Neuchatel, KS – a school opens (1863)


Neuchatel School, Dist 14, Nemaha County, Kansas (school on the right, village hall on the left). Photo N. Junod -  2010

...In the matter of education, the Swiss nation is not behind any of Europe, and the settlers were not here long, until they began to agitate the question of a school for their children, who were beginning to grow up. A meeting to see about the erection of a school house, was called for the 21st of March, 1863. The matter of funds troubled the pioneers more, perhaps, than anything else.

There had not been money enough raised by taxes to build a schoolhouse and to have a school taught, so a subscription list was passed around, to which $41 was subscribed, and as their being able to carry on a school, they held another meeting on the 14th of May following, when district number 14 was organized, with Fred Bonjour, director, Alfred Bonjour, clerk, and Aime Bonjour, treasurer.

James Cooper was hired to teach a three months term of school, commencing the end of June, the same year. He received the munificent sum of $9 per month, or $27 for the term, for his services.

The school was held in Louis C. Simon's house (Louis Constant Simon"one yed Simon"), southwest of where Zelim Bonjour lives, there being a spring near, which furnished water for the use of the school. Mr. Simon's mother, who was the head of the family, received a dollar as rent for her room.

The same fall the old log school house, which stood on the hill a little north and across the road from where Tom Kelly lives, was built. Most of the work was done by donation, some hauling the logs, others helping in the erection of the building.

Among the teachers who taught in this school house were: Mrs. Hal, now Mrs. Brat, of near Centralia; Mrs. John Irwin, Peter Leroux, Clara Utzy, Miss Ensign, and Flora Preston, afterwards Mrs. Rev. Hogbrin, of the Sabetha Congregational church.

In 1871 the district was changed by cutting off district No. 46, and the school site of the Neuchatel district was changed to its present one, and the present stone structure was built. The district then became joint district No. 5, of Nemaha and Pottawatomie counties.


Neuchatel School, Dist 14, Nemaha County, Kansas.
Photo N. Junod - 1995