Cinder Hill School
Formerly School No. 3

Teacher and his 21 Students in 1916 Class Photo

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Submitted by Jim Young < jwankh AT comcast.net >

Cinder Hill School Class Photo approx. 1916
Cinder Hill School burned down in the Fall of 1918

 

John Steve

Grace Pyle

Elsie Schwab

Ralph Clair

Rollie Clair

Back Row: John Steve 

Grace Pyle

Elsie Schwab

Ralph Clair

Rollie Clair

George Pyle

Howard Pyle

Sylvia Clair

Mary A. Pyle

Dorothy Schwab

(Row 3)  George Pyle

Howard Pyle

Sylvia Clair

Mary A. Pyle

Dorothy Schwab

Tom Pyle

William Antolina

Charles Colteryahn

Unknown male child

Albert Piersol

(2nd Row) Tom Pyle

William Antolina

Charles Colteryahn

Unknown male child

Albert Piersol

Geno Colpa

Sophie Antolina

Unknown male child

Joe Cornett

Tallas Cornett

Front Row: Geno Colpa

Sophie Antolina

Unknown male child

Joe Cornett

Tallas Cornett

 

Unknown male child in Row 2 (6th child)

Teacher Homer Dornan (row 3)

Unknown male child in Row 2 (6th child)

Teacher Homer Dornan (row 3)

See photo cropped to just the rows and faces

See full photo of Cinder Hill Class about 1916

 

This photo was taken app. 1916 and according to the notes I have the school burned down about 1918.

Several of my relatives are in the photo. The name of Pyle is repeated several times. These are my grandmother and her brothers and sisters. My grandmother, Mary A. Pyle, is the second child to the left of the teacher.

Mary Alfretta (Pyle) Young was born 05 Oct 1903, Racoon, PA - now Joffre - Washington County. Her parents were Thomas H. Pyle & Allie Rae Hemphill.

She married my grandfather, Thomas Heatheral Young, on 11 May 1921 in Burgettstown. There they resided and over the years had four children.

-- information from  Jim Young.


*****

 

According to Boyd Crumrine's county history, "...the township of Smith was the last one set off of the original thirteen. It was so named at the suggestion of Judge James Edgar (one of the trustees), in honor of the Rev. Joseph Smith."

The following excerpt describes the early development of the township:

"The original township was bounded on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the townships of Robinson and Cecil, on the south by Hopewell township, and on the west by the State of Virginia. It retained this large extend of territory for five years only."  In the next few years, changes were made to the territory encompassed by and known as Smith Twp.  "The present boundaries of the township are Hanover township on the west, north, and northwest, Robinson on the northeast, Mount Pleasant on the southeast, and Cross Creek and Jefferson townships on the southwest."

The following excerpts describe the early development of the the Smith Township schools, specifically, School No. 3 or Cinder Hill School:

"From the school reports it appears that the free-school system did not go into effect immediately upon its adoption. In the State superintendent's report for the year ending Dec. 31., 1836, Smith township is credited with eight schools,...."

"{School] No. 3, now known as Cinder Hill, was built in 1837, on land of William Wilson, now owned by his son, William E. Wilson. The house used until it was ready was on land of James Rankin, now owned by John Vance. Andrew Vance taught the first term in the new house. His son John taught one term in it shortly before the civil war. A new house was built by James Seawright on the original location in 1868. It is the only house standing on the original location."

"The 10th District was organized by act of Legislature by reason of opposition to a new district. The township board immediately resigned, and the court appointed six new directors, who levied and collected the tax. The act was afterwards repealed. The new school district, organized about the year 1849 as No. 10, was formed of parts of 2 and 3."

"After the incorporation of Burgettstown as a borough, New No. 1 was formed from parts of Nos. 1, 2, and 3, June, 1881, and a new house was built on land of George M. and James B. Tenan. Miss Bessie, daughter of James M. Stevenson, is teaching the first term."

The following excerpts describe the placement and activities of the teachers:

"The first teachers' institute in the township was held Dec. 4, 1858. The directors by resolution, Nov. 27, 1858, agreed to allow teachers two days in each month for township institute. Members of the board at that meeting were John L. Proudfit, Esq., president; John P. Wood, Esq., O. P. Cook, M. I. Montgomery, and James L. Patterson, secretary. Messrs. Proudfit, Wood, and Patterson are still living."

"The present [1882] teachers of Smith township are, in No 1, Miss Bessie Stevenson; No. 2, Miss Ella Riddile; No. 3, Miss M. Ethie Brimner; No. 4 Wm. F. Morgan; No. 5, Miss Kate Hammond; No. 6, Henry Aten, principal, and Mill Willa Cook, assistant; No. 7, Miss Mattie Campbell; No. 8, Frank M. Magill; No. 9, Wm. Melvin; No. 10, J. B. Lyle."


Nothing more is known about Cinder Hill School from the time of Crumrine's writing (1881-2) until this class photo taken in 1916.  If you know anything more, please submit it to the webmaster.

 

Hypotheses about how Cinder Hill School got its name:

How School No. 3 began to be called "Cinder Hill School" is unknown.  A possible explanation may be related to the area coal mines, which all had a refuse pile (pile, hill, mountain) where low-quality mining by-products were dumped.  Refuse contained impure coal mixed with clay, rock, and iron deposits.  Poorer people picked through the sites to break out small coal chunks discarded as waste. Homeless "hobos" often camped alongside these dumps and built fires to keep warm.  These piles often ignited from heat that would build up in the interior of the pile, or because camp fires were placed too close to the heap. Whether the waste was shipped to iron and steel making manufacturers or whether it ignited naturally or from a hobo's fire, the material created "red dog".  Red dog was a hardened rock-like material made from the combination of silicon, sulfur, phosphorus, aluminum, limestone and products formed in their reactions with heat and flame.  Some red dog burned so hotly that they formed clunkers or cinders, a brittle black-red cinder type material.  Local coal companies needed ways to remove mountains of red dog, so county and township road departments used the higher quality red-dog as road covering on dirt (or mud) roads.  Clunkers and cinders were less desirable, however, because of the sharp shards and edges.

As well, almost every house used a coal furnace or coal stoves for heating.  Coal in furnaces burns to almost the same type clunkers and cinders mixed with ash, which would fall through the grate on the floor inside the furnace to a chamber below. Each day, someone needed to open a small door to the furnace chamber and shovel out the deep pile of clunkers, cinders, and ash.  Some clunkers were fist-sized (showing the coal had more impurities) but most were soft-ball or golf-ball sized.  Families often had one communal dump and dragged children's wagons or pushed wheelbarrows full or carried bucketfuls of this waste to a cinder dump.

So whether a communal dump site, or a coal company's refuse pile, my guess is that Cinder Hill School was likely named because there was a cinder pile nearby.  There have also been roads in the county that adopted names simply because they were covered, year after year, in either cinders or red dog material.

If anyone knows for sure how Cinder Hill School got its name, please E-mail me.

 

Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).  Note: Excerpts are not necessarily in the order Crumrine used.





 

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