Diploma offers insight into family history

Staff writer

County native Bill Young said he spent several hours working with Photoshop to restore an important family document, his grandpa’s diploma from 1894.

“This is to certify that George Holmes of Marion County in the state of Kansas has completed the course of study in the common branches required by law to be taught in the public schools of the state in orthography, reading, writing, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, physiology and hygiene, and United States history,” the document reads.

Holmes was 15 when he graduated. The interesting change between current diplomas and his grandpa’s was the term “common school” instead of high school.

Common schools were founded in the 18th century as a “common” place of education for students of all ages. Common schools were funded at the local level by tuition rate bills that were paid by students’ parents.

After graduation Holmes began farming close to Lincolnville.

Young and his family moved from Marion to California in 1960. He said he is a family history buff and keeps multiple documents that detail his family history in Marion County, including a diary his grandma kept every day from 1904 until her death in 1953.

“We moved when I was 14,” he said. “I’ve been back a couple times for Old Settlers’ Day. If I would have stayed in Marion I would have graduated in 1964 and celebrated my 50th year class reunion this Old Settlers’ Day. I can’t believe it’s been that long.”

Young said he is currently working on his own autobiography so his family can remember him 100 years from now.

 

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