Felts Mills School; Rutland District 7
Felts Mills sits on a sandy plain which extends along the Black River. Felts Mills Creek comes babbling down from the nearby Rutland Hills and passes through the village. Route 3, a main artery of transportation along the along the valley, slices the village into two parts, and another road leaps the river into Camp Drum. In the center of town, a paved roar leaves Route 3 southward for Champion.
A few houses out on the latter road, away from the traffic on Route 3, you will see on your right a square cement block building with a square tower rising above it. The tower, with its subdued brown coloring, dominates the village in a reserved sort of way. The structure occupies a small plot between two dwellings, leaving a few feet for a lawn graced by a flagpole at the front. Another lot at the rear provided room for a playground; beyond that there is a fringe of woods, mixed with evergreens. The schoolhouse itself is not large - two stories with a total of four rooms (plus utility rooms) and a little gymnasium in the basement.
District 7 was among the original schools established by the Town of Rutland in 1813, in accordance with an act of the state legislature. Felts Mills was 13 years old that year. The first schoolhouse in Felts Mills (presumably in 1813) was a converted house. After an undetermined period of time, the district erected a new schoolhouse, adjacent to the Union church. In 1832 it was replaced by a eight-foot square stone structure. The stone school was built in 1852 and a larger building of wood was erected on the same site its two predecessors had. This building was later the home of Lena Cross.
October 1, 1821 - It was decided to pay the teacher half money and half grain.
After using the same site for three-quarters of a century, it was decided in 1904 to build a new and bigger schoolhouse on the Champion Road. Financial reports for the year 1904 list some of the costs of erecting the present structure; excavating the cellar, $50; architects, $200; legal services, $26; total $10,234, raised by a special building fund. Four years later, in 1908, the old school was disposed of, after considerable legal difficulties in obtaining a valid deed, to Charles E. Castle for $400.
August 7, 1906 - Teachers' salaries, $1,680, fuel $140, janitor $60. February 18, 1907 - the board ordered that "Dr. Jacob's bill of $4 for fumigating the school building be paid."
There is sparse data on the early schools beyond the fact that they existed. It is noted that Elijah Graves who commenced teaching in area schools in 1833 taught for some time at the Felts Mills school. Mr. Graves, who became prominent in education circles of the county, taught for almost 50 years.
Roll of Teachers: (lists may not be complete) 1887-1900 Miss Brainerd, Miss Cleveland, Miss F. A. Peck, Miss W. J. Werner, Miss Ralph, Miss Surtin, Minnie Olley, Carrie Slack, Minnie French, Lula Hazelton, W. J. Allen, Miss Ford, C. D. Pitcher, Celinda Baldick, Howard McComber, Nettie Parker, William M. McNeil, William E. Keenan, Lida Dunn, W. S. George, Carrie L. Owen.
1900-1915: W. Jay Andrus, C. S. Hickok, Alice M. Tooker, Grace McCrea, Bertha Ward, Robert Angell, Harriet Halsey, Nina M. Sayer, W. D. Sayer, Ida Ciegler, H. W. Ciegler, Bessie Loomis, Louetta Gibson, Orlando J. Ives, Mabel I. Alverson, Mary E. Slaid, Evelyn M. Boyce, A. L. Richardson, Maud Irven, Katherine Connor, Florence Douglass, S. F. Graves, Grace Hart, Genevieve Walts, Edythe Goodrich, Warren Baldwin, Frances Parker, Evelyn Dalrymple.
1915-1930: Elma Wood, Francis Bowman, Gertude Dewey, Cora Browne, Myrtle M. Hyneman, Mae Carpenter, Jessie Dean, Leola Reynolds, Geneva Cook, Gertrude Marks, Viola Reese, Mrs. J. W. Sullivan, L. M. Cross, E. m. Docteur, Allean Zimmerman, Lena Bradley, Mabel Dowker, E. D. Reff, Florence Planter, Lena Crowner, J. W. Sullivan, Elizabeth Campbell, Catherine Taylor.
1930-1940: Kathryn O'Neill, Anna Slack, F. Mayer, Sarah Sullivan. Lillian Tifft, Elizabeth Jennings, James Cahill, Frances Mayer, Lavina Hayes, Besse Friend, Lovina Hayes, Edgar Staley, Hazel Hoffman, Miss D. Porter, Marian McAndrews, Miss Miller, Alice Galloway, Mildred Garrison, Hazel Smith, H. W. Blederstedt, High Dowling, Dorothy Mix, Donald Wyman, Belle LaShure, Theda Churchill, Glenn Munger, Mary Brown, Ruth Eberly, Lena Cross.
1945-59: Helen Scanlon, Doris Heath, Herbert Olsen, Virginia Effley, George Warner, W. Stewart Ogilvie, Henry Sweetman, Grace Tiernan, Mary Bullard, Grace Sheley, Eleanor Patterson, Florence Brown, Dorothy Cummings.
March 18, 1954 - Public meeting to discuss annexation to the newly formed Carthage Central District. There had been a plan to centralize Felts Mills, Evans Mills and Black River, but they were not able to get enough students (1000 were needed). As a result, a petition was circulated calling for annexation to Carthage Central,; it was taken to Albany and was accepted. Felts Mills was in.
picture through courtesy of Rosemarie Cross
First Row: Merle Cross, Estes McCallops, Donovan Gates, Abert Trainham, Joseph Pratt, Louis Doner, Wilfred Morenz, Roy Seeber. Second Row: Clifford Hall, Alice Leddy, Joyce Allen, Mary Ellen Waters, Eleanor Williams, Virginia Leddy, Unknown, Helen Gates, Evelyn Lester, Donald Chamberlain, Lawrence ?. Third Row: Mrs. Dawker (teacher), Evelyn Williams, Ruth Brockway, Cecelia Sullivan, Elizabeth Mc Callops, Eunice Clearo, Hellen Bullis, Savilla Fulton. Fourth Row: Kenneth Elliot, Paul Corey, Merel Lester, Gordon Johnson, Howard MacIlroy, Harold MacIlroy, Floyd Newton.
CRT, Nov. 24, 1960