Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 16 December 2004
The History of Warren County Ohio
Enos Williams taught the first school in the town of Lebanon after it became a town. In the winter of 1804-5, Elder Jacob Grigg moved from Richmond, Va., to Lebanon. Elder Grigg was a Baptist preacher and a man of good education; his object in coming to Lebanon was to establish a school of a high order. Thomas Corwin was one of his pupils. His school was continued for three years; he gave instruction in ancient languages and higher mathematics, as well as the common branches.
Ezra Ferris taught, in 1808-9, a school of the same grade as that of his predecessor.
In 1809, a Mr. Wheelock taught a common school, and also trained a class of young men, especially in elocution.
In 1810, or the beginning of 1811, the Rev. William Robinson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, opened a school in which he gave instruction to a class of young men of advanced grade. He taught for a considerable length of time.
Other teachers of Lebanon, before the public schools were organized, may be mentioned: Daniel Mitchell, 1815-17, in whose school Gen. O. M. Mitchell was a pupil; John M. Houston and James L. Torbert, 1820-22. But for several years before and after-this time, Josephus Dunham taught a school regularly, but mostly for small children. All the schools mentioned thus far were subscription or pay schools, no public money being employed to defray the expenses. Schoolhouses were provided either by the teacher, or by the householders of the community coming together and building them with their own hands. The youth were generally well educated, although many neglected to avail themselves of the advantages of the schools, either from the want of means or the inclination.
The public schools of Lebanon were organized about 1830, but no public schoolhouse was built until several years later, and the Directors rented and furnished for the use of the schools the basements of the East Baptist and Cumberland Presbyterian Churches, beginning in 1837. They also used a building owned by the Methodist Episcopal Church, which stood just back of the present church edifice of that society. In these buildings were organized from five to seven grades, employing, in 1848, seven teachers. By this time, the school had grown so large as to make it incumbent upon the people to provide for them better accommodations. Accordingly, at a public meeting held for the purpose,
|September 8, 1847, it was resolved by the tax-payers of District
No. 8, Turtle Creek Township, Warren County, Ohio (as it was then designated),
to levy a tax of $7,000. for the purpose of erecting a building large enough
to accommodate all the youth of the district. After a vigorous effort upon
the part of the friends of education, and many discouragements, a two-story
brick building of five rooms was made ready for occupancy some time in 1851.
Schools were kept in session, however, most of the time during the three
years in which the building was in process of erection. August 19,1848,
the Directors, G. J. Mayhew, John
E. Dey and P. Stoddard, decided to open school October
2, and elected teachers and fixed their salaries as follows: W.
F. Doggett, $80 per quarter: J. H. Layman, $75;
Clarissa Barker, $55; Henrietta Sellers,
$36; Aletha A. Ross, $36; Eliza Dill,
$36; and Caroline Sellers, $30. Mr. Doggett
declined, and J. M. Antram was employed at the same salary.
The Principal at that time doubtless taught high school branches, but the
high school is first mentioned in the records of June 21, 1853. Mr.
Antram resigned March 18, 1849, and on the same day the board employed
Ferdinand Van Harlingen as Principal at the same salary;
but, for want of funds, the schools were closed March 23, 1849.
April 8, 1850, the Clerk made record that no free school had been maintained during the preceding year.
May 25, 1850, eight teachers were employed, Dryden Ferguson as Principal, at $70 per quarter, to teach for one quarter, beginning June 3, 1850.
September 16, 1850, John P. Smith was employed as Principal, at $80 per quarter, and, December 16, 1850, his salary was increased to $90 per quarter, on condition that he teach geography in night schools. That was the period of "singing" geography, and Mr. Smith sang geography two nights per week for the next quarter to the satisfaction of his patrons.
On the completion of the new building, the people decided to have a graded school. Although the schools had gradually assumed that form before, there was a lack of system and proper classification. September 27, 1851, the board employed Josiah Hurty as Superintendent of Lebanon Public Schools, at a salary of $650 per annum. He entered upon his duties in the new house in the autumn of 1851. His first work was to assemble the pupils in the largest room and assign them to their places, according to their several grades of advancement. The Superintendent taught the senior department, no high school as yet being organized. There were, however, classes in algebra and probably some other higher branches.
A high school was established by a vote of the Board of Education, June 21, 1853, while Mr. Hurty had charge of the schools, but as to the branches taught therein the record is silent. Several years later, a course of study was adopted, requiring four years for its completion, but in 1873 it was decided to adopt one requiring only three years, the object of the change being to avoid multiplying classes to such an extent as to prevent successful teaching.
April 4, 1863, the "school law of 1849 " was adopted by a vote of the citizens. Mr. Henkle, who was then Superintendent of the School, was an earnest advocate of the change, one benefit of which was the election of six members of the Board of Education instead of three. The subsequent improved management of the high school alone confirmed the wisdom of the change. In 1862, the school building was burned at night, all the library and text-books and apparatus being destroyed. A new building was at once constructed on the same site, and is still in use. In 1880, an addition of two rooms was constructed, and for the past year ten teachers have taught in the building, and two in the school for colored children.
A school for the colored children was established in 1854, and has been
maintained since that time. A lot was purchased and a house built upon it in the year 1860.
We append a list of the Superintendents since 1851. Messrs. Hurty, Kimball and Murray served three years or more; the others' terms have been two years or less. Mr. Kimball's health having failed, Mr. Ford was employed in January, 1861, at the same salary, to complete the year. In other cases, the reason for the changes of Superintendents have not been left on record:
The Lebanon Academy was for several years an important and useful institution. It was established by a stock company, incorporated by an act of the Legislature passed March 7, 1843. The academy building was erected in 1844. The first Principal of the school was C. C. Giles, afterward a distinguished minister of the Swedenborgian or New Jerusalem Church. Among his assistants were William N. Edwards, afterward the first Superintendent of the Public Schools of Troy, Ohio, and Miss Rowena Lakey. Among others who taught in this school while it was known as an academy, as Principals or assist-
|ants, were John Norton Pomeroy, afterward distinguished as a law writer; John A. Smith and Lycurgus Matthews. In 1854, John Locke, M. D., who had formerly been Professor of Chemistry in the Ohio Medical College, removed from Cincinnati to Lebanon for the purpose of establishing in the academy a school of science, including a department of scientific agriculture. Dr. Locke was at that time far advanced in years, and his enterprise was not successful. In 1855, the Trustees of the academy transferred their building and ground to the Trustees of the Southwestern Normal School, which was that year located at Lebanon. Since that time, the academy has been one of the normal school buildings.|
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