Deferiet School; Wilna District 14

District No 14, Town of Wilna, was created May 16, 1901.  It was the newest school district to enter centralization, having been in existence only 53 years.  The Village of Deferiet is one of the youngest in the area, having sprung up around the huge St. Regis Paper company mill, established in 1899-1900.  Prior to 1899, there was little in the way of commercial development, except for a farm and a bridge across the Black River. 

In 1860, David Reynolds purchased the land of the late Madam Jenika de Feriet, who had died in 1843 after her return to France.  In 1899 his widow sold the farm to St. Regis when it began the paper mill.  Upon the creation of a new village, demands were made for a separate school district, the area being in the Herrings District 8.  The new District 17 was formed in 1901 and on Aug 28, 1901, St. Regis sold 74/100 of an acre to the district for one dollar. The parcel was located "on the easterly side of the road leading from the main road to the St. Regis mill".  The deed is recorded in Book of Deeds 301, Page 123.  A wood frame school was erected.

An attempt was made in 1910 to establish a union free school in Deferiet, for unknown reasons, this never happened.  About 1914, the district number was changed to 14, as it was known when centralization occurred.  About 1921, the capacity of the school was doubled by the addition of a brick structure; its appearance has changed little since. 

The Deferiet schoolhouse is sandwiched between the two roads that form the main streets of Deferiet, shortly after they divide upon leaving the main road (Route 3). At the west end is the older wood structure, painted a cream color and on the east side is the brick addition.  East of the school site, across the railroad tracks, lies the paper mill that was once was the pulsing heart of Deferiet.

Roll of Teachers:  No records of teachers proper to 1913 were found.  Among those who taught there from 1913 to 1925 were; Lillian K. Alexander, Madeline Doran, E. S. Waite, Mary K. Noone, Daniel O'Connor, Mrs. Lillian McIntyre, Marion Augsbury, Lillian Rarick, Lenore La Tempa, Irene Closs, Leo P. Garvin, Helen Malady, Vivian Dooley, Grace Pierce, Grace Sheley, Flora Watts, Alma Grant, Dorothy Soults, Sadie Clark, Eldora Sheldon, Nellie Snyder, Blanche Stott, Sophia Clark and Marian Ryan. 

Between 1925 and 1935:  Leo Garvin, Eldora Negus, Grace Sheley, Flora Watts, Sadie Clark, Marian Ryan, Grace O'Connor, Anna Ryan, Beatrice Boyle, Anna Lyng, Alice Langworthy, Norma Pridell, Marjorie Barkley, Carlton Jamison, Catherine McKinley, Agnes Smith, Alice Garrett, Hilda Berry, Nellie Allen , Hilda Welrich, Mabel Griffin, Hazel Redmond, Grace Bell, Paul R. Stuart, Margaret Moscoe. 

 Between 1935 and 1945:  Paul Stuart, Mary L. Zahn, Mary Bullard, Marguerite Northroup, Grace Sheley, Flora Watts, Nellie Allen, Agnes Smith, Alice Garrett, Catherine McKinley, Bertha Crowner, Alma Grant, Mildred McAndrews, Ethel Lewis, Robert Murphy and Mildred Fuller. 

Between 1945 and 1950:  Robert Murphy, Helen Menard, Elizabeth Docteur, Jane Chisamore, Flora Watts, Mildred Fuller, Hazel Green, Mary Emerson, Doris Bradley, Gretchen Graham. Dorothy Bowman, Ruth Parker, Sally Phillips, Ruth Colvin, Agnes Hudson, Grace Holland and Florence Brown.  

Between 1950 and 1959:  Robert Murphy, Dorothy Bowman, Florence Brown, Carol Northup, Ruth Parker, Doris Bradley, Grace Londraville, Thomas Petrucelli, Inez Rowley, Aura McKnight, Vernita Shampine, Doris Ellis, Donald Myers, Catherine Powell, and Keith Thomas. 

The longest record of service was attained by Mrs. Flora Watts, who taught there nearly 30 years.  Close behind her is Grace Sheley, who taught well over 20 years at Deferiet.  Others who served 10 years or more include Leo Garvin, Agnes Smith, Alice Garrett, Mary Bullard (16), Nellie Allen (16), Paul Stuart, Robert Murphy, Doris Brady, Ruth Parker and Dorothy Bowman.

Paul Stuart, Leo Garvin, Carlton Jamieson and Robert Murphy served as teacher-principals of the Deferiet school.  When centralization became effective in 1954, the school became known as the Deferiet elementary branch.  Miss Dorothy Bowman served as principal until 1956, when Bernard Dwyer was given jurisdiction over the Deferiet branch, maintaining his office at the Great Bend school.

CRT, May 4, 1960

The seventh and eighth grades left in January, 1958 to join the other students of the Junior-Senior High School.  Then, in 1973, overcrowded classrooms at CCS led to the sixth graders of the district attending the newly created Carthage Middle School.  In June of 1978, Deferiet forever ended its proud career as a school and has become an attractive apartment building.

Mrs. Hershey and the last fifth grade of Deferiet Elementary School.


The former Deferiet Elementary School.