Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1854 Report of School Committee of Turner, Maine

Report of the Superintending School Committee of the Town of Turner, Maine, for the School Year Ending April 1, 1854.  Printed at Lewiston, Maine, by Farmer and Mechanic Press, 1854

The title page, above, has the same text as the cover.

Town officers, of Turner, for 1854
Job Prince, Moderator
Hera Bradford, Town Clerk
George Turner; Archibald Leavitt; B. A. Bradford; Selectmen and Assessors
William B. Bray, Treasurer
Job Prince, Town Agent
Daniel Lara; Daniel H. Teague; Rufus Prince; School Committee

School Money Raised, $1500

Note: A table at the end gives the residences of the teachers named below.


District No. I - Jairus Phillips, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Roxy Phillips, with good success as a beginner.  The winter school was taught by Mr. J. L. Woodman.  This school was small and short, being only seven weeks.  The scholars made some advancement; but not rapid.  It was the teacher's first school; and we thought a little more nearness of thought and feeling, toward his scholars, would improve his school.

No. 2. -- Alden Rose, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Maria E. Sawtelle, for the second time, which speaks well for her in the estimation of the parents.  One great difficulty in this school has been, in times past, that the scholars read and answered their questions in so low a tone of voice, that they were with difficulty understood.  This was very much improved in this school.  Improvement in other things was quite good.  The winter school was commenced by Mr. Kyes, who was obliged to suspend his labors at the commencement of the second week, on account of ill health.  This school was visited once; and then there was a great lack of discipline.  This school was afterwards taught by Mr. Henry F. Woodman, under whose tuition it was well disciplined; and the advancement in some of the classes good; particularly in reading.

No. 3 - Benjamin Briggs, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Flora A. Copeland, and was in every respect a first-class school.  The progress in the several branches pursued was excelled by few, if any, of our summer schools.  Discipline good; and there seemed to be an affection on the part of the scholars, for their teachers, seldom seen in our schools.  This school, taught in winter by Mr. Z. A. Gilbert, prospered well, and was one of our best schools.  It would be fortunate for this school to have his services for another term.

No. 4. - Lee Leavitt, Agent

The summer school was in care of Mrs. Mercy M. Berry.  Judging from her former success, we expected that the school would be profitable, and in this we were not disappointed.  We believe that this lady's faculties have not become greatly impaired, (as some might suppose,) by the change she has recently undergone.  The examination, at the close of the winter term, was one of the most interesting that we ever witnessed.  The performances on that occasion spoke volumes in praise of both teacher and scholars.  We here found a class, numbering 13, that were masters of Greenlief's Arithmetic; and among them boys of only 13 years of age.  It is usually the case that schools excel in some particular branch; but it was not so here; for all classes show an advancement seldom excelled.  The chairman of your committee has no hesitation in saying that this school was No. 1 of those under his immediate supervision.  The winter term was under the charge of Mr. Levi Ludden.  The primary department was taught by Miss Ellen Phillips. - There seemed to be a lack of discipline here, as has generally been the case for a number of years past.  There seems to be an impression among teachers that these scholars are too young to be governed; but your committee think that if this school was put under better discipline, it would add to its welfare.

No. 5. - Isaac Jones, Jr., Agent

The summer school, by Miss Helen M. Bradford, was managed with good success for a beginner.  The discipline and improvement were of no ordinary kind; but such as well pleased your committee. For teaching small scholars she has few superiors.  We think we are safe in recommending her to the consideration of those who are looking for teachers.  The classification of this school, in winter, was necessarily bad.  Considering this obstacle, good improvement was made, especially in reading.  Teacher, Mr. Justus C. Bailey, who, considering that this was his first school, performed his part well.

No. 6. - Wesley Thorp, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Hannah L. Bonney, a teacher of much experience.  The school was not so still as we could have wished; which should, perhaps, be 

mainly attributable to there being a large number of very small scholars.  The advancement in some of the branches was good; particularly reading and geography.  We think that the teacher's method of teaching is not so well calculated to create so great an interest among scholars, as some of less experience.  In winter, Andrew A. Child, teacher - This school closed, after keeping eight weeks, for fear of the small-pox.  As it was visited by once, we cannot speak of its progress.

No. 7 - Hiram Phillips, Agent

The summer school, taught by Miss Clara M. Jones, was one of the best disciplined of our summer schools.  The advancement was not so rapid as in many others; but it did not fall to our lot to find one in which, what was done, was done more thoroughly than here.  The winter term was taught by Mr. Horace True.  This school was short; and, considering the fact that it was stopped a number of weeks, from fear of the small-pox, the progress was good.  Teachers are more apt, after having taught some length of time, to grow rusty and unprofitable; but it is not so with Mr. True, for the longer he teachers the brighter he shines.

No. 8 - Daniel C. Dresser, Agent

There was no summer school here.  In winter, Mr. Ezra M. Prince was teacher.  We have no fears of awarding too much credit to either teacher, parents or scholars, in this district; for to each much is deserving.  By their hearty co-operation, this school, though small and short, surpassed anything we have ever witnessed, for general improvement, in any school.  The teacher's great causality, united with a natural aptness to each, rendered it almost impossible for his pupils to pass over anything without thoroughly understanding it.  In consideration of the new and beautiful school-house, built here the past year, and the great improvement, above mentioned, we must give this school the credit of standing second to none in town.

No. 9 - Salmon Rickards, Agent

The teacher of the summer school, Miss Elizabeth T. Ellis, labored hard to make this school a profitable one; and with more stringent government, towards its close, 

would have succeeded admirably.  The girls did well; and if about half-a-dozen of the largest boys had been thoroughly whipped into their places, a more healthy actions would have been given to the whole school.  The winter school was under the care of Mr. Horace C. Haskell, who, although one of our youngest teachers, has won a reputation that might well be envied by many of more experience.  The school was under much better discipline at our second visit, than the first.  The progress in the different branches was very good.  We here saw the most writing books that we ever saw in a school, and they were all a credit to both teacher and pupils.

No. 10 - Merritt Bates, Agent

The summer school, in charge of Miss Flora A. Bradford, made good improvement; and for good order, was not surpassed by any school in town.  The winter school was in care of Miss Arcy Carey. We believe that there are few female teachers better adapted to teach a winter school than Miss Carey.  Her qualification are of the first order; and she seems to possess a faculty to communicate her ideas, in a way that few can fail to understand.  We consider this one of the most essential traits of a teacher - one in which too many fail; and we think that scholars who would not improve under this lady's tuition, had rather limited prospects for improvement.

No. 11 - Edward Packard, Agent

Miss Arcy Carey, teacher.  We have seldom witnessed such systemic arrangement, and so familiar and thorough instruction, as we found here during the summer term.  Indeed it seemed like a domestic scene; the teacher acting the part of a mother, imparting instruction to a family of eager, confiding children.  It was truly a pleasant and profitable school to all concerned.  Excelled in reading and grammar.  The winter term was taught by Mr. O. G. Woodman, with a good degree of success.

No. 12 - Albert Winship, Agent

This school, in summer, was taught by Miss Vose.  At our first visit, the school was not, to our mind, what it should be; and such suggestions were made to the teacher, as was

thought might improve it, with a promise to call again soon, which we did.  At this visit we found it somewhat improved; but still it fails to be all we could wish.  The teacher did not bring to the work either the tact to govern, or to teach, which this school requires.  The winter school was taught by Mr. Charles F. Cushing.  At our first visit we found the "old house" literally jammed with scholars; and we feared that the school could be of little benefit, for the want of proper accommodations; but, at our last visit, we found this difficulty entirely obviated by the absence of about one-half of the scholars.  What were present were under the most perfect discipline, and show an advancement that would do credit to any school.

No. 13 - William Staples, Jr., Agent

We have understood, that there was a summer school in this district; but we received no application for certificate, and, of course, granted none; neither were we notified by the agent, that there was a school; consequently, if there was any, it did not come under our supervision.  Teachers, who manage in this way, will be very likely to cause themselves more trouble than it would cost to obtain a certificate, provided they possess the necessary qualifications.  The winter school was taught by Mr. Leander F. Teague.  This school closed sooner than was expected; consequently was visited but once.  It then appeared well.

No. 14 - Azel Alden, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Emma J. Cushing, being her first attempt.  Unfortunately there seemed to have been a slight pre-existing prejudice here, on the part of some, which rendered the teacher's task more difficult to her, and less profitable than it ought to have been to the school.  As a beginner, she performed her part well.  We would suggest the necessity of employing not only an experienced teacher, but a thorough disciplinarian for the coming summer, in this school.  The winter term was under the care of Mr. W. W. Lowe.  The progress of the large scholars was very good, particularly in arithmetic; and, from what we saw, we should judge that they were attended to, to the neglect of the smaller ones.  The school was poorly governed.  It was with difficulty that we could judge of the progress of this 

school, as the house was so cold, that neither teacher, scholars, nor committee, were able to keep from the fire more than fifteen minutes at any one time; and we thought that one reason why the larger scholars made better progress than the smaller ones, was because they could stand the cold better.

No. 15 - Albion Ricker, Agent

This school was taught in summer by Miss Julia A. Barrett, who, though she has long borne the reputation of a good teacher, did not here meet the views of your committee; she lacked, essentially, that vivacity, and energy, so necessary to impart life and healthy action to a school.  The result was, a lax discipline, a want of interest, - and, on the whole, an unprofitable school.  The winter school was taught by one member of our committee, (Mr. Teague) and is reported by another.  We must say, that we visited no school this winter, where we were better pleased with the improvement than here.  The scholars and teacher, both seemed to show a willingness to work; and, when this is the case, with the qualifications of this teacher, a school cannot fail to be a good one.

No. 16 - Isaac Teague, Agent

The summer term was under the care of Miss Mary C. Barrell.  The progress in this school was not so great as we could have wished.  There seemed to be a lack of energy, on the part of both teacher and scholars, which necessarily resulted in but little proficiency in the school.  Mr. Horace True, teacher in winter.  We visited this school near its commencement, and found it well-classed, and in good order; and a prospect of doing well; but, as it closed when the roads were blockaded, we are unable to tell of the proficiency made.

No. 17 - Benjamin Beals, Agent

The summer term was taught by Miss Conduce C. Read.  This school was visited but once.  At that time, there appeared to be a good degree of interest on the part of both teacher and scholars; and from what we saw, we have no doubt of the good success of the school.  The winter term

was taught by Mr. S. G. Hilborn, who, although a beginner, brought to this school all the necessary qualifications of a good teacher.  At our visit, at the commencement of the school, it promised well; and we very much regret that we were not informed of the time of its closing, that we could judge of its progress.

No. 18 - Church P. Leavitt, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Elizabeth Cobb.  This school was managed quite successfully, it being her first effort.  She appears to be a lady of good attainments; and, with a little experience, bids fair to become a profitable teacher.  The winter term was taught by Mr. J. S. Lyford.  This school, being only four weeks in length, was visited but once.  It then appeared well.

No. 19 - James B. Walker, Agent

The summer school was taught by Miss Erexine H. Chase.  Miss Chase has superior qualifications for a teacher.  There was not so much system here as in some schools; but we seldom find one that made greater progress, and none better governed; and to those agents that want their schools governed, as well as taught, we would say, give her a call.  The winter school was under the tuition of Mr. James L. Hatch.  Mr. Hatch keeps order in his school, and his scholars attend to their books; and by so doing a school cannot well get along without making improvement.  A great trouble in this school has been, the falling off in attendance toward the close.  We were in hopes that Mr. Hatch's discipline and effort to keep his scholars in school, would have remedied this difficulty; but it closed about as usual.

The remarks above were signed by the Committee, which consisted of Rufus Prince; Daniel Lara; and Daniel H. Teague

The table above contains the names of the agents and teachers, as well as the teachers' residences, their pay and the number of their students.

If you have any insights into any of the people mentioned above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

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