Smith-Buckstaff Donation

 Photographed November 18, 2014
Erected 1933 by Smith School Parents and Teachers Association
Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin
44° 0.008′ N, 88° 32.56′ W

This site donated
by
John and Lois Smith
and the heirs of
John and Sarah Buckstaff

The marker is located on southbound Oregon Street, south of its intersection with West 17th Avenue, on the grounds of Smith Elementary School, at 1745 Oregon Street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902.
In 1845, John Smith and his wife, Lois Harrington, and their team of oxen, traveled from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, to Oshkosh. Some of the earliest settlers in the area, they staked a claim for 80 acres of land at a cost of $100.00*. John Smith farmed the land until his death in 1888.

Over the years, portions of the farm were sold, including this one-acre parcel in 1866, purchased by the City of Oshkosh as the site of a new school. A local newspaper reported the purchase price as $300.00**.

Named "Smith School" in honor of John Smith, the one-room schoolhouse measured 28' by 40'. 1885 records report 55 pupils enrolled. That same year, 26 of those students became sick with measles.

The current building was built in 1896, and designed by noted architect William Waters. In 1928, "John and Lois Smith and the heirs of John and Sarah Buckstaff" donated to the City of Oshkosh the property which is now the playground.
*According to The Inflation Calculator, what cost $100 in 1845 would cost $2,465.61 in 2013.
**According to The Inflation Calculator, what cost $300 in 1866 would cost $4,704.92 in 2013.


Marker trivia from the marker's unveiling / dedication ceremony:
  • The ceremony was held the afternoon of Tuesday, August 15, 1933
  • About 500 people attended the ceremony
  • Descendants of John and Lois Smith and Sarah Buckstaff (both Oshkosh pioneer families) attended the dedication
  • At 82 years of age, Gilbert Smith, the only surviving Smith child, attended the ceremony
  • Four great-grandchildren of the families unveiled the marker (three Buckstaffs and one Smith)
  • The Oshkosh High School band performed at the ceremony
  • The invocation was delivered by the pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical church
  • Speakers included Superintendent of Schools C.C. Bishop, Board of Education President Mrs. Katherine Ryckman, Oshkosh Mayor George F. Oaks, and a member of the Winnebago County Archaeological & Historical Society

 With the Smith Elementary School playground in the background.

 The marker is adjacent to southbound Oregon Street.


 Smith Elementary School
Grades K-5
Established 1895

The marker is about 100 feet to the right of the school.

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