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Look Back: School days in the Mid-Ohio Valley

Jerry’s Run School, in Steele District, was the site of a major incident in 1901 when some older boys attempted to “run-off” the teacher. (Photo provided by Nadine Hofmann and WV Division of Archives and History)

EDITOR’S NOTE: As this column is a reproduction of historical newspaper excerpts, the following item contains language that would not be used and is understood to be inappropriate today.

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The rod, as we are informed, is too freely used in one of our public schools. We hope the Board of Education will restrain such practice; it is barbarous and should not be tolerated, except in extreme cases.

The Parkersburg Daily Times

Sept. 10, 1870

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Belpre school-house

broken into

The Belpre school-house was broken into last night by four boys. In the afternoon Mr. Stahl exhibited to the school his Indian relics and gave a talk on the subject.

The relics were left in the building. Early in the night the school house was broken into and four valuable Indian pipes and several other Indian relics taken.

The Parkersburg State Journal

Feb. 18, 1893

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Colored school board

The colored school organized in this city, by the Colored School Board, is still under their supervision and will be conducted by them as formerly. Tuition, as heretofore, will be one dollar per month, to each scholar and must be promptly paid at the close of each month.

The winter term was opened last Tuesday, Feb. 6, 1866, and will continue three months. Instruction will be given in the following branches, to wit: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic — Practical and Mental Geography, and English Grammar. Each branch will receive due attention, and BE taught on the modern and most approved style. The School Room is also furnished with a set of Mitchell’s Outline Maps, which greatly facilitate the study of Geography. An Evening School for adults is also in session.

The whole number of Scholars enrolled for the Term is 47; 25 males and 22 females.

Excerpt from The Parkersburg Daily Times

Feb. 12, 1866

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The boys near Jerry’s Run tried to break up a school

A serious shooting affray occurred yesterday evening at the Braham school house near Jerry’s Run as one person was wounded by a bullet fired by E.S. Jackson, a highly respected young man who has been conducting a writing school at that place. As yet Jackson has not been arrested and it is not thought that he will be as the feeling in the community is strongly in his favor.

Jackson came from his home in Tennessee some months ago and opened a writing school. He was well liked except by a crowd of young men ranging in age from 16 to 20 years, who decided to break up the school and run Jackson out of the country. On Thursday evening this crowd of young toughs went to the school while it was in session and tried to force Jackson from the building and raise a general disturbance. As a result of this conduct a warrant was sworn out before the squire at Rockport for James Amos, the alleged ringleader. Amos was arrested and the hearing set for today.

This angered the other boys and they determined to get even. They went to the schoolhouse and proceeded to bombard it with bricks and clubs and made threats against the teacher. Jackson could stand it no longer, and going to one of the windows, drew a revolver and fired at random into the crowd. Five shots were fired but only one took effect, one of the bullets striking Pearl Buffington in the arm and making a painful though not necessarily dangerous wound.

Jackson is exonerated for his acts by nearly everyone but it is thought that the trouble is not yet over as threats have been made against him.

The Parkersburg Sentinel

July 13, 1901

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Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have comments or questions about Look Back items, please contact him at: roberteenoch@gmail.com, or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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