The essay below was written by Laura Perkins, editor of Town of Frankfort section.

"While working on some research for the Town of Frankfort, I remembered, as a child, hearing about a one-room schoolhouse in Frankfort Center that an uncle of mine had attended. I became curious and decided to see if I could find any information about the school. I contacted several people that eventually put me in touch with Eunice, who not only attended the school, but also had the names of the students, which are listed below, for several of the school years. I put together the handwritten information she gave me about the school, and the brief history on Frankfort Center which I found in the book "History of Herkimer County", by F. W. Beers, 1879. These little schools, spread out all over the country, were very much like this one, and are fondly remembered as being one of the happiest times in childhood."
Laura Perkins
May 1999


Frankfort School, 1927

"The Old School", 1927

School District #12 was located on Center Road in the Town of Frankfort. This small hamlet was first known as Howard's Bush, named after the first settler to the area, James Howard, who arrived there around 1810, and which is now known as Frankfort Center. The area was heavily wooded, and here James Howard started a sawmill. Later the area boasted of a cheese factory, general store, and a church, which serviced both - Methodist and Catholic.

Nestled here, between the rolling hills and thick maples, stood District #12's one-room schoolhouse, which was built around 1878. The school, affectionately known as "The Old School", or the Center Road School, covered an area of one and one-fourth miles and anyone with children within that area was assigned to District #12. Children would walk to school, regardless of the weather, even during heavy snowfalls. Not an easy task back then.

The schoolhouse was a wood structure, with 3 windows on each side. Though electricity had finally come to the area around 1928-29, the trustees of the school felt that it was an unnecessary expense, and rejected the idea, so the only means of light was by using kerosene, and natural light, gained from the windows. A pot-belly stove was used to heat the schoolhouse. In the earlier history of the school, children sat on benches, which held 2 or 3 children, but was gradually replaced with 1 seaters.

They had good teachers, mostly women, and they even had one male teacher, who was from Columbia University. There were 8 grades, and one teacher responsible for the lessons of about 22 students for the different grades. The older children listened to the younger ones read and they all helped one another. Spelling Bee's were held on Fridays, and all the children joined in. A typical spelling book, in the early 1930's, would contain the lessons for grades 1- 8. One such book, "The Morrison Speller and Workbook", by J. Cayce Morrison, dated 1930, states "that grades 1 and 2 begins with a list of 144 words, which it is assumed every child will have mastered in the first two grades." "Grades 3 - 6 were given 720 words, and grades 7 and 8 only have 640 words because in these two years the pupil should be led to learn, on his own initiative, a large number of supplementary words connected with his other studies." The book also has a list of the "Spelling Demons", words most often misspelled, Homonyms, and The Ayres Scale for Testing Spelling Ability.

This information, about the school, the picture, and the following list of classes, was generously given to me by Eunice Hanson, a former student of "The Old School". Her father was a trustee of the school, and incidentally, one of the ones who rejected electricity for the school. She said she really enjoyed her classes, loved attending the school, and has many fond memories of those days and how everyone cared for each other. She told me a story about how one time she was using her inkwell, when it accidentally splattered and ink went all over the back of one schoolmate, who always went to school wearing a white shirt and tie. She was so scared that she'd have to pay for the shirt, but nothing was ever said. That student happened to be my uncle, and he still wore the shirt again, though the ink would not wash clean! Eunice was heartbroken when years later the school burned down. District #12 closed in 1954, was sold and converted into a home with several subsequent owners, till the unfortunate fire.

I'd like to thank Eunice for sharing her memories of the one-room schoolhouse. She is a delightful, knowledgeable woman, with a sharp memory, and I enjoyed listening to the stories of a time since past. [NOTE: Eunice passed away in February 2016.}

* Comments:

- The teacher of 1909 was the daughter of the teacher in 1884-85.

- Many married their childhood classmates:
Truman Nicholas married Nellie Johnson (class of 1884-1885)
Dorothy Markle married Neil Kane (class of 1909-1910)

- In 1911 Bertha Radell and a brother fell into Ferguson Creek in early spring. They had been sliding down a hill and went into the creek, which was quite swift because of a thaw. Their bodies were found downstream.

Class of 1884-85
Register of Attendance School District #12 Frankfort
Term Commencing November 17, 1884
Ending February 27, 1885

George MARKLE - Teacher
Date of License - October 3rd
Date License will Expire - March 3rd
Date of Service - November 17th
Date of Close of Service - February 27th
Term of Service - 14 weeks - 70 days
Number of Actual Days Taught - 70

Register of Visitors:

Godfrey SCHAIBLE - Nov 18, 1884
Ernest HOLDRIDGE - Nov 28, 1884
Vernon H. MOREHOUSE - Dec 1, 1884
Charles W. MANNING - Dec 1, 1884
Adelina S. LIPA - Dec 5, 1884
Jennie C. DAILEY - Dec 5, 1884
Ulysses G. LINTS - Dec 5, 1884
J. A. GOODIER - Dec 22,1884
H. A. VANCE - Jan 2, 1885
William MARKLE - Jan 16, 1885
Charlie MILLER - Jan 30, 1885
E. R. WEAVER - Jan 30, 1885
Nancy McGINNIS - Feb 3rd, 1885
Clara TISDALE - Feb 3rd, 1885
Emma VAN NORT - Feb 25, 1885
Eugene DAUGHERTY - Feb 26, 1885
E. E. HOLDRIDGE - Feb 25, 1885
Cara A. WILLIAMS - Feb 26, 1885
Emma C. MARKLE - Feb 26, 1885
H. P. WHITNEY - Ilion, N.Y. - June 17, 1885
Villa HOLDRIDGE - July 25, 1885
Clara WILLS - July 6, 1885
Minnie MANNING - July 25, 1885
Miss L. H. WILD - July 16, 1885
Miss P. M. HAYS - July 16, 1885

The following information is listed in this order:

Names of Parents or Guardians
Names of Pupils over 5 and under 21 years of age, residing in the district
Age & Date of Entrance

Lulu Holdridge, age 13, entered Nov 17
Villa Holdridge, age 17, entered Nov 17

Emma Vance, age 16, entered Nov 24

Oruil Balch, age 15, entered Nov 17
Martin Balch, age 11, entered Nov 17

Frank Markle, age 16, entered Nov 17
John Markle, age 17, entered Nov 17

Willard Rubards, age 10, entered Nov 17

Irwin Williams, age 16, entered Nov 17

Herald Wills, age 9, entered Nov 17

O. NICHOLIS [* see note #1 below]
Truman Nicholis, age 12, entered Nov 17

Nellie Johnson, age 11, entered Nov 17
Mary Johnson, age 8, entered Nov 17

Olive Daugherty, age 8, entered Nov 17
Aaron Daugherty, age 16, entered Nov 17

Eddie Vance, age 11, entered Nov 17
Ralph Vance, age 6, entered Nov 24

Jakie Hoke, age 13, entered Nov 17
Bill Hoke, age 10, entered Nov 17

Christopher VAN NORT
Cora Van Nort, age 9, entered Nov 24
Daniel Van Nort, age 14, entered Nov 17
Albert Van Nort, age 14, entered Nov 17
Rosa Van Nort, age 7, entered Nov 17

Daniel NICHOLAS [* see note #1 below]
Alonzo NICHOLIS, age 13, entered Nov 26
Sidney NICHOLIS, age 15, entered Dec l

Charity YOULIN
Bertha Youlin, age 12, entered Nov 17

John Smith, age 7, entered Nov 18
Dwight Smith, age 12, entered Nov 17

William Grundy, age 10, entered Dec l

Levi Johnson, age 13, entered Dec 2
Clara Howard, age 9, entered Nov 17

Anna Daugherty, age 13, entered Dec 8

Amy Grundy, age 8, entered Dec 9
Lilly Grundy, age 7, entered Dec 9
Daniel Grundy, age 11, entered Dec 18

Ulysses Lints, age 20, entered Jan 5

John Owens, no age, entered Jan 12

Class of 1909-10
District #12 - August l, 1909 - July 31, 1910

Teacher - Regina MARKLE
Days Taught - 150
Holidays - 5
Teacher's Institute - 5
Total days paid - 160
Salary - $272.00
First Semester - August 30, 1909 - January 14, 1910

The following information is listed in this order:

Names of Parents or Guardians
Names of Pupils of school age over 5 and under 18 years

Truman NICHOLAS [* see note #1 below]
Leah Nicholas, age 13

Jacob HOKE
Ruth Hoke, age 12

Katie Schofer, age 11

Dorothy Markle, age 12

Charles HAGUES
Esther Hagues, age 8

Dwight SMITH
Myrtle Smith, age 10

Lydia Markle, age 6

Rosa Talarico, age 6

Carmella Talarico, age 7

George HOKE
Bertha RADELL, age 8

CRAPL [* see note #2 below]
Mary KROPPE (KRAPPE?), no age given

Warren KANE
Neil Kane, age 14

Harry MARKLE , age 14

Truman NICHOLAS [* see note #1 below]
Paul Nicholas, age 8

Dwight SMITH
Wilbur, age 9

Charles HAGUES
Howard Hagues, age 6
Willard Hagues, age 10

Jacob HOKE
Sherwood Hoke, age 14
Arthur Hoke, age 8

Eddie Grundy, age 9

George Butler, age 8

Dominico Talarico, age 10

Dominico Talarico, age 6

Nino Talarico, age 6

CRAPL [* see note #2 below]
Peter KROPPE (KRAPPE?), no age listed

Almon Foster, age 9

During the year the books read were:
Tom Brown's School Days
Little Women
Robinson Crusoe

Class of 1932
District #12 - In June 1932 there were 24 kids at the school
Teacher - Madelyn Henry VARLEY - age 22

The following is a list of the students and their ages:

Michael PIERHALL, age 14

Anna SZCZGIEL, age 14

Thelma DELLINGER, age 14

Minnie STEPHENSON, age 15

Rose CICHON, age 13

Anna CAREY, age 13

Flora CAREY, 11

Sauey TALARICO, age 10

John CICHON, age 11

Thomas TALARICO, age 12

Thomas STEPHENSON, age 11

Stanley SZCZGIEL, age 10

Arthur DELLINGER, age 11

John STEPHENSON, age 10

Stanley CICHON, age 12

Eunice DAUGHERTY, age 7

George POLISSE, age 9

Helen DELLINGER, age 10

Vera JONES, age 10

Joseph SZCZGIEL, age 8

Mary POLISSE, age 7

Jean DRESSER, age 7

Mary STEPHENSON, age 7

Note #1: On the 1884-85 list - Parent Daniel Nicholas, Children Alonzo and Sidney Nicholis. The name Nicholas I've found spelled 3 different ways in the Town of Frankfort. The last name Nicholas/Nicholis could be spelled either way and its best to check the different spellings when researching the family.

Note #2: I rechecked all the cemetery lists I have and online but could not find anything on Crapl, though I did see on the 1868-69 directory, a Caple which could possibly be the name.

Back to Town of Frankfort Page

Back to Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb

Back to New York State GenWeb

Created: May 24, 1999
Updated: February 18, 2016
Copyright © 1999 - 2016 Laura Perkins
All Rights Reserved