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Page 42 text:
II. II STRAKJIIT
A. I). WILLIAMS
(JEN. T. J. MORGAN 1872
Page 41 text:
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Imagine the school today under the social rules of 1868. No young man should come within ten feet of a young lady when on the street or campus. When “seeing” a friend home in the evening, he must take one side of the road and she the other. If these rules were broken, the culprits were called before the assembly in chapel. Upon one occasion when a party of students planned a trip to the city of Brownville, the president gave his permission, provided the young ladies should ride in one wagon and the young men in another. Traditional rumors arc that the party were obedient— until some distance from Peru. The “ten-foot” rule also seemed to cause the students considerable worry, lest “unmeaningly” they might be guilty of breaking it. To prevent such a catastrophe, ten-foot poles of willow were brought into use. Hence it was not uncommon to see a lad and lassie strolling about grasping opposite ends of a ten-foot pole.
The Peru training school, where students were expected to do actual teaching, was among the first in the United States and was the first in the West.
I)r. McKenzie left his work here to enter into a still broader field of educational service. He became the first State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Nebraska. It was he who wrote the first educational laws of our state. Later he returned to Peru as a member of the faculty. At present Dr. and Mrs. McKenzie are living in llvron, California.
In January, 1871, Prof. Henry II. Straight, of Overland College, Ohio, was chosen to complete Mr. McKenzie’s term. Prof. Straight was a great biologist and his work along this line is to be remembered.
Dr. A. I). Williams became the next president in September, 1871. The work of a normal was so different from his former theological work that he resigned after one year’s service to take up frontier life in Western Nebraska. He later became president of the Oakland City College, Indiana, which position he held at the time of his death, in 1894.
The newly elected president was (ien. T. J. Morgan. He had served with great honor in the Civil War, becoming brigadier general before its close. Previous to his work at Peru, he was connected with educational work in Chicago.
During his presidency another milestone of Peru’s history was passed. In 1872-3 a new building was in the process of erection. For many years this building stood alone, its stately tower rising above the surrounding hills in lordly and majestic dignity, commanding a view of four states. Long and faithfully it has served and the many feet passing up and down its stairs have hallowed as well as hollowed their surface. Today we cannot resist a feeling of awe and reverence as we look upon it, a monument to the pioneer life of our school.
The building which previous to this time had served as a school ami home for faculty and students, now became exclusively a dormitory.
I)r. Morgan stood for strong moral development among the students. His attitude is shown by the following paragraph taken from the Peru catalogue of 1874: "Candidates for admission, who are not personally known to the Principal, will be required to furnish certificates of good moral character from some reliable person.”
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Prof. Azel Freeman of Greenwich. Kentucky, was chosen his successor in 1874. and took the position the following January. V. F. Wilson, a member of the faculty, filled the position until Mr. Freeman’s arrival.
It was about this time that the Everett Literary Society was organized, for elementary students, and Harry Bovdyston was elected president. This society is now on equal rank with the Philomathean.
Mr. Freeman continued his work until the end of the year, and was succeeded for a few months by Prof. Albert Nichols, Principal of the Preparatory Department, when Prof. S. R. Thompson of the Agricultural School of Lincoln was elected to the presidency. Phis was, indeed, a fortunate choice. His former experience at Marshall College Normal enabled him to reorganize the school and introduce more modern methods in normal training. He soon gained the respect and confidence of all. His perfect control of the school is shown by a unique custom of having Student Day. A paragraph of the catalogue of 1875 says: “For one day during each term the entire management and instruction of the school are left to the hand of the students, who elect a Principal for the day and teachers for all classes. Hitherto the students have accepted this trust in the right spirit and have discharged it with credit to themselves and satisfaction to the faculty.
From Peru Prof. Thompson was called to the State Superintendency of this state.
Prof. Thompson's successor was Dr. Robert Curry, 1877. of Penn. Edinburg Normal. His presidency is known as the era of prosperity and good fellowship. He proved a remarkable disciplinarian and held the respect and love of faculty and students. At this time hazing was much in vogue throughout the I nited States, and Peru did not escape. The pranks played upon fellow classmen form an interesting page of school history. For a president to curb such a spirit and still retain the good w ill of the students, indeed required a nature that was sympathetic and fully alive to the feelings of young life.
To the regret of the board, community, and students, he resigned his position in 1883. to spend the remainder of his life upon his farm, near Palmyra. Nebraska.
Prof. Geo. F. Farnham, who had been engaged in the public schools of Syracuse, N. V., and Council Bluffs. Iowa, was chosen president. During his presidency, a large addition was built to the Normal Hall, heating and lighting systems were installed, a library building was erected, all the laboratories were fitted with modern equipment, and the brick observatory was built. A military department was established, and all young men were required to enter. It was also at this time that the V. M. C. A. and Y. V. C. A. was organized.
Prof. Farnham will be remembered in educational circles as the originator of the sentence method of teaching reading. After leaving Peru, he went to California, where he resided until his death.
A. Wellington Norton, Dr. Farnham's successor, was chosen by the Board of Education, because of his reputation as an instructor, in the Oswego Normal, N. ' . During his administration a more complete system of waterworks was put in the school and the old standpipe was built. The surveying class under the leadership of Prof. Geo.
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