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The following information was extracted from the book, History of Perry County In Pennsylvania, From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time; Silas Wright; Wylie & Griest; Lancaster; 1873; pgs. 131-142.


The earliest educational history of Perry county, for want of records, can only be obtained from the narratives that have descended from generation to generation until the year 1834, when an era dawned upon Pennsylvania, such as has never been estimated in importance.
The first schools were subscription, kept open about three months, or "a quarter" of the year.  
These schools were few and far between, and governed absolutely by the teacher.
Then good scholarship consisted in ciphering to the double rule of three, a term happily omitted in modern arithmetic, in being able to write legibly large and small hand, and ability to read readily in the Bible and Testament.
These schools were often kept in houses very poorly suited for the purpose; slab seats and slab writing-boards pinned to the logs of the wall, served as furniture.
The earliest school legislation was an act passed on the 28th of March, 1814, vesting the title of a certain piece of land in Toboyne township, in the county of Cumberland, in certain trustees and their successors, for the use of a school.  The Act is short, and we give it in full as an instance of the liberality of the Commonwealth at that time toward educational enterprises:

SECTION I.  The land officers to make a title clear of purchase money and fees to trustees for schools to be established in the township of Toboyne for a piece of land.
SEC 2.  A majority of subscribers to supply vacancies of trustees.
After the Act of 1822, requiring county commissioners to receive from their parents or guardians the names of all children between the ages of five and twelve years, whose parents were unable to school them--this Act imposed a fine of five dollars upon these officers for neglect of duty--houses began to be erected in the various settlements of the county.  Fifty years ago, the only school-house in Fishing Creek Valley, Rye township, was near the present residence of Mr. Kocher.  This house was covered with clap-boards, the common roofing material of the houses or cabin of the valley at that time, and had no floor.  It was lighted through single panes of glass fastened side by side between parts of two logs.  So limited a knowledge was deemed necessary for the school-teacher of these times, that it is related "a school-master" wanted to keep school in this house who was unable to either write with a pen or give instruction in arithmetic.  It is further related, to the credit of the patrons, that he was refused the privilege he asked.
The books used in this school were Dillworth's spelling-book, the Testament, DaBoll's arithmetics, and copy-books made of unruled paper.
The oldest school-house in Penn township was a log building, covered with boards split out out logs.  This house was located near Young's Mill.  The first school kept in it was by Joseph McIntire, and was attended by pupils who lived within the present boundaries of Rye township.  Some of these pupils walked four miles, morning and evening, to avail themselves of the educational advantages of being able to read, write and cipher.
The furniture of this house was slab benches, writing boards of the same material fixed to the walls, and an old smoky stove.  Mr. McIntire is represented to have been "severe with the hickory."  He heard four lessons from each pupil in reading per day, "made and mended" their pens, and "showed" them in ciphering whenever they came to him for assistance.  The custom then was for the pupil to hear the class read while the teacher "worked his sum."  
The oldest school-house in Duncannon, formerly Petersburg, was built of logs, and stood on the ground in front of the one now in use in that borough.  It was burnt in 1814.
The ruins of the only school-house in Buck's Valley, during its early settlement, may still be seen near the base of Halffall Hills.  It stands on a truly romantic spot, and was probably one of the oldest school-houses within the limits of the county.
Who administered school discipline and taught the youthful ideas to shoot, at its first session, has not been certainly preserved.
An old school-house in Pfoutz's Valley not very far from Hart's mill, served to give educational advantages to pupils of both Pfoutz's and Wildcat valleys, until Wright's and Grubb's school-houses were built in 1836.  Millerstown at this time was a village of Greenwood township.
The oldest school-house at Liverpool was situated on the site of the present Lutheran church, and was either removed or in ruins in 1828, when the church was built, for, it is said that the cornerstone of the church was laid on the spot where the old school-house had stood.  Rev. Heim's journal contains the following:  "On the 17th of December, 1814, in the evening, I preached at Stollenberger's school-house, from Eph. v. 14."
In this same old school-house, in 1810, Rev. Heim organized the Lutheran congregation, whose descendants worship in the church which stands so high above it now.  In it, too, the early settlers' children of Liverpool town and township received the elements of their education.
Millerstown has a venerable old school building, which antedates the free-school system.  This house, enlarged to meet the growing educational wants of the place, still stands on its old site.  It was used for religious meetings until the churches were built.
The first school-house in Tuscarora township was situated in the narrows leading from Donnally's mills to Buckwheat Valley.  It was built of logs and known, at that time, as the "Narrow's School."  To this house the Bulls, Blacks, Robinsons, and Henches, of the second generation, came to receive an education.  The next school-house was built on the property now owned by Joseph Leonard.  These houses served the purpose until they were supplemented by the seven which are now in use.
Saville township has a sacred school history, from the fact that she has been the birth-place and early home of more Christian ministers than any township in the county.
The old school-houses were situated originally one below Ickesburg, near Judge Elliott's farm, another on the Irvin estate, and a third just below Sandy Hill, in Madison township. These were all, in their day, in Tyrone township.  These old houses in Saville have been improved by the third edition.  The last is credited first in the county.
Tyrone has built and rebuilt school-houses until there are but two of the first houses erected for the purpose remaining, and these in the last formed settlements of Shafer's and Kennedy's valleys.  Tyrone is a progressive district, awake to the fact that the best school economy is well-built and well-furnished school-houses, and the best qualified teachers in them, employed at liberal salaries.
In Landisburg, the earliest move for free schools by legislative enactment, we would naturally expect to find the best school buildings.  Instead, however, an old stone veteran of many years' service still serves the free-schools of the place.  Spring township had an old school-house, located near St. Peter's church, which was used for religious worship by the Lutheran congregation, previous to the erection of the old log church in 1816.
Carl's (Charles') school-house about one mile and a half east of Elliottsburg, was used by a Lutheran congregation from 1837 to 1840.  This house was situated on a lot of seventeen acres of land, donated in his will for school purposes, by Henry Ludolph Spark.  Mr. Spark had a school-house erected on this tract, in which he taught school for many years.  He died, and lies buried in an old grave-yard near by.  After Mr. Spark's death, a Mr. Carl succeeded him, and administered school affairs for twenty years, with such success as to have his name given to the school-house, which should have been called Spark's.
This donation of seventeen acres of land was expressly stated by Mr. Spark in his will, to be for a school-house and a school-teacher, but his idea of a school, with a teacher's home and gardens attached, has never been carried out in Little Germany (as this place came to be called).
The school-houses of Madison township were the ones mentioned in describing those of Saville and Sandy Hill, and the other at Center.  These are believed to have been the oldest houses built for the purpose within the present limits of Madison township.
The brick building erected at Clark's for a graded and primary school, is a creditable structure for the purpose.
The oldest school-house in Toboyne township, as described by one who saw and went to school in it, was situated about twenty rods from Esquire Joshua Rowe's dwelling house.  It was covered with clap-boards, had slat benches and writing boards, and a wooden chimney.  It had two windows, which emitted light through greased paper.  The ceiling was made by laying poles across, close together, and then plastering on top of them.  The floor was made of split logs, fitted together by hewing the edges.
This, at that time, was the nearest approach from the East of a school-house to the Round Top Mountain.
Toboyne township is now pretty well supplied with school-houses, and manifests considerable interest in educational affairs.
New Germantown has a graded school, the only one in the township.
In Juniata township, there is an old school-house at Markelville, which doubtless served the early settlers of that neighborhood.  Markelville maintained quite a creditable school, without missing a session for nearly twelve years after Rev. A. R. Height's opened its first summer session,
The school was continued during Superintendent Height's term of office, in a building improvised for the purpose. Markelville Academy building was erected by Mr. George Markel. The school continued in this building after Mr. Markel's decease, but it soon became apparent that with his death the educational project lost its mainspring.  After Rev. Height's term of office expired, he left the county, and was succeeded by Rev. Geo. Rea, Profs. Geo. W. Leisher, C. W. Super, and Mr. Alexander Stephens.
Juniata township has a proud array of young men of the present generation, who started as teachers in her public schools.  Of these I cannot speak in other than general terms here, except of one, in whom many bright hopes centered, and of whom much as reasonably expected.
John Jones, jr., was born in Juniata township, near Milford, of highly respected parentage.  He received a common-school preparation for the business of teaching, which he began in his seventeenth year, and continued during the annual four-months' term, until the winter of 1861 and '62.
In the spring of 1860, the writer of this sketch first became acquainted with young Jones, at Bloomfield Academy.  Entering as farmer boys and strangers at the same time, we were soon fast friends.  John was soon the acknowledged champion of the school; possessed of great muscular agility and power, he was always on the winner's side in the athletic games.  His mind was as vigorous as his body, and proportionably powerful.  He had a retentive memory, but his crowning intellectual development was his reasoning faculty.  he continued his studies at Bloomfield Academy during the summer sessions of 1860 and 1861.  He entered Iron City Commercial College in the fall of 1861; graduated and returned home, where he remained during the remainder of the winter.  In the spring of 1862, he entered the law office of B. F. Junkin, where he pursued the study of law until August, when he entered the Army of the Potomac and served nine months in company G, 133d Pennsylvania regiment.  In 1864, he served six months in Captain Frederick's company as sergeant, and upon a recruiting officer of the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment appearing in their midst and asking such as were willing to re-enlist to step out of the ranks, sixteen men said, "If our sergeant goes we will go!"  whereupon Jones under that religious conviction of duty which he never disobeyed, stepped out, and became a soldier for his country for three years longer.  For a young man he possessed large and varied attainments and his poems, "The Old Chestnut Tree," and "Our Country," show sufficiently his original merit.  They were written in less than six months from the time he rhymed his first stanza.
A single stanza the first from "Our Country," will give the reader an opportunity to judge of his versification:

"When maddened frenzy leads the van
And reason holds no sway,
It makes a demon out of man,
And darkness out of day."

John Jones was killed at Solemn Grove, North Carolina, March 10, 1865.  He has left a record for patriotism characteristic of the man.  He, the young, the talented, the noble, the brave, died that his country might live.  Cherished be his memory!  
One of Juniata township's old school-houses is in ruins on a place owned by Mr. Myers; another was near Milford, and a third is probably still standing, and, from the shape of its walls, is known as eight square
Oliver township had three school-houses, some years ago, that were probably the first within her borders.  Earlier educational advantages were afforded at the Myers and Milford schools in Juniata, to which this township originally belonged.
Some of the present school-houses in Center township were the original ones in the neighborhoods where they are found.
We have no authentic account of the first school-houses, other than that they were very few and far between.
Sutch's school-house, in Carroll township, was located on the south-east bank of Sherman's creek.  The spot on which this house stood was consecrated anew by the erection of Mount Pisgah Evangelical Lutheran church on it.  This school-house was erected some time between 1775 and 1780.  It was the first school-house in Pisgah Valley, and, like Reiber's, built twenty or twenty-five years later, intended to serve the double purpose of church and school-house.
Of the other school-houses we have no other data than the fact that several of those now in use bear the impress of antiquity.
Wheatfield township has built new school-houses, which are all removed from the sites of the old ones.  The old foundation of one might have been seen but a few years ago near Esquire Potter's; Center was another, and Fio used as a preaching place by the Lutheran congregation, who have since built "St. David's church," until 1845.  Religious meetings are held in the school-houses of nearly all the townships in the county.
In many localities, for want of churches, this cannot be avoided, but wherever it can they should be used for this purpose during the time that the schools are in session.
A remarkable instance of wise legislation in response to the petitions of the people, is seen in the act passed in 1831, which provided for the appointment of trustees of the public school-house in the town of Landisburg, Perry county, and gave them power to examine teachers for said school, to visit the same once a month, and to dismiss the teacher for misconduct, want of capacity, and negligence.  --Sypher's Pennsylvania  History.  
From the county auditor's report for 1831, we learn that $171.17-1/2 cents were expended by the county in instructing poor children.  This amount, compared with $35,397.69, the amount levied and collected by taxation to support her schools in 1870, sufficiently indicates the progress that has been made in the thirty-nine intervening years, and with all this we seem to have progressed but slowly.
Under the pauper system, as it was appropriately called, there was a distinction, making an envious comparison between the rich and poor; so marked was this difference that it was the basis for two classes.  The poor could hardly ever hope to rise from the stigma that was placed upon them by the aid intended to be a blessing.
After the Act of 1834, arrangements were made for building school-houses in every settled portion of the county; school-directors were elected who supervised the building of these houses, and selected teachers after an examination by the most competent of their own number, or some other person chosen by a majority of them.
Educational meetings previous to the adoption of the county superintendency in 1854, consisted in old-fashioned spelling and singing-schools. These had a healthy social influence on society, beside, in the former, much pride in spelling was created.
As an instance of one of these school meetings, we have a notice in the Forester, signed by Wm. B. Mitchell, Jesse Miller and Jacob Fritz, school-men.  This meeting was advertised to be held May 7, 1825, and was no doubt intended to carry out the provisions of the Act of 1825, which had been previously printed in the columns of the same paper.


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