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Davis, Holladay and Drachman 1900 - 1910 - Part 2

On September 4, 1906, certain teachers were designated as principals of the five schools and upper and lower classes of the schools which had these two groups. Board minutes name the principals but do not tell of their particular school assignments. They were Mrs. A. Stallord, Miss L. Merriman, Miss M. Shibell, Miss F. Goodin, Miss M. A. Giles, Miss M. Hiemans and Miss F. Black.

Habits of Clerk of the Board Drachman in keeping his minutes varied. At times, letters to the Board were meticulously copied into the record. At other times, letters or petitions were noted as “received and filed An interesting entry in the minutes for the November 2,1906, meeting reported that a “petition of children for change of teacher” was referred to Superintendent Ruthrauf for his action. What his action was, remains a historical secret.

The following extracts from Board minutes are not reproduced as a comic relief, particularly, but as an example that Board members did in the early 1900’s concern themselves with what today would be trivia and, perhaps, that true progress does not come easily.

November 2, 1906--Trustees John B. Wright and Lon Holladay were to “act as a committee to inquire into the costs and report at the next meeting on the matter of the unsanitary condition of the toilets.”

December 3, 1906--”The committee on toilets requested further time.”

January 3, 1907--”The committee on toilets requested further time.”

July 1, 1907--Holladay reported on the “Committee on Toilets” as follows: “Repairs and the putting up of toilets composed of brick for the Plaza (Safford) and Davis Schools” to cost about $4,000. Holladay was told to proceed about the business.

October 1, 1907--”The matter of toilets and other improvements on school buildings in charge of Lon Holladay will receive further attention when he makes his final report.”

Whether Holladay made the final report is not known.

On March 5, 1907, the School Board delineated further the duties and the responsibilities of the Superintendent in a further acknowledgment that a Superintendent should supervise whereas the Board should content itself with making policy and the general welfare of the public schools.

New duties given the superintendent included preparing and submitting budgets to the Board, handling teachers affairs, reporting a progress of the system yearly, obtaining supplies and materials, maintenance of the buildings and grounds, recommending teacher appointments and assessing the qualifications and efficiency of teachers and visiting schools and seeing that they were properly operated. At the same time the Board made the superintendent an ex-officio and advisory member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Officer of the Board.

The familiar signs of the short-duration history of the Superintendents of Tucson School District 1 began to show concerning Superintendent Ruthrauf on November 30, 1907. He was found to be using textbooks not prescribed by the Territorial Board of Education--an academic sin in the eyes of the Territorial Board. The Tucson School Board was forced to send a letter of apology to the Board of Education in Phoenix and to order Ruthrauf to obey the law.

But Ruthrauf was to have still further difficulties.

A letter by Ruthrauf dated March 13, 1908, and sent to the School Board was read at the Board’s March 25 meeting. The letter asked for the dismissal of teachers Miss E. A. Drury and Mrs. Alice Satterwhite for “open and defiant insubordination.”

At the same meeting a letter to Ruthrauf was read by the Board. This letter was written by Miss Drury and signed, under her signature, by Mrs. Satterwhite. It said, “I want you to know that I am not speaking favorably of you and your system to the people of Tucson whom I meet.” She went further to say she had lost confidence in Ruthrauf and “I will fight a fair fight. If you win and I lose, I will take my medicine gracefully.”

Later in the meeting a second letter from Ruthrauf, dated March 24, was read. In this, he resigned because of “the flagrant and open insubordination on the part of a few teachers.” He said that he had complained of this to the Board repeatedly ( not shown in the Board minutes, however) and “I cannot under present circumstances continue as superintendent.” He gave the Board 30 days notice.

Teacher Miss Hewson then appeared before the Board and presented a petition signed by 36 teachers asking for Ruthrauf’s ouster. Upon this, the Board accepted the Superintendent’s resignation.

The Board minutes were first typewritten on April 4, 1908. The minutes of that meeting reveal that Lizzie Borton was appointed to serve out the remaining term of Ruthrauf. She was to receive $125 per month during her period as acting superintendent. Ruthrauf was getting $200 per month.

As a further ignominy directed at Ruthrauf, the Board discovered on May 21 that he had signed all graduation diplomas before he left office. The Board ordered that the ink signatures be removed with acid and instructed Lizzie Borton to sign them.

On April 28, 1908, S. C. Newsom was hired as superintendent at $3,000 per calendar year and for the first time, the Board extended him more than a one-year contract.

Newsom was given “full and free control of educational policy” in his contract and all teacher hirings, promotions and firings could be ordered by the Board only upon the Superintendent’s recommendation.

In 1909, the first gas furnaces were ordered by the Board to replace wood stoves. Four were ordered to be placed in the high school at $172 each.

A male principal was appointed in the spring of 1909--the first male school principal--unless Augustus Brichta and John Spring, who operated one-teacher schools could be counted.

He was John B. Whitely, who was made principal of the high school and all the 7th and 8th grades in the system.

Other principals that year included Lizzie Borton, assistant superintendent and principal of Drachman School; Miss Stella Phillips, principal of Davis School; Miss Ada Bedford, principal of Safford and Mansfeld; and a vacancy at Holladay that was later filled, but never noted by the Board Clerk in the minutes.

At this point the high school had 105 students and there were 1,502 students in average daily attendance at the other schools.

Another advance of the decade was established in the high school building. A lunch room was equipped--half of the cost paid by the Board and half by interested mothers. There were no cooking facilities. Cold lunches were brought from home and the students ate them at the lunch room tables and seats.

In 1900, Lon Holladay succeeded C. F. Richardson on the Board. Holladay was elected over A. Orfila, 343 to 235 votes.

In the spring of 1901, the School Board was represented by Sam Drachman, Lon Holladay and W. C. Davis, who replaced Thomas F. Wilson. On March 30, 1901, Davis received 590 votes defeating his opponent, C. E. Chase.

On March 30, 1902, Drachman succeeded himself as trustee, getting 99 votes out of 100 cast. The lone vote-getter is not known. Holladay became chairman of the Board.

With the death of Davis in September, George J. Roskruge was appointed to the vacancy.

Holladay ran for re-election in 1903 without opposition and was again made chairman of the Board. Drachman continued his service as member and clerk.

Holladay and Roskruge had some sort of a feud going on, the nature of which history does not reveal. Voting records, however, show them on opposite sides in several instances.

For some unexplained reason, Holladay resigned as chairman of the Board shortly after his election in 1903 and Roskruge was made chairman. This was on April 18, 1903. Then on April 29, 1903, Roskruge resigned from the Board and Holladay was made chairman again. This was before the Sabino Canyon affair. T. J. Vail was appointed to serve the unexpired term of Roskruge.

In the spring of 1904, Roskruge ran for his old seat against Vail and was elected on April 11.

Sam Drachman ran for re-election in 1905 and was opposed for the first time, this time by a woman, former teacher Mrs. Frances Warren. She received 205 votes and Drachman received 257. Lon Holladay again was elected chairman of the Board by the other Board members.

Holladay was up for re-election in 1906. Running against him was W. F. Ingram. Holladay won easily, 331 to 254. This was, again, a time for Roskruge to resign and he did so in April. T. J. Vail was appointed in his place, but Vail resigned in October, 1906. John B. Wright was appointed to take Vail’s position.

According to the Arizona Star in the 1906 election, “The saloons were closed during the hours of voting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when many saloon men gave aid to the Holladay interest, doing their canvassing in the main part of town.” Just what the “Holladay interest” was and its relation to “saloon men” can only be conjecture.

Wright had to run again in the spring of 1907 and on March 30 he was elected with 44 votes cast. Holladay was re-elected chairman and Drachman remained as clerk.

In 1908, Sam Drachman’s term ran out and he did not run for re-election, feeling that he had served enough. M. V. Whitmore was elected in his place without opposition. Whitmore had served on the Board from 1896 through 1899.

Lon Holladay decided to retire from school politics in 1909 and did not run for re-election. Elected was George J. Roskruge with a total of 31 votes. He was unopposed.

First Hundred Years, By James F. Cooper, Edited by John H. Fahr, Tucson, Arizona, 1967