Certainly the first schools were private schools, but in 1844 when the township was formed, a progressive school board was named, among them Adam Haderman, Jacob Long and Joseph B. Noble. Mr. Haderman, a finely educated German who had come to America only a few years before this, was especially concerned because of the seeming indifference of the people toward education. There was no county superintendent and Mr. Haderman examined the teachers.
Jacob Long was a progressive farmer and believed in education. He was the first man to cast a ballot in South Woodbury township in favor of free schools. His son, D. C. Long, was among the first teachers and his descendants have always shown a marked interest in education.
The first teachers were John B. Fluck, Joseph Snowberger, J. B. Furry, J. R. Durborrow, D. C. Long and Daniel Reed. They were all very successful teachers. Mr. Durborrow was quite distinguished as editor of a newspaper in Huntingdon for a long time. D. C. Long was recognized as an outstanding minister in the German Seventh Day Baptist church. John B. Fluck became a prominent minister in the Church of the Brethren. J. B. Furry moved to New Paris and taught school a number of terms. Samuel B. Fluck of Woodbury, who will soon be 98 years of age, was one of the teachers of that early day.
The first schoolhouse in the township was a small building that stood just across the road from the Dittmar home in Loysburg, built by Martin Loy as a place for public meetings,especially religious meetings. There was considerable contention about the location of the building, it was quite a distance from Enterprise and the western part of the township. One night while the village slept, the schoolhouse was loaded on skids and hauled one mile north to a point across the highway from the home of Lee Detwiler. Soon it was learned that the men who “stole” the schoolhouse were prominent citizens, among them Samuel and John Nicodemus. Samuel Detwiler had hauled the building to the new site. For a year or two school was held there.
Soon however, new school buildings were erected at a number of places and no one had to travel far to go to school. For many years the salaries for teaching were very small, $18-$20. When I began teaching, $25 was the salary paid to the township. I paid $8 for board, so I had $17 left. Perhaps I was not worth that much. The term was for six months of the year and for the other six months you had to find something else to do. As a result many young people used teaching as a stepping -stone during the period when they were preparing themselves for some other avocation.
A number of the early teachers from our township entered the legal profession. Among these were Jacob H. Longenecker, who became Judge of the Courts in Bedford, Somerset judicial district; Simon H. Sell, now a prominent attorney in Bedford; Robert C. McNamara, deceased, also of Bedford and twice a member of the state legislature; Hon., Joseph Stayer, who died rather early in life, but was quite prominent as a lawyer; Jacob H. Furry who was very highly esteemed as an attorney in Omaha, Neb; W. L. Woodcock of Holidaysburg, whose legal attainments are widely known; Rufus Haderman, of whom I heard his political opponent say “He would make an ideal judge.” He knows the law and has a judicial temperament.” His friends expected him to reach an important place in the legal world, but he, too, died while yet quite young.
I do not recall any others who entered the legal profession, but Job Latshaw, a splendid teacher, became city editor on one of the great dallies in Chicago. He was a very brilliant and versatile gentleman.
I remember the assessment for school tax in South Woodbury township was only 2 1/2 mills. I believe it is now 12 mills. Since teaching has become a profession, teachers are better paid, and we have correspondingly better schools. Not because of larger salaries, but because teachers are better prepared to teach.
In that early day we had teachers who heard us recite. We committed much of what was in the textbook, though we did not understand how to use it. I remember a teacher under whom we committed all the definitions, rules and notes in Brown’s grammar. It was a large grammar, and I have since learned it is an excellent treatise on the use of the English language, but we knew all the rules and definitions and did not know how to apply them. Certainly it was cultivating our memories, but how much easier if we had applied what we learned each day. The next winter we got a new teacher and he taught us the use of our definitions and rules. When we began to see the meaning of it all, what we had memorized was very helpful, but certainly it was a hard way.
Educational methods have greatly changed. We could spell thousands of words because “spelling” was an accomplishment and we were trained to spell, but we never used the words we learned, and did not know their meaning.
However, there were some teachers equal to the best. Among these was B. F. Jamison, who taught our school two terms. The year before he came we learned definitions and recited them. He taught us how to apply what we had committed. He was an old soldier who had been wounded in the Civil War. After teaching for several years, he was elected justice of the peace, a position he filled most acceptably as long as he lived. His son, Wilson, followed the profession of teaching and occupied very important positions in the schools of Cambria county.
Professor J. G. Krichbaum came to Morrison’s Cove from his native town of Bedford when but a boy, to teach school. He was unquestionably the most outstanding teacher in Morrison’s Cove. He was graduated from Millersville State Teachers College and for seventeen years was principal of schools in Easton. PA. He came back to Bedford county and was principal of the Everett schools. For several years, he owned and edited the Everett Press, but he loved teaching and went to Chambersburg as principal of city schools for five years.
He then returned to Bedford County and taught at New Enterprise and later at Woodbury where he had begun his career as a teacher many years before. He was one of the most versatile gentlemen you could find anywhere. He was a popular lecturer, a member of the Bedford Bar, a local preacher in the Methodist church. All his life, however, he was a teacher.
In that profession he excelled and had few equals in our community. The picture on page 171 was taken after receiving a medal as a Sunday school worker for more than fifty years. From left to right they are Professor Krichbaum, James P. Little, D. B. Snyder and C. W. Dittmar, all receiving medals. They all went to school to Professor Krichbaum. Mrs. Karns and I both went to school to Professor Krichbaum. His wife was Miss Carper of Woodbury. Professor William Krichbaum, a son, is dean of Detroit law school. He has his father’s faculty for teaching.
Our schools have been consolidated and at New Enterprise through the generosity of one of our successful sons in the business world, the children of our township are enjoying the best that can be provided in a modern school plant. Leonard Replogle of New York made generous contributions for the erection and equipment of the commodious buildings prominently located on the hill top at New Enterprise.
A corps of trained teachers under the direction of Professor D. P. Hoover are here employed educating the youth of our township. I believe they use words and definitions as they learn them. They are being educated rather than instructed.
South Woodbury township has always been interested in good schools. Once we had four school buildings when we had two schools in each building and a decided advantage to the pupils who were in attendance. They were Loysburg, New Enterprise, Waterside and Salemville.
Now we have the consolidated schools at New Enterprise, and a good high school that prepares our boys and girls for college. The school buildings are among the best in the country and the well-organized schools are doing excellent work.
In the days of long ago we walked to school probably one or two miles. I remember a boy, George W. McTinay, who walked three miles, and most of the way through the forest where he had to break the road. Sometimes when it was very bad his father would bring him on horseback. He became a teacher and later a Methodist preacher.
Then, too, we bought our own books. Paper was a very scarce article. Paper tablets were not invented until 1876 by J. C. Blair of Huntingdon, who patented his idea and made himself rich manufacturing pencil tablets. Forty and more years ago we used slates instead of paper. All our cyphering and all our writing was done on slates. Of course we had copybooks and wrote to learn how to write. We never made pictures. That is, we were not allowed to make pictures. No matter how well a boy and girl could draw we were not allowed to waste time making pictures.
What a blessed change has come! Now boys and girls have paper and pencils. Now they are encouraged to draw. I know some boys and girls who are real artists. They would never have been in that early day.
I suppose most of you have heard what the teacher said to Benjamin West when he persisted in drawing pictures on his slate rather than do his sums. She said he “might as well stay at home. He is a blockhead and will never learn.” He became the greatest artist of his day in the United States. We were not allowed to spend time making pictures. If caught doing that we were punished. Now boys and girls are rewarded and praised when they draw well. It was a hardship on parents to buy books for family. Now books are furnished.
South Woodbury township has an excellent board of directors, vis., Paul I. Detwiler, president; Ross T. Snider, secretary; E. W. Van Horn, treasurer; Sherman Kegarise and Lloyd Clapper. They are all interested in the schools and give careful attention to every need.
I have written of a number of the early teachers, but I must say another word of one. He was the dean of all the teachers--I believe none will dispute--Professor John G. Krichbaum.
(Source: Historical Sketches of Morrison’s Cove, Rev. C. W. Karns, Mirror Press, 1933, pp. 169, 171, 174-8.)
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