First Area Schools


    The following information is a compilation of articles and documents obtained from Winnie Smith Johnson, and notes from research compiled by Francis Sampson for the Waterford High School anniversary celebration in 1995.

    On December 20, 1790 the Court of Quarter Sessions in Marietta established three townships; Marietta, Belpre, and Waterford. The first town officers of Waterford were Capt. Ebenezer Gray, town clerk; Noah Fearing, overseer of the poor; Dean Tyler, constable. The Rev. Daniel Story was employed by the Ohio Company to teach and minister to all three areas.

    In the meantime, the youth of Waterford enjoyed the privilege of superior instruction. An early settler, Major Dean Tyler opened a school in the lower story of his blockhouse. He and his assistant, Joseph Frye, whose biography says "he was the first teacher in Waterford Township", left the impress of their character upon the pupils who sat under their instruction.

Fort Frye in the late 1790's

    These two men have been referred to as teaching the 46 or more young people who occupied Fort Frye from March 1791 - April to spring 1796. Tyler also held religious services at his blockhouse on Sundays when Rev. Story was not on hand to assume his duties.

    Schools have been kept in Waterford Township ever since this early date.

    Reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic were taught and in some districts as late as 1825, a rule was in force prohibiting the teaching of anything else. Reading and spelling were the great tests of learning and to have mastered arithmetic was to have acquired an education at least in the smaller districts.

    It has been truly said that "schools worthy of remembrance between 1802-1820 were known only in the most enterprising towns. In 1821 the first law was passed authorizing taxation for the support of schools. In 1825, law was adopted requiring levying of taxes for school purposes and providing for appointment of school examiners.

    Round Bottom school, located along State Route 60 beside Round Bottom Cemetery, was one of the first schools established in the area. It is also thought to be the oldest brick school in Ohio.

Plaque

Round Bottom School spring 2000
(click on plaque to see close-up)

    Benjamin Shaw, Sam Cushing, David Wilson, Allen Devol and Andrew Story, claimed their lands in this neighborhood about 1795. After their cabins were built and crops planted, these families set about to construct a school house for their children.

    Teachers that were mentioned in the history of this school were Bertha Farnsworth, Vesta Story, and Della Truesdell. Miss Truesdell began her teaching career in the Round Bottom School at the tender age of 14.