Land traded hands frequently in late 1800s

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Ginny Hall | April 18, 2014

The former Mack School can be seen at the northeast corner of the intersection of County Highway 89 and Territorial Road in the town of Richmond. The tiny building is now a private home.

This school received its name because in 1891 the owner of the surrounding property was William Mack. He owned 160 acres in that location. He was not the first white owner of that farm. The 1857 plat map shows the owner as E.M. Rice. The 1873 plat book lists the owner of this farm as B.B. Freeman.

Rice was born in Vermont, according to the 1882 “History of Walworth County.” He came to Wisconsin with his wife, Laura, in 1841 and settled on the farm in Section 5, town of Richmond.

He was elected superintendent of the poor in 1856 and served in that office for six years.  They had two daughters, Mary B. and Ada E. In 1867 the family moved to Whitewater.

The 1882 “History of Walworth County” indicates that Freeman was born in New York and moved first to Rock County in 1840. He moved to this Richmond location in 1867. He died Feb. 9, 1875. 

In the 1891 plat book, William Mack is shown as the owner and the school is shown in the intersection corner along with School No. 5. The 1921 plat book shows Charles Mack as the owner of this farm. In 1930 it changes to Warren Mack.

Sometime in late 1930 the owner is listed as Wade Bros. Then in 1961 and into the 1990s the owners are shown to be Howard, Harland and Martha Wade. The 2012 book now lists the owner of the farm surrounding the former schoolhouse as Ronald W. Wade.

Mack School District No. 5 in the town of Richmond also was known as Pioneer School. The first school was built in 1849 on land deeded by the government on April 5, 1849. The school was 23-by-19-feet and had 44 square feet of blackboard.

The teacher in 1871 was Emogene Smith. In 1902 the district clerk was E.M. Davis.  Emma Roe was the teacher from 1909 until 1911. She received $30 per month for teaching eight students. The next year she received $35/month and had only six pupils. A Miss Weyher was the next teacher. 

The school closed for the 1941-'42 school year. The last teacher was Jansina Mawhinney.

At that time she received $85 a month and had only four pupils. In 1950 the district joined with Rock County. 
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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