Once again we return to the southern part of Chenango County for the history of one of Greene’s many school districts. For the many residents of Chenango County who may not be familiar with the many hamlets of the county, the possibility arises with the question “where in the world is Lower Geneganslet?” This small hamlet is located at the intersection of County Road #2 and Route 12. Now a quiet drive through, we may assume in its heyday it was a bustling small community that has all but disappeared with the progress of civilization and transportation improvements. There are, however, business establishments in this area that have come on the scene throughout the years!
The District #5 listed above has a long lifeline beginning in 1828 and ending in 1941 with the centralization of the district schools into what is now the Greene Central School District. However, we are fortunate that this former one-room school is still standing as a private dwelling and has not suffered the fate, as have others, of ending as a storage building, or worse yet being torn down, records burned, etc. An interesting note of history is inserted at this time that #5 is one of the oldest of the districts with a life span of 113 years. In the research of the districts there are only three or four of the Greene districts which were older as will be documented in future articles.
With the beginning of the district schools in Greene, School Commissioners and Inspectors were appointed and briefly we will pay tribute to a few: Alanson F. Lyon, Orrin Sharp, Jeremiah Winston (1828) - August Willard - Amos Gray - Jehial Spafford (1838) - this would change in 1844 when three commissioners were replaced with one -Jehial Spafford (1848) -John R. Wheeler (1860) - D. G. Barber (1878) - Delos VanWoert being Commissioner from 1903-07.
The education law was again changed in 1912 when the School Commissioner system was replaced by a District Superintendents. At that time five districts where created throughout Chenango County they being Greene, Afton, Coventry comprising District #4. Jane I. Schenck was elected District Superintendent for a term of 5 years. Ms. Schenck was a graduate of Greene High School and Oneonta Normal and was in charge of the Teachers Training Class in Greene High School for a period of four years. She remained in her position of District Superintendent till 1936, to be succeeded by J. S. Childs till 1942 when again education changed with Ernest G. Youmans of Sherburne becoming Superintendent of Schools for the entire County. The year of 1969 would see Mr. Youmans retire after service twenty-eight years as sole Superintendent of the Sole Supervisory District of Chenango, Madison and Otsego counties. A rather interesting note: who said consolidation is new!
Not to deviate from the history of District 5, in Mildred Folsom’s research of the “Record of Boundaries” she documented that the above district lines were between the Chenango and Geneganslet Rivers, west to County line and Gideon Trumbull’s on Lot 30/4T.
With the beginning of District #5 the early year prior research, to date, failed to document the early years of this school house and it is assumed by this writer, that perhaps with the formation of the district that school was held in either a private home or perhaps a rather crude log cabin. This would change in 1847 as in Book 80 - Page #119 Uziel Row sold to Stephen Gillson - Orrin D. Carter and David Jackson-Trustees of District #5 for $5.00 (and fencing and keeping in repair said lot) - land beginning in center of highway running from old turnpike road south toward Abraham Adam’s farm 2 rods south of old schoolhouse -west - north parallel with highway - east to point of beginning. With the reference to “old schoolhouse” this will establish the fact that there was a building for education prior to the purchase of this lot for a new “more modern” educational facility.
This writer will now quote directly what Mrs. Folsom wrote regarding the formation of District #5 in her book “Town of Greene - Rural School Districts” which she documented from an old record book which contained the minutes of the school meeting of District #5 from 1828 to 1881 and we believe in the possession of W. J. Salisbury and C. A. and dated February 21, 1935.
“The first school district meeting, of which there exists any known record in Lower Geneganslet School District #5 in the Town of Greene, was held April 3,1828. It was a Special Meeting to consider the building of a schoolhouse. Since this meeting was called by the trustees, according to the minutes, there must have been a previous meeting...