|Source: NMHS Newsletter Aug 2003
North Manchester Schools
A presentation for Funfest -2003
first day of December, 1850 a little girl trudged off to
school, happy because she was six years old at last and
could enroll in school in North Manchester. She went to
school in a log school house built on the corner of
Third and Walnut and school was held for three months
beginning the first of December. Records have been found
showing that school was held in this little log cabin
beginning in 1838, first taught by Thomas Keller.
Another school was in The Pocket, and may have been
taught by Quakers.
so called public school was in a frame school house
built on West Second Street by Maurice Place and his
daughter Elizabeth who were the teachers of the school.
It was financed by popular subscription. It was held for
a six month period and also had a shorter summer
A child of
this early period would have worn homespun or home woven
dresses made by their mothers. In summer they wore
calico and went barefoot. An exceptionally large school
might have had 30 pupils. They used McGuffeys readers,
Pineo grammars, Websters spelling book, Mitchell
geography and Rays arithmetic. Much of the learning was
by singing the information in unison, such as the state
capitols or the multiplication tables. Noisy classrooms!
During recess the water bucket might be passed with the
dipper so each child could have a drink. Special
privilege to pass the bucket only if you were very good.
could visit school on Fridays to keep in touch with the
learning. No report cards were given but each child was
examined at the end of the term. On Fridays, children
read their compositions, had spelling bees or recited
poems they had learned.
In 1865 a
two story school house was built on the site where our
library now is and many people were very unhappy that it
was too far out in the country, that the town would
never grow out that far and that children might be
attacked by animals in the woods. Indeed there were
woods between Main Street and the school and no
sidewalks. Both teachers and children had to walk in the
sandy streets. But this school building burned down..
town discovered that Chester township would not build
the kind of school they wanted to replace it they
finally decided to incorporate as a town and then build
it themselves. That is why Manchester (as it was called
then) became an incorporated town in 1875. The new
building was bigger -- in fact the janitor lived in one
corner of the building. It was finished in 1875 and
Henry Gunder was the first principal. The pride of the
new schoolhouse were the walnut banisters on the
stairway. It required many patches on little trousers
for the banisters to have the polish that was so noted
in later days. The first formal commencement as on June
school building was condemned by the state in 1922 and
Central high was building on the same site. This
building, too, brought controversy. Some of the people
were slow to approve the addition of a high school
course, thinking it would educate the youngsters beyond
their needs and there would be no living with them. Why
not build three small school houses for the lower
grades? But Central High was built in 1922.
was Manchester College. Manchester College came to No.
Manchester in 1889. The town fathers made a money gift
to encourage that. Then in 1894 thru some bad financial
dealings it went bankrupt and the town gathered money
again to encourage a buyer. By 1910 it had established a
reputation as a college training teachers for the local
system and many others. In 1910 the College started an
elementary school in its own classroom where its
students would practice teaching. It was one of the
elementary schools in the No. Manchester system and was
called the North Ward school.
early 1920s the College needed these classrooms for
College classes just when more and more people were
coming to that area of the town as College students or
teachers. So there was pressure on the School
corporation to build a school in that part of town. So
in 1929 Thomas Marshall School building was built and
Burr who had been the principal at North Ward school at
the College became the principal at Thomas Marshall
College has continued to have influence in the early
years of the school system by supplying teachers for the
local schools and helping local citizens to understand
some of the advantages of a college education.