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Schools in the County

The very first school in Somerset County was probably located on the farm of Harmon Husband in 1777. James KENNEDY was the first school master. Kennedy was an indentured servant of Husband's and was given the position of school master after he was dismissed from serving in the Husband household. Kennedy, an Irish Catholic, had ran away from home in Ireland and sold himself as an indentured servant to pay passage to America.

It is believed that Kennedy served two months as school master and was then released from thge position when it was found out that he was illiterate.

Church Schools

Most of the early schools in the county were organized by the local church body.

  • The Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Berlin sponsored a school building in 1777.
  • The Jersey Church organized a school as early as 1775.
  • Elk Lick Twp. with Peter FORNEY as school master (1779)
  • Pine Hill in 1790
  • Addison in 1792
  • Milford at present day New Centerville in 1798
  • Stoyestown in 1798
  • Quemahoning in present day Jenners Township (1804)
  • Samuel's Church (1798)
  • Freiden's Lutheran Church (1798)
  • Barron's Church in Middle Creek (1815)

State Appropriated

The common school law was passed in 1834 and provided a general system of education. This new law established a new era in education but it was opposed by many who felt that their taxes should not have to help pay for the education of their neighbors children. Many townships refused to accept the school appropriation and hoped that the law would be repealed..

Addison Township had was the first to accept an appropriation for schools in 1834. Milford and then Turkeyfoot followed a year later in 1835.

Institutions of Higher Education

Three institutions of higher education were founded in the county.

  • Somerset Academy was chartered in 1810 and opened several years later. After several insolvent years it was sold to the Somerset Borough School district. In 1873, an attempt was made to revive the academy but it failed. In 1882, increased enrollment in Somerset schools made it necessary to build a new building on the old site. From 1887 to 1922 it housed Somerset High School.
  • The Somerset Collegiate Institute was founded by Charles Louis LOOS, a disciple minister, and one time professor at the University of Kentucky.
  • The Albright Seminary was founded in Berlin in 1853 by the Evangelical demonination and lasted about five years.

Somerset High School is considered to be the first high school in the county - Meyersdale High School was also established around the same time.

(excerpted from Somerset Past, Vol VII, No. 2, pp. 14)

School Districts - Current

  • Berlin-Brothersvalley, 1025 E. Main, Berlin
  • Conemaugh Township, W. Campus at Main, Davidsville
  • Meyersdale Area, RD 3, Meyersdale
  • North Star, 1200 Morris Avenue, Boswell
  • Rockwood, Somerset Avenue, Rockwood
  • Salisbury-Elk Lick, Smith Avenue, Salisbury
  • Shade-Central City, Cairnbrook
  • Shanksville-Stonycreek, 1325 Cornerstone Rd., Shanksville
  • Somerset, 821 Columbia Avenue, Somerset
  • Turkeyfoot Valley, Harnedsville
  • Windber, 23rd, Windber

User-Submitted Information

If you have articles or records regarding schools in the county (class lists, year book photos, etc.) please consider sharing them with us! Email any submissions to April Phillips and/or Connie Burkett (email addresses below).

 

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This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.

Last Revised: March 30, 2008

Copyright The Somerset County, PAGenWeb Project.