« ForrigeFortsett »
four times: once in Virginia, and three times during the siege of Port Hudson, in May, 1863. After three months in the barracks hospital at New Orleans, Mr. Parsons was taken to his home at Niagara Falls, where it was ten months before he was able to be about, even then walking on crutches, which he was obliged to use for the next three years. In the fall of 1864 he was married to Louise A. Shaw, at Pekin, N. Y.
The nature of his wounds disabling him from more active physical labor, he turned his attention to educational work, for which he seems to have been peculiarly fitted. His name is well known in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Alabama, in which States he has labored as teacher, superintendent and institute conductor with marked success. In connection with his school work, he found time to study law, and was admitted to the bar of Missouri in 1888.
During the last three years of his life, his old wounds became very troublesome, and, finding that the Southern climate agreed with him better than that of the North, in the fall of 1888 he left Missouri and accepted a position as Superintendent of the Tuscumbia city schools. He immediately began a reorganization of the schools, which had been rather neglected for some years. Through his influence, a bill was passed by the Legislature, enabling the city to bond itself for the erection of suitable school buildings. Mr. Parsons was selected by the school board to draft the plans for the new building; these plans were accepted, and under his personal supervision the grading was completed and the foundation walls were well under way at the time of his death.
A friend who knew him well says: “Mr. Parsons was a man of large resources, untiring industry, never-flagging persistence and determination of purpose, and withal a thorough gentleman of many social and literary accomplishments. Strong in his conviction of right, failure was to him unknown; the greater the obstacle, the greater the strength developed to combat and overcome it."
Mr. Parsons leaves a wife and five children, who are at present residing at California, Missouri.
BENAIAH G. ROOTS.*
BENAIAH G. Roots was born in Onondaga county, New York, April 20, 1811, and died at his home near Tamaroa, Ill., May 8, 1888, aged 77 years. He commenced teaching in 1827, and continued in the work until his death, thus having completed a period of over sixty years. To Illinois and her teachers has been given the rich fruit that has followed the labors of more than fifty of these years. In 1839 he began to teach in Perry county. It would be a work of supererogation to enumerate the labors, the trials and the triumphs of this half-century of earnest and faithful effort. They are the wonder and admiration of this commonwealth.
• Prepared by Enoch A. Gastman.
It is worth while, however, for us to stop and think of the surroundings of the man who thus pushed on high ideals. In a new and sparsely-settled country education is, of necessity, a matter of secondary consideration. The wants of the body are of prime necessity. Houses must be built, farms opened, and mills erected. In all such work our friend did valiant service; but he did not stop with these things. It is an old legend, that where the fruits of culture are to grow, there must be leisure and wealth. The primal prairies of Illinois afforded neither. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, he at once commenced to plan for building up human character and vitalizing the general intelligence of the community. The homes of the early settlers contained but few "spare rooms;" but the dwelling of Father Roots was large enough for a school-house. Into it were gathered the children of his neighbors. It is probable that this school had but few of the modern appliances, but it can be said that it had what many a modern school lacks
-a living teacher.
In later years this school developed into an institution of higher grade, where many received an education that admirably fitted them to do life's work well. It is the universal testimony of the pupils of this school, that it gave inspiration and lofty aims to those who came within its influence.
But the labors of our friend did not end with this home school. His power
and influence extended over the State, and in consequence he became one of the founders of the free-school system of Illinois. He helped to organize the State Teachers' Association, and was chosen its fifth president at the meeting held at Decatur in 1857. From that time till his death he missed scarcely a meeting of that body. He worked earnestly with voice and pen to secure the establishment of our two Normal universities.
In February, 1865, the Governor appointed him a member of the State Board of Education, and he continued to fill the position by successive reappointments until his death. It is safe to say that no one took a deeper interest in its proceedings or wielded a more potent influence in shaping its policies. The pupils and teachers at Normal came to regard him as indeed a father to the institution. He was always ready with a kindly word to reward the successful or to strengthen those who needed encouragement.
It is not necessary to enter into fuller particulars. It is safe to say that B. G. Roots rendered invaluable services to the cause of education in this State. No movement has been inaugurated during the past fifty years for the improvement of the means or methods of popular education that did not receive his cordial support and aid. He never “sulked in his tent,” but was ever ready to "lend a hand," whoever might lead.
The lessons of his life are worthy the thoughtful consideration of every young man and woman who contemplates becoming a teacher. “Patient continuance in well-doing” was the motto of his life. He was never too old to learn. He never wearied in discussing with those who had the pleasure of his friendship the various methods proposed for the improvethis busy age.
ment of the schools. Although his special field was the primary school, yet his mind was broad enough to take in the whole field of education. By a careful reading of educational journals and a constant attendance upon teachers' meetings, he kept himself fully abreast with the discussions of
He was always ready to learn. His enthusiasm was the wonder and admiration of his friends. He was never discouraged; if a favorite measure met an undeserved defeat to-day, he was ready to champion it on the morrow.
But he was not a teacher only — as a churchman, he never wavered in his loyalty to that body of Christian believers to which he had so long been attached; in Sabbath schools and temperance organizations his voice was always heard in favor of earnest and progressive work; as a citizen, he believed in equal and exact justice to all. When the name of "Abolitionist” was a term of reproach in Illinois, he was not afraid to espouse the cause of the colored man, and to insist that he should receive all the rights which the laws of the land vouchsafed to him.
We shall not appreciate the full worth of this man if we do not recall the home life which he lived. It was not my privilege to know the mother of his children, but I did know and esteem that noble Christian woman who walked by his side during these later years. It was our good fortune to be permitted to entertain them frequently at our house. The remembrance of the chivalric devotion of one to the other has been a perpetual benediction in our home. I believe that I am a kinder, more patient and better husband and father because of the example thus brought before me. Permit me, in closing this address, to quote
“With weary hand, yet steady will,
In old age as in youth,
The good seed of his truth.
In golden-skied decline,
And lent his arm to thine.
“Thy latest care for man
Z. RICHARDS, Chairman.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON EXHIBITS.
Your committee beg leave to say that they have examined, as carefully as the limited time would admit, all material placed on exhibition. While the amount and variety of work shown is not large, the quality in most cases is excellent, and in many cases very superior.
Kindergarten Exhibits.—In Kindergarten work the Springfield, Mass., public schools, the Forestville public schools, Chicago, Miss Trousdale's Kindergarten, of Nashville, and Mrs. Whorley's, of South Nashville, as well as the Louisville Free Kindergarten, exhibit good work, both by children and by pupil-teachers.
Mrs. Hailman, of La Porte, Ind., has an exhibit of work from her Training School for Kindergartners, including all the different varieties done by her pupils, which is probably the most complete and artistic display of the kind yet made. While all of her exhibit was new and original in character and design, the work of Miss Viola Ewers, of Milton, Ind., and that of Miss Carrie Friedman, of La Porte, Ind., seems to deserve special mention.
The exhibit made by Miss Emma Marwedel, of the Pacific Kindergarten Training School, San Francisco, was also very full and very creditable, especially her color charts and the work of the children instructed by the use of them, and the wood-work cut out by the knife. All of this work, with much other, she calls the "missing link” between the kindergarten and the schools.
Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, Tennessee. - This was probably the fullest display on exhibition, and was certainly very creditable. It consisted of a large collection of drawings and bound volumes of examination papers from all the different grades, including the high school. Photographs of all the public and private school buildings in the city of Nashville were an interesting feature of the exhibit.
The Oregon Exhibit.—This consisted of free-hand and mechanical drawings, crayon work, and work in geography and history, from the Roseburgh and Baker City public schools and from the Portland high school. The State Agricultural College sent specimens of the first year's work in crayon and pencil drawing. The major portion of the exhibit was furnished by the Portland high school — Miss E. S. Sabin, city superintendent, and Miss Turner, drawing teacher.
The Evanston Township High School, Cook County, Illinois. This school showed a fine collection of drawings in zoology, physiology, historical ornament, and work from casts and other objects.
The Higbee School, Memphis, Tennessee.-The work from this school included language lessons; color and form lessons, illustrated by modeling and water-color pictures; object studies from nature, toys and other objects; also, geography and history lessons, and lessons on cotton, rice and flax, illustrated by drawings. Relief maps in putty, chemistry studies illustrated, note-books bound, some very beautiful pieces of wood-carving on frames, and some flatsurface designs, with much other beautiful and creditable work, completed this fine display.
The Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville, Tennessee.-This institution showed some beautiful work in map-drawing, and a case of fine geological specimens from their cabinet.
The Cook County Normal School, Englewood, Illinois.—The exhibit from this school included some very fine relief maps in putty and plaster of Paris - twenty-six different maps, ranging in size from 22x28 inches to 52x56 inches; six volumes of lesson plans to be used in training classes, being original papers treating of the following subjects: one volume on geography, one on physics, one on literature, one on universal history, and two on ancient history; specimens of class work in the eighth grade of the public schools; also, samples of work in drawing and making proper, besides a large collection of water colors in history and botany, and colored drawings illustrating geology.
The Santee Normal Training School, Santee Agency, Nebraska.—This display consisted of samples of the work of the pupils in metal, wood, leather, and other materials. There were also some bound volumes of examination and class papers.
The Nashville College for Young Ladies.—This college showed bound volumes of examination papers and daily class work, all grades of the institution being represented.
Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee.-In this exhibit appeared a showcase containing the different mathematical instruments used by the pupils in their work and the tools used in the School of Carpentry. The plats in surveying done by the pupils were very creditable; also, the work in botany, the patch-work and other needle-work from the model school, and the chemicals made by the pupils in the laboratory. Thirteen bound volumes of examination papers from all grades in the college gave a good idea of the work accomplished there.
Straight University, New Orleans.—This display contained specimens of needle-work done by the pupils, both plain and ornamental. Of the work in wood, a desk made by a boy is deserving of special notice.
Watkins Institute, Nashville.-In addition to the above, the art department of Watkins Institute had a very fine display in their art rooms, consisting of drawings from casts and still life, and work done by the sketching club.
4-N. E. A.