Marietta School District operated during homesteading days in Haakon County
The original Marietta School District #2 was a one room school house that measured 16 feet by 20 feet and was organized during the homestead years and it consisted of grades one through 10. Grace Teepell was the first teacher at Marietta.
In 1911, many homesteaders left the area due to the drought, but there were still enough children to keep the school open. About 12 to 20 children occupied the grade school as well as the high school. The school used three buses to transport the children and two of the teachers in to the school. After 1923, only ninth and 10th grades were taught. Lois (Price) Shearn attended Marietta School for the 10th grade. "There was one room, but it was divided in half. Half of the room was for the high school and half of the room was for the lower grades. There was also a dormitory where you could sleep and eat. There also wasn't many boys that graduated from high school, most were all females. In those days, after you graduated you either became a nurse, a teacher or you got married," said Lois.
"Mrs. Davidson taught first through eighth grades in one room and the high school was taught on the other side of the building with a wall separating the two rooms. I felt sorry for Mrs. Davidson when the upperclassmen threw ink from their fountain pens on the back of her dress. All women and girls wore dresses those days," said Carrol Fairchild Ripley.
Clyda Lusk was Carrol's high school teacher and was liked by all. "It was interesting about how she acquired the job. My dad, Fred Fairchild, was on the school board at the time. At their board meeting, they read many wonderful resumés for the job and the night wore on and they couldn't decide. Ed Stevenson had dozed off, so when he awoke, they asked him to pick one, even though he hadn't heard the resumés, but he chose Clyda Lusk. She was a good teacher and kept us busy with activities, such as, guitar and harmonica lessons and I also began singing alto, which unfortunately ruined my high soprano voice I had always cherished," said Carrol. Some of the subjects taught included English, physiology, bookkeeping, American history and algebra, which was Carrol's least favorite subject.
Carrol remembered baseball being played when weather permitted. She also remembered when she attended, the new highway, a Works Progress Administration project ran nearby. "The buildings we used for the dormitory had been shacks used by the road crews, with the wheels removed. One building was used for the boys and two for the girls, the dean had a room for herself. Carrol said she was a joyful, fun loving lady named Jessie Stevenson, who was such a good sport. The cook was Velva Bell, who shared her bed with her daughter, Bonita Bell and the room with Hazel Meals. Five girls were in my room," she said. Carrol particularly remembers a cold night crowded in the cook shack and barely being able to move her arms at the long table. When the kerosene lamps ran out of oxygen, the door had to be opened, which let in a cold blast of air.
The one hole privy was half way between the school and the dormority. "On my way from the dorm to school, I stopped to use the privy, but accidentally lost my algebra book down the hole. I felt so remorseful, how much would it cost to replace it, how can I explain this to Mrs. Lusk. She simply assigned me to share a book with another student, the remainder of the year, which worked out okay," said Carrol.
"One spring day we packed our lunches and headed for the Badlands for our "Skip Day" in several cars with parents at the wheels. Johnny Beaton was running and nearly fell into a deep, narrow crevice, one of his legs went down before he could scramble out. Long grass on both sides nearly hid it from him. We were thankful that he escaped unscathed and all of us were ever cautious after that. A farewell picnic was held in Mrs. Lusk's honor before she left for her distant home. It was held on our shaded picnic grounds near the creek where many folks came and gave her a fine send off," said Carrol.
The government opened a relief school in 1935 and 1936. A cooking shack was added on to the building as well as two more rooms to house the extra children. Carrol attended Marietta as a freshmen in 1934 and 1935 and the school closed at the end of that term.
In the 1940's or the 1950's the relief school was moved to a new location and a new school was opened for the Wayne Fairchild and Isaac Neville familes and Mrs. Beaton taught the school for two years. The children from the Dowling district were brought to Marietta after the third reopening year and were taught by Nora Olsen.
About 15 years ago, Carrol received a mysterious package in the mail. In the package was an old, dilapidated circular pillow in it with all the names of the girls that lived in the 1934 and 1935 dormitory embroidered on it.