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I, Margie Hancock, graduated from Madison High School in 1917. Word was passed around that I wanted to be a teacher. At that time Madison was famous for having only the very best teachers.
My teacher in Science was Miss Isabelle Doig. She offered me her room if I would go to Hanover College. She said she rented a room in town, while teaching in Madison. She suggested that I could have free use of her room in Hanover. Miss Doig lived with her sister who was the wife of Mr. Lee who had the store in Hanover. They all boosted for Hanover.
At that time our High School Principal felt I should go to a regular Teacher’s college like the State Normal at Terre Haute, Indiana. Many others sided with him adding, “If you go to the State Normal 12 weeks, you will have the best chance to get a job.” Word had gotten around that I was to be the support for her (an) Aunt who had raised me.
That Aunt was Marsha Hancock who married Jasper Shoots. She was the sister of Lewis Tracy Hancock and their father (Margie’s grandfather) owned many acres of land in Kentucky. His name was Lewis N. Hancock. Instead of grandfather selling his land, he divided it between his children; Ellen, Marsha, John Lewis T., Monroe and Tom.
Now the Aunt Marsha sold her land for money as she and her husband wanted to go west and travel to Missouri. Jasper, Marsha and 4 daughters traveled by wagon. The oldest girl, Margie Shoots, learned to sew and to make hats and was prepared to run a dress making business. But Jasper took ill and it was the prevalent disease of that day—tuberculosis of the lungs. And they felt he better get back nearer to his relatives. His daughters were loath to leave, but they must turn back.
They returned by way of Madison and were surprised at business here. “Marsha”, he said, “we had better stop here. There is business for the girls to get a job and support you as the Dr. says I am going to die. We’ll be near to some of the Kentucky relatives.”
The eldest daughter found work in a millinery shop, then with a modiste in the A. Marks & Son Store. She became in demand for her grand sewing. One daughter found work at the candy factory, another made the stitching to put the finish on the lovely Schofield blankets.
After Mr. Jasper Shoots died, Marsha’s brother Lewis T., who had married Carrie May Moore…News came that typhoid was an epidemic over near Bedford, Kentucky, so Aunt Marsha and her daughter, Margie, rented a rig to go see about Marsha’s brother and his family. Carrie was in the middle of childbirth, so Lewis T. needed help. The older boy & girl, Herbert and Esther, were playing around and were not aware of the terrible trouble.
The third child which they called Little Margie, because she had been born on her father’s birthday, and he said he would name her Margie, like Marsha’s daughter. Carrie gave birth to the 4th child. Marsha and her daughter, Margie, had to go back to Madison and they said, “Lewis, we’ll take Little Margie with us, she can’t just stay here.” From that time on, Aunt Marsha and her daughter, Big Margie, looked after Little Margie.
Marsha’s 4 daughters taught Little Margie before she reached the age to go to school. Margie became the best known little school girl. When she started school she was known for her brilliant ways and knowledge.
When I, Margie, was growing up, Madison was known for having the best group of teachers. They attended summer programs like Chautauqua, New York and took summer courses in the Normal School for Teachers, but getting a degree was not placed first.
So, when I was a senior, I had to decide what I could do to get a job and help support my Aunt, who was now crippled, and her daughter, Big Margie, also not well enough to continue her sewing life and work for a living.
Therefore, the offer from Miss Doig was being considered by my elders but not in my own mind. I was ashamed when I answered my Aunt and said, “But I don’t want to go to Hanover. I want to go away to school.” Mr. Dibler, my math teacher in high school, now had an office at the Courthouse and so many people offered to help me go to a Normal School for teacher training. They all promised to help me get a job. My Aunt would say. “I wish we could afford it.”
Before graduation the 5 students highest in grades were in a oratorical contest and Margie Hancock won the Grand First Prize, which was paid in gold. So I enthusiastically said to my aunt, “Now will you let me go to Terre Haute Normal School and pay that money for it?”
All agreed and those who could help came through and gave me a job for the fall term. I must teach a year in the county (country schools) for the extra training, so I did that. Then an opening came in the Madison schools and my friends went to “bat” for me. From that time on—I taught in Madison schools.
About this time, our State Board of Education in Indiana made a big push to get teachers to go their summer at Hanover College where special classes were to start. I was chose(n) to do observation under the best teachers in Madison and credit them. A man from State was put down to direct the course. I was to turn in notes of my observation teaching under Mrs. Lyde White. Miss Jesse Wood and all of those approved by the State Board were to do this at Hanover College, and do observation of Miss White. Each must teach two years out of four, and if approved the license given could be exchanged for a life license. My life license was for primary, intermediate and grammar grades. When I had accomplished this at Hanover I said,. “Oh, I love Hanover!”
My Aunt said I owed Miss Doig a note of thanks too, even though I was slow making a decision on where I would go to school. I loved the Alpha Delta Pi girls and so many people at Hanover and was proud to take care of my Aunt and cousin, Margie, through all their living days.
I was glad Hanover won my favor.
One summer and one college year, I did observation and turned in notes in full as to what expert teachers were doing. Then I had to make lesson plans on my own and turn in to Hanover Supervisors.
I was sent to observe the best teachers in Madison. Teachers credited me with the effort I put forth to have the lesson in class well done.
When they gave me the permit and approval it came in the form of a permit to teach 2 years out of 4, then a life license. All this earned the life license to me in Primary Elementary and Junior High English because of high grades in grammar school (8th grade).
Margie Ann Hancock Cofield (Mrs. Sidney) was born in 1888 in Kentucky. At the age of 2 she came to Madison to live with her aunt and cousin when her parents died in a typhoid fever epidemic. She was a dedicated teacher in the Madison Schools for many years. She died in 1995 at the age of 95. She left the following history of her struggles to become a teacher.
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