A HISTORY OF MARION TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS 1824-1969
By - Marie (Johnson) Bridges
Dedicated to Marie (Johnson) Bridges
July 24, 1915 - November 12, 2014
BARNES SCHOOL HOUSE on GUM LICK
On May 18, 1996, the new Community Building in Marion Township was dedicated. Roast pig and other foods were served
to the large crowd who attended.
In honor of the occasion, I had been asked to give a history of the schools in Marion Township. Marie (Billie) McGannon, who
had taught in the district for many years. provided pictures of some of the schools, teachers and pupils to complement my presentations. It
has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so her contribution was immeasurable. Others too numerous to mention also provided
In 1824 the State Legislature passed a law which stipulated that three trustees would be elected for each township.
They were empowered to locate school districts and to license and employ the teachers. Each district was numbered according to the order in
which its school was built.
Marion Township was divided from Montgomery Township in 1843. The earliest schools were constructed from logs and
heated by fireplaces. Usually some farmer donated an acre of land at the corner of the woods on his farm. The three trustees were empowered
to appoint three district sub trustees to manage the funds. Under the law, every able bodied man over twenty-one was required to work two
days each week until the school house was completed. If a man failed to work his allotted time he had to pay thirty seven and one-half cents
a day. He could also donate material if he wished for which he received credit. After the building was completed, the trustees had a meeting
with the patrons at which they determined how to raise the money to pay the teachers and decided on the date for the beginning of school. The
early schools were supported by subscriptions and donations. Some teachers received part of their pay by boarding with their pupils.
Marion Township originally had ten one room schools: Fairview, located on the Stewart farm; Slate (there were three of
these over a period of time); Lower Cana; Upper Cana; Middle Cana; Barnes; Mosely; Hopkins; Staples; and Center. The three Slate Schools Number
One located near the Keith Cemetery, Number Two located at Millers Corner, and Number Three, now the old house on the Willie McIntosh farm.
Each school had a number, and the numbers are on the township map which Marie McGannon has hung on the wall so you can easily locate them. Some
of the schools were in use only a short time due to the decline in school age pupils.
Mt. Zion, Gum Lick, and the Hughes Schools were built at a later date. The Hughes School was often referred to as the
Cobb School. I have the transcript of the deed for the site of the Mr. Zion School. On February 8, 1854, John and Harriet Deputy transferred
one-half acre for common school purposes to the township. The charge was ten dollars. At that time land was selling for less than five dollars
an acre. The trustees were Woodward Barnes, Andrew Wilson, and Francis Simmons. Five years later, the Deputys acknowledged the execution of
the annexed deed. William Deputy was the Justice of the Peace. There were two Mr. Zion school buildings. The first one is now situated on
the David Wright farm. The second one was torn down and the material was used to build a house on the D.J. Kellar farm. A few years ago that
A number of years after Mr. Zion was built, two other schools were constructed namely Gum Lick and the Hughes School.
Irene (Coryell) Joseph, now ninty six years old, recalled her salary as two-fifty or three dollars per day. She thought she was the first
teacher in the school and the date she began teaching was 1918. She had to hire someone to do the janitor work or do it herself. The school
closed after a few years of service.
Miss Ida Tribbett, who is in her mid-nineties, said her mother Augusta Wilkom, attended the first Mt. Zion school. It
had its last session in 1899. Clifford Tribbett Ida's brother, had his first year of school in the old building. In 1900 the second building
was ready for use. Two of Augusta Tribbett Wilkom's teachers were McKee Dunn Deputy and his brother Joseph Bussy Deputy, a Civil War veteran.
The McGuffy reader Augusta used has both her name and J.B. Deputy's name in it. The book was given to me by Ida Tribbett and I prize it highly.
Later teachers at Mr. Zion were Nathan Gardner, Lucius Wales Deputy, Leslie Barnes, Alfred Kysar, Bussy Kysar, Wesley Kysar, Nellie (Rogers)
Johnson, Vera Lewis, Edna Wilkerson, Raymond Kinder, Charles Layman, and many others.
I was able to find some teachers contract from 1872-1883. John Sillideay was the trustee. The teacher at school number
two was Evan J. Hughes. School started on Monday, November 11, 1872, and closed March 28, 1873. The salary was $1.60 per day. Pupils ranged
from six to twenty-one. There were twenty three boys and twenty boys. The number of days taught was ninety-five.
School Number Three was taught by Enoch Layton, a Civil War Veteran. He received one dollar and sixty-five cents per day.
He opened school on November 4 and closed on March 19. The number of days taught totaled ninety-five. There were twenty-nine boys and twenty-one
girls in his class. The subjects taught were orthography (the methodology of writing a language. It includes rules of spelling,
hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation.)
, McGuffey's reader, writing (Spencerian), arithmetic (Rays), geography,
English grammar, physiology, United States History, and mental (print too dim to read).
T.J. Staples was assigned to teach School Number Four. He began on October 4 and ended on March 8. There were twenty-seven
boys and twenty-eight girls in his class. Mr. Staples did not receive his final pay until April 14 because there was no money available to pay him.
School Number Five was taught by George W. Bard. He started school on October 21 and ended March 5.
The teacher for School Number Eight was Thomas J. Hudson. John H. Roger, another Civil War veteran, taught School Number
Nine. Seth Lewis taught School Number Ten. They all taught approximately the same number of students and received approximately the same salaries.
Following is a table showing teachers' salaries and the number of days they taught during the 1874 school year.
||Salary Per Diem
|Wm. E. McGuire
|John S. Shillideay
William B. Lewis was trustee. Some would serve as trustee one year and teach the next.
The economy must have been bad because in the late 1870's and early 1880's the number of days
taught was reduced as were the salaries. In 1877, L.W. Deputy started school on January 22 and closed on February 24.
He received $1.40 per day. His brother A.F. Deputy, started school October 1, 1877 and February 18, 1878. He was
paid $1.50 per day. In 1880 Sarah Carlock taught eight weeks beginning the second day of February and ending March 26th.
She received $1.10 per day. In 1883 Mattie Deputy Gruber received the smallest salary of any. One dollar per day.
Possibly this decline in salaries was a result of what has become known as the Cleveland Panic.
If the teachers didn't attend the Township Institute, a day's pay would be deducted from their
salaries. Some of the teachers who forfeited a day's pay were Olive M.J. Foster, George W. Bard, Phelina Gudgel, Belle
Pearson, and L.W. Deputy. The trustees at this time were John S. Shillideay, William B. Lewis, J.H. Rogers and T.J.
Staples. Staples and Rogers served longer than any of the others.
Marion Township was without a high school until the 1913-1914 school year when a partition was
placed in the center of Mosley School to differentiate the grade school from the high school. Gladys Coryell taught
all eight grades on the north side and Mr. Rust, minister of the Christian Church in North Vernon, taught all high
school subjects on the south side. Mrs. Joseph said there was an old organ that wouldn't play, but Mr. Rust repaired it and
she played so they sang which added a little to the curriculum.
In 1815-1816 the new high school was completed, and the pupils who had two years at Mosley
could take their junior year in the new building, however, they had to go to Seymour or some other place for their
senior year because Marion was not accredited.
Later the building was enlarged with the help of the W.P.A. Pupils from Mt. Zion, Gum Lick
and Upper and Lower Cana all went to the Marion Consolidated School which opened in late October or early November of
1938. In 1839-40 the high school was eliminated. The high school pupils were taken to Crothersville for the school
year 1839-40. In 1940-41 they were enrolled in Paris Crossing High School and continued there until all high school
all high school pupils in the county went to North Vernon in 1961. The grades continued at Marion until 1969. Then
the pupils from Marion, Lovett and Montgomery Townships all moved to the new Graham Creek School Building in Montgomery
Sanitation was lacking in all of the schools. No facilities were available to wash before
eating. Lunches were carried in tim pails. Content of the paiils varied but bread, corn bread or biscuits were included
with fried eggs or meat. Fresh fruit in season and cookies were also sometimes included. Privies were in use, but no
tissues were provided. In the early 1920's when I started school, catalogs and newspapers were used if the supply
became exhausted, beech leaves were substituted. About all clothes were homemade; pockets were on all garments. Girls
carried white hankies and boys carried big blue or red handkerchiefs. To prevent the spread of disease, some parents
tied a bag of asafetida around their childs neck.
Some of the games that children played at school were hide and seek, blackman, red-light, Annie
over, flying Dutchman, red rover, leap frog, horseshoes, dare base, crack the whit, fox and geese. Contests were also held
both indoors and outside.
In the 1930's when I started teaching, I did as many other teachers did. I had a box social to
make money to purchase books and other items. I bought a hectograph out of my salary (five dollars per day), colored
chalk for special holidays, and patterns to illustrate various occasions.
Marion Township has had many outstanding citizens. John and William McQuire were outstanding
educators. Both James E. Donnell and Arlie Ray Barnes became prominent physicians. Dr. Donnell was an eye, ear, nose
and throat specialist who studied in Austria. Arlie Ray Barnes was on the staff of the Mayo Clinic for many years.
Although both Dr. Donnell and Dr. Barnes are dead, two prominent doctors from Marion Township-Dr. Max Joseph and Dr. Lowell
Barnes-are still living and contributing to many worthy causes.
This written history is a mere framework of the oral account I gave because I did much ad-libbing
to clarify and enlarge upon various topics. To get a clearer picture of am early one-room school, read John Greanleaf
Whittier's poem "In School-Days."
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