Thirty-Two into One; the Schools that Became the Carthage Central School District
Adapted from the newspaper series
Thirty-Two Into One, Histories of the Schools Now Known As the Carthage Central District
by Lyle Raymond, Jr.
condensed and adapted by Lynn M. Thornton
This series of forty-one articles appeared in the Carthage Republican Tribune from July 24, 1958 to September 21, 1961. The author of these articles about former districts now part of the Carthage Central School district is himself an alumnus of a one-room country school- the so called Line School, Champion District 11. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Raymond of the Cutler Road, he was born in Gouverneur in 1933 and moved to Champion three years later. After five years in the Line School, Mr. Raymond completed his education at West Carthage High School. Mr. Raymond was a local poultry farmer (before he left home to attend college), a dedicated mountain climber who has scaled all 46 Adirondack High Peaks, and has written much about the history of this area.
Carthage Central District No. 1 was formed from 32 separate districts, including parts of the towns of Rutland, LeRay, Champion and Wilna in Jefferson county and Denmark, Croghan and Diana in Lewis county. Eight of these districts were village schools and the remainder were rural districts.
The rural schools were selected, by Mr. Raymond, to research first because he felt their records were much scarcer; many had disappeared already. In late years (this was written in 1958) most one-room schools have fallen by the wayside, victims of vast economic and social changes in the American way of life. Fifty years ago (1900), a much larger percentage of the population were rural inhabitants, and these little schoolhouses dotting the countryside loomed as a very important part of the educational system.
Of the original 32 districts now comprising the Carthage Central School district, there were 24 rural schools, only two were being operated at the time Mr. Raymond wrote his articles. Voters of former Demark District 6, the Deer River school, voted in the spring of 1958 to keep the two-room school open. There were nine kindergarten and 24 first-through-third graders enrolled. Teachers are Mrs. Gustave N. Sauter and Mrs. Taylor R. Cummings. The Sarvay school, former Wilna District 7, also remained open as the result of the spring vote. A one room school, it provided first-through-third grade facilities for seven first-through-third grade children under the instruction of Mrs. Walter J. Farley.
Those who attended one of the one-room country schools, with several grades under one teacher, remember the experience with nostalgia. Those who have never attended one are likely to refer to them as being "in the sticks", and laugh at some of the practices; but remember, funny practices or not, a large number of people in this centralized school district who are now supporting it, so that their children and their children's children may have all the advantages they did not have, attended these schools. We owe a debt of gratitude to the schools and the dedicated people who taught in them.