Many generations of Wisconsinites were educated in one-room country schools and have fond memories of an era in education now quickly fading into the attic of American history. These schools were not without their limitations and lack of amenities, but they accomplished their mission nonetheless. Rock County contained over 150 of them at one time. These schools were gathering places for everything from community clubs and church meetings to holiday and political events. They were a part of the very fabric of the community, bringing together neighbors who otherwise would rarely see each other. The advent of a statewide road system, which made it possible for schools to consolidate and facilitate the transfer of students to larger, more modern schools, spelled the end for the one-room school era. With all their drawbacks, these quaint little schools contributed their part to the social and economic development of our state. Included in this book are written histories of the school buildings, memories of pupils and teachers, as well as lists of students, teachers, and board members associated with each school. Also included are various photos of students, teachers, interiors and exteriors of the schools. A history of the Rock County Normal School is included, which includes a list of teachers who graduated from the school during its operation. This book is a must have for historians studying early education in Rock County, the state of Wisconsin, or the Midwest in general. Genealogists will discover a gold mine of information about their family members and ancestors with over 13,000 names indexed and over 1,000 photos in the six volumes.
Clark Kidder resides in southern Wisconsin. He is a freelance writer for International publications, and has authored several books, including Marilyn Monroe UnCovers (Quon Editions, 1994); Marilyn Monroe Cover To Cover (Krause Publications, Inc., 1999); Marilyn Monroe Collectibles (HarperCollins, 1999); Orphan Trains and Their Precious Cargo (Heritage Books, Inc., 2001); Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia (Krause Publications, Inc., 2001); Marilyn Monroe Cover To Cover, 2nd Ed. (Krause Publications, Inc., 2003); A Genealogy of the Wood Family (Family Tree Publishers, 2003, and Higginson Book Company, 2007); A Genealogy of the Butts/Butz Family (Higginson Book Company, 2007), Emily's Story: The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider (2007), and A History of the Rural Schools of Rock County, Wisconsin (6 volumes), 2014. His magazine articles have appeared in The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Family Tree Magazine, Fancy Fowl (in England), Avicultura (in Holland), and Poultry Press. Kidder was the recipient of the Hesseltine Award in 2004 for his article titled West by Orphan Train, which appeared in the Winter 2003-2004 issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History. Kidder has been interviewed by numerous reporters for articles in such newspapers as the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. His television appearances include MSNBC, PAX, WGN, Wisconsin Public Television, and Iowa Public television. He has been interviewed on numerous radio shows around the nation, including Wisconsin Public Radio and Iowa Public Radio. Kidder was host of his own television show called Book Talk on JATV, in Janesville, Wisconsin. In addition, he has provided consultation and photographs for documentaries and television shows produced by CBS, and October Films in London, England. Kidder won the 38th Annual Hesseltine Book Award for his article titled West by Orphan Train in the Wisconsin Magazine of History (Winter 2003-2004). Mr. Kidder gives one-hour presentations/book lectures on his book titled Emily's Story - The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider to community and civic organizations, libraries, history center, genealogical societies, educators and schools. Please e-mail Mr. Kidder at firstname.lastname@example.org to book this lecture. Kidder has co-written and co-produced a film based on his book Emily's Story: The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider. It was released in 2014 and is titled West by Orphan Train.