Sunday, October 5, 2008

Scipio and Ledyard Schools

I have so much interesting material from my visit at the NYS Archives in Albany last month that I hardly know where to start. Since I spoke with another local historian yesterday about getting together to pool information about early schools, it seemed logical to talk about that subject here today.
At the Archives, information is available in many forms. There are the actual old record books (not always available to the public if very fragile), written and other records, movie scripts, photographs, microfiche and microfilm - about every medium is represented. I spent some time on the microfilm machine with a roll of official minutes from School District #32 of Scipio and District #5 of Ledyard, dating from 1814.
The Town of Ledyard was formed off from Scipio January 30, 1823. As these official school minutes show, in 1824 Ledyard District #5 was created from Scipio #32.
The first page of these minutes is a copy of a public notice dated September 24, 1814 to the freeholders and taxable inhabitants in school district #32 Scipio, "warning" them of a meeting for the purpose of forming themselves into a school district.
The meeting was apparently held, and Trustees were elected: David Avery, David Price and William Freeman.
There were 86 children between the ages of 5 and 15.
The first teacher, employed in April of 1815, was Ira Riggs. He worked six months and was paid $18.00 a month and board.
Ira must have done a good job with those 86 pupils; he was hired again in October of 1815 for the next five months at $2o.00 a month exclusive of board.
The Trustees also went on record to say no out of district pupils would be accepted. Each taxable inhabitant was required as well as paying their school tax to provide their share of 25 cords of wood to the school.
Disasters happen and in December of 1815 there was a special meeting to assess the $7.73 expense of repairing the schoolhouse due to a fire.
A busy year for Scipio's early residents, wasn't it?
Many entries show the name of the teacher and their pay, and some years include the number of pupils. Some years there is information about Scipio, Ledyard and Venice.
There is a lot to share, and a paper copy of these minutes will be available for all to see in our History Corner at the Scipio Town Offices by Election Day. I will also be sharing some of the interesting details here as I discover them!

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