French Settlement School

My apologies for the poor quality photo. If anyone has an original in their archive, I would love a scan of the original. My Great Grandfather is pictured on the photo at about the age of 6 or 7. Family members have been bolded.

The photo was reprinted in Manitowoc Herald News February 2, 1932. Caption reads:
To be able to go back some thirty-three years, and identify close to fifty youngsters on a school picture group, without a miss is the accomplishment of Alvin Jindra, of Two Rivers. Bringing in a “Way Back When” picture of a district school picnic taken June 8, 1899 Mr. Jindra rattled off the identifications without a bit of hesitancy.

The above group was taken at an annual outing of what was then Joint District No. 4 of the town of Mishicot, known as the “French Settlement” between Francis Creek and Mishicot. It is now the La Salle school. At that time John Shambeau was the teacher and the picnic took place in a grove about half a mile from the school. The following is the identification of the group:

Top row (left to right) — Anna Just, Lizzie Bartleme, Amanda Samz, Clara Fries, Kate Koch, Ann Jindra, Zella Drey, Fred Baugniet, John Shambeau (teacher), Irma Fries, Lillian Westgate, Belle Baugniet (deceased), Lillian Baugniet, Rose Just, Viola Westgate, Mirandy Ruelle, Minne Bartelme, Oscar Samz, Jos. Samz, Harry Terens, George Bartleme, Eli Baugniet.

Second row — Christ Baugniet, Nick Just, Archie Baugniet, Ella Fries, Archie Peltier, Michael Koch, Frank Bartleme.

Lower Row — Alvin Jindra, Matt Bartelme, Aggie Westgate, Walter Jindra, Genevieve Baugniet, Olive Peltier, Blanche Chaloupka (deceased), Aggie Koch, Alice Jindra, Hugo Fries, George Jindra, Lucy Westgate, Emil Cherney, Alphonse Rhein, George Rhien (sic), Wm. Chaloupka, Albert Koch, Edw. Kaloupka (sic), Adolph Cherney.

Mishicot Jt. 4 — La Salle
Also known as: French Settlement School

Source: Centennial History Of The Manitowoc County School Districts And Public School System, 1848 – 1948

Edited By Jos. J. Rappel, County Superintendent Of Schools 1948

Mishicot Joint District No. 4 was given the name La Salle school in memory of a fellow-countryman of the early French settlers of this district. It was and still is referred to commonly as the -French Settlement school. Some of the early setlers of French extraction were Dolphis Niquette, Joseph Dionne, Anton Cayo, Fred Baugniet, Eli Peltier, and Joseph Belrose.

The assessment roll of Mishicot for 1856, when Mishicot township included Gibson, indicates that the present Mishicot Jt. district 4 was then known as Mishicot No. 5, made up of sections 6, 7, and 8, township 20 N. After Mishicot became a township by itself in 1858, the districts were renumbered and this area then became Mishicot No. 4. In 1875 or 1876, according to the town clerk’s, report to the county superintendent, a small area in section 35, Gibson was added, making this Mishicot Jt. 3 with Gibson. Since Gibson No. 7 became joint with Mishicot about that time and called itself Gibson Jt. 3, it was decided in 1878 to change the designation to Mishicot Jt. 4, since it was originally district 4 when Mishicot became a township. Later a small farm was annexed in Kossuth, making the Mishicot school district joint 4 with Gibson and Kossuth. At present the district consists of not quite three sections of land, one of the smallest school districts in the county.

There are no school records before 1863, but when the district purchased the first site from Dolphis Niquette for $30 in 1863, there was already a school building on it. The first site was at the N.W. corner of the NE 1/4 of section 7, T. 20 N., Range 24E which is about one-eighth mile west of the present school site. No one seems to remember when this school was built nor the type of structure. It very likely was erected in the early 1850’s and may have been a log building of the type common at that time.

The first frame school of which there are written records was built between the years 1869-1871 at a cost of $168. It was a frame building about 24 x 28 feet without a basement and with windows on three sides. The entrance door led directly into the schoolroom. The pupils’ wraps and dinner pails were stored near the boxstove to keep them warm. The furniture consisted of double seats and desks and wooden blackboards. Because there were no seats, some church pews were purchased. These were called “lazy benches”, for it was the pupils who were lazy or misbehaving who were made to sit on the lazy bench. The church pews served also as recitation benches. This building was moved to the present site after occupying the first site for some years. The present location is the N.E. corner of the NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of section 7, T. 20 N., R. 23 E.

The frame building erected in 1869 is still used as the district school today. In the year 1903 an eight-foot addition costing $450 was added to the front of the building to serve as an entrance and cloakroom. At about the same time a wood-shed was attached to the rear of the school and a door cut into the schoolhouse so that the fuel could be easily obtained. The building was originally heated by the usual boxstove without a ventilation system. During the 1920-30’s, a floor furnace with a ventilation system was installed. Electric lights were also installed in the 1930’s. Today the school building consists of a medium-sized classroom, fuel shed, one large cloakroom, and an entrance shed. The old-time teacher platform in the front of the room is still in use. The interior schoolroom walls are covered with boards. A well-built library cupboard houses the text and library books. Single, adjustable desks and seats have replaced the double ones, although a few double seats are still used for recitation benches.

Since there is no basement, outdoor toilets are used. The district and board members have tried to keep up with the best in school equipment by purchasing those recommended by school authorities, but the great need is to provide a modern building. With the continued decrease in enrollment other means of meeting modern rural educational trends may be the solution.

Mishicot Jt. 4 is adjacent to the village of Mishicot and is affected by parochial school attendance of the district children. The smallness of the district has affected the size of the school ever since its organization. The highest enrollment occurred in 1890 when 80 pupils were attending school: The average from 1870 to 1905 was between 40 and 60 pupils yearly. In 1901 the enrollment was made up of 8 Baugniet, 5 Bartelme, 4 Bodwin, 2 Cherney, 3 Chaloupka, 2 Etetsky, 3 Fries, 3 Jost, 5 Jindra, 4 Koch, 1 Niquette, 1 Meissner, 3 Peltier, 3 Rhein, 2 Samz, 2 Reinholdt, and 4 Westgate children. In 1948 the enrollment totaled only 13 pupils.

Former pupils of this school who have become well-known throughout the state are: Atty. Clarence Roullier of Milwaukee; banker Math. Bartelme of Oconomowoc; Olive Peltier, Milwaukee city nurse; banker F. C. Baugniet of Francis Creek; Dr. Hugh Westgate of Milwaukee; and Archie Baugniet, a rural mail carrier. Graduates who entered the teaching profession were the Baugniets, Kochs, Jindras, Fries, Niquettes and Westgates. Adolph Cherney became owner of the Cherney Construction Co. Other former pupils also became prominent in the fields of agriculture, business, and industry.

One of the first school clerks was Joseph Dionne who served from 1869-72 and from 1874 to 1878. Others who served as clerks were Joseph Belrose 1872-74; Peter Kaufmann 1878-95; and Eli Peltier 1895-1906. Other board members from 1872 to 1906 were Fred Fries, August Terens, Ed. Samz, Dolphis and Carlist Niquette, Frank Krueger, Peter Harris, Fred Westgate, John Reynolds, Chas. Rezba, B. Bartelme, and M. Hoffmann. Mich. Koch served as clerk for 17 years in the 1900’s.

During the early years of the school, the voters decided whether a male or female teacher was to be hired, the length of the school term, and when school was to start, the vacation periods, and that school was to be closed when the roads were impassable. The salary of the teacher was also voted upon at the meeting for in 1872 it was voted to pay the teacher only $150 for the term of 9 months. They also reserved the right to call a special meeting if more than $10 was to be spent for any article. In March 1878, a special meeting was called to adopt the following text books: Sanders New Series Readers, Swinton’s spellers, geographies, and histories, Robinson’s arithmetic, Kerl’s grammar, and Spencerian Copy Books.

Summer and winter sessions of school were held some years during the 1870’s. A nine month term, one of the few in the county for 1872, was voted for the district. One of the first teachers was Adelia C. Osulson in 1869-70. From 1870 to 1873 the district paid the board of the teachers. Teachers’ names officially on record in the county office are Annie Sullivan 1872-3; Jonas Gagnon 1873W; Nancy Darling 1874; Peter Garrigan 1876; Mary Cody 1877; Emma Gibson 1878; Jos. Rick 1879; M. H. Smith 1880; Herman Besau 1894; Floyd Westgate 1895-96; Jerome Craite 1897; John Shambeau 1898; Ella Weinfurther 1904; and Geo. Eigenberger 1905. Others who have taught this school previous to 1906 were Libbie Puffer, Maggie LaPlant, Isabel Trossen, Josie Thompson, Christ Wuellner, J. A. Miller, Alma Halberg, Louis Trossen, and Alice M. Thompson.

Mishicot Jt. 4 has always been a farming community. The district has about 20 farms but no village within its boundaries. A very few of the old French family names are now remaining in the district. The community has no places of historic or scenic interest.

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