Tales of our Beginnings – Ruby Mayflower School
Joseph Fitzel moved to Arnold, in 1912, with five children and no school to send them to, so he went to the Chippewa County Court House and asked the county superintendent for permission to construct a schoolhouse across the road from his property. The superintendent was opposed to the idea of the school, but the Town of Arnold went ahead and built it anyway.
So, in 1914, the Ruby Mayflower School, originally called the Fitzel School, got its start, in an area that had a sawmill, store and blacksmith shop. The schoolhouse was constructed on the corner of VV and M, on land owned by Bernard Leudescher and was later renamed the Mayflower School by Charley Hilken.
The first teacher was Bertha Trudell, followed by Vera Hurlburt, Ethel Kelly, Jenny Dimmick, Dara Bickmore, Ethel Hewitt, Mary Adams, Mary Sugars, Clare Hollenbeck, Louis Ferguson, Anna Larson, Viola Polifka, Helen Hennekens, Agnes Baker, Iola McLeod, Dorothy McLeod, Illa Ceverson, Virginia Nelson, Vera (Plahuta) Hessler, Florence Ludvigsen and Miss Powers.
Fitzel and his wife boarded the teachers who taught at that school for 45 years, and their daughter, Wilma, shared a room with the teachers until she got married.
Some children had to walk three miles in all kinds of weather, just to attend the country school. There was wood heat for them to get warm before lessons, built up each morning by neighboring property owner Ray Nelson.
By 1943, the teacher at the time, Hessler, received $1,000 a year. Her duties included 15-minute lessons for grades one through eight in the one-room building, while the older children helped keep order by supervising the younger students.
The teacher also had to keep the water fountain filled and the fire going, shovel snow, sweep the floors, carry in wood and keep the outdoor toilets clean.
The school was eventually closed, as all country schools were, and the building was sold at auction to Ernie Webster, moved to Donald, and turned into a tavern.
(Courtesy of the Holcombe Centennial 1905-2005)[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="233"] The Mayflower School in 1914, located at the corner of VV and M, sitting on one acre.[/caption]