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of the Webb City Public Library

Early settlers' daughter became a longtime educator in the area

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

We recently found two documents pertaining to early education in our archives. One is a teacher’s certificate from Barton County issued to Arria Jenkyns on Sept. 23, 1884, signed by A. J. Wray. 

The other document is a teaching contract signed on Aug. 7, 1882, between Arria Jenky(n) and the Webb City School District. The agreement for was for $40 per month paid at the end of each month. The school district had the right to discharge Miss Jenkyn at any time during said term without rendering any reason for the dismissal. The agreement was signed by well-known Webb City residents A.A. Hulett and E.T. Webb.

The uncommon last name Jenkyn made it fairly easy to research.

 

The Carthage Press ran this photo of Arria Jenkyn in 1884 when she was elected principal of Golden City School.

Arria Jenkyn scored pretty well on the tests qualifying her to teach second grade in Barton County. She aced (10)penmanship, while her worst score (6) was in zoology. The certificate was issued in 1884, the year she was elected principal of Golden City School.

Arria Jenkyn signed this six-month contract to teach in Webb City in 1882.

Arria Jenkyn was born on Dec. 11, 1861, in Jersey County, Ill. She was the daughter of Thomas and Martha (LaForce) Jenkyn and granddaughter of Samuel B. and Lucy (Brown) LaForce, who were Jasper County pioneers. Samuel LaForce settled in Jasper County in 1843 near Carthage. He served in the Civil War and was elected sheriff of Jasper County in 1846 and 1848. Samuel, along with his brothers, built a log school on his land and in 1858 hired Thomas Jenkyn to teach at the school.

Samuel’s daughter, Martha LaForce married Thomas Jenkyn on Jan. 25, 1861. The log school burned in 1868 and was replaced by a stone building that is now known as La Grange School.

The LaForce and Jenkyn families moved to Jersey County, Ill. due to the unrest in Jasper County during the Civil War.

Samuel LaForce was a Unionist and served as a guide for General Sigel before and during the Battle of Carthage in 1861. In 1865, Samuel enlisted in the army as a private in Company I, 152nd Illinois Infantry. Two of his sons, John Benton LaForce and Jehu Brown LaForce, were killed in the war.

Thomas and Martha Jenkyn, along with their young daughter, Arria, returned to Jasper County in 1862. Thomas went on a fortune-seeking trip to California in 1863, where he contracted an illness and died during the trip. Martha and Arria moved into Samuel and Lucy’s home, where Arria lived until adulthood.

Arria attended some of the first public schools in Carthage, graduating from Carthage High School in 1880. After receiving her teaching certificates, Arria began her career at the Tower of Light School, located northeast of Oronogo. From 1881-1883 she taught at Webb City, working at the four-room school house that had been constructed in 1877. In 1884, she was elected principal of the Golden City School in Barton County where she was employed for three years. Arria then taught school for one year at Jerseyville, Ill., the place of her birth. She returned to Jasper County and married James Murto on Sept. 7, 1887 thus ending her teaching career. They were the parents of four children: Thomas Jenkyn Murto, Dwight P. Murto, Samuel LaForce Murto and Arria L. Murto.

Arria Jenkyn Murto died on Jan. 21, 1933, and is buried in Park Cemetery, Carthage.

Arria Jenkyn, principal of Golden City School, 1884. The Carthage Press.

Arria Jenkyn scored pretty well on the tests qualifying her to teach second grade in Barton County. She aced (10)penmanship, while her worst score (6) was in zoology. The certificate was issued in 1884, the year she was elected principal of Golden City School.

 

LaGrange School as it appeared in 2016 near Carthage. The stone building replaced one built of logs that burned.

Sentinel bound volumes are now in the Genealogy Room

The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.

Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in the Genealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.

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