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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Boxwell Law Gave Farm Youths Chance To Continue Education

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland:Heritage Press, 1979) page 56
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

With the attention the schools seem to be getting on the ninth grade proficiency tests, the writer searched through his files and found some material concerning another type of test, which in accordance should be of some interest to Warren Countians. It was a testing procedure called the "Boxwell Law."
Alexander Boxwell was born in Frederick County, Virginia, and became a resident of Ohio in 1857, settling with his parents at Springboro, Warren County. At the age of 20 years, he entered Ohio Wesleyan and subsequently took up the teaching trade that he practiced for sixteen years. While in this endeavor he studied law and in 1881 was admitted to the Ohio Bar. He served for a time as Justice of the Peace and later was elected to the Ohio Legislature for a period of ten years, at one time becoming Speaker of the House.
School attendance was made mandatory through a law, which was incorporated in 1877. The law, being lax in enforcement, was practically forgotten. Consequently, in 1889, a new statute was written which incorporated the use of truant officers and set age standards between the age of eight and fourteen. If the student was between the age of fourteen and sixteen, and had a job, he or she could be excused.
Being a teacher and a member of the Warren County Teachers Association, and with his influence as a Legislator, Alexander Boxwell pursued a way in which to incorporate a fair practice of allowing the country schools students to be admitted to high school without the added expenses. A council of teachers appeared before the Committee of Schools and presented arguments for a bill proposed by Mr. Boxwell, which in turn provided "that the boy or girl in the country schools shall have an equal opportunity with the pupils in the town or city schools."
The Boxwell Law gave an opportunity to the aspiring young adult, whose roots were on the farm and not in the city, to proceed with his or her education. The new law, which was passed in 1892, stated in certain terms "that township boards of education are obligated to pay the successful applicants' tuition at the city school of their choice, but the students must provide for their own transportation or living accommodations." Under the new law, an examination was given that tested the scholastic skills of the rural students. It set up a sort of qualification standard in which the student could participate through a testing procedure.
Subjects in which testing was given were: orthography (spelling and language study), reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar and composition, United States history including civil government, and physiology. Two examinations were to be given a year. Passage of these tests made the student eligible for admission to any high school in the County in which the pupil lives, or some neighboring county.
Successful applicants, where each student presented an oration, or read an essay, were arranged to meet at regular township commencements. The law also read that a County commencement of all graduates under this act should also be held. The Boxwell Law had clearly done more for the country schools of Ohio than any other law passed previous.
The way of the "one room schoolhouse" was struggling in its composition of too little education and no future for advancement. The new Law was an opening for the bright young students who wished to excel and make a place in society.
In the remaining space of this article, I will give some examples of the tests required. See how you do on them.

U.S. History.
1. Name the two oldest settlements by the English in the territory of the U.S.
2. Give the date of the beginning and close of the French and Indian War.
3. In what year was the Stamp Act passed?
4. When and where did Washington first take command of the American army?
5. When and where did the first Continental Congress convene?
6. Give the date of the assembling of the American army.
7. Name in their order the presidents of the United States.
8. Name two battles of the War of 1812.
9. What territory was gained by the Mexican War?
10. When and where did General Lee surrender the Confederate Army?

FOOTNOTES: [a place to add additional information that you might want to submit]


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This page created 23 July 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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