Great Bend, District 9, Towns of Champion and LeRay
District No. 9, taken from Districts 3 and 4 was created September 17, 1814. The first recorded school site is described in Book of Deeds Z, page 557. On October 9, 1821 James LeRay de Chaumont sold one-half acre of land to district 9 for $83. It would seem from the description that the site was near or at the northeast corner of the central intersection. This lot was sold in 1828 to Daniel Potter. There is no available evidence as to the location of the school here until the 1850s, when records mention the old stone school on a site later containing the residence of George McBride.
Records for District 9 are remarkably well preserved extending back to 1868 when it was noted that there was to be a "tax of $50 levied upon the District for fuel and Repairs; that we purchase 12 cords of good sound wood ... delivered and handsomely piled convenient to the schoolhouse ... at $3 a cord." It was voted to have winter and summer terms of four months each, the winter term to be taught by a male teacher (to discipline the older boys who attended the winter term, beginning in November). Teachers wages were $1.875 per day for the winter term and $4 per week for the summer term. Average attendance was about 27 pupils. Total expenditures for the year were $266.57, including $1.50 for a :wash basin chair and a broom." A value of $50 was placed on the school site and $30 on the school building.
A special meeting was held October 19, 1869, to vote on erecting a new school house, but it was decided to repair the old one. On October 11, 1870, twelve dollars was raised to obtain title to the school site (which had apparently been occupied by a verbal agreement) Title was obtained and the deed given by Daniel and Almira Potter on December 5, 1870, and is recorded in the Book of Deeds 198, Page 570.
On October 8, 1872 a committee was elected to look for a site for a new schoolhouse. In May of 1983 the people voted to build a new schoolhouse and it was finally resolved to raise by tax $1200 to enlarge the old site or purchase a new site and erect a new schoolhouse. At a special meeting in June of 1873, it was voted to buy a new lot across from the old one. (The site of the present school) Edwin Carter and Samantha, his wife, sold half an acre to the district for $200. In October of that year, the annual meeting was held in the new, but unfinished school. Costs: stove and pipe. $26.80; chairs and seats, $12; bell, 50 cents; table, $4.58; to Wesley Briggs, for erecting the main building, $1,150 (Mr. Briggs also purchased the old stone school for $150.)
In 1900 it was voted to spend $200 to enlarge the school to accommodate two teachers. In April of 1907 voters decided to raise $5,500 to erect a new structure on the same site. This was done again in October when it was determined that the April meeting was illegal and the amount was amended to $4000, an a motion was carried to raise that money in installments of $500 a year. the new school was built by Sisson Bros, who took the old school building in the deal - later selling it. It was moved across the road and placed on a site between the old stone school and the railroad tracks.
In 1912 charges were made that trustees were paying too much for teachers' wages and that the board was being run by one man. Trustee Oliver Dodge resigned after this meeting. 1920; estimated budget for the year; $2,500 and the school year was lengthened from 36 to 40 weeks. In 1921 it was voted to wire the school. In 1923 trustees authorized the drilling of a well and installation of a water system. 1924, it was voted to purchase the lot lying between the school and Briggs' feed mill for $150. In 1935 transportation was discussed at length and a stoker was purchased for $395.
In 1941 there was a discussion on the transportation and tuition for Pine Camp Children in light of the expansion of Fort Drum including what to do if there was not enough room for them in the Great Bend school.. It was ultimately decided to transport only those students living more than two miles from the school and that Pine Camp pupils would attend Black River. In 1949 it was voted to make plans for a new school and to purchase more land. The idea of centralizing was voted down. Construction was begun on the new school in August of 1950. It consisted of two classrooms and gymnasium auditorium with a kitchen, office, locker and shower rooms. It was erected behind the old school, which stood closer to the road than the present structure. The old school eventually was sold to Walter Heinz who moved it to a site behind his Dude Ranch motel.
In July of 1951 there was a proposition to add to the new school and to accept federal funds. Because of Camp Drum pupils, Great Bend was a "hardship district"; the total cost was $264,839. The new addition was constructed in 1953, enlarging the two room school to seven classrooms, with a cafeteria and additional utility rooms.
The Carthage district came into being on July 1, 1954, freezing all funds left in the treasuries of former districts. Great Bend carefully considered the vote to centralize; it was the only school in the area with plenty of room, but a monumental debt, despite the federal funds. As a result, when Great Bend did join the central district, the people of Great Bend had the highest tax rate ; $7.63 per $1,000 - at least three times that of other districts in a similar position.
Roll of Teachers: Among teachers in the 1867-1879 period were: J. G. Francis, E. A. Penniman, P.A. Howard, Nellie J. Rourke, W. I Hake, Marian Butler, J. C. Hatch, Miss Wheeler, J. Tamblin, Emma Brown, George Whittaker, Libbie Lewis, H. C. Hodgkins, Marie Stewart, Tom Sharon, Mary Maxim, R. C. Parker, Mary Wilson, Joseph Sterling, W. W. Sweet, May Sterling.
Between 1879 and 1890: George Gregory, Clara Dailey, Charles Hocknell, E. Taft, George Hubbard, Cora Pennock, Augusta Woolworth, Truman Grau, Marie Maxim, Walker B. Wood, Henry H. Lewis, Minnie Olley.
Between 1890 and 1900: W. V. Graves, C. A. Van Allen, Joanna F. Austin, Minnie Olley, H. McOmber, Anna Ostrander, Bert E. Whittaker, Ruby Austin, William Peck, Leon Stoddard.
Between 1900 and 1915: Eugene Farnham, Mabel Farr, Roy Plank, Marjorie Ash, Lida Web, Mattie Nelson, William Peck, Clair Burns, Charlotte Olmstead, Clarence Carter, Tillie Delmore, Warren Baldwin, Nellie Ford, Benjamin Staie, Clinton Schantz, Mabel Clark, Marion Becker.
Between 1915 and 1930: Marion Becker, Nellie Ford, Grace Sheley, Anna Gormley, Mrs. Anna Gormley Mosher, Vera Van Etten, Blanche Smith, Clara Eldridge, Lillian MacIntyre, Charlotte Olmstead, F. Gilbert Adderly, Myrtle Sanders, Gladys Hill, Earl French, Ruth Hoffman.
Between 1950 and 1955: Earl French, Ruth Hoffman Weyeneth, Eleanor Taylor, Ellen Carpenter, Kenneth Babcock, Blanch Catlin, Lawrence Shene, Grace Martin, Mary Bullard, Susie Smith, Elizabeth Garrett, Grace Holland, Mary Warner, Donald Myers, Harriett Curtis, George Warner, LaZelle Barber, Mary Christman, Bernard Dwyer, Virginia Brown, Willabelle Brown, Jennie Thompson, Vernita Shampine, Melva B. Coté, Alice Kapfer, Frances White.
Between 1955 and 1959: Vernita Shampine, Melva B. Coté, Jennie Thompson, Mary Christman, Susie Smith, Wilson Adams, Willabelle Brown, Bernard Dwyer, Helen Zecher, Doris Pickert, Geraldine Hayes, Laura Maloy, Mary Emerson.
CRT, April 6, 1960