The Greenbush Academy/Early Schools
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Early Days/GreenB

 The Schools of Greenbush . 9

0, were you ne‘er a school-boy,

And did you never train,

And feel that swelling of the heart

You re ‘er will feel again?”

      In the early days in the township there were three school-houses. These houses were made of logs and did not differ much from a common log-cabin. They had a big fireplace in one end, one door and one or two small windows. The children sat on benches made by splitting logs and facing up the pieces with an ax. Holes were then bored in them in which the legs were fastened. For writing-desks, holes were bored in the wall in which were driven wooden pins or pegs on which a board was laid.

     Foolscap paper was used for copy-books. The teachers would write the copy for the pupils. Some of these copies would read like this:

"Many men of many minds;"
"Command you may your mind from play;"
"The pen is mightier than the sword"

     Goose quills were used to make the pens, and the teacher was expected to make them and keep them in repair. The ink was often made from indigo, oak bark or poke-berries. Webster's Spelling-Book was the main book in the school and was often used as a reader. Afterwards came McGuffey's Readers; Rays Arithmetic's; Smith's, Kirk ham's, Murray's, and Clarks Grammars; Parleys, Olney's and Mitchell's Geographies.

     The school trustees in the township in 1840 were Thomas Moulton, Lauren Rose, John Sargent, John Plymate, and Abel Chase.

     At that time John C. Bond was treasurer. Gustavus Hills, James F. Chambers, and E. B. Stephens were the school-teachers.

     At that time there were only three school districts in the township. The north half of the west half of the township was called Greenfield district. The south half of the west half of the township was called Van Buren district. The balance of the township was in one district and was called Stringtown district.

     At a meeting held July 13, 1840, it was ordered that the school-house in Van Buren district be no longer used during school-hours for public worship; also that Lauren Rose and Dr. Abel Chase should have the power to employ a teacher for the school in Greenfield on such terms as they might think proper.

     The school-teachers in 1841 were Isaac Bell, Gustavus Hills, Charles Tinker, Charles A. Williams, and Sarah Woods. The directors elected in Van Buren district were Wm. B. Bond and Harvey J. Hewett. In Greenfield district, Henson C. Martin and J. E. Heath were elected directors. Thomas Teeters, John Plymate, and Charles Plymate were elected directors in Stringtown district. Greenfield had one hundred and three persons under the age of twenty, Stringtown eighty-nine, and Van Buren ninety-five.

     At a meeting held January 10, 1842, it was ordered to pay the treasurer four dollars and fifty cents for his services for the last two years. At that time all school money was loaned at twelve per cent. John Sargent was appointed school treasurer. In 1846 an election was held to determine whether the rate of interest on school money should be eight or twelve per cent. Every vote cast except two was for twelve per cent.

     In 1848 the township was divided into districts by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and fractional 4 and 5. John Wingate was then chosen treasurer.

     This entry is made in the treasurers book: Coon Section, January 27, 1849. A very bad spell of weather, good deal of rain. Very icy and slippery, creek higher than it has been for two years. No business done by the trustees. John Wingate, Treasurer.

The Greenbush Academy

The photo below if clicked on will open in own window and you can see the Christian Church in the background.

     In the year 1851 the citizens of Greenbush and vicinity began to talk about erecting a building for a high school or academy, but there was nothing definite done until early in January, 1852, when notices were posted calling for a meeting.

   The minutes of that meeting are here given:

     Pursuant to notice, the citizens of Greenbush and vicinity met at the schoolhouse in Greenbush, Tuesday evening, January 27, 1852, to take measures for building a house for a high school or academy in Greenbush. On motion of J. C. Bond, Alfred Osborn was appointed chairman and F. H. Merrill secretary. When, by the request of the chairman, J. C. Bond stated the object of the meeting, enforcing its laudableness in a brief and interesting address. When Dr. N. B. McKay offered the following, viz:

     Proposition for a building in Greenbush for a high school, to be from 26 to 30 feet by 40 to 48 feet or more, two story, one room, to be used by different denominations for religious meetings, when the school in not in session, subject to the same rules as observed in cases of district houses. The whole to be under the control of trustees elected by the stockholders, each share having a vote in the election. Shares to be ten dollars each. In consideration of the above we, the undersigned, agree to pay to the said trustees the sums set opposite our respective names in installments, as follows: One quarter of each share by the first day of April next, and as much at the expiration of every three months from that time, till all is paid to be offered for subscription.

      Wm. B. Bond moved that the following words be erased from the above proposition, viz: "subject to the same rules as observed in cases of district schoolhouses," which, after an interesting discussion, was carried, when the above proposition was adopted and submitted for subscribers.

     Elijah Lieurance advocated the building of a house worth $1,500. Stephen Lieurance motioned that we organize when $1,000 of stock should be subscribed, but not to commence building until $1,500 shall have been subscribed. J. C. Bond offered as an amendment that we commence building when $1,000 of stock is subscribed, which was carried and the original motion lost. On motion of Stephen Lieurance, the chairman appointed the following persons to solicit stock, viz: John C. Bond, John M. Hoisington, N. B. McKay, A. W. Simmons, and Stephen Lieurance.

     On motion of J. M. Hoisington, the chairman appointed the following persons to draft a constitution and by-laws to present for adoption at the next meeting of the stockholders: J. C. Bond, John Butler, and N. B. McKay. Adjourned to meet next Tuesday evening at the schoolhouse at early candle light.

     At a meeting of the stockholders held February 3, 1852 a subscription of $1,042.50 was reported, and the constitution and by-laws were adopted and the following-named persons were elected by ballot for trustees: John M. Hoisington, Eliphalet C. Lewis, and Alfred Osborn for the term of three years; Dr. N. B. McKay, Julius Lathrop, and Andrew W. Simmons for the term of two years; Hanson H. Hewett, John C. Bond, and Stephen Lieurance for the term of one year; Squire J. Buzan, treasurer; Frederic H. Merrill, secretary.

     The academy building was erected in 1853. The contract was let to Levi Lincoln. He was assisted in the work by his brothers Clinton and Oscar. The building committee were N. B. McKay, J. T. Lathrop, and Alfred Osborn; John M. Hoisington was afterwards added to this committee.

     Very heavy timbers were used in the construction of the building, and on the day of raising many persons gathered to assist in raising the timbers. Levi Lincoln first began to give orders but his voice was not strong enough; so David Armstrong took his place and gave orders both loud and strong. After the building was finished, it was decided to dedicate it with a grand supper. So everybody was invited and nearly everybody came, and they came prepared, many of them bringing baked chickens. After the tables were all set, David Young was appointed carver. Clinton Lincoln, who was present on the occasion, says David dispatched his work swiftly and dexterously.

     During the year of 1853, the legislature granted a charter to the school under the name of The Greenbush Academy.

     The first teacher employed as principal in the Academy was W. W. Happy of Jacksonville, Illinois. He was assisted by Miss Margaret Gaines. They received the tuition fees for their services.

      In January, 1854, Mr. Happy reported to the trustees that there were only about twenty students and that he wished to resign at the expiration of the term, but the school gained in attendance and was for a long time in a prosperous condition. At one time, when Daniel Negley was principal, there were nearly one hundred students attending.

     In 1854. the Academy bad a belfry but no bell. The women of Greenbush and vicinity took an active part in procuring one. Miss Jane Mather, Mrs. Alfreda Crissey, Mrs. Mary Buzan and. others were engaged in soliciting subscription. They found it a difficult business as the people had been often called on for subscriptions in the building of the Academy. But the women were persistent and the bell was procured. Year after year it was heard by the people, sometimes at a distance of three or four miles, as it rang for school, literary society, Sunday school, and entertainments of different kinds. Different religious denominations used this bell to call the people together, where the minister exhorted them to a better life. Often as the years went by, it toiled the years of departed ones in tones that were received in sadness and sorrow. In 1855, Alexander Campbell, the founder of the Christian church, preached in the Academy. It was here that Luccoc and Westfall held their debate on endless punishment.

     The school has been abandoned for many years, and the building is going to decay.


This page updated on:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 04:21:35 PM