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Schools


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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 2 March 2005

Sources:

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part IV Township Histories
Hamilton Township by Horace Clinton
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)

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The early pioneers of this section were generally men of sterling character, who endured the dangers and trials of a new country, not solely for their own sakes, but for their children, and notwithstanding the settlements were sparse, and the people, as the pioneers of all new countries are, were poor and lacked the means of paying teachers and procuring books, yet we find that at a very early date in the settlement, schoolhouses were built and schools opened in various neighborhoods as occasion made necessary. The houses were not built by subscription in money, but by contributions of labor. On a given day the neighbors assembled at some place previously agreed upon, and with their axes cut the necessary logs and then raised the walls. The roof was made of clapboards, kept in place by heavy poles reaching the length of the house. The door made of clapboards, was hung on wooden hinges; the latch of wood, and raised by a string. The floor was of trees, split, with the face and edge dressed with the ax. The crevices between the logs were filled with chinks and daubed with mud. The fire-place was of huge dimensions, built on the outside of the house, usually of stone to the throat of the flue, and the remainder of the chimney of split sticks of wood, daubed with clay. The windows consisted of an opening, made by cutting out one of the logs for almost the entire width of the building. In the winter, this opening was covered with paper saturated with grease, to keep out the cold as well as to admit the light. The furniture corresponded with the house. The writing desk was constructed by boring auger holes in one of the logs below the window, and in these strong wooden pins were driven, on which a wooden slab was placed, which served as a writing desk for the whole school. The seats were hewed slabs supported by wooden pins or legs. These seats had no support for the back. These were indeed rude structures, but the wonder is not that they did not build better houses, and have better facilities for learning, but that they, laboring under so many disadvantages, had any schools whatever. Those who can remember back for a period of fifty or more years will recognize this general description as applicable to all school buildings in the township. From the best available information, the writer concludes that the first of these rude structures built in the township, was located on the present site of Bethel Graveyard. The exact year when this house was built cannot be given, but there seems to be no doubt that it was as early as 1804. James Coghlan was the first teacher. Alexander Hall, Samuel Gillispie, Samuel B. Walker and John Hill were among the early teachers. After some years, a new log schoolhouse was erected a short distance south of the old one, and in turn this was replaced by a stone structure, situated a little further south and near the Run. In 1850, the old stone building gave place to a more modern brick one, and the site was changed to the south side of the Run and on top of the hill. This served its time and was replaced by the present house. Another of these early educational landmarks was located on the southwestern part of the township and a half-mile west of the Hill Graveyard. Some years later, this was replaced by a larger and more tasty log house, the logs being hewed, windows with glass lights, etc. The early teachers, as remembered, were John Clinton, Alexander Hall, Benjamin Tufts,

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James Clinton, Margaret Coddington and Elisabeth Gaskin. In 1840, a brick house was completed and the log building was for many years thereafter used for a meeting house. The new building was known as the Butterworth Schoolhouse. It was situated a mile or more north of the old one, and on a lot obtained from Mormon Butterworth. This house was in turn replaced by the present one, situated three-fourths of a mile west, and on the banks of the same creek, near Robert Smith's farm. About the year 1818, a rude stone school building was erected at Zoar, in the northern part of the township. This was, if not the first building for school purposes in that part of the township, among the first. About 1849, it was replaced by a brick building, located a few feet east of the present Zoar Church; and again this building gave way to the present one, which was built about the year 1870. The early teachers at Zoar were Joseph Patten, Benjamin Ludlum and Joseph Keever. Dr. Mounts taught at a later date. Many of the boys who went to school to Jo. Keever, doubtless still have a vivid recollection of him, as it is said he had the peculiar faculty of leaving a lasting impression on the mind, of those who were so unfortunate as to incur his displeasure in the schoolroom.

As early as 1812, there was a school taught at Hopkinsville, the house was a log one standing some few rods north of the present building.

In a like manner, these rude seminaries of learning were planted throughout the township to be replaced in time by better ones.

The township at present is divided into eight subdistricts and three special ones, provided with neat, comfortable buildings and modern furniture.

The following contract, copied from the original, is appended to show the remuneration teachers received for their services in early times :

ARTICLES OF AN AGREEMENT, made and entered into by and between Samuel B. Walker, of Warren County, and State of Ohio, of the one part, and the underwritten subscribers of the county and State aforesaid, of the other part, Witnesseth, that the said Samuel B. Walker, doth agree to teach such children as may be placed under his tuition, reading, writing and arithmetic, according to their respective capacities, for the term of three months to come, as soon as twenty-four scholars are subscribed for, and a house prepared suitable for the business. The underwritten subscribers do, for their part, agree to fix a house fit for teaching in, and each subscriber to furnish a sufficient quantity of firewood, in proportion to the number of scholars annexed to their names, and to pay unto the said Samuel B. Walker, at the expiration of said term, the sum of one and one half dollars per scholar, one-third to be paid in cash, and two-thirds in either wheat, rye, corn, oats, sugar, flax, linen or wool, at the market price.
DECEMBER 15, 1820.


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This page created 2 March 2005 and last updated 6 December, 2008
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