THE ODIN SCHOOL
The first school held in Odin Township was in an empty cabin that stood near Silas Barr’s in 1834. The teacher was Peter Welburn. The first regular school house built of logs, stood near the McClelland graveyard. History says "the two story brick school house in Odin has two rooms and the school board rents two other rooms. Four teachers are employed." This was in 1881.
Odin School was held in the Smith Hall at one time for extra room, another time in the Schumaker Building, then later about 1898 or 1899 extra rooms were in the Presbyterian Church, which stood a block west of the main school, still later in the wooden frame building across the street to the west. The old brick school was built between 1867 and 1870’s. We have no record of the exact date. About 1900 a wooden frame building was built and attached to the south side of the old brick building with concrete braces built on the north since the old building was thought dangerous. The older part of the present school as built in 1913, and the wooden part was moved to the east side of the new building, later the wooden part was torn down, and the gym (where the cafeteria is now) was built. Later on the new gym and class rooms were built.
The System of Public Education inaugurated by the State Legislature is 1854 was the first that made the schools really free by providing for a sufficient state and local tax for their support. To meet this need of efficient teachers and supply the increased demand the Normal University was established in 1857.
In 1846 the first report of schools in the county was made to the secretary of state and superintendent of schools. There were 37 school houses in the county, 32 of them operating. There were 1830 children between the age of six and twenty-one years of age; in the county 966 were going to school.
The average wage paid to teachers was $12.00 per month. In 1880 the average wage paid to male teachers was $37.15 and female teachers $26.32 per month.
In the early days the standard qualifications of the teachers was the ability and disposition to "thrash" the older boys. This was first in importance, the ability to teach being a secondary matter. A teacher who could read, write, and cipher to the single rule of three was considered fully competent to teach any school in the county.
The first Normal teachers institute was held in Salem, Illinois, August, 1874. The session continued four weeks with a large attendance and accomplished great good. The session was held in Odin, Illinois, in 1876. These sessions were held to introduce correct methods of teaching; the old methods heretofore having been radically wrong.
The first graduation class of Odin was in 1895, the principal was L. S. Kilborn. There were three graduates, Miss Lulu Farthing, H Ellen Donnelly and William B. J. Donnelly.
The school in 1900 had the following teachers and scholars: P. W. Warner, principal; Anna B. Jackson, Louise Parker, Grace Sieb, teachers. Scholars were: Anna Albert, Ella Schumaker, Lenore Fietz, Ina Shinn, Tot Moody, Pansy Rush, Belle Tucker, Lulu Farthing, Alphia Phillips, Laura Tyler, Anna Paylor, Ella Sams, Minnie Martin, Nina Webster, Bessie Parker, Mammie McKibben, Rose Farthing, Eva Hoskinson, Fred Furguson, A. T. Sugg, Charles Subiett, Lake Rush, Eddie Tucker, Preston Shinn, Frank Jackson, Frank Harris, Charles Martin, Arthur Bryant, William Ferguson, Charles Hoskinson, Jasper Farthing, George W. Moody, Allen Puleston, Mack Walker,. Oren Barr and Edgar Crane.
Principals from 1890 to 1900 were: P. W. Warner, E. W. Whitchurch, L. S. Kilborn, J. S. Curlee, Oren Barr.
Teachers from 1890 to 1898 were: Grace Sieb, Anna Jackson, Louise Parker, Ellen Rush, Anna McMurry, Ida Spencer, Lulu Farthing, Jennie McNally, Myrtle Mathews, Cora Patterson, Nannie Bryant, Lucy Kell, Ida Kell.
At the present time there are 98 high school students and 263 grade school students; seventeen teachers, two bus drivers, one cook, one custodian, 1 full time secretary.
Mr. H. S. Winker, superintendent, Mr. Louis W. Wilson, Violet Rhodes, Geneva Ritchie, Christine Hutchison, James Koch, Don Knoak, high school teachers, and A T. McCrary, Jewell Murphy, William Kurth, Mattie Martin, Ellen Briscoe, Jennie Schneider, Lucille Bronson, Isabelle Cozad, Doris Taylor, grade school teachers, James Loomis, band and instrumental, Marie Tate and Verdy Hurd, supply teachers.
Ruth Bartlett, cook, Gilbert Hawley, custodian, George Murphy and Don Knoak, bus drivers, Marjorie Minton secretary.