Oysterville School: Education Mecca!

Oct 23, 2015 | 7 comments

"Tucker at the Helm"

“Tucker at the Helm”

Yesterday, the Oysterville Schoolhouse was crowded with eager learners, all there to hear Tucker Wachsmuth tell about his great-grandfather Meinert Waschsmuth’s long, adventure-filled journey from Sylt in Germany to Oysterville in Washington Territory back in the mid-1800s.  And about his great-great uncle, Meinert’s brother, who shipped out at the same time on a different vessel and whose fate is largely unknown. I will say only that it was a fabulous talk, illustrated and documented to the max. It was a learning opportunity for us all.

But, there was another sort of learning happening at the Schoolhouse yesterday even before Tucker was introduced. People were circling the room, looking at the bulletin board display cases that contain bits and pieces of Oysterville School District No. 1 history. There are photographs, class registers, receipts for work done, examples of early 20th century art projects and on and on.

1914 Oysterville School Register

1914 Oysterville School Register

For the most part, those contents are copies of “school stuff” that had been stored haphazardly in our old woodshed. They were left-overs from the forty-some years that my grandfather, Harry Espy, served on the Oysterville School Board,

When the Oysterville Community Club, under the able leadership of Casey Killingsworth, undertook the restoration of the building, Larry Freshley and I were asked if we would work interpreting the school’s history. The large sign outside and the cabinets inside with their historic information were the result. Little did we know then – back in 2001/2002, that they would be the source of ongoing “education” in and of themselves!

Yesterday, before things got started, two audience members who had come to hear Tucker shared some important historic information of their own. Community Historian Kathleen Davies found her grandmother’s name on a 1914 class list. Previously, she had thought her grandmother might have been in school here in 1910 but we couldn’t find any documentation.

Yesterday: success! There was the name “Jones, Maude [age] 13. Kathleen was thrilled and so was I!  It never occurred to me when I put the bulletin boards together that I would be continuing to learn about their contents all these years later.  Kathleen and I talked a bit, also,  about where she thought Maude might have lived, about the old school attendance boundaries, and who might have had a big farm where her Great-grandfather would have worked. So interesting! I hope we both learn more as time goes by.

Oysterville Schoolhouse

Oysterville Schoolhouse

And, a lovely woman whose in-laws are part of the Eugene Andrews family, pointed out her mother-in-law’s name on a list of teachers in another display case. “? – 1926     Ellen ? (Andrews)” is what it said. I now know to update that information to say “1924-1926 Ellen Andersen Andrews.”  I wrote it down (correctly I hope) but didn’t write down the daughter-in-law’s name for which I am truly sorry.   The record will be updated on my computer and, when time permits, in the schoolhouse display.

I love it that those display cases “keep on giving.” Maybe, eventually, we’ll gather enough bits and pieces to replace all the gaps and question marks. Eventually…

7 Comments

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    So sorry to have missed more Osterville moments!

    Reply
  2. Larry Murante

    Great to see my old friend Tucker. When is he going to give a talk on antique pinball machines?

    Reply
    • sydney

      That would be sweet! Tell him you’d come down for it and I bet he’d set a date! lol

      Reply
  3. Anne Kepner

    Amen to your blog! Tucker and Carol made a great team!

    Reply
  4. Colleen Anderson

    Hi Sydney! The daughter in laws name is Nicki Andrews and she is very excited to learn more about the history of the “Andrews” family here on the peninsula! Thanks for sharing, it was a wonderful morning at the Oysterville School!

    Reply
    • sydney

      Thanks for letting me know, Colleen! I wish Nicki an interesting journey as she searches for family clues! I was so happy to get her information.

      Reply
  5. Kathleen Davies

    Thanks Sydney! It was so exciting to find my grandmother’s name on the school roles! I’m getting closer to my goal of finding out more about their life on the peninsula. I inherited some oyster shells from my grandmother and I brought them here when I moved. How wonderful to also connect objects to time and place. My oyster shells I know are c. 1914! Thanks again, I’m sure we’ll find out more as we go along.

    Reply

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