School Name: St. Elizabeth / Charlestown School School District Number: #036
Township: Twn41N Range: Rng12W Section: Sec33
Latitude: 38.xxxxxx °N Longitude: -92.xxxxxx °W
Date Started: about 1874 Date Closed: 1939
Teachers: Complete list of teachers given to Ray Doerhoff by Judge Clyde Lee Jenkins:
Later Teachers Included:
Taken from HISTORY OF ST. ELIZABETH R-IV SCHOOLS PART I THE RURAL SCHOOLS
The rural school records indicate that one of the first teachers in this district was Owen R. Pendleton in the 1874-75 school year. Since the town of Charlestown was not established until 1880 this school must have had a more central location in the district. According to Judge Jenkins this was originally called the Flaugher school and was formed in 1872, mostly from territory in the Old St Elizabeth district, and including some sections in Township 40 which were given up the following year. According to Leonard Doerhoff’s St. Lawrence Church History, this was the 11th schoolhouse in Miller County and located on Big Tavern Creek north and slightly east of present day St. Elizabeth. Owen Riggs was the overseer of the raising of a log house for school purposes and a spring term was taught there in 1851. After Charlestown was established it was called the Charlestown school. Later on, since the schoolhouse was now the old church building, it was called St. Lawrence School. In the end it was called St. Elizabeth School. The first school building in the town of Charlestown was a two-story frame building on the site of the present church rectory. There is no indication when this building was constructed, but after the new brick church was constructed in 1907, the old church building became a two-room schoolhouse. This was a gray frame building located directly across the street from the present Schell Store building. The old cistern pump that furnished water for this school is still in its original location but now completely covered by vines. The school buildings in the town of St. Elizabeth were always on church property, and owned by the church, even though all teachers were lay teachers and paid by public funds.
All children and teachers were expected to attend Catholic mass each morning, with religious instruction being conducted by the priest immediately after mass. When the church bells were tolled each noon, all students and teachers stopped what they were doing and stood by their desks and recited a prayer called the “Angelus”. Very little attention was paid to the present argument of “seperation of church and state”. Even after the high school was established, for several years school busses unloaded in front of the church and students were expected to attend mass, while a few teachers received extra pay for coming early and supervising students during mass. Many people around the state were under the impression that this was always a parochial school, but I always informed them that we may operate like a parochial school but we do it with public money. This type of operation ceased in the 1950’s but there was never any criticism by the state of how the school was being operated. The state realized that students were getting a good education and that was their major concern.