Early Cache Co. Utah School Districts

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EARLY CACHE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS by Larry D. Christiansen

Cache County was organized in the Territory of Utah on April 4, 1857, and the Cache County Probate Court became both the executive authority plus a judicial power in the county. Therefore the court was the creator and administrator of the school system developed in the new county. From the court meeting at Wellsville on June 1, 1859, the court ordered that Cache precincts should comprise a school district with each school district to "be designated and known by the name of the respective precinct in which it is located." Thus, as the Probate Court created precincts, it formed small school districts based upon the precinct or settlement. School districts were established at Wellsville, Providence, Logan, Mendon, Richmond, Smithfield, Hyrum, Paradise, Millville, Hyde Park and Franklin by 1861. In early March of 1862 the court ordered that "Logan be divided into four school districts having the same bounds as the present ecclesiastical wards of the city." The following year the court ordered the fast growing Logan to have five school districts and delineated the bounds in detail as follows: "Commencing at the south-east corner of the town plat thence north to Benson Street, thence west to Thatcher Street, thence south to the south side of town, thence in a north-westerly direction to the place of beginning shall be designated as the first school district." In the same manner the other districts (2nd through 5th) were spelled out. While these divisions coincided with the bounds of each LDS ward, in 1864 the court directed that the first ward of Logan City be school district No. 1, second ward be school district No. 2 on through to the fifth ward and school district. Thus, established by court order the precedent of designating district followed from the beginning. In addition new wards and school districts were created at Clarkston, Weston and Oxford. Three of the precincts and school districts were in Idaho (Franklin, Weston and Oxford) but at least through 1865 the Cache County Probate Court continued to service their needs. In 1871 the residents of Clifton, Idaho, petitioned the Cache County court for a school district and the court laid the petition over and apparently did not act upon it and eventually stopped all connections with the Idaho settlements.

Within Cache County new precincts and school districts had been made at Newton and Lewiston. In a few of the larger communities, other than Logan, there appears to have been two options. To either offer more than one school in the town under the precinct prescribed single school district or to sub-divide the precinct by way of ward or school designations. An example of the latter method came before the court on May 1, 1875, when a petition "from the inhabitants of school district no. 3 Hyde Park precinct praying for the organization of a school district." The court granted the request with prescribed boundaries. Presumably the new school district was called Hyde Park School District No. 3, meaning there were at least three school sub-districts functioning in Hyde Park with the "western portion of Hyde Park petitioning for an extension of their school district’s boundaries which was granted by the court. It is known that Richmond, and probably Smithfield, Wellsville and Hyrum had multiple school districts by the mid-1870s. By the end of 1875 the school districts in Cache County included five at Logan, three at Hyde Park with one or more at Smithfield, Richmond, Hyrum, Wellsville, Clarkston, Newton, Mendon, Paradise, Millville, Providence and Lewiston. The minimum would have been nineteen but the actual number would have been closer to twenty-three or twenty-four organized school districts.

On the first Monday in March of 1876 the court received a new concept to consider. It came as follows: "The petition of C. O. Card, Alvin Crockett and Robert Davidson, school trustees of Logan City, praying for the consolidation of the several school districts of Logan City into one was presented . . . and granted. Six months later on July 26, 1876, the court received "The petition of the citizens of Richmond asking for the consolidation of their school districts heretofore existing in the precinct of Richmond." Again the court granted the request and created what the court said "shall be known as school district No. 1 of Richmond precinct" and prescribed its boundaries. With these consolidation moves the court eliminated several of the small school districts. The court continued to form new school districts for the latest settlements such as: one at Coleville in December of 1876; in March of 1878 setting apart the new precinct of Trenton with its own school district; in June of 1878 creating Benson precinct and organized into a "school district to be known and designated as school district no._?_ ." The number is illegible on manuscript of the court record but probably was No. 14. At about this time the court initiated a numbering system for the school districts in Cache County. But this calls into question why the two previously created districts were given later numbers as Coleville became No. 15 and Trenton No. 16. On March 3, 1879, the county court received a petition from thirty residents of "north part of Mendon precinct" requesting that their specific area be set off as a separate precinct and school district. The court granted their request creating the precinct of Petersboro and the Petersboro School District No. 17.

In the latter part of 1886 the Cache County Probate Court began considering revising the boundaries of the precinct road districts and school districts. It concluded that each precinct should constitute a road district and a school district. Then the court specified the school districts and designated them with a number. In its long ruling the court did not proceed numerically but went geographically from Logan through the settlement on the south and over to the west side and north and crossed to the eastern side and south down to Hyde Park. In brief the court declared: ". . .
Logan school district and is numbered 1 . . . .
Providence school district and is numbered 12. . . .
Millville school district is numbered 11 . . . .
Paradise school district and is numbered 10. . . .
Hyrum school district and is numbered 9 . . . .
Wellsville school district and is numbered 8 . . . .
Mendon school district and is numbered 7 . . . .
Petersboro school district and is numbered 17 . . . .
Newton school district and is numbered 6 . . . .
Clarkston school district and is numbered 5 . . . .
Trenton school district and is numbered 16 . . . .
Lewiston school district and is numbered 13 . . . .
Coveville school district and is numbered 15 . . . .
Richmond school district and is numbered 4 . . . .
Smithfield school district and is numbered 3 . . . .
Hyde Park school district and is numbered 2 . . . .
Benson school district and is numbered 14 on the motion of selectman Pitkin the clerk was directed to have two hundred copies of the foregoing order printed in pamphlet form and to forward copies to the county and precinct officers and one copy to each board of school trustees."

In 1890 the court received petitions for several areas to create new school districts. On June 16, 1890, the court created the "Blacksmith Fork school district" along that river over to the west bank of Little Bear River, and another as the "West Millville school district" where present-day Nibley is located. In the same June session of the court it organized the "Riverside school district of Cache County" in upper or northern Benson. The court concluded its mid-1890 work by creating the "Greenville school district" where the settlement was shortly renamed North Logan. On October 7, 1890, the court ordered a new district in the southern most part of Cache County known as "Mineral Point school district" and appointed school trustees for the new district. The court finished off the year on December 27, 1890, by organizing the Baxter school district near Hyrum.

In July of 1891, Mr. William H. Apperly, a Republican nominee for the position of Cache County superintendent of schools, had published in the Logan newspaper a January 3, 1891 letter he addressed to the Cache County Court and along with his estimate, after consultation with school trustees of each school district, their needs for the ensuing year. The newspaper article went as follows:

Logan, Utah, Jan. 3, 1891.

To the Honorable Judge and County Court of Cache County:
GENTLEMEN—In compliance with section 80 of the school law I respectfully submit an estimate of the amount of school funds needed for the ensuing year, for each district in Cache County. Trustees have consulted men in regard to estimates here given.
I earnestly suggest that your honorable body levy two mills on the dollar for the benefits of the district schools.

Very Respectfully,
W. H. Apperly.

Logan$20,000
Hyde Park1,000
Smithfield4,000
Richmond4,000
Clarkston1,100
Newton1,150
Mendon1,450
Wellsville3,200
Hyrum2.850
Paradise1,200
Millville1,220
Providence1,500
Benson600
Lewiston2,500
Coveville1,000
Trenton400
Petersboro500
West Millville600
Greenville500
Riverside600
Mineral Point500
Total$49,870

The above figures were an estimate of needs, not the actual amounts the County Court agreed to spend, but they provide an interesting array of figures to make a general comparison of the various school districts. It is noted that Logan, by far the largest district in size, estimated their needs at over forty per cent of the total amount requested.

On June 6, 1892, the county court created two new school districts. In the morning session the court received a petition from Robert Redford and others asking for the organization of the Sterling school district and took the matter into consideration. In the afternoon session the court duly organized the requested district, defined its boundaries and appointed three men to be the trustees of the "Sterling School district." Then the court heard a report by Superintendent E. W. Greene of the county schools in regard to a proposed school district at Alto west of Bear River and Smithfield. The court followed Greene’s recommendation and organized the Alto School District and established its boundaries and appointed three men to be trustees of this new district. Three months later in early September of 1892 the court, following recommendations by Superintendent Greene, created the Stephenson School District and the Wheeler School District in the area around Lewiston and appointed trustees for both new districts.

On September 10, 1892, the trustees of West Millville school district petitioned the court to change that district’s name to the "College School District" which was granted. The court changed the name of the Mineral Point School District to that of Avon School District. The court appointed trustees for the La Plata School District, apparently newly created. On April 14, 1894, the county commissioners received a request from the "inhabitants and taxpayers of Mt. Sterling and Baxter school districts," asking that the two districts be united into one district and the commissioners granted their request retaining the latter’s district name. In the 1894 delinquent taxes listing for Cache County, the full name of the school districts were given in those areas wherein the school district was the functioning entity in the area or precinct, i.e., Alto School District, Baxter School District, Riverside School District, Stephenson School District and Wheeler School District. It can only be guessed as to the total number of schools operating at one time in all the districts. Certainly each district had at least one school. Logan had the most and several districts had more than one. In the Lewiston area, for example, there were three schools within the Lewiston precinct and two within the nearby Stephenson School District and one in the Wheeler School District. A major event and accomplishment came when many of the districts constructed new school houses. Perhaps the most unusual school house was at Alto, finished in 1895. From nearby Newton came a letter to the newspaper praising the Alto people’s new school house as "pleasing in appearance, and modern and very convenient in its construction." The article continued to commend the people for planting a large number of shade trees on the school grounds which were "growing nicely, watered from a flowing well." However, the big improvement over any other school building in Cache County was a "gas well" to supply natural gas for light and heat. From their artesian well they were provided with both water and gas; at the well head there was a barrel or collection device that caught the gas and allowed the flowing water to collect in a trough or ditch. The natural gas was piped into the school house for use. According to a newspaper article, many, if not all, of the other schools were envious of this free source of energy.

In 1908 the numerous school districts in Cache County, outside Logan, were consolidated into the Cache County School District. Thereafter, the two school districts of Logan City and Cache County served the county.

As a side light and perhaps very revealing to the situation of education in Cache County in the 19th Century were the following actions by the Cache County Court on April 14, 1890. On that date it ordered fifty copies of the book by E. W. Tullidge on The History of Northern Utah and Southern Idaho be purchased from the author and be distributed as follows:

One copy to the U.S. census office in Washington, D.C.
One copy to each of the 23 Mormon Sunday Schools in Cache County (7 in Logan and one each to the other sixteen precincts in the county).
One copy each to the six Presbyterian Sunday Schools in the county (one each at Logan, Smithfield, Richmond, Mendon, Wellsville and Hyrum.
One copy each to the two Methodist Sunday Schools (Logan and Hyrum).
One copy to the Episcopal Sunday School at Logan.
One copy to the Agricultural College of Utah.
One copy to the Brooklyn Library, Brooklyn, New York. One copy to the Mercantile Library Association in New York. One copy to the Public Library at Cincinnati, Ohio. One copy to the Boston Athenaeum at Boston, Massachusetts. One copy to the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
One copy to the Mercantile Library Association of San Francisco, California. One copy to Yale College at New Haven, Connecticut. One copy to Public Library of Indianapolis, Indiana. One copy to Peabody Institute of Baltimore, Maryland. One copy to Kentucky State Library at Frankfort, Kentucky. One copy to Ignatius College at Chicago, Illinois. One copy to State Library at Atlanta, Georgia. One copy to Public Library of Cleveland, Ohio. One copy to Amherst College at Amherst, Massachusetts. One copy to Leigh University at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Cache County School Districts before 1908:

District nameDistrict No.Comments
Logan SchoolDistrict1 Started 1859, consolidated in 1876.
Hyde Park SchoolDistrict 2Started 1860
Smithfield SchoolDistrict 3Started 1859
Richmond SchoolDistrict 4Started 1859, consolidated 1876.
Clarkston SchoolDistrict 5Started 1864
Newton SchoolDistrict 6Started 1870.
Mendon SchoolDistrict 7Stared 1859.
Wellsville SchoolDistrict 8Started 1859.
Hyrum SchoolDistrict 9Started 1860.
Paradise SchoolDistrict 10Started 1860.
Millville SchoolDistrict 11Started 1860.
Providence SchoolDistrict 12Started 1859.
Lewiston SchoolDistrict 13Started 1870.
Benson SchoolDistrict 14Started 1878.
Coveville SchoolDistrict 15Started 1876.
Trenton SchoolDistrict 16Started 1878.
Petersboro SchoolDistrict 17Started 1879.
Greenville SchoolDistrict 18 *Started 1890
West Millville SchoolDistrict 19Started 1890 – name changed to College in 1892.
Riverside SchoolDistrict 20Started 1890
Mineral Point SchoolDistrict 21Started 1890 – named changed to Avon in 1892.
Stephenson SchoolDistrict ?Started 1892
Wheeler SchoolDistrict ?Started 1892
Baxter SchoolDistrict ?Started 1890 – in 1894 combined with Sterling.
Sterling SchoolDistrict ?Started 1892 – in 1894 combined with Baxter.
Alto SchoolDistrict ?Started 1892
Blacksmith Fork SchoolDistrict ?Started 1890. Created before West Millville, Riverside and Greenville.
LaPlata SchoolDistrict ?Started 1892.
* NOTE: District numbering after Greenville # 18 is questionable.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Locations mentioned in the yearly "Delinquent Taxes" notices in the Logan Newspaper:

Place            1891 '92 '93 '94 '95 '96 1897
Alto              --- --- yes yes yes yes yes
Avon              --- --- yes yes yes yes yes - #5
Baxter            --- --- yes yes yes yes yes
Benson            yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Clarkston         #1- yes yes yes yes yes yes
College           --- --- yes yes yes yes yes
Coveville         yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Greenville        yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Hyde Park         yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Hyrum             yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Kirtland Addition --- yes yes yes #2- --- ---
La Plata          --- --- yes yes #4- --- ---
Lewiston          yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 
Logan             yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 
Mendon            yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Millville         yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Mineral Point     --- yes #3- --- --- --- ---
Newton            yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Paradise          yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Petersboro        yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Providence        yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Richmond          yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Riverside         --- yes yes yes yes yes yes
Smithfield        yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Stephenson        --- --- yes yes yes yes yes
Sterling          --- --- yes yes yes yes ---
Thatcher First Addition   --- --- --- yes --- --- --- 
Trenton           yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Wellsville        yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
West Millville    yes yes #6- --- --- --- ---
Wheeler           --- --- yes yes yes yes yes
NOTES: 
#1 – Clarkston had no delinquent taxes in 1891.

#2 – Kirtland Addition incorporated into Logan with notation as to Kirtland Addition.

#3 – Mineral Point listed under Avon in 1893 and thereafter.

#4 – The La Plata mine and other properties listed under Avon in 1895 and thereafter.

#5 – After 1895 Avon had a very long listings of delinquent taxes including many mining properties.

#6 – West Millville was renamed College.

Sources: Logan Journal, Dec. 1, 1891; The Journal, Dec. 3, 1892, Dec. 6, 1893, Dec. 8, 1894, Dec. 3, 1895, Dec. 5, 1896 and Dec. 6, 1897.

NOTE: Old records (original books and/or microfilms of the old Cache County school districts can be found at the following:
Utah State Archives
– records from Coveville, Greenville, Hyde Park, Hyrum, Lewiston, Mendon, Millville, Mount Sterling, Newton, Paradise, Providence, Richmond, Riverside, Smithfield, Stephenson and Wheeler school districts.

Special Collections & Archives at Utah State University – records from Coveville, Greenville, Hyde Park, Hyrum, Lewiston, Mendon, Millville, Mt. Sterling, Newton, Paradise, Providence, Richmond, Riverside, Smithfield, Stephenson, Wheeler and a few from unknown districts (that should be identified).

Endnotes:

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Updated: 28 Mar 2007


Copyright 2007 by Larry D. Christiansen
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