Genealogy Trails
UNION COUNTY SCHOOLS


AND

PROFESSOR CLARENCE W. OSBORNE.

    Professor Clarence W. Osborne, county superintendent of the Union county schools, was born in Union county, Indiana, near the town of Col­lege Corner, Ohio, June 5, 1853, a son of William W. and Huldah (Tucker) Osborne. His father was born in England and was the son of a prominent English silk manufacturer who with his family emigrated to Toronto, Can­ada, where he engaged extensively in the real-estate business. William W. Osborne was then but a youth. He completed an excellent education and mastered the carpenter's trade under the rigid Canadian law governing the same. While yet a young man he left Toronto and took up his residence in College Corner, Ohio, where he married Huldah Tucker. He located near the town, in Indiana, and taught school for some years in Ohio and Indiana, gaining a high reputation as an educator. In the vacation he contracted or did extra work in the line of his trade. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Union county, Indiana, and devoted his time to agricultural pursuits. He died in 1866. His widow survived him twenty-nine years and devoted her­self to the interests of her children, giving careful attention to their educa­tion. They had two sons and four daughters, but the younger son died in childhood. The four sisters, however, survive, and all became successful teachers.

    At the age of eighteen years Clarence W. Osborne entered Miami Uni­versity, at Oxford, Ohio, and took two years of the course. He then spent the succeeding two years as a student in the National Normal University, at Lebanon, Ohio, meantime operating his mother's farm. He graduated at the commercial course, but would have had to continue his studies for at least another term of eleven weeks in order to complete the classical course, and a ripening harvest demanded his attention on the farm. Subsequently he began teaching, and after four years' service in the district schools was for one year principal of the West College Corner school. He was then elected county superintendent of the public schools of Union county, in 1881, and has been re-elected at every election since, and has held the office continu­ously for more than eighteen years. No other county superintendent in this state has served for so long a time. He has attended as a member thirty-six County Superintendents' State Associations and eighteen State Teachers' Associations. He has conducted nineteen county institutes and all have, by general consent, been conceded to be of the highest character. He has held two hundred and eighteen teachers' examinations, and attended about one hundred and fifteen township and corporation commencements. Since com­ing into office Mr. Osborne matriculated in the National University, at Chi­cago, and fulfilled its conditions by correspondence, receiving in due succes­sion the degrees of A. B., A. M. and Ph. D. He has made a model official, and, keenly alive to the educational interests of the county, has been instru­mental in advancing the cause of public education along all lines. He is the soul of geniality and is greatly esteemed by the teachers, pupils and the gen­eral public, and is one of the most practical, efficient and best known educa­tors in this part of the state. Within his term of office the County Superin­tendents' State Association has honored him with the secretaryship and the presidency of the association and with positions on several important com­mittees. The Professor is a member and has passed all the chairs of Tallawanda Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of College Sorner. The following statistics relative to the educational situation in Union county were supplied by Professor Osborne: Teachers employed, sixty; enumeration, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six; enrollment, one thousand four hundred and nine; average attendance, one thousand and sixty-three; average length of term in days, one hundred and sixty; membership of Young People's Reading Circle, one thousand one hundred and forty-seven; membership of Teachers' Reading Circle, sixty; average wages per day, two dollars and thirty-seven cents. Every township of the county now gives from two to four years of high-school advantages to the pupils, but where more than two years are given it is done by the township trustee paying the per capita expense or the tuition at the College Corner or Liberty high school. In 1897-8 five hundred and ninety-eight Young People's Reading Circle diplomas were given, showing that that number of pupils had completed the four-years course of reading. As county manager of the State Reading Cir­cles, Professor Osborne has been very energetic and skillful.

    It should be stated that the county exhibit of school work took an award at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and received the proper medal-, and the county superintendent and two township principals (J.F. Hermeir, of Harrison township, and E. P. Wilson, principal of the West College Corner school and also township principal of Union township) received diplomas of honorable mention, authorized by congress for those who rendered valuable assistance on exhibits which secured awards. In 1898-9 twenty-four out of the sixty teachers of the county had received nor­mal training, nine had college or university training, and of the remainder all had high school training. During Professor Osborne's incumbency as superintendent there have been twenty-two modern school buildings erected in the county, nineteen of them constructed of brick, in addition to the splendid high-school edifice at College Corner, and with but few exceptions all of the school-houses of the county are commodious and of modern style of architecture. The progress thus outlined reflects great credit upon the efficient township and corporation trustees who have had the school buildings in charge.The present county board of education of Union county is composed of the following named gentlemen: C. W. Osborne, county superintendent and president of the board; J. K. Husted, of Harmony township, secretary; J. C. Showalter, of Brownsville township; S. H. Bellinger, Center township; T. J. Bennett, Harrison township; W. C. Booth, Liberty township; W. F. Shanklin, Union township; W. A. Fosdick, president of the Liberty school board; and J. A. Newton, president of the West College Corner school board. The present school board of the Liberty school has as its members W. A. Fosdick, C. E. Hughes and Dr. M. H. Leech. This school has been under the superintendence of Professor J. W. Short, A. M., during the entire period of Professor Osborne's administration as county superintendent. One year has been added to the high-school course, and the school has been "commissioned " by the state board of education, and its graduates have a legal right to enter the freshman year of any of the state's higher institutions of learning without examination. A commercial course has also been estab­lished, and the trustees regard this as one of the best things which have been done for the school. This course is in charge of P. B. Nye, principal of the high school, who is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville, and is a man of fine natural ability and great popularity. The school, building is. an  elegant brick structure and the school revenues are ample. As the little city of Liberty has always been thoroughly alive to her educational interests, tfee school was in excellent condition when Professor Short took charge,  and,  backed by an intelligent and enterprising school board, and assisted by a most earnest and efficient corps of teachers, he has kept it fully abreast of the most rapid educational progress of the state. He has placed it entirely in line with the state course of study for town and city schools. He holds regular teachers' meetings and meetings at which the Teachers' Reading Circle work is thoroughly and ably discussed. He has also been enthusiastic in promoting the work of the Young People's Reading Circle, and the gain to his pupils by reading these excellent books has been very great. The school has a valuable library, nearly all of which has been procured during his administration, and it is extensively used with results that are invaluable. The graduates of this school have for many years formed a considerable element of the teaching force of the county, and have proven the value and efficiency of their training. Professor Short is held in high esteem by the Town and City Superintendents' State Association. He is a most able and faithful superintendent, and probably no educator of the state has a stronger hold on the people of his city.

    When Superintendent Osborne entered upon his duties in the position which he yet holds, the township trustees requested him to take charge of the township institutes. He did so and the townships were divided into three institute districts. These institutes were conducted under his personal supervision for ten years, and two lines of study of especial interest to teachers were pursued each year. Within this time, on account of educational prog­ress, the demands on the superintendent's time had greatly increased. The trustees then kindly took charge of their respective township institutes and placed them under the personal care of township principals, since which time they have been conducted in that manner. The progress made in the schools is somewhat indicated by the fact that there were five pupils who completed the district-school course and received county diplomas the year Professor Osborne went into office, and now about fifty pupils receive such diplomas annually.

    Another advance step has been made by the Union county schools, along musical lines. The state in her last two courses of study for elementary schools has indicated work in music, although it is not required by law. Union and Liberty townships introduced musical instruction into their schools two years ago, and Center and Harmony townships at the beginning of the school year of 1898-9. The work was given in charge of township superintendents of music from the first. In 1897-8 the music superintend­ents were Mrs. Ida C. Keffer, for Union township, and Mr. Samuel Farlow, for Liberty township, and in 1898-9 they were Mrs. Ida C. Keffer, for Union township, Mrs. India K. Barnard, for Center township, and Samuel Farlow, for Liberty and Harmony townships. These superintendents have managed the work with great skill, and it has been both successful and popular. The following trustees are entitled to the credit of introducing music into their schools in this efficient way: W. F. Shanklin, of Union township; W. C. Booth, of Liberty township; S. H. Ballinger, of Center township; and J. K. Husted, of Harmony township. Music is taught in the other two townships by the teachers who are able and willing to handle it without assistance from a specialist, and considerable good work has thus been done; but superin­tendents have not yet been supplied. On the advice of Superintendent Short, the Liberty school board placed music in charge of a special superintendent some years since, and the plan was so successful that it has been continued to the present time. College Corner has not yet introduced the study of this art under the direction of a special superintendent, but some good work in this branch is being done by the teachers. <>The College Corner Union School is not like any other in the United States. It is inter-state, hence national, and the United States courts would probably have to be invoked to abolish it. The Indiana school board at the time of its establishment consisted of Thomas Pentecost, Dr. W. H. Hawley and James Schultz. The Ohio board had for its members George Weidmer, S. R. Ramsey and W. L. Pults. This school was organized under the fol­lowing authority: Superintendent C. W. Osborne, of Union county, wrote the state superintendent of Indiana concerning the organization of a union school between West College Corner and College Corner, Ohio, and received the following reply:

Indianapolis, Indiana, December 20,1892. Supt. C. W. Osborxe, College Corner, Ohio:
Dear Mr. Osborne:
    Replying to your recent favor, would say that I presented your case tothe attorney general and he is of the opinion that the town can make the combination without
any legislation.                                   
Yours very truly,
Harvey D. Vories, State Superintendent.

An application from the College Corner (Ohio) school board to the proper Ohio authority, State Commissioner O. T. Carson, brought this opinion from the attorney general of the state, to whom Mr. Corson referred the matter:

Hon. O. T. Corson, State Commissioner Common Schools:

My Dear Sir:
    You have referred to me the following questions: College Corner extends from the state line between Ohio and Indiana about one-half mile east, and West College Corner, Indiana, extends from said line about one-half mile west, and these two wish to unite and establish and conduct a union school. Can this be done without infringing upon the laws of Ohio?    If so, what is the best method of procedure?
    I think it can be done. College Corner in Ohio can be made into a special district governed by three directors. These three directors can unite with the board of three which control the school district in College Corner, Indiana, and build the school-house on the line so that part of the house will be in Ohio and part in Indiana. The expense of the; joint school can be appor­tioned between the two districts on the basis of the school enumeration. Then each board will not have to pay more than it would if it conducted a separate school. The teachers can be selected by a majority of each board of directors. In all matters relating to the schools, the separate board of directors may act concurrently, but not jointly.
If there are any further details, they can be arranged by consent of the two boards actingwith the approval of the state commissioner of this state and the state superintendent of
Indiana.                                              
Very respectfully,
J. K. Richards

    The plan of establishing this school on the authority of the attorney general of each state, in case both of these officers should agree concerning the enterprise, was originated by Superintendent Osborne, heartily sanctioned by both school boards, and unanimously approved when submitted to a meeting of the voters interested.

    The College Corner Union School was organized and classified in September, 1893, under the town superintendent, Professor E. P. Wilson; and as the new building on the state line, since completed, at a cost of twelve thousand dollars, was not ready for use, the school was conducted in the old Ohio and Indiana school buildings, the higher grades being sent to the Indiana side and the lower grades to the Ohio side.

    The studies pursued in the first eight years were those laid down in the Indiana Uniform Course of Stndy. The studies for the advanced class were as follows: For the regular class. Collar and Daniel's Beginners' Latin, Wentworth's School Algebra, Guyot's Physical Geography, and studies in American literature, consisting of reading some of the best American authors. Those pursuing the teachers' course were given algebra, physical geography and literature, the same as in the regular class, and in addition Fisk's Civil Government.     A class in arithmetic was also sustained.

    Despite the unfavorable conditions under which the school was organ­ized the first year was a successful one and the school has been increasingly successful to the present time. In the year 1894-5  the school was conducted in the new building, which it has since occupied. The enrollment and attendance show that it was a prosperous year. Another year was added to the course of study and marked improvement made in the plans of work. Another year was also added to the teachers' course, which now requires two years for completion.
A good interest has been shown in the Young People's Reading Circle work. The books are secured through contributions by the pupils and teachers, and in nearly all cases the reading has been done by the pupils themselves, each pupil retaining the book of his own grade for a limited time: and although the pupils are expected to read the books of their own grades first they are encouraged to read those of other grades and other years. In this way many pupils  were induced to read more than  one book, some  as high as five. It is not easy to overestimate the value of this work, for if boys and girls acquire a taste for good reading while young they will derive pleasure and benefit from it as long as they live.

    Teachers are required to meet one day in each month for mutual improvement, at which meeting they discuss the Indiana Teachers' Reading Circle work. In addition to special reading, the teachers do Ohio Teachers' Reading Circle work. Superintendent Wilson has had a strong and pro­gressive corps of teachers from the organization of  the school.

    Graduates of common schools are admitted to the first year of the high school on presentation of a county diploma. Those holding certificates from high schools of equal rank with this are admitted into the year indicated in the certificate on presentation of said certificate. All others will be required to pass an examination for classification.

    A teachers' course of study was organized with a view of giving to those who wish to prepare for teaching, and who have not time to complete the regular high-school course, an opportunity to do some thorough work in advanced studies and review some of the more difficult common branches. The work of the teachers' course is of a substantial character and calculated to be of special value to young people intending to teach. It will also be of great benefit to those wishing to review their studies as a preparation for a commercial course. It has served a good purpose so far, but from the pres­ent rapid advance in the educational standard it is likely that within a few years the school authorities can carry out their design and place this course beyond the high-school course, where they think a teachers' course rightfully belongs, and require the time to be largely devoted to professional studies and training. It is now in charge of U. G. Smith, principal of the high school, who has had normal training and is an able and popular teacher. Most of the pupils who wish to teach have completed the full high-school course before entering the teachers' ranks. As the first high-school class advanced from year to year, proper studies were arranged until they gradu­ated after completing four years'work, and two classes have graduated since. The course is fully up to the standard for high schools in Ohio and Indiana. Superintendent Wilson, who has had university training and holds an Indiana state professional license, is still in charge, and by untiring effort and superior ability has gained the confidence and esteem of the school board and of the entire community.

    Location and principals of township high schools: Brownsville town­ship, Brownsville, C. C. Abernathy, principal; Center township, Lotus, Edward Gardner, principal; also Goodwin's Corner, W. J. Williams, princi­pal; Harrison township, Hanna's Creek, J. F. Hermeier, principal; Liberty Harmony townships (joint),   Dunlapsville,   in   Liberty township,   Miss Christine Hill, principal; and Union township, joined with West College Corner and made the high-school department of the College Corner union school the township high school. These buildings are all new save the one at Duniapsville, and are beautiful and commodious structures, well adapted to the use for which they were intended.

    The building at Duniapsville deserves special mention. Although built many years ago by the authorities of the Whitewater Academy, its architect planned so far ahead of the times that it still presents a most modern appear­ance. It is an elegant two-story brick of six rooms, also ample halls, and is so located as to present a delightful view. It has been kept in excellent repair, and is very attractive. Notwithstanding it has been a good while since this building was used as an academy, the influence of that excellent institu­tion, the White Water Academy, is yet alive and active in this community, and has been, and is still, of great benefit to the public-school work in this section of the country. The building has been for some years the property of the township.

    The present township principals are: Brownsville township, C. C. Abernathy; Center township, W. J. Williams; Harrison township, J. F. Hermier; Harmony township, Miss Alpha Templeton; Liberty township, Miss Margaret Connell; and Union township, B. F. Moon. The principals of township high schools and the township principals are excellent teachers, who com­mand the confidence of all; and the teachers of the county, as a corps, rank high



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