Manchester School, Champion District 7

The site of the Manchester school is easily missed:  traveling from West Carthage to Champion village, going up Draper Hill and on to the right turn to Champion Huddle, there may be a glimpse of a schoolhouse as you crest the small hill.  It appears unexpectedly at the foot of the rise, perched on the right side of the road.  weather-beaten and old, with the customary coat of white paint, in 1959 it was framed against a backdrop of evergreens, into which flows the northward bound, wet-season stream that passes by the schoolhouse.  This is a history of District No. 13, for it was known as No. 7 only for about the last 18 years of its existence.  District No. 13 was created May 15, 1819, being taken from Champion District No. 2 (West Carthage).

The term "Manchester School" is not generally known, for it is the old, original name, and fell into disuse in recent years.  School records of about 150 years ago referred to the district as the Manchester school.  In 1855 the School commissioner used the name, "Peterville school".  Nearby, on the hill above the school, is the Manchester homestead. It was settled by Joel Manchester, whose daughter, Julia, was one of the teachers at the District 13 schoolhouse.  Julia married Orin Phillips and their son later resided in a house adjacent to the school.

There is no record of when the school was built.  A resurvey of the Champion-West Carthage road in 1839 listed a stone school as a boundary marker and this presumably was the earliest Manchester school.  Drinking water for the Manchester school was brought from the farm across the road.  Later known as the Schreck farm, it was known as the Macumber farm before the turn of the century.  The district never had a well on the school lot, nor were inside toilets ever installed.  The outside toilets were sold after closing the school and were taken to the property of Howard Phillips.  There were two entrances to the schoolhouse, one for the woodhouse, the other opening into the schoolroom.

It was at the Manchester school that teacher Frank Davis demonstrated his brand of discipline.  The trouble-making of three Macomber boys had become particularly irksome one morning and by noon Mr. Davis decided to do something about it.  He rang the bell to call school into session, and as each of the Macumber boys came in, he was grabbed and thrown bodily at least one-third of the way across the room.  One grabbed his books and went home, but the others stayed and caused no more trouble after that.

The Manchester school closed in 1927, opened again for the year 1928-29 and closed its doors for good in the spring of 1929.  Attendance sometimes was as high as 25 pupils.  The record of some of the children who attended here indicates that the quality of the education in District 13 was very good.

"Our School" September 23, 1924

Madeline Clark (Andre) teacher, Harry Bingle, Kathryn Bingle, Milton Dening, Genevieve Wisner, Bennie Wisner

A special thank you to Genevieve Wisner Bingle for this picture of the Manchester School class of 1924

A  few who taught around 1900 or before were; Laura Barr, Julia Manchester, Anna Phillips, Howard Macumber, Joanna Austin, Jennie Hubbard, Frank Davis, Frank Beebe, Adelia Barker, and her sister.  Mrs. Emory A Forbes, later a first grade teacher in the Carthage elementary school, taught there in 1919-20.  She was followed by Eldora Sheldon, 1920-21; Marion E. Bacon, 1921-22; Mildred E. Ashwood, 1922-23; Madeline C. Clark, 1923-25; Alice A. Garrett, 1925-27, and Gordon C. Myers, 1928-29.  Beginning in 1929-30, District 13 contracted its pupils.  The tax rate for 1930 was $7.00 per thousand.

Centralization was discussed is 1952, along with the question of reopening the school.  A special meeting was held June 8, 1954, at which it was decided to sell the schoolhouse after July 1.  The district had a balance of $442.28.  The auction was held Oct. 2, 1954 and the Manchester school with .22 acre of land was sold to William and Harry Bryer.

From a point near the Manchester school, the Carthage Central Junior-Senior High school may be seen plainly.  The contrast dramatically shows the progress which has been made in rural education during the past 75 years.

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CRT, March 26, 1959