EARLY SCHOOLING BOTH IN CALDWELL AND RAY COUNTIES
Narrator: Mrs. Lena Baker, 67, of Hamilton, Missouri
Mrs. Lena Baker, daughter of James and Ella (Wyatt) Lukey was born in Clay County, Missouri near the town of Smithville.
James Lukey came from England when he was eighteen years old with his parents, who settled near Smithville. The Mother (Ella Wyatt) was born in Illinois. She came to Smithville to visit a sister and while there the Civil War broke out so she decided to remain with the sister rather than try to go home during such a turmoil. While there she fell in love with Mr. Lukey and they were married 1862.
Soon after this they moved to Lisbonville, a small town in Ray County just a few hundred yards from the Caldwell County line, and bought the Mill from Isom Allen. This Mill was located on Crooked River and was considered a very unhealthy place to live. The people who had lived there were troubled with "Agur" or "The Chills" as was called sometimes. Mr. Lukey bought a farm of eighty acres a short distance from the Mill but on higher ground, so as to get away from the "agur." He paid $12 an acre for this tract of land. He rode back and forth to the Mill each day but this soon became tiresome so he sold out farm and all and moved to Lawson. He worked in lumber yards for several years and finally moved to Plattsburg in Clinton County and it was here he retired. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lukey are buried in the Plattsburg Cemetery.
Mrs. Baker attended several schools when she was a child. The country schools would have school for two or three months according to the money they had. She would go to one school for their term, to another for a few months or their term and then on to another. They studied what they wanted to and as long as they wanted to. She recalls studying long division at one school and then changing to another school and decided she did not like division and could not learn it so wouldn't try it any more cause she hated it any way. She went one term to Prairie Ridge to Tip Jones, an old time teacher. Mr. Lonin Cooper was a pupil there at the same time.
Dr. Jimmie James was the old time Doctor at Lisbonville. He married Eliza Cates.
The Lukeys attended church at "Slip Up" church in Ray county.
As Mrs. Baker became older she decided to teach school. While visiting in Lawson with a sister, she decided to "get up" a Subscription School or Select School, which she did. Miss Lillie Smith (Mrs. Ben Kemper of Denver Colorado) and Mrs. Baker had their school. They received $1.50 a month per pupil. At the end of this term they had a basket dinner and of course had their pictures taken. Mrs. Baker has in her possession a picture of this event, which is very interesting both for styles and photography.
Mrs. Baker married W.P. Baker of Ray County. They have lived in Hamilton most of their married life. Mr. Baker worked in Dr. Tiffin's Drug Store for several years and after Doctor's death started a Drug Store for himself. Mr. Baker died in 1933 and is buried in the Hamilton Cemetery. Mrs. Baker lives with her only son John who now has the Drug Store.
Interviewed August 1934.
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