On July 8, 1871, a school was opened above a saloon in the
block between Seventh and Eighth on Front Street. The school room was
approached by means of an outside wooden staircase, and aside from the
blackboard a small table and some common chairs, was destitute of
equipment. Attraction, however, was not lacking, for Miss Cina Hopkins,
sister to Mrs. Crocker, was the first teacher. There were eight pupils,
among whom were the Gingel children. Miss Hopkins resigned at the end of a
few months to become the wife of John Conlisk, a well-known conductor on
the Union Pacific road, and they made their home in Ogden for some years,
later moving to Los Angeles where Mr. Conlisk died. His widow and two sons
The next teacher was Miss Whittier, and she was followed by a Miss Holmes.
The building in which the school had been held was destroyed by fire, and
for a time the Presbyterian Church opened its doors to the cause of
education. Miss Holmes was the niece of the presiding elder of the
Methodist Church, Rev. Mr. Pierce, and he timed her arrival so that he
might meet her on a Sunday when he was preaching in Evanston. The news
spread that the town was to be favored by the presence of another lady and
an eligible one, and all of the unmarried men, dressed in their best, were
found loitering about the platform waiting for the coming of the train. As
usual, it was late, and all of the blood in their bodies seemed to have
reached their faces to be held there by the unaccustomed stiff collars,
but they bore the martyrdom patiently until Mr. Pierce appeared, and
taking in the situation, stepped up to them with the words, "Gentlemen,
you are no doubt looking for a young and giddy schoolma'am to get off
here. I think you will be very much disappointed." Still hoping against
hope, they remained at their post, but all illusion vanished when, half an
hour later, a plain, near-sighted maiden lady stepped down, and she was
allowed to make her way to the hospitable home of A. V. Quinn with no
other attendant than her frank relative.
Miss Holmes was followed by Miss Brundige, a niece of Ed Linsley, and she
by Miss Sally Pepperly, who became the wife of W. H. Remington. Mrs.
Tooley, wife of the hardware merchant, also taught for a time in the
church and some years later in the schoolhouse that was completed during
the summer of 1873. The building still stands opposite the courthouse on
Center-Street, and with some tasteful additions made by J. G. Fiero, who
bought it, has since 1887, been the home of the William J. Cashin family.
As a schoolhouse, it consisted of two rooms, in which a lady named Miss
Brooks was principal and Miss Clara Bisbing assistant. Miss Brooks married
Russell Thorp and continued teaching until 1876. Their home was what is
now the Presbyterian manse. From here they went to the eastern part of the
state and Mr. Thorp gained fame on the Boseman Trail, where he was engaged
Another teacher was James Hoy, who took up land in Pleasant Valley that is
now part of the Painter ranch. In 1877 Miss Lou Houston, a niece of
General Houston of Texas, became teacher. She was married the next year to
Thomas Langtree. A very successful private school was conducted about this
time in the Methodist Church by a man named S. J. Griffin, who is now
engaged aged in business in Ogden.
Following Miss Houston we find the names of Professor Stevens and H. L.
Griffin. From 1883 to 1888 the school was tinder the supervision of E. S.
Hallock, a trained educator from the state of New York. Professor Hallock
left Evanston for Salt Lake and was for nearly thirty years principal of
schools there. The Evanston schools had outgrown the little building
before his arrival and had overflowed into vacant rooms in different parts
of the town. In 1885 it was moved into the first building to be erected on
the high school lot, and a well-graded school of seven rooms was
established, which was the beginning of our splendid school system.
Professor Hallock was followed by E. ; . Stevenson, and he by J. C. Hamm,
under whom the first class was graduated. It consisted of Clara Dickey,
Anna Morganson, Ida Carrick, Ethel Demsey, Lulu Winslow, Robert Hocker and
John Lauder. Professor Stevenson was succeeded by J. B. Logue, who was
here for only one year. In 1893 Miss Frances B. Birkhead, who had held the
position of high school principal, was made superintendent. She became the
wife of Judge Beard, and as now state historian, with an office in the
capitol building at Cheyenne.
Two educators from the state of Kansas, C. M. Perdue and J. L. Fleming,
followed Miss Burkhead. In 11898 Professor C. C. Norwood accepted the
position and served until 11903. Mr. Norwood is remembered as a scholarly
man whose wife also taught. The next principal was Professor Swanson, and
he was followed by C. H. Shelbaugh, who resigned to go to California in
1913. Professor George Coverdale from Michigan was superintendent the
succeeding six years, and during most of that time the high school was in
charge of Professor J. L. Kirtland, a fine educator, whose daughter became
the wife of Laurence Engstrum. Since the year 1919 Professor C. C. Voellar
has been superintendent. The first building put on the high school lot is
now called the East Grade School, and is under the care of James Robb.
West of it stands the high school, built in 1915. The West Grade building,
three blocks farther west on Summit Street, is in charge of Miss Kate
Smith. North Evanston has a building to accommodate the three lower
grades. A school wagon brings pupils from the Almy mines.
F. S. Jacobs, of whom nothing more than the name is known, was the first
superintendent of schools in Uinta County. Others to hold this office were
Richard L. Carter, F. L. Arnold, E. W. Hinchman, Miss Essie Strong, Mrs.
Mary Jane Young, Miss Nell Pepper, Miss Iva Thomas, Miss Kate Smith, Mrs.
Iva Thomas Irish, and Mrs. Jennie Isherwood, the present superintendent.
The schools of Uinta County have always stood high among those of the
state. Since the establishment of the yearly tournament at the seat of the
State University, the place accorded our students has been a cause of
congratulation to all.
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