Our research has shown that school records are sketchy. School districts were formed according to population disregarding town lines. The Republican Watchman” in its edition celebrating the 125th anniversary of its publication, noted the new Public School Law passed in March, 1839, which concerned Sullivan County very much. The Law required that four months’ school must be kept in each district, instead of three months’, as heretofore, or public monies could not be obtained. Frequently, the Trustee advanced the teacher’s wages until the taxes were received.
The Hackeldam School, District No. 5, was in operation in 1875 in the Hackel-dam area down by the river at the end of Katrina Falls Road. It was located on Lot No.8. A local resident, Lester R. Bishop, has reported that his grandparents attended the lower school. This building was moved about 1916 or 1917 to its present site on Katrina Falls Road, mainly because the population moved to the north toward Rock Hill proper. The new site was donated for School District use by Horton Case. This one-room schoolhouse was attended mainly by the children of the Gordon and Case families. In November, 1888, Sanford W. Silvieus was sole trustee and prepared the list of unpaid taxes. The Collector of Taxes, H. W. Case swore the list was correct before Justice of the Peace Charles H. Stage on the same date. This building was used as a school as late as 1938.
There was a school in Bridgeville in its early days taught by Asa Hall.
The one-room schoolhouse, District No 7 of the Towns of Thompson and Fallsburgh, still stands on Fast Glen Wild Road on property owned by William Rieber formerly owned by Mel Osborn. This school was voted to be built in October, 1878, on property donated in exchange for the erection of a stone fence on three sides.
The Rock Hill School was on State Road No.17, District No.14. A review of the Trustees’ Book from 1881 to 1901 revealed some interesting facts: that the cost of heating during the school year 1882 was $16.80 for twelve cords of wood supplied by Josiah Goble: the labor for building the fire each morning cost $2.50 – for the year! Also the labor for cleaning the schoolhouse was $1 .50, annual cost. The total amount of school expense in the school year ending June, 1900 was $298.72. The District received taxes and public money of $312.54 which left them a Balance on Hand of $12.82 to start the new school year. (Figures taken literally from the Trustees Book – no computers then.)
A year later, in a pattern familiar to us all today, costs had risen, as cord wood cost $15.00, insurance rose $5.72 to $9.72 and labor for lighting the fires for the year was $5.00.
Teachers’ salaries varied but little. The lowest paid was $3.50 per week to Jennie Lord, wife of Benjamin Lord in the summer term and $4.50 in the winter term from 1882 to 1884. The highest wages paid were to Miss Mattie Hughes in 1900-1901 of $9.00 per week. By then, wages were paid four times a year by the Trustees. The records show that one teacher finished her work on July 13,1888 and waited until the following November for her pay which had been set at $4.00 per week for twelve weeks’ work. It seems that tax collections were slow that year.
Some of the teachers were named Catherine Dillon, Helen Roark, Alice M. Rice, Mrs. Kitts, James Ryan. There was no flagpole or flag flying until 1895.
Records also show that the school-house was rebuilt by Melvin Coddington in 1901 at a cost of $199.50, which included masonry foundation, installation of new seats and cleaning up the grounds. This building is presently the Parsonage for the Rock Hill Methodist Church, as the school use ceased in 1956.
<< Legends & Trivia | Houses of Worship >>