North Norwich – District #2 Chesebro Hill

Located in almost every school district in Chenango County was the "Little Red Schoolhouse" which, as in this modern age, has virtually disappeared from the scene. The late Floyd Ainsworth wrote an article for The Evening Sun which appeared in print, April 28, 1947 relevant to another district, which in part is quoted directly:

“The little red schoolhouse which once dotted our land, with stars and stripes proudly floating above them, each with its eager, active group of sturdy youngsters rallying around it were a sight to gladden the heart and inspire the pride and patriotism of all right thinking citizens.

Situated about the center of each district they were usually the focal point of the social activities of the district. There would be home talent plays, spelling "bees" and debating clubs in competition with neighboring districts. Sometimes there would be evening writing schools to practice penmanship under a capable instructor.

In many districts, religious services were regularly held. Community spirit was strong and the little red schoolhouse was the hub around which the life of the community revolved.

In sad contrast to the above are the conditions prevailing today. Schoolhouses going to decay, children, instead of rallying around their own little fountainhead of learning, are herded into buses and drawn away to distant, and in many cases overcrowded, schools; abandoned farms and neighborhood social and community spirit dead for a lack of incentive to hold them together and keep them alive.

It is a refreshing sight to see now and then a section of the structure that has escaped the wreck, still moving successfully forward under its own power.”

Such is the case with the subject of this week's article. You are probably all wondering where in the world is Chesebro Hill. Don't worry, the mystery is solved and this writer relates that Chesebro Hill is today known as Steam Sawmill Hill in the township above written.

There is scant information relevant to this site, and the town historian, Janet Decker, was fortunate enough to have a photo of the site which is marked with an "X" showing the approximate site of the school. Janet believes that the former historian, the late Faye Pike, took this photo as she wrote underneath this photo, "Schoolhouse located in "X" area. Children from at least eight families attended the school at times in yesteryears. Later, the district was merged with District #3 (North Norwich), about 1910 or 1914, and George Chesebro was hired to carry children.

Now only one family lives on the hill - Robert Chesebro - in the immediate vicinity of the old school.

Janet went on to relate to me, "Now I misspoke when I said to you that the Chesebro family was the only family on the hill. As the photo shows, "now only one family live on the hill in the immediate vicinity of the old school." This photo is older, and I do not profess to know ages of photos! At the top of the photo it states: “CHESEBRO HILL - DISTRICT #2.”

Now this is what the photo shows to me: The house on the left in the picture belonged to Robert Chesebro for as long as I can remember ... Dick and I knew he and his son, Ed, who lived there. Robert's wife had passed away and we never knew her. The "X" is between the Chesebro houses and (at this time) Bob Adsit's new home (on the left hand side of Steam Sawmill Hill going toward Sherburne.

With this scant history we close this brief article and to all readers, if anyone has information relevant to this schoolhouse, please contact the Town of Norwich historian, Janet Decker at her home. All information will be duly acknowledged.

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