Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Aug 15

School Days Are Here Again

Posted on August 15, 2015 at 6:31 PM by Elise Kelly

 This summer has flown by. Children throughout Greene County have taken advantage of the sunny days we've had and have hiked through our County parks, swam at our local pools, and attended our County Fair. But the inevitable  is near........SCHOOL STARTS SOON!
Greene County Parks & Recreation Scrapbook (1970-1980)
To commemorate the approaching BACK TO SCHOOL week for Greene County Schools, let's take a journey back and learn a little bit about some of the early schoolhouses in the County.

Early Schoolhouses

"Adams Corner - Schulhaus 2" by Wolfgang Sauber - via Wikimedia Commons.
Three years before Greene County was established in 1803, the first one-room schoolhouse was erected in Beavercreek Township - just west of the town of Alpha. The schoolhouse's first teacher was an Englishman who received a paltry stipend of eight to ten dollars.
The image above is what a well-equipped, one-room school house would have looked like.

Subsequently, a second school building was erected in the township a couple of years later. This school house also served as a German Reformed church. Several early schoolhouses served as a local church on Sundays.

In 1829, the Ohio Public School System was established. As more families settled in Greene County several schools were constructed in each of the different townships. During this time, enumeration records (which recorded the number of children in each of the townships) were kept.The records listed the number of children in each township and the region where they resided. We believe this was recorded for tax purposes - it was important to know how many children lived in a certain region of the township, in order to determine the construction of a schoolhouse for them.

Let's take a look at an 1831 Enumeration Record (Miami Township) - See Below. The name of the children's father (head of the household) is listed and a number next to his name indicates the number of children he has. During the 1820s and 1830s there was only one schoolhouse in Miami Township. Children had to walk three miles north of Yellow Springs to attend class.

                   1831 Enumeration Record (Miami Township)
Unfortunately, only white children were listed in these records. African American children were not permitted to attend public schools at this time and instead the families of these children established their own schools. Surprisingly, even Antioch College had an elementary department at one point. Established in 1853, a large number of children from Yellow Springs and Miami Township attended this school located on the college campus.

Other resources that the Greene County Archives has that are particularly  useful when trying to locate different township schoolhouses are Washington Galloway's fieldbooks. 

Galloway's Fieldbook I includes a survey drawing in Silvercreek Township. A schoolhouse (located at the bottom of the page) was situated outside of Jamestown. There were seven school buildings located throughout Silvercreek Township during the mid-nineteenth century (two were in Jamestown and five were scattered throughout the township). We believe these schools were all part of one school system. However, in Xenia Township in 1838, the schools in town were separated from the township schools and both established their own school systems.

                  Washington Galloway's Field Book 1 Pgs. 60-61
As shopping for school supplies kicks off and students and their parents begin purchasing pencils, notebooks and folders etc., we encourage you to ponder what you believe children were expected to have for that first day of school during the mid-nineteenth century.

We leave you to study this school supply shopping list from 1858. Elizabeth Crabb needed to buy several books including a Geography, Arithmetic, Spelling and an English Grammar book. Other supplies included: ink, pens, and a slate.

                    Elizabeth Crabber's Guardianship File 317


We wish all the Greene County school children the best of luck this school year. Remember "the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." - Aristotle.

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question:
One duty the older children of the schoolhouse had to perform was to carry the wood for the building's stove. What other responsibilities do you think the school children had to do during the school day?
Last Week's Trivia Answer:
What is the difference between an archives and a records center? - According to the Society of American Archivists, An Archives is an "organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a collecting archives." A Records Center is a "facility used for low-cost storage of inactive and semi-current records before those records are destroyed or transferred to an archives."

Broadstone, M.A. History of Greene County Ohio. Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen & Company, 1918.


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