The Village Schools
In the beginning there was little difference between the village school and the rural school. Both were established as common school districts to be operated under local supervision. The larger population in the villages with more taxable property made it inevitable that the village schools would be better furnished, larger and better staffed than the rural schools; but with better transportation students from adjacent rural districts were drawn to the larger schools, encouraging them to add special departments. Usually the first step was to add a secondary school to the elementary department, combining the two to form a union free school district. Until then, secondary schools had been private preparatory schools known as academies. Public high schools greatly increased the number of rural students coming to the village and eventually lead to a new era of public education.
Originally, the public schools charged tuition for out-of-town students, but the union free law of 1853 enabled public high schools to be established. Locally, the Carthage High School was established in 1966. The purpose of the union free school paralleled that of the private academy to produce a student prepared to enter college.
The Carthage Central district enveloped eight village school districts - Felts Mills, Great Bend, Deferiet, Herrings, Natural Bridge, and, having high schools, Carthage, West Carthage, and Black River. Here are their stories:
Felts Mills Great Bend Deferiet Herrings Natural Bridge Carthage West Carthage Black River