A century of history is now preserved for a local one-room schoolhouse in a 342-page volume titled “Lamine School: Voices of the Past and Present.”
The book written by Linda and George McCollum, of Pettis County, Linda Perkins, of Cooper County, and Linda McCollum’s late parents Harold and Lowell Johnston features more than 1,000 names of students, parents and teachers that have connection with the school over the years.
The Lamine School was the fourth schoolhouse near the location of state Route JJ at the Pettis/Cooper County line. It was built in 1915 and was named for the Lamine River that runs nearby. The schoolhouse is still a gathering place and is now used as the Lamine Community Center.
“Linda’s mother and father collected records,” Perkins said. “They had a homecoming in 1986 and they had a lot of information. They had always wanted to write a book and it just didn’t happen. We were at a Community Club meeting one night and Linda said ‘George and I would like to write a book.’ She turned to me and said ‘we would like for Linda Perkins to help us.’”
Perkins is a retired teacher, who taught for 31 years at Washington Elementary School in Sedalia, and she often writes short stories. Writing a book was something she wasn’t sure about.
“This is a far cry from short stories,” she added. “I had no idea what I was getting into; I don’t think they had any idea what they were getting into.”
McCollum is also a retired teacher, who taught for 22 years for the Grundy County School District in Trenton.
“Linda and I had worked in education for many years, so schools are close to our hearts,” Perkins added.
The trio began the project in 2010, but in the meantime, the McCollums had a house fire. After the fire and once the house was cleaned they discovered records of the schoolhouse they didn’t’ know existed. Among McCollum’s parents’ papers, they found record books with original contracts and meeting minutes from the Lamine School Board.
Adding to their urgency of completing the book, the schoolhouse was coming upon an important anniversary this year.
“The school turned 100 this year so we thought we really, really have to get it done,” Perkins said. “So, we started in January working intensely; long hours.”
Perkins transcribed the school board minutes, and the trio added photos throughout the book, teacher contracts and grade cards. There is also a memory section where former students, teachers or family members could add their stories.
“We just kept finding things we couldn’t leave out, because it was going to be lost,” she added.
Perkins found 46 old newspaper articles related to the school online, but was uncertain if she could include them in the book due to contract law issues. She contacted The Sedalia Democrat and received permission from Editor Tim Epperson to use the articles.
Linda McCollum’s roots with the school run deep. She graduated in 1948 from eighth grade at Lamine School and she has ties with it, among her family members, including her mother who was a student and also a teacher at the school.
“My family has been tied in with this school for so many years,” McCollum said. “One of my great-great-grandfathers helped organized the first school here in the district. Mother loved this school; she had written the first history, so it meant a lot to me to continue what she had started.”
McCollum’s family tree, pertaining to the school, is included in the book.
“The school was consolidated with Smithton in 1952,” McCollum added. “My mother and dad had written a short history of the school district and mother finished it up in 1988. But, we wanted to add on to it. Because after it was consolidated it became a community center. We wanted to add that part of the history because this building is 100-years-old, and it has been in continuous use.”
“Some of the people who live in this area have connections to this school,” Perkins added. “They stayed in the area.”
Due to the school being on the county line it had a colorful history.
“This school district was made up to two small school districts,” McCollum said. “One in Cooper County and one in Pettis County. So for many years each county had a school board with three directors that took care of the school.
“There were two different years that they could not agree on the teachers,” she added. “So, they hired one teacher to teach three months and then the other board chose a teacher to teach the other three months.”
A special section includes the memories of many who attended the school.
“People were great to send us memories,” Perkins said. “Some who didn’t send us memories, we talked to and managed to get some stories from them.”
The women agreed the book is to be used as a history book and would be useful for those doing family research.
“You’re not going to want to sit down and read this from cover to cover,” Perkins said. “This is a history book.”
“I think it will be useful to people doing genealogy, we did add an index in it,” McCollum added.
“Lamine School: Voices of the Past and Present” will be for sale for $20 during the Lamine School Homecoming event hosted from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 at the school, located on state Route JJ near Clifton City. The event is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the school.
Proceeds from the book will go toward the upkeep of the school. For more information about the book or about the Lamine School Homecoming, call McCollum at 366-4389 or Perkins at 366-4272.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss