Leon Reporter, Leon, Iowa
Thursday, June 25, l925
The reunion of the graduating class of l875, of the Leon High School, was held at the high school building in this city last Thursday evening, about thirty of the former pupils of Prof. Aaron Frazier being in attendance and a most delightful evening was enjoyed. S.A. Gates presided as chairman. A very interesting history of the class was read by Miss Alice Gardner, a member of the class, and reminiscence talks of school days under Prof. Frazier were made by Morris Gardner, C.W. Hoffman, Mrs. D.F. Long and several others. Letters were read from Mrs. Linda Perdew Boyce, Mrs. Ida Jenree Walker, of Denver, Colorado, and T.W. Silvers, of Butler, Mo. A letter was also read from Mrs. Lela Z. Stevens, of Dufur, Oregon, telling of the history of Prof. Frazier and family, and a number of the old school day songs were sung by those present, after which a good social time was enjoyed by all present.
The following letter from Mrs. Stevens was read:
Dufur, Oregon, March 2l, l925
Miss Alice Gardner, Leon, Iowa.
Dear Miss Gardner -- It was with great pleasure I received your letter regarding your class reunion, June l8, l925. I sincerely congratulate you on being able to have seven of the ten pupils together after fifty years. It is certainly remarkable, and I truly believe a rare case in school history. I am only too glad to give any aid in making your meeting a success. I was a pupil of Prof. Frazier here in the Dufur Schools, twenty-seven years ago and many of his former students of years prior to that still live here. Prof. Frazier has the name of turning out more successful teachers than any one teacher in eastern Oregon. As you know, he passed away in l923, and I sang at his funeral services which were conducted at his home by a very dear friend and former fellow teacher of his. The services at the grave were conducted by the Masonic Lodge here. He was the first Master, and a charter member of the order, who were always very considerate of his welfare. My husband was the Master at that time, and delivered the lecture at the grave. Prof. Frazier was always an honorable, upright man, a friend to everyone and especially all school students. His wife, Mrs. Hulda Frazier, still lives here in the family home, but at present is in Portland, Oregon, visiting Minnie Frazier Everett and receiving medical attention. I do not think she is so physically ill, as she is nervous and lonely since her husband's death. As you perhaps know, Mrs. Frazier was the second wife, and they had two children, a boy, Fred D. Frazier, who owns a garage here, and a daughter, Mrs. J.E. Adamson, of Prinville. These children both wish Mrs. Frazier to make her home with them, but except for a visit of a few weeks at a time, she prefers to live in her own home. Perhaps you would be interested to hear of the children. Minnie Everett's husband is a very fine man. They lived here a number of years and I thought a great deal of the family. She was a very devoted and I considered an ideal mother of four children, one of whom died here at the age of eight years. The boy and oldest daughter are married. The youngest daughter graduated in law from Oregon State University a couple of years ago, and is practicing in Portland, Oregon. She must be about twenty-six years old. The daughter in Prinville has two boys, very highly spoken of, but I was not much acquainted with her, as she left here about the time I came here. The son, Frederick, has a very lovely wife and two children, a boy of l9 and a girl l7. The boy is in business with his father, and the girl will finish high school this spring. I must not neglect to tell you, the son is named Leon, after your town, at his grandfather's request. This is the family history, so far as I know it. Prof. Frazier's son, Guy, visited Dufur once quite a number of years ago, but I did not meet him and understand he was sort of a rolling stone. I am very much interested in your reunion. How often I have wondered do you hold them? I surely would enjoy reading your topic "Class History, Ancient and Modern." I extend my best wishes and congratulations to you all. I surely would enjoy being among you. May you all have many more such meetings. I feel I know you. Yours very truly, Lela Z. Stevens.
The following very interesting class history was written by Miss Alice Gardner, a member of the graduating class of fifty years ago:
In the year l863, when Leon was but a mere village of a few hundred inhabitants, the people of the town and vicinity erected their second school house. It was located on the site of the present north school building and was a well arranged two story brick building of four rooms, together with a commodious hall, both upstairs and down.
This old school house of ours, around which clings so many pleasant memories of our early life, served the people of the Leon district until l876 when it was replaced by a larger and more modern building. In those early days the school was divided into four departments, primary, intermediate, grammar and high school. In the year l868, the grammar department was in charge of Miss Sara Augusta Smith, under whose care a class of several members were working their way toward the high school. In the fall of l869, Miss Smith was succeeded by Miss Mary Hutchinson who taught the grammar department the following school year, at the end of which time the final examinations were passed that entitled our class to go upstairs into the high school, which at that time was the goal of our youthful ambition.
On the first Monday in September, l870, our class tripped lightly up the old well remembered stairway, turned to the left, and entered the high school room. We saw much that was new to us, a man teacher, Prof. Frazier, young men and young women standing by the blackboard talking about angles, sines, cosines and logarithms; the A class planning for their graduating exercises which were to take place the following June, something Leon at that time had never known anything about, and looked upon it as something entirely out of the ordinary. All those things had a tendency to awaken new ideas in our youthful minds, and already we had begun to dream of a graduating day in the future where we might figure conspicuously. Soon after entering the high school some of the members of our class dropped out, others came in. Among the new members were William Field, of the Crown neighborhood. Addie Gates from the district north of town; another was a stranger to us. She was tall and
straight, endowed with a very pleasing manner and carried the general bearing of a natural school teacher. We wondered who she was, and where she came from. However time soon revealed the fact that her name was Esther Sanger and that she had recently come from northwestern Indiana, and had cast her lot among us. Those three new members together with seven of the number who came up from the grammar department, namely Frank Long, Leonard Perdew, Ida Baker, Linda Perdew, Allie Porter, Annie Gardner and Alice Gardner, constituted the ten members of our class who stayed with the work, and on the l8th day of June, l875, had the pleasure of forming the fifth and largest graduating class which had ever at that time gone out of the Leon High School.
It was a day long to be remembered by us, how we met at the school house at l0 o'clock in the morning, then walked over the old board sidewalks down to the Christian Church, took our places up on front and read our graduating essays (over which we had spent so much time and study) to the people of the town and vicinity, who considered it worth while to come out and hear us. At the conclusion of the program at the church, a four horse conveyance was in readiness (for the roads were very bad) and the members of our class with Prof. Frazier were driven to the home of the writer, where we all enjoyed a well prepared dinner, after which the afternoon was given over to a general good social time. In the evening we were taken back to the school house where we, together with the other members of the high school, joined in our last social reunion. How vividly on memory's page is pictured Prof. Frazier as he stood by the side of his desk on the north side of the old high school room, while the shades of evening were fast falling, and delivered his last address to both the present and past members of the Leon High School, after which we all repaired to the down stairs room where a nice supper was served, then a social time enjoyed during the rest of the evening. The next day we met at the school house, to wash dishes and return the dishes we had borrowed at Howard's grocery store, after which we bid each other good-bye and stepped out on to the broad stage of active life. Fifty years have rolled their cycles round since then and many indeed are the changes which have taken place. Today three of our number, possibly four, have passed to the Great Beyond, the rest of us, time with his relentless hand has whitened our heads, plowed furrows on our brows, and transformed the young into the old.
After committing our school days to the care of the past, we turned to take up our new duties one by one as they presented themselves to us. Some of us taught school for a while, then turned our attention to other lines of work.
Miss Addie Gates died at the parental home a short distance north of Leon, October 25, l878, after a lingering illness covering almost the entire time since school days.
Miss Ida Baker Muhl drifted westward from Leon soon after our school work was done, and there in different parts of the west, spent the rest of her life. She was twice married, and died at Albuquerque, New Mexico, about fifteen years ago.
Mrs. Esther Sanger Stewart engaged in teaching, which she followed most successfully for over sixteen years, after which she married a farmer, and they lived happily together on their farm a short distance from Leon, until she was called by death, April 2, l925.
Leonard Perdew, after completing his school work, wandered far away, we know not where, and all that we can say of him at this time, is that we think of him today, and hope that wherever he may be located, all is well with him.
William Field married, and turned his attention to farming, which occupation he followed for a number of years in his own home township, later changing his location to Anderson County, Kansas. He now resides at Iola, Allen County, Kansas.
Frank Long chose farming for his occupation, he married many years ago, and they have ever since resided on their farm, near which place he spent his boyhood days.
Mrs. Allie Porter Venable taught school in and around Leon for a few years, then went to California, where she has ever since resided. She married many years ago, her companion being called by death a few years later. Her home is now in Los Angeles, California.
Mrs. Linda Perdew Boyce married in early life. They lived on a farm for many years, then her companion was taken away by death, since which time she has spent much of the time with her children, some of whom are located in far distant states.
Mrs. Annie Gardner Curry taught school in her home county for a number of years, after which she married a farmer, who after a brief married life was removed by death. She now owns a home in Leon, but spends much of her time with her two daughters.
Miss Alice Gardner taught school for a few years, after which she remained on the farm for a number of years. She never married, and for many years past has been enjoying the state of her single blessedness in a home of her own near Leon.
After taking a retrospective view of our work during the last fifty years we feel that as a class either collectively or individually, we have done nothing wonderful but we have done well. We believe we have measured up credibly with people of our day and possibly with some of the people of a younger generation. And now as we are moving steadily down the western slope of life toward that great reunion on the other side, that beautiful star of hope which has ever been with us through all the cares, disappointments and sorrows of fifty years, is with us still to light the pathway before us and cheer us on our way.
Such in part is the history of the class which graduated from the Leon High School fifty years ago.
In the year eighteen hundred seventy-five
On the eighteenth day of June,
To those of us who still survive
The years have flown so soon.
Yet to that far off misty day
On memory's sacred page,
Our hearts and minds will turn today
Though our heads are white with age.
Of those olden days of long ago
We all now think with pleasure,
Of the many friends we used to know
And our teacher, Aaron Frazier.
The many changes we have been
I need not here recall,
For fifty years have rolled between
And my space would be too small.
Of our old class just three have gone
To join the sacred throng,
While all the others still live on
Though our time cannot be long.
On the twenty-second of July
In the year nineteen-twenty-three,
Our old Professor tired grew
And was from the cares of this life set free.
Today his pupils here would pay
Respect in fullest measure,
And honor much while here we stay
The memory of Aaron Frazier.
A few things have resisted well
The changes wrought by time,
One of them is our old school bell
With all its merry chimes.
Children now answer to its call
As it swings to and fro,
The same as we did one and all
Just fifty years ago.
Our old school house is no more
But our play ground yet remains,
The same as in the days of yore
Where youthful pleasure reigns.
Our friendship too we trust has stood
The trying test of time,
And worked for us a lasting good
To cheer our life's decline.
Oh, may we hold those old days dear
Until our work is done,
For we are all now drawing near
To the setting of the sun.
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
"With permission from the Leon Journal Reporter"
October 23, 2002