History of Beaver County, Chapter 11

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Merits of Common-School System-Influence of Teachers-Pioneer Schools-State Aid-Lotteries Authorized-Efforts for Common School Law-Act of 1834-Directors Elected-Tax Laid-Inspectors -Repeal Discussed-System Inaugurated-School Buildings­ Teachers' Associations-Early Teachers-County Superintendents­ Teachers' Institutes-Statistics-Higher Education.

'T is education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.

POPE, Moral Essays, Ep. I, line 149.

THE late Mr. Herbert Spencer, the great English philosopher, strongly opposed State education, and earnestly endeavored to show the mischief which results when intellectualization goes in advance of moralization. Society is not benefited, but rather injured, he argues, by artificially increasing intelligence without regard to character. This position will hardly be controverted by any student of criminology, but the arguments and the evidence which supports them will not be admitted by the intelligent observer to be of force as against the common-school system of America. That system is not perfect, but, on the whole, there can be no doubt that its influence has been not only to educate, but also to elevate, the children who have enjoyed its advantages. The men and women who have administered the system have not been perfect either, but no nobler class of public servants is to be found in any calling. And it is questionable if even the Church has done more for the moral training of the youth of the land than has been done by the common schools. The almost universal sentiment of reverence and affection which is felt for the old schoolmaster and the old schoolhouse is not mere sentiment, but evidences a moral power in these early influences


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that has taken hold of the roots of being, and will last as long as memory itself. Multitudes rise up to call them blessed whose "delightful task" it was, not merely "to teach the young idea how to shoot," but as much, or more, "to fix the generous purpose in the glowing breast." The rock that has followed many a man through the wilderness journey of life and kept him true to the noblest purposes, has been the Christ-like influence of some early instructor of his youth. They live again in minds made better by their presence,-these teachers,-a presence unseen but not unfelt in many a pulpit, in halls of legislation and courts of justice, in shops and counting-rooms and kitchens. Who can fail to appreciate the genial humor of Goldsmith's description of Auburn's schoolmaster, or to recognize his coun­ terpart in some teacher of his own acquaintance in the days langsyne?

A man severe he was, and stem to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew:
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd.
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declar'd how much he knew;
'T was certain he could write, and cipher too,
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And even the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill,
For even though vanquish'd he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amaz'd the gazing rustics rang'd around;
And still they gaz'd, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.

In old colonial days, when the English Commissioner for Foreign Plantations asked for information on the subject of education in the colonies, the Governor of Virginia replied, "I thank God there are no free schools or printing presses, and I hope we shall not have any these hundred years." 1 Thank God,

1 The American Commonwealth. Bryce, vol, i., p. 588.

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say we, his hope has been disappointed! Even Virginia has free schools, and in every part of our land they are here, and are here to stay. What Pennsylvania thinks of them is clearly seen in the single fact that her Legislature for the two years, 1900-01, appropriated to their support the princely sum of twelve million dollars.
Beaver County belongs to a region that has from the earliest period set a premium upon education. It was settled by a class of men who, if they had not themselves always enjoyed its benefits, knew its value, and had hardly finished their own rude houses before they sought to erect the schoolhouse. The facilities for teaching and the supply of teachers were in the very earliest times limited, of course. At first, in thinly settled neighborhoods, it was customary for some one to spend a few weeks or months of the most leisure period of the year in giving instruction in the common branches to the children of the neighborhood, the teacher sometimes "boarding round" and receiving small compensation, frequently not amounting to more than ten or twelve dimes a quarter, payable in work or provisions.
The schoolhouse was a cabin built of logs, frequently without clapboards or even shingles, and with perhaps two or more four­ pane windows with greased paper for lights. There was a narrow door of rough boards at one end; within, it was completely unfinished; low benches without backs for the pupils, and a chair or stool for the" master," constituting the furniture. The early curriculum was principally confined to the "three r's,­ readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic," and the pupil gathered his pencils from the brook and plucked his quills from a barn-yard fowl, or from the wing of a wild goose killed by his father's rifle. These quills the master's cunning hand converted into pens. The text-books were a primer, a spelling book for advanced scholars, a reader, and an arithmetic, with the New Testament and perhaps the Catechism. In pioneer times they were doubtless seldom able to have so much as these. Some foolscap paper and a slate completed the equipment of the candidate for learning; an ink-horn, a jack-knife, and a birch rod that of his guide and mentor.
These remarks apply, of course, principally to the pioneer schools. Those of a later date showed some advance in the character of the buildings and furniture, and in the subjects and

396 History of Beaver County

methods of instruction. Many, indeed, contend that the common schools of a period forty or fifty years ago were not inferior to those of the present day in thoroughness of teaching in the ordinary branches.
Our present free public schools are the result of an evolution. Over two hundred years ago the education and industrial training of children were made compulsory by the organic law of the province of Pennsylvania. William Penn, in his great law for the government of the province, had made this proviso:
That all persons in this province and territories thereof having children, and all the guardians and trustees of orphans, shall cause such to be instructed in reading and writing, so that they may be able to read the Scriptures and to write by the time they attain to twelve years of age; and that then they be taught some useful trade or skill, that the poor may work to live, and the rich, if they become poor, may not want.

For the violation of this proviso a penalty of five pounds was threatened. There was no provision for public support; the schools being left to private hands or under the control of the Church. This policy of the State towards the primary schools was in remarkable contrast with its attitude towards higher education, the General Assembly frequently making appropriations of money and setting aside public lands to establish academies and to aid colleges in various parts of the Commonwealth.1

1 Five hundred acres of land were donated to the Beaver Academy by the Legislature of the State (see chapter on Beaver borough); six hundred dollars from the sale of the in-lots of, and reserved land adjoining, Beaver were given to Greersburg Academy, and a warrant for five hundred acres of the Donation lands in what is now Beaver County was granted to the trustees of Washington Academy, Washington, Pa, These lands last named were sold in 1835 to James Allison, Jr., Esq. Other grants in different parts of the State are matter of record, We have found also the following entry in the Warrant Book of Beaver County (page 24.):
"Sept. 10, I793. The Trustees of Washington Academy enters a warrant dated the ninth day of August, I793, for four hundred acres about nine miles from the Ohio river on both sides of a branch of little Beaver creek, including a large Bottom.
Four hundred acres on Dry Run about four and a half miles from Ohio river near little Beaver creek. Four hundred acres adjoining the above. Four hundred acres adjoining the above. Four hundred acres adjoining the above. Total, 2,000 acres."
Some of our readers may be surprised to learn that many early schoolhouses were built with funds derived from lotteries, permission for the running of which was granted by legislative enactment; example: in 1805-I806 Acts were passed granting permission "to raise by way of lottery, a sum of money for the benefit of Pennepack school"; (P. L., 105.) "to raise money for building an English school-house in the borough of Reading, in the county of Berks," "to authorize two thousand dollars to be raised by way of lottery. for erecting a school house. near Summony town, Montgomery County" (P. L., 671.), and many others. Lotteries were also authorized for various other purposes, as the building and repairing of churches and for paying church debts, for synagogues, bridges, removing obstructions from rivers, building turnpikes, to assist companies engaged in the cultivation of vines, etc. See Pamphlet Laws of Penn'a, 1805-06, Index referring to Acts. We

History of Beaver County 397

The Constitution of 1776 and that of 1790 provided for the establishment of "a school or schools in every county," but there was no legislation to give effect to their provisions. In March, 1802, the first law for the education of the poor gratis was passed, but this law was defective and remained a dead statute so far as many of the counties in the State were concerned. A similar law was passed on the 4th of April, 1809. This law provided that the county commissioners, at the time of issuing their precepts to the assessors, should direct them to obtain the names of all children between the ages of five and twelve years, whose parents were unable to pay for their schooling, and also required the assessors to inform the parents of the children "that they are at liberty to send them to the most convenient school free of expense." But a thorough and comprehensive plan of popular education was yet to come. Agitation for this had been made in the State Legislature as early as the year 1825, when Gen. H. W. Beeson, of Fayette County, introduced a bill for the establishment of common schools, but this did not carry. Prominent in advocacy of this improvement in our own part of the State were General Abner Lacock of Beaver County and Dr. John Pollock 1 of Allegheny County, and they were nobly supported by other citizens of the region, but there were some obstructionists. Finally, however, the Act of the General Assembly, establishing the free common schools of the State, was passed and approved by the Governor, George Wolf, April 1, 1834. The bill is said to have passed both branches of the Legislature with an unanimity rarely witnessed in the adoption of legislation. 2

copy here also an advertisement. which appeared in the Pittsburgh Gazette, on September 3, I807:


The managers will commence drawing the Presbyterian Church lottery in the Court­ house, in Pittsburgh, the 26th day of October next. All those who have tickets to sell are hereby required to make return to the managers before that day, on failure thereof the managers will deem them accountable for the price of the number of tickets put into their hands. As there are yet a number of tickets on hand. the managers propose to sell them on credit to good hands or on security, payable ten days after drawing commences.

1 Dr. Pollock was the first postmaster at Clinton, which was the first post-office in Findlay township, Allegheny County.
2 P. L., 170-179. The Act is entitled "An Act To establish a General system of Education by Common Schools." Additional legislation, widening the scope of this Act, was passed in 1836, 1842, 1843, and 1844. See address by Hon. Warren S. Dungan in our second volume, Centennial Section.

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The school law thus adopted provided for the election of directors in each district, and accordingly, on the third Friday of September following, the first election was held. The first Tuesday of November had been designated by the Act as the time for a joint meeting of the county commissioners, and one delegate from each of the boards of school directors to be held in order to take action on the question of making an appropriation for the support of the schools by a tax-levy, as required by the Fifth Section of said Act. In accordance with this call the joint-meeting was held at the time appointed, the first Tuesday being the 4th of November, 1834, in the commissioner's office (adjourning to the court-room), in Beaver, with the following delegates present:
William Morton, North Sewickley; James Mackall, Greene; Andrew Calhoon, Big Beaver; David Gordon, Hanover; James Irons, Hopewell; Robert Nevin, Moon; William Sheerer, Ohio; Thomas Silliman, Little Beaver; John K. Foster, North Beaver; Samuel Kennedy, Raccoon; John Douglas, South Beaver; James
Allison, Borough; James Scott, Chippewa; Enos Hill, Economy; Thomas Alford, Shenango; John Peirsol, New Sewickley; Archibald Robinson [Robertson? B.], Fallston. The countv commissioners were: Solomon Bennett, David Somers, and James Scott.
The election of officers resulted in the choice of William Morton as chairman, and Richard H. Agnew as secretary. 1
At this meeting two steps were taken towards the establishment of the common-school system in the county. On motion of John K. Foster, seconded by John Douglas, the motion prevailing, it was decided "that a tax be assessed and levied for common school purposes according to the provisions of the Act of Assembly." Second, it was moved by James Allison and seconded by John Douglas "that the sum of $3727.26 be fixed, and that the commissioners be requested to assess and fix that amount." This motion also carried.
The next month the following school inspectors were appointed by the court at Beaver, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Assembly:

1 The original minute book containing the proceedings of the joint meeting of the delegates and the county commissioners has recently been found. From it we obtain the facts given in the text.

History of Beaver County 399

" Borough township-Daniel Agnew, Hiram S. Stowe; Moon ­ Joseph Phillis, William Elliott; Hopewel - David Scott, Thomas Bryan; Hanover - John Harsha, Robert Patton; Greene - Milton Lawrence, M.D., William McHarg, Jr.; Ohio - John Clark, M.D., George Dawson; Brighton - William Scott, Robert Potter; Fallston Borough - E. K. Chamberlin, M.D., A. W. Townsend; Chippewa - Capt. W. B. Osman, Joseph Niblock; South Beaver ­ John Martin, Esq., John McNickle; Little Beaver - Rev. George M. Scott, Dr. Joseph Frazier; Big Beaver - Rev. David Imbrie, Richard D. Hudson; North Beaver - Rev. James Wright, William Allsworth; Shenango - Rev. Robert Semple, Rev. A. Murray; North Sewickley - Dr. Robert Cunningham, J. A. Benson; Economy - John Hull, William Knox; New Sewickley - Edward Hoops, Matthew Champlin."
These names, being those of men who were among the most intelligent and progressive citizens of the county, gave assurance that the law as now established would be fairly interpreted, and that an honest effort would be made to carry out its provisions. But the project was as yet in its formative condition, and it was hard to get the machinery into smooth-working order. 1

1 It may interest some of our readers to see the apportionment of the school tax made in the first year after the school system was established. We copy the following from the minute book recording the proceedings of the joint meeting of the common-school delegates and the county commissioners:

"Apportionment by the County Commissioners of the School Tax to the several School Districts (according to the number of Taxable Inhabitants in each township) in the School Division composed of the County of Beaver for the year 1835:

No. Districts or Townships School Tax Taxables Apportionment

1 Borough $248.51 313 $208.14 1/2 2 Fallston 181.60 220 146.30
3 New Sewickley 306.45 620 412.30
4 North Sewickley 280.27 537 357.10 1/2
5 Shenango 265.34 455 288.61
6 North Beaver 474.15 434 288.61
7 Big Beaver 158.05 277 184.20 1/2
8 Little Beaver 315.57 423 281.20 1/2
9 South Beaver 91.34 221 146.96 1/2
10 Chippewa 91.47 130 86.45
11 Brighton 144.94 192 127.68
12 Ohio 157.81 236 156.94
13 Greene 175.61 314 208.81
14 Hanover .......... 340 ..........
15 Raccoon 71.37 139 92.43 1/2
16 Moon 104.01 232 154.28
17 Hopewell 184.50 287 190.85 1/2
18 Economy 222.92 311 206.81 1/2
$3,564.51 5341 3551.76
Surplus S. Tax.............................12.75
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The new school law proved cumbersome in some of its provisions, and there was developed in many sections of the State considerable hostility to it. From parts of the State persons were even sent to the Legislature pledged to work for its repeal. In Beaver County public meetings were called to discuss the subject of repeal, but to the honor of its citizens these meetings showed a strong sentiment in favor of enforcing the law. In South Beaver township a public gathering was held to discuss the issue. James Johnston was made chairman and George McElhaney and Dr. James Young, secretaries. The object of the meeting was stated by John Douglas, who also read a letter from General Abner Lacock and Dr. John Pollock, the representatives of the district in the Assembly, who wrote jointly, urging the people of the district to give the new system a fair trial. The sense of the meeting was expressed in a series of strong resolutions against repeal, and in favor of an honest and earnest effort to establish the system in the township and throughout the county.
Amendments were made to the law as experience suggested changes, and opposition gradually subsided, so that in a few years all the townships of the county were working in harmony with its provisions. With whatever defects it may have, the free-school system is now deep-rooted in the affections of the people, and there has been constant endeavor to improve it in every direction. And there has been great progress made. This is strikingly shown in the improved construction of modern school buildings, with their sanitary arrangements, their provisions for the comfort and safety of teachers and scholars, and in the extent, variety, and perfection of all the furniture and apparatus of the schoolroom. The log-cabin schoolhouse was well enough in its day, and we may pay it our tribute for the part it played in "ye olden time"; but the superiority of the present structures will not need to be argued. In this county many of the buildings of recent construction, such as those at Fallston, Aliquippa, Daugherty, Patterson Heights, and in Greene township and South Beaver, are very neat and com­ modious; while the new high school buildings in the larger towns, such as those of New Brighton and Rochester, are model structures. Plans for other modern school buildings of the better class are under way, as at Freedom. The condition of

History of Beaver County
many of the buildings in the country districts, however, especially in regard to ventilation, leaves much to be desired.
Several county teachers' associations have been formed in Beaver County. The first met in the Beaver Academy, November 9, 1844, at the call of S. L. Coulter and Hugh Anderson. This was preliminary to the formation of a regular association. Another meeting was held in Beaver, January 4, 1845, the record of which is signed by William Reed as secretary, and which adopted and recommended for use in the schools of the county the following text-books: Davies's Arithmetics; Mitchell's Geographies; Roswell C. Smith's Grammar; Cobb's New Speller; Willard's United States History; and Peter Parley's Common School History. This association seems to have been short-lived.
On the 6th of April, 1850, a meeting was held in Rochester to effect a smilar association, H. B. Anderson in the chair, and John McGoun, secretary. A temporary organization was made and on the '20th of the same month teachers interested met in the Beaver Academy and formed a permanent organization. A constitution and by-laws were adopted, and the following officers were chosen: P. L. Grim, President; H. B. Anderson, Vice-President; John McGoun, Recording Secretary; Zadoc Bliss, Corresponding Secretary; J. McElrath, Treasurer; . Execu­ tive Committee: W. Y. Brown, A. H. Lackey, J. P. Reed, P. L. Grim, and J. G. Bliss.
A full, though not a complete, list of the early schoolhouses, with names of many of the early teachers, in Beaver County, will be found in the Centennial address of Prof. S. H. Peirsol in our second volume. In this chapter we shall give such additional names and items of biography as we have been able to gather.
One of the earliest teachers in the territory that is now Beaver County was John Bean, who taught two years near the mouth of Big Beaver Creek. The time is fixed by an entry in an old ledger of General Abner Lacock, charging "J ohn Bean, school master," in 1796, with" five gills of whisky, two shillings and four pence."
In 1799 or 1800 Miss Electa Smith opened the first pay school in "Beavertown." Her father, General Martin Smith, in mov­ing from Connecticut to Ohio, stayed a few days in Beaver, and

VOL. L-26.

402 History of Beaver County

some persons becoming acquainted with her and finding her a lady of superior education prevailed on her to remain and open a school. This she taught in a small cabin that was built from timber obtained from the old barracks of Fort McIntosh, when the latter was demolished by order of the War Department in 1788. It was in this cabin, enlarged and remodeled, that Jonathan Coulter kept his tavern; and here, besides the school, was the "class" which was the beginning of the Methodist Episcopal congregation in Beaver. This building stood on Elk Street, just opposite the residence of the late Senator Quay.1 Electa Smith married James Lyon, of whose interesting career we speak in the chapter on Beaver borough. After her marriage the school work was continued by Mrs. Dr. Catlett and her two daughters, Helen and Martha, who opened a boarding and pay school on Fourth Street, between Elk and Market. This family had traveled extensively in Europe. They taught all the common branches and music, French, and painting on velvet. Many of their pupils came from the Western or Connecticut Reserve in Ohio. Of her pupils were Lucy and Mary Hall, Lois Morse, and Mrs. Dr. George Allison. Mrs. Catlett and her daughters gave monthly parties to the scholars, at which dainty refreshments were served, and games, such as "honey-pot, scotch-hoppers, and jump-the-broom-stick" were played. Helen Catlett was the

1 This according to some of our informants. Others say the location was on Second Street, on the middle lot between Elk Street and Branch Bank Alley.

History of Beaver County 403

first lady teacher in the Beaver Academy (1826-27). She is described as having beautiful golden hair, as wearing the smart­est of dresses and beaver-fur coats, and as having had many admirers.
Another of the early schoolmistresses was Mary Adams, who taught a pay school in the remodeled Coulter tavern. Miss Adams was noted for her beautiful penmanship, and wrote verse that was much admired. She married James Wilson, father of Samuel Beatty Wilson, a former recorder.
Margaret Hunter was one of the first teachers in the free public schools of the county established under the Act of April 1, 1834. She taught in a little schoolhouse at the western end of Beaver.
Miss Foley was also one of Beaver's early teachers. She established a large subscription school in the Hemphill tavern­ building on Third Street, just opposite where Lawrence's drug store now stands. Miss Phoebe Critchlow, too, kept a select school during the forties in a building which stood where Wilcox's drugstore now stands, and during the same decade Miss Wishart had a private school in the same building. She was from what is now West Virginia, and was a very successful teacher.
David Johnson, the first prothonotary of Beaver County, taught a school from 1800 to 1805 in the log house, now owned by Mrs. Mary Shillito, corner First and Market streets. He afterwards (1815) was the first teacher in the Beaver Academy. He was a very able teacher, having left a position in the Jefferson Academy at Canonsburg, Pa., to assume the task of opening the books of the newly erected county of Beaver. He died in Beaver, March 6, 1837, and was buried in the old cemetery in that place.
Rev. Thomas E. Hughes was a pioneer educator in Beaver County. He founded the Greersburg Academy, a sketch of which will be found in the chapter on Darlington borough. In this academy taught also Robert Dilworth (1819), who afterwards became an efficient minister in the Presbyterian Church, and others whose names will be found in the chapter just referred to.1
John Boyle taught in Little Beaver township during the

1 See Appendix No. X. containing extracts £rom Dr. Dilworth's Journa1.

404 History of Beaver County

winter of 1800, and Joshua Hartshorne in the southwestern part of the same township in 1808. The latter was a popular bachelor, who always dressed in silk or buckskin knee-breeches with silver buckles. He is remembered as having taught the alphabet by the use of sticks, making one cut in the shape of "d" represent b, p, and q by altering its position.
Other early teachers of Beaver County were John Kerr, Andrew Elliott, Samuel Sterrett, James H. Van Gorder, and John Hines, all in the northern part of the county and dating from about 1805 to 1812.
James Leslie, Peter Boss, and Thomas McMillan were well­ known teachers in North Beaver township from about 1805 to 1808. Still others who taught in different parts of the county were William Arnold, John Gibson, James McCallaher, William Wigton, Jehu Lewis, and Cornelius Stafford.
Mary Townsend and Mary Reeves were two Quaker ladies who taught in what is now Patterson township about 1806.
Two brothers, Zadoc Bliss and J. G. Bliss, taught in the decade from 1839 to 1849, the former in old Brighton (now Beaver Falls), Sharon, Ohioville, and Smith's Ferry, and in South Beaver township. He afterwards entered the medical profession (see sketch, Chapter X.). His brother, James G. Bliss, taught principally in Bridgewater and in South Beaver and Ohio townships, and was at one time principal of the Beaver public schools. He became a member of the Beaver bar, and died in Sharon (Bridgewater) about the year 1859.
Robert Gregor McGregor, who took part in the Beaver County Centennial exercises, and whose address on an educational topic will be found in its proper place in the second volume of this work, was long a successful teacher in the county. He was born June 17, 1830, at Hazel Dell, then in North Sewickley township, Beaver County, now Wayne township, Lawrence County. His father, Donald McGregor, was a native of Scotland, and emigrated to Beaver County about the beginning of the last century.
Mr. McGregor's education was obtained in the common schools and at Beaver Academy. His first term of school was taught in North Sewickley township in the winter of 1847-48, before he was eighteen years old, and his last school was taught about fifty years afterwards in the same community. This long

History of Beaver County
period, with the exception of a few years spent in the newspaper business, and as a mail agent, was occupied in teaching in the schools of North Sewickley and adjoining townships. In one school in North Sewickley township he taught three generations -that is, parents, children, and grandchildren. He was one of the founders of teachers' institutes in Beaver County, both county and local, and had attended and participated in more institutes than any other man in the county. From 1853 to 1856 Mr. McGregor was editor and proprietor of the Beaver Star, and again for some time following 1864 was an editorial writer upon the same paper. From 1869 to 1872 he was engaged as editorial writer upon the New Castle Gazette, then under the management of W. S. Black, and again in 1880 he was the editorial writer on the Star. He was recognized as a forceful and pithy writer. Mr. McGregor died in Pittsburg, Sunday, January 5, 1902, and was buried in Uniondale Cemetery, Allegheny City.1
Scudder Hart Peirsol was one of the most widely known educators in western Pennsylvania, having been prominent in school affairs for the past sixty years. He was born in North Sewickley township, Beaver County, January 1, 1828, the son of Jacob and Rachel Peirsol. His grandfather was one of the pioneers of Beaver County and owned the land which is now the site of the village of Harmony. This he sold to the Harmony society, which later moved to Economy. Mr. Peirsol was
educated in the public schools and was graduated from the Beaver Academy in 1843. Since that time he had devoted his life to teaching. He first taught in his old school in North Sewickley township and later near Parkersburg, W. Va. In the early fifties he served one term as county superintendent of public instruction of Beaver County. After that he was principal of the schools in Vanport, Beaver, and Rochester. Resigning from the Rochester schools he became, it is thought, the first government Indian teacher in the United States, starting a government school for the Wyandot Indians in Kansas in 1856. He left there to return to Beaver County soon after the close of the war, to become principal of the newly founded Soldiers' Orphans' School at Monaca, which was presided over by the late Dr. W. G. Taylor. He remained there until the school was burned in 1876.

1 A portrait of Prof, McGregor opp. this page shows him seated upon the foundation wall of the old schoolhouse in which he taught so long.

406 History of Beaver County

Prof. Peirsol then established Peirsol's Academy in West Bridgewater, which he conducted until the latter part of 1903. Prof. Peirsol was a Baptist in religion and a Democrat in politics. He was one of the oldest Odd-Fellows in the county. He was twice married. His first wife was Miss Elizabeth Voleaver, daughter of Captain and Mrs. James Weaver, of Van port. She died in 1870. Five children survive this alliance: Dr. John Peirsol, of Bellaire, 0.; George Peirsol, of West Bridgewater; Mrs. Catherine Alleman, of Dallison, W. Va.; Mrs. R. J. Marshall, of East Liverpool, 0.; and Mrs. Frank W. Neely, of Beaver. In 1876 he married Miss Mary Maxwell Chambers, who had been associated with him as assistant teacher in the Soldiers' Orphans' School. She died in 1902. One son, Dr. S. H. Peirsol, practising in Rochester, survives this marriage. Prof. Peirsol died after an illness of several weeks at the home of his son-in-law, Frank W. Neely, in Beaver, on the 29th of December, 1903.
From Prof. J. M. Reed, formerly county superintendent of schools in this county, we have obtained some data concerning some of the early teachers of the county which is of value as supplementing our own researches, and giving many names in addition to those in Prof. Peirsol's paper referred to above. Prof. Reed's information was in part obtained from Mr. Andrew R. Miller, a remarkable nonagenarian resident of the county. Mr. Miller was born October 31, 1797, near Hickory, Washington County, Pa., and when six months old was brought by his parents to Beaver County, they settling near where Tomlinson's Run church now stands. His grandfather died at the remarkable age of one hundred and two years, and his father at almost eighty-three. Andrew Miller himself at ninety-four years of age had his mental faculties perfectly preserved, and talked clearly and intelligently to Prof. Reed of his childhood recollections. He recalled distinctly, he said, starting to school on the first Monday of October, 1802, when he was less than five years old. The schoolhouse was a log cabin on the Blair farm near his home. His first teacher, to whom he went for two years, was William Douglas, whom he described as a white-headed old man, who had taught for many years. Mr. Miller remembered also his second teacher in 1804, Master James Allison, who came from York County, and remained here teaching for many years. He named also Samuel May, and his last teacher, Henry Wilson.

History of Beaver County 407

From the same data we learn also of the following persons who taught in the county before 1820: Thomas Murray and David Blair, who taught in New Sheffield and vicinity; Thomas Bryan, who taught near Service; John Murray, Robert Moffit, and Miss Mary Davis, in the central and eastern sections of the south side of the county. On the west side of the south-side section were Alexander McCollough, George McCollough, Elizabeth McCollough, Paden Moore, John P. Hudson, Aaron Eaton, Matthew Anderson, Hon. John H. Reddick, and Samuel Pollock.
At the time of the adoption of the free common-school system there were about one third as many schools as now. From this time on the schools made rapid progress, which was due in large measure, so far as the south side of the county was concerned, to the influence of Frankfort Springs Academy, in which taught such men as Thomas Nicholson, the first county superintendent of Beaver County, a distinguished teacher, and a member of the Assembly from 1844 to 1846 and in 1868 and 1869, and Rev. James Sloan, D.D., the first pastor of Frank­ fort Springs Presbyterian Church. Within the period from 1834 to the beginning of the Civil War, the southern portion of the county shows as engaged in teaching Leonard Swearingen, Joseph Bell, Thomas C. Carothers (for two years county su­ perintendent), John R. Carothers, James Matthews, James Whitham, Thomas Creswell, J. Martin Reed, Mary Jane Scott, William Withrow, William McFarland, William M. Reed, Bernard Binnet, William Spalding, Clemency Tucker, John Me­ Henry, Master Jordan, Presley Smith, George Moffit, Rebecca Taggart, James Langley, James M. Ewing, John Nelson, Robert and Samuel Leeper, the Misses Mary and Belle Miller, Eliza McCune, and Nancy Warnock.
A teacher of national reputation, who taught in the common schools of the county, and who was for a year and a half principal of the old Beaver Academy, was the Rev. John W. Scott, D.D., LL.D., father of the first wife and grandfather of the second wife of the late ex-President Benjamin Harrison. He was born in Hookstown, January 22, 1800. He was for over four years Professor of Mathematics in Washington College, Washington, Pa.; for over sixteen years professor in Miami University; four years in Farmer's, now Belmont, College, which he aided in establishing; ten years in Oxford Female College;

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eight years in Hanover College; two years in the Presbyterial Academy of the old Presbytery of Sangamon at Springfield, Ill.; and seven years in Monongahela College, Pa.;- in all an educational career, including the period of four years in which he assisted his father, Rev. George M. Scott of Mill Creek, in preparing students for college, of over sixty years. He was at the time of his death probably the oldest educator in the land.
Other prominent educators who were born in Beaver County, but whose work was, for the most part, done outside of the county, were Rev. A. M. Reid, Ph.D., long the principal of Steubenville (Ohio) Female Seminary; A. R. Whitehill, Professor of Physics in the West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.; G. A. Langley, J. M. Schaffer, D. K. Cooper, S. B. Todd, William M. McCollough, and D. C. Coffee.
A very early and successful teacher on the south side of the county was James Boyd. Here taught also John Harsha, a man of great influence in the county in his day. Mr. Harsha was born in 1787, east of the mountains. He commenced teaching in the common schools of Hanover township in 1807 and continued in the work for about twenty years, and for many years afterwards prepared at his home many students for college. He was educated for the ministry, but on account of a weak throat never preached. Mr. Harsha was a member of the Assembly from 1835 to 1838.
On the east side of the Big Beaver in New Sewickley town­ ship, taught in 1833, at Crow's Run, John Deans, who was followed by Messrs. Donaldson, Keefer, Hornet, Shanor, Nye, Young, and Taylor, and Miss Esther Wolfe, the first lady teacher there.
One of the most important measures for promoting the advancement of education in Pennsylvania was the passage in 1854 of the Act of Assembly establishing the office of County Superintendent of Common Schools. The benefits of this system of supervision have been increasingly felt throughout the State, and in Beaver County the office has been held by a succession of able and conscientious men, who have earnestly devoted themselves to the improvement of the teaching force, equipment, and housing of its schools. (See list of names, Chapter VI.)
Out of this agency has been developed the very successful

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local and county teachers' institutes, the former of which are held at intervals in different school districts throughout the county, and the latter annually at the county-seat. The County Teachers' Institute of Beaver County has been growing in interest and enthusiasm from year to year.
The following is a tabular statement of the school statistics of Beaver County for the school year ending June 3, I901.
In addition to the efficient work done in the high schools of the larger towns of the county, the higher education of the youth of both sexes is provided for in the academies at Bridgewater (Peirsol's), Frankfort Springs, and Darlington, and in Beaver College and Musical Institute at Beaver, and Geneva College at Beaver Falls (College Hill borough). These last-named institutions have all had an excellent standing for years, and their history is given in connection with that of the several boroughs in which they are located. There are also several business col­ leges in the Beaver valley towns, as Butcher's Business College at Beaver Falls, Rochester Business College at Rochester, and the Beaver County Commercial College at Beaver, where opportunities are offered for instruction in those branches requisite to a business career.
On the whole, the citizens of Beaver County have just reason to be proud of the honored history of their schools and school­ teachers. but if. as was said by Wendell Phillips, "education is

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the only interest worthy the deep, controlling anxiety of the thoughtful man," they will not be content with the work already done, but will devise such liberal things for the future that the best possible results may be obtained. If this is to be accomplished, the teacher's profession must be so well paid and so highly honored, that men and women of the highest character and talents can afford to make it their life-work. If Beaver County taxpayers and school directors shall be true to the highest ideals of patriotism, they will not regard the money expended in education as a mere expense, but rather as the most profitable of all investments, the interest on which will be paid in broader culture, better citizenship, and happier homes, and the training of their children to be able in face of the dangers and difficulties of life

to exercise that power
Which is our human nature's highest dower.

(Source: History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, it's Centennial Celebration by Rev. Joseph H. Bausman, Vol. 1, The Knickerbock Express, New York, 1904.)