Chapter VIII
Religious Societies-Educational Growth

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THE PRESBYTERIANS - THE LUTHERANS - OTHER DENOMINATIONS - SUNDAY SCHOOLS - BIBLE SOCIETY - PRIMITIVE SCHOOLHOUSES - EARLY TEACHERS - FREE SCHOOLS - COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS - INSTITUTES - CONVENTIONS - MEDICAL INSPECTIONS - STATISTICS

The first settlers of Armstrong county began to worship the Lord in their different ways almost as soon as they completed their simple log homes. Most of the services were held as often as representatives of the different denominations came through by horseback over the faint trails of the forests, and for some years there were no domiciles for the congregations, the open air meetings being held under the shade of the primeval forests.

PRESBYTERIANS

It is interesting to note that the two earliest established churches of the Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations in this county were located within a few miles of each other in South Buffalo township. The friendly rivalry between the denominations resulted in good to both, and the historian has hard work to decide which of them is entitled to priority in the field. The Lutherans had services in the German language in 1796, but did not organize regularly until after the Presbyterians, whose pastors began serving them in 1798.

The first church established in Armstrong county was the Presbyterian Church of Slate Lick. The precise date of its organization is not known, in fact it was probably never organized according to the custom of recent times. It was a preaching point and had recognition as a congregation before the beginning of the present century, probably as early as 1798. The minutes of the Presbytery of Redstone show that on Oct. 15, 1799, the congregation of "Union and Fairfield in Allegheny County" asked for supplies.

The call of this church to its first pastor, Rev. John Boyd, is a strange document. The members' names, together with their pledges of half cash and half produce, are: "Adam Maxwell, $2, 3 bushels wheat; William Barnett, 50 cents, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; Joseph Cogley, $1; William McNinch, $1; James Green, $1, 2 bushels wheat; James Travis, 67 cents; John Jack, $1; Thomas Jack, 50 cents, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; George Ross, $3; Charles Boner, $1; William Park, -; George Byers, $1.33, 2 bushels wheat; Isabella Hill, $1; Jean Kiskaden, 50 cents; David Reed, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; Thomas Cumberland, 50 cents, 1/3 of a bushel of wheat."

The total is sixteen names, fifteen dollars, and eleven and five-sixth bushels of wheat. Surely the love of gain was not the impelling motive which caused this pastor to enter upon the work of this church.

LUTHERANS

The first Lutheran pastor to preach in this county was Rev. John M. Steck, who began to hold services in German in the year 1796, and continued to do so until 1815. These services were held in private homes, in barns and in the open air, and were confined to the southern portion of the county, principally in the limits of South Buffalo township. He organized the "Blue Slate" Church, near Boggsville, about 18O4, the congregation later adopting the name of St. Matthew's.

The following are the succeeding established Lutheran churches in the county, in the order of precedence: St. Michael's on Crooked creek; "Rupp's," Kittanning township; Zion or "Forks," in Kittanning township; St. Jacob's, South Bend township; St. Mark's, near Eddysville, in Red Bank township; Christ's at Gastown, in Plum Creek township; Trinity, Kittanning borough; St. John's, on the edge of Plum Creek township and Indiana county; Salem, at Kellersburg, in Madison township.

The pioneer pastors of the county following "Father" Steck, were: Rev. John Gottfried Lampbrecht, 18l3-15; Rev. Peter Rupert, 1814; Rev. Adam Mohler, 1817-23; Rev. M. C. Zielfels, 1824-25; Rev. Gabriel Adam Reichert, 1823-37. The last named pastor was the greatest of the old German ministers. He organized six congregations and was one of the prominent citizens of the county in his time.

Armstrong county was the center of the great Lutheran controversy of 1866-68, and the split resulting therefrom did great harm to the church. For many years a sharp division continued between the adherents of the General Synod and the General Council, and bitter feeling was engendered between the two congregations and even members of other denominations. This often resulted in the contending parties seeking fellowship in churches of other denominations and abandoning their native beliefs.

At the present time there are 27 pastors, 40 churches, and 4,500 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Armstrong county. Of these 14 churches, with about 1,500 members, belong to the General Council; 23 churches, with about 3,000 members, belong to the General Synod; one church, with about fifty members, to the Ohio Synod; and one church, with eighty members, is independent. The services of these churches, with the exception of Emmanuel, at Freeport, and Trinity, at Ford City, are held in the English language. The two churches mentioned hold their services in German.

UNITED PRESBYTERIANS

The Associate Reformed church, which later became the United Presbyterian, was first established in this county in Kittanning, in 1845. For a time they were quite prosperous, but of late years their numbers have been slowly decreasing.

CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIANS

Only one congregation of the Cumberland branch of the Presbyterian denomination is known to have been formed in this county. It was organized in 1843 in South Buffalo township, near Slate Lick, with a small membership, but failed to withstand the years. The building is still standing in a good state of preservation.

ROMAN CATHOLICS

The foundation of Roman Catholicism was made in Sugar Creek township in 1801, when St. Patrick's congregation was organized. In the sketch of that township will be found a complete history of this first church of that denomination in this part of the State.

METHODISTS

The Methodist Episcopal denomination had its first organization in Kittanning in 1816. Before and after that date the services were held by the few circuit riders who passed through this county. Shortly after the organization in Kittanning the residents of South Buffalo township met and organized. After those came many revivals and incorporations among the Methodists all over the county.

Rev. T. M. Hudson, a venerable clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal church, had that portion of this county east of the Allegheny river in his circuit of three hundred miles, which he traversed nearly a hundred years ago. There were then no church edifices within that part of his circuit included in this county. Meetings were held in private houses and in the open air, under trees, in pleasant weather, to which women, in some instances, went a distance of five or six miles with infants in their arms. The dwelling-houses did not lack ventilation. They were not as warm as modern dwellings. In one instance, said he, the feet of another clergyman were frozen while he was preaching in such a mansion.

EPISCOPALIANS

The Protestant Episcopal denomination was organized first in Kittanning in 1824. Other churches were later brought into life at Leechburg, Freeport and Brady's Bend. This denomination is not numerous in the county, but their prosperity is assured and they have fine buildings.

BAPTISTS

Pine Creek was the first home of the Baptists, who formed the church of that name in 1836. From that centre sprang many other congregations, and now this denomination is numbered among the most progressive and numerous of the county's religious beliefs. All of the Baptist churches in this county are in the Clarion Baptist Association, of the neighboring county of that name. The next meeting of the association will be held at the old Union Church in South Buffalo township.

STATISTICS

Statistics of the different churches of this county are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. Many of the denominations do not keep complete records, and others are reluctant to have their status published. Taken as a whole, the cause of religion is not lessening in power or number of converts, but the proportion of members of churches compared with population is somewhat less than in former times. This is partly due to the increase of a spirit of unbelief, and also to the lack of interest displayed in the country churches. So many methods of amusement have been developed in these days that a lack of attendance can be traced to their influence on church members. The most potent, but perhaps not evil, influence on the attendance of the churches is the springing up within the last ten years of the wonderful motion picture show houses. Fortunately many of the churches have "taken the bull by the horns" and utilized this invention to entertain and instruct their members, thereby reviving an interest in the better class of stories and illustrations.

The number of churches in Armstrong county in 1850 was said to have been sixty-five, but no further facts are at hand regarding them.

From Smith's "History of Armstrong County," 1876, we learn that in the county there were then 115 churches, with 10,800 members. Of these the Presbyterian had 24 churches, with 2,989 members; the Lutherans, 29 churches, with 2,672 members; the Methodist Episcopal, 19 churches, with 1,814 members; the United Presbyterians, 13 churches, with 1,038 members; the Reformed, 12 churches, with 825 members; the Baptists, 10 churches, with 650 members; the Roman Catholics, 3 churches, with 500 members; and the Protestant Episcopal, 5 churches, with 330 members. The Dunkards, or German Baptists, were represented by a few churches in different parts of the county, but they did not furnish statistics of any kind.

At present there are in Armstrong county 40 Lutheran churches, 28 Presbyterian, 24 Methodist, 11 Baptist, 10 Reformed, 12 Roman Catholic, 10 United Presbyterian, 4 Episcopal, 4 Brethren in Christ, 3 Free Methodist, 1 Methodist Protestant, 1 Hebrew, 1Greek and 1 Magyar.

REMINISCENT

 

Speaking of the early Presbyterian churches of this county a writer says: "The original edifice in Rural Valley was as square as the character of its builders and as humble and simple. It was of logs, 24x24 feet, and when the congregation outgrew it they simply laid open one side and added another length of logs. It was heated by a single stove and the crowd was deepest upon the side where the little heater stood. The pulpit was a ten-bushel store box set endwise and the seats were oak slabs, the sawed side up, each supported by four peglegs.

"The communion 'tokens' were manufactured by Richard E. Caruthers, one of the first ruling elders. They were of lead, the size of an old-style copper cent with the letters R V stamped thereon. These tokens were given to the people at Saturday eve service, and were taken up on the following Sabbath after the members were seated at the communion table. An elder passed along on either side of the table and the tokens were dropped into his hand. In 1850, Elder Totten purposely failed to take up these tokens at communion one Sabbath. Many of the surprised members offered them to him after the service, but were told to retain them as souvenirs of a dying custom.

"In 1851 an elder refused to serve when the communion tables were removed, and insisted that they be replaced. Shortly thereafter he changed his opinion and voluntarily made a motion to dispense with them.

"Rev. Cochran Forbes was the first minister in the history of the church to invite members of other denominations to the communion. He had been a missionary, and said you couldn't be a missionary without losing your sectarianism.

"The first Sabbath school was held in a private house. There was no room for separate classes, so all were seated compactly on boards laid on trestles. When the winter came on the school moved into Mr. Stoop's kitchen, where sometimes the smell of the good things sometimes interfered greatly with the attention of the younger scholars."

PRESBYTERY OF KITTANNING

The Synod of Pittsburgh, in 1856, organized the Presbytery of Saltsburg, including within its bounds the counties of Armstrong and Indiana. This was the actual organization of the Presbytery of Kittanning as the change of name in 1870 only resulted in the loss of two ministers. At the date of the first meeting at which the name was altered the Presbytery had under its care twenty-five ministers and fifty churches.

The members of the organization in 1870 were Revs. Joseph Painter, D.D., John H. Kirkpatrick, Alex Donaldson, D.D., Levi M. Graves, John Caruthers, Carl Moore, William W. Woodend, D.D., Andrew McElwaine, Samuel P. Bollman, Franklin Orr, William F. Morgan, G. W. Mechlin, D.D., J. Molton Jones, George K. Scott, James E. Carruthers, David J. Irwin, Samuel H. Holliday, J. L. Sample, T.D. Ewing, John Orr, Hezekiah McGill, James A. Ewing, Alex. S. Thompson and John J. Francis.

The April meetings are held in Kittanning and the September meetings in Indiana.

SUNDAY SCHOOLS

The first Sunday school in the county was a union school, organized in Kittanning in 1818, with a membership of twenty. This was regarded at first by the pastors as an unwarranted innovation, but in time they grew to depend on the schools to direct the younger generation into the path of righteousness. The first school held sessions in the courthouse, but later as the different churches grew in number each denomination developed schools of their own.

In 1876 there were 106 Sunday schools in the county, with 8,266 scholars on the rolls. They were apportioned as follows: Presbyterian, 20 schools, 2,097 scholars; Methodist Episcopal, 19 schools, 1,523 scholars; United Presbyterian, 12 schools, 744 scholars; Baptist, 12 schools, 500 scholars; Reformed, 11 schools, 630 scholars; Episcopalian, 4 schools, 265 scholars; Catholic, 3 schools, 600 scholars.

SABBATH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION

At present the church schools are represented in the Armstrong County Sabbath School Association, composed of representatives from all the Protestant churches. This association was organized in 1900 and the officers for the year 1913 are: Rev. H.G. Gregg, president; W.A. Nicholson, vice-president; Mrs. Paul McKenrick, corresponding secretary; Thomas Shankle, recording secretary; W.L. Turcotte, treasurer.

 

The county is divided into eleven districts, the officers of which are as follows:

First District - Rev. A.E. Curry, president; Rev. O.C. Carlile, vice-president; Thomas B. Shankle, recording secretary; Charles Held, corresponding secretary; Roy P. Bowser, treasurer.

Second District - Rev. H.S. Garner, president; A.S. McQuilkin, vice-president; C.E. McSparrin, secretary; Miss Ida Milliron, treasurer.

Third District - A.M. Armstrong, president; D.K. Hill, vice-president; Gertrude Grim, secretary; Mrs. D.P. Trout, treasurer.

Fourth District - T.J. Baldrige, president; W.K. Fiscus, vice-president; C.A. Williams, secretary; E.A. Townsend, treasurer.

Fifth District - Dr. R.S. Keeler, president; William Lantz, vice-president; Miss Pearl Crothers, corresponding secretary; Miss Edna Schumaker, recording secretary; Plummer Clark, treasurer.

Sixth District - William Espy, president; H. T. Sowers, vice-president; Miss Catherine Hall, corresponding secretary; Miss Nell Rearick, recording secretary; Mrs. Jas. McCullough, treasurer.

Seventh District - H.H. Schumaker, president; J.N. Nye, vice-president; R.W. Heffelfinger, corresponding secretary; Earl Moorhead, recording secretary; I.J. Rearick, treasurer.

Eighth District - T.N. Rugard, president; A.C. Schumaker, vice-president; Miss Verda Putney, corresponding secretary; H.E. Hepler, recording secretary; Ezra Schumaker, treasurer.

Ninth District - Rev. A.F. Schumaker, president; I. Boarts, vice-president; Miss Ella Morrison, corresponding secretary; Miss Effie McIntyre, recording secretary; Mrs. Sadie Leslie, treasurer.

Tenth District - J.F. Moore, president; A.V. Helm; vice-president; Prof. J.L. Hazlett, corresponding secretary; Miss Ella B. Mateer, recording secretary; Mrs. Homer Dickey, treasurer.

Eleventh District - O.N. Winger, president; Rev. J.A. Law, vice-president; Mrs. George Davis, corresponding secretary; William Steel, recording secretary; Mrs. Abram Myers, treasurer.

From the report of Mrs. Paul McKenrick, secretary of the association, we find that there are 153 Sunday schools in Armstrong county, with a total of 21,998 scholars on the rolls. Of these the Methodists lead, with 34 schools and 5,079 scholars; Lutherans, 32 schools and 4,897 members; Presbyterians, 28 schools, 4,910 members; Reformed, 16 schools, 2,127 scholars; Baptists, 14 schools, 1,518 scholars; United Presbyterians, 10 schools, 1,239 scholars; Evangelical, 8 schools, 738 scholars; Episcopalian, 3 schools, 355 scholars; Church of God, 4 schools, 451 scholars; United Brethren, 3 schools, 475 scholars; Methodist Protestant, 1 school, 204 scholars. In addition to these there are a few union schools, not connected with a regular church, thus making the total of Sunday schools of all kinds 167, and the total enrollment 22,879 scholars.

 

ARMSTRONG COUNTY BIBLE SOCIETY

This society was organized in 1828, with the following officers: Rev. John Dickey, president; Revs. John Reddick, G.A. Reichert, Henry Koch, and John Core, and Thomas Smullen and Samuel Green, vice-presidents; Thomas Hamilton, Simon Torney, Philip Mechling, Frederick Roher, Robert Brown, Samuel Matthews, James Green, John Monroe, James Brown, David Johnson and James E. Brown, members. In 1841, the society distributed several hundred Bibles, and in 1876 a special effort was made to place a Bible in every home in the county. It has not been in existence for several years past, and there seems no hope of a revival of the society in the future.

 

GROWTH OF EDUCATION IN ARMSTRONG COUNTY

The educational facilities of this county from 1800 to 1834 were of the most primitive kind, but were the best that the pioneers, who had the wilderness to conquer, could afford. All of the schools were of the subscription kind, where the neighbors contributed as far as their means permitted, to pay the teacher and build and furnish the simple log structures which were no better than their own habitations. Often the subscriptions were not paid in coin, frequently in services in the construction of the schoolhouse, or materials for the work. These log schools were mostly square, with a fireplace at the end, but sometimes of octagonal shape, with a stove in the centre, made of sheet iron, that barely kept the frigid temperatures of the old-time winters at bay. Floors were of slabs, seats of the same, without backs, and the window spaces, made narrow and long to save cutting the logs, were filled with greased paper, through which the light dimly filtered. Desks were ranged along the walls, so as to take advantage of the feeble illumination and to enable the teacher to face the pupils, who stood at the desks with their backs to the windows.

The teachers were in truth as well as jest, "Irish schoolmasters." Most of them were old men who could not stand the severe manual labor of the woods and fields, and many of them were confirmed in habits that they had acquired in their days of youthful dissipation. In those days the distillery was a necessity, as they thought, to the settlers, and almost every stream had a small plant along its banks. One teacher in this county in 1820 was Edward Jennings, who held forth at the Peters schoolhouse in Perry township. He used to have long recesses, during which he would repair to Jacob Peters' distillery to fortify himself against the arduous duties of the afternoon.

The educational qualifications of these schoolmasters were limited to a little reading, less writing and a very slight knowledge of arithmetic. Occasionally one was a good penman. William Marshall of Wayne township, and Edward Gorrell of Gilpin township, were among those who were said to have written "a very fine hand."

The pay of these teachers was commensurate with their attainments. Most of them were compelled to collect their salaries a few cents at a time from those who subscribed, and often collections were slow. The average tuition per scholar was $1.50 a quarter, paid as the parents were able. Children came to school as long as their money lasted, and stayed at home and worked for the rest of the time to help pay for another term. All of the teachers "boarded 'round," and they were soon able to discriminate between the good and bad places. They were slow to leave a home where the food and accommodations were good, and it was hard to get them to stop out their proper time at a poorly supplied household. They were sometimes of great help to the farmers themselves in passing the long winter evenings indoors, some of the old instructors being fine "fiddlers." But sometimes they were rather objectionable, and the household found it easy to "speed the parting guest."

One of the early customs of the scholars of these log schools was to "bar-out" the teacher until he "set-up" the cider or other refreshment, and in the affrays that followed there was often serious injury caused to members of both opposing sides. Some of the first teachers in this county were: Cornelius Roley, John Sturgeon, Anthony O'Baldwin, Wright Elliot, John Criswell, Samuel Taggart, Henry Girt, Robert Walker, Thomas Barr, Joseph Bullman, George Forsyth, Robert Kirby, Benjamin Irwin, Bezai Irwin, James Hannegan, James McDowell, John Cowan, Archibald Cook, Thomas McCleary and Archibald Kelly.

The ventilation of these early "temples of knowledge" was generally better than at present, often leaning to extremes. Philip Mechling, one of the prominent men of the pioneer days, and for several years sheriff of the county, once said that in passing a schoolhouse in Red Bank township he could count the scholars through the unfilled chinks in the log walls. It is to be hoped that ere the winter came a few handfuls of clay were daubed over these ventilators.

One of the early school teachers relates that he was often twitted by the friends of later days about his first scholars. It seems that the lower part of the building was open and the pigs used to rest there during the heat of the day, their squealing often interfering with the lessons of the scholars and necessitating the stationing of a boy with a stick at the place of entrance of the porkers to prevent their return until the recitations were over. His friends claimed that the pigs were entitled to be classed as scholars from the punctuality of their attendance.

As time passed the profession of schoolmaster became more honorable in the eyes of the settlers, and many a pastor eked out his meagre stipend by teaching a term in winter. Some of our best citizens have not felt that a course of teaching in these simple edifices was beneath their dignity in the days of their upward struggles to fame.

Upon the adoption of the free school system in 1834 these structures were replaced as fast as possible with frame buildings, many of which, we regret to say, are in use still. They were great improvements over the log schoolhouses, but the brick buildings that followed them are a still greater evidence of the advancement of educational methods.

 

FIRST GRADED SCHOOLS

The first graded school in this county came into operation by accident and the action of a set of far-sighted and independent school directors, whose names we are sorry not to be able to record. In 1859, the inhabitants of Allegheny township petitioned the directors to establish another school near Stitt's mill, as the one then in use had become overcrowded. Instead of doing as requested the directors erected a new building near the old one and graded the school. For this innovation they were haled before the court, which very properly dismissed the complaint at the expense of the complainants.

 

FREE SCHOOLS

Before the passing of the free school act there was a record in 1828 of an appropriation by the county for the sum of $9.53, to pay the tuition of poor children. So it seems that the early settlers were as loath as the present taxpayers to expose their poverty by applying for free tuition. All this was eliminated by the free schools, and now the children of the rich and poor are all on the same footing, even to the point of free books, and sometimes, in other States, of free meals at noon.

As required by the act of 1834, the first meeting of the board of school directors was held in the courthouse at Kittanning in November of that year, with eleven delegates present. The Plum Creek district was not represented. The roster of delegates was: Jacob Mechling, Franklin township; James Adams, Sugar Creek; George Means, Toby; Samuel Marshall, Perry; John Calhoun, Wayne; Jacob McFadden, Clarion; Sherman Bills, Kiskiminetas; James McCall, Freeport; John Ridley, Red Bank; and James Hindman, Franklin.

The first levy made was for a tax of $1,920.18, or double the amount appropriated by the State.

The growth of the schools was fairly rapid for the state of the county. In 1840 there were fourteen school districts and 120 schools, which were kept open for four months of the year. In 1858 there were one less than a hundred schools; the number of months taught was four and a half; average salaries of teachers, male, $24, female, $18 per month. The tax levied was $22,000, the number of scholars was 9,500 and the cost per month for teaching each scholar was 48 cents.

In 1876 the schools had increased to 261, it cost 76 cents to fill each little brain with knowledge each month, the sessions were five and one-half months, the average salaries of the men were $41 and the ladies $34. There were in attendance in the year 12,600 scholars. The tax that year was $75,719.

 

SUPERINTENDENTS

It is a part of the educational history of this county that there was for awhile considerable opposition to the county superintendency on the part of many of the supporters of the common school system. It was at first so strong that the first convention of school directors, May 1854, fixed the annual compensation of the first county superintendent at the meager sum of $300, thinking that no one would serve for that sum, and that they would thus discharge the duty imposed on them by the law of selecting a suitable person and fixing his compensation, and at the same time dispense with the superintendent. They did not seem to consider that the law also prescribed that every teacher of common schools must be examined by that officer, and that if any schools in a district should be taught by teachers not having proper certificates there would have been a forfeiture of the State appropriation to the schools of such district.

The gentleman they selected, Rev. J.A. Campbell, after deliberation, concluded that he could not devote the time, labor and attention which the law required for that compensation, but proposed to accept the position for a year if the amount fixed by the convention would be increased to $400. In order that the school districts of this county might not lose their state appropriations, several citizens pledged the additional hundred dollars, which they paid out of their own pockets, and the first incumbent of the new and to some extend obnoxious office entered upon the discharge of his official duties, in which he continued during the first two years and a part of the third year of the term, teaching part of the time a normal class and preaching to his congregation.

 

INSTITUTES

Teachers' institutes previous to 1867 were self-sustaining and were held at irregular intervals in different parts of the county. Since that date the State has made provision for their support, and the regular sessions held yearly at Kittanning are well attended and productive of great benefit to all who attend.

 

ACADEMIES

During the different periods of growth of education in this county there have arisen and passed away many institutions for the imparting of higher branches of learning than those afforded by the public schools. Born in enthusiasm and ambition, these halls of learning have not always developed in proportion to the desires of their founders, but they have left a strong impress upon the present generation, so their origin and life have not been in vain.

The following is a list of the academies and institutes existing since the beginning of the county's history, only two of them being now alive. The only one of the old academies existing now is Slate Lick, and it depends upon an irregular service of youthful preceptors who teach during their summer vacations. The other is the Dayton Normal Institute.

The last one founded heads the list: Dayton Normal Institute, Dayton Union Academy, Doaneville Seminary, Glade Run Academy, Kittanning Academy, Lambeth College, Leechburg Academy, Leechburg Institute, Oakland Classical Institute, Slate Lick Classical Institute, University of Kittanning, Worthington Academy.

 

MODERN SCHOOLS

One of the defects of the present school system is the lack of a permanent school fund for use in emergencies. In case of a panic the appropriation is liable to fail and the schools will be helpless until the next meeting of the Legislature. Texas has a fund of $52,000,000.

Over forty-two years ago the historian Smith, who was then county school superintendent of Armstrong, stated that the best teachers in Austria were selected for the rural schools, and at the convention of 1913 the same statement was made by Prof. Corson of the Ohio school board. Yet the present rule is to send graduates of the high schools to "break in" at the rural schools, to the injury of the scholars and the doubtful benefit of the teachers. "As the teacher, so the school is."

Many improvements have been made, however, in the school administration, books are furnished by the State, and last year (1912) the State appropriation for all purposes was $15,000,000.

Medical inspection has been introduced into some of the schools, but is not compulsory. The townships that have medical inspection are fourteen, and those without number eleven. Three are not reported. Last year in the State inspection 750 districts were examined, with 145,000 pupils, 111,000 proving defective in some way. Defective vision was the greatest trouble, with teeth and lungs closely following. Of the 3,572 schools examined 1,100 had unsanitary closets. In one of the districts of Armstrong county almost one-half of the children had some more or less serious ailment. Nine of the boroughs of this county have the inspection and three have not. It is to be hoped that the next historian of this county will not have to record a single township or borough without this necessary adjunct of modern educational methods. And that most vital of all necessities of the country school as well as the farmer - good roads - should not longer be neglected as in the past.

 

CONVENTIONS

The tenth convention of school directors for the county was held in the new high school auditorium in November, 1913, with Hon. Geo. W. McNees as chairman. In the matter of information it was probably the most important ever held in Kittanning. Addresses by prominent educators and members were heard on vital subjects relating to health, finance and improved methods of instruction. Officers for the ensuing year were elected as follows: President, Frank Cribbs, S. Buffalo township; first vice preseident, R. Hagerman, Perry township; second vice president, A. W. Smith, Gilpin township; secretary, J. E. Vantine, Kiskiminetas township; treasurer, J. S. Porter, Applewold; auditor, John A. Fox, Kittanning; delegate to the State convention, S. S. Blyholder, Burrell township.

The convention also favorably recommended the increase of the salary of the county superintendent to $3,000 per year. Prof. W. A. Patton is the present capable superintendent.

 

MEDICAL INSPECTORS

The State medical inspectors for 1913 are: Apollo borough, Dr. A.H. Townsend, Apollo; Bethel and Parks townships, Dr. Thomas L. Aye, Kelly Station; Boggs and Pine townships, Dr. T.H. Newcome, Templeton; Brady's Bend township, Dr. C.G. McGogney, Kaylor; Deanville independent district and Mahoning township; Dr. J.B. Longwell, Seminole; East Franklin township, Dr. J.E. Quigley, Adrian; Elderton borough and Plum Creek township, Dr. J.A. Kelly, Whitesburg; Ford City borough, Dr. A.E. Bower, Ford City; Freeport borough and Gilpin township, Dr. C.M. McLaughlin, Freeport; Parker's Landing borough and Hovey township, Dr. A.M. Hoover, Parker's Landing; Johnetta borough and South Buffalo township, Dr. W.J. Ralston, Freeport; Leechburg borough, Dr. J.D. Orr, Leechburg; Manorville borough and Manor township, Dr. Roscoe Deemar, Manorville; West Kittanning borough and Rayburn and Valley townships, Dr. T.N. McKee, Kittanning; Red Bank township, Dr. C.E. Sayres, Hawthorn; Rural Valley borough, Dr. S.E. Ambrose, Rural Valley; South Bend township, Dr. J.A. Lowery, South Bend; South Bethlehem borough, Dr. E.K. Shumaker, New Bethlehem; Wayne township, Dr. E.J. Fleming, Dayton; Wickboro borough, Dr. J.B.F. Wyant, Kittanning; Worthington borough, Dr. J.W. Dunkle, Worthington.

 

STATISTICS

In 1876 the whole number of common schools in this county was 261; average number of months taught, 5.9; male teachers, 163; female teachers, 106; average salaries per month of male teachers, $41.12; female, $34.40; scholars, male, 6,730, female, 5,933; average attendance, 8,252; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 76 cents; tax levied for school purposes and building schoolhouses, $75,719.25; received from State appropriation, $10,480.08; from taxes and all other sources, $87,854; total receipts, $98,334.08. Expended: For building, renting and repairing schoolhouses, etc., $22,949.37; teachers' wages, $47,711.68; fuel, fees of collectors, etc., $21,068.53; total expenditures, $91,729.58.

In the year 1913 the number of schoolrooms in the county, including the boroughs, where there are several grades, was 413; the average months to each yearly session was 7 3/4; the number of male teachers was 118; number of female teachers, 304; average salaries of the male teachers in the county, outside of the boroughs mentioned below, was $51.40 per month; average salaries of female teachers, exclusive of the boroughs, $42.63 per month; number of male scholars on the entire county roll, 7,302; female scholars, 5,963; average attendance, entire county, 11,179; average cost per month for each scholar in the county, including the boroughs, $2.03; amount of tax levied for educational purposes, including boroughs, $200,134.11; appropriation from State, $76,040.91; amount received from all other sources, $273,227.07; total value of all schoolhouses in the county $708,504; amount paid as salaries to teachers, $168,910.42; expended for fuel, repairs, water, light, etc., $130,281.56.

In comparison with the salaries paid teachers in the country schools of the county the averages of male and female salaries in the boroughs of Kittanning, Ford City, Wickboro, Freeport, Leechburg and Apollo are presented. Male salaries, $116.63; female salaries, $59.64; the number of months taught in the borough schools averages nine.

Source: Page(s) 55-62, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed September 199 by Sara Stewart for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Sara Stewart for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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