Saturday, March 5, 2011


Carmen Moore, born in Noxon September 1, 1911, and when he was old enough he was sent to school in Noxon, in the old schoolhouse, built eleven years earlier. Since then, the building had gained an addition.
"When I went to school there were only eleven grades in the school," he said. "Miss McDonald was my first grade teacher. Goldie Fulks was my second grade teacher.1.
Fred Minear said, "You see, gee, there was so many teachers! Starting in with Goldie Fulks, she was my first teacher. I didn't get along with her at all."2.
Students considered those in grades 1-8 their classmates, which included Stewart Hampton, Buster, Marion and Freda Weare, Stella and Grace Gordon, and Roy and Ray Meadows, plus several more.
"In the winter time we moved into town as Jim had two houses," Carmen said. "One of them on the hill, east of Hotel Montana, and another down below it on the main street."3.
Carmen's step-father, Jim Finnigan was a handy carpenter. Jim and his brother, Bill, also built four houses in a row on Broadway, between Buck's Store and the new Ranger's house. All sat on the west side of Broadway. S. S. Brown bought one of them, Henry Larson bought next to Brown's and Grandma Ellis owned the one furthest up the hill.

George Phillips, the depot agent, had his house built near the schoolhouse. It was the only house in town to have an indoor toilet. The sewer pipe went under the road and over the steep embankment.4. Lester and Clinton Phillips worked in the Bull River sawmill.5.
"William Meadows, a carpenter, came to Noxon in 1913 with his wife Elizabeth, after the great fire," Angie Meadows said. "They left Oklahoma, going first to Wyoming and then to Montana. Mrs. Meadow's brother, Coombs, had married Della Huffman and was depot agent at Noxon. They urged Meadows to come on out. So Will came ahead and settled a homestead on the flat overlooking the Clark's Fork on the north side of the river a mile upstream from the little town. Soon neighbors knew them as Will and Lizzie, good and kind people.
"When their twins, Roy and Ray, were ten years old they would row boat across the Clark's Fork River to attend school at Noxon taking their little sister, Effie, with them. Otherwise it was quite a hike from their home to cross the ferry. Docking their boat on the south side of the river, near the old apple orchard where Will Greer lived in a little shack, still left them a mile hike to the schoolhouse.
"The boat was a good strong boat their father had built, allowing them to cross even on high water a few times. When the river froze, they walked to school. "Will built a new house in Noxon on the bench south of the Peoples Commercial Store in the early 1920's." (Everett and Minnie Jenkins bought this house.)5.
Stewart Hampton said,
"Roy and Ray Meadows dad had a mustache and would pop out his false teeth to amuse kids. His wife was a snow-white haired, lady."6.
Parents recognized the important part that teachers played in the lives of their students. Every teacher came under the closest community scrutiny. The slightest thing they did was common knowledge and they were held to the strictest accountability.

Unmarried women need always be circumspect in all ways. No teacher smoked nor imbibed in alcoholic beverages and dare not socialize with the opposite sex without being accompanied by at least another couple, preferably a married couple.

Men teachers were generally also unmarried. Just about the only housing available to them was rooming in the Hotel Montana. Misses Anna and Hattie MacDonald, sisters, dared to rent a cabin one year.

Reporting as it did on the comings and goings of nearly anyone, the newspaper kept their activities before the parents of their charges and the news was sure to bring curious questions.7.
"Misses Anna and Hattie MacDonald returned from unknown points Sunday on No. 3."
The two young teachers had been off on an excursion but were not divulging to the inquisitive community where they had been. Without as doubt, buying a ticket at the NPRR depot could not be kept secret for long, and the newspaper made it a point to be informative in such important matters.8.
"Misses Anna and Hattie MacDonald, who have been teaching school here, left for their home in St. Paul."
Keeping close scrutiny on teachers, the newspaper told readers that Albertine Waylett, who boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lake at the Bull River Ranger Station, closed the Pilik school term on Bull River,
"with regret at leaving her field of labor, having gained and retained the good will of pupils and patrons."9.
Miss Lois Laffay (sic) was appointed by Sanders county commissioners as one of the three school teachers in western Sanders county appointed by them instead of being selected by a board of school trustees. She would be teaching at Heron during 1920 where the Dettwiler children had been sent - for what their father considered "less frivilous" schooling that what they were receiving at the River Echoes School.10.

Since the school was also the community focal point with civic functions held frequently it was a serious matter when influenza broke out again. The only defense was to close school for two weeks in March.11.

No sooner had that emergency become controlled when people were reminded that mumps are to be quarantined by order of the state health board.
"For 14 days, or one week after swelling disappears, you can't attend school or public meetings," they were reminded.12.
Miss Ogelby, assistant state 4-H club leader, and Mrs. Thompson visited the Noxon school, telling the children about the work in the different clubs: Calf club (beef and dairy divisions); pig club; bread club; garment making club; canning club; corn club; and potato club. They urged students to become involved and take advantage of the opportunity provided them.13.

Before school adjourned, May 1920, Professor Mead of Thompson Falls came to Noxon and told the people about the dormitory plan to become available to students at Thompson Falls in the near future. 14.

September 15, 1921
"Thompson Falls added Mead Hall dormitory to their high school last year, enabling students from all over the county and from other states to attend high school. The Woodman Hall housed the boys and Pinecrest housed eleven girls. There are thirty-six girls in all and thirty-three boys, all of who take their meals in the Main hall."
A Normal Training class, open to girls in the senior class wishing to become school teachers offered such subjects as Industrial Arts, Rural School Management, Educational Methods, Sociology, Review of Common Branches and Psychology.

Stella Gordon, senior from Noxon, and Ernest Jones from Noxon attended. Mead Hall colors were scarlet and black.

Social graces were assured when the first high school dance was prepared for a large number of students assembled in the auditorium. Beginning dancers were given an opportunity to practice with the aid of several of the teachers and other "artists of that line". Mrs. Moser played piano and Don played drums and cornet.

Clothing available for students at the Thompson Falls Mercantile included, girl's school shoes - black or brown calf with medium or English toe, low heels and sturdy soles, $3.85 - $7.50. Wool knit Tams, $1.50-$2.00.

Tuscor School, serving students in the area of Tuscor, Montana, east of Noxon in Sanders County.
Courtesy Stewart and Agnes Hampton collection.
Kids growing up around Noxon, attending school and learning from all sorts of experiences, came from a variety of homes and distances. Donieta and Thelma Pringle and their sister, Bernice Winters, lived on the Baxter Ranch on Pilgrim creek, walking four miles to and from school. The three girls had to also do their chores before they could come into the house after returning from school. When they moved to their new house near Pilgrim Creek, they were glad to give up the long walk.15.

Harley and Phoebe Higgins, Fern and Ben Saint, and Howard and Hazel Ellinwood, all raised their families in the west end of town. Over a dozen kids from families walked to and from school daily from the vicinity of the Engle's, including the Saint children.
"Ellinwood kids, red headed kids, a whole family of them. A whole passel of them," Maxine Higgins said. Bob Saint said,
"Irene and Lloyd Ellinwood and I fought from the time we were that high. I mean, we just took control like a pair of strange dogs! We never did get along!
"Irene was tough, I'll tell you that. You had to be good to beat her. Grace and Irene, and Sally. Irene was the oldest of the Ellinwood kids. We were the same age and we fought! The youngest one was Alice.
"Mary Greer and I are cousins and always quite close. Goldie and Dan were her sister and brother. Dan lost his hearing to mumps. Their grandpa, Old Will Greer, was a fine man, just like a southern gentleman, with a goatee. A fine teamster."16.
Almeda was staying in Noxon with her grandmother, Mrs. Ellis, to go to school. Mrs. Ellis's home was also at the west end of town. She had an old white cow, which she milked morning and night. One morning she awoke her young charge to get ready for school, then took her milk pail and went out to the old barn out back near Katie Engles' house where the cow waited. Fire broke out in the kitchen of Mrs. Ellis' house. Almeda escaped but the house was consumed.17.

Besides walking to school together the youngsters played together, and sometimes got into trouble, too. Maxine Higgins said,
"Earl and Katie Engle's nephew and I got in a hell of a mess because I went coasting on the toboggan. I was supposed to be in the barn milking the cow. And he and I snuck off and went up to Cemetery Hill with the toboggan. It was a darned good night to go coastin'.
"Oh geez, we came like a bang out of hell down that hill. I can see it yet. Where it curved around there we were really a goin'. We musta hit a rock or something, and I went end over teakettle. I got cut over the eyebrow and split my lip. Knocked me out. I come to with him holding me, yelling, 'Maxine, wake up! Wake up!' He thought I'd been killed!
"We went limping home and of course it was the disgrace of the school! I was only 9 years old and oh God, all we did was just sneak off to go coastin'. He was quite a bit older than I was, maybe, oh I don't know, 13-14 or somewhere.
"The next day we carried our lunches and walked into the school. I remember sitting down there. I couldn't talk in school and nobody'd talk to me because I was in disgrace.
"My God! I'd went out coasting with A BOY after dark!!
"Katie was such a strict person. Oh, Lord, she raised all kinds of hell with Aunt Phoebe."
Maxine and her brother were staying at their aunt and uncle's, the Saints, because their mother had just died. Her mother had been pregnant, and when she tried to abort the baby, using a coat hanger like women did, she bled to death sitting in their old tin bathtub in the log cabin up on Smeads Bench.
"It broke Dad's heart. All he could do was hold her. He left Noxon forever. So we stayed the one year and went to school. Then we went to Spokane to our Grandmother Higgins."18.
Other kids who weren't fortunate enough to have kinfolk in town to stay with, and therefore didn't get to attend school, learned harsh lasting lessons from the 'school of hard knocks.' Lanky Jamison remembered a dreadful reality.
"On Rock Creek, Jimmy Ward, a kid, found a dynamite cap and hit it with a hammer. It mangled his hand. Wrapping it in towels, they hitched the wagon and got to the ferry. John Fulks run them across to Noxon where they flagged the first train in, a freight train, to take him to Dr. Peek at Thompson Falls."*19. 
Arthur 'Art' Hampton, circa 1925. Art served
the Noxon School Board of Trustees and helped
built the Noxon Community Church. Courtesy
Stewart and Agnes Hampton collection.

Bill Getske fixed up a sled with a stove in it to bring kids from out west of Noxon into school. Weare's, Gordon's, Hammons, rode in it. Weare's kids used to fight, all the time among themselves, Clifford said.
"If you don't quit that damned fightin' I'm gonna give all of you a lickin'," I told them. "Both of the girls would jump on Buster and lick him. He was the youngest, you know. He'd be bawlin.' I told him, '"Well, I can't be around you always to keep you straight. Just tie into them and fight them just the same as they do you.'
"They'd pull his hair, slap him, you know, and so on. So it commenced at the table one morning. Something about the chair he was setting in. And they both tore into him.
"He'd been rough and tumbling around school, you know. He was a husky boy. And my god, he knocked Freda down and she lit on the floor, and Marion she come and reached for his hair, and he grabbed her by the hair and pulled hers. Hahaha. They never bothered him afterwards. Hahaha. They was cryin' then. That was sure funny. I never said a word. Just let them go."20.
It was inevitable that people in the west end of the county who wanted higher education for their children would take action sooner or later. Few could afford to board students at the dormatory in Thompson Falls, nor did they wish to forego guiding their teenagers safely to adulthood. After the three-roomed school building in Noxon was used for several years the community decided to build a new school that would accommodate grades 1-12.  Parents living in Bull River, whose children lived to far upstream to walk to the Pilik School, also attempted to get a school built in their vicinity.

May 19, 1921
"On Saturday, May 25th, the people of Noxon school district will vote upon the question of whether they favor issue a bond $25,000 for building and equipping a new school for the town of Noxon. On the same date they will vote upon the question of a $1,000 bond issue for building a schoolhouse in the upper Bull River district. They will also vote upon the location of the school."
Andrew Knutson was one of the school trustees who worked to get a high school built the way Noxonites wanted.21.

A Spokane company built the brick two-story high school.22. A $25,000 bond was put up. 1922 was the date of the building of the Noxon High School. According to Marineus Larson, long time clerk of District No. 10,
"The building was financed by patrons of that district who were later reimbursed when a $25,000 bond issue was passed. [The] Bond issue was passed in 1921. Apparently this money was not immediately available, otherwise there would have been no reason for the people putting up the money."23.
The first year of high school in the combination elementary and high school building was 1922-23. Twelve students enrolled in high school classes. County School Superintendent Orin Kendall wrote,
"Ruth Thomson, Gladys Ettinger, Ina King, Loren King, Effie Meadows, Stella and Hazel Harris, Granville Bauer, Stanley Lake, Clinton Fox, Grace Gordon and Sylvia Jacques. Mr. C. C. Williamson was the principal.
"Only the ninth and tenth grades were maintained and Mr. Williamson was the only teacher. I presume that the 11th grade was added the next year and the 12th grade the following year. Apparently the first graduating class must have been in 1926. Prior to the building of the school many of the students came to Thompson Falls and lived in the dormitory. Many were unable to do so."24.
Jim Finnigan was the first janitor.25.
"I was helping my step-dad," Carmen Moore said. "I was 11-12 years old. When the brick schoolhouse was built it had no furnace and no lights, nothing. Just the rooms. They'd moved a pot bellied stove from the old schoolhouse over there and it was my job to get up at five o'clock in the morning and go up to the school and pack the wood up to the four rooms in the school so the teacher could keep a fire all day."26.
Florence 'Fanny' Hampton, 1925. Fanny was beloved
by children in Noxon who were quickly charmed by
her English wit and humor. Her tireless contributions
to all school functions and in fund raising and
teaching in the Noxon Community Church have
been remembered by many. Courtesy Stewart and
Agnes Hampton collection.
Loren Jamison started school in 1922.
"Mrs. Winter, Mrs. Lula Lake, Mrs. Fanny Hampton was there. Mother (Mrs. Jamison), and Mrs. Eddy Gore. They'd direct us to the rooms. Rhoda Knudsen was the teacher. I got straight 'A's the two years I had her. Then I spent two years in the next grade because I didn't learn a darned thing.
"We moved from Noxon onto the ranch the first year I walked to school, and that was 1922. The next year Dad bought a house in town. I think he bought it from Evans. Behind the schoolhouse where the ball diamond was, was forty acres Evans owned. We rented that from a Millie Evans who lived in Missoula."27.
Frank and Frankie King became students October 8, 1922, moving onto the Munson place on the riverbank east of Weare's. Their kids, Ina (15), Verda (14), and Loren 'Lanky' Jamison, the three Manicke kids, four Weare's, plus a Shumacker girl lived west of Noxon on the north side of the river.
Lanky said, "Frank Manicke run a "school bus" to bring them into Noxon. It consisted of two horses and a wagon with a sheepherders canvas over it.*28. When winter snows got deep and severe, Weare kids stayed in Noxon with their Grandma Lena Baxter," Lanky said.
Art and Fanny Hampton's children, Stewart
Dorien and Margery. Circa 1918-20. Courtesy
Stewart and Agnes Hampton collection.
Noxon Community club put on plays, which were always popular. Eddy Gore, always a popular entertainer, would string a wire across the school stage in the basement auditorium, or gym. Then he did a tight-wire act on it and do stunts with is dog, Sport. New black curtains for the schoolhouse stage were hand sewn by Cleo Gore, Mrs. Saint, Fanny Hampton and Mrs. S. S. Brown in Mrs. Brown's parlor in 1922, and Fred Proctor played Santa Claus in the Christmas program.*28.

 In one comedy, Carrie Gore played a nurse while Charlie Maynard was the patient in need of new brains. A can of sauerkraut was 'implanted' to the delight of the audience.

Fanny Hampton, an English woman, was spunky, with a droll, dry sense humor. Fanny was very active with school things. Katie Engle was also in these school plays.

Ina King and Roy Meadows did exhibition skating in the basement of the Noxon School. Ina had highest grades in Montana.
"Most frequently held were the dances, especially the lively square dances," Donieta Pringle said.
"The sheriff always wore a black, curled mustache and a black hat. The young fellows really were too rambunctious; and, on one occasion, two young men, one on each side of her, swung her so high that her feet flew up in the air and she kicked the sheriff's hat right off, to everybody's great delight! "The musicians went on playing gaily. They were from Thompson Falls, Ada Mosier on piano and a young man on the saxophone."*29.
At the far western end of Sanders County, the Claytons decided that the River Echoes grade school was just not providing a satisfactory education for their children. The family packed their belongings onto a lumber wagon pulled by a team, and moved to Sandpoint in 1921. At Trestle Creek they camped and ate from food in the chuck box, watered the horses, fed them oats, and pitch forked char from the stream, on their days-long move into town.*30.
  1. Carmen Moore, tape-recorded oral history January 1988.
  2. Fred Minear, tape-recorded oral history February 1, 1990.
  3. Carmen Moore, tape-recorded oral history January 1988.
  4. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape-recorded oral history 1986.
  5. Ray and Angie Meadows, tape-recorded oral history January 15, 1988.
  6. Stewart Hampton, oral history, var.)
  7. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 6, 1920.
  8. Sanders County Independent Ledger, June 3, 1920.
  9. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 13, 1920.
  10. Sanders County Independent Ledger, April 8, 1920.
  11. Sanders County Independent Ledger, February 26, 1920.
  12. Sanders County Independent Ledger, April 29, 1920.
  13. Sanders County Independent Ledger, April 15, 1920.
  14. Sanders County Independent Ledger, May 6, 1920.
  15. Bernice Winter, biography 1975 by Sybyl E. Smith, M.S.
  16. H. R. Bob Saint, tape-recorded oral history, November 18, 1983.
  17. Loren "Lanky" Jamison tape-recorded oral history December 26, 1986.
  18. Maxine Higgins Laughlin, tape-recorded oral history February 19, 1981.
  19. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape-recorded oral history December 26, 1986.
  20. Clifford R. Weare, tape-recorded oral history, var.
  21. Rhoda Knutson, tape-recorded oral history November 18, 1983.
  22. Clifford R. Weare, tape-recorded oral history, var.
  23. Orin P. Kendall, Supt. Sanders County Schools, letter September 26, 1960.
  24. Orin P. Kendall, Supt. Sanders County Schools, letter September 26, 1960.
  25. Carmen Moore, tape-recorded oral history January 1988.
  26. Carmen Moore, tape-recorded oral history January 1988.
  27. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape-recorded oral history January 8, 1987.
  28. Loren "Lanky" Jamison, tape-recorded oral history January 8, 1987.
  29. Donieta Pringle biography 1975 by Sybyl E. Smith, M.S.
  30. Austin Clayton, letter 1989.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. Let's me know people are enjoying the homesteader's history.

      I'll publish the electronic edition time, ASAP.

      Mona Vanek

  2. My 90 yr old neighbor is Carlieos Hampton. He said he was born in Noxon 1924 to Frank and Flo (he's spelling it Floo) Hampton. He can't remember his mothers maiden name. I was exploring your Behind These Mountains site and came across Art and Fanny Hampton and pictures of their children but no information on Frank and Floo / children. Can you help?

    1. Ed Hampton, a brother of Arthur Hampton, had children at Noxon, but I never came across the names Frank and or Flo, or Calieos. His birth records should be in the court house at Thompson Falls, Montana. Chapter 26, Vol. 1, includes a ca. 1917 photograph of Hampton youngsters. When their Uncle Ed Hampton came to visit Arthur and Fanny on their acreage west of town Stewart and cousin Bert posed alongside of Dorrien cuddling her doll and cousin Rose holding the cat tightly and her older brother Art wears the happy grin he's so well known for, courtesy Stewart and Agnes Hampton collection. email in case I learn more.

  3. Thank You. Carlieos is actually trying to get his birth certificate so he can renew his drivers license in Portland Oregon. He lives alone and no family. I have the paper work for Montana Vital Statistics but can't mail until I find his mothers full maiden name.

  4. P.S. Carlieos thought his mothers last name might be Reynolds. I didn't see a Reynolds in your list of names but did come across Raynor but no Flo . . . . .

    1. I don't recall any Reynolds, and a search of my computer didn't produce any either. Has he tried His father is deceased so the file on him should show who he married and where and when and his wife's maiden name. Any librarian should be able to help. Not sure if it's Ancestor or but librarian will know. And it's free. Can even be printed. I should have thought of that before! Good luck.