A Brief History of Sheridan School District Number Five
In 1803 Sheridan had a population of 350 people. The need for a new school grew strong so in 1890 the people started a new brick school.
The first principal was Mr. W.F. McFarland who had a staff of four teachers. Two teachers taught in grades eight through tenth. The other two teachers taught in first through seventh grades.
In 1904 more space was needed so two more rooms were added at the back of the building. This new addition included an assembly-library and the principal’s office.
On May 26, 1904 Sheridan High School had its first graduating class. This group consisted of six girls. They were Mamie Hartt, Martha Brooke, Viola Jones, Rene Baker, Delia Perrault, and Carrie Ogden. The principal was Jonathon Curran.
In 1909 the school board incorporated School District No. 5 and, by meeting the standards of the State Board of Education, became a fully accredited four year high school.
From 1904 until 1938 Sheridan had no gym at the school as it was located downtown. The gym was a huge frame building in which dances, proms, and sporting events were held. This is also where graduation ceremonies took place.
Following is and excerpt form the school newspaper published in February 1923
(Author is unknown - a copy of the actual text sits in the Sheridan High School library)
It is difficult for the children of today in Sheridan to close their eyes to present day conditions and picture the origin of the Sheridan School. It was back in 1866 that our first log school house was raised on the site where the old frame building still stands on upper Water Street. It was a long low building of rough hewn logs, just one room with a dirt roof like all pioneer buildings had. The floor was of side rough boards, the windows were tiny panes, set high in the wall. "Store-bought furniture" was scarcely heard of. The seats and benches were homemade as was most of the home furniture in those days, those possessing carpenters' tools dressed the lumber by hand.
The pupils ranged from little tots in the first grade or in their primer lessons as the frontier districts called the first grades. The higher grades probably ranged no higher than the fourth and fifth. Children came from the surrounding country at a distance of from one to two miles. The more advanced pupils attended school in Virginia City and Deer Lodge. Sheridan's first school was opened by a Mr. Muffly, later Judge Muffly of Virginia City. Mrs. D.B. Noble, grandmother of D.A. Noble also taught in the old log building.
Sheridan felt that they had quite a pretentious building when the frame one was erected in the early seventies. It consisted of one plastered room, the runishings of which were the usual blackboard, teacher's desk, maps and globe. However, the first globe was not purchased until the eighties. First Sunday School was also organized in this building by Mr. H.M. Fitch and Mrs. R.P. Bateman, it was also used as a town hall for speakers and other community afffairs such as dancing parties.
The entire school was conducted by one teacher up till the year 1890. The usual grades were taught in this frame building that are usually taught in a mixed school, where pupils range from new beginners up to the eighth grade. A three months summer term was also held for a number of years. A.J. Bennett taught in the frame building before he was married. He boarded with Mr. and Mrs. O.F. Parmeter when they kept the hotel in a log building on the corner where Walter's store now stands.
Soon the frame building like the log one outgrew its usefulness as a seat of learning and last term taught closed in the spring of 1890. The present school house was erected during the summer of 1890. The trustees were Fred Ellinghouse, H.D. Rossiter, Wm. O'Brien, Dr. G.W. Rightenour was clerk, all of whom are now deceased. W.F. McFarland was the first principal employed. This Mr. McFarland later became famous as a government interpreter among Orientals, and was one of Uncle Sam's most trusted officials. The first year there were only two teachers employed, the next year there were three and then later four.
Soon there was soon a need of a larger building and the old one was enlarged in 1904. In July, 1909, the motion to incorporate a high school course was favorably voted upon.
Following is the list of principals who have served from 1890 down to the present time; W.F. McFarland, Miss Della Herndon, Mr. Bradshaw, Miss Grace Baker, Mr. J.F. Curran, Mr. Gray, Mr. C.E. Hagie and Mr. F.A. Brim. In this of principals are unaccounted for principals for two years.
We are indebted to Mrs. G.W. Rightenour for much of this material.
It may be of interest to the pupils of today to know that the nearest Sheridan people ever came to a fright from an Indian raid was in 1875, during the Nez Perces uprising. At this time the people built a stockade on the site where the high school building now stands. The inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood were warned to come in but the red warriors never put in an appearance. Sheridan never suffered from the hands of Indians like many other pioneer towns.(Author is anonymous - a copy of the actual text is housed in the Sheridan High School library)