Friday, July 24, 2009

Early Schools

The heritage which the early schools of Bethany have left to their successors is a most admirable example for which to carry on the torch of learning.

The textbooks in the year 1808, when Miss Matilda Wedge is supposed to have taught the first school in Bethany, were most inadequate. They would be as much of a wonder to the present pupils and parents in our Central schools as the old-fashioned flax-break.

These early pioneers, who came mostly from Vermont and Connecticut, traveled by ox cart or on foot. Others came by sailboat from England, Germany, Ireland, and some other countries. All showed the perseverance and determination of purpose with which the town of Bethany was founded. Back as far as 1803, settlers bearing the family names of Kelly, Kingsley, Lathrop, Pearson, Shepard, Scott, and Torrey ventured to the rolling, well-watered locality of Bethany which was formed into a township in 1812, being taken from the township of Batavia.

Many families as the Hardings, Lincolns, Buells, Bennetts, Putnams, Judds, Morgans, Browns, Waites, Marshes, Rumseys, Smeads, Lounsburys, Pages, Nortons, and scores of others, who with their descendants, have contributed much to the honor and growth of the township. Many of these received their education in the schools of Bethany.

Of the 150 school districts in Genesee County, 13 were in the town of Bethany (two being combined with districts of other towns.) Land value being less than $20.00 per acre in 1839 made it impossible to raise much money by taxation.
-Through the Years in Bethany Schools, M. Ford, 1960, c. 2009

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