Because You Asked . . . .    

Sinkey School on Ross Road at Dent Road
Charlie Clark gave the following identification to the photo above.
 He did not know the teacher.

Back Row left to right: Earl Downey, Will Clark, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, Vinel Walker
Middle Row:  Mack Murphy?, ?, Forest Day, ?, Hazel Bailey and her sister
Front Row: ?, ?, ?, ?, Mack Murphy? and Margaret Murphy

One Room Schools Dotted Countryside

The earliest settlers made do by teaching children in a home, shed or any building until schoolhouses were built. The first schools in our community were primitive subscription schools erected by volunteer labor. Logs cut 16' or 18' lengths were used for the construction. Broad boards composed the roof. Each had a fireplace, a clapboard door. If there was a window it was probably greased paper to let in light. Students benches were fashioned from trees. A subscription of $1.00 to $3.50 per child was paid for a 3 month period. Teachers boarded with the families. Readers consisted of The New Testament or Old English Reader. Grammar was rarely taught.

In 1853, Ohio revised it’s education system by law forming a Township Board of Education for each township. These boards consisted of one representative of each sub-district school and the clerk of the township. This group was invested with the title, care and custody of all school property. They appropriated the money among the sub-districts, determined what text books were to be used, fixed the boundaries of the districts and located school sites. They reported to the County Auditor annually. City and incorporated villages acted as their own sub-district.

When I was young, my grandfather, Oatfield Whitney, used to tell me "You children have it so easy. When I was your age I used to walk to school." I knew he lived on Whitney Road which is now Longshore Road so I thought he had a very long walk to Sunbury school. Not So.

Each sub-district (usually 6-10 per township) had a school so children did not walk more than a mile or two to school. Each had a local board of directors who controlled the schools. They enumerated the children of school age, employed and dismissed teachers, made contracts for the building, and furnishings of the schools.

The state bill also eliminated the rate-bills and made education free to all youths in the state. Thus one room schools began to replace the primitive schools. Typically these structures were 22' by 36' from outside to outside . Usually they were brick with more than one window to provide light. Each had one door, a chimney (usually for stove) and generally a blackboard as well as benches and tables or desks.

Teachers still boarded with families in the district and moved monthly to share the burden among all the homes. Teachers arrived early enough to heat the building before the students arrived and made sure all was kept clean.

Sub-Division #2 of Berkshire Township adopted the following rules on the 29th of August 1873 for the government of the school.


No person afflicted with any contagious disease shall be permitted to attend school.


It shall be the duty of the teacher to protect the school property from injury or defacement: to prevent all unnecessary talking during school hours; to prevent pupils from rising or leaving seats without permission; to prevent all running and boisterous play within the school house; to prevent the use of profane or immoral language by pupils; and to prevent pupils from indulging in any immoral conduct whatever.


Should any pupil refuse to obey any of the rules of the school, it shall be the duty of the teacher to inform the directors of such refusal forthwith, and it shall be the duty of the directors to expel from the school, for the remainder of the current term, all pupils who refuse to comply with the rules.

4.   The following textbooks shall be used, and no other, in the school to wit:
  • Orthography by McGuffey
  • Reading by McGuffey
  • Arithmetic, Written by Ray
  • Arithmetic, Mental by Stoddard
  • Geography by Guyot
  • Grammar by Harvey
  • Music by Blackman
5.   The sexes shall have separate recesses

Attendance was spotty. Boys often missed school to work on the farm. My father-in-law was one of four boys but there was only one pair of shoes so the boys took turns going to school.

The late Essa Willison told of going to a one room school via walking through her father’s farm, over a fence, across the neighbor’s farm and then down the road to school. In bad weather the neighbor would take the children on to school by horse and wagon. During one heavy snow, the children got from school to the neighbor's but the roads were impassible so six year old Essa spent two nights at the neighbor’s before her father could get to her. Without phones, this would have been very scary.

These schools provided education for the elementary age children only. High school students attended the centralize schools in Center Village, Galena or Sunbury. Often families moved to town so their children could have school advantages. Others had their children stay in town at a friend’s or board in a rented room.

Thanks to Anita Hartsook Robinson and her booklet, A History of the Big Walnut Local Schools, Phyllis Davidson for early Harlem Township photos, and Maxine Longshore for Vans Valley School photos. 

Photos of Early Schools:

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Harlem Township
HuntSchool1.JPG (65373 bytes) pupillist.jpg (167093 bytes) Schoolhouse2.jpg (114921 bytes) S-D7.jpg (322411 bytes)
Hunt School
Sub-District 4
SW Center Village Road and Green Cook Road
Hunt Classes 1905-06
Harlem Township Pupil List Feazel School, Miller School and Biggs School Built in 1855
Harlem Township Sub-District No. 7
Green Cook and Lewis Road    
Fix School #5

Fred Green Teacher
  Harlem Township





Trenton Township Schools
Vans Valley Sub-District 605 South of St. Rt. 37 
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1901 1903 1904 1926-7

Perfect School

South Condit Township- School House Wilson


September 2007

Southconditschool1886-600.JPG (122044 bytes) 


North Old CCC
Polly Horn Photo

South Condit  1886 Hartford Road
Polly Horn, Photo
 St. Rt. 37
Paul Clay's Picture

Ross Road School

photos 2003 by
Janet MacKenzie
1907 1913 1914 1915

Ross Road School







James Rose, teacher of West Galena School in Sun District #6
 of Berkshire Township

Fontenelle School on Berkshire Road
Paul Clay's photo





Unknown Schools

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District No. 4


Stone Jug School


. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(10/17/2016 )

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