Look Back: School is in session in Parkersburg

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Image provided by Jeff Little Nash School, situated on Ann Street, near 13th Street, was named in honor of Prof. John C. Nash. Construction of the school began in 1899. It was being built at the same time as DeSales Heights Visitation Academy, which was very near the school. The last year the building was used as a public school was 1990.

School examination

Mr. Nash’s School underwent a general examination on Thursday last. Chancing to drop in, during the exercises, we were highly pleased to see a goodly number of ladies and gentlemen in attendance, testifying their interest in the cause of education. We are sure this throng of visitors, in common with ourself, were gratified with the proceedings. Classes were subjected to rigid examination in various branches of learning wherein the pupils evinced a readiness and proficiency seldom attained by young scholars. Mr. Nash enjoys an enviable reputation as instructor in languages and mathematics, and possesses the requisites of an efficient teacher in an eminent degree — not the least among the merits of his school, being the rigid discipline he maintains and is apparent to all.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Gazette

March 27, 1852


High school

Rev. J.S. Barwick, A.M., graduate of Indiana University, proposes opening on the 12th of April in Parkersburg, a High School for Males and Females. Prices of Tuition per session of 20 weeks will be as follows:

Primary branches as usually taught……$5.

Geography, Grammar, Arithmetic, and Philosophy…..$6.

Grammar, Geography, History, etc……..$8.

Natural Philosophy, Algebra, Geometry and languages…..$10

Lessons in Music on Piano Forte…$20.

Mrs. Barwick will assist in the school and give instructions in Music.

Particular attention will be given to the moral instruction of the pupils, but no sectarian principles will be at any time inculcated.

Pupils will be charged from the time of entering to the close of the session, deductions from tuition being made only for protracted illness. The School is to be conducted in the Literary Hall.

P.S. Prof. Barwick is a native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and a Local Elder in the M.E. Church.

The Parkersburg Gazette

April 10, 1852



School — A place where some parents send their children to, to do as they please, and others to have them out of the way for six hours.

School Teachers — A man or woman who engages for a specified sum to let people abuse them for three months. One who is expected to govern forty or fifty children without so much as a cross look, many of whom are totally ungovernable at home. One who is expected to do what the parents know they can not do to make misbehavior behave, indecency be decent, and to impart knowledge where there is not brains to receive it.

School Directors — Six men who talk very pretty about doing what is right, but who suffer themselves to be driven from their purpose by any croaking granny who has brains enough to conjure up, or life enough in him to growl an objection.

The Parkersburg Gazette

Jan. 1, 1853


The pupils in the Franklin school, this city, are studying phrenology and headology from a very interesting and historic skull. It is the cranium of the murderer Schafer, who was hanged here years ago [1868], after having taken the lives of a half-dozen or more of his fellow citizens of this vicinity.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

Dec. 30, 1886


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $15./year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.