The first school in Oregon was taught by John Collins. It was opened in the fall or winter of 1843, in a squatter's cabin, which stood in a hollow in the northeast quarter of the town.
Among the first pupils who attended this initial school, to the number of about thirty, were Levi Zook, now (1882) a representative citizen of the town: Isam Prior, John, Mary and Sarah, children of Roland Burnett, who had pre-empted the eighty on which a part of the town was afterwards located ; George Russel, a nephew of Judge R. H. Russel, of the present probate court of Holt County; the children of the Thorps, of Jacob Martin, and of Larkin Packwood, who had pre-empted the other eighty on which the town was located; Paris Pfouts, Cora Pfouts, afterwards wife of P. L. McLaughlin, and Col. Kelley's sons. Mary Burnett, one of the pupils above referred to, afterwards became the wife of John Collins, the teacher. Mr. Collins died in 1854. Sarah Burnett married Thomas Collins, Esq., a well known attorney of St. Joseph, Missouri.
The winter of 1843-44, during which this school was taught, is remembered by the early settlers as one of the coldest in the annals of the Purchase. Snow birds, in vast numbers were rendered so tame by the protracted snow and cold weather, that they would fly into the cabins of the settlers on the openings of their doors or windows.
Source: "History of Holt and Atchison County, 1882"; Transcribed by Karyn, 2016