Castle School, Wilna District 13

The Castle school was located on the North Croghan Road, just past the junction of the Texas Road.  In an arc, the North Croghan Road bends from the east to the northeast, and on the inner side of this bend is the school lot.  Approaching from Carthage, one first notices the row of willow trees along the southerly side of the grounds, indicative of the bountiful supply of water to be found on the lot.  Across the road from the school is the site of the Castle homestead, its buildings gone.  The District 13 school took its name from this and also from the fact that Peter Castles built the new school.  Peter Castles was the father of Mrs. Cyril McDonald, who is the fourth generation of her family to live in this district.

During the early years of the district's existence, the school was known as the "Irish Settlement School".  One of the first areas to be settled and cleared in this section of the town off Wilna, it was first settled by immigrants from the "auld sod."  the first schoolhouse on the site became too small to provide for all the pupils - numbering over 40 - and the frame building was in bad condition.  It was torn down and Peter Castles was hired to erect a new larger structure.  The entrance was at one end, facing the road and a woodshed was attached to the rear.  On the porch, over the door, was painted the date of its constriction - 1868.  Drinking water was brought from a neighbor's well, until a well was drilled in more recent years.

That part of District 13 which indicates the Wrape Road was in a separate district for 25 years.  On May 13, 1870, joint District 17 was created, including parts of River Road, the Wrape Road and the now abandoned Stream Mill Road.  The schoolhouse known as the "Wrape School" was located in the town of Wilna on the rocks at the junction of the Wrape Road with the country road leading to the river Road.  One of the teachers here was Mrs. Margaret Castles.  The schoolhouse was destroyed by fire and on Aug. 4, 1896, the district was dissolved and divided among the adjoining districts; Nos. 1 and 16 of Wilna and No. 14 of Croghan.

Years after, there was some agitation promoted to have the Castle schoolhouse moved to the Wrape school site; however, the voters of District 13 forcefully rejected this proposal as the distances that some of the pupils would have to travel.  Transportation to Carthage schools for high school pupils was inaugurated in 1936. 

In 1949, its 121st year, District 13 closed its school by unanimous vote of the eight voters present.  A special meeting was held January 14, 1954 in which it was voted to sell the schoolhouse and it was sold to George and Elva Camidge for $700.  The Camidges remodeled the Castle schoolhouse and had just completed this tedious job when it caught fire and burned to the ground in September, 1955.  It was only partially covered by its insurance.  The lot was then sold to Norman Jones who then sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Greenfield.

Of the many teachers who were employed at the Castle School, the earliest know one is Mrs. Mary Castle.  Following her were Margaret Foley, Emma Gaudin, Anna Toole, Ada Burns, Geraldine Burns, Margaret Castles, Katherine Murray, Anna Murray, Emma Burns, Mattie Nelson, Agnes Shea, Nellie Shea and Hattie Connell.  Succeeding teachers and the years they taught were:  1917-18, Katherine Welch; 1918-20, Ruth Castles; 1920-21, Martha Foley; 1921-23, Marie Boyle; 1923-29, Edna Murphy; 1929-30, Geraldine Clark; 1930-32, Hazel Tiss; 1932-34, Florence Flynn;  1934-35, Florence Dalton; 1935-37, Hazel Tiss; 1937-40, Julia Driscoll; 1940-43, Margaret Roch; 1943-49, Mary Christman.

CRT, August 20, 1959

The former location of the Castle School today.  The original school was sold, remodeled and later burned.