Joplin High, Class of 1897

In 1897, 25 young men and women received their diplomas and exited as the largest class yet to graduate from Joplin High School.  While today’s graduating seniors dwarf this number, here are the names of Joplin’s proud students over a hundred and ten years ago.

Joplin High School graduates 1897

Beginning from the boys standing along the top row: Roy Calvin (moved to Long Beach, California after graduation), Ed Shepherd (moved to Miami, Florida after graduation, but who’s “brilliant engineering career was cut short by an accident in South America”), Elmer Williams, James Broadbent (became a teacher in Martinsville, Missouri), Superintendent W.B. Brown (moved to Chicago), Principal J.D. Elliff (became faculty member at University of Missouri), Oscar Nelson (cartoonist for the Joplin Globe, died in Pueblo, Colorado, while employed in “newspaper work.”), Ben Lutman (moved to Burlington, Vermont), Hugh Claycomb, Miss Nellie Fenn (teacher).

Beginning with the top row of girls: Miss Laura Adams (became Mrs. A.C. Thompson of Seattle, Washington), Miss Imogene Price, Miss Susie Simmons (became a teacher in Wichita, Kansas), Miss Etha Taylor (teacher in Joplin), Miss Louis Ogburn (became Mrs. W.A. Clark of Biloxi, Mississippi), Miss Gertrude Creller (became Mrs. J.F. Harbour of Oklahoma City), Miss Grace Fones (became Mrs. W. S. Goddard of Joplin), Miss Luna Yale (became Mrs. C.M.S. Martz of Hollywood).

Beginning with the girl whose picture appears in the lower left hand corner and including two lower rows: Miss Myrtle Foster, Miss Bertha Pertuche (became Mrs. C.M. Carter, deceased), Sam Thornton, Miss Ovella Gardner (became Mrs. Pontius, teacher in Joplin), Miss Ethel Davidson (became Mrs. W.H. Walker of Joplin), Miss Pearl Campbell (deceased), Miss Lillian Foster (became Mrs. Haggard of Miami, Oklahoma), Cleva Freye (moved to St. Louis).

Not pictured was Miss Edith Donnan, who became Mrs. T.S. Slivers of Tacoma, Washington.

(If no location is given after a name, then the individual remained in Joplin at the time of captioning.  The information provided came from the accompanying article.)

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2 Responses to “Joplin High, Class of 1897”

  • Comment from Leslie Simpson

    I have Roy Calvin’s “Reminiscences” of growing up in Joplin. Wonderful stuff! I love his descriptions of what young people did for fun in those days.

  • Comment from Mary Anne Phillips

    In May 2021 I saw this photograph that Larry posted way back in 2013 and realized my husband, James Dorsey Scott, has an original copy of the photograph! All these years we wondered why we had it and assumed it must have belonged to a relative. Unfortunately, there is no date or name on it. The image is (approximately) 17.5″ x 11.5″ and is mounted on top of a larger matt. Embossed in the lower left hand corner of the matt reads “GROUND FLOOR, Walker (or Walken?) 608 MAIN ST. JOPLIN, MO.” The photographer’s fancy logo is also included.

    All along I thought that one of the girls looked like a relative based on other family photos, and thanks to Larry, I was right! Miss Etha Taylor is my husband’s maternal great aunt. She never married and was a life long teacher in Joplin. She was one of the three daughters born to Lee and Mildred Taylor. Lee was the first elected mayor of Joplin.

    Going forward, we plan to take better care of this very fragile, crumbling family treasure!

    Larry, I did not see a source or link to the “accompanying article.”

    Mary Anne Phillips (Jim Scott’s wife)

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