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Montour County School History

This information is from a WPA project done back in 1936. It is included in "Church History of Montour Co." It was found at the Bloomsburg Public Library. If you have found some information that you would like to contribute, send it to me.

County Schools History and Development

About 1785 a school house was erected on the grounds of the Grove Presbyterian Church. They building was one story, twenty feet square and was high enough to allow the school Master to stand erect. The equipment consisted of a ten foot fire place, and boards fastened along the wall to be used as desks. The books used were the New England Primer, Dilworth's Spelling Book, Fenning's Spelling Book and New Guide to the English Tongue; Dillworth's Arithmetic, and a book called the Young Mans Companion. The only School Master there is a record of is a Mr. Gibson, who was the last teacher and taught about eight years. His salary was paid by voluntary subscriptions, according to the size of his pupils. There was an approximate enrollment of 36.

The second school in the County was built by James Montgomery. It stood by the Danville-Milton Roads near the present County line, in what is now Liberty Township. James Montgomery was the first teacher.

In 1797 a rude log school house, with neither floor nor chimney was built on the road leading from Danville to Bloomsburg, on what is now Yorks farm in Cooper Township. The roof of this building was made of rough beams covered with branches, leaves and ground.

In 1806 a school building in Danville was built in 1804 on land donated by General William Montgomery, located west of Mill St., and north of Market St. It was about 20 feet square and one story in height. The building was paid for by voluntary contributions. The gable end fronted on an alley midway between Factory and Mill Sts. A door and Two windosw on one end, and three windows on each side, admitted light and air.

The desks were arranged along the sides of the room, the seats being slabs of plank without back, the pupils sitting with their backs toward the center of the room. (The above description is typical of all early school houses).

For the term of 1935-36, Montour County has the following schools:
Nineteen one-room rural schools located as follows: Anthony 7; Cooper 2; Liberty 6; Mayberry 2; and west Hemlock 2. There were 47 of these schools in the County in 1918.

Four Consolidated Schools as follows: Valley Township erected in 1927; Employing three teachers 118 pupils; Mahoning Township erected in 1929 Four teachers 158 pupils; Delong Memorial School the gift of Mr. Frank B. Delong of Washingtonville. A consolidated Junior High School, for Derry Township and Washingtonville Borough - Eight teachers 160 pupils. The Junior High School is Vocational. Limestone Township erected in 1931 Four teachers 115 pupils.

In Danville Borough, there are forty-five teachers. A new High School was erected in 1928. The enrollment this year is 540. Seventeen teachers are employed.

The Central Grammar School with 225 pupils of grades 7 and 8, employ five teachers. Twenty-three other teachers are employed in the four ward buildings, teaching approximately 900 pupils of grades one to six.

Superintendents of Schools

The following persons have served as County Superintendent of Schools in Montour County since the creation of this position by legislative Act in 1853.

Paul Leidy 1854-55; E. W. Conkling 1855-56; A. B. Putman 1856-59. William Butler 1859-1866; William Henry, 1866-1878; J. D. Cook 1878; M. C. Horine 1878-81; F. C. Deer 1881-84; Frederick Ream 1884-87; W. D. Steinbach 1887-1902; Charles W. Deer 1902-1918; Fred W. Diehl; since 1918.


The only Kindergarden in Montour County is a private one, taught by Mrs. Walter Brown. This Kindergarden was established in 1927 in Mrs. Browns home and has an average enrollment of 12 or 14.

There is one Junior and one Senior High School in Montour County with Vocational training in the Senior High.

There are no facilities for Adult Education except those provided by W.P.A.

Community Participation in Education

There is a House and School League in Montour County established in 1922 and is quite active throughout the rural sections.

Notable Schools From Architectural Point of View

The Slovak School for girls, is perhaps the outstanding school in the County from an architectural point of view. It is located on the Eastern outskirts of Danville in the center of a seven acre plot. The building is Modern Romanesque, with a Center tower of perhaps 80 feet in height. The cornerstone was laid in 1929 and was occupied in 1931. There is an accredited High School with an enrollment of perhaps 50 or 60. The special training is Music and Religion, on adjoining ground is the Sacred Heart Villa which houses the elementary grades with an enrollment of 20 students.

Parochial and Special Elementary Schools

There are four Parochial Schools in Danville, namely St. Josephs, St. Huberts, Slovaks Girls Academy and Holy Family COnvent. St. Joseph has the largest enrollment which is 156. There are six Sisters including the Mother Superior who teach 10 grades. The students graduating from this school, can enter the Danville High School as a Junior. The special training of this school is Music and Religion.

St. Huberts School has an enrollment of 78. The Slovak Academy has an enrollment of 46 and the Holy Family Convent has an enrollment of 11, making the combined enrollment of Parochial Schools in the County 291. The training of these schools is practically the same, based on religion and Bible History.

Famous Educators

The outstanding educator of this County was Miss Margaret C. Madder, who lived in Liberty Township. She was born in 1844 began teaching when she was 12 years old, came to Danville School System during the Civil War and taught three generations or a total of 63 years with her retirement in 1919. She was 88 years old when she died.

Philanthropic Institutions

The Delong Memorial School in Washingtonville built by Frank E. Delong in 1930 and was dedicated Thanksgiving Day 1930 to the Youth of Washingtonville. The school was built at a cost of $77,000 and is situated within a 7 acre plot. It is a vocational, Junior High School and the building is modern and firt proof and is of Greek-Gothic Architecture.

Mr. George Grove Keefer has for six years offered 18 Bibles and Dictionaries to be given as prizes in a County wide spelling match.

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