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Brandywine Schools

Transcribed by Amanda Czocher from an unknown author.

Brandywine Preserve

Harriet McBride, who taught school in Brandywine in 1842, was the daughter of James McBride who came to Boston in 1822. James built the grist mill and flour mill for the Wallaces. He devoted the greater part of his life to boat building and boat repairing. His father, Dan, was a boat builder, too.

Bryan Martin was  tax assessor for a good many years. He was noted for his beautiful penmanship.

Members of his family were:

George, Johnny, Tom, Hattie, Emma, Jennie, and Libby

Adam Huddilston was one of the five farmers of this district. His children were Gilbert, Leigh, Paul, Hessie, and Mercedes

Teachers of Brandywine from 1838 to 1854

A little fortune came my way when a friend gave me a school record of the board of education at Brandywine of 1838 to 1874.

Mr. Stiles, who was the first teacher at Brandywine, in 1817, may have continued there for several years. The first teacher mentioned after Mr. Stiles, came to the old frame school, perhaps.

Since the teachers of those early years of Northfield are recorded by the school directors here, it seems interesting that they should be mentioned with their names, years, and salaries;

1838-1839 John A. Means  —  $18.00 per mo, and boarded around.

1839-1841 Sally Ann Wallace — $4.00 prt mo.

1840 Oliver P. Barney

1841 Harriet Reynolds, Henrietta McBride, Elijah C. Farley

1843-1848 Wales F. Storrs

1848 Mary Frazer

1849-1850 Hiram W. Lobdell

1850 Miss C. North, John Cole, Margaret J Wallace

1851 M. B. Marble, E. Bartlett

1853 E. A. Thompson, Miles J. Morgan

These teachers began in the new building, on the road above the falls:

1854 Jeanette Darling, James Clark

1855 Martha Lillie

1856 Elizabeth Alexander

1857 Andrew Hall, Mary Frazer, R. C. Smith

1858 Sophie Ranney

1860 Maria Richardson, Cassy McKisson

1861 Bryce S. Hunter

1862 Sarah F. Nichols, Ellen Richardson

1864 Catherine Duncan, Mary McHuane

1865 Mary Mailwell

1869 Harriet Holcomb, Albert Buel

1870 Cassy Bishop, Flora Proctor

1871-1873 Cornelia Tupper

1872 Nancy Holmes, Lida Barnhart

1874 Rilla Armstrong

From 1874 through 1878 directors met each month regularly with no seeming matters of business, except to elect officers. No teachers were hired. It could have been a period when there were too few children to have school.

The Upper Brandywine School

Reference has already been made to a new Brandywine School House, which has been accepted by the board of directors. No particular reasons are given for the need of a new school building, but one might go back in memory to the year of 1843 when the great flood came and Brandywine Creek went on a rampage and tore down the sawmill, swept away the woolen mill, and badly damaged the grist-mill. The sawmill was ruined and parts were bought and carried to Macedonia for its first saw-mill. The gristmill was repaired and used for a few years.

The men of the twelve or fifteen families living at Brandywine Mills were deprived, now, of employment, and went elsewhere for work, taking their families along. Then, too, better schools were being built by this time, and the population, had centered nearer to Northfield.

The following minutes of the old Brandywine School are here copied for anyone’s interest.

Brandywine, May 8, 1854:

At a meeting of the Board of Education of Northfield the 8th day of May instant, it was ordered that Mosee Ranney be a committee to assist the local directors in sub-district No.3 in making sale of the old school house in district No.3, in Northfield Township. It was also at the same time and word that the above said Ranney be an adjustment committee with the above local directors of sub-district No.2 for the acceptance of a school house in said district No.2 now building.

B. Lemoin, Dist. Clerk.

The following minutes one week later are here recorded.

Brandywine, May 17, 1854

This day the local directors of sub-district No.2 in Northfield Township examined and accepted the school house built by Simeon Bryam for above said district and settled with him by paying $303 dollars of which $3.00 was for an extra job making a platform in East end of said house. In addition to the above the local directors gave their note for the sum of $165.00, payable on the first day of March, next, as per contract.

B. Lemoin, District Clerk.

(The following story was taken from Brandywine School minutes)

Brandywine Schools

A log schoolhouse was built at Brandywine Mills, as it was early called as early as 1817. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Stiles was employed to teach the few children there. Mr. Stiles was paid $1.00 per pupil for each term. The log school house continued until 1830.

Several children from the adjoining Boston area came to Brandywine Mills School, too, because anyone could come so long as they paid the required fee. Even children who lived near Northfield went to Brandywine. Perrin says, “For many years Brandywine was the center of Education, religion, and morality,”

Boston and Northfield District No. 2, on the 11th of December, 1827.

Children seemed to love the old log school, because it was well attended from 1820 to 1830. In 1830 a new frame school was built upon the hill, west of the road and opposite the log school. Brandywine frame school was a typical pioneer building. Because my father attended school here until he finished the third reader, it has become a much loved spot to me.

The building is still standing and I often visit there. It was purchased by William Sommer, Senior. (Note: This building was torn down to make way for I-271.)

The building has seven windows in it today. There are two in front, two on each side, and one in the middle of the back. On each side of the one window in the rear, is a door, one used by girls and one by boys at exit periods. There is a high wainscoting of white-wood boards, at least two feet wide around the room, inside.

Teachers were hired for terms of three months duration, usually a term, a fall term, and a winter term. Usually, women teachers were for spring and fall, but the men for the winter term. Boys were required to work at home for most of the year, and since there was no work to be done in winter, they were free to go to school. Often with such short terms, the boys came until they were twenty or more years old. It took a man to cope with them sometimes.

In 1839 a female teacher received $4.00 per month, and in 1874, female teachers received $32.00 per month. The men of course were paid more.

In 1839 the male teachers taught 27 males and 12 females, while the female teacher taught 17 males and 12 females. These figures are averages. The average attendance in 1850 was 32. In 1852 the male average was 52 and the female average was 43.

At the beginning of the school year, an estimate of wood needed for the school fires was made and apportioned to the families sending children to school. Each family furnished according to the number of pupils he sent. Anyone who failed this duty paid in cash for his share.

Teachers appeared at the directors meeting and presented their certificates for teaching. The directors required good teaching and discipline, and to have it representatives of the board visited the school and passed judgment. On two of these occasions the teacher was “ousted” as inefficient.

An example of teacher’s pay may be shown as in the case of John A. Means, hired to teach from September, 1838 and paid in March, 1839. His pay was $40.00, 19 cents, and 8 mills from the general tax fund. The amount of one dollar, eighty cents, and two mills to be collected of the district for his services, in tuition, and twelve dollars be collected from individuals in the district, according to pupils sent to school, and paid to John A. Means for boarding himself.

At a director’s meeting of Union School District No. 2, Northfield, O. February 3, 1843, the following resolution as made by Benjamin Lemoin and presented to the meeting for consideration, “Resolved, (1) That the directors of this district state the precise object of the tax proposed to be levied, and their plans of improvements intended”. This resolution carried 16 to 18.

“George Wallace then stated that the object of the tax was to repair and enlarge the school house in said district, and the plan of improvement proposed, as far as mentioned by the directors, was to take down the chimney, the writing desks (then in sides of wall, and the seats then in school house to enlarge the house on the south end, and to finish off the house inside with small slips and aisles”. Then, it was “Resolved that the directors produce the title of this property, and show by what terms we hold the same”. The vote was 12 for and 12 against, and so was lost.

At once George Wallace introduced the following resolution for further consideration of the directors.

“Resolved that the directors report to next meeting what repairs are necessary to this school house and also the probable cost.” This resolution was carried by a unanimous vote.

The directors proceeded then to state that it was necessary to repair the house to keep it warmer and more comfortable in cold weather. Since there was not enough room, they proposed to change the inside arrangements by removing the seats and writing desks from the walls, to enable the scholars to pass to and from their seats “Without interrupting or incommoding other scholars”.

An estimate of $50.00 was given as the probable cost of change. Then James Wallace introduced another resolution: “Resolved that the sum of $50.00 be applied for the purpose of repairing the school house, so the same may be made more comfortable and convenient for a district school house”. Carried with 21 for and 3 against.