Friday, April 2, 2010


According to Rhoda Vandivier, daughter of Enoch and Nancy (Bates) Vandivier, the Bates wagon train from Georgia to Arkansas brought everything the settlers would need in their new wilderness home, including teachers.

One early school at Big Fork was called "the Shed School" because it was located on land owned by a Mr. Shed.  Remember the Sheds (Shedds) were early settlers from Georgia.   Later this same land was bought by Washington Himer Smith.   Wash Smith was an early schoolteacher.  When a young man he burned and permanently injured his arm fighting fires during the Civil War.  He needed another way to make a living besides farming so his parents sent him to Atlanta for more education.  He had a farm and taught school in Big Fork.  He earned about $30.00 a month for teaching.  He was one of the first to teach at "the Shed School" located southeast of "downtown" Big Fork on what is now Highway 8.  The simple, board building sat on a hill and had glass windows.  The benches were made of split logs.  

Free school was held during three months of summer and sometimes a subscription school was held in the winter.  When it was a subscription school, the parents would pay a certain amount per student. 

A Big Fork School Class about 1893.  The boy on the back row on the far right with the intials, A.B., SR written across him, is Aaron Boston Michigan Dilbeck, known as "Boss" Dilbeck.   The girl in the middle row, sixth from the left, is Alice Smith, daughter of Wash and Sally (Bates) Smith.  "Boss" Dilbeck later married Alice's sister, Nancy Smith.   The fourth person from the left, in the middle row, has a white skirt and someone wrote "Edna"on it.  I don't know who she is.

Dilbeck & Putmans were among this group above taken about 1910.


  1. Hi,
    My husband's great grandfather was Washington Himer Smith. Thank you for posting this pic, we had no idea he had been a teacher (we thought he had been a preacher). If you have any other pictures of his family, could you let me know where to look or where we could find them? We have his picture with his wife (oddly enough, my husband looks a great deal like him).

    Thank you,
    Marianne Smith

  2. if any one has any Crane family pics i am searching for some

  3. Aaron Boston (Boss) Dilbeck was my great uncle. There was no Michigan in his name.

    1. Boss Dilbeck was my great-grandfather. He was a sweet grandpa and I had the joy of visiting him and Grandma more than once when I was a little girl. I descend from his oldest daughter, Cynthia. In our family his full name was Aaron Boston Michigan Dilbeck. Even Grandma had a third name. It was delightful to me.
      Thanks for visiting my blog.