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History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania
edited by John F. Meginness; 1892

CHAPTER XXIV.

WILLIAMSPORT (CONCLUDED).

PROGRESS OF EDUCATION - FIRST SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS - WILLIAMSPORT ACADEMY - WILLIAMSPORT SEMINARY - END OF THE OLD ACADEMY - RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS - THE RECORD FROM 1836 TO 1849 - THE SCHOOLS OF TODAY - DICKINSON SEMINARY - YOUNG LADIES' SEMINARY - THE KINDERGARTEN - TEACHERS' INSTITUTES - COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS.


THE first mention we have of a school teacher is in the enumeration of taxables for Loyalsock township in January, 1796. There the name of Caleb Bailey appears as a "schoolmaster." In the list for 1800 the name of Charles O'Brien, "schoolmaster," is also recorded. As the nucleus for the city of Williamsport was then being formed in Loyalsock township, and this was the most thickly settled portion, it is probable that Caleb Bailey was the first teacher. The next seems to have been Charles O'Brien. How long they taught here, and what became of them, we are uninformed.

In 1876, centennial year, Samuel Transeau, superintendent of city schools, made a special effort to collect the early school history of Williamsport for the department of education. He was assisted in his work by Tunison Coryell, Samuel Titus, John K. Hays, and Wesley Miles. The first three had settled here about the beginning of the century and they remembered the early schools and teachers. Mr. Miles came here in 1853 as a teacher from Carlisle and found the schools in a primitive condition. To that report we are indebted for many facts relating to the early educational history of Williamsport.

FIRST SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS.

In laying out the town Michael Ross set aside a square plot of ground for school purposes, and on the northeast corner of this square (now occupied by the court house) a log school house was built. Just when it was erected is not known, but it was probably in 1796, or possibly a year or two later. He was induced, no doubt, to make this provision because Jacob Latcha had, in 1796, conveyed a lot to trustees in Jaysburg (see old Lycoming township) for an "English school house." In the Ross building Robert Knapp taught in 1802. He was succeeded by Apollos Woodward. His name first appears on the assessment for 1804, and he is assessed with 4C one house and lot, $200; one horse and cow, $21.11. How long he taught is unknown; but according to statement of the late Dr. James Hepburn, he was teaching in 1806, for on the day of the eclipse, Hepburn, who was a pupil, accompanied him home to dinner and they witnessed the eclipse beautifully mirrored in a tub filled with clear water.

Apollos Woodward was born in England, February 13,1775, and died at his home in Williamsport, June 21, 1858, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. He held numerous offices of trust during his long life; was coroner in 1807 and associate judge in 1851. In early life he evinced a taste for the military and before coming to Williamsport accompanied General Washington as an aide to Westmoreland county during the whiskey insurrection. The Woodward Guards, a well remembered military company, was named after him, and be always took a deep interest in its welfare. He married a daughter of Peter Vanderbelt and they had a large family of sons and daughters. He acquired much real estate and at one time owned several hundred acres east of Mulberry street. At the time of his death he was interested in a tract of 6,000 acres in the State of Tennessee.

After Apollos Woodward came James Watson as a teacher. He first appears on the assessment books in 1806 and 1807. The first year he is assessed with a cow; the second year with a "house and lot and a cow." How long Watson taught is unknown. It is claimed that a man named Dixon. was one of the early teachers, but his name does not appear on the assessment returns. About 1811 Francis Graham taught in the old log school house; and in 1812 he opened a school in a building of his own, which stood on the northeast corner of West and Worth streets. There he taught for ten years with great success.

When the old log school house was abandoned is unknown, but it must have been soon after Graham ceased to use it.

WILLIAMSPORT ACADEMY.

What was known as the "Williamsport Academy for the Education of Youth in the English and other Languages, in the Useful Arts, Sciences, and Literature," was authorized by act of April 2, 1811, and $2,000 appropriated to aid in founding it, on the condition that a number of poor children, not exceeding five, should be taught there without charge. The ground for the academy is said to have been set aside by Michael Ross; probably because the court house had been built on the square which he originally designed for a school house. In 1814 the academy was erected on the reserved lot, corner of Third and West streets. It was built in part out of the $2,000 appropriated by the State, and by subscriptions from citizens of the borough and county. The contractors were A. D. Hepburn and Jeremiah Tallman. It was a plain, substantial brick building, octagonal in form, and two stories in height, with two rooms on each floor. This ancient building still stands as a landmark of early times, and is used for a private dwelling. It adjoins the residence of John B. Hall, who owns it.

This institution was managed by a board of trustees consisting of six members, one-third of whom were elected annually. The first board consisted of William Wilson, Ellis Walton, Thomas Caldwell, Samuel E. Grier, Thomas Hays, and Robert McClure. The originators of the enterprise were nearly all Scotch-Irish settlers and the school was under the auspices of the Presbyterian church. The school opened with Rev. Samuel Henderson, pastor of the Lycoming (Newberry) church, as principal, assisted by Thomas Grier. The latter was a brother of Judge Grier of the United States court.

Up to 1835 the successors of Mr. Henderson were as follows: Justus Dart, Francis Graham, -- Blaisdell, F. M. Wadsworth, Richard Chadwick, James Teas, Isaac K. Torbert, and Joseph G. Rathmell. John F. Wolfinger, who knew the majority of these teachers personally, thus wrote of them: Rev. Henderson was a graduate of Edinburgh College, Scotland. After studying theology he came to this country and preached for a short time at Wilmington, Delaware. He then removed to Williamsport and was engaged to teach in the academy while he served as pastor of the church at Newberry. After leaving here in 1817 or 1818, he preached in Bradford county for a short time, when he located near Pittsburg, where he died.

Dart came from Now England. He was a fine scholar. From here he went to the West. Graham was a fine arithmetician and remained several years, when he went south. Blaisdell came from the state of New York. While teaching the academy he studied law. Wadsworth was a graduate of Yale. He studied law with Joseph B. Anthony and then settled in York county, where he died. Chadwick came from Now Jersey; he was an excellent mathematician; afterwards located at Smethport, Pennsylvania, and served as prothonotary of McKean county for several years and died there. Teas came from Milton in 1828 and left in 1830. He settled at Northumberland as a physician, where he died. Torbert was a native of Lycoming county, and published the Lycoming Gazette for several years. He was also the author of "Torbert's Arithmetic," a work of considerable value, but now very rare. Rathmell was a native of Loyalsock township and studied under Wadsworth. He became a good Latin scholar and finally a teacher in the old academy. He died in Williamsport in 1855.

WILLIAMSPORT SEMINARY.

After, the old academy on West Third street passed out of existence two young ladies, Misses M. A. Heylmun and P. Hall, issued a prospectus for a young ladies' seminary in 1836.

In a circular they gave the names of fourteen gentlemen as reference, only one of whom John B. Hall is now living. In their catalogue appear the names of seventy-two young ladies, many of whom are now mature matrons of the city. The school was continued in this building for several years and then ceased to exist. Among the later teachers was T. T. Abrams, Esq., who taught there, and in the old academy, from 1846 to 1851. For many years he has been a member of the Clinton county bar, Look Haven.

END OF THE OLD ACADEMY.

The Williamsport Academy existed until the passage of the common school law in 1834, when it soon after suspended, and the building was rented for school purposes by the board of directors from the trustees, at the rate of $15 per annum. In 1839 the board of trustees sold the academy, with the adjoining lots, to John B. Hall, for $2,392. The principal reason which influenced them to sell the academy was, that the railroad running to Ralston had its southern terminus near the building, and therefore made it both annoying and dangerous for the school. With the money derived from the sale of the property, the trustees bought one and three-quarter acres of ground on an elevation just north of the borough limits and thereon erected a plain brick building for an academy, 40x60 feet, and two stories high. This building now, with two stories added, constitutes the west wing of Dickinson Seminary.

It appears from the records that this enterprise did not meet with the success, anticipated, and becoming financially embarrassed, the building was sold by the sheriff in 1845 to John K. Hays and Peter Vanderbelt for $432, being a few dollars more than the amount of the mechanic's lion. Subsequently Mr. Hays offered to sell this property to the town council for what he had paid for it, with interest it appears from the minutes of the school board that he received $443.68, although the building alone must have cost more than four times that amount. The offer of Mr. Hays was accepted, on the condition that the school board would sell the western half of a school lot on Black Horse alley for $250 and pay Mr. Hays the money as part payment for the academy. The balance of the $448.68 was raised by the town council by taxation.

After the academy had been under the control of the town council for three years, it became a second time embarrassed, when the council transferred the building and ground to a board of trustees under the title of "Trustees of Dickinson Seminary," the Methodist Episcopal church having assumed the debts against the property. The history of the Williamsport Academy ends with the transfer of the property by the town council to a board of trustees consisting of Hon. John Smith, Rev. B. H. Crever, J. S. Williams, and Charles Maclay.

RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

Professor Transeau in his centennial report informs us that the first election for school directors was held at the court house, September 19, 1834, under the provisions of the act of April 1st preceding. The following persons were elected: William F. Packer, William Fields, Robert Fleming, Jacob Rothrock, Joseph Grafius, and John Bradin. On the organization of the board Jacob Rothrock was chosen president, and Robert Fleming secretary, and Henry, Lenhart, borough treasurer, as treasurer of the school fund. Mr. Packer was then elected a delegate to attend a joint meeting of the county commissioners and the delegates of other school districts of Lycoming county, on the first. Tuesday of November following, agreeably to the third section of the act aforesaid.

In order to insure the benefits of public school instruction, a resolution was offered and passed unanimously, "That the delegate, W. F. Packer, be instructed to use all fair means to procure the adoption of the school, law" at the convention to be hold in November. From this it is evident that the people were heartily in accord with public school education. A meeting of the citizens was hold, and the question: "Will the meeting agree to raise a sum, in addition to that to be appropriated by the State and county; for the support of the common schools?" was carried in the affirmative. At this meeting a resolution was also passed that a tax, equal in amount to the county tax in 1834, be levied and collected in the borough for school, purposes. A certified copy of the above resolution was presented to the council for their action.

On the 29th of November, at a meeting of the school board, W. F. Packer, the borough delegate to the aforesaid convention, reported that a majority voted favorably to assess a tax for the support of common schools equal to double the amount of county tax. Messrs. Packer and Fields were appointed a committee to visit the private schools of the town to ascertain the probable number of pupils attending them,

February 9, 1835, this committee reported "110 males and sixty-seven females in attendance." In April following, propositions were solicited and received from the private school teachers upon what terms they, would severally agree to teach public schools. John W. Eldred and Joseph G. Rathmell agreed to teach for $25 per month, and Mrs. E. L. Harris and Mrs. E. L. Frisby, each $20 per month. A proposal was also received from Ann Heilman to teach; hence, on the election for teachers, Messrs. Eldred and Rathmell and Misses Heilman and Frisby were selected, and Mrs., Harris subsequently. These were the first common school teachers of the borough of Williamsport, and the length of the term for the first school was three months. The course of study embraced reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, ancient and modem history, and geography. The principal place for instruction was the old academy building. The schools were opened for the first time on the second Monday of May, 1835, only one year after the passage of the school law.

As the law privileged the tax payers to vote annually whether or not the schools should be continued, a meeting of the citizens was again called, June 20, 1835, and at this meeting a resolution was adopted continuing the schools in 1836, by fixing the tax at double the State and county tax. It appears from the record that again W. F. Packer was the, author of the resolution, and as some opposition was developed against, these schools, he no doubt supported his resolution in one of his able and characteristic speeches of later years.

At the June meeting of the board in 1839 the directors agreed to purchase a lot from J. B. Anthony for $350, located on Black Horse alley, whereon they erected a brick school building of two long rooms. The school house was built by Thomas Gruber for $705. Here Joseph G. Rathmell and others taught for nearly twenty years. The greater portion of this lot was, six years afterwards, sold to Simon Yeates for $250, leaving little more ground than what the building occupied, and the money was given in part payment, as before stated, for the new academy building sold by the sheriff to John K. Hays and Peter Vanderbelt.

In February, 1853, C. S. Gilchrist was employed for three months at $18 per month to teach colored children, the teacher to find a room, stove, fuel everything, except benches.

Wesley Mites, the oldest retired teacher in the city, who came here in 1853, and taught for over thirty years; thus wrote his impressions of the schools as they appeared to him in 1854:

There were but two old one-story houses, one of two rooms, located on an alley near Hall's foundry. The fence on three sides left a space of about ten feet wide for play ground, with the alley in front, often almost impassable from the depth of mud and water. No sidewalks were to be seen. The other small building was on Church street, and was afterwards occupied by the Episcopal parish school. The third house rented was located between the river and canal; it was frame, with columns in front [old Seminary], and at that time was considered quite stylish.

The interior decorations, furniture, etc., and the general condition of the alley school house may be briefly summed up. Much of the window glass was broken; the wash boards parted some inches from the wall; there was also a huge semicircular platform spiked down close to the back door, on which stood a long legged, unsightly, unpainted, dilapidated teacher's desk. The teacher not favoring his stand so Dear the door, on account of the cold, raised the platform , for the purpose of removing it to another place, when lo, it was found to have been placed over a hole in the floor, perhaps for the sake of economizing in lumber!

There were no private schools in the town at that time Dickinson Seminary, then in charge of Dr. Bowman, was small and poorly patronized. This year the first uniform series of school books was adopted. The highest salary paid to male teachers was $35 per month, school being in session on alternate Saturdays. The winter of 1854 was very severe, but despite the prayers of the teachers and pupils no repairs were made on the old Academy building. Broken glass was not replaced in the windows; the stove was worthless; the mercury fell below zero, when, unable longer to endure the cold, the teachers closed the school. This compelled the directors to make some repairs, when the school was resumed.

THE RECORD FROM 1836 TO 1849.

In his, researches Professor Transeau found that in 1836 the four schools were continued, but the record shows that there was a growing opposition to them under the charge of other directors and a change of teachers. At a meeting of citizens in May, 1837, to determine by ballot whether the schools should be continued, and what additional tax should be laid, sixty-two votes were cast in favor of continuance and forty-eight against. It was also determined by ballot that $150 should be raised to support the schools. This, in addition to the amount assessed as per resolution of March 22d previous, of $163.14 after allowing $86.86 for exonerations - total, $400, with the State appropriation of $163.14, left only $476; 28 available for continuing the schools. Salaries paid this year: two male teachers, each $25; one male and one female teacher, each $20; and two female teachers, each $15. Length of school term, three months.

No record of the schools for 1840 appears to have been kept. The minutes of 1841 are likewise missing. At a meeting on April 14th a resolution was passed levying double the amount of tax for school purposes. No meeting of the citizens was held to decide by ballot the continuance of the schools, but it is presumed the people were satisfied. Teachers were elected, but the salary of one was reduced from $25 to $23 and only two were employed. For 1842 only $300 were levied for school purposes, and this was done, without calling a meeting of the citizens at the court house. No record of any proceedings from 1842 to 1845 appear in the minute book, from which the foregoing items of information were taken. There is no record of any school board meeting, from. 1847 to 1849 in the possession of the present school board. It is quite probable that during these years there were no public schools in Williamsport, for it appears from the minutes of January, 1849, that an entirely new beginning was made. These two years appear to have been the darkest days for the common school. system. From 1850. up to 1856 there was a slight advance in common school interests. After that date the advance was more rapid from year to year until the present high standard was reached.

THE SCHOOLS OF TO-DAY.

At the present time there are, fifteen school buildings in Williamsport, all brick, many of them costly, and all equipped with the latest improvements for the comfort and health of the pupils. They are named as follows: Franklin, built in 1856, ten schools; Washington,, 1861, twelve schools, Jefferson 1866, six schools; Everett, 1866, four schools- Jackson 1869, seven schools; Ross, 1869, two schools; Clay, 1872, three schools; Market Street, 1875, eleven schools; Lincoln, 1,876, two schools; Stevens, 1877, nine, schools; Emery, 1883, six. schools High School, 1887, cost $50,000, twelve schools; Webster, 1890, five schools; Penn, 1891, four schools; Long Reach, one school; Ramsey, rented, one school. Here we have a total of, ninety-five schools and ninety -five teachers, sixteen of whom are males and seventy-nine females. The average pay of the males is $81.63 per month and of the females $45.54. In 1891 the State appropriation was $10,586, and the total receipts for school purposes from all sources were $95,777. Of this amount $43,188 was paid to the teachers for salaries. In April, 1892, the enrollment of pupils was: males, 2,300; females, 2,405; total, 4,705.

The steady increase in educational interests is shown by the date of the erection of the school buildings, demanded by the increase of population. If the directors from 1840 to 1850. were noted for inattention, the boards from 1870 to the present time have been particularly distinguished for. their zeal, efficiency, and faithfulness in promoting the cause of education, and today the public school system of Williamsport stands second to none in the State.

In 1868 the school board passed a resolution to elect a superintendent of the city schools according to the act of 1867. June 6, 1868, Rev. A. R. Horne, an experienced teacher, was selected. When he went into office there were only forty-two schools. In Jane, 1872, he was succeeded by Prof. J. F. Davis. He resigned at the end of three months, and was succeeded in September, 1872, by Prof. M. N. Horton. In June, 1875, Horton was succeeded by Prof. Samuel Transeau, the present incumbent. When Mr. Transeau came into office there were fifty-four schools; now there are ninety-five!

When the high school was established in 1869 Professor Transeau was elected principal. He opened in a small room with but thirteen pupils. For several years the. school was obliged to shift around as best it could, but it steadily grew in strength and efficiency until a magnificent edifice was erected specially for it on West Third street in 1887. The high school class now numbers 191, and there are six teachers, including the principal, Prof. W. W. Kelchner. The school is supplied with scientific apparatus worth $600, and a library of 2,300 volumes. The latter was founded mainly through the personal efforts of Josiah Emery, Esq., who was long a director, and before his death the, oldest active school director in the State. He died, April 28, 1891, in his ninetieth year, and until within a few months of that time he was able to attend the meetings of the board. He was a teacher, editor, lawyer, student, and a historical writer of some note, and always an ardent friend of the common school system.

If the public school property of Williamsport in 1853 presented a dilapidated and worthless appearance, it has appreciated a thousand fold in less than fifty years. In 1891 its value was estimated at $266,500. The board of education now consists of forty-three directors.

The savings bank system was introduced in the schools in 1890. Each scholar, once a week, can deposit any, sum from a penny up with his or her teacher, who places it to their credit in a national bank. When the amount exceeds $2 the pupil is given a bank book, and the deposit draws three per cent interest. The object is to give pupils some practical ideas of business and to instill in their minds the importance of being saving and economical. The system seems to work well, the aggregate amount on deposit having reached $10,042.42 at the close of the school term in May, 1892. Two or three pupils are reported, to have over $100 each to their credit.

DICKINSON SEMINARY.

It has been shown how this now prosperous institution came to be founded on the ruins of the Williamsport Academy. In March, 1849, the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church consented to extend its supervision and patronage to the seminary, in accordance with the proposition of the town council, but declined to assume any of its liabilities. The following officers were appointed, according to the recommendation of the conference: Rev. Thomas Bowman, president; Rev. B. H. Crever,, financial agent. The first meeting of the trustees had been held in April, 1848, when Bowman was elected,

The building now constituting the west wing was out of repair and a debt bung over it. It was resolved to secure subscriptions and donations to the amount of $10,000, with which to refit the old building and erect a new one. At the same time five acres of ground adjoining were purchased. Two years later the east wing was built, and in six years after the old seminary had passed into the control of the Methodist church the two wings were joined by a central six-story building, furnishing ample accommodations for over 200 boarding students and. as many day scholars. The whole amount invested during this period in now buildings repairs was $52,600. Since that time repairs and improvements have been m which have greatly increased the capacity of the building and added to the comfort of the students.

The faculty, on the organization of the seminary, consisted of President Bow-man, B. H. Crever, and his wife and sister as assistants. Although the number of students in attendance the first year was 212, yet the revenues barely paid expenses. After struggling alone for twelve years it was finally sold by the trustees to A. Updegraff, John Smith, Jacob Sallade, and Levi Hartman, all ardent friends of the young institution. These gentlemen soon afterwards offered the property to the Methodist Episcopal church at the price they had paid. This offer was accepted by the conference, a stock company was formed, and many of the ministers of that body became members. The stock is now mostly hold by the Preachers' Aid Society of Central Pennsylvania.

Bishop Bowman, as shown, was elected in 1848 and continued in office ton years. After his resignation Rev. John H. Dashiell was elected, and at the expiration of two years returned to the pastorate and was succeeded by Rev. Thompson Mitchell, D. D. He resigned, August 27, 1869, and Rev. W. Lee Spottswood was appointed. During his administration many improvements were made. He resigned, January 8, 1874, and on the 13th of the following February the present incumbent, Rev. E. J, Gray, D. D., was elected president. Under his efficient management the seminary has taken rank among the best institutions of the kind, and its prosperity is new greater than ever before. The buildings occupy an eminence overlooking the city, and are surrounded by beautiful grounds and shade trees. The members of the faculty live in the building, eat at the same tables, and have constant oversight of all the students. The institution is regularly chartered by the legislature and is authorized to confer degrees upon those who complete the prescribed course of study.

YOUNG LADIES' SEMINARY.

In 1865 the Misses Wilson, ladies of excellent culture and fine scholarship, opened a seminary for young ladies on Pine street, which is still continued by them. The room is large and well furnished, and the school has been well patronized at each successive session and sustains its well earned popularity.

THE KINDERGARTEN.

To Mrs. Phoebe Riddell belongs the credit of first introducing the kindergarten system of teaching in Williamsport. She opened her first school, September 1, 1885, and continued for five years. During that time, she says, "met with various degrees of success. Sometimes my kindergarten was full-more times it was not." In March, 1890, Mrs. Riddell gave up her school to accept a situation in the Presbyterian mission at Muscogee, Indian Territory, where she has since been engaged in teaching.

TEACHERS' INSTITUTES.

Since the passage of the common school law in 1834, with the exception of a few early drawbacks, the cause of education has made rapid progress especially in the last the years. The plan of holding county institutes for the benefit of the teachers was adopted in 1863, and has been continued. to the present time. By act of 1867 the sum of $200 was authorized to be paid annually to aid in their support. The first institute was held at Muncy, and with few exceptions the meetings have continued to take place there in December of each year. The last, which was the twenty-ninth, met there and was largely attended. The elegant and well appointed school building in that place is particularly well adapted for these meetings, and the teachers are always cordially received and hospitably entertained. To show the steady increase of interest in these meetings, it may be stated that only about twenty teachers were present at the first institute; at the last, the attendance was 260, nearly every teacher in the county being present.

A city institute, in accordance with the provisions of the act of June 25, 1885, was established the same year, and meets annually in the High School building, Questions of discipline, methods of teaching certain branches of studies, progress of pupils, and various educational subjects are discussed, which aids to unify instruction: At all these institutes, both city and county, lectures are delivered and instructions given by prominent educators, which have proved to be largely beneficial to the teachers.

In his annual report for 1891, Superintendent Lose says that the most important advance attempted during the year was in the direction of district supervision. This was accomplished by the aid of the exchange, by dividing the county into seventeen districts and appointing in each a leading teacher to act as district superintendent. The districts contain from ten to twenty-three schools. It is the duty of each district superintendent to furnish to the exchange a monthly report of the condition of the schools in his district, which are considered. The plan works admirably.

The exchange, which was founded in 1873, meets the last Saturday in each mouth at the superintendent's office in the court house, for the discussion of questions relating to the welfare of the teachers and the schools. The superintendent presides. The annual dues are 50 cents, and the membership averages about 150. The library contains several hundred volumes and is well patronized. The exchange in its practical workings has been most successful and is rapidly growing in popularity. "It has made our teachers, says the Superintendent, "self-respecting, enthusiastic, and successful."

In his annual report Superintendent Lose submits some interesting statistics which show the status of education in the county. They are as follows: School districts, 53; school houses, 227; school rooms, 278; seating capacity, 12,251; schools, 267; pupils enrolled, 9,908; male teachers employed, 121; females, 147; average age of teachers, 23; estimated number of children between the ages of six and sixteen not in school, 682; directors constituting school boards, 315.

In the review of townships the local names of school houses are given, together with whatever information could be obtained relating to first school teachers and school houses. Five now schools were created last year and ninety-five more pupils were in attendance at the schools than during the previous year.

The superintendent's report for last year shows that the whole number of schools in the county (the city schools were not included in the figures given above) were 358; number of male teachers, 139; female, 238; male scholars, 7,257; female, 7,266. It will be noticed how nearly equal the sexes are in number, the females only having an excess of nine, out of a total of 14,523. This is remarkable. The total amount of State appropriations to the county was $28,728.42, and the total receipts for school purposes from all sources were $222,505.

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS.

The act of May 8, 1854, authorized the election of a superintendent of schools in each county of the State by the directors thereof. This important law was carefully prepared by H. L. Dieffenbach before it was submitted to the legislature. He was chief clerk of the school department, was an ardent friend of the common school system, and did much of the thinking for the State superintendent at that day. The new law encountered much violent opposition at first, but it has steadily grown in popular favor and could not be dispensed with now. The county superintendent serves for a term of three years, and is elected by the directors meeting in convention the first Monday in May at the county seat. The superintendents of Lycoming county from 1854 to the present time have been as follows: J. W. Barrett, elected June 5, 1854; he resigned before completing his term, and E. B. Parker was appointed, October 21, 1856, to fill the vacancy. His successor was Hugh Castles, elected May 4, 1857, and re-elected in, 1860; John T. Reed, May 4, 1863, re-elected in 1866 and 1869; Thomas F. Gahan, May 7, 1872, re-elected in 1875 and 1878; C. S. Riddell, May 3, 1881, re-elected in 1884. Mr. Riddell having died before completing his last term, Charles S. Lose was appointed, August 31, 1885, to fill the vacancy. He was elected, May 3, 1887, and re-elected, May 3, 1890, and is the present incumbent.

The directors fixed the salary of the first superintendent at $500 per annum. Many persons thought this was an extravagant sum. But Lycoming was more liberal than many other counties. Sullivan only voted $50 a year, Elk, $75; and Several others $300. Lancaster paid the highest, $1,500. Since that time the salary has been gradually advanced, until today Lycoming pays $2,000, and it is not considered extravagant.


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