Schools Of Rush CountyThere are several communities in the county which lay claim to the honor of having been the scene of the first school taught within the confines of Rush county, so easy it is to confuse tradition with fact, but the best evidence at hand points to the conclusion that the first school that properly could hold the name was that organized by Dr. William B. Laughlin, in the new county seat town of Rushville in 1822, not long after the place became a settlement following the adoption of the site as the county seat. This is the conclusion reached by John L. Shauck, former county superintendent of schools, and who is still actively engaged in school work, whose full review of the history of the schools of Rush county published in 1888, and revised by him for republication twenty years later, is accepted as authority on questions affecting school history in this county. This conclusion Mr. Shauck bases upon statements of Harmony Laughlin, a son of Doctor Laughlin and one of the pupils attending that first term of school, and further confirms it by a statement of Doctor Arnold, who has so frequently been quoted in this work, "than whom." Mr. Shauck says, "there is perhaps no better authority." Concerning this fact Mr. Shauck declares that "the city of Rushville was the scene of the earliest schools of the county. Scarcely had the smoke begun to ascend from the first settler's cabin in the surrounding forest ere arrangements had been commenced to educate the pioneer youth. Dr. William B. Laughlin was the prime factor in all matters that pertained to the general welfare of the community, and in school affairs he was long the unquestioned authority. He was a man of liberal education and possessed of all those qualities that adapted him to lead in all the business of a new country. Having a large family of his own he took early steps in his new home in the wilderness to give them the advantages of education. It is said that he located here in the winter of 1820-21, and that his family soon after appeared upon the scene. The town of Rushville was laid out in March, 1822, and being the capital of the recently organized county, immigration at once began. By the fall of 1822, several families had located here, and some were scattered around the adjoining country. In the midst of his manifold duties Doctor Laughlin undertook to instruct the children of the neighborhood, in addition to his own. For this purpose a log cabin was erected a few rods from his own house on the ground now (1888) occupied by the Presbyterian church (now occupied by the Improved Order of Red Men). It was there, late in 1822, that the first school in Rush county was taught. Doctor Laughlin continued to teach there during the winters for several years, giving instruction in the common branches as the custom prevailed in those times."
In an admirable brief prepared for publication in the twenty-eighth biennial report of the Indiana state department of public education (1917), C. M. George, county superintendent of schools of Rush county, gives a different version of the story relating to the first school taught in the county. This brief contains so much in little that it is herewith reproduced as an introduction to the more detailed statement regarding the schools of the county. "The first school in Rush county," says Mr. George's brief, "was taught by Isaac Phipps in Noble township in 1820-21. This school was taught for the squatters in a log cabin on section 19, township 13 north, range 10 east. One of the early school houses is described as having neither chimney nor fireplace. It was heated by piling coals on a rock or mound of mud. The floor consisted of the bare ground.
"The town of Rushville was laid out in 1822 and Dr. William B. Laughlin undertook in addition to his many other duties to instruct the children of the neighborhood together with his own children. In 1828 he opened a school for advanced pupils. The course of study included many of the higher branches, and was designed to prepare the students for entrance into college. This was the first school of the kind in the county.
"In 1838, the county commissioners purchased two lots in Rushville at the southwest corner of Third and Julian streets, on which was erected the county seminary. This school was maintained by private tuition until it was sold under the acts of 1852. The Fairview Academy began to receive students in 1849. The Friends Academy at Carthage was a log cabin. Here Henry Henley taught a school in 1830 or 1831. The academy was a sectarian school, and was taught in strict conformity to the views of Friends. The academy was continued in various buildings in Carthage as a sectarian school until 1879, when it was merged into the joint graded public school. The Little Flat Rock Seminary was built in 1856, and stood one-half mile south of the Little Flat Rock Christian Church in Noble township. It was a two-story building, and was presided over for several years by Josiah Gamble, who afterward was superintendent of the Fayette county schools. In 1847, Thomas B. Helm founded the Farmington Academy in a tavern now used as a dwelling on the northeast corner of the cross roads at Farmington. The United Presbyterians formed a stock company and established the Richland Academy in the village of Richland, which began its career of usefulness in 1855. It continued until 1861, when the principal, John McKee, recruited a company of soldiers which became Company K, Thirty-seventh Indiana Infantry. The buildings and grounds were sold April 29, 1885, to Richland township for public school purposes.
"Rush county claims the distinction of having the first consolidated school in the United States. William S. Hall, in 1876, abandoned five school houses and erected in the village of Raleigh, which is located in the center of the township, a graded school building. This building was opened in 1877, with J. T. Kitchen as the first principal. At the present time (1917) all the townships of the county have consolidated schools except Richland. With consolidation has come better school buildings, better equipment, longer term, a graded system, higher branches taught, better qualified teachers, closer supervision and more efficient work generally at slightly increased cost."
A Century Of Progress
In the introduction to the state report here alluded to, Charles A. Greathouse, then state superintendent of public instruction, observes that "the century has wit-nessed a marvelous development in everything that has made for efficiency and stability of education. But let us not underrate the value of the education conferred upon the pioneer boy and girl by the crude schools of a century ago. They served their purpose well and were the foundations upon which later generations have reared the magnificent system of public schools of today." And it is so.
The early schools of Rush county were like the first schools of most other counties here in the middle West, and the old settler has so often and so well told the old story of rude puncheon benches without backs, the writing desk at the wall supplied with the goose quill pen, and the many familiar facts relating to the primitive schools that there hardly is call here for a description in detail, but lest the pupil of today, surrounded as he is by the conveniences of school life provided in the well furnished and fully equipped schools of this generation, fail to visualize the little log school house in which his grandfather acquired the rudiments of a pretty effective education a little pen picture of the old school house in the clearing, together with a bit of detail relating to the manner in which such schools were conducted, may not be amiss. As Mr. George has set out above, some of these primitive school houses had a dirt floor, and were without a fireplace, the chill of the room being somewhat reduced by charcoal fires burning on the floor or in a brazier, formed by a big iron kettle set in the middle of the floor. Spellin', readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic constituted the curriculum. Text books were the rarity, usually one book being deemed sufficient for the entire family, the Testament often being the only reader in the schools. Few of the pioneers had "cumbered" themselves with books upon starting on the trip into the wilderness and more often than not the schoolmaster's entire library was in his head.
In the genealogical records of the Hilligoss family, published at Rushville in 1913, there is a quite illuminative paragraph along this line touching on conditions in the family of Conrad Hilligoss, which came up here from Kentucky in 1824. There were ten children in this family, hence the schooling problem was one that had to be faced along with others of a pressing character. "The family library," this narrative goes, "consisted of one reader and two spelling books, which they studied after the day's work was done." Equally illuminative is a further bit of description: "When they moved to Indiana they cleared eight acres and planted it to corn and wheat. When the wheat was ripe they cleaned it with a turkey wing. Their clothes were washed by rubbing with the hands and batting them with a paddle on the top of a smooth stump. After a time a wooden washboard was bought, which was used by four families that had settled in the neighborhood of the little town of Vienna, where there was one store. Vienna is now Glenwood. There were many panthers in those days, and few people ventured out at night." With panthers lurking in the woods it perhaps was no difficult task to keep the children home evenings, and with no "movies" to tempt them out they perhaps became well grounded in the contents of that reader and of the two spelling books and thus were able easily to fall into the reading habit when conditions of living became less rigorous in their neighborhood. This lack of books in the early schools was, of course, a serious handicap, but the overcoming of handicaps was a part of the pioneer's job, and his children usually became qualified in the "rudimen's." Unhappily, the teacher oft times was what the youngsters of today would call a "boob," and this was a more serious handicap to the ambitious youth than lack of books; but again there were among these pioneer teachers men of true intent whose souls were aflame with the desire to hand on the torch of learning, and who came into the community with richly charged minds prepared to impart to their pupils the best they had. Rush county's record is rich in such instances and the influence of these men of ripe mind and overflowing soul has been felt in all the succeeding generations, and will continue to be felt.
Of course, no license was required of the teacher, and it has been said that anyone who could spell February and did not have anything else to do could teach school. The early teachers were strong on discipline and religiously followed the principle of "no lickin', no larnin', and upon the slightest provocation demonstrated that axiom. The man or woman generally, however, a man who felt the urge to become an instructor of youth would get up a written agreement, called a subscription paper, and pass it around among the people of a certain neighborhood for signatures. The agreement usually called for a certain number of pupils at a certain price the pupil, and when the required number was obtained the school would begin. The ruling price for a term of, three months was $2 a pupil, the number of pupils to be taught generally not fewer than twenty. The board and lodging for the teacher was provided by the patrons of the school, each one in turn furnishing a share of entertainment during the term, or if the teacher preferred, which generally was the case, he might choose a boarding place and remain there during the term for a small compensation to the patron of the school, whose home was selected. Edward Eggleston's "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" of course is familiar to all Rush county readers, for the scene of that masterpiece of delineation and description of pioneer conditions was laid in the neighboring county of Decatur, down in the Clifty neighborhood, it is said, and the conditions with respect to the schools there set out were perhaps equally typical of conditions in Rush county, so that for a more comprehensive description of these conditions the reader is recommended to brush the dust off his old copy of "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" and read it again.
The Building Of The Pioneer School House
Even before the beginning of the school the first matter of importance, of course, was to provide a building for the accommodation of the teacher and his pupils? but this was an easy matter for the pioneers. The settlers of a neighborhood would get together on a specified day and begin the erection of a school house at some point as nearly central as a site could be procured. This was always easy to obtain, as land was worth but $1.25 an acre and a suitable site could be found where the owner of the land, especially if he had children of a school age and he generally had, for large families were in fashion in those days, was only too willing to donate an acre or half an acre of his land for the purpose. With this detail of location fixed, the settlers would gather on a day for the "rollin' " of the logs essential to the structure and on another day for the "raisin' " of the same, and thus about the third day the school house would be completed. The typical pioneer school house in this region was made of round logs, or if the settlers were particularly nice about it they took the further trouble to hew the logs, as giving a better "finish" to the job; these logs were notched at the ends to form a mortised jointures and the spaces between the logs were filled or "chinked" with sticks and daubed with clay. The roof consisted of clapboards, held in place by poles extending across the roof, called weight poles. The floor was of puncheons, or planks split from logs, two or three inches in thickness and hewed reasonably smooth on the upper side this, of course, in the days before the portable sawmills come lumbering in. The fireplace was about six feet wide, made of logs lined with clay or undressed limestone, if there chanced to be a quarry nearby. The chimney was made of stone and split sticks plastered with clay. A stout door hung on wooden hinges and was fastened with a wooden latch. A log was cut out of one side to form a long window and this open space was covered with paper greased to make it transparent. Long wooden pins were driven in the log under the window, and a broad plank was laid on these pins to serve as a writing desk. The seats were made of half a poplar log, smoothed with an adz and supported on legs driven into the round side. An unlooked-for splinter in these seats might often create an unexpected diversion in the school as some unhappy wight would feel its piercing presence in his quivering anatomy.
The more formal diversions of the school consisted of ciphering matches, spelling bees, "town ball," Friday afternoon or evening "literary," and the barring-out of the teacher at Christmas time, to compel him to "treat," all occasions of excitement and merriment. The spelling and ciphering matches and the "literacies" would be participated in by the whole neighborhood and the excitement not infrequently would be accentuated by the adjustment of physical as well as mental rivalries, these, personal and private physical readjustments often as not terminating in a "free-for-all" fight that would clear the neighborhood atmosphere for weeks to come. But why continue this description? It is a story that has oft been told, an inseparable part of the wondrous mosaic of our common life, the pattern of which is familiar to all. Yet it is well, "lest we forget," formally to recall to each recurring generation the days of old and nothing is more important in making up a definite history of the county than the retouching of the old familiar picture of the little pioneer school. The history of these schools lives only in the memory of persons who received what little education they were fortunate enough to secure from teachers who are now sleeping in some secluded spot their last long slumber; but they more often than not, left behind a memory that has grown brighter through the lapse of years. The history of one Hoosier school is the history of all with different persons in direction and different hardships to overcome, all based upon the immortal Ordinance of 1787, creating the Northwest Territory, which declared that "religion, morality and knowledge are essential to good government, and the happiness of a people, and that schools and the means of an education should forever be encouraged in the new territory." And it is so. The relays of the torchbearers are ever alert; the torch is never allowed to drop; the sacred flame is ever kept alive.
Development Of The School System
For many years the primary declaration embodied in the ordinance above quoted regarding the encouragement of schools was a mere "glittering generality," such "encouragement" as was given having little behind it to make it effective and each neighborhood naturally became a sort of a law unto itself in the matter of its schools. The action of the Federal Government in setting off to the cause of common school education the sixteenth section in each township was not given executive force and the provision was further complicated when the Indiana state constitution of 1816 provided that none of the lands granted by the general Government for school purposes should be sold before 1820. As a matter of fact, it is stated, none was sold until eight years later, so that there really was no public fund from which to draw for school "encouragement" until about the beginning of the '30s. The legislative act of 1824 provided for the organization of school districts, the appointment of three trustees in each district, and for the erection of "suitable" school houses apparently was executed or not, at the whim or discretion of such trustees as might be holding the offices at the time, and the provision of the law requiring the trustee to "examine" a teacher as to his qualifications generally was a farce, usually the whole matter being turned over by two of the trustees to the third, who was left to carry on the school in his own way, and who usually was wholly incompetent to "examine" the teacher, even if such an examination were made, the effect in general being confusion, maladministration and woeful neglect of the state's most important function, a situation that was years in clearing up. After 1833 the district trustees were elected by the voters of the districts. In 1836, any individual might hire a teacher and draw his part of the school fund for maintenance. Then, as Doctor Esarey, in his "History of Indiana" so vividly sets out, "there was only one more step that could be taken, and this was taken in 1841, when the qualifications of the teacher were left to the district trustees. It is not strange that under these circumstances the teaching profession disappeared. Men of high education and of great power filled the ranks of the preachers and lawyers, but the teacher of this period was not uncommonly the laughing stock of the neighborhood. While other institutions of the state were taking on efficient state-wide organization, the schools, under the ruinous idea of local self-government, were struggling hopelessly with unequal lengths of terms, incapable teachers, dishonest trustees, diversity of textbooks, lax enforcement of school laws and school discipline, neighborhood quarrels over school sites, narrow views of education and lack of wise leadership. This situation lasted until the revision of the school law of 1843. The latter date perhaps marks the lowest level of general intelligence ever reached in the state. The harmful effects of the failure to organize were felt in all classes and fields of social life. Despairing of any relief from the public schools, the churches, each in its way, tried to solve the problem of popular education. Almost every preacher was a school teacher. The Catholics had a large number of fairly good schools, at which not only their own, but Protestant children received instruction. Hundreds of private subscription schools were founded and continued for uncertain periods. Such schools depended so completely on the teacher and local conditions that no historv of them can be written. Any native of the state past the age of seventy can describe a pioneer school; no one can describe the pioneer schools."
And the situation thus set out by Doctor Esarey was exactly the situation in Rush county during that period. The public schools were but grim jokes, save in excep-tional cases where men of wide vision chanced to get in control. Those who could sent their children to such of the local sectarian seminaries or academies as conformed in their form of instruction more nearly to the religious beliefs they held, and there were several such schools in the county, the seminary at Rushville, the Rev. D. M. Stewart's private school for boys, the Fairview Academy, the Richland Academy, the Friends Academy and the Flat Rock Seminary, all filling functions that properly devolved upon the state. The reminiscences of Barnabas C. Hobbs, one of the most effective factors in the salvation of Indiana's school system from the blight which had fallen upon it, gives a characteristic picture of conditions under the old trustee-examiner system. "The only question asked me at my first examination," wrote he," was What is the product of 25 cents by 25 cents? Who had only Pike's Arithmetic, which gave the sums and rules. These were considered enough at that day. How could I tell the product of 25 cents by 25 cents, when such a problem could not be found in the book % The examiner thought it was 6*4 cents, but was not sure. I thought just as he did, but this looked too small to both of us. We discussed its merits for an hour or more, when he decided he was sure I was qualified to teach school and a first-class certificate was given me.''
A reminiscent letter from the pen of a woman whose grandfather was one of the pioneers of Rush county, and reproduced in the "Historical Sketch" by John F. Moses, says: "The two first schools I attended were taught in private houses. The first was in a vacant house on Isaiah Sutton's farm, the other in John Smith's kitchen. Both schools were taught by Uncle John Walker. He kept what was called a 'loud' school, that is, we were permitted to read and spell as loud as we pleased. The first one to reach the school Louse recited first. How we used to run when we saw the others coining, to beat them there, and boast of it if we were first. We had no bell, and had never heard of such a thing. When play time was over, the teacher would come to the door and cry 'Books!' and then such racing to the door! When we were seated, Uncle John would take a long beech switch and march up and down between the benches. If he caught anyone whispering or sitting idle, he gave them a tap. There were very few classes, for hardly any two had books alike. Dear Uncle John! how I love him yet, though he went home long years ago. He was a good teacher and a good man.'' In Elijah Hackleman's '' Reminiscences'' the fol¬lowing additional sidelight is thrown upon conditions of that period: "My recollections carry me back to the time when spelling, reading and writing were about all that were required. I have seen the excitement of districts when other branches were attempted to be tacked on to these, and seen the frowns of patrons when such stuff as grammar and geography were attempted to be taught; and when algebra and trigonometry came in, then the climax had been reached. I recollect at one time when I was a full-fledged pedagogue, that one morning one of my patrons came to the school house with his two boys and about the first word when he came in was 'Hackleman, I want you to teach my boys common learning, for I. wouldn't give the toss of a copper for all your 'high dick' or for your 'classics.' "
In The Days Of The Academies
As has been set out, the private school was essential to the development of the community along educational lines in view of the ineffectiveness of the ambling public school system. The first of these private schools seems to have been that established by Dr. William B. Laughlin at Rushville in 1828, and of which mention previously has been made in this work. Doctor Arnold's recollections have it that Doctor Laughlin "impressed with the need of higher education, and being devotedly attached to teaching, erected a two-story frame building on his land and opened a school, where in addition to the common branches there was taught Latin, Greek, higher mathematics, history, etc. The upper room was devoted to the advanced pupils and the lower room to the lower grades. The school was conducted with eminent success for two or three years, and gave an impulse to loftier aspirations for learning among the young."
The beginning of the Friends Academy at Carthage was a log cabin, which stood about a square south of where the railway station now stands. In this building Henry Henley conducted a school in 1830 or 1831. The second building was a one-story frame on the farm of Abraham Small, southeast of the village. This building, in 1840, was moved to a lot opposite the Friends meeting house, and later was moved farther up Main street and about 1849 gave way to a more pretentious frame building, which in turn was succeeded by an excellent brick building which supplied the needs of the town for school purposes until the present admirable public school building was erected. In the days when this school at Carthage was conducted as an academy it was a sectarian school, conducted in strict conformity to the somewhat rigid views of the Friends. Most of the pupils were children of Friends' families, and every Fifth-day morning at 11 o'clock were marched across the street to the meeting house to listen to a sermon. This old academy was continued as a sectarian school until its merger in 1878-79 into the joint graded public school. Besides the academy the Friends Meeting supported a school for the children of the Negroes who had been brought in there during the days of the "underground railroad" this colored school having been about three miles south of the village. Following is given a list of the principals of the old Carthage Academy, in the order in which they served: Henry Henley, Levi Hill, Nancy Henley, George Hunnicutt, William Johnson, Lewis Johnson, Dizah Thornburg, David Marshall, Eli B. Mendenhall, Jemima Henley, Martha Clark, Hiram Hadley, Samuel Crow, Tristram Coggshell, Hezekiah Clark, Thomas T. Newby, Allen Hill, Edward Timberlake, Samuel H. Macy, Kate Steere, Lydia A. Burson and Edward Taylor.
The Little Flat Rock neighborhood in Noble town-ship early became an educational center through the work and personal influence of Elder Benjamin F. Reeve, a cultured minister of the Disciples of Christ, who came to this county from Kentucky in 1833. Not long after his arrival Elder Reeve had set up a school in the little old Baptist church on Little Flat Rock, later occupying the Gregg school house, and still later a room in the house of Mrs. Nancy Lewis, donated to him for the purpose, but presently he was able to cause the erection of a small frame school house or "academy" adjacent to the Little Flat Rock Christian church which had become the community center for that neighborhood, and to which pupils of both sexes came from miles around, receiving from this consecrated man instructions in both the primary and higher branches of learning. It has been written of Elder Reeve that "teaching was his passion and he made this little country school locally famous, awakening in his pupils a thirst for knowledge, while at the same time cultivating in them a taste for literature and a high standard of living. In those old years he set in motion helpful influences which have long outlived him and which will endure so long as there remain descendants of his pupils to hand down traditions." This old Reeve school became the social center of the community. Elder Reeve had a well-stocked library, which was freely open to all callers and in his home was held the weekly meeting of "The Circle," a literary society which included in its membership the thoughtful young people within a circle of eight or ten miles thereabout. One of the students who thus came under this refining influence was Elijah Hackleman, who has so frequently been quoted in this centennial history, and who there qualified himself as a teacher and for some time conducted a school in that same neighborhood.
The formerly locally celebrated Little Flat Rock Seminary was a worthy successor of the Reeve school. This seminary was erected in 1856, at a point a half-mile to the south of the Little Flat Rock Christian church, and of the old Reeve school and was a two-story frame building, the top floors was the custom in those days being used for the advanced pupils and the lower floor for the primary and intermediate grades. This school was maintained as an academy for many years, but dwindling attendance finally caused it to be abandoned for school purposes, and it finally was sold and dismantled, the material in it being used to build a barn. Among those whose influence as teachers was felt in this school were John Guffin, Josiah Gamble, Walter S. Tingley, John A. Roberts, John R. Hunt, George Guff in, Thomas B. Robinson, Selina Culver, Samuel Vandervort, Amanda Hunt, F. M. Hunt, Jesse Robinson, Charles Poston and James Wilson.
Under the act of 1824 effect was given to the constitutional provision for the erection of county seminaries, but it was not until nearly twenty years later that Rush county availed itself of this provision, it having been in 1842 that the county commissioners appointed a board of seminary trustees to take steps toward the erection of a county seminary in Rushville. This board consisted of George B. Tingley, Pleasant A. Hackleman, John W. Barbour, William McCleary and George Hibben and in the following year, at the March term, 1843, reported to the commissioners that they had bought two lots in Rushville and on them had erected a brick seminary, 33 by 53 feet, two stories high, "completing the same in order as an institution of learning, with stoves, etc., fencing, sinks, wells, well-house, and other conveniences and absolute improvements," at a cost of $3,673.97. This report shows that the trustees "further state that there are now two schools taught in said seminary, free to all children of Rush county for admission; but no part of the principal or interest of said fund has been expended for tuition," thus showing that it was not a free school. Only the common branches were taught in this seminary. The first principal is said to have been Joseph Nichols, with John W. Barbour as assistant. When under the new state constitution the legislature in 1852 directed the sale of all county seminary property, the proceeds to apply to the permanent school fund, the Rush County Seminary was sold to the independent school corporation of Rushville and was used as a public school building until 1866, when the school board sold it as being no longer serviceable for school purposes and it was converted into a dwelling, still serving this latter purpose, standing at the southwest corner of Third and Julian streets.
It was in 1843 that what came to be known as Farmington Academy was established by Thomas B. Helm, a teacher of wide popularity at that period, at the cross roads, four miles east of Rushville, the school being held in a two-story frame tavern building, which had been erected there by Alexander Luse, of Cincinnati, who had platted at the cross roads a town site, which he called Marcellus, but which never developed beyond the paper stage. Dr. Jefferson Helm owned the land on which the tavern was located, and Thomas B. Helm was his nephew. Elder George Campbell, a minister of the Christian church, who had been doing missionary work throughout this section of the state, was installed as principal of the Farmington Academy and with his family occupied part of the house, some of his pupils boarding with him, Both Elder Campbell and his wife were cultured people, and their school soon became a social, educational and religious center which attracted many thoughtful young people. Leaders of the Christian church patronized the school, and under such auspices Elder Campbell began a. movement for the founding of a college or university to be under the direction of the Christian church. Doctor Helm offered to donate land for the purpose, and site was chosen on a knoll just east of the tavern building, but for some reason the project fell through, and in 1848 Elder Campbell moved to Ohio and Farmington Academy was closed. The next year, however, he returned to become pastor of the Fairview Christian church in this county, and was helpful in promoting the movement which presently resulted in the establishment of the old Fairview Academy. It must be said of Elder Campbell's experiment in university work at Farmington that it was not wholly abandoned and that the impulse in that direction there created was revived a few years later by the leaders of the church and in 1852 resulted in the establishment at Irvington, a suburb of Indianapolis, of the Northwestern Christian University, which later became Butler College, an institution of much present power which thus is seen really to have had its inception in Rush county.
It was in the winter of 1848-49 that Elder Henry R. Pritchard, of the Christian church, and Woodson W. Thrasher conceived the notion of an academy at Fairview, on the Rush-Fayette county line, and presented the idea in such attractive guise that $1,200 was raised by subscriptions to foster the plan, a board of trustees of Fairview Academy was elected, with John Shawhan as president, and William and Nancy Shawhan, for a consideration of $75, deeded to this board and its successors two and one-half acres of land adjoining the village of Fairview on the Rush county side. Allen R. Benton, an alumnus of Bethany College, was secured as principal of the academy, and classes were begun before the academy building was completed. Dr. Ephraim Clifford's office at Fairview being utilized as a schoolroom. The ministry of the Christian church warmly supported the new academy, a curriculum equal to that of a college course was provided, young people of both sexes were attracted to the academy and in the palmy days of the institution there were as many as seventy students in attendance. Upon the organization of the Northwestern Christian University at Irvington, Principal Benton was called to that institution, and he was followed by Amaziah Hull, who was succeeded in turn by Jasper Hull, Daniel Van-Buskirk, William M. Thrasher and Sterling McBride. The panic of 1857 affected the fortunes of the school, the coming of the Civil war affected it still more, and with the advancement of the public schools it presently was abandoned and the old academy building turned into a dwelling house. The Rushville Republican, in the spring of 1857, carried an advertisement signed by W. W. Thrasher, treasurer of the institution, setting out that "the trustees of the Fairview Academy take this method of announcing to the patrons of said institution, and to all who wish to avail themselves of a good school, that we have engaged Mr. Sterling McBride, of Bethany, Va., to take charge of the school, a gentleman fully competent to teach all the branches usually taught in an academic course. We therefore can confidently assure the public that we will fully meet any reasonable requirement. As the school has been in such successful operation for seven years, we think it has fully recommended itself."
In 1849 two institutions for higher education for young women were established in Rushville and both for some years filled an important place in the cultural life of the community. The first of these, established early in 1849, was the Rushville Female Institute, which was organized under Presbyterian auspices with Dr. Horatio G. Sexton, Joel Wolfe, Dr. William H. Martin, Rev. David M. Stewart and Jesse D. Carmichael as trustees. Miss Carrie R. Warner, an Eastern teacher of reputation, was secured as principal of the institute, and classes were held in the basement of the old Presbyterian church. In 1850 Miss Warner was joined by her sister, Lydia( afterward Mrs. Leonidas Sexton), who brought with her the first piano seen in Rushville, and these two talented young women conducted the school very effectively for the three or four years it continued. In 1851 the Misses Warner were succeeded in the direction of the institute by Miss A. E. Sherill, of New York, and Miss Jennie Landon, of Vermont, and in 1852, Miss Lucretia Cramer, of Granville, N. Y. (afterward Mrs. H. G. Sexton), became principal. In the meantime, late in 1849, a rival to the institute was established, the Rushville Female Academy, the first board of trustees of this school being John W. Barbour, John S. Campbell, Amon Johnson, John Dixon and Dr. Samuel Barbour, who, it seems, were not in sympathy with the sectarian views of the other finishing school for young women. This latter school was under the direction of the four sisters Morley, who had come from Somerville, Mass., to take charge of the same, and whose influence in the social and cultural life of the town was a happy one. It has been written that "both of these schools were conducted with ability by the accomplished ladies at their head and did good work."
The Old Richland Academy
Of all the old time schools which aided in extending the fame and name of Rush county during the '50s and y60s, none perhaps exerted a wider influence than Rich-land Academy. This also was a sectarian school and throughout its course the rigid old Scotch Seceder influence was manifest in its works. Prior to the union of 1858, when the Associate (Seceder) and Associate Reformed churches were merged into the United Presbyterian church the school was under Associate Reformed auspices, having been organized by the Rev. A. S. Montgomery, who was serving as pastor of the congregation of the Associate Reformed faith at Clarksburg, and whose pastoral charge extended over into Rush county to take in those of that faith who dwelt in the neighborhood of Richland. When in 1855, Mr. Montgomery made a proposal to establish an academy in the then new and promising village of Richland the proposal was accepted, stock to the amount of $2,000 was subscribed, the Richland Academy Association was organized and until a building suitable for academy purposes could be erected school was opened in the Presbyterian (O. S.) church at Richland. Most of the subscribers to this project were residents of Richland township, but some were from Noble township and some from the neighboring county of Decatur. Though steps were at once taken for the erection of an academy building, the edifice (a picture of which is presented in this volume) was not completed until late in 1856. From that time on until the operations of the school were interrupted by the Civil war the school flourished. As Mr. Moses has written: "Those were rare days for Richland. The academy inspired a taste for intellectual things. The attendance was above sixty, and the presence of so many interesting young people brightened social life and gave it a marked literary tone. Former students still fondly recall the charming old academy days." John McKee, who had succeeded Mr, Montgomery as principal of the academy in 1857, continued until the breaking out of the Civil War, when he recruited a company (K Company, Thirty-seventh regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry), half of the members of which had been students at the academy, and went to the front, presently to return wounded. Incapacitated for further service at the front he resumed his place in the academy, but in 1864, resigned to take a place in the United Presbyterian College at Monmouth, Ill.. His successors, as shown by old records, were Mrs. Margery A. Rankin, W. A. Pollock, Rev. William Wright, J. C. Gregg, J. M. Craig, Robert Gracey and Robert Gilmore. The Rev. N. C. McDill, for many years pastor of the United Presbyterian church at Richland, also had served as principal on two occasions to fill out unexpired terms. During the latter '60s the fortunes of the academy began to wane, debts overtook the institution, attendance dwindled owing to the growth of better conditions in the public schools of the state, and the academy was abandoned in the early '70s, the building presently being sold to the township trustee, who in 1885 tore it down and erected on its site a handsome public school building. The board of trustees of the academy which made the quit claim to the township was composed of D. M. McCorkle, James W. Anderson, Jacob Fisher, Alexander Shannon, George W. Boling and A. E. Graham, the last official representatives of the institution which in its day had exerted a large influence for good throughout this section. A copy of the year book of Richland Academy for the year 1861 (a publication of forty-eight pages) has the voluminous title of "The Students' Offering and Catalogue of Richland Academy; Containing Essays and Orations, Prepared for the Annual Exhibition of March 21,1861, and a Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the Academy, Extending from Its First Year, 1855, until the Present Year, 1861 The "Students' Offering" is printed by Applegate & Company, Cincinnati, and the title page is embellished with the motto: "Haec olim meminisse juvabit." As an introduction there is printed the following unsigned poem:
Though small our village, and unknown to fame,The "essays and orations" carried in the body of the "Offering" and which apparently had been delivered in the annual exhibition of the preceding March, are not signed, nor are the names of those who composed the class of that year given, but the titles of these efforts will reflect something of the trend of thought of the day, including as they do such subjects as "Liberty, the Nurse of Genius," "Parting Hour," "The Scholar's Hope and Mission," "The Flower of an Hour," "Sympathy," "In What Do We Boast?" "Golden Links in the Chain of Life," "Service the End of Living," "What Think Ye«" "Our Union, Shall It be Preserved?" "Student, What Is Thy Hope?" "The Nineteenth Century," "Hope," "The United States of America," "The Orphan, or the Endearments of Home," "Error, Its Causes and Consequences," "Who Would Live Always?" "Our Country," "The Realities of Life," "The Thinking Principle in Man Never Annihilated," "The Love of Fame," "Death," "A Good Cause Makes a Stout Heart," "Be What You Seem to Be," "Silent Power," "Diversity of Pleasure in Nature," "Education the Basis of Liberty." "Look Well to Your Reading," "Creation a Boundless Field of Investigation," "Look Onward" and "Let Us Live That the World May Be Better for Our Living." The officers and the members of the boards of trustees who had served from the time of the organization of the academy in 1855 to the date of the publication of the year book (1861) were given as follows: Presidents, James McCorkle, W. C. Stewart; clerks, T. M. Thorn, A. P. Butler, J. D. Thorn; treasurer, C. Boling; trustees (beside the above), W. R. Alexander, W. R. Alexander, G. Boling. W. H. Bonner, D. Bowlby, Thomas Butler, S. H. Caskey, H. B. Cowan, J. H. Fitzgerald, James Foster, A. E. Graham, William Patton, N. S. Patton, T. L. Stewart, J. S. Stewart and William Wright. Instructors— Principals, Rev. A. S. Montgomery (1855-57), John McKee (1857-61) ; teachers, Rev. R. E. Stewart, rhetoric; Rev. N. C. McDill, vocal music and higher mathematics; Helen Ballard, Jenny Howell, Anna E. Cooper, Laura A. Wolfe and Margery A. Cowan, instrumental music; W. C. Price, arithmetic; Anna E. Cooper, arithmetic, algebra, geography and history; J. W. Rankin, Latin; J. S. McCullough, algebra; Miss N. McKee, arithmetic, history and geography; Sallie McKee, arithmetic: J. E. Brown, Latin, and W. A. Hutchinson, algebra. A summary of attendance showed that in the year 1855-56 there had been enrolled in the academy thirty-nine pupils; 1856-57, 53; 1857-58, 66; 1858-59, 65; 1859-60, 69, and in 1860-61,41, with the explanatory note that the number for the total of the latter term is only the total for two-thirds of the year. The terms of tuition are set out at $6 in the primary department for the session of fourteen weeks; $7 for the academical department for the same period; $8 for the classical or German, with piano, $11 extra and guitar $8 extra, with an incidental charge of 50 cents the session. Boarding, including room, lodging and fuel could be had "either in the village or the country," at from $1.50 to $2.50 the week. Religious exercises were provided for each morning, and a concluding note under the head of "Moral Surroundings" pointed out that "a decidedly moral tone pervades the surrounding community. No haunts of dissipation or organized temptation to vice or idleness are to be found in the village or neighborhood. In this respect, indeed, it is believed one enjoys an exemption unsurpassed by any other in the land."
Our township's only worthy of its name.
No more,—for in an unromantic mood
Dame nature gave us trees and rich black mud,
But pil 'd no mountain's Alpine turrets high
To breast the storm-cloud and salute the sky;
Nor hurl 'd the thundering cataract down the steep,
Nor grotto carved, nor hewed the cavern deep,
Nor sent the mighty river rolling near,
Whose breast might well the wealth of nations bear;
But sent the silver brooklet dancing by
Whose grace attracts the sehoolboy poet's eye.
Though history has left no reeord here
Of warlike deed or bloody conqueror;
No hoary legend tells of bloody fray
When Indian braves would drive their foes away;
Though nought antique or curious or great
Attracts the tourist's or the poet's feet;
In short—though neither beauty nor renown
Exalt the credit of our dull flat town,
Yet Eichland shall in pleasant memories live
When fairer spots have found oblivion's grave.
Not places decked by nature's lavish hand,
With every beauty nature can command;
Not princely houses, with parks and gardens rare,
Which art and nature vied to render fair,
Can claim that memories love to linger there.
But where the soul has felt and toiled and won,
Its earnest efforts made—its duty done;
At truth's fair form has looked with raptured gaze,
And truth's great author learned to love and praise,
Derived new powers from its proper food,
Its feasts—the true, the beautiful, the good.
Hence, modest Biehland is a hallowed shrine,
Where memory's sacred wreaths, fond hearts entwine.
For six bright years will soon be times that were,
Since youths and maidens first assembled here
To seek the gems of learning rich and rare.
Kind friends have cheer'd us on our toilsome way—
With song we 've lighten 'd labor every day.
Good will and confidence our teachers show,
And for each other friendship's embers glow.
A few have felt the rapturous dream—ahem,
(But out of school I'll not tell tales, not I.)
Suffice to say that all have not the name
That Prof, of mornings used to call them by.
And now this monument we jointly rear,
To keep in memory of our labors here,
And mean, while life and memory shall last,
To cherish this memorial of the happy past.
The history of the academies of Rush county would not be complete without reference to a normal school, conducted in Rushville for two years (1883-84), by David Graham, on North Main street and of the academy opened by Andrew H. Graham and David Graham on East Ninth street in 1890. The next year Andrew Graham withdrew to accept the superintendency of the Indiana State Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home in Center township, being succeeded by A. F. Stewart, who, with David Graham, continued it for two years longer, but finding it unprofitable they closed it. An unsuccessful attempt later was made to start a commercial college in the building, but this latter venture also soon was abandoned. The building was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1894.
The innovation of the free schools apparently was for some time the object of mistrust among those who desired for their children something more in the way of educational facilities than they believed possible under the new system and the "seminary" idea persisted. The people in the neighborhood of Milroy apparently were thus mistrustful, for there is on record in the office of the county recorder a copy of the articles of association of the Anderson Township Educational Society, received for record on January 2, 1860, as follows: "It is proposed that the citizens of Anderson township and vicinity build the second story on the township school to be built in Milroy, Rush county. Ind., the association to be called the Anderson Township Educational Society; twenty-five dollars will constitute one share of stock, and entitle the person paying said twenty-five dollars to vote in the management of the business of the institution. A constitution, by-laws and rules for the government of the same to be located and adopted at a regular meeting called by the subscribers to this instrument. Therefore, we are resolved and firmly obligated to pay the amount opposite our names, one-half April 1, 1860, the other half December 25, 1860, for the purpose above specified; provided the amount of twelve hundred dollars is subscribed. Milroy, Ind. [month missing], 1859." These articles of association were signed by Deliscus Lingenfelter and forty-one others. Something more than two years later there was entered for record a mechanic's lien in favor of Henry Long against "the trustees of the corporation known as the Anderson Township Educational Society," giving notice "that I intend to hold a lien on the lot of ground in which said building stands and also the building thereon for the sum of $80.78, due me this day from you for labor done and performed therefore by me at your request, towit, for plastering said ceminary (sic) belonging to said corporation," etc. Trouble in the matter of collecting subscriptions evidently had been en-countered somewhere along the line.
William S. Hall And The Centralized School
Mention previously has been made of the fact that the idea of centralized township schools originated in Rush county, and was first put into practice by William S. Hall, while serving as trustee of Washington township. Concerning this interesting historic fact, John L. Shauck, former county superintendent of schools, in a historical sketch of the schools of Rush county, written by him in 1907, stated that "William S. Hall is the first school official of the United States who, while trustee of Washington township, saw the benefits of consolidating weak schools, and who put into execution plans for bringing it about. He abandoned five school houses and erected at the center of the township at Raleigh a graded school building, which was opened in 1877." J. T. Kitchen was the first principal of this historic school, and he was followed by John L. Shauck and he in turn by Will S. Meredith and so on down through an honorable succession of principals and teachers to the present day.
In an appreciation of William S. Hall written after his death in the spring of 1905, he then being past ninety-one years of age, Mrs. Ida M. Shepler observed that Mr. Hall "was a remarkable man, remarkable for his stanch integrity, his firm convictions, his hatred of corruption in high places, a man with remarkable force of character and will power. He kept up his interest in life until the very last day of it, thoughtful always for the comfort of others, and fearful of giving trouble. Mr. Hall from youth to old age was strongly interested in the political and educational institutions of our land. From the day of his young manhood until past middle age he held many positions of trust and no man was guardian for more children than himself. He was elected township trustee in 1853, which position he held, with the exception of the years he was in the state legislature, until the year 1878. His interest in the country schools and the study of how to better them to the better educating of the youth, amounted almost to a passion with him. Peeling that the country child, even to a few years back, was yet hampered as he had been in his chance for a good education, with prophetic foresight, he early dreamed of creating a township centralized school that would, without private outlay, give it an education the equal of an academy or high school in the city. He was the pioneer of the centralized country school system and holds the honor of having established the first school of that kind in the United States, and at the little town of Raleigh."
And there were others who exerted a strong and noble personal influence in behalf of the schools here in a day when it required much more to arouse an interest in the public schools than it does now. As Mr. Shauck in his sketch of the schools of Rush county above alluded to says: "There were many excellent teachers among these pioneers. As long as the hearts of men are grateful and true worth recognized the names of Benjamin F. Reeve and Elijah Hackleman will be spoken reverently. Mr. Reeve was a teacher in Noble township. He came from Kentucky to Indiana when the work which he was able to do for the young people could be more lasting and beneficial. Peculiarly endowed by nature it seems now that no man better fitted for his task was ever sent among a people in a new country. He began teaching in Noble township in the fall of 1833. The primitive structure in which he taught had neither chimney nor fireplace. There was a sort of a platform of rock and mud on the ground, on which coals were piled. I cannot dwell upon a theme so fertile as the work of Benjamin F. Reeve among the people of his day. In the language of Elijah Hackleman in a note to me some years ago, 'I need not attempt to tell you of Mr. Reeve's career in Rush county, for a history of him would be a history of the county during the period of his residence as one of its citizens.' Hon. E. H. M. Berry, of blessed memory, once said to me: 'Benjamin F. Reeve and Elijah Hackleman tower above all others who were their contemporaries in their efforts to enlighten the minds of the young, both as to scholastic and moral attainments.' "
A Good Word For The Old District School
It may not be foreign to a work of this kind to say that there is still some doubt as to the real benefits ob-tained by consolidation of schools. The district school was a community center, at which for years spelling con¬tests, literary and debating societies, and not infrequently religious services were held.
The spelling contests made the past generation adepts in the art of spelling. Very few terms of school were held without at least one such contest. Frequently one district would challenge a neighboring district, in which practically all of the parties attending took part, and as one contestant missed a word he would be seated and the last remaining standing was called the champion for that evening. It was not always the most difficult word that was missed. In one such contest the word "Betsey" caused the downfall of a supposed champion, he having spelled it "B-e-t-s-y." Some years ago a county spelling contest was held in which the winner in the different townships met in a county contest, at the old court house. The winner on that occasion was Ithamer P. Root, of Milroy, and he was given a copy of Webster's unabridged dictionary for a prize. The fatal word on that occasion was "coffee," in which one "f" was omitted and Mr. Root spelled it correctly. These spelling contests in addition to the educational value, had a social value. It gave the people in the rural communities entertainment and frequently brought together people residing in different neighborhoods, who would not otherwise get acquainted. In such communities there was no desire nor need to hunt the "white lights" of larger cities, nor the "dimmer lights" of the villages.
In these country school houses were frequently held literary clubs and debating societies, the latter deciding a large number of important questions, such as "Re¬solved, that Lincoln, the Saviour of his country, was a greater man than Washington, the father of his country;" "Resolved, that fire is more destructive than water;" "Resolved, that the South was constitutionally right in the Civil war controversy;" also a number of other burning questions were settled for a time at least, such as the question of baptism, predestination, fore ordination, free will, local option and prohibition, moral suasion, legal suasion, etc. And a number of other important questions were discussed. While the questions in a large number of cases were not important, yet the training obtained by the various speakers assisted them materially in taking part in public gatherings, such as conventions, old settlers' meetings and church affairs.
An additional entertainment held in the district school was the school "celebration," consisting of dialogues, speeches and debates, usually held the last day of school or the night following the last day of school. The dialogue has lost its name at present and has become a "play," but in the earlier time there was great doubt about the morality of a "play" as it sounded too much like a "theater," but the dialogue could give the same performance without criticism. On one such occasion, a celebration was held at the Beaver Meadow school house in Posey township, which caused a controversy continuing for a number of weeks in the newspapers, because some of the pupils taking part in the dialogue had their faces blacked to represent Negroes, and the weekly newspapers for some weeks carried the articles by prominent people, discussing the merits of such an entertainment, under the title of "Beaver Meadow and Burnt Cork Negroes."
Not infrequently traveling shows gave entertainments in these school houses, which were perhaps the only shows the children in that community could attend, or had opportunity to attend, until they were sufficiently large to get to the county seat where they frequently gained admission to a circus by carrying water to the elephant. It was not unusual for religious societies to hold a series of meetings in these district schools, and in a number of cases these meetings resulted in the establishment of a church in the community.
Reference has been made to the law of 1824, under which teachers were "examined" by the three trustees elected in each school district and the manner in which such a system worked out. This ineffective law stood until 1838, when the legislature enacted a law providing for school examiners, three of them in each county, and this provision stood until 1861, when it was decided that one examiner would serve probably more effectively and in the early '70s the office of "examiner" was changed to that of county superintendent of schools, the functions of this office being, with modifications necessitated by changing conditions, practically that of the same office today. The county superintendent of schools is elected by the township trustees, constituting the county board of education, on the first Monday in June for a term of four years, beginning August 16, following his election. The county auditor is clerk of the election and in case of a tie casts the decisive vote. To be eligible for the office of county superintendent, a candidate must have been actively engaged in school work for two years out of the ten years preceding his election, and must have a three years' state license, or a life or professional license. The county superintendent has general supervision of the schools of the county; he is a member of the county board of education, attends the township teachers' institutes, conducts teachers' institutes and associations, visits the schools of the county, examines applicants for graduation and teachers' licenses, attends school commencements, reports the enumeration of school children and other school statistics to the state superintendent of public instruction, decides local controversies in the school law and carries out the orders of the state superintendent of public instruction.
From the records it is noted that Stephen Sims was appointed first commissioner of schools for Rush county in 1829. In 1834 he was succeeded by Alanson Thomas, who in turn was succeeded by Adam S. Lakin in 1836, the next incumbent being Claborn L. Donaldson, who served from 1848 to 1851, and was succeeded by Richard S. Poundstone, who was holding the office when in 1853 the board of school examiners was created, and he turned over to the board of county commissioners the records of the office to be delivered to the new board of school examiners, the commissioners appointing to this post D. M. Stewart, of Rushville; Joseph Young, of Carthage, and E. H. M. Berry, of Milroy, all to serve until March, 1854. The succeeding boards of examiners were as follows: Joseph Young, Lewis H. Thomas and John B. Wallace, 1854-55; D. M. Stewart, Gabriel F. Sutton, A. S. Montgomery, 1857; D. M. Stewart, G. F. Sutton, H. H. Cambern, 1858; D. M. Stewart, G. F. Sutton, John McKee, 1859; Josiah" Gamble succeeding McKee in 1860; E. H. M. Berry succeeding Gamble in 1861; Stewart and Sutton continuing to serve. In 1861 the system of having but one examiner became effective, and the first to hold this office was D. M. Stewart, whom the county commissioners appointed in June of that year to serve for a term of three years. William Cassady was appointed in 1864 to succeed Mr. Stewart and he was succeeded by George Campbell (1865-68), the last year of Mr. Campbell's term being filed by his son, A. B. Campbell, who in 1868 was succeeded by J. M. Hodson, who retired a year afterward and was succeeded by Walter Smith, who resigned in 1870, and was succeeded by David Graham, who served for three years or until in 1873, when the county superintendent law necessitated another revision in the manner of conducting the schools. The county board of education, consisting of the trustees of the several townships, elected W. T. Moffitt to this position for a term of two years, and in 1875 he was succeeded by the Rev. A. E. Thomas, a Presbyterian clergyman, who in 1877 was succeeded by the Rev. J. B. Blount, a clergyman of the Christian church. In June, 1881, the county board of education elected a teacher, John L. Shauck, to the office of county superintendent and since then teachers very properly have held the office, Mr. Shauck having been succeeded by William S. Meredith and he in turn by Robert F. Conover, I. 0. Harrison and A. L. Gary, the latter of whom served from 1897 to 1902 when he resigned. W. S. Stockinger being appointed to fill out the unexpired term. Mr. Stockinger was succeeded in 1903 by W. O. Headlee, who served for six years or until compelled to resign by reason of ill health. He was succeeded by Orlando Randall, who served but a year of his term when he also was compelled to retire on account of the state of his health, and in 1910 C. M. George, the present (1921) incumbent, was appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr. George has been retained in office by successive re-elections and has thus held this office for a longer period than any other incumbent. On June 6, 1921, Angus Wagoner was elected to succeed Mr. George in the following August.
It manifestly would be impossible to carry in this connection a complete roster of the teachers who have served the people of Rush county during the hundred years the work of the school has been carried on here, but it will be well for historical purposes to mention a few of the pioneers in the local field of education. With acknowledgments to Mr. Shauck's historical sketch of the schools of the county heretofore referred to, the names of the following early teachers should be mentioned: In Anderson township, John W. Tompkins, Lot Green, Nathan Tompkins, Milton Wagner, William Wheeler, Barker Brown, Sallie Bartlett, Celia Hunt Winship, E. H. M. Berry, Harvey Hedrick, I. P. Root, Dr. O. F. Fitch, Mrs. S. C. Thomas. It is a matter of note that Doctor Woodburn, head of the department of history in the Indiana State University, taught his first school in Richland township. Other teachers there during the early days were Alexander Fisher, W. P. Andrews, James J. Connahay, William J. Brown, Samuel Tarr and Harriet Posey Flynn. Some of the old-time teachers in Orange township were Lloyd Bishop, John Allison, Alvin Cass, James McDuffy, Hiram Kelly, Harriet Keller, William Richey and Nathan Thomas. Among those mentioned as having taught in Posey township during pioneer days were Elder Gabriel McDuffee, John W. Whitesides, William Brunt, Elder Drury Holt, Richard M. Clark and John Wood. In Jackson township among the early teachers were William Moffett, John Lewark, Larkin Kendall, Ezekiel Hinton and Stephen Wilson. In Walker township there were Reuben Hefflin, Ross Davis, Judge Blair, Eleanor J. Kerrick Mull, Elias Baker, James Remington, John W. Macy, A. G. Mauzy, Ephraim Wright, Harvey Stewart and Roland Haywood. In Ripley township there were besides those heretofore mentioned in connection with the old Carthage Academy, Joshua Pool and Judith Henley, the latter of whom is said to have organized what probably was the first Sunday school held in Rush county.
As a matter of historical comparison a reference to the condition of the county's schools twenty years and more ago will be interesting. A. L. Gary was at that time county super -intendent of schools and there were within the county eighty-seven school houses, and according to the school enumeration of that period the attendance of pupils was about 4.000. According to a review of the schools printed in 1899 Rushville had two graded schools, the First and Third Ward schools, and the city school board was composed of S. L. Innis, John Megee and Theodore H. Reed. Samuel Abercrombie, who had then been serving for years as superintendent of city schools, was in charge; W. C. Barnhart was principal and A. F. Stewart and Jay Mertz, assistants, with the following corps of teachers: Charlotte Sleeth, Maggie Cassady, Pet Meredith, Mabel Bonnell, Maggie Shawhan, Anna Fisher, Jessie Spann, Helen Finkbine, Ellen Madden, Alma Odear, Anna Cunningham, Belle Gregg, Cora Yance, May Meredith, Maggie Fleehart, Celia Campbell, Anda Schmid.
The township teachers were:
L. A. Hufferd, principal; Lizzie Ernay, Elbert Atkins, Charles Griffin, Charles Thomp-son, Delle Randall, Josie Clawson, Fred Rhodes.
J. Edwin Jay, superintendent; J. F. Evans, principal high school; Sarah Hathaway, assistant high school; Mrs. Helen Hughes, Pearl Mere-dith, Roberta Harris, Jesse Fry, Addie Coffin.
T. M. Greenlee, Grace Downey, Frank Billings, Mrs. Marcia Oneal, Orlando Randall, A. T. Lewark.
J. M. Binford, principal; Wal-nut Ridge; Nina Newsom, Walnut Ridge; Myrtle Bundy, Pauline Bundy, Emma Ernest, Mrs. Lizzie Cox, Mrs. Avery Rawls, Louisa Wadkins.
W. E. Major, principal; Solon Tevis, Clarence Tevis, Frank Stevens, Linna Waggoner, Mrs. Nettie Piper, Harry Alter, George Hardesty, Char-ey Honey.
Noble Township —
M. Effie Coleman, principal; Georgia Morris, Mrs. May Wellman, Lucy Guff in, J. R. Hargitt, Charles Brooks, Maggie McKee, Owen E. Long.
O. Staley, principal; E. L. Culbertson, Jessie Larimore, Bertha Bunker, Eliza Miles, Allie Greenwood, Alfred Hall.
A. M. Taylor, principal at Glenwood; James Sheedy, principal at Gings; Walter Carson, Lida McMillin, Hortense Crago, Angeline Coleman, G. M. Logan, Olive Ochiltree, Bert Davis, Haddie McCorkle.
J. L. Shauek, principal; Delia McKee, Lizzie Booth, Joseph Stevens, Flora Boling, D. F. Jaekman, Laura Boling, Will Newbold, Mattie Harrison, Zella White, Erma Nordmeyer.
Minnie Murphy, Nina Ford, John F. Peck, Edgar VanHook, D. 0. Louden, H. E. Jones, Delphia Dawson, Maggie Hiner, Greely McCarty, Thomas Coleman.
M. G. Benjamin, principal; Mrs. Emma Benjamin, Laura Alexander, Nelle Cassady, George Moore, Eugene Macy, Lee Macy, E. B. Collins, S. H. Craig, Rebecca Dora, Ed N. Williams, William Marshall.
Y. E. Lewark, principal; Eva Hinchman, I. B. Gruell, Mrs. Mary Gruell, Flora Farlow, Anna Burch, E. E. Worth, Edgar Stires, Mrs. Ida Plum-mer, J. W. Arbuckle, L. B. Mather, Pearl Hungerford.
Frank I. Walker, Mary Hen-derson, Emma Terhune, May Ralston, Lula Harry, Esther Ralston, Mary McLaughlin.
The County Schools In 1920-21
The roster of the officers and teachers of the Rush county schools during the school year 1920-21 will be interesting for historical comparison twenty years hence, even as the roster just preceding this is interesting now. As noted above, Chester M. George is superintendent of schools and the county board of education consists of the trustees of the several townships, as follows: Frank McCorkle, Anderson township; John F. Cohee, Center; Alva Newhouse, Jackson; E. R. Titsworth, Noble; Wilbur C. Brown, Orange; T. R. Lee, Posey; Fred Goddard, Richland; Jesse Henley, Ripley; James V. Young, Rushville; John F. Mapes. Union; Lew Lewis, Walker, and Edward V. Jackson, Washington. The county attendance officer is James G. Miller.
The schools of Anderson township are centered in the consolidated school at Milroy, of which George J. Bugbee is the principal, the teachers being Harold McCullough, Florence Doan, Mary Henderson, Frances Robins, Elva Blaydes, Elizabeth Stewart, Mary Stewart, Elsie Blaydes, Claudine Ballard, Emma Terhune and Hope Brillhart.
The schools of Center township are as follows:
Center school—John E. Goode, principal; Jessie Applegate. Zella Hungerford, Clara Eliot and Nellie Walker.
Mays school—Ethel Owen and Nellie Myers.
Shiveley's Corner—Mrs. Norma Martin.
There are two schools in Jackson township, the Osborne school, with Maude Jones and Zatha Alford as teachers, and the Henderson school, Mary J. Anderson,
There is but one district school in Noble township, the Applegate school, with Helen Jinks as teacher, the others being centered at New Salem, with Mrs. Margaret E. Morton, principal; Normal V. Patterson, Dorothy Frazee, Mrs. Mina C. Reeves, Minnie O. Miller, Norma Headlee and Dorothy Anderson.
In Orange township there also is but one district school, the Gahimer school, with Vida L. Frow in charge, the other schools being centered at Moscow with Rollin H. Glenn, principal; Edith G. Blaydes, Rachel Eddelman, William Ward, Ruth Owen, Leonard Barlow and Mrs. Ethel S. Bugbee.
There are two centralized schools in Walker town-ship, the one at Manilla and the one at Homer. Floyd H. Miner is principal of the Manilla school, with the following corps of teachers: Martha J. Kirkpatrick, Catherine Farr, Mae Galloway, Carl Miller, Mandus Chance, Marjorie Retherford, Opal Martin Inlow and Ruth Wittenberger. Homer—Zoe Barbre, principal; Mae Galloway, Lafayette Jackson, Mary Parish, Nancy Jane Miller and Hazel Ratliff.
The Washington township schools are centered at Raleigh (the home of the first centralized school in the United States), with Flem L. Maddy, principal; George I. Poince, Lucile Bowen, Christine Auxier, C. H. Mitchell, Mille F. Draper, Avanell Poer and Marguerite Plummer.
In Posey township there still are two district schools, the Sumner school with Lowell DeMoss in charge and the Gary school with Sue Woods in charge, the others being centralized at Arlington with W. E. Wagoner as principal and Hazel F. Meloy, C. M. DeMunbrun, Jean Carr, Mary Foster, Opal Scraper, Mary Metsker, Mrs. Lettie Woods, Mrs. Flossie Irvine and Mary Johnston as teachers.
In Richland township there are three schools, the school at Richland, in charge of Jesse W. Alles and Dora McKay; the Freeman school, Mary Louise Miller, and Neffs Corner, Charles W. Myers. Richland is the only township that has no centralized school and a project is even now on foot to relieve it of its present schools, centralizing the same at the three adjacent central schools.
Ripley township has three schools, the Booker T. Washington school, Irene Fisher, teacher, for colored children; Walnut Ridge, Naomi Hobbs, and the Carthage central school, L. E. Dyer, principal, and R. P. Chambers, R. L. Power, Mildred Henley,. Alta G. Hiatt, Mary R. Stewart, Ruby E. Dyer, Pearl Young, Ruth Mitchell, Dova Mitchell and Ada Chappell, teachers.
In Rushville township there are three schools, the Webb school, the Circleville school and the Alexander school, the latter in charge of Mary E. McCoy.
Webb school—John Geraghty, principal; Gertrude A. Elliott. Henrietta Talbert, Mae Laughlin, Sylvia Mullins, Mary Houehins and Margaret Mahin.
Circleville school— John S. Moore, principal: Helen Osborne.
Union township has centralized schools at Glenwood and at Ging. Birney D. Farthing is principal of the Glenwood school, with the following teachers: William Cameron, C. C. Richey, Frank Hinchman, Mary Wetzel and Clara Hiner.
Ging school—Blythe Scales, principal; Paul Royalty, Lois Simpson, Blanche Cramer and Clara Herbst.
Rushville City Schools
J. H. Scholl, an alumnus of the Indiana State Normal School ('93) and of the Indiana State University ('98), has been superintendent of the Rushville city schools since 1904, in which year he left the superintendency of the Carthage schools to assume this position. He has under his direction five schools, the Graham high school, the Graham annex, the Jackson school, the Havens school and the Washington school, the latter being maintained for colored children, with James E. Bean and Fannie Ramey in charge. A. M. Taylor is principal of the high school and is assisted by the following corps of teachers: Mrs. Mary M. Glessner, Mrs. Edessa Innis, Vivian E. Harris, Grace R. Whitsel, Irvin T. Shultz, Arle H. Sutton, Mrs. Laverne Farthing, Maurice E. Cook, Miriam Retherford, Mabel Cornwell, Henrietta Coleman, Mrs. Ruth S. Ray, Charles Bales, Margaret Casady and Ellen Madden.
Graham Annex—N. Carolyn Meredith, principal; Mar-garet Fleehart, Ruth Sutton, Lois Fritter, Nellie Trobaugh and Ethel Flint. Jackson school—Belle Gregg, principal; Elizabeth Waite, Gladys M. Bebout, Mrs, Edna Taylor, Kathryn Petry and Elizabeth Flint. Havens school—Freda Flint, Maye Meredith, Anna Geragh-ty, Georgia Morris and Howard Clawson. Since the or-ganization of the Rushville city schools in 1853 the following have served as superintendents of same: George A. Chase, 1853-1860; Rev. D. M. Stewart, 1860-64; Roland Haywood, F. D. Davis, 1866-68; David Graham, 1869-83; Cyrus W. Hodgin, 1883-84; James Baldwin, 1884-86; E. H. Butler, 1886-93; Samuel Abererombie, 1893-1900; A. G. McGregor, 1900-04, since which time Mr. Scholl has been serving. The present school board of the city is as follows: President, Homer W. Cole; L. L. Allen, secretary, and Mrs. Allie Aldridge, treasurer. The successive members of this board, in the order in which they served from the beginning, have been Reuben D. Logan, William H. Martin, William B. Flinn, E. H. Barry, John Dixon, John Moffett, John Carmichael, Thomas Poe, Jr., Jacob Oglesby, Harvey D. Dinwiddie, Rev. D. M. Stewart, T. C. Gelpin, R. Poundstone, Virgil B. Bodine, James S. Hibben, John R. Mitchell, R. D. Mauzy, W. C. Mauzy, W. A. Pugh, S. S. Poundstone, Oliver Posey, Theodore Abererombie, J. R. Carmichael, Ben L. Smith, W. S. Morris, S. W. McMahin, W. E. Wallace, G. G. Mauzy, John Megee, W. S. Campbell, S. L. Innis, Theodore H. Reed, Gates Sexton, R. F. Scudder, W. M. McBride, A. R. Holden, E.B Thomas, A. C. Brown, R. G. Budd, J. T. Arbuckle, B. A. Mullen, H. A. Kramer, J. B. Kinsinger, F. M. Sparks, and the present incumbents, Homer W. Cole, H. L. Allen and Mrs. Allie Aldridge.
In an interesting review of the history of the Rushville schools compiled in 1907 Superintendent Scholl points out that early in 1853 the town took the necessary steps to organize for school purposes under the new constitution and to this end elected Reuben D. Logan, William H. Martin and William B. Flinn as trustees of the independent school corporation of the town of Rushville, this board becoming formally organized on May 14 of that year. The board decided to issue a call for a meeting of the voters of the Rushville school corporation to vote for or against taxation for school purposes, the ballots to be cast at the court house on the following June 6. At this meeting it was stated by the clerk that there were in the limits of the school corporation about 300 children between the ages of five and twenty-one years, that the corporation did not own any school house or lot for school purposes, that there was on hand and due the school corporation about $750, and that the amount of taxable property was about $350,000, and a resolution was offered providing for the levy of a tax of 50 cents on the $100 worth of taxable property for building a school house and for school purposes. The conservatism of the taxpayers present was demonstrated by the vote on this resolution, there being but thirty-four votes cast in its favor. Motions to substitute 45, 40, 35 and 30 cents, respectively, were also lost, but a motion for a tax of 25 cents was sustained by a large majority. At the same meeting, through motions offered by Pleasant A. Hackleman and Thomas Pugh, a movement was begun to buy the property of the Rush County Seminary for school purposes and a poll tax of 30 cents was assessed upon each poll in the corporation for that purpose. The trustees temporarily rented the seminary and the first public school in Rushville was opened in the same on September 5,1853, with George A. Chase as principal and Thomas C. Gelpin and Mrs. George A. Chase as assistants. Later in the term it was found necessary to employ two additional assistants and E. A. Ainsworth and Mrs. Mary Looney were engaged. In that same year negotiations toward the purchase of the county seminary building were completed, the price for the property being $2,500 and the next year another teacher was added to the force and the school tax was raised to 50 cents and the poll tax for school purposes to 50 cents, and thus the development of the school began. In the fall of 1866 the old seminary building was sold and thereafter for three years school was held in the basements of the several churches. In March, 1868, the school board bought the present site of the Graham school on Perkins street and at once set about the erection of a suitable school building. David Graham, of Columbus, Ind., was secured as superintendent of the new school and on September 9,1869, he opened the school which now bears his name. The initial staff of teachers under Superintendent Graham's direction was as follows: Miss M. L. Thompson, teacher of the high school; Fannie Fisher, seventh and eighth grades; Miss Lou Miller, fifth and sixth grades; Marian Stitt, third and fourth grades, and Emma Williams, first and second grades. The present Graham school and the Graham annex are magnificent memorials to Professor Graham, who earned the respectful title of "Grand Old Man of Rushville" and who continued to serve as superintendent of the schools for a period of fourteen years, or until his retirement in 1883.
Some Notes On The County Schools
The present (1921) bonded indebtedness of the several townships of the county for school purposes, all townships save Richland having outstanding school bonds, is as follows: Anderson township, $16,875; Center, $16,125; Jackson, $2,500; Noble, $12,775; Orange, $6,500; Posey, $10,775; Ripley, $16,000; Rushville, $43,400; Union $10,500; Walker, $21,750, and Washington, $4,000. The school city of Rushville is carrying a bonded indebtedness of $42,500 for school purposes.
Many illuminating paragraphs relating to the schools of the county in an earlier day are contained in the old newspaper files. For instance, in the fall of 1857 it was a matter of newspaper note that "Mr. Lux Roy is getting along finely with his commercial and writing academy. He has a large number of students and they appear to be improving very fast." In April of that same year it was noted that a "public exhibition will take place at Black's school house in Union township on May 23. Public respectfully invited to attend." Recollections of the old Richland Academy are revived by the publication of an advertisement signed by J. McKee in the fall of 1857 announcing that "the undersigned, in proposing to take charge of the Richland Academy in place of Rev. A. S. Montgomery, resigned, would respectfully solicit in behalf of the institution the patronage of all who, having youth to educate, may find it convenient to send them to Richland. And furthermore would say, that having chosen teaching for his profession, directed his studies with reference to it, and had two years' experience in teaching a similar academy, he hopes and expects to give reasonable satisfaction. . . . Particular care will be taken of the manners and morals of the pupils. The moral and social influence of the community around is of the highest order." In the summer of 1857 there is printed a notice of a meeting to be held in the court house for the purpose of organizing a county teachers' association. It is announced that "Messrs. J. Hurty and others are invited and will probably attend." Evidently there had been a prior organization of the two counties of Rush and Henry, for in August of that year announcement was made that "the Teachers' Association of Rush and Henry counties will hold an institute at Rushville, commencing on Tuesday, the 1st day of September, holding for four days. Lectures will be given each evening during the session of the institute." The organization of the public school at Rushville in 1853 apparently was long regarded as something in the way of an experiment that left a good deal to be desired but of which much was hoped, for as late as in October, 1860, a newspaper story under the head "Our Free School" announced that "the school is in a very flourishing condition and is destined to more than fulfill the expectations of those who have taken an interest in its success. Persons feeling an interest in the school are invited to visit it at any time." Evidently the call for a meeting to consider the project of organizing a teachers' association in 1857 failed of effective result, for in January, 1861, there is a story of a meeting held for the purpose of organizing such an association, at which it was noted that one-third of the teachers of the county were present and at which organization was effected by the election of J. McKee to the office of president, William. M. Thrasher, vice-president, and I. N. Porch, secretary. Another note of skepticism regarding the free school system was voiced in February, 1861, the newspaper expressing the "hope that the effort now being made to improve the educational facilities of our count will be eminently successful. It is a lamentable truth that the free school system of this state exists more in name than in fact. We have had the shadow but not the substance. We hope an honest administration of the school laws as they are or as the wisdom of the present legislature may leave them, will greatly remedy existing evils; but if not, they must be thoroughly remodeled so as to place in reach of all the youth of the state a practical and sufficient common school education. Rush county pays annually to the state school fund $10,000 and receives back but $6,000. Money ($4,000) little better than squandered and diverted from its proper use.'' That was in the days of the select schools,'' many apparently still being doubtful of the methods of the "free" schools. An announcement in the summer of 1861 stated that Miss Celia Winship would open in the basement of the Presbyterian church on the 1st Monday in September, a "select school," the fall session to continue twenty-one weeks, the terms of tuition being as follows: "Spelling, reading and writing, $3 per quarter; higher studies, $4; highest studies, $5." In the spring of 1862 it was announced that Professor Dungan's second term of singing school commences on May 31. "We are informed that a large class has been organized." The Misses E. and 1ST. Allen announced in December, 1863, that in the following January they would open a "select school" in the basement of the Christian church, the same to continue for five months; "common English branches, higher mathematics and Latin and Greek taught. No more than forty scholars admitted." About this same time were being carried the advertisements of Dailey's Writing Academy, "open day and evening—bookkeeping and penmanship lectures on commercial law twice a week. Room, few doors west of Odd Fellow hall." In January, 1868, it was announced that the third teachers' institute, just adjourned had adopted resolutions urging among other things that the state appropriate more money to the common school fund, "as teachers had to get along on small pay." The resolutions also declared that "the use of tobacco in any form is evidence of moral unfitness for teaching and a sufficient reason for examiners to withhold license." In the summer of 1869 there was carried the advertisement of the Carthage Normal Institute, a school "for the accommodation of those who wish to review the common branches and to obtain the best methods of teaching them," the school to begin September 6 and to continue six weeks. Early in 1870 the school paper had come into being at Rushville, a little newspaper item in February of that year asking the people to "read the Enterprise, the weekly published in the school and edited by the students." In the spring of this same year notice was given that "the teachers of Rush county and vicinity will hold a picnic at the fair grounds on May 21." On July 29,1871, a report of a committee of the Rush County Educational Association recommending the adoption of a uniform series of text-books for use in all the schools of the county was adopted. Complaint was made that sometimes in a school there would be two or three different texts on the same subject, "making the labor of the teachers much greater." In 1872 it was noted that the teachers of Ripley township had formed a "Lyceum," the object being "the elevation of the schools." In 1873 Professor David Graham was announced as the director of a county normal school to be held in the public school building at Rushville through July and August "to train teachers for their work." For a number of years the Rushville Weekly Jacksonian carried an "Educational Column" conducted by Elder Jacob B. Blount, ex-county superintendent of schools, in which all public questions were discussed, including religious, political and educational questions. In 1890 the Rushville Republican was conducting a weekly column devoted to the schools of the county, in which matters pertaining to the needs of the schools were set out, errors criticized and much other general information given. The present effective system was gradually being evolved. At the time of the opening of the schools in the fall of 1890 public notice through the newspapers was given that every teacher in the county would be expected to study the "County Manual" and "comply as far as possible with the requirements of the county board." Uniformity of methods was on the way. The advantage of "system" and "team work" was being recognized. And results were being obtained, as witness a newspaper item of September 13, 1892, which stated that "a goodly number of Rush county young ladies and gentlemen will attend the various colleges this winter. This shows that there is a spirit for higher education being cultivated among the young folks." And that spirit is marching grandly on. In 1897 the Indiana state compulsory education law sounded the knell of illiteracy in this state.