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Ridge Summit School, West Powell Township, Comanche County, Kansas

Captioned satellite view of the location of the Ridge Summit School, District 37, West Powell Township, Comanche County, Kansas. The Ridge Summit School in District 37 was northeast of Wilmore near the center of S11-T31-R17. It was first listed in 1906, but was probably organized earlier. Mabel Zimmerman, Martha Hollenback, and Clarine Morton were among those who taught at the school. The Ferrin, Trummel, Richardson, and Smith families all lived in the area and sent children to the school until 1945 when it was closed and consolidated with Wilmore.

By Dave Webb, Comanche County History, Vol. I, p. 153.


There were two 2 Ridge Summit school house buildings, the most recent of which was moved to the west side of Coldwater, Kansas, and in which Dwight and Ruby Pepperd now live. My Dad always said that my grand-dad's barn had been the Ridge Summit School house.
-- Jerry Ferrin, 27 Feb 2005.

Ridge Summit Observations, The Western Star, March 12, 1892.

"Of course all parents had an interest in school and church. We built a sod house for school that year and our first teacher was Jennie Doig (and a noble girl was she) - afterwards she was the wife of Grant Stevens. We voted for a new school house the 17 of Jan. and in the spring built the new school house and named the same "Ridge Summit." Our first teacher was Mattie Wright who afterwards married Tommie Wilmore. The town of Wilmore was named for him, he being a favorite cowboy and foreman for Cap. Pepperd, a big cattleman. Then began the free range fights. In after years those wanting free range wanted herd law (such is life)."

-- (Excerpt from) "Early Day Memories" by Alice Eyerly Ferrin, The Wilmore News, October 31, 1939.

"My notes, gleaned from family histories in Comanche County History so far." - note to Jerry Ferrin from Bobbi Huck:

Built in 1886 or 1887

Grace (Trummel) Cummings and her 2 brothers, Alva and Ord Trummel attended (ref. p. 329)

Weldon, and sister Marie and brother Clarence Trummel attended (ref. p724)

Lester Trummel attended (ref. p. 724) **NOTE [Lester was eldest of six children: Evelyn, Bob, Kenny, Rollie and Ernie} but it does not say they attended Ridge Summit]

In Weldon Trummel's history, he states that: Ferrins, Kennedys, Bigbees, and Skinners attended (ref. p. 724)

Some teachers, also mentioned by Weldon Trummel: Geneva Barnett, Blance Larimer, Esther Hubbard, Emma Friend. (ref. p. 724)

Thelma Louise Retzlaff states that she and her older brother and older sister walked 1.5 miles every day to Ridge Summit for 8 years {dau. of Bill + Louise Kennedy) (ref. p. 623)

Agnes Doig taught in Arthur & Alice Ferrin's home 1 year waiting on Ridge Summit to be built (ref. p.348)

Nellie Mabel Ferrin, daughter of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin attended school there and at age 17, taught there 3 years (ref. p. 362)

History of Arthur and Alice Ferrin (written by Helene Gregg) says Miss Jennie Doig taught Eugene and Carrie their first year in a dugout, soon after a sod school house was erected, then in 1886 or 1887 Ridge Summit was built. (ref. p. 374)

Thats all I have found so far... Bobbi

Partial Listing of Ridge Summit School students, from Comanche County History:

Rachel Bird (Deewall)

Delmer Lee "Buck" Ferrin

Helen A. Ferrin

Wendel Gene Ferrin

Harold Raymond Kennedy

Betty May Kennedy (Marrow)

Hazel Ellen McMillen (Hopkins)

Helen McMillen (Kennedy)

Martin B. McMillen

Mary Ella McMillen

Clarice Estella McMillen (Fry)

Alice Grace McMillen (Atteberry)

Flossie Melissa McMillen (Trummel)

Mary Alice Kennedy (McMillen)

Charlotte Richardson (Shelden)


Grace Etta Trummel (Cummings)

Miss Belle Rogers

Evah Ellis

Martha Ridge

Margaret Kernohan

Christine Heinz

Mary Betzer (Einsel)

Lowell Gish

Madaline Elwell

Leo Utt

Carl Funk

Mary Lou Pemberton

Jay Peppard

Fay Smith

Stephen J. Smith - Chairman of the Board of Ridge Summit


Emma Friend

Geneva Barnett

Emma Lenertz (576) Boarded with Earl Ferrins 1908/1909 and 1909/1910

Esther Hubbard

(Listings of Ridge Summit School students, project in progress, from Comanche County History: Students: (married name in brackets) Rachel Bird (Deewall) (ref. 339) Harold Raymond Kennedy (ref. 480) Betty May Kennedy (Marrow) (ref. 546) Hazel Ellen McMillen (Hopkins) (ref. 564) Helen McMillen (Kennedy) (ref. 564) Martin B. McMillen (ref. 564) Mary Ella McMillen (ref. 564) Clarice Estella McMillen (Fry) (ref. 564) Alice Grace McMillen (Atteberry) (ref. 564) Flossie Melissa McMillen (Trummel) (ref. 564) Mary Alice Kennedy (McMillen) (ref. 575) Charlotte Richardson (Shelden) (ref. 670) ADD REF PAGES TO THELMA LOUISE KENNEDY RETZLAFF (ref. 623)

TEACHERS Grace Etta Trummel (Cummings) (ref. 329) Miss Belle Rogers Evah Ellis (ref. 546) Martha Ridge (ref. 546) Margaret Kernohan (ref. 670) Christine Heinz (ref. 670) Mary Betzer (Einsel) (ref. 670) Lowell Gish (ref. 670) Madaline Elwell (ref. 670) Leo Utt (ref. 670) Carl Funk (ref. 670) Mary Lou Pemberton (ref. 670) Jay Peppard (ref. 670) Fay Smith (ref. 681) Stephen J. Smith (ref. 686) Chairman of the Board of Ridge Summit TEACHERS...ADD REFERENCE NUMBERS TOO: Emma Friend (670) Geneva Barnett (670) Emma Lenertz (576) Boarded with Earl Ferrins 1908/1909 and 1909/1910 Esther Hubbard (546).

(Excerpt from) "Tornados in the Wilmore, Kansas area"

"When I was about 10 years old, a very small one hit about 1/4 mile south of the folk's house. There were several catalpa trees uprooted, but the thing that cinched it as a tornado was the fact that there was a 1-row, horse-drawn cultivator that was carried over the catalpa trees to the hog pen about 500 yards away.

Another time, in the late 1950s, Wayne and Helen (Ferrin) Flory, Buck and Dorothy (Banker) Ferrin and Alice and I and our families were at the folk's house about 4 miles east of Wilmore for Sunday dinner, which was more usual than unusual. Needless to say, there were a lot of kids there, all boys at that time. The older ones, Darrell (Ferrin), Mike (Flory), Rob (Thompson a.k.a. Ferrin), Jerry (Ferrin) and possibly Don (Flory) were playing in the barn.

Dad always watched the clouds in the spring and since there was a mean-looking cloud coming up from the southwest (all tornados travel from the southwest to the northeast even tho' they zig and zag at times), he went to the barn (which was previously the Ridge Summit Schoolhouse) to send the kids to the house. None of the parents were worried but Dad's intuition was better than ours. Dad stayed at the barn an extra few minutes for some reason.

The kids had barely made it to the house when we heard the noise. It was impossible to see the barn from the house because of the trees but the noise was tremendous In a matter of 1 or 2 minutes Dad was at the house. He was probably in his late 60s or early 70s but I bet no young sprinter could have kept up with him on his way to the house.

When he was approx. 50 yards from the barn, the tornado hit it and it simply exploded: the south end of the barn was torn off. That was the noise we had heard. Dad was not injured in any way, but had it not been for his intuition, our children would all have been in serious jeopardy and possibly not all would have survived."

(by Wendel Ferrin, 11/22/87)

-- Wendel Ferrin, "Tornados in the Wilmore, Kansas area", Life Stories, privately published, 1991, Tucson, Arizona.

Also see:

Red Cross Fund Oversubscribed, The Wilmore News, 28 June 1917.

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