Continued from 11/12/22
Churches and Schools
By Grace Thompson
We are unable to trace the donor of the tract of ground on which a union church was built in 1829, with the cemetery nearby. Jonas Parr give us information that his grandfather, Judge Enoch Parr, quarried the stone from his farm and burned the lime to make the plastering for this church. This building was set back from the road and was used for lectures and literary purposes as well as for religious meetings. The Baptist, Methodist and Christian denominations all used this church for their marriages. Time does not permit naming the number of consecrated preachers expounding the gospel in this church.
In 1889 or 1890 Brother Shutts from Jackson county organized the Christian church and in 1890 Edward Tatlock built the church and on November 8, 1891 the Rev. Charles Devoe dedicated it. This church is an influence for good in the community and has a strong, though small in number, Sunday school. The Rev. Esten Martin faithfully serves the congregation as its pastor.
The Methodists rebuilt the old church and a Rev. Mr. Jackson rededicated the remodeled building. This old church was used by the Methodist congregation until on August 27, 1899, the Rev. Mr. Denny dedicated the new building on ground donated by the Rev. E. W. Cadwell and wife. The Rev. Mr. Cadwell was very ill the day of the dedication and early the following week passed away and his funeral was held on Friday, September 1, the first funeral to be preached in the new church. There is a very nice parsonage on the adjacent lot.
Many years ago, Hannah Albertson Peed, daughter of Dr. Edmund Albertson, was an ardent worker in the county and state W.C.T.U. She was a sainted soul, gifted in Sunday school teaching and directing peace and temperance contests. Her knowledge of the Bible was marvelous and no matter what the topic of conversation was, she could always quote a fitting Scripture verse. She dearly loved little children.
Washington County Academy was erected in 1817, the first school house to be built and used as a school building in the county. Today it is one of the few log buildings standing in the state. A few years ago, a feature story together with sketches drawn by Frank Hohenberger, appeared in an Indianapolis newspaper. The citizens of Washington County raised funds to erect and start this school. It was built of round logs, and at the time John S. Harned taught the school, had dirt floors, the windows being made by cutting out the upper part of a log and the lower part of its neighbor and tacking strips across the pasting greased paper for the panes. It was heated by a huge fireplace, large enough to use an 8 or 9-foot backlog, then piled high with other wood and with this roaring fire the room was kept comfortable. The roof was of rough clapboards laid on poles and weighted down by other poles and huge rocks. The seats were of logs split in two and dressed on top, with holes bored on the under side into which pins were driven for the legs. There were but few books then and the children often brought any kind of book found at home, to be studied. Many of the books were so advanced, they today would be considered too difficult for a high school pupil. Just so a girl was able to read and write was considered sufficient learning for her. In 1839 this log building was sold to Dr. Benjamin Albertson, who converted it into a dwelling. At present, the owner, Ernest. O. Purlee, uses it for a tool shed. At the time Dr. Albertson bought this building a new school house was erected on the knoll north and a little to the west of the Kelso Henderson property. The early school teachers were dubbed “Knights of the Birch”, as they were in most cases very severe and believed in the free use of the rod and ferrule to maintain discipline.
James Cochran was the first teacher in the Washington County Academy. He was a classical scholar and in 1822 was considered a profound astronomer. He had been very wealthy but lost his wealth through the Embargo Act in 1807 and came out west to forget his financial troubles and became a Hoosier schoolmaster. Though he lost his wealth he still retained his brilliantly trained mind and his vision for the greater things in life. There is very much more that could be said of him, for he was one of the greatest men of his day. One farmer declared, “James Cochran was a master workman in the teacher’s calling.”
Among the many teachers who taught in this old school were: Thomas Armstrong, Acquilla Timberlake, John S. Harned Sr., and Alexander McCoskey. Some of the teachers who taught in the school house on the hill were: William McCoskey, who was Benton McCoskey’s first teacher, and from whom he received the only lick ever received in school. Benton and Cash Mead became involved in some difficulty and were both marched up in front of the school and each given one lick. Leonadus Cochran, Mollie Thompson, Lee Wilson, Henry Dawalt, Martin Shrum, Mary Tatlock, Frank Hobson, Henry Gregory (whom we are told was very cross and crabbed.) Some of those teaching in this house located on the present site were: Asaw Elliott, Enoch Parr, John Zaring, Will Thompson, Susie Thompson, Al Denny, Flora Herrod and many others. Flora Herrod married a Mr. Wilson, a millionaire, and at her death bequeathed $5,000 to the Salem Christian church, in memory of her parents, Dr. Sanford and Margaret Thompson Herrod, and left a substantial sum to the Salem Cemetery association. Many more fine teachers deserve mention, but again time does not permit.
Reba Trueblood tells us that at one time two private schools operated simultaneously. Mrs. Watson, wife of the Methodist minister, decided to teach a subscription school and secured the names of about twenty children of her husband’s parishioners. Carrier Albertson decided she, too, would teach a subscription school, Mahlon, her father arguing she needed the money more than did the minister’s wife, so they started out and secured a like number of subscriptions, also the permission to use the school house. The Methodist men, not to be outdone, gathered and repaired the old school house on the hill and Mrs. Watson taught her school there. The term was six weeks; tuition $1 per pupil for the term. Then Carrie Albertson, thought she would again outdo Mrs. Watson, and as there was a minstrel show or concert in the Masonic hall, she dismissed school one afternoon and took all the pupils to it. Mary Gilliland was her youngest pupil, being four years of age, and says she sat by Carrie Albertson during the performance, and still recalls the wonderful thrill of being able to attend a musical performance, though she does not remember who the musicians were nor the kind of instruments used. She also relates here greatest thrill of all was when her mother bought her a primer from the Rev. Mr. Cadwell’s store, paying for it with home-made lard. She says for years it was her most highly prized possession.
Reba Trueblood says the pupils promoted themselves. Whenever they decided they wanted to go into a higher class, they just had their parents buy an advanced McGuffey Reader or Ray Arithmetic and went into the higher class without advising with the teacher as to their fitness. She states her delight was in spelling bees. She feared only two opponents. Henry Dawalt and Johnnie Shrum. She would be able to stand on the floor long after the other spellers had taken their seats, but eventually either Mr. Dawalt or Mr. Shrum outspelled her. She also says the pupils were required to memorize long poems, exercises in arithmetic and to parse very long sentences in grammar.
We find Canton maintained a free kindergarten many years ago. Mrs. James Heacock, a former school teacher, felt the need of educational training for the little children of Canton, and established and held school two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, in the little log kitchen of her home.
In the fall of 1873, Canton Loge, F. & A. M. was organized with W. K. McKnight, T. B. Hobbs, Carey Morris, Peter Morris, Willis Tatlock, D. C. Alvis, James Faulkner, George W. Morris and Warren Wilson as charter members. Only one member was lost by death, and this was Johnnie Dawalt, who was buried with all the solemnities of the Masonic funeral ritual. At one time their membership numbered 35, the fire of 1875 destroyed their property and they established a lodge room in an upstairs room in the home of Dr. George M. Morris and met there until, through the loss of members moving away, they were forced to surrender their charter to the Grand Lodge in 1884.