Fargo School

The Fargo schoolhouse, town of Wilna, was located at the intersection of roads known throughout the area as "Fargo's".  The road which passes by its door is an historic one, which, as the St. Lawrence Turnpike, was rated as one of the most important arteries of transportation to the first settlements in the Black River valley.  It was a profitable business to operate an inn  at strategic points on this road; and Lewis Fargo did so, adjacent to the District No. 3 schoolhouse, giving his name to the crossroads.

The lot for the Fargo Schoolhouse was taken from the homestead farm of Zuriel Penniman on April 26, 2861.  It was sold to the district for $15 and the deed was recorded in the Jefferson county clerk's office on January 3, 1862, in Book of Deeds 148, page 19.   When the deed was recorded, the district was known as Common School District No 1 of the town of Wilna.  It was changed to No. 3 in 1861.  On August 15, 1886 an official order made it the Carthage Union Free school District No 1.

Fargo's was a meeting place of some importance in the locality, and besides Fargo Inn and the schoolhouse, there was a Select School for Young Ladies, of which little is known.  There were about 12 pupils attending the one-room school in the early 1900's.  Water was brought from a well near the Fargo Inn, until a well was drilled in more recent years.  The entrance faced the road, with a woodhouse in the rear, and the windows on the north and south sides.  Inside toilets and electric lights were installed to modernize the building. 

District No. 3 operated its school continuously through the years, sharing many of the troubles common to the small country schools, but surviving good times and bad.  It took a war to stop its operation, with the nation in the throes of a national emergency.  When the Second World War began, the US government expanded Pine Camp through a huge land acquisition which included the greater part of District No 3- there was little to do but to close the school and transport the pupils to Carthage High School.  At a special meeting of the voters on July 29, 1954, it was decided to sell the schoolhouse.  On June 18, 1955 the building was sold at auction to Irving and Marie Bean for $850.  They resold it to Douglas Sears, who remodeled it into a private dwelling.  On December 5, 1955, at 12:40 p.m. the former Fargo School accidentally burned to the ground.

A record of teachers beginning about 1913.  A few people who attended the school before that time, have mentioned these teachers:  Susan Gormley, Nellie Ford, Katherine Murray, Carrie Lamb, Ada Roderick, Bell Graham, Nellie Norris, Jean Chaplin, Mable Hall, Mrs. Crowner, Mrs. McDonald, Florence Foley and Anna Jacobs.  The roll of teachers beginning with the year 1913-14 follows:  1913-14, Nellie Snyder; 1914-15, Ruth Byer; 1915-16, Florence Wicks; 1916-17, Mrs. Florence Zecher; 1917-18, Elizabeth Perkins; 1918-19, Merle Sarvay; 1919-20, Mary E. Slaid; 1920-21, Mary Christman; 1921-23, Powers Hagan; 1923-26, Doris Crowner; 1926-27, Fern B. Roy.  1927-28, Gladys Bariteau; 1928-29, Milton Pierce, Lottie Tharrett; 1929 - 30, Desta Bolger; 1930-33, Grace Bintz; 1933-34, Grace Bintz, Ruth Cory; 1934-35, Powers Hagan; 1935-39, Grace Bintz; 1939-40, Grace Bintz, Henry Sweetman; 1940-41, Grace Bintz.