The Laramie School
In The Story of Yelm a few Yelm residents remembered both the Laramie school and one of it’s early teachers, Harry Hart. County records do not have records of such a school, but for that time period records are fragmentary. Experience also suggests that what was recalled as the Laramie school may have been another school we have already identified under a different name. According to The Story of Yelm the Laramie school came into being after the Des Chutes district was broken up. The authors identified Edith Corbett as the first teacher at the Laramie School. Records from the Deschutes district show that Edith Corbett was working at the Deschutes school in 1892. This seemingly contradicts the census information regarding Harry Hart.
In 1880, Joseph Laramie (spelled “Larmey” in the 1880 census) and his wife, Catherine lived southeast of Yelm. Joseph Laramie was born in Quebec and had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company. His wife was a Native American who had been born in the Washington Territory. Catherine and Joseph had three sons in 1880, Joseph, Julius, and Francis. Also, in the cabin were Catherine’s two children from her previous marriage, Rosa and Ellen Riell.
Importantly for the story of education, the household also contained a teacher. Sharing much of free time with the Laramie’s was Harry Hart, a 23 year old mid-westerner born in Ohio. In the area surrounding the Laramie cabin, other frontier families sent their children to the makeshift school. One wonders where lessons were held. Was there a separate building from the house or were the lessons in the house amidst the chores and emotions of the day? How long Harry Hart remained with the Laramie family is unclear.
Timber Cruiser Map – This map, circa 1905, shows a schoolhouse at the southwest end of Lake Lawrence. This would have been a quarter of a century after Harry Hart taught in the area. On the other hand, no other school was known to be there. The school itself may not have been occupied at the time.