William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 24] [part 22] [Cutler's History]


The school law of 1864, provided that there should be held in each Senatorial District in the State a teachers' institute, conducted by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. There were then twenty Senatorial Districts.

In 1868, the law was so amended as to require him to hold only one in each judicial district, which made about one-half as many places.

At the meeting of the Kansas State Teachers' Association, held at Humboldt, in December, 1872, Allen B. Lemmon, afterward State Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1877 to 1881, offered a resolution that was unanimously adopted, which declared that "provision should be made by law for the holding of a Teachers' Institute in each county of the State for a term of not less than four weeks annually, said institute to be conducted by the County Superintendent, assisted by capable professional teachers."

Continuous attention to this matter served to secure a legislative enactment of this kind in 1877. The first county institute opened in Nemaha County, June 5, 1877, and had during its twenty days' session, seventy-two members in attendance; Smith County's Institute opened October 8; its attendance was twenty-four; Miami County had 181 members in attendance upon its institute; Montgomery, 165.

The following table shows statistics relating to the institutes from 1877 to 1882, inclusive.

YEARS.                        1877       1878        1879     1880
No. of Counties
 Holding Institutes......       60         63          66        67

Appropriated by
   the State............$ 2,800.00   3,000.00   3,300.00   3,300.00

Appropriated by
   The Counties.........$ 2,030.00   1,411.00   1,256.00   1,127.00
Enrollment of Mem-
 bers of the Institutes..    4,605      5,256      6,050      5,574

Receipts ..............  14,777.00  19,827.00  22,128.00  19,373.00

Expenditures........... $13,485.00  17,421.00  18,347.00  17,325.00

Greatest Cost of any 
  County for Instruc-
     tion...............   380.00     459.00     435.00      450.00

Least cost of the Instruc-
   tion for any county...   40.00      85.00      90.00        8.00

================================================= YEARS. 1881 1882 ================================================= No. of Counties Holding Institutes...... 72 75 Appropriated by the State............$ 3,300.00 3,500.00 Appropriated by The Counties......... ..... .... Enrollment of Mem- bers of the Institutes.. 6,303 6,218 Receipts ................$23,248.00 22,977.00 Expenditures............. 21,127.00 20,637.00 Greatest Cost of any County for Instruc- tion................ 560.00 605.00 Least cost of the Instruc- tion for any county... 80.00 104.00 -------------------------------------------------

The Superintendent's Circular. - State Superintendent Lemmon, in his preface to the first course of study for the institutes, had this to say concerning the success attendant upon them:

The success of these institutes will depend in a great measure upon the zeal and energy of the County Superintendent. He should determine upon a time for holding his institute, and secure a conductor and instructors as soon as possible. The institute should be so thoroughly advertised that not only every teacher, but every intelligent person in the county, should know of it. Too much care cannot be exercised in securing institute conductors. First-rate men are cheaper at large salaries than second-rate men who are willing to work for nothing. There is a large number of very excellent teachers in almost every county who are able to rended good service as assistants; but there are not many who are qualified to take charge of institutes and manage them successfully.

In his first biennial report he says:

Our Normal Institutes have revived discussion of educational questions. Throughout the State the people have been thinking and talking about our common schools and plans for their improvement. With an intelligent and progressive people, good results must come from such discussion.

In his second biennial repot, the Superintendent has this to say for the institutes:

The idea that Normal Institutes should be carefully graded, and the work of each section adapted to the needs of the grade, was heartily indorsed by all the members of the State Board of Education. In their discussions in State meetings our leading teachers have uttered the same sentiment. It has been generally held that these institutes should be in every sense brief training schools for teachers. It will be noticed that quite a number of the members of these institutes, like the unsophisticated youth who attempted to eat all the dishes on the bill of fare at his hotel, endeavored to carry most of the studies outlined in the course. It is not reasonable to suppose that the work done by such persons in any branch of study was satisfactory. Who should be held responsible for such institute organization and management if not the conductor and County Superintendent? Should conductors who have failed to grade and manage their institutes properly be continued in that capacity?

Superintendent Speer, in his third biennial report, referring to the certificates granted by the State Board of Education to the conductors, provisional conductors of an instructors in the Normal Institutes, says:

The importance of the work done in Normal Institutes, together with the difficulty of testing the ability of applicants for this special and distinctly professional teaching, has added much to the anxiety of the board in issuing these licenses. The important inquiries which must be satisfied as the basis for granting them are considered to be - (1.) Is the applicant of good moral character, a vigorous and skillful teacher, and of sufficient scholarship? (2.) Has he such a knowledge of approved methods of instruction as will fit him to teach teachers how to teach? (3.) Has he such knowledge of the object, scope and system of our common-school work as will enable him to determine wisely the subject-matter, order of development and limits of study for the institute; in others words, to devise a course of study well adapted to our teachers, and meeting the needs of our schools? To avoid laborious examinations, the Board, in December, 1881, adopted the plan of requiring satisfactory evidence of scholarship and character, without examination, to cover the first inquiry; asking personal conference on the second; and requiring a distinct agreement on the part of the applicant, in lieu of examination on the third, to follow the course of study prepared by the State Board of Education.

Certificates and Life Diplomas. - There are five educators in Kansas holding life diplomas from the State Board of Education; eighteen having five-year certificates; forty-one with three-year certificates. The Normal Institute certificates extend to July 1, 1885. Of conductors' certificates, there are fifty-three; of instructors, 108. Twenty-one females hold State certificates; there are twenty-nine having Normal Institute certificates, two of which are conductors' certificates.

Quite a good many of the counties of the State have had female County Superintendents; for the term of two years, commencing January 8, 1873, the counties of Chase, Greenwood, Labette, Pawnee and Woodson have females holding the office.

Length of Term of County Institutes. - The minimum time for the session of the Normal Institutes is 20 days. In 1877, Cowley and Sumner Counties occupied 21 days in institute work; Osage, 21 days. In 1878, Montgomery and Sumner, each 21 days; Osage, 25 days; Jackson and Jefferson, each 30; Harvey, 40 days. In 1879, Ellis 21 days; Osage, 23; Miami, 29; Ottawa, 30 days. In 1880, Clay and Reno, each 24 days; McPherson, 28 days; Chautauqua and Ottawa, each 30 days. In 1881, Harvey and Pottawatomie, each 24 days; Wyandotte, 25 days; Ottawa, 29 days; Cowley, 40 days. In 1882, Crawford, 23 days; Harvey, 25 days; Ottawa, 30 days; Clay and Cowley, each 39 days; Graham, 40 days.


First Class. - Topeka, with a school population, in 1882, of 5,561, and an enrollment of 3,917, employed 47 teachers; Leavenworth, with a school population of 6,641, and an enrollment of 3,317, had 39 teachers; Atchison, with a school population of 4,550, and an enrollment of 2,310, had 28 teachers.

Cities of the Second Class. - In 1882, Lawrence employed 25 teachers; Emporia and Wyandotte, each 20; Wichita, 17; Ottawa, 16; Independence and Salina, each 13; Winfield, 12, Junction City, 10; Beloit and Manhattan, each 8, Clay Center, 7; Chetopa, 5.

Cities of the Third Class. - The return for 1882 shows Beloit to have 9 teachers; Garnett, 8; Holton 7; Augusta, Burlingame, Great Bend, Humboldt, Sabetha and Seneca, each 6; Cherryvale, Clyde, Ellsworth, Girard and Valley Falls, each 5; Blue Rapids, Brookville, Carbondale, LeRoy, Neosho Falls, Peabody, Pleasanton, Russell and Sterling, each 4.


Reports for the year ending September 1, 1882, made to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, from sundry educational institutions, possess considerable interest, and an abstract of the same is submitted.

Atchison Institute. - This institution was founded at Atchison in 1870; Mrs. H. E. Monroe, Principal. It is a private co-operative enterprise of the teachers engaged. It has 75 male, 200 female students in attendance. Its whole number of graduates - male, 15; female, 36; total 51. The cash value of the site, buildings, library and apparatus is $15,000. Its tuition fees for the past school year, $10,000. There are seven members of the faculty.

Baker University. - This institution, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is located at Baldwin, Douglas County, and was chartered in February, 1858. Its president is W. H. Sweet, and there are seven other members of the faculty. It has 266 students in attendance, and has graduated 28 males; 8 females. The site occupies fourteen acres. Its total amount of property is valued at $29,000.

College of the Sisters of Bethany. - Under the auspices of the Protestant Episcopal Church, this institution was founded at Topeka in 1861; re-organized in 1870. Bishop Thomas H. Vail is ex officio President. Its site is twenty acres; the total value of its whole property is about $175,000. Its total number of students is 259. Its whole number of graduates, 39.

Gould College - This institution, located at Harlem, Smith County, founded in 1881, is under the auspices of the United Brethren Church. Its President is A. W. Bishop; he is a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for 1883; there are four other members of the faculty. The site of the institution contains six acres; the institution also owns 160 acres. The total value of the property is estimated at about $17,000. It has 43 male and 26 female students. Its graduates are one male and one female.

Kansas Normal College. - This is a private enterprise, started at Fort Scott in 1878; D. E. Sanders is President. There are seven members of the faculty. It has 172 male students in attendance; 95 female. It has graduated 75 male, 34 female students; the institution has a site of three acres; the total value of its property is $12,600.

Kansas Normal School and Business Institute. - This institution was founded at Paola, Miami County, in 1878, by citizens of Paola and its Principal, Prof. John Wherrell. By the terms of its contract, all of the city children in the different grades form the training schools, which bear relatively the same position to the Normal Department as a hospital to a medical college. The school is neither a college nor a university.

The institution has a three-story school building, and two large boarding halls. The cost of the structures was $10,400.

The institution has a supply of charts, maps, chemical and philosophical apparatus and cabinets in botany, entomology and geology. It has four departments of instruction - Academic, Business, Normal and Training. Its library contains over 2,000 volumes. Its graduates number 84. The attendance for 1882 was as follows: Academic Department, 40; Normal Department, 228; Business Department, 126; Preparatory Department, 46; total, 440.

Highland University. - Under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, this institution was founded at Highland, Doniphan County, in 1858. Its pupilsin (sic) attendance in 1882 were: 44 males; 63 females; total, 107. Its graduates were 17 males; 12 females. The site of the institution is ten acres, valued at $3,000; its buildings, $20,000; library, $8,000; endowment fund, $5,000; apparatus, $2,000; total, $38,000. Robert Cruikshank is its President; H. D. McCarty, LL. D., Acting President. There are three other members of the faculty.

Washburn College. - This institution was incorporated in February, 1865, the school opened in the autumn of that year, and its first class graduated from the collegiate course in 1867.

In 1865, a tract of 160 acres, one-half mile south of the southwest corner of the city limits of Topeka, was donated and deeded in fee simple by Gen. John Ritchie. Forty acres of this tract is inclosed with an Osage orange fence, and set out with over 1,000 forest trees, chiefly elms, some of which are already nearly a foot in diameter. Another portion of the quarter-section is laid off as separate grounds for the Ladies' Department. In addition to the 160 acres above mentioned, the Trustees recently purchased 135 acres lying between the college and the city. A portion of this recent purchase has been platted as building sites, with a view of securing a college community contiguous to the institution. Quite a community has already been attracted.

In July, 1872, the corner-stone of the main college building, one and one-half miles southwest of the State House, was laid. This edifice, 131x54 feet, four stories, of stone, massive and pleasing in architectural style, is now complete, at a cost of over $60,000. Three other buildings have been erected, at a cost of about $5,000 each.

It has the Academic, Business, Collegiate and Scientific courses, either of which may be optional with the student. It also has a ladies' course, which considers the practical rather than the ornamental. Its well-arranged library is a collection of over 4,000 volumes, and a vested fund, the interest of which is applied annually to the purchase of books. It has an excellent cabinet and a laboratory equipped with choice apparatus. The influence and work of the institution is of a broad and catholic spirit, though it was founded in special affiliation with the Congregational Churches of the State.

Its assets are nearly a quarter of a million of dollars. It has nine regular professors and instructors. Rev. Peter McVicar, President. The enrollment of students last year was over 200.

[TOC] [part 24] [part 22] [Cutler's History]