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“Tales of the Past” by Frank Connor

Tales of the Past

Chapters 7 thru 8 - School data and records.

by Frank Connor


Chapter 7

Among the records and old documents on file at the school are the records of District No. 3 of Livonia. This was the Gulburg district later known as No. 12 and was united in 1911 with No. 4 to make the present district. The records date back to 1840. At that time the State of New York was not giving much aid to the districts, the only entry of aid being $12.00 for library in 1844 - 1845. Otis Presbey was trustee and his financial reports show that he collected and handled during the years 1844 - 1845 a total of $99.99 for all school purposes. Some of his expenditures are as follows: “one broom, 25 c; plastering school house, 75c; attorney’s fee for defending trustee in suit brought by Colby Short against him, $1.50; fuel expense during winter 1844 - 1845, $4.68.” Total expenditures for the four years to 1848 were less than $400.00.

In the latter part of 1845 appears the first entry of public money which amounted to $7.99. Harriet Payne received $50.00 for six months services as teacher instructing sixty-six scholars. One scholar attended one day, several only three days during the term which commenced April 28th and ended October 28th, 1845.

The first record of school meeting in this district is dated in 1853 and was called for the purpose of authorizing the purchase of six cords of wood from A. Archer at $2.08 per cord and vote a tax of $10.06 for contingencies. The first annual meeting of which they have left us any record was in 1859 and reads as follows: “Livonia, October the 11th, 1859. John Wells was appointed trustee. F. B Northrup Clerk. William White Collector. Chester Adams Librarian. Voted to buy 4 cords of wood, one half hickory, one half good sound oak to be delivered by the first of December next and fitted to the stove. B. L. Northrup takes it at 21 shillings per cord. Voted. Adjourned. Franklin B. Northrup, Chairman”. Their budget for the year was $18.20. This does not compare very well with the present one of $23,000. “Those were the happy days” when John Wells’ tax was 9 cents. For several years they voted at the annual meeting to “buy four cords of wood, fitted to the stove”, and then adjourned. State aid at that time seemed to be an amount equal to the teachers’ wages and so this item of expense was not taken into consideration in preparing their estimate of yearly expense. In 1865 cost of administration went up from $12.00 to $25.00.

In 1879 and 1880 there was talk of a new building and the records show the following: “September 18th, 1880 - special school meeting called by the trustee for the purpose of building a school house. Meeting called to order by the clerk. Voted that Jasper Short act as moderator. Voted that the meeting adjourn until Tuesday evening, 21st September, 7 o’clock”. They met September 21st and promptly adjourned. A battle started here, a question of procedure arose. Evidently the clerk neglected his duties, as they do once in a while now, because at the annual meeting October 19th the following resolution was passed. “Resolved: That notices for special meetings in District No. 3 shall hereafter be by written notices posted in public places in said District”. It was also voted to buy a Code of Public Instruction. They had their troubles then much as we do now. Taxes were coming in slowly and no doubt the burden of a new school house seemed big.

Chapter 8

District No. 12 came into existence in 1881 by the following order: “It is hereby ordered by Foster W. Walker School Commissioner of the 1st District of Livingston County and G. S. Preston, School Commissioner of the 2nd District of Ontario County, that the joint School District lying partly in each of the towns, Livonia, in Livingston County, and Canadice in Ontario County, the school house of which is situate in said Town of Livonia, and here-to-fore known as District No. 3, Livonia, also commonly known as the Gulburg District, shall hereafter be known and designated as Joint School District No. 12 in each of said towns, Livonia and Canadice. Dated December 9th, 1881”.

Glenville is here first mentioned as Gulburg. Bert Westbrook was generally credited with originating the name “Gulburg”, but he apparently only revived it.

A special meeting was called by Alfred Kendall, trustee, December 27th, 1882, at which time the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: “Resolution - Whereas the school house in this district has become so dilapidated so as to be unfit for school purposes - therefore resolved - that we will take measures to build a school house during next summer. A Kendall, S. Miller.” “Resolution: Resolved that we appoint a committee of three to make estimates as to cost and size for a new school house in this District No. 12, towns of Livonia and Canadice and report the same to the next adjourned meeting to January 17th, 1883.” Alfred Kendall, Dennis Connor, Frank Schneck, Nathan Short were appointed the committee. The names of those voting for these resolutions are, Alfred Kendall, Warren Green, Dennis Connor, Frank Schneck, Nathan Short, Lewis Short, Nathan Jones, Mathew Scidmore, Myron Short, Russel Jacques and Edson Daniels. Of these people two are yet living, Lewis Short and Edson Daniels.

The next special meeting was held January 17th, 1883. Russel Jacques acted as moderator. (Webster says, “Moderator - one who or that which restrains.” I imagine they needed one.) A. Kendall offered a resolution to erect a building 24 ft. x 34 ft., which was carried. The building committee was then ordered to report on January 31st at 7 p.m., on the cost. Nothing happened January 31st, but on February 14th by resolution carried they were authorized and instructed to proceed and build a school house in said District No. 12 of Livonia and Canadice within the year of 1883 and that the cost shall not exceed the sum of $900.00, and not exceed 23 ft. x 34 ft. in size. This resolution was not carried without a battle; Canadice and Gulburg were not agreeing any too well just then. Canadice offered a resolution that the cost be cut from $900.00 to $800.00. This was lost by a vote of 16 to 6. It was then voted to raise this $900.00 by tax in 1883 which was done. The building was erected that summer by Earl and Wicks of Livonia Center.

Some to these same taxpayers were called upon in 1911 to vote on a proposition to bond District No. 4 for $17,000 to build the school house that burned July 19th, 1928, and again in 1928 to vote to bond the district for $100,000 to build the present structure.

A few comparisons might be of interest. In 1846 Caroline Parks taught twelve weeks for twelve shillings per week, total $18.00; in 1930 this district will pay its teachers $12,000. Fuel in the “forties” was costing from $5 to $15, now between $500 and $600. In 1852 a teacher’s chair was purchased for 38 cents. Chalk cost 6 cents per box. It was about this time that black boards came into use in district schools. Teacher’s wages went up in 1852 - Chamberlain Annis received $27.00 per month for four months for his services; he had fifty-six scholars. At that time there were two terms per year, the first term commencing in November and ending in March and the second from the middle of April till the last of August. There did not appear to be any hard and fast rule as to when a school term should commence; it was at the convenience of those interested, as is shown by the following letter of April 27th, 1870: “Mr. Owen, Sir - Will you please write me as to when you wish school to begin? I should like to commence as late in the season as practicable on account of my work here. Also what arrangements you can make to meet me at the depot (Livonia). Would it be more convenient if I came to Hemlock Lake? If so please write me how I can reach there by R. R. and stage. Also the day. Respectfully, Mary E. Clymer, Lima, N.Y.”