Keyes School; Wilna District 10

District No. 10 was located partly in the town of Wilna and partly in the town of Croghan, with its schoolhouse located near the county line in the town of Wilna.  The site is at the intersection of four roads: the east west Avery road, the Rogers Crossing Road coming from the south, and the Natural Bridge road leading to the north.  This area is known as North Croghan.  About one-quarter mile east of the school, just across the county line, lie the tracks of the Adirondack branch of the New York Central railroad.  In the corner formed by the Avery Road and the Natural Bridge road, sits the Keyes school, its entrance facing east. The school lot itself is on an acre of low ground, belying the fact that this is the highest school site in the town of Wilna, at an elevation of 860 feet.

The District No. 10 school derives its name from the Keyes family, early settlers in this area.  Paul Keyes came to Wilna about 1820, and homesteaded north of the present school site, building a log house.  On Sept. 1, 1848, the Keyes School district was erected as No.18.  This was changed to No. 12 on Sept. 19, 1864.  The final change to No. 10 occurred about 1914. Nothing is known about the first school, but the present building was constructed in 1869, this being carved over the inside woodshed door.  Drinking water was procured from neighbor' wells.  Clerks records for the Keyes school are non-existent.

With the advent of regular rail service in 1883, pupils from District 10 attended high school in Carthage by train.  A small shelter, or waiting room, was erected for the convenience of passengers and was known as the North Croghan station.  A nearby siding is known locally as Clearwater, was named after another old family of the district, the descendents of Jacob Clearwater.

A statement of furnishings in 1954 included a merry-go-round, 17 desks, phonograph and records, 160 library books and 12 maps (10 of them outdated).  The last class of the Keyes school (the 109th) passed through its doors at the end of the school year in 1957.  There were six children present; Roberta and Carl Ward, Dean and Sue Ann  Kling, Dorothy Fetterly and Joseph Woodside.  In 1959, Mr. Raymond states, "The school is not operating currently, though never declared legally closed by voters of former District 10". 

Teachers mentioned as having taught before 1913 were: Frankie Johnson, Margaret Castles, Minnie Dalton, Cal Traynor, Fannie Giblin, Anna Murray, Lizzie Branagan, Emma Peck, Mary Fogarty, Carrie Minister, Ford House, Hazel Romsay, Caiista Hulburt and Rachel Weatherhead.  After 1912, the school had the following teachers; 1913-14, Margaret L. Higman; 1914-15,Adeline McGrath; 1915-16, Emma S. Peck; Ruth M. Castles; 1921-22, Elizabeth Purkins; 1922-24, Ruth Lee; 1924-27, Grace Bintz; 1927-29, Iva Van Tassel; 1929-30, Susanne Gill.  Also; 1930-32, Emma Emmett; 1932-33, Elizabeth Carpenter; 1933-35, Ruth Clark; 1935-36, Geraldine Clark; 1936-41, Ruth Clark; 1941-42, Rose Charles; 1942-46, Grace Bintz; 1946-51, Suzanne B. Gill; 1951-52, Mrs. Anna Maine; 1952-53, Mrs. Ethyl Geer; 1953-57, Mrs. Anna Maine.

In 1959, Mr. Raymond wrote that, "Today the Keyes school sits rather forlornly in its grass-grown yard - waiting.  The windows, with their partially-drawn shades, resemble half-closed eyes as they gaze out from the faded white walls sealed with old-time vertical bats - waiting.   ...  Waiting for the teacher to come, waiting for the children to come trooping in, waiting for someone to start a fire and warm its innards.  Waiting for the voters to come and decide its fate, and bring to an end the ea of one-room school at North Croghan."

CRT, April 23, 1959


Foundation of the Keyes School - March 2004