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The History Mystery #59

NORTH FORK — One History Mystery leads to another.

There was one comment on History Mystery #58, “What was the name of the school that Dorothy and Grover Whitener bought and used as their house.”

A reader wrote that the school in the photo was torn down earlier, and Grover Whitener built the house in the photograph.

Sue Whitener Parker, who gave the photograph to the North Fork History Group, clarified that her parents bought the old school house, the family lived there and used it as their home for six years (1948 to 1954) until her father built a new house. Her father, Grover Whitener, subsequently tore down the old school, after they moved into their new home.

Further research found a photograph shown below, in the Madera County Library. The label is “South Fork School, 1910” and Sue Parker recognized the siding, windows and awnings as the same ones on the building she lived in as a child.

So that answers the History Mystery for November and leads us to December’s History Mystery #59:

Who are the children and the teacher in this 1910 photograph of the South Fork School?

If you know the names of these children or have any other information about the school, please send us an email at, or write us a comment at the bottom of this page or on

Michael Olwyler

North Fork History Group

One comment

  1. These are my comments to History Mystery #59, that was asking for the identification of the children or teacher at the South Fork School in 1910. I think the shortest (youngest?) boy in the front row may be Jim Geddes. In a Geddes family photo from about that same time, it looks like this boy could be Jim Geddes. In a 1965 interview with Jim Geddes he says “they built the school over there where Blaine Thrornberg’s house is.” He also says there were about ten children in the school where he went, and he remembered two teachers, “Miss Paysin was quite tall, Miss Farrington, short.” The teacher on the right, back row, may be Miss Farrington. And he says he went to school with Joe Kinsman, so perhaps one of the Native American boys in the photo is Joe Kinsman (that would be son or grandson of Joe Kinsman who settled at Kinsman Flat). He explains that there was no Indian Mission school then. Jim Geddes had lots of sisters, so some of the girls may be Geddes, too.
    Connie Popelish

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