Martin Street School, Champion District 12
The site of the Martin Street School is located in the town of Champion, on Martin Street, the road leading from West Carthage to Great Bend. The plot is surrounded by open farm land and numerous farm dwellings. A short distance away flows the Black river and the Champion hills rise in the southwest. The earliest District No. 12 composed of elements from former Districts 2 and 3, was created May 15, 1819. About 1849, the district was dissolved temporarily and most of its territory was given to Champion No. 2 (West Carthage). The school had 31 pupils at the time.
The arrangement proved unsatisfactory and on May 1, 1855 District 12 was reborn. Later that week, trustees were empowered to find suitable room for a school and to hire a teacher for three months, to be continued if advisable. Five dollars was to be raised to rent a room a room from Theodorus Buck for a term of four months. Apparently, Mr. Buck had come into possession of the schoolhouse after the district dissolved in 1849. A week later (May 12, 1855) it was unanimously voted to re-purchase from Mr. Buck the site and schoolhouse of the old district and to repair it. At the third meeting, it was voted to raise $30 to buy the building.
The trustee's financial report for the first year including these items; back-house, $9.85; stove and pipe, $9.30; broom, 25 cents; blackboard, $1.50; pail, 18 cents; one pain of glass, 3 cents; and $1.19 for library books. The teacher's salary for 13 weeks was $18. In 1860, the teacher's wage for both terms was $50. There were 29 children between the ages of 4 and 21 in the district that year.
A minimum of 14 weeks' winter school was approved in 1867. Public schools of this period generally held two sessions each year, the "summer" and "winter" terms. The summer term was about 10 weeks. Older pupils usually attended the winter term when farm work did not require so much of their time. They would leave at sugaring time, which coincided roughly with the end of the winter term. In schools where controlling the older pupils was a problem, it was sometimes the custom to hire a man for the winter term and a woman for the summer term when only the younger children were attending.
The Martin Street school was closed, at the edict of the annual meeting of 1899 and the children were sent to West Carthage. It was opened briefly in 1900, 1901 and 1908.
There is little record of the District 12 teachers before 1899. A few names gleaned from clerk's records; Miss Mix who taught in 1857; 1865, Gertrude B. Clark, Sarah Van Pelt; 1866, Althera Tasket, Rosalie A Rice; 1867, Mary L. Gates, Rosalie A. Rice; 1868, Miss Tildie Briggs, Miss Helen Thare; 1869, Ella M. Plank, Emogene M. Carter. In 1876, Mary Cratsenburg and Mary Doud taught; in 1877, Mary Doud and Jenny Wilmot.
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CRT, July 23 & August 6, 1959