Beloved teacher, principal dies in 1903

In 1882, Sedalia boasted four public schools — Broadway School, Lincoln School, Washington School and Franklin School. According to the 1882 History of Pettis County, Franklin School was built in 1870 on an elevated site at the corner of Moniteau Avenue and Cooper Street.

The two-story brick building had four school rooms with cloak rooms for storage and teachers’ offices. The building and grounds cost $12,000. Franklin School offered grades one through seven; students transferred to Broadway School for eighth grade and high school. G. B. Lamm served as principal and may have taught the seventh grade. Three teachers worked at the school; one taught grades one and two, another taught grades three and four, and the third taught grades five and six.

In 1898, according to “A Feast of Cold Facts,” written by Sedalia booster I. Mac. DeMuth, Franklin School was remodeled and enlarged. The building was still a two-story brick building with four rooms, but it was more spacious. The classrooms, which each had five large windows to provide natural light, opened off a wide central hallway with a central staircase. The remodeling cost $10,000. Franklin School could accommodate 230 students.

The next year, the principal, Miss Mary Frances Logan, retired. The school board wanted her to remain as they were impressed by her leadership skills. However, Miss Logan was ill with what would eventually be diagnosed as heart disease and kidney failure.

Miss Logan was a long-time resident of Sedalia; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Logan, had come to Sedalia in 1865 from Illinois. She attended the Sedalia public schools and began teaching in the rural schools in Pettis County when she was 16. At the time, it was not unusual for women to begin teaching at such a young age if they could pass the county pedagogy test.

After teaching four years in county schools, Miss Logan took a position with the Sedalia schools. She taught for 11 years before becoming principal at Franklin School. Under her administration, Franklin School was acknowledged by the Sedalia Democrat as one of the best of the city’s eight elementary schools.

Doctors did all they could, and her family and friends at First Christian Church, where she had been a devout member for 20 years, prayed for her recovery. Miss Logan understood the severity of her illness, but did not share this information with her parents with whom she lived at 616 W. Fifth St.

Miss Logan died the evening of March 29, 1903. In the manner typical of the time, her obituary included details of her last days. Shortly before her death, she had confided to her sister-in-law Mrs. W. F. Logan that she knew she was dying. She also wrote a concise statement about her condition to her minister, the Rev. Fanon. She remained conscious until her death, however, which came as a “crushing blow” to her parents.

The funeral was hosted at the family home; her brother James came from Dennison, Texas, to attend the services, and four uncles traveled to Sedalia to attend. “The sympathy of the entire community,” according to the Democrat, was with the family.

Sedalia Democrat
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