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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 2 May 2005


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

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The first school we have any knowledge of in the township was taught in 1807, in a log cabin provided for that purpose, near Union Chapel, on the farm now owned by Casner Bowman. The cabin had a large fire place in one end, with a log cut out of one side and one end to admit light, and sticks set like paling in the vacant spaces, with greased paper pasted on them, to serve as windows. The other side was occupied by the door and the teacher's desk, the latter being generally a wide board, some three feet long, fastened to the wall by two long wooden pins. The writing desks were planks placed under the paper windows in the same manner, and the seats were slab benches.

The teacher's name was John Cochran, and some of his pupils are yet living in the vicinity and relate the circumstance of turning him out, as was the usual custom, on Christmas or New Year's. The teacher suspecting their object, stayed at night till everyone was out of sight, then took down the door, carried it some distance, and hid it in the bushes. The larger boys watched his motions and replaced the door; the next morning when he returned to school, he found the house occupied and himself barred out. He climbed to the roof, removed some clapboards, laid them over the chimney and was soon master of the situation.

It was a prevailing custom to bar out the teacher as late as 1825 or 1830, the object being to force him to give a holiday, or treat to apples, cakes or candy.

The next school we have any knowledge of was taught by Charles Clark, in 1813, on the farm now owned by James Worley on Stony Bun.

In 1818, the settlers on the southeast side of Todd's Fork were accommodated by following the Bull Skin road to what is now Edwardsville, three or four miles south, to receive the first rudiments of education from Benjamin Brackney. In 1824, a cabin was built and occupied as a schoolhouse near the creek on the farm of Christy McCray, who was the teacher for some time.

About 1816, another school was established, where George H. Wilkerson now resides, on "The Knobs," now Springhill; and about the same time, another, near Olive Branch Church, was started. In 1810, the people near Freeport sent their children to a school at some point above-—east of where Daniel Gard now lives.

About 1818, a house was built on a ridge below Freeport, in which a school was taught by William Watson Wick, a fine scholar. Judge George J. Smith, while young, attended this school to study Latin.

The books in common use were sometimes a horn-book, a flat board or piece of horn containing the alphabet, primer, Dilworth's spelling-book, New Testament, Psalter, Esop's Fables, Capt. Riley, or any book in the possession of the family. Those able to purchase the books afterward added the Introduction to the English Reader, the English Reader, American Orator, American Preceptor, United States Reader, etc., without any regard to system. English grammar and geography were not taught prior to 1825; the higher branches were not known or thought of. The writer has now Goldsmith's Geography, his first school geography, which says in good print that Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is situated on the east side of the Muskingum River.

Each writer furnished two quills per week; each morning, the teacher mended all the pens and set copies, overlooked the writers while learning to form hooks and hangers; heard all the lessons from the various books four times a day, and richly earned his $1.25 a Scholar and "board round."

Among the early teachers, Charles Clark, John Cochran, Zebulon Sabin, William Morrow, John McGregor, Shadrach Ditto and William Watson Wick are remembered.

At a meeting of the Township Trustees on the 3d day of May, 1826, at the house of Mary Vandoren, the township was laid out into seven school districts, containing 162 families.

At the present time (1881) the township contains nine school districts, each provided with a good and commodious schoolhouse supplied with all necessary conveniences for the comfort of the pupils.

The amount of tax levied for school purposes in the township, in 1881, is $4,040. Enumeration of youth of school age: white, 469; colored, 5; 474.

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