Schools of the Past: Guilford Districts 5 and 6

To all the interested parties who may remember my past article relevant to the historic churches of Chenango County, the photo for which credit is due to the later Mert Brownell in his documentary Unadilla Valley 1788-1976, the photo which accompanies this article not only is a photo or the “Old Union Church” erected in 1819, but in the right hand corner is the photo of the school which will be related below. The erection of the many school houses in this county at times were erected adjacent or nearby the many historic churches of this county.



For the written history of what is available regarding District #5, this writer will quote verbatim what Mr. Brownell documented in his book above. “The school was 300 ft. north of the church, and was built of log in 1807 (note: this would document that is was one of the oldest in the township and in the county as a whole) and in 1826 was rebuilt into a frame schoolhouse, which burned in 1836 and was rebuilt the same year. This was a large one-room school with an entrance hall across the front. I attended school there in 1901 for two years. The larger boys carried the drinking water from a spring across the road in front of the school. The pail was placed n a low stand against the wall with a tin dipper hanging on a nail above it. If you held up one finger, a nod from the teacher you could walk forward, take the dipper from the nail, dip out some water and what you didn’t want, dump back into the pail, hang up the dipper and return to your seat. Two fingers and a returning nod, issued you a pass outdoor to the ‘perfume factory.’ which was a small two-room building, with the Girls entrance on the north and the Boys, on the south. It contained seats of different heights. The partition between the two sides had several board patches nailed over the peek-holes that the girls had cut with their jackknives from their side. The school is still standing and is used as a home by Mrs. Elsie Walker (1976).”


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