The Schools at Hinkletown

Hinkletown had two schools: Hickory Grove and Hickory Ridge. Each were considered "one-room" schoolhouses of the early Iowa standard that placed a school approximately every two miles. Hickory Grove was constructed in the 1849, described by an early pioneer as follows:  "That summer the settlers got together and built a log schoolhouse.  It was built in Iowa County.  The schoolhouse stood up on a big hill and was surrounded by hickory timber, so the school was called Hickory Grove.  The schoolhouse was 16 X 18 feet, and was covered with shingles made out of oak timber, and shaved out with a drawing knife.  The floor was made of rough oak boards.  We sent down to Washington county for a teacher.  We got Miss H. Govey (Gowey), who taught the school that summer and fall.  We had no school in the winter as the pupils lived too far to come in the winter, and the teachers were hard to get.  The school had an average of about 15 pupils.  The school teacher boarded with her brothers who lived a quarter of a mile west of us."  - Mordecai Y. Suiter

Hickory Ridge School - Circa 1890s (Note teacher and horse at left)

By 1875 the Hickory Grove School was called Hickory Ridge No. 9

During the 1860's and 70's, the six children of Henry and Mary Ann Chapman attended the Hinkletown School. A stern teacher at the time punished young Benjamin Chapman on his first day by taking down his trousers and whipping him in front of the class. As the family history states, "he never wanted to go back to school and his parents never saw that he did." Since there were so many pupils in the one room, as many as 83 of various ages during the winter term, corporal discipline was seen as necessary to maintain order, and a good lesson for all. As one account states, "if you didn't care for a teacher, there would probably be a different one the next year." A teacher at Hinkletown was paid $30 a month in 1906.

Perhaps teacher Mary Rock was the longest in service, having taught 14 consecutive terms for the 1890's through 1906. Kate Tiernan was one of the earlier teachers, listed in the 1880 History of Iowa County. At one time the Hickory Grove/Hickory Ridge schools at Hinkletown served a wide area, including the northern part of Liberty Township in Keokuk County, Greene Valley to the east, and the farmsteads a couple miles to the west of the school.

Mary Rock - 1844 - 1926

Taught 14 terms at Hinkletown

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The North English Record newspaper of March 16, 1905 refers to the construction of a new schoolhouse at Hinkletown, the larger one-room building named "Hickory Ridge" that would serve until its closing in 1949. The Hinkletown school served as much as a community center as classroom, with frequent events such as Friday Night Literary, board meetings and ice cream socials.

The following program was printed for an event that occurred on June 22, 1906:

************* All are cordially invited to attend our program and ice cream social, to be given at Hickory Ridge school house at Hinkletown, Friday evening, June 22, 1906. Program to begin promptly at eight o'clock p. m. Admission 15 cents. Nellie F. Kernan, teacher. *************


Greeting Song All
Recitation....."The Gambler's Wife" Allie Blair
Declamation....."Charlie Jone's Bad Luck" Carl Hudson
Declamation....."Mamma's Darling" Blanch Weimer
Music Lizzie Welch
Dialogue...."Never too late to learn"  
Recitation....."A Little Girls Speech" Ora Ponchard
Recitation....."Biddys Troubles" Gail Chapman
Recitation....."Caleb's Courtship" Leo Welch
Music Nona Chapman
Dialogue - "Train to Mauro"  
Recitation - "The Polish Boy" Nona Chapman
Declamation - "A Little Boy's Speech" John O'Rourke
Declamation- "Floyd's Dream" Carson Weimer
Declamation- "Little Betty" Lauretta Welch
Recitation- "Little Jack" Mary Mattison
Song - "Bylo Honey Bye" Mary Mattison, Grace Chapman
Dialogue - "Pantaloon Fight" Anna Welch, Jennie Kelly
Music All
Recitation - "Searching for the Slain" Lottie Long
Declamation- "Mama's Helpmate" Rose Gray
Recitation- "Not Opposed to Matrimony" George Mattison
Declamation- "Grandpapa's Spectacles" Frank Dixon
Song - "Lazy Coon"  
Dialogue - "That Rascal Pat"  
Recitation - "Jim" Alverda Mitchell
Recitation - "Forclosure of the Mortgage"  
Song - "Queer Old Batchelor"  
Dialogue - "The Doctor and Sick Baby"  
Recitation - "The Wife Huntin' Deacon" Marie Welch
Recitation - "The Spookendykes"  
Song - "Go Way Back and Sit Down" Ned Kelly
Dialogue - "Keepin' House"  
Recitation - "Drank All His Wife's Starch"  
Recitation - "The Little One's Call" Grace Chapman
Declamation- "About Time They Learned Something" Eulalia King
Declamation- John Mattison
Song - "Oh My"  
Dialogue- "Yankee Peddler"  
Song - "No More Good Bye's"  
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