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Marcella Stockton, A Qulin MO Historian

Contact Marcella Stockton

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Created on ... October 15, 2008
by Mary Hudson

About Marcella and her school books

Marcella Stockton a retired Twin Rivers school teacher,
preserving history of the small schools in south Butler county
has completed her new book "Fagus School Dist. 81, 1924 - 1956
and Community."  Marcella (Rodewald) Stockton a social studies
teacher in the middle school at Qulin for three years and in the
high school at Broseley for 24 years before retiring in 1999,
states she has always liked history.  

She compiled the "Osburn School" book in 2005 and the "Upper and
Lower Davis" book in 2006. The Osburn School was southeast of
Qulin and the Davis schools were south of Qulin.  Also she has
located 36 country schools in the Twin Rivers District; many of
which have been closed for years.

Marcella compiles her books by researching the available school
records stored at Twin Rivers High School and conducting
interviews with many former students and residents who also
supply old photos.  The books are sold by and for the benefit of
the historical society for a price of $30.00 and books are always
available at the Qulin Alumni meetings and Qulin homecoming days.
Marcella, works with the Melville-Qulin Historical Society, and
has many request for her books.  Melville-Qulin Historical
Society dedicated the Fagus School book in memory of Mary Piatt,
who along with Marilyn Vancil and Pat Bradley helped organize the
society in 1988. Mary worked tirelessly for the society until her
death in 2005.

The Fagus settlement school was named the Potter School from 1912
- 1924 when the new brick school opened in 1924, it was named
Fagus School.  The last eight grade graduating class was in 1956.
At this time the Fagus school became a part of Qulin School

Her book contains many school group photos along with church and
community pictures from the early 1900s through the 1950s.  There
are stories about the last wolf chase, the 1936 tornado,
bootlegging, revenuers, cotton picking, the first TV in town,
playing on the old sawdust pile and watching the old Moose Train
make the daily run. People shopped and socialized at the local
stores where credit was always available. A school census and
list of teachers, school board members, district clerks and
county superintendents are included in the Fagus book along with
a section of Memories contributed by former students.  

Larry Potter, son of 'Boy' and Wilma Potter, president of First
Missouri State Bank in Poplar Bluff, was a member of the last
graduating class.  Larry's family lived on the west side of Fagus
across the railroad tracks. The home was a two-room saloon on his
grandfather Potter's farm.  In the middle of the field was a
sawdust pile that all the kids in Fagus played on.  They also
played "King of the Hill' on a large cypress log in the front
yard. Often a family pet Billy goat was king of the hill.

Larry also recalls two shows (theaters) in Fagus where a soda and
popcorn only cost 'five' cents each.  Sometimes the theaters
would get into a bidding war until they would finally just let
you in free.  Regular price was 10 cents for ages 12 and under
and 25 cents for over 12.  Everyone knew when you were born, so
you did not get past the ticket seller for 10 cents after you
were 12.

Charles Ray Moffitt, a Poplar Bluff insurance agent who is two
years younger than Potter, also attended Fagus School for six
years. Charles recalls reading was the most important subject,
followed by arithmetic, spelling, writing and best of all recess.
Each student was required to read out loud each day and the
teacher knew which child required some additional attention or
tutoring, Moffitt said.  He also recalls the local men coming to
school to help the teams practice for Play Day.

Fagus took Play Day seriously and usually did well in all events
at Qulin.  Several times the Fagus team represented the Qulin
consolidated District at the County Play Day.  He also gives
credit to the school and settlement of Fagus for the valuable
lessons absorbed as a child and has applied these lessons to his
daily life.

Wilma (Short) Janes a student of Fagus School recalls the 1936
tornado as it passed through Fagus.  The school children escaped
with just cuts and bruises.  Wilma saw the Fagus General  Baptist
Church blow away and at the same time windows of the school
started flying out of the school house.  The children watched as
the roof blew off the coal shed.  The two room brick school was
closed for a month for repairs.

Wilma also recalls the train "The Moose," stopping in Fagus.
Parents taught their children to stand away from The Moose so as
not to be burned by the steam.  Families used this train to make
trips to Piggott, Arkansas in the morning and return in the

Marcella wrote a summary of comments from the former students of
Fagus School in this book; a part of which follows.

Learning the 3Rs, walking to school barefoot in the summer and
wearing old Sears "brogans' (high top sturdy shoes) in the winter
to wade the mud and skate on the ice are all a part of the "good
old school days" at the former Fagus Elementary School. Friday
was a favorite day at school as ciphering and spelling matches
were often held on this day, and school was out for two days. 

Former students fondly recalled the simple days of out door
toilets, drinking from the old pitcher pump and playing ball in
the 'air-conditioned' out side gym with childhood friends that
have lasted a lifetime.

Many spoke of the love and respect for their wonderful teachers
back when paddling was not against the rules, and applied when
needed.  Local farmers loaded kids in the back of their trucks to
transport them to other schools for sport events.  Back then a
vehicle seldom traveled more than 30 miles per hour, and it was
not uncommon to see a truck load of kids being hauled into town
by a neighbor, and home again by and different neighbor.  

Created on ... October 15, 2008