Elsberry High School Class of 1925
Lincoln Co., Missouri

Second from right: Florence Park Underwood (1906-2005)
(Last surviving member of this class.)

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(I do not have information to match the other individuals with names.)

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List of Graduates

    Madge Marling        Julia Levengood     Irene Farquar
    Mattie R. Cox        Helen Moore         Ione Patton
    Barbara Richards     Ida Richards        Ruby T. Omohundro
    Velma Evans          Esther Evans        Florence Park
    Alice Phoebus        Ovie Uptegrove      Edwin Whiteside
    Malcolm Reid         Boyce Eastin        Bennie G. Gentry
    George R. Palmer     Curtis Watts        Delmas Turner
    Marlow Ellington     Hayes Langford      Harry Barnes
                         Eugene Duncan

Elsberry Public Schools 1892-1992 100 Years:
Class of 1925

Pages 59-61 about the EHS Class of 1925.

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Click HERE > Page 60 for full screen version.

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Transcription of pages 59-61:

Julia Levengood (Whiteside) furnished information concerning the band. We appreciate this and also the use of her "School Friendship Book" which contains clippings and handwritten material, not only about the Class of 1925, but other classes as well.

As first graders, this class, too, started under Miss Rene Ellis as teacher. Julia Levengood (Whiteside) recalls the following grade school teachers in addition to Miss Rene: Miss Inez Knapp, Miss Elizabeth Spenser, Mary Reid (Brown), Miss Cora Cox (whose sister, Miss Susie, also taught in the grade school at one time), and Miss Guy of Paynesville.

Approximately five or six of these first graders remained together throughout their twelve years in the Elsberry schools. At this time, Mr. J. B. Rogers was principal of the grade school.

Not too much information is available concerning activities of the grade school years of this class. There are more memories recalled from the high school days. Mattie Rose Cox (Wallace) and Julia Levengood (Whiteside) were most helpful in furnishing much of this information about the high school years.

Approximately thirty-five youngsters entered their first year of high school the first Monday of September, 1921. They began their school career in the old building on Dubois Street. Mr. Theo A. Hollmann is recalled as superintendent. Other teachers of the freshman year were Mrs. L. W. (Maggie) Crank, who had recently taught eighth grade; Mrs. H. H. (Anne) Palmer; and Miss Velma Cannon. Through the four years some other teachers of this class were Mr. Hagar, Justin Carlock, Mr. LeFever, J. A. Morrison, Frank Hales, H. L. Purdin, Miss Johnson, Miss Mary E. Connor, Mr. Van Kersen and Wayne Barnes. There were probably others whose names were not recalled.

Mr. Hales became superintendent, taking the place of Mr. LeFever who had served as superintendent for a time while this class was in grade school. Of the above teachers named, Mr. F. B. McCluer became superintendent when Mr. Hales resigned because of ill health. Mr. McCluer served as teacher, principal of the high school and superintendent faithfully for over twenty years in the Elsberry school system. Mr. H. L. Purdin followed Mr. McCluer as superintendent, he too, served well for a long period of thime and had the honor of having the newest high school building named for him.

The fall of 1922 brought a notable change to this class, they entered the new high school in Cannon Heights at the beginning of their sophomore year. Some of their freshmen classmates did not return. Mattie Rose commented on the fact that it wasn't as easy to get to high school then as it is now. If the student didn't live in town, then a place to live had to be found or one might ride or drive a horse; the distance might be five to seven miles from the homes of student who did this.

The fall of 1923 also brought changes. Either this year (or possibly a year or so before) Teacher Training I, II and III courses were added to the curriculum. This subject was taught by Miss Johnson. Mr. Carlock had left the faculty. Mattie Rose stated that J. A. Morrison, F. B. McCluer and Miss Daisy Johnson were new as she recalls, but also added that after sixty-five years, it's hard to remember accurately. The class which had entered high school with approximately 35 had now decreased to 25 members.

In the fall of 1924, Mr. Hales was the superintendent. Miss Velma Cannon had married and did not return as a teacher. Twenty-five students graduated May 14, 1925. Several of the students took teacher training and did practice teaching in the grade school when an employed teacher was absent. They also spent a week of practice training in rural schools, the various students teaching in different schools. Sometimes a group might go at the same time to one school. Many teachers started their teaching career having had no college training at the time but having had the benefit of some excellent training via the method mentioned above. Many of these teachers would later earn college degrees.

Baseball was a very important activity of the school during the middle twenties. There was an unusual number of very fine athletes in school at the time. Both the boys and the girls had a team, and the school was well represented at games with schools of their towns. Although there was no organized pep club at the time, the students did have a pep squad of sorts, each class having a yell leader and all (boys and girls) who were not on the teams often sat on the steps at the edge of the gym floor and "yelled" loudly and enthusiastically. Later, around 1929-30, the "Peppy Red Peppers" was organized with officers holding various offices. Red and white dresses were worn and membership was restricted. Just when this organization was disbanded is not known to the writer. Not only were various yells used during the game, the school song was also sung from time to time.

From the class of 1925, the following girls were on the Elsberry High School basketball team: Velma Evans (J. Center), Madge Marling (R. Center), Elizabeth Mayes (Forward). Alice Phoebus was one of the three substitutes. Other players were from the classes of 1926 and 1927 and are given in the histories of those classes. Miss Mary E. Connor was the coach of the girls team.

The class of 1925 apparently furnished most of the regular players for the boys basketball team. These boys were Ovie Uptegrove (captain and guard), Edwin Whiteside and Marloe Ellington (forwards), George Palmer (J. center). Charley Johnson was the only regular player who was not a member of the class of 1925 this particular year. None of the three substitutes were of the 1925 class.

Several clippings to which we had access refer to basketball games. Those which had reference to the games with Troy were of particular interest. Competition between the Elsberry and Troy schools has been quite strong for many years. One clipping referred to the scheduled Friday night game with Troy and expressed the wish that a large number of Elsberry people could attend and help boost Elsberry. Another spoke of there being a pep meeting to encourage our basketball team before they ventured into the "enemy's" camp. Another clipping gives ten commandments for sports (very good). Among other things, the players are exhorted not to hoot or make fun of their opponents; not razz a player making a mistake; not to cheer or grumble over mistakes; not to protest the referee's decision (he's the judge); not to consider a contest a signal for disregarding one's manners; not to underestimate opponents or over-estimate oneself; and to be a modest winner or a game loser, etc.

Just what date the following occurred is not indicated, but the following information was gleaned from newspaper clippings in Julia's memory book. "Rev. F. J. Yokeley, Christian Church pastor, talked on 'The Power of a Well Directed Life' at a school assembly. Ninety-nine high school students were neither tardy nor absent during a month of school; all students of the Elsberry public schools attended at total of 7112 days one month; six parents visited school one month and others were invited to visit. On another occasion, seventeen visitors were listed as being present. A representative of Culver- Stockton College gave a very timely talk at one time. He spoke of the difference in the methods of education in Germany and the United States. At that time, the people of Germany were being taught that "might is right", the Christian colleges of the U. S. taught that "might is not right." This article was written by John Gladney. From time-to-time, articles were signed by some of the students. Apparently, there was a bit of journalism being taught vicariously. Upon other occasions, Mayor J. B. Ellis, W. S. Reid and Rev. Cooper visited the high school in interest of the Salvation Army. Upon another occasion, Miss Ethel Hook of the Educational Department of Kirksville State Teachers College visited E.H.S.

Toward the end of their senior year, the students enjoyed many extra curricular activities. Their class play was titled "Backbone" and its presentation drew "rave" reviews in the Elsberry Democrat...for example, "Seniors stage clever play," "Packed Opera House greets pupils at high school entertainment, and Senions...scored a double success in their rendition of the comedy-drama and in ticket sales." It seems every reserved seat was taken within a half- hour after they became available; many patrons were disappointed that they could not secure a reserved seat, and there were a number of visitors from neighboring towns in the audience.

The following fifteen members of the class took part in the play; Hayes Langford, Ruby Tom Omohundro, Irene Farquar, Marlowe Ellington, Eugene Duncan, Ovie Uptegrove, Boyce Eastin, George Palmer, Velma Evans, Julia Levengood, Harry Barnes, Malcolm Reid, Edwin Whiteside, Madge Marling and Florence Park. Most of the specialties between acts were given by students from other classes. Mrs. Curtis Taylor directed the musical numbers and Mrs. H. R. Sanders coached the seniors for their play.

Various parties and social affairs were a part of this class' closing weeks as the time drew nearer the close of high school days for the graduates. Among other activities, Miss Daisy Johnson, class sponsor, gave a party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Harman. Rooms were decorated in red, and red hearts were used extensively. Progressive rook was played as a part of the entertainment. Mrs. Harman and Miss Johnson's house guest was Mrs. Minnie Daly of Mapelwood. A heart-shaped box of candy was given to Florence Park and Eugene Duncan, the couple who had won the most games in rook. One of the seniors remarked, "It was some party." The hostesses received the hearty "thanks" of the seniors.

Closer to the final days of the school, Miss Madge Marling entertained her classmates the graduates, Miss Johnson and Miss Conners at a party in her moe. Most of the evening was spent in parlor games. Class colors of lavender and rose were used in decorations of the home. The porch was lighted by Japanese lanterns in harmonizing shades. Refreshments of ice cream and cake also contained these same hues.

The graduates enjoyed still another party given by Julia Levengood and Ruby Tom Omohundro at the Levengood home. The first part of the evening was devoted to progressive rook; the latter part of the evening consisted in solving a cleverly arranged series of crossword puzzle contests which the guests found to be very entertaining. Class colors were used at this party also in decorations and refreshments. Additional guests were the class sponsor, Miss Daisy Johnson and Miss Mary E. Conner of the high school faculty.

Last but not least, came the invitations from the junior class to the graduates: "Come dressed as a kid to the Junior Frolic for the Seniors. May 1, 8:00 p.m." A note written by hand under this invitaiton reads, "Had time of my life."

To dwell a little longer on extra-curricular activities which took place during the twenties, we would mention the following. An article from the Elsberry Democrat has a sub-title "Unique Carnival Attracts Big Crowd of Patrons and Friends"; a hand- written comment appears on the article as follows, "First Fall Festival". It would appear that the schools' fall festival began quite some years ago, although it may not have been an annual affair during all of the intervening years. In the article, we learned that Ruby Thomas Omohundro of the senior class was elected Queen of the Carnival and the class representatives were Elizabeth Mayes of the junior class, Florence Beaumaster from the sophomore class and the freshman class was represented by Alta Mae Crank. PRoceeds from the entertainment amounted to $104.70 which the article stated "will net a gratifying sum to the school treasury." Tickets used for various purposes were a nickel a piece. A nickel might buy two kisses (candy) in the kissing booth; a peep at the wild man or the lady who ate mice were the same price, as was a call upon the fortune teller, etc. There was a Japanese tea room where delicious food was served. Favorable comments concerning this festival were made by businessmen and other spectators. It seems that all felt it was a worthwhile endeavor.

Of a more serious nature was the lecture and entertainment course given in Elsberry for a number of years including the year of 1924-25. These lyceums given throughout the years for the citizens of our town were considered to be uplifting and educational. The program for the year in question consisted for the most part dealt with music. The five programs were spread over a persiod of several months and were presented by various entertainers. The first program wea given October 21, by musical artists known as "The Cumberland Trio"; the Decmeber 11 program was presented by the Tobias Duo and concentrated upon film makers. On January 21 Glenn Wells Company brought notable entertainers to town; next appeared The Old Country Fiddler in the person of Charles R. Taggart on February 20. The final program of the season was given by Chester M. Sanford, a vocational lecturer. School students, especially those in high school, were often a part of the audience.

The commencement exercises of this class were held Thursday, May 14, 1925 at the Elsberry Christian Church. The program was as follows: GRAND MARCH, by Mrs. Lewis Trescott; INVOCATION by Rev. F.J. Yokely; QUARTETTE SELECTIONS ITALIA by Donizetti and ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY by Speaks-Kipling sung by Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Ellis, Mr. Constantz and Mr. Hales; INTRODUCTION OF SPEAKER by Mr. Hales; ADDRESS TO THE GRADUATES by Rev. A. D. Johnston; PRESENTATION OF DIPLOMAS by Mr. Jos. R. Palmer.

George Robert Palmer entered the Naval Academy at Annopolis, Maryland. George, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jos. R. Palmer and brother of Margaret Palmer, was the first member of the class to be claimed by death. While on an outing with some friends while swimming in the Mississippi River, he became unable to swim due, it was thought because of cramps. Two of his companions, his friend and classmate and friend Roy Burchett, tried to rescue him but were unable to do so in time to save his life. This occurred within a year or two following graduation from E.H.S. [Transcriber note: George Roberts Palmer born 28 April 1907, died 3 September 1929, buried 5 September 1929 at Elsberry City Cemetery.]

45th Reunion

The Class of 1925 of Elsberry High School is planning a 45th Homecoming at the EHS Alumni Banquet to be held May 9, at 7 p. m. in the high school auditorium.
Of the 26 members that graduated, 19 are still living. They are Harry Barnes, Mattie Rose Cox, Eugene Duncan, Marlow Ellington, Velma Evans, Ester Evans, Bennie Gentry, Hayes Langford, Julia Levengood, Helen Moore, Florence Park, Alice Phoebus, Malcolm Reid, Barbara Richards, Ida Richards, Delmas Turner, Curtis Watts, Edwin Whiteside and Ione Patton.
The six deceased members are Boyce Eastin, Irene Farquar, Madge Marling, Ruby Omohundro, George R. Palmer and Ovie Uptegrove.
Tickets can be purchased from Edwin Whiteside at the Whiteside Store, Elsberry, as long as they last.

Uncited newspaper clipping
Presumed Elsberry Democrat abt April, 1970.

Last Surviving Member: Florence Park Underwood

The last surviving member of the Elsberry High School Class of 1925 was Florence Park Underwood. She was born October 19, 1906 at Dameron, Missouri, the daughter of Perry Henderson "Hence" Park (1853-1940) and Carrie A. Shuck (1875-1934). She married on September 12, 1936 in St. Louis to Roger Douglas Underwood who was born July 13, 1902 in Minneapolis and died December 27, 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Florence Park Underwood died July 25, 2005 in Hinsdale, Illinois, three months short of her 99th birthday following a brief illness. She was alert and active until the end, still living in her own house in Western Springs. She and Roger are buried in the Elsberry City Cemetery.

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