‘Schools of the Past’ Sherburne - A new chapter

Independent Registered Historian

Yet another chapter in the book of history of the numerous districts in Chenango County, for all who have followed this long running series, it began in September 2008 and has continued basically every week, with few exceptions when either vacation or space did not allow the articles to be inserted in the Thursday evening’s issue of The Evening Sun. This week will begin the series of articles relevant to the history of the multiple districts of the Township, however first a brief review of the history of Sherburne from Smith’s History of Chenango County – 1784-1879.

This marvelous documentation of Chenango County history relates that Sherburne was formed March 5, 1795 [ironically this article will appear March 9, which dictates the township is two hundred and twenty-two years old. The name of Sherburne, is said to have been suggested by a member of the Legislature as the early residents were in the habit of singing the tune of Sherburne which a favorite among them. Originally Sherburne encompassed the township of Stafford, as we know it today Smyrna, which was taken off March 25, 1808. Enlarged a small part of New Berlin in 1852! The township was crossed by the Utica, Chenango, and Susquehanna Valley railroad, the New York Ontario and Western railroad and the Chenango Canal flowed through the town approximately in the center of the township. The first railroad mentioned made an extensive detour to enable them to connect directly with the Village of Sherburne.

Smith’s History gives the information that in 1879 there were seventeen common and one Union Free School districts in this township, this has changed over the years and this author will state documentation of twenty districts, readers you will be visiting Sherburne for quite a while! As of Sept. 30, 1877 the township had twenty-one licensed teachers, number of children of school age was 627, total number of books in the assorted schools was 1,974, there were eighteen school, seventeen frame and one brick, total acreage was fifty-two rods and finally receipts and disbursement for the above year were $5,870.63 disbursed as follows: Teacher’s wages - $4,975.19, libraries - $89.60, school apparatus - $7.79, school houses – sites – fences – outhouses – repairs – furniture, etc. - $232.48, other incidental expenses - $40.24 and at the end of the year a surplus of $115.33. In retrospect to today’s cost of school districts, one can safely say, the many districts were extremely stringent with state and taxpayers financial support!



SHERBURNE/NORTH NORWICH – JOINT DISTRICT #1

With the articles written in July 11 and 18, 2013 the history of this above district was documented and returning to this joint district is timely as new information surfaced after the two dates and it is time to return and recap briefly and to document the new information for all who are interested.

Written originally was that a deed was recorded in Liber #69 – Page #161 at the Chenango County Clerk’s office which gave us basically the information that in May of 1842 a indenture was transacted between Henry and Lydia Young of the Town of Norwich [at that time the scholars were in the Town of Norwich school districts] and Henry Young, Andrew Haxton and Almon Bryant, trustees of the school district #1 between the Town of Norwich and Sherburne. This instrument read the piece or parcel of land was located at the fork of the road, few rods south of dwelling house of Henry and Lydia Young on main road [NYS Rte. 12] leading from Sherburne village to Norwich and what is known as Tracy Road today. The dimensions of the lot were described in the original document and written it was situated in lot #6 in Township #10 [North Norwich] and being one-eighth of an acre of land more or less.

The photo with this article documents the school as it originally looked, it has been converted to a private home, enlarged and changed, but the outline of a school is still visible. With regret the teacher’s/trustee/town clerk’s names are not available perhaps again return to this district will be necessary.

As has been the scenario with these numerous article, the names of the parents residing in this joint district from 1870-1908 are documented as follows with residents living in Plymouth, Smyrna and North Norwich, sending their children to this early school as follows; W. Adams – D. Ailsworth – A. Bennett – Amelia, J. N., M., and S. Bentley – Mrs. & E. J. Bonney -- Nelson Bowers - Lydia, R. Briggs – Floyd, John and T. W. Brooks – S. A. Brown – John Card – O. Carr – Valentine Chamberlain – S., S. S. Champlin – Wright Christian – E. Clark – A. Fairchild – Bruce Fargo – Nathanial Ferris – Bert Franklin – Eli Fredenburgh – Irving Gardner – Mary Goodfellow – Mrs. Carrie Harrington – Charles, Edward, Walter Hartwell – E. Hecox – Mr. Hillsinger – C. Ingham- Charles, Norum Isbell – George Keller – J. Kirby – William, Mrs. Wright Lorimer – C. Lucas – Rosa, William Lyon – George Marks – A., Mrs. Martin – Pat McElroy - Cyrus B.- C – Merrithew – D. Merrill – A. Newcomb – David O’Niel – John O’Rourke – Frances Owens – Mr. Parker – William Parks, William C. Pierce – E. Pike – Edmund, J. L., Louis Purdy – A. Rhodes – William Rogers – William Ross – Mr. Rouse – S. Semour – Wm. Shoals – Marvin Smith – Dewitt Stevens – Milton, Moses Stewart or Steward – Willard Stuhlman – Mrs. Tucker – M. Utter – Chas. B. VanHousen – A., Wm. A. Vaughan, L., S, Talcott, W. D. Wilber or Wilbur [it was spelled differently over the years with all residents in that time period sending a total of 484 scholars to this little one room school.

This closes the brief documentation of this joint district and next week will return to the Sherburne District #1 at Sherburne Four Corners. Additionally, this writer will state that historical information is derived from various sources which is stated now and for all future articles, Rose Wellman, retired Sherburne historian, Henry Drexler, the Sherburne Library, the Sherburne Historical Society, the late Mary Fargo, his grandmother Gertrude Howard Smith and numerous other sources that he has used in the documentation with photos of the Sherburne schools, without these tools, this series will not be possible, and ending with the usual scenario “to be continued.”

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