THE BUSCH SCHOOL

Adams County School District No. 6, known as the Busch School.  The date of this photo is unknown, but may have been taken in the 1930s.
Adams County School District No. 6, known as the Busch School. The date of this photo is unknown, but it may have been taken in the 1930s.  This view shows the west side of the building.

The sixth school district in Adams County, Nebraska was formed August 21, 1873.  The school was located in the northwest corner of Section 8-6-11, in what is now Roseland Township.  It was named the Busch School for homesteader, John Busch, on whose land the school was located.  The Busch family, with two children, and the Peter Schifferns family, with seven children, had arrived at Juniata via the Burlington Railroad in the spring of 1873.  They came to take up homesteads.  The Peter Schifferns homestead was located across the intersection from the school to the northwest in Section 6-6-11.  Ten years later the Assumption Catholic Church would be built one mile east of the school.

Unfortunately, no attendance records for the school have survived.  In April 1876 Adams County took its first school census.  The building was listed as in “good” condition.  There was one privy.  The school contained no reference books, but did have one globe.  There were five square yards of blackboard and wooden desks and seats. Text books included 10 spelling books, 12 readers, six arithmetic books, and five geography books.  Families in the district with school age (5 to 20 years) children were: Peter Schifferns, Calvin Ball, Geo T Hutchinson, John Busch, Joseph Basey, John Gerten, and John Vanhouten.   They were all homesteaders.  There was a total of 21 school age children.  How many of those actually attended is not recorded.  Our ancestress, Anna Schifferns, age 18,  was the oldest child listed.  However, she never attended school in Adams County.

The Busch school house served as a community center for the settlers.  Thomas Trausch and Anna Schifferns were married in the school on October 29, 1876.  He was 28, she was only 18.  The priest, Fr. Lechleitner, came on a circuit from Crete, Nebraska.  The Trausch family home, a dug-out, was located in a draw one mile south of the school in Section 17-6-11.     Their first child, my grandfather Matt, was born in the dug-out on September 29, 1877.

1877 school census.  The Peter Schifferns family is number 1.  Anna is listed as part of the family, age 19.  However, she was married the year before and should have been listed under Thomas Trausch.  Persons up to age 20 were listed on the school census regardless of marital status.
1877 school census. The Peter Schifferns family is number 1. Anna is listed as part of the family, age 19. However, she was married the year before and should have been listed under Thomas Trausch. Persons up to age 20 were listed on the school census regardless of marital status.

As settlers moved into the neighborhood, the families with children appear on the annual school census.  By 1879 the Fisher, Wengler, Martin, Veeker, Showers, Trester, Young, Meyer, Dieterich, Hohfeld, Marts, Smith, and Engleman families had arrived.

The name Trausch first appears on the 1882 school census when Matt was five years old.  What year Matt began attending school is unknown.    As the country filled up, the number of families increased.  By 1883 District 6 contained twenty-one families with 57 school age children.  They included Matt’s uncles Peter and John Schifferns aged 13 and 11 years.    The school teacher, Sallie Crone, was paid $25 a month and taught for a total of 80 days.

Another family of interest to us is that of Nicholas Trausch, brother to Thomas.  His children were first cousins to Matt.  The Nicholas Trausch family lived in the district in 1883, 1884, and 1885, prior to their move to Juniata.

In June 1891 Thomas Trausch broke his leg while digging a cellar under his house.  In that time a broken leg was very serious and the recovery was long.  To make matters worse, while he was recovering he fell–his crutch slipped on a potato peel–and rebroke the leg.  The field work fell to Matt, the oldest son, aged 13.  We know he never attended school after that.  However, we also know he only attended school during the winter when there was no field work and he only progressed through the third reader.  Schools were not graded, a term was three months and most rural schools had only two terms.  Children progressed through readers, a series of graded primers, for grade levels 1-6, widely used as textbooks from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.  Each term the student continued in the reader where they had left off previously.

Matt Trausch was almost completely self-educated.  His formal education ended with what we consider the third grade.  He learned math while working as a carpenter for the contractor Hageman.  Matt had a talent for mathematics and mechanics.  As an adult he read the newspaper weekly and when the Rural Free Delivery (RFD) of mail began, daily.

The majority of families in the Busch School district were of the Catholic faith, and when the Assumption parochial school opened in 1900 the number of students declined dramatically.  The last year the district held school was 1935-36.  The school census listed 75 children of school age, but only six attended.  For the next twenty years the district sent a few students to Roseland each year.  In 1956 the district was formally disbanded and joined the Roseland District No. 42.

Busch School Aug 1931
This photo of the Busch School is dated August 16, 1931. This is the east side of the building. The shutters were closed during the summer months to prevent damage to the windows.

 

2 thoughts on “THE BUSCH SCHOOL”

  1. We love all the family stories. You are such a wealth of information. You write it in such an interesting way. Keep up the good work and God bless you.

  2. Catherine interesting to see the Gerten children there. My grgrandmother Catherine Florence Gerten who later married Dominick Wilmes was born in Chicago and her parents came to Ne to homestead in 1870’s. She did go to Bush school as did John and then several others. Most of the Gerten children would have been too old to go to Assumption school and in Gerten book by Nancy Gerten the Busch school is mentioned. I believe that the Gertens and Schifferns lived close to each other.

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