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Page 13 text:
Howard is one of the most eminent educators in the world, having written hooks and articles which have been printed in many languages. Miss Morehcad, now Mrs. Joy, was a very successful teacher for several years. After marriage her time and attention were given to the home. What could he more to any one’s credit than to say what has been said about Mrs. Joy, “She has given to the state sons and daughters of the highest type of American citizenship”?
In 1869 the legislature made an appropriation of $10,000. The second appropriation was to the amount of $30,000. which was one-fourth mill on all taxable property of the state.
Principal McKenzie having been elected as the first state superintendent of public instruction, it was necessary to elect a new principal. It was not surprising that the board would have serious difficulty in filling the place.
Dr. A. D. Williams, the first one chosen, though endorsed by the voting and eminent educator, Dr. Harris, was not equal to the emergency and General Morgan was called.
General Morgan was a scholar and a gentleman. The school prospered under his administration, gaining both in prestige and attendance. General Morgan became recognized during- his few years at Peru, but has since in various capacities, especially in the Indian service, gained even more than national distinction. After General Morgan came Principal Freeman, who soon found it necessary to resign. One of the members of the faculty. Prof. W. E. Wilson now president of a Washington state normal, was made acting principal. He, with the active cooperation of Colonel Majors, in 1874 secured the passage of a law in the legislature requiring each student to pay a matriculation fee of five dollars, the same to be used for building a library. That accounts for Peru’s having one of the best libraries of any state normal in the United States.
The board next elected Professor Nichols as principal, who remained only a short time, the school not being so successful under his supervision.
The next selection was that of Prof. R. S. Thompson of the Agricultural College at Lincoln. He was elected on the recommendation of the state superintendent. In many respects he was as efficient as General Morgan; at any rate, the school had a few years of remarkable prosperity under his wise guidance. He was now offered a wider field of usefulness, being elected state superintendent of public instruction, and resigned his position in the school. During his incumbency in the office of state superintendent he used every legitimate means to build up the Normal School. At the close of his office he was elected to a position in West Misister College, Pennsylvania.
Upon the resignation, the board of education, relying upon his recommendation and judgment, elected Dr. Robert Curry principal, and Mrs. Jennie P . Curry teacher of language and methods.
Dr. Curry found the school well classified, orderly and ready for business. His methods were so like his predecessor’s that the school continued without a jar.
Page 12 text:
The Peru State Normal School is as old as the state of Nebraska, having been established by the first state legislature. Before the meeting of the legislature in 1867 the institution was known as the Methodist Seminary at Peru. This seminary was first located at Pawnee City and called the Nemaha Valley Seminary, organized in 1863. It was moved to Peru in the winter of 1866. I'he first principal was J. M. McKenzie.
Doctor J. F. Neal, Major William Daily and Rev. Hiram Burch deserve the honor of locating the Methodist Seminary at Peru. The present campus was donated to the school by Dr. Neal, Rev. Burch, and Mrs. McKenzie. The first term of the seminary was taught in a building formerly used as a saloon on Main street. It was an instance where the saloon gave way to education. Peru has never since that time had a saloon. The new building on the hill was in process of construction, the people of the community donating cottonwood lumber, stone and labor.
There was great need of a bell, as many of the students boarded at farm houses a mile or more from the building. The girls of the school, equal to any emergency, arranged a chicken supper from which enough money was raised for purchasing the bell, which is still in possession of the school. It has from that date in 1866 continued to give warning to retire at 9:30 on every school day.
The Methodist conference, meeting about this time, refused to take any financial responsibility for the new seminary, so it was decided to offer the institution to the state for a university or state normal school, 'flic principal and Major Daily wanted it to be used as a state normal school, while Colonel Majors preferred to use it as a state university. Major Daily and Colonel Majors were elected to the legislature.
It looked for a while as if the university might be located at Peru, but there were those who preferred Lincoln as the proper location. Hon. A. B. Fuller was responsible for the compromise arrangement with Colonel Majors by which the university was located at Lincoln and the State Normal at Peru.
The first term began with an enrollment of 65 and Mr. J. M. McKenzie as principal, who not only cut the most of the wood used for fuel but was his own janitor.
The first graduating class, that of 1870, was composed of Prof. George E. Howard, now at the State University, and Mrs. Anna Morehcad Jov, who lives in Peru. These two graduates have certainly honored their Alma Mater. Dr.
Page 14 text:
His work was intensely methodical and his language correct and stately. In his mental philosophy he kept before his class a generalized man. taking a well-known citizen of the town, a good-natured man of all work, and clothing him with all the emotions and passions incident to the race and imagining how he would act under the various circumstances. His methods of discipline were quiet and effectual. Even though his work had been successful in every way, his resignation came all at once as a great surprise to his friends.
The next man to he given the responsbility of governing and successfully promoting the welfare of the Normal was Principal George L. Farnham. who was elected and commenced work in the fall term of 1883. Professor Farnham soon convinced the faculty and students that he knew something about school work; and made himself very much at home in all respects. He was a man of advanced thought and one of the most progressive educators of that day. During his term lie worked up a sentiment for a new chapel building, as an addition to the main building. The appropriation came and it was completed in 1885.
During this period new departments were constantly being added and every line of equipment which was soon to make the Normal one of the most efficient schools.
Prof. A. W. Norton, of Oswego, New York, is the next to come upon the scene as a promoter of the Normal toward all that is good and great. The fact that Professor Norton was known as one of the ablest educators of the state of New York, one whose original and advanced ideas of education mark him as a pioneer of a new era, is sufficient to say that the Normal was extremely opposite from retrogression during his management.
Mr. Norton proved equal to his opportunity and the Normal was in constant progress during his supervision.
Dr. Beattie, the next president, was a man whose pleasing personality and kind heart yielded an influence among the students with whom he came in contact that will ever play an important part in the forming and retaining of a high standard of character among the students who attended the Normal during his administration. He was always smiling and pleasant and always looking toward those things which would he of benefit to the students and school in general.
Tt was during his administration that our modern Mount Vernon Hall came into existence, and the school not only received many improvements hut tiie enrollment also increased constantly.
Dr. Beattie now is at Cotner University, where he is performing duties which arc only extensions of the principles for which he stood while at Peru.
The Normal between the years of 1900 and 1904 witnesses another very progressive period under the direction of Dr. Y. A. Clark, who being a native of Ohio and having secured the degrees A. P . and Ph. D. in the National Normal University, the degrees A. M. at Harvard and the Ph. D. at Chicago, was known as one of the prominent eastern educators and one who was to
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