School classes were held in a back room of the church for several years.
Most of these children in the above picture of 1922 have been identified.
Front row reading left to right -
Damon Bradburn, Eldo Pogue, Gordon Certain, Unidentified, Harold
Shirel, Ozella Pogue, Unidentified, Gordon Dempsey, Robert Earl Kellen,
Oscar Dennis (deceased), James McCollu, and Kay DeHaven.
Carroll Edmondson, Margaret Carter Stewart, Sara Louise Stewart,
Ruth Tedlock, Mary Ben Lynn, Wanita Carrier, Mrs. Mabel Lucase Watson,
Vendalla Burklow, Alberta Tingle, Mrs. Cappy Sayles Lacefield, Mrs. Thelma
Brummett Estes, Mary Herron, Unidentified, and Louise Clark.
Opel Brummett, Unidentified, Louise Clark , Mrs. Francis Urton Miller,
Mrs. Virginia Campbell Certain, Isabelle Rehm, Mrs. Annie Brantley Oakley,
Georgia Collins, Louise Clark, Dorothy Hall, Robert Jones and Unidentified.
Herschel Hopper, Cecil Wilson, Mason Certain, two unidentified,
Dickie Maddox, Robert Little, Elmo Edwards, and the teacher, Mrs. Charlene
History of DeKoven School
Compiled by the 6th Grade Class at Sturgis Elementary School
- year unknown
Thanks to Mrs. Joe Omer of DeKoven and Dorothy Stevenson's 6th grade
class at the Sturgis Elementary School we have a partial history . Included
in this article was a picture of the large brick DeKoven School that used
to stand majestic guard over the DeKoven. It would not scan for this article
on the home page.
The School was built in 1911 in the then prosperous little coal mining
village. Madison Coal Company was the owner and operator of the Number
9 Mine that brought about the increase in the population of the community
and the need for a much larger educational facility. Given credit for securing
the erection of the new building were such foresighted men as John and
Fred Syers, Fred Rehm, Everett Ames and many others.
A search was begun for a lot on which to build a school. Finally
when no other land could be found, a lot was purchased from Alexander
Cragon,on top of DeKoven hill, and a brick building was erected.
In September, 1911, more than 260 children were present for the opening
of the new builiding. Mr. Webb, of Lexington, was the principal. As the
town prospered and grew the school soon became too small. In just a short
time more rooms were added in the school, which for several years dominated
the basketball scene in Union County. The DeKoven teams collected many
championship trophies during the late 1920's and in the early 1930's.
The DeKoven school maintained a four-year high school. then due to
the decrease in enrollment caused by the closing of the mines in 1923,
only two years of high school work was offered.
The last high school class to graduate from this facility was in
1934 and in 1939 the school was consolidated into the county grade school
After the consolidation program was started, DeKoven high school
children were transported to Grove Center and Sturgis. This left about
100 children in the grades.
Miss Louise Boettger, who taught in Union County for 21 years, served
19 years of that time as instructor at the DeKoven school.
During its operation the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) was very
active and in the five years that Mrs. Ruth Wilson Erwin served
as president of that organization many projects were completed including
the building of a school gymnasium. She also was given credit for the organization
of the first 4-H club there that later sent a delegate to Lexington. This
delegate was Stella Henshaw Andrew who presently served as Union
County's Bookmobile Librarian.
Some of the firs teachers and principals were:
C.A. Laudermilk, LaRue and Rex Phelps, Miss Clara Belle Newkirk,
Miss Lillian Gill, Miss Lillian Syers (Banks), Miss Louise Boettger (Christian),
Miss Ruth Wilson (Erwin), Miss Elizabeth Taylor (Cragon) and Miss Ada Rehm
In the late 20's teachers listed for the school were:
Miss Mary Rehm (Dyer), Miss Inez Mooney, Miss Charlene Nunn (Dorroh),
Miss Ruth Belcher, Robert Rehm, Miss Agnes Lamg (Cragon), Miss Anita Haulson,
J.T. Holt, W.T. Black, Delmar Reynolds, Stanley Johnson, Labe Shelton,
Miss Beulah Boettger (Ames), Miss Georgia Howerton and Agnes and Nannie
The above list does not cover all the teachers as there are many
more whose names we could not secure. However, if you scan the names carefully
one will notice many of these same teachers transferred to the Sturgis
and Morganfield schools following consolidation. Quite a few are deceased
and some are retired.
There is a saying that "Time Cures Everything." Maybe so but for
the DeKoven residents this is not so. They feel the closing of their school
took away a part of their community spirit with the elimination of the
extra curricular school activities leaving a void that will never be filled.
Time has done naught but eliminate all trace of the once former proud
building razed in the 1940's.