Madison County History and Genealogy

History and Genealogy

History of Madison County

Stokes Township Schools

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

There is perhaps nothing in the history of a country, in its growth, progress and advancement, which presents a more striking contrast than the schools of the first settlers and the schools of to-day; or, more properly, the absence of schools in that day, compared with the fine schools and advantages that are now enjoyed for the education of the young. For the pioneers of this country had a mission to perform. The land was covered with the mighty forest trees, which the horny hand of toil must first remove in order that the soil might be made to produce the necessaries to support the physical man, and the support and growth of the intellectual had to, from necessity, be made a secondary matter. But as soon as the circumstances would permit, we find them endeavoring to provide ways and menas for the education of their children, and in this work they had to rely entirely upon themselves and their own resources to accomplish it, as then, and for many years after, there was no help by State or otherwise to establish or support schools. Hence, their only alternative was to band together as soon as there were enough in a neighborhood to make it feasible, and each subscribe a certain amount, then hire a teacher, and in some house call the children together, where the teacher would meet with them and impart to them such instruction as they were able to receive, or the rude text-books and limited qualifications of the teacher of that day could give; and as soon as they could, they would combine together and cut down and prepare logs, and erect a house for school purposes. These were of the most rude and primitive kind, and are fully explained elsewhere in this work. Thus were carried on the schools of the first settlers of Stokes Township till the school laws of Ohio were enacted, which rendered material aid to the work of educaiton. Now they could levy a tax and appropriate the means to furnish houses, and opportunities for the free education of every child in the community. Of course, the tax was a prescribed amount, and the value of property was then limited, and the amount of schooling limited accordingly; but as property and wealth increased, so did the advantages for schools and of obtianing an education increase, and have continued to do so up to the present time, which now, it would seem, had reached almost to the maximum of attinment.

One of the first public schools in this township was in an old log house on the land now owned by James Crawford, and was situated near where his gate is now located. The first teacher was Mr. Burley. this was about 1830. The next schoolhouse was a cabin erected on the place now owned by John Murray. There was also a log house built for school purposes on Samuel Harrod's land about 1831. The first teacher here was Mr. Sears, who was rigid in discipline to the extreme, and created some difficulty in the neighborhood through his uncalled-for severity to his scholars. This, however, was not much of an exception in that day, as good physical powers and ability to chastise his pupils was almost as great a requirement in that day as were intellectual qualifications. As the township filled up with settlers in different parts of her territory, so these primitive schools were established; and as the wealth and comforts of the people increased, so they increased and improved their schools, until now (1882) this township has ten school districts, with as many good schoolhouses, all either good frame or brick buildings, comfortably seated and well furnished with the best approved furniture and school paraphernaila.

District No. 1, situated just south of South Solon, on the Hudson farm, in 1881 enumerated twenty-one scholars. District Now. 2, located on B. Thomas' farm, enumerated forty-nine; District No. 3 (Gossard's) enumerated forty-four; District No. 4 (Foster) enumerated twenty-nine; District No. 5 (Pancake) enumerated twenty-nine; District No. 6 (Stroup) enumerated thirty-five; District No. 7 (Gordon) enumerated twenty-one; District No. 8 (Corbitt) enumerated forty-two; District No. 9 (Selsor) enumerated thirty-two; District No. 10 (South Solon) enumerated ninety-three; also throughout the different districts there are enumerated eighteen colored children, total enumeration, 412 school children. Levied for school purposes, April 17, 1882, for tuition, $3,500; for incidentals, $1,335; total, $4, 835.

From History of Madison County, Ohio, Chester E. Bryan, Supervising Editor, B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis (1915)

Undoubtedly one of the first public schools in this township was a log house on the land later owned by James Crawford. Mr. Burley was the first teacher. This was about 1830. The next school house was built on land later owned by John Murray. There was also a log house for school purposes on Samuel Harrod's land about 1831. The first teacher here was Mr. Sears, who was a rigid disciplinarian and created some difficulties in the neighborhood because of his severity with some of the boys. This, however, was no exception in that day, as good physical powers and the ability to chastise the pupils was almost as great a qualification to teach in those days as were intellectual attainments.

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