
1861-62 Joe Amiss-Mr. Rager started this year but Mr. Amiss completed it.
1861-62 Heran Switzer
1862-63 Lizzie Long
1863-64 Emma Johnson
1864-65 John Henry Geiger
1865-66 Gable Lesh
1866-67 Henry Mohler
1867-68 James Amiss
1875-76 Charles Ebbinghouse
1876-77 Albert Ebbinghouse
1877-78 Miss Alice Lukens
1878-79 Ernest Ebbinghouse
1879-80 Maggie Dolan
1880-81 Emma Shaffer
1881-82 Esli Butterbaugh
1882-83 E.F. Miller
1883-84 Charles Brown
1884-86 R.L. Amber
1886-88 A.L. Ward
1888-89 Charles Brown
1889-90 May Shanacy
1890-91 Clem Arthur
1891-92 Alice King
1892-93 Levi Neher
1893-94 Sherman White
1894-95 E.M. Hoff
1895-96 Ida Miller
1896-97 Ida Miller  1,2,4,6,7 (36)
1897-98 Irvin B. Warner  2,3,5,6,8 (27)
1898-99 Emma V. Frantz  1,3,5,7,8 (25)
1899-1900 Stella Gilbert  1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (19)
1900-1901 Jessie Leffel  1,2,3,5,7 (26)
1901-02 Margaret Ebbinghouse  1,2,3,4,6 (22)
1902-03 Elmer Frantz and Stella Bear
1903-04 William D. Ebbinghouse  1,2,4,5,7 (22)
1904-05 William D. Ebbinghouse  2,3,5,6 (20)
1906-07 Ada Ebbinghouse  1,2,4
1907-1908 Allen Ohmart  1,2,3,5
1908-11 Allen Ohmart
1911-12 Lofa Eikenberry
1912-13 Homer Earl
1913-15 Ollie Miller
1915-16 Ada Ebbinghouse


The following stories are excerpted from Stories of Days Long Gone in the ACME SCHOOL, by Bertha Miller Neher--

The Blizzard (pp. 71-73). All day the snow had whirled and drifted round the schoolhouse. All day the wind had been blowing a gale from the northwest, and through every cranny and crevice the biting cold from without had been creeping into the schoolroom. Not more than half the pupils had come to school that morning, for many of the parents had refused to permit their children to expose themselves to such bitter weather. But about fifteen had braved the cold, and all day they remained close to the roaring fire, studying and reciting their lessons as usual. Now and then they would shiver as a more vicious blast of wind would rattle the window casings, shake the door or shriek like an angry demon as it tore round the corners or over the roof of the house.

All day, as he furtively watched the piling drifts, the teacher kept wondering how the pupils would reach their homes that evening. When the hour for dismissal came he assisted the children to wrap up as well as they could and went to the door with them. To the east and west the roads were open for the wind had swept them bare. So, except for the cold, the children going in those directions were comparatively safe. But to the north the snow was piled in drives to the tops of the fences, and there were Emma, Elmer and Dayton who had three-quarters of a mile to go over that road.

While the teacher was debating within himself as to the best thing to do, a hired man of Mr. Butterbaugh, living a mile west of the schoolhouse, came up on a horse to carry Daisy and Frank home. To him the teacher appealed for help to get Emma and her brothers home. So putting the three of them on his horse he bade Daisy and Frank wait for his return and started toward their home. By opening the fences and leading his horse through the fields he managed to take the children half way to their home without much difficulty. Finding the road at that place partly screened by woods to the west and not so badly drifted, he lifted the children down and bidding them hurry home he returned for his own charges. At this time Emma, the oldest, was about eleven years old, Elmer was nine and little Dayton was six. Shivering with the cold, the two older children took Dayton by the hands and started. They could go but slowly for the cutting wind blew in their faces and whirling snow blinded them. The road was entirely unbroken and as they stumbled along they were sometimes in the road, but were often called to a halt by falling over a log or running against the fence. To make matters worse Dayton began to lag and to cry that he couldn't walk, his feet were so cold.

"Oh, yes, you can," Emma tried to encourage him, "home isn't so very far away now. Mama will have a good warm supper ready for us when we get there. But her own heart sank when she looked ahead to where the woods ended and she saw that for a quarter of a mile they would have to wade in snow up to their waists. But she was the oldest, and though she was herself suffering with cold, she kept on as bravely as she could. Elmer had not complained, though he lagged a good deal at times and Emma feared that his feet were freezing. By great exertion they passed the woods and began to plunge blindly through the terrible drifts. Finally they reached the top of a hill from which their home would have been in plain sight had it not been for the snow and the gathering darkness.

"Emma, I can't go a step farther." It was Elmer who now spoke in a hopeless sort of way. "Let's lie down here in the snow and wait till morning." At this Emma's tension gave way and she too began to cry.

"You can go!" she cried, half fiercely. "You've got to go! It's not far now any more, and Dayton will freeze to death if we don't get him home pretty soon."

Dayton had ceased crying now and Emma was dragging him along by main force. Only now and then a long quivering sob broke from him. They were making their way only by inches.

"Oh, why don't somebody come for us!" wailed Dayton at last.

"There is no one to come," answered Elmer in the same hopeless tone in which he had before spoken. "Mama can't come and Dan is sick in bed. Nobody knows we are freezing to death! Oh, if only papa were living!" and he began to cry aloud.

Suddenly Emma stopped and listened. Was not some one calling?

"Emma!" The wind seized the voice and bore it away in torn shreds but they heard it, the sweetest music they had ever heard. Their mother was coming to meet them and calling!

"Here we are! Here we are!" they shrieked in answer and then struggled forward with renewed courage. Soon they could see their little mother bravely struggling through the snow to meet them. When the gates of pearl swing open and shining angels come over the Elysian fields to welcome them to mansions in glory, they will no gladder to see them than they were that stormy night to meet their mother.

"Mama! O mama!" they cried. "We are nearly frozen! We did not think we should ever get home any more!"

"My poor little children!" she cried, as she came up to them and gather them all to her in a quick embrace. "I was afraid I couldn't find you!" Kissing each little face on which the tears were frozen, she lifted Dayton in her arms and bidding the others cling to her she turned toward home. Following the path she had already broken they were soon by the side of a roaring fire where the mother lifted her heart in thanksgiving o heaven that these were spared to her. She was a widow, and to have lost her children would, she felt, have been a sorrow she could not have borne. So, as she rubbed the little numb fingers and bathed the little frozen toes, all the time, though the children did not know it, she was whispering a prayer of thanks that so great a danger was safely passed.

It was many days before the little feet were well again, and many days before the children ceased to talk to each other about that dreadful trip and the awful things that might have been.

The High Waters (pp. 8-10). Rain! Rain! Rain! and Drizzle! Drizzle! Drizzle! How it did rain that week! Overhead the sky seemed full of fast grey sponges running over with moisture and under foot the earth seemed so saturated that at every step the water came oozing forth. It was just at the opening of spring and the melting of heavy snows added to the general overflow of waters. But the thaw had not yet gone deep enough to permit the waters to escape, so everywhere there were ponds and puddles and little streams of water. Added to all this, the ice which had frozen thick on creek and river, broke up into blocks which, in their haste to escape, piled up into a blockade in the gorge of the river south of Acme. The heavy rains and the thaws were sending the waters down the river bed in torrents and when they found their outlet cut off, the waters began to back up the creek and over the surrounding bottom lands until the whole valley looked like a great shallow lake with here and there clumps of trees and bushes growing from its bed.

There came a day when the whole playground around the schoolhouse was under water. The boys and girls who had waded to school that morning, making sport of the waters, looked serious when evening came and they had to reach the road by climbing around the corner on top of the woodpile and the fence.

"Maybe there's going to be a flood and drown everybody," said Nora, who stood in the door of the schoolhouse waiting for her father to come for her on his horse.

"I'm not afraid of a flood," said Emma, "for the Bible says there will never be any more floods.  But I am afraid I'll get my feet wet before I get home." At this we all laughed, for no one could walk ten steps from the door without getting his feet wet unless he had on rubber boots.

"That makes me think of a story I heard the other day," said Theron. "There was a woman who said her boy must learn to swim, but she was determined on one thing--he should not go a single step into the water until after he had learned. It seems to me that getting home tonight without wet feet is about as hopeless a task as it would be to learn to swim without going into the water."

"But say, girls," said Edna, returning to the serious side of the subject, "mother read in the papers the other day that it has been prophesied that the world is to come to an end sometime this year. Do you suppose it might be true and that these high waters are a sign for us to get ready for it?" No one knew, and no one felt like jesting about the matter when they came to the hill east of the schoolhouse and saw the whole valley flooded, and water standing over fields where water had never stood before so far as they knew.

"I don't see how we can get home," said Edna. "We never can wade through such a lake as that!"

"Oh, it's not very deep," answered Theron, venturesome as boys usually are. "We boys will carry the little fellows across on our backs and then make a saddle to carry the girls over."

The water was deeper than it looked, and came quite a bit over the boys' knees, but they bravely paddled back and forth until all were safely over.

The water continued to rise and by the next morning the children from the east end of the district were cut off from school by a flood through which not even a horse cared to go.

Midway between the two hills that formed the boundaries of the creek bottom stood the house in which Mr. Rife lived. By noon the second day it was plain that they would have to move out, for the rising waters already reached their doorstep. Just back of their house there stood an old, abandoned flourmill, whose roof rose above even the surrounding hills. Into this temporary shelter the neighbors helped Mr. Rife move such things as could be carried there, and they did not get done any too soon, for before evening the water stood almost half way to the ceiling in their house.

For several days the waters continued to rise steadily, and in more than one home in that neighborhood the children re-read the story of the flood, and going out to see the waters still creeping up the valley, would go back to wonder where they should go when they could no longer stay in their homes. There was alarm felt too, in bosoms that no longer belonged to children, and people came for miles around to see the strange looking flood of waters.

Edna's suggestion that the world might be coming to an end was not forgotten by those who heard it, and never in their lives had the parents in that neighborhood had such an easy time to secure prompt obedience from the boys and girls.

Then one day the obstruction of ice gave way and the waters disappeared almost as suddenly as they had come. And as they rolled off down the riverbed they carried with them a weight of fear that had lain heavy, if unconfessed, on more than one childish heart. With the fear went all the thoughts of a too sudden coming of the day of judgment, and child nature soon returned to its normal conditions, so that parents had no longer cause to marvel at any extreme goodness on the part of their children.