Schools of the Past: Coventry Districts 7 and 8

With the opening of the new school year throughout Chenango County, it is timely that we return again the Township of Coventry for yet another chapter in the history of one-room schools. Regrettably there are no photos for us to view as a reminder of the early education that our forefathers and/or ancestors received in those primitive schoolhouses of yesterday. In this modern hi-tech age when the majority of students have calculators, laptop computers etc., it is unrealistic for today’s students to comprehend the education of yesteryear.


Again the research by Catherine Bickford, former historian, has to be credited to her book “History of the Town of Coventry: 1900-1975.” Her documentation of Page Brook Road in the Town of Coventry (now County Road #9) is the only historical documentation that is available regarding District #7. This writer has taken the liberty of naming this district with the above names as this school does not appear on the 1863 map, but the 1875 map of Coventry shows families by the above names living close to the site of the former schoolhouse.

On pages 21-23 of the above history of Coventry, Mrs. Bickford wrote the below information relevant to Page Brook Road which we will quote verbatim. Page Brook Road - “At the foot of the hill in another old farm - settled in the early 1800s by Uri Watrous. His daughter, Nettie J. Watrous married Clifford Wylie and their son, Lynn Wylie and his wife Ethel Eldred, owned it from 1913 to 1946 when they sold to Clarence Williamson. The Wylies purchased the school house District #7, and converted it into a home where they lived a few years then moved to Greene. Ruth Williamson (daughter of Clarence and Louella) and her husband, John Bingham, built a log home in the field back of the farm house in 1976 and are still operating the farm. The schoolhouse was sold by the Wylies to Donald and Doris Roberts who lived here several years and sold to Richard D. Howell (son of Duane and Hattie Howell o f Chenango Forks.) Richard is nephew to Earl Howell, Sr. and is an elementary teacher in Greene. The former schoolhouse is the last home on the Page Brook Road in the Town of Coventry, however in the 1900s there was a home just beyond the junction with Bowbell Road. The white birch trees which are around the house are still visible.”

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