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Russett, Oklahoma

Lois (Watson) Holmes Duncan
3rd and 4th grade teacher
Russett, Oklahoma
1934-35

When I completed my Bachelor's degree at East Central State Teacher's College, Ada, Oklahoma, I began to hunt for a teaching position. My uncle, Cecil Riddle, was a professor at South Eastern College at Durant.  He offered to help me find a teaching position.  The state legislature had just
passed a law that a qualified teacher could be paid no less than $80 per month.  That was excellent pay for me as I had spent the summer working at Woolworth's Five and Ten Cent Store for $9 per week for 9 hour days, six days each week.  (Such were the days of the depression)
 

Uncle Cecil drove me to Russett School on a Saturday. A teacher who could play the piano was needed.  The school board agreed to hire me even though Superintendent A. R. Richards was not available. They seemed a bit leery of what Mr. Richards would think of such audacity.
 

The high school classes were taught by Mr. A. R. Richards and an experienced lady teacher named Evorie Reynolds. She went to her home at Mill Creek on the weekend, which was 25 miles away. During the school week, she and I shared a bedroom (and a bed) in a four bedroom frame house with a couple who lived near the school.  I believe our room and board was $20 each per month.  There were no indoor bath facilities.  We had a shelf with a bucket of water and a wash pan in our room.  Later in the year, the owners of the house and their two adult children moved into one of the four rooms.
 

Two sisters named Mabel John Smith and Ruby Wolfe taught the lower grades.  They drove from their home each day.  A man taught the "upper grades" and the middle grades were in my room.  I remember that as a "new teacher", children from other rooms would walk by and stare in to get a look at me.
 

The school rooms were heated with a wood stove, which the boy pupils were glad to replenish. Water for the school was supplied outside by a pump and the restrooms were at the back of the school yard.
 

If I wanted to go home to Ada for the weekend, I could "catch" the bus about noon on Saturday at Gaylord Wolfe's Store and leave Ada Sunday  afternoon for my return trip.
 

One Ardmore man named Fred Chapman owned many of the fine farms in the Washita River bottom land.  Most of the children who attended Russett School were from families who farmed this land.
 

There was a small church in the Russett area.  Since I could play the piano for church, the residents preferred that I be in Russett on the weekends.
 

Due to low enrollment, one teacher had to be "let go" at the end of the school year. Since I was the last employed, it was natural that I should be the one to leave at the end of the school year.

Miss Lois Watson -1934

Photo from Class Picture

Mrs. Lois Watson Holmes Duncan

A recent (1999) Wedding Photo

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Last modified: 05/27/07