FIRST VILLAGE SCHOOL
During all these
years it must be remembered that the people of Yellow Springs did not
maintain a separate school system, but were a part of the township school
system. The children of the village attended the township school located
in the district where their parents lived.
The Elm street school
was built in 1845 and it did service alone until 1855 when conditions
demanded more school room.
In 1855 Wood's school
was built and in 1856 a high school was built.
In 1858 a movement
was set on foot to create a separate school district for the town. It
must also be remembered that until the constitutional convention of 1851,
strictly free public schools as we know them today did not exist. The
parents of children of school age were all expected to subscribe a certain
amount toward the upkeep of the schools; nor was attendance compulsory...
"Met according to adjournment; all present. On motion the following
were elected examiners: J. B. Weston for three years, F. D. Leonard for
two years; and A. Kellogg for one year. A motion being made, it was agreed
to divide the district into three grades-number one, High Street, corner
of South College and High streets, to be composed of those scholars more
advanced in orthography, reading, algebra, history, physiology, and botany;
No. two, south of Fairfield pike and between Walnut and High streets,
called Wood's School, to consist of all the scholars of grammar, geography,
physiology, arithmetic, reading, and writing; number three, center the
school still on Elm street, alphabet, reading writing, and so forth. These
three schools being established, the next thing to do was to elect the
teachers. 'Resolved, that we employ E. Jay as superintendent of this special
school district, and he to take charge of the South school at a salary
of $400 per year consisting of forty-four weeks of school. Voted to accept
Miss Morris as teacher for the Intermediate school, known as the Woods
school, and Miss Emma Botsford as teacher in the Elm school. After these
elections a general change of plans was made as follows: 'Voted to place
the primary school in the Elm street school house, secondary in Little
Antioch, preparatory in the North, and higher departments in the South."
"Met according to the adjournment. H. H. Hopkins, clerk. Minutes
of the last meeting approved. Resolved, that the schools be divided into
four terms of eleven weeks each. Passed. Resolved that the treasurer-elect
of the Yellow Springs school district be and hereby is authorised to collect
all the school funds due said district from the former treasurer as soon
as the law will allow the same to be done. Passed. Resolved, that we employ
a superintendent with an assistant for the South school and teachers for
the Center and North schools. Schools to commence the first Monday in
September. Passed. Resolved, that we hire E. Jay with his furnishing an
assistant for $525 for forty-four weeks. Passed. Application handed in
from Miss C. B. Brown, Miss Morris, and Miss Botsford to teach school.
Passed to accept Miss Morris' proposition. Passed to accept Miss Botsford's
H. H. Hopkins, Clerk
COST AND SIZE
OF SCHOOL POPULATION
The Yellow Springs
school records of 1863 give us a good insight into the operating cost
and the size of the school population at that time. Comparing it with
the present it must seem to us at first glance as being ideal in economics.
But in 1863 the schools were governed on the home rule plan and were not
hampered as now by numerous laws and regulations with which the state
has seen fit to surround them until at the present time the school board,
teachers, and even the parents have little influence in the cost and regulation,
and any effort on their part to lessen the burden seems futile.
The records of 1863
give the enumeration returns of the Yellow Springs school district of
youth tween the ages of five and twenty-one years taken and returned to
the county auditor between the first and third Monday of September.
The teachers' salaries
for nine months in 1863 were $1,206.00 while in 1924 they were $10,349.59.
Although the examination
of school teachers was not as rigid then as now, they were men and women
of good education and must have been able to control and direct their
pupils efficiently. It is doubtful today whether the modern teacher has
any better grasp of the common school subjects than the teacher of three
generations ago, but for a general knowledge of a greater variety of subjects
or a complete knowledge of a special subject, superiority is conceded
to the modern teacher.
There were five teachers
employed in 1863 at the following salaries: R. Milliken, superintendent,
$42 per month; Mrs. Milliken, teacher, $23 per month; Miss Condon, Miss
Anderson, and Mr. Early each at a salary of $23 per month. Five teachers
at a combined salary of $134 per month to direct and instruct 530 pupils.
How the teachers of yesterday with so many pupils and so little equipment
today, could have carried the gigantic burden of their tasks so cheerfully
fo twenty-three dollars a month is amazing. Mrs. A. L. Anderson taught
primary school in Yellow Springs for thirteen years and many are the gray-haired
men and women in this community who learned their "A, B, C's"
under her tutelage. They can also remember that her schoolroom was neither
a picture gallery nor a play house. But the pupils soon learned that about
everything that occurred from the time they entered the school room in
the morning until they were dismissed in the evening was known and its
motive understood by Mrs. Anderson.
In December, 1865,
another interesting report regarding the schools is recorded. It follows:
Report for Nine Months
North Miss Clara Leonard 69
Elm Miss Kate Miller 82
Primary Miss Emma Roberts 130
Dayton St. Mrs. A. L. Anderson 134
Mr. M. Marshall 23
Total Enrollment 438
The town's population
had grown to fifteen thousand. The Hunster Hotel, The Yellow Springs Hotel,
and the Neff House were filled with summer visitors. Yellow Springs was
at the height of her career as a summer resort. Trainloads of excursionists
from as far away as Cincinnati and Columbus came as "picknickers"
to enjoy the beauties of the Neff grounds and drink at the famous Yellow
Spring. Eminent men and their families enjoyed the hospitality of the
hotels. Business men and their friends came from surrounding cities to
enjoy a week-end. Famous men like Emerson, Hale, and Greely in their lecture
tours had been guests of Antioch. Murat Halstead, General Rosecrans,
and General Smith had homes here. Those were gala days that mellow as
So we find that in
the early sixties the school trustees had begun to ponder over the erection
of a school building that would accommodate all of the Yellow Springs
schools under one roof.
On March the 12th,
1866, the matter of a union school was discussed and all agreed that it
was important for the interest of the school to have one at the earliest
12, 1871.-"On motion, H. H. Hopkins and Joseph Hutcheson were
appointed a committee to consider the expediency of attempting to build
a union school building this season and to report at the next meeting."
June 20, 1871.-"The building committee reported it expedient
to make arrangements for building a union school building as soon as material
could be secured."
July 3, 1871.-"Stewart and Hutcheson were appointed a committee
to inquire into the cost, size, and style of a building we need for a
August 17, 1871.-"On motion, resolved, that the time has come
to decide on providing more school room. On motion, resolved, that Birch
and Hutcheson be a committee to contract for about one hundred and seventy-five
thousand brick for the purpose of building a union school house. Passed
by unanimous vote."
September 4, 1871.-"Birch and Hutcheson reported
and presented a contract with J. W. Hamilton for one hundred and seventy-five
thousand brick, more or less, delivered at the time and place ordered
by the board, at six dollars and fifty cents per thousand, paid in advance.
The contract accepted by the board. On motion, passed, that an order be
drawn in favor of J. W. Hamilton for the sum of $1,137.50. Resolved that
F. Birch be appointed a committee to ask the Legislature through our representative
Hon. John Little for a law authorizing the Board of Education of Yellow
Springs, Ohio, to borrow by issuing bonds the sum of six thousand dollars
at eight percent interest to enable said school board to complete a union
school house, bonds to run from two to six years. Passed by unanimous
LOCATION OF NEW
17th, 1872.-"On motion resolved and passed that Sizer and Birch
be a committee to look out for a suitable lot of ground for the union
school building, with instructions to procure if possible the Grinnell
lot on Dayton Street. Also to report if any other location can be had
and the price asked, and report to the board as soon as possible."
April 29th, 1872.-"On motion the committee on securing a lot
was authorized to close a contract with Grinnell for his lot on Dayton
Street not less than one nor more than two acres at a rate not exceeding
seven hundred dollars per acre."
April 30th, 1872.-"Birch and Sizer reported that they had
closed a contract with Grinnell for a lot on the north side of Dayton
Street immediately west of Mr. Teney's residence two hundred feet front
on Dayton Street, running north three hundred feet more or less to Union
Street at the rate of seven hundred dollars per acre. Confirmed by the
board. On motion Stewart and Sizer were appointed a committee to look
around at other school buildings and get up a plan suitable to our wants
and report as early a day as possible."
May 14th, 1872.-"Frank Grinnell presented the deed from Moses
H. Grinnell for the school lot purchased of him. On motion the board accepted
the deed and ordered that an order be drawn on the treasurer for the amount
in full as per contract, ($1124.00).
Sizer and Stewart get further verbal instructions to proceed and get a
draft and specifications of a building containing four rooms on the first
floor and three on the second floor with a twelve foot hall through the
center. On motion resolved that notice be posted up for proposals to be
received for excavating the basement of the new school building. Bids
to be returned up to Monday next at 10 o'clock a.m."
May 21st, 1872.-On motion the bids received for excavating the
cellar and foundation of the Union school building were opened, being
eleven in number running from eighteen to twenty-nine cents per cubic
yard. The bid of John Wolf being eighteen cents per yard and the lowest
it was accepted. On motion, resolved and passed that A. V. Sizer and J.
M. Stewart be appointed a building committee and instructed to proceed
at once and put the building under contract and push the work on as fast
as possible advising from time to time with the board when they deem it
necessary. F. Birch reported that he had contracted with a firm in Cincinnati
for one hundred blank bonds to be gotten up in good style for the sum
of forty dollars. Accepted."
SALE OF ELM STREET SCHOOL
24th, 1872.-"The object of the meeting
being to agree on what terms we would sell the Elm street school house
and lot. The question being asked by the vestry of the Episcopal Church
in Yellow Springs through Dr. Elihu Thorne. On motion resolved and passed
that we would take one thousand dollars reserving the desks, tables, stove
and maps, in the following payments; four hundred dollars paid in hand,
three hundred in one year, and three hundred in two years, secured by
note and mortgage on the property, the note bearing interest from date.
Dr. Throne on the part of the church accepted our proposition with the
proviso that if they should pay one or both of said notes on or before
the first day of January, 1873, that no interest should be required on
said note or notes when paid. H. H. Hopkins on motion was appointed a
committee to consummate the above agreement with the Episcopal Church."
June 10th, 1872.-"The object of the meeting
being to examine bids for the basement and foundation walls of the Union
school house. Eight bids in all being examined it was found that Washington
Sroufe made the lowest bid, nine dollars and thirty-five cents per perch,
the work was awarded to him by unanimous vote. The building committee
were requested to enter into contract with Washington Sroufe."
June 21st, 1872.-"The drawings and specifications
of the new school building prepared by Leon Beaver of Dayton were examined
and passed that the building committee advertise to receive bids up to
July 9th for the work according to the drawings and specifications of
"Board of Education met July 11th, 1872. Members all present, President
Hopkins in the chair. All the bids for the erection of the new school
building were opened and examined. Only one bid on the brick work rejected.
Carpenter work awarded to Dress and Thornhill at $4531.00; galvanized
iron work by Bounsyer and Co., at $1275.00; cut stone to Hinton and Co.,
at $602.00; plastering twenty-three cents per yard to Mike Musselman at
$725.00; paintings and glazing to William Baker at $647.00; stone work
to Washington Sroufe at $1061.00; excavating cellar to John Wolf at $228.00."
In September, 1872,
the enumeration of youth was as follows:
In 1863 there stood
near the sidewalk on the south side of Dayton Street opposite John Dell's
residence a frame building that had done some service as a private or
paid school. This building is now the back part of Mrs. Sutton's house.
Here on September 23, 1863, the first colored school was established.
Annisted Early was employed as a teacher. While the enumeration of colored
children was given as fifty, the attendance at times was very small. In
1871, J. M. Logan was selected as first colored principal and in 1874
Addison Cooper as principal, had an assistant, Miss Maggie Hunter. In
1874 the colored school was located in the old High School building on
High Street where before its final abandonment a principal and three teachers
During these passing
years teachers salaries had grown from $23 per month in 1857 to $40.00
per month in 1873 and the principal's salary from $25.00 to $100.00 The
new Union School was opened for the first session January 16, 1873. The
building while not of an elaborately artistic design was roomy, comfortable
and sensibly planned inside and out. Located near the center of a large
yard and play ground the two-story structure with its huge belfy has proven
itself to be by its years of service a substantial and serviceable structure.
The lower floor today is just the same as it was when the building was
first occupied but the second floor which originally consisted of two
rooms and an auditorium had been changed to suit the new school conditions.
The old auditorium which originally occupied the entire back part of the
upstairs has been cut up into two recitation rooms and a small library
and now on special occasions the opera house can be utililized as an auditorium.
Hall" as the Union School Auditorium was called was in the seventies
and eighties our only Opera House, so that in addition to the school service
it was the public hall for political meetings, traveling theatrical companies
and home-talent shows. The stage and scenery still hold a place in our
memories. Laughter and tears paid their tribute to "Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
"Rip Van Winkle," "Handy Andy," "The Bell Ringers,"
"Alf Burnett," and the "Great Indian Medicine Shows,"
crowded the hall to suffocation. The Democratic and Republican clubs soiled
their political machinery there. The country would certainly go to the
dogs or to the everlasting bowwows unless you cast your vote as directed
by the red faced perspiring orator as he blew his party's horn. The first
graduating exercises were held there. Who of those graduating classes,
but can remember the seriousness of the occasion as they gesticulated
wildly and talked rapidly at the tin lamps that hung on the rear wall.
The flowers, the sheepskins and the congratulations, the stepping out
into the world with a feeling of freedom and strength.
DR. WILLIAM HAFFNER
Among the many interesting
superintendents who, each added their share to the worth of the school,
we find the name of William Haffner a product of our own schools. Mr.
Haffner had grown a reputation with the passing years for discipline.
There were plenty of good boys and girls in schools but those who were
bad were usually very bad and deliberately plotted to "Run them out."
But Dr. Haffner would not be bluffed by their cave man tactics and could
play that game himself and rather enjoyed it. The majority of these young
school roughs were eighteen or twenty years old and it meant a battle
to master them. Supt. Haffner had successfully lined up this element in
the Ireland school, where other teachers had resigned and left, and his
reputation for fearlessness secured him the Fairfield School at eighty
dollars per month, a high wage at that time, but the school had been closed
for some time because no teacher had been found who could handle the situation.
Dr. Haffner required only one week to bring the school to a sensible understanding
of who was master. Many amusing things are told today by these old pupils
of his wholesome methods, and at the "Home Coming" week a few
years ago Dr. Haffner was one of the idolized guests, the boys whom he
had thrashed soundly were his greatest admirers. In the Yellow Springs
School his task was not so hard but there is no question but that he allowed
the rod to fall hard upon some proud spirits here too.
Antioch College contributed
to our Town and Township schools a generous supply of teachers. Many of
the young men and women who were attending Antioch found it necessary
at times to lay aside their college work and teach for a year or two to
secure funds to complete their college course. Just so in later years
High School graduates were to be found teaching in the lower grades of
the village schools or were given charge of a township school.
The Hirst family
holds a unique position in this respect. J. L. Botsford was clerk of the
School Board in 1888 when the first Village School Board was organized.
His two daughters the Misses Hattie and Emma and son, Ulysses, were all
school teachers. Miss Emma had already taught some years in the Township
schools and was one of the first teachers to be employed by the village
school board. Miss Hattie, who later became Mrs. T. C. Hirst had taught
in town and township schools. Mr. T. C. Hirst who had also taught school
was always active in school and educational affairs, served as a school
board member while his two sisters, Miss Cosmelia Hirst and Miss Cornelia
Hirst spent many years of their long and valuable lives in teaching school.
Miss Cosmelia in the latter years of her life has written many charming
and interesting articles for the press which only a vigorous memory could
produce. Reliable in their data and vivid in their descriptions, covering
subjects that are of immense interest to the public these articles found
ready readers among her many friends and neighbors. Miss Anna, Miss Clara
and Miss Edith Hirst, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Hirst were all teachers.
Miss Clara Hirst,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Hirst, is at present in charge of the Music
Department of Antioch College, Antioch Academy, and our public schools,
while Miss Edith, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Hirst, after
teaching school a few terms became the wife of County Auditor R. O. Wead
who has served such a long and successful term as Superintendent of the
Yellow Springs Public Schools. Surely the Hirst family deserves a high
place in the school history of this locality.
H. C. AULTMAN
In the last six years
the business of operating the schools in every county in the state has
become a task demanding great skill. In order to accomplish what the state
desires the teachers, superintendents, and county superintendents must
work as nearly as one unit as possible. Mr. Aultman, who was selected
for County Superintendent in 1916, has worked and striven to bring and
hold Greene County Schools to the requirements. It was a fortunate selection
for state, county, teachers and pupils that his services were acquired.
During this time
the schools have been kept and held in a class the equal of any county
in the state. Prof. Aultman's efforts have assured harmony among teachers,
admiration from Boards of Education, and efficiency and progress from
pupils, recognition from the state for his valued services, secured him
the appointment of an Examiner on the State Board of Examiners. The schools
of Miami Township and Yellow Springs hold Prof. Aultman in high esteem
for his cheerful, prompt and efficient services as County Superintendent,
and feel that their progress and advancement have been furthered by his
wise co-operation and direction, so Greene County finds herself fully
abreast of the times, with the advanced school of the state. This high
standard has been acquired in a large measure by the work and wisdom of
R. O. WEAD
To R. O. Wead belongs
that highly honorable distinction of having presided longer at the helm
of the Yellow Springs Schools than any other superintendent.
This in itself means
more to his credit than words can add. He has presided over the entire
school life of scores of pupils and his graduates are numbered by the
And we, here in Yellow
Springs, are as thoroughly proud of his work as he can ever hope to be.
As an active citizen,
scholar, teacher, and official, he has shown his worth in all.
Prof. Wead was born
in Greene County, he graduated from the Xenia High School and also completed
a night course in Xenia Business College in the same year, 1899.
IN 1901 and 1904
we find him teaching his first school located in Cedarville Township and
in 1904 he was graduated from Antioch College. In the fall of the same
year he was appointed Principal of the Bellbrook School.
In 1905 Yellow Springs
secured him as Superintendent of Schools, where he served uninterruptedly
for fourteen years, the longest service any instructor has enjoyed in
the history of our schools.
In 1919 he was elected
to the office of Greene County Auditor and by the records of the State
Inspector has proven to be the most efficient auditor in the State of
He is now serving
his second term as Auditor.
Prof. R. O. Wead
possessed that gem of directing sense "in seeing what was most needed
and getting it." A better school library was needed. He secured it,
furnishing part of the funds from his own pocket. A piano was obtained
the same way.
A small but well
equipped laboratory was fitted up, better school equipment of all kinds
added as the demands manifested themselves.
The school board
was loyal to his efforts in their support. For several years Prof. Wead
urged the necessity of a better High School building and the foundation
he established for it appears in that splendid gift, "The John Bryan
High School grounds," this being evidence of Prof. R. O. Wead's untiring
efforts in behalf of the Yellow Springs schools.
World War advanced the price of material beyond the hopes of building
at that time, though the necessity still remains and when this beautiful
grounds is graced with a modern home for the High School it will be the
most picturesque and valuable schools grounds in Ohio.
Prof. Wead is still
a young man and with his ability, education and personality, there are
ahead of him opportunities for high positions in public life any of which
he could still creditably fill.
With the new union
school came a more systematized regime in school government, and few changes
have been made up to the present time. The school has practically passed
out of the jurisdiction of the parent, to the management by the state,
and as one man wittily put it; "about all the school board can do
now, is buy coal and pay bills."
Mr. John Bryan gave
to the town and township a beautiful tract of land; 14 acres in all; and
a new high school building was to be built at once upon it. The advance
in material caused by the great war made it an impossibility from a financial
Some means may be
devised by which this building can be erected and a true appreciation
of the gift of Mr. John Bryan will get the applause it deserves.
Here on this very
land the first cabin in Yellow Springs was erected...[torn away]...when
wolves howled at night...deer and wild turkey could be...from the cabin
door. This is...great extent hallowed ground...nothing could keep it so,
better...an educational institution;...among the trees as a perpetual...monument
to its history, its...donor.
Harold Little, who
was High School Superintendent, is a Yellow Springs product. He graduated
from...Village High School in 1915, entered Antioch College the same year...after
his graduation there was...selected as Superintendent of the Yellow Springs
School, a position he filled with credit. Harold Little was probably the
youngest and most versatile Superintendent the Yellow Springs Schools
ever had at their head, for in addition to his educational qualifications
he was an athlete of ability and a thorough musician. Leaving Yellow Springs
to become Physical Director of the schools of the city of Richmond, Indiana,
and now in addition to this work he is Conductor of the High School Band
and Orchestra. The Orchestra work of the Richmond schools deserves exceptional
mention for with an instrumentality of ninety pieces it is considered
to be unrivalled in excellence in the Middle West. Several concerts are
given during the school year and it develops upon Mr. Little to select
the program, to drill and direct these ninety boys and girls in symphony...