Iron Creek School

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

by Jane Palmer

The first board of school inspectors for Manchester township was appointed by the Township Board in May, 1837, and at that meeting nine school districts were set off to cover the entire township. On the board were John B. Crane, Thos. Stockwell, J. B. Case and Mr. Crane. Crane, chairman of the board, lived where Raymond Loucks lives. The next step was for a voter in each district to petition the board of school inspectors for permission to levy taxes, put up a schoolhouse and start a school. District 7 did this at the home of Richard Hall.

District 8 received its notice to start a school, April 15, 1844. Peter Van Winkle presented the petition and the meeting of all qualified voters was called at his home just east of the present house. The first school was built on Peter's land, south of the three corners on Ely Road. It must have been a small house for all the story tellers agree that the three older Alvord boys moved it one winter night while their elders were sleeping. They moved the building to the present site, still on Van Winkle's land. The family agreed to the site and it was never changed.

The road now known as Scully road, was laid out in 1844-45 making it easier for those living in the northeast section of the district to get to school and that was a good reason for the change.

The school was in full swing in 1845 with 42 scholars and $2.44 in public money that year. There is little known of the teachers. Albert D. English says that Arvilla Curtis taught the winter term of 1844-45 and some of the pupils were: Jane Alvord, Ann, John, Benjamin, Sarah, and Susan English, Eli, Henry, George and Almira Fisk, James and Joseph Cobb, George Pembroke and Albert Van De Walker, Caroline, Lois and Alvira Baldwin, Johnathan Holmes must have gone to that school for he told his grandson that he was nine when his parents settled in Iron Creek and he used to play with the Indian boys.

Records show that William Fisk and William Estabrook qualified as teachers in the township and it seems most likely that they taught in their own district. In 1860, Elizabeth Matthews taught for a short term at $1.50 a week. Ebenezer Davison was director and John Raby was assessor. Laura Green Row was a teacher and later Sarah English and Sarah Cochran. It is told that one morning when Sarah Cochran came down to the Creek she found the water over the road. Undaunted she removed shoes and stockings, plunged boldly into the raging flood and arrived promptly at her scene of duty.

Albert English told where a few of these people lived. The English family lived in a log house near where the English and Grossman roads meet. The Cobbs lived on the Raby place and kept house for Mr. Crane who was a bachelor. Mr. Van De Walker lived on the farm variously known as the Lancaster and the Coleman home. Originally it belonged to Emery Lowe (the surname pronounced with a short sound of o). The lake in that region is named for him.

There is a letter written by Hannah Dunham Van Winkle to her husband Peter. At that time he was starting his career in the ministry. She says not to mention it but Virgil doesn't want to go to school and she is troubled by this and ill health. She wishes he could come home for a few days. She does not want to complain and let nothing stand in the way of duty, but the "children want to see Pa awful much."

He came home and his family returned with him. Virgil never liked school and ran away and joined the army at 17, rather than speak a piece at rhetorical exercises. He was devoted to his mother and when he came to visit, always planned to arrive while the family was at church so he could visit with her all by himself.

Jacob Van Winkle built the school and the fine home of Richard Green on English road. Frances Van Winkle told about the family of Patrick Scully who lived on the hilltop in the old hotel. There were 10 children but their mother could keep them in line. Myrtie Holmes said they were great fun and she loved to go there. A daughter Rose became a teacher in this school. John Raby had no children but his young nieces grew up in his home and went to school. Maude Baldwin, daughter of Lyman and Teresa Baldwin taught at the Iron Creek school. The lovely young teacher died young and her old neighbors would say, "Maudie was a nice girl." The young Martins, Colemans, Van Valkenburghs, Galls, Witherell, Paynes were of this group. Others came and went. The school closed in 1952, and the place was made into a home.