School in Stony Creek Township - 1810
("Stonycreek Township History Book" - pub. by the commissioners of Stonycreek Twp. 1876)
Contributed by Candy Roth
"In most early communities education was not considered especially important. Clearing the land planting crops, harvesting and other occupations related to actual survival took precedence. Stoney Creek Township appears to have been unusual in this respect since a first school appeared here in 1810, long before the Township legally existed.
This early school house stood on the property of Ludwig Wissinger, at the corner of what is now Penrod and Bedford streets, and was built soon after the earliest settlement. It was never used for full school purposes (at this time the law made provision only for education for children whose parents were unable to pay) and so a tuition charge of $2 per quarter or 3 cents per day was made. The early teacher received $25.00 per month and the charge for room and board was $2.00 per week. along with their teaching, it was expected they would sweep the school at least once each day, build the fire, and carry out all other janitorial duties.
This first school was a log structure with one window on each side covered with greased paper. The desks were boards fastened in place by pins in the wall. The benches were slabs of wood supported by large pins, while the floor was made of half logs with the flat side placed upward to give a flat surface for walking. It was heated by burning wood in an open fire place. Some of the names occurring on the school roster included: Wissingers, Vickroys, Slicks, Stutzmans, and Wertz."
on the First School in Stony Creek Township
(From: History of Cambria County, PA, Col. 2, Henry Wilson storey, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1907, pg 423)
“Across the Bedford pike from the residence of James Penrod, then belonging to Ludwig Wissinger, stood the first school within the present limits of Walnut Grove. It was built soon after the earliest settlements in this community and was never used for free school purposes. It is known to have been there however as late as 1831, when one William Berry taught in it. It was a log structure and had a window in each side, about eight feet wide and about a foot and a half high, being an aperture made by sawing out pieces of two logs composing the wall. Greased paper was stretched across these openings instead of glass, and no passing circus ever tempted a craning of necks to peer through these paper windows. The desks consisted of boards laid on pins driven into the walls. The benches were slabs supported by huge pins. The floor was made of logs split in halves with the flat sides turned up. Wood was burned in an open fire place, and as much smoke found its way through the clap-board roof as through the chimney. Among those who acquired the rudiments of an education in this primitive school, were the elder Wissingers, the Vickroys, the Slicks – among whom were Squire B. F. and William the surveyor – John and Abe Stutzman, and Jacob Wertz. Among the pedagogues who here fashioned the quill and incited a thirst for knowledge, was a son of the Green Isle, John Mineely, who combined teaching, preaching and weaving into a method for securing a livelihood. As a teacher in early times his name is given honorable mention in the 1887 Pennsylvania Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It remained for a Scotch successor, James Roach, to introduce the shillalah as a disciplining factor ; he used to compel obedience to the rules of his school by the vigorous application of his black-haw cane upon the most convenient part of any boy who had the temerity to be
obstreperous. 'No babbling then was suffered in our schools – the scholars' test was silence.' It is said John Stutzman most frequently failed to measure up to the standard of the test, and was oftenest knocked down, which knocking was however received without a display of an undue amount of ill humor.
“Two dollars per quarter or three cents a day was paid for tuition, and the flogging was administered gratuitously and liberally.
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