Independent Registered Historian
The district above and do not confuse with the Joint District #1 – Sherburne/North Norwich, the subject of last week’s article, is located on the corner of County Road 23 [No. Norwich/Smyrna] and West Hill Road, now greatly changed and converted to a home. The photo with this article shows a much earlier view of this schoolhouse, but the outline is visible. With the many school houses in existence throughout the county, it has been noticed that the numerous windows of the schools have basically not changed.
The historical information, once again with the schools throughout the county is usually scant and this district is no exception. Credit again is to Rose Wellman, retired Sherburne historian, Chenango County Clerk’s office and to Henry Drexler for the photo of the school.
The May 1931 issue of “Rural News” for District 1 gives that Mrs. Mary Neilson was the teacher at that time and was written that plays, songs and recitations were given by the children at their Christmas party, pupils having perfect attendance were listed, the pupils were enjoying their new two-burner oil stove over which they cook their hot lunches, with part of the money being earned by pupils at the school fairs. The article goes on to say that school was divided in groups of two with each group being in charge of hot lunches for one day and finally the pupils of the fifth grade were working on Swiss Posters.
Backtracking in time to the year 1823 the Record of School Districts in Sherburne, diligently copied by the late Mrs. Edwin Smith for which the retired historian, Rose Wellman was fortunate to have a copy of gives us the following information:
“Boundaries of District No. 1 parts of which lie in the towns of Smyrna, Plymouth and Norwich, viz;
In Smyrna the whole of lot No. 10 except ninety-seven acres on the north side of said lot. In Norwich lots No. 1, 2, and 3 [note North Norwich was still a part of the Norwich school district]. In Sherburne – Beginning at the Southwest corner of said town running North on the town line to North line of Zach Gilmore’s land; thence East on the line between Cyrus Lyon and Duty Briggs including Widow Smith’s land to the town line of Norwich; thence to the place of beginning and in Plymouth lots No. 10 & 11.”
This change of the district #1 lines was at the meeting of the Commissioners of Common Schools; John Noyes, Stephan Arnold, Joseph Adams, Thomas Merrill, Jr., Sam Hall, N. B. Mea, T. S. Bockee and Isaac Sabin and recorded October 6, 1823 by S. Stebbins, Town Clerk.
October 2, 1823 would see an alteration for District #1 reading as follows; “This may certify that we the Commissioners of Common schools for the Towns of Sherburne, Smyrna, Plymouth and Norwich have annexed James Anderson, Daniel Anderson, “Wid” L. Smith and her sons of the first school district in Sherburne together with their farms, to the Sixth School District in said town. This was signed by the following commissioners: Joseph Adams, David Smith, Thomas Merrill, Jr., Jonathan Copeland, John Noyes, Isaac S. Bockee, Samuel Hall and Geo. Hammond. Recorded July 27, 1824 at Sherburne by S. Stebbins, Town Clerk
A note of interested is inserted here, District #6 was the Cush Hill District and the frequent change of district lines and numbers has and still is difficult to ascertain, unless, written documentation of these changes is found to be available.
In the year of October 12, 1880 a deed was recorded at the Chenango County Clerk’s office in Liber #205 at page #219 which gives the following information. On that date Fanny and Alfred Bentley of the Town of Sherburne, parties of the first part, and Samuel G. Bently, trustee of the District #1 for the sum of twenty-five dollars sold to the District a parcel of land described as follows: “All that tract or parcel of land, situate in the Town of Sherburne, bounded as follows: beginning one foot north of the north east corner of the stone wall on which a new schoolhouse is to be build on a present contract, and then running thence west to the highway and town line between Smyrna and Sherburne; thence south four rods thence east to a point on a right angle with said wall; thence north four rods to pace of beginning; containing sixteen rods of land be the same more or less.” This deed was finally recorded July 27, 1900 at 3:30 P.M. by Jay G. Holmes, Clerk. This time lapse of years was not unusual in the early decades of the Chenango County Clerk’s Office.
Regrettably there are no Trustee’s Annual Reports available, the extensive collection at the County Historian’s office is not complete, and thus no tribute is available for the many residents who sent their children to school at Sherburne Four Corners.
Finally, the pages of the book remain open if new historical information surfaces and as usual with these numerous articles “to be continued.”