Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County

From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County


The first school in Washington was taught in 1813, by Samuel Loofborrow, in a double log house (one part of which he used for a dwelling), on the corner of Paint and Hind streets. The school, as was common in those days, was made up by subscription, and could not have continued more than one or two terms, for in 1814 the first building intended for school purposes in the village was built, and James Webster installed as teacher. This was a rough, round log structure, 16x18, with clapboard roof, fastened with weight-poles, and was minus a floor. The door was also made of clapboards, arranged horizontally, and secured by wooden pegs. One side of the frame extended above and below some inches, the lower end resting in a notch cut in the sill, or bottom log, and the upper end was fastened by pins, driven obliquely into the log above on each side, and served as a hinge to the door. The sill mentioned above was more than two feet in diameter, and it was with difficulty that the smaller children got over it into the school house. Of course it was supplied with the customary greased paper window lights, and was heated by the huge old-fashioned fire-place peculiar to those primitive days.

This building was located on the northeast side of Market, between Fayette and North streets, on in-lot No. 47, now in possession of Colonel H. B. Maynard, and occupied a part of the present situation of the old frame Methodist Episcopal Church.

Webster was followed as teacher in this building by James Clark, an Irishman, who taught here till the house was abandoned in 1816, when school was held in the old court house for some years.

James G. Gray taught here first, and was succeeded by Hiram M. Parish, and he in turn by Erasmus Grovesnor.

About the close of Grovesnor's services, a log school house was erected on the corner of Market and Hind streets, and was occupied first by a man named Pearson. The house was built of round logs, which were "scutched" after the building was erected, and was located where the mill now stands, on the southeast corner.

Norman F. Jones was Pearson's successor here, and continued till the house was abandoned. After this, school was held in the old court house, and in unoccupied buildings in different parts of the town, till 1828, when a small, one-story brick house was erected on Market Street, between Main and Fayette streets, which now forms a part of the dwelling of Richard Millikan; but on account of some illegal technicality concerning the levy or appropriation made for the building of this house, it was thrown on the hands of the school trustees, but was afterward rented and occupied for school purposes principally till 1845, when a two-story frame school house was built on the site of the old log building, on the corner Market and Hind streets, and is now a part of the steam mill operated by Joseph Allen.

This house was used till the present union school building, on North Street, between Temple and Paint streets, was completed, in 1856, which originally was two stories high, sixty-five feet square, and contained eight rooms, four above and the same number below, with a ten-foot hallway leading through both the upper and lower stories of the building. The house, and site of three acres of ground, cost about fourteen thousand dollars. In 1872, another story and a steam heating apparatus were added, at a cost of eight thousand three hundred dollars.

The following is a list of some of the early teachers since Norman F. Jones, arranged as nearly in their proper order as possible, in the absence of records to guide us

Henry Phelps, James Latta, Smith Latta, John A. Pledge, William Westlake, Alvira Gordon, William H. Shim, Zeno Wilcox, — Rawlings, Elam Hearts, A.K. Eaton, S. F. Kerr, L. D. Willard, A. S. Dickey, Dr. Donohue, and Harvey Jones.

Union Township