Canaan Academy

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Canaan Academy
Creston, Ohio, Wayne County, Ohio, United States
General information
Type 86x48ft, Framed structure, After fire in 1851 which destroyed wood structure, Later Brick erected
Country United States
Construction started 1842
Opening Dec. 3, 1843
Technical details
Floor count 2-story


History of Canaan

  • History of Canaan

I have been asked to assume the part of Historian for this occasion, to give you a history of Canaan Academy its rise, its progress __________ you great influence for good it ____________ ____ only in this community, but reaching far out and extending to other communities, counties and even States, where many of its sons and daughters went forth to take up life's burdens; to grapple with its problems; to fight the battles which come to us all; to put to test those principles, the foundation of which was laid here where we almost feel is sacred soil.

Old Canaan Academy in our minds eye today, we can see many of those with who we were closely associated while pupils here in years gone by. We can almost feel the touch of the vanished hand, for the great majority have already answered the summons, and freed from life's perplexities have entered a larger and broad sphere of usefulness, untrammeled by the flesh, in that better land which lies just across the border.

To Ben Douglass, in his history of Wayne county, I am indebted for the following brief history.

"This was one of the first institutions of learning in Wayne county, located at what was then called Windsor, later Canaan. The building, a two story fram structure 86x48 ft. was erected in 1842 by a stock company. The Academy was controlled by a board of directors. The first board consisted of: John Paul, M.D. Jonas Notestine Justin Miles Harvey Rice Alfred Hotchkiss

The school was opened Dec. 3, 1843 with 47 pupils under the instruction of C. C. Brumberger, A.B., who taught three years. Rev. Barr and Barker had charge during the summeer of 1847, succeeded in the winters of 47 and 48 by Prof. Isaac Notestine, who with short intervals, remained in charge until 1868. After that time the school was taught by a number of professors until 1875 when it was perhaps permanently closed. Prof. J. W. Cummings then having charge. While Prof. Notestine was teaching in 1851, the frame structure was destroyed by fire and a brick building was later erected."

This closes Mr. Douglass' history, and I have secured the following partial list of the names of people who taught at various intervals, but have made no attempt at placing them in the order in which they taught: Brumberger Barr Barber Hamilton Notestine Kennedy Myers Cunningham Miss Emily Barr, assisting Barron Miss Gertrude Drenner, assistant W. W. Wallace Elliot Weaver Miles Orr Jas. DuShane Wert Reese J. W. Cummings Henry Fetzer Rev. Feeman Jas. McCoy

In my effort at collecting data for this occasion I came in contact with some papers which had been kept during these years, containing records of the meetings of these' various boards of directors of what was then known as Canaan Union Academy. We were greatly impressed with the enthusiasm manifested, the zeal with which they labored, and the may difficulties encountered and overcame. It was no easy task at this early date, when this section of the country was in its infancy and our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers were, what you might say, "blazing the trail" for future generations, clearing the lands, tilling the soil, and in other ways establishing for themselves and posterity homes-- for them to take upon themselves this added burden whereby their children and children's children could have the benefit of a higher education than could be procured in the elementary schools. It was a grand and noble purpose and an everlasting debt of gratitude is due these sturdy pioneers who conceived the idea, and with brain and brawn brought it to a successful completion. They gave not only their substance, but time and labor was freely expended, and no doubt ways and means were not always available, but with the tenacity and strength of character, which characterized this noble generation, obstacles were surmounted, difficulties overcome and success crowned their efforts, and tho today we have not stately edifice, with marbled hall and vaulted ceilings and other desirable accessories of a great and successful seat of learning in our midst, yet in every heart here present, no doubt, is erected a great monument of gratitude to those noble sires and tho the material walls of Canaan Academy today have crumbled into dust, yet her influence is here and all around us, and like the pebble cast into the sea disturbing the particles with which it comes in contact, and they in turn disturbing others, until the vast and mighty waters have all been effective by the tiny pebble so thoughtlessly cast upon the surface.

Yes, old Canaan Academy still lives, not only in the memory of the few who in the early springtime of life were privileged to receive instructions with-in her walls, but succeeding generations have been made happier and better, have had loftier ideals, higher ambitions, because of her existence, and today she stands a monument in the memory of these people of a great achievement, conceived, nurtured and brought to maturity through the untiring zeal and energy of our arisen fathers. -- Mrs. John Barton. [1]



Historical Documents



School letterheads

School photos

Newspaper Articles

Newspaper ads


Lewistown, Mont., August 22, 1916

  • Lewistown, Mont., August 22, 1916. Friends and Classmates of Canaan School; Greetings from Montana:

Our thoughts go back twenty-five years and more, when we, with others here present, and some who have gone to be with their Creator, gathered within these walls. Many of us thoughtless, no doubt of what life really had in store for us. All were striving to reach some ideal in life. Not all have attained to this. Opportunities lost never return. I am of the opinion that the majority of those who have gone out from these walls, had they known, would have seen to it that not one of these passed by. My school days began in the old frame building where the "town hall" now stands. While this building was being constructed the school was moved to the old Academy, standing at that time on the hill west of town.

When the present "town hall" was ________ the school was moved again, them to remain until the time came when the school needed more room. Many of us look back with pride to the first year of school in this building. "Canaan High" was "all right" and ranked among the best in social and literary achievements. Teachers and and schoolmates, more than 1200 mile separate us, and today our minds and thoughts will be with you as you meet and greet each other. We regret, for once, being so far distant, but we are proud to be citizens of the great "Treasure" state of Montana.

With best wishes for each and every one, we are, Your schoolmates, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Snell, 820 W. Montana Street. [2]

Otesgo Lake, Mich, Aug. 17, 1916. Mr. Frank Bowers, Creston, Ohio

  • Otesgo Lake, Mich, Aug. 17, 1916. Mr. Frank Bowers, Creston, Ohio,

Dear Sir:-- Your card addressed to Rev. Wm. L. Notestein came to my address at Alma, Mich., and was forwarded to me here.

I certainly would like to be present at the reunion of the Canaan Academy students. Very naturally I am great interested in the old Academy. My grandfather, Jonas Notestein, was superintendent of the school for some 20 years. Three brothers, a sister and myself got our academic education at the old Academy.

I have often thought of the success of the five boys who formed a class in geometry while Prof. Cummings had charge of the Acad. These give boys were: Charles Ackerman, Frank Notestein, Jef. Sanders, Clem. Shaw and Robert Wallace. All of these boys completed college courses with _________. Ackerman was president of the college for some years. Sanders was also president of a college. Shaw became quite a musician. R. B. Wallace became a very successful business man, and was a member of the state legislature of Colorado for a term of years. Wallace is the only one of the five, as far as I know, who is dead. He died a few years ago from the result of an operation for appendicitis. He was worth over a million dollars when he died.

I, Frank N. Notestein, have been vice-president of the School of Mines of Montana, Bellevue college of Nebraska, and Alma college of Michigan. I am at my summer cottage, Ostego Lake, Mich., which is up in the northern part of the southern pen.

Rev. W. J. Notestein, my youngest brother, is not at Alma. He is Prof. of Greek in Huron, South Dakota.

Old Canaan Academy has furnished the world with a lot of boys and girls who have made their mark in the world.

Again assuring you that I would like to be present at the reunion and regretting that I cannot be present, I am, Yours Respectfully, F. N. Notestein.

P.S. I hope you can read this. It is written outdoors in camp. You may read this if you care to do so at the union. F> N. N. <Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.</ref>

Chattanooga, Tenn., Aug. 28, 1916. Mr. Chas. Snell and Miss Florence Whonsetler, Secs

  • Chattanooga, Tenn., Aug. 28, 1916. Mr. Chas. Snell and Miss Florence Whonsetler, Secs.

Dear Friends-- I acknowledge invitation to attend the reunion of the old Academy district school and home coming at Canaan, Aug. 25 and 26. I regret exceedingly that I cannot be present. I would take very unusual pleasure in running over the scenes of my school days there, in renewing the sweet old associations of the 70's and in viewing at least the spot where stood the old Academy that turned out so many good men and women, and whose very last term I had the sad honor of teaching-- it being the first school I ever taught and was followed a few weeks later by another term in the District School building. Since then many honors have been given me as an educator in my Southern home.

I have a ballad, written in blank verse, on "The Old Academy," which I would offer to send you, if I could assure myself that would be of interest to my old chums.

I have been in this Southern country for 38 years, and could give many entertaining reminiscences, but I am afraid the lapse of so many years would make my old chums and schoolmates look a little "oldish" to me, while I would seem so spry and young to them.

But God bless dear old Canaan, its people, and their schools with all their teachers. Most cordially yours, H. D. Fetzer. [3]

Mrs. Sarah (Penoyer) Miller of Seattle, Wash

  • Mrs. Sarah (Penoyer) Miller of Seattle, Wash., writes thus:

"To my dear old friends and schoolmates: I thank you very much for the invitation. To say that I would be pleased to be with you is putting it mildly. But you know Seattle is a great distance from Canaan, and the contents from my well filled basket would perish on the way. I know you will have a delightful time in talking over the old associations and pleasant hours spent together, and my thoughts will be with you a great many times. I have made many good friends since leaving Canaan, but the old friends of my girlhood have the warmest place in my heart. What good times we did have in that dear old Academy, with our school, our Lyceum, and our singing school. For the latter we had to carry candles, and when the school was dismissed the gentlemen would line up in the aisle and as the ladies came along they would step up and ask to carry their candlesticks, and if it were not agreeable-- you remember the rest. How the girls would gather around the stove at recess and tease poor old John Zuver for his apples, and he always came well supplied. The schoolmates who are left and those who are permitted to be with you today, will remember the great event of our life was the school exhibition. We seldom had one, for they were not very profitable for the grey matter. This one stands out in my memory more dis_________ of the others. We begged Mr. Notestein for an exhibition at the close of the winter term. He finally consented with a great deal of reluctance. Then we went to work in earnest. Mary Chockrell was in manic in "Mary the Maid of the Inn," and she was a good one. Emily Hotchkiss "T'was the Night Before Christmas," and Martha Lask and I worked on that old "Skeesecker" family till we nearly turned grey. Wils Orr was the father, and I was the mother, and we had a family that would have made a good sized Children's Home. WE had a number of other good things that night but I do recall them. The boys got spruce from old Killbuck. It was wound on ropes and festooned on the walls and dotted with balls of white cotten, and we thought we had something grand. But enough of these reminiscences. There have been wonderful changes in our ranks, and there can be but few of us left. Mrs. Russell and I corresponded for years and since she passed away I hear nothing more of the old time friends. Clara (Hough) Jenner of this city was laid to rest last week. She was one of the sweetest natures I ever knew. Clement Shaw is in Portland, Oregon, but those of us who are not permitted to be there today will be numbered in the glorious reunion on the other side.

The gulf of two and fifty years, We stretch our welcoming hand across, The distance but a pebbles toss Between us and our youth appears

For in life's school we linger on, The remnant of a once full list, Conning our lessons undermissed, With faces to the setting sun

And some have gone the unknown way, And some await the call to rest, Who knoweth whether it is best For those who went or those who stay?

Hail and farewell! We go our way, Where shadows end, we trust in light, The star that usher sin the night I heralded also of the day. [4]

From Geo. I Woner of Buttler, Pa

  • From Geo. I Woner of Buttler, Pa.,

It would give me great pleasure to attend your reunion and home-coming but owing to the press of business I shall be unable to leave Buttler, indeed as I write I have a graphic mental picture of the entire town. I shall never get away from the hallowed memory of the old M. E. church and the little white school house where I learned to be somebody and do something in the world. I always thank God for Canaan, although I left there with little promise in life, it was what Canaan did for me that enabled me to do more than appeared possible at that time. Extend my heartiest greeting to any who may inquire about me and when you have another do not forget me as I shall certainly try to attend."[5]

From Mrs. Mary Barr Eden, Oakland, Cal

  • From Mrs. Mary (Barr Eden|, Oakland, Calf.

"Many thanks for your kind invitation to attend the reunion of Canaan Academy district school and homecoming of Canaan. My best wishes for a very pleasant reunion which it would give me great pleasure to join in Very sincerely your."[6]

Mrs. Ellen Russell Hanks}} of Arbela, Mo

Mrs. Ellen Russell Hanks of Arbela, Mo., writes "I received your card of invitation and would love to attend. I have many pleasant memories of Canaan and all the old school friends. It is now 20 years this September since I last visited there, and have no correspondence since my dear aunt, Emily Russell, was called away. Give my best wishes to all." [7]

C. E. Knapp of Lodi, Says

  • C. E. Knapp, of Lodi, says,

I have been planning for some time to attend the Canaan school reunion. Thinking what a fine time we would have in meeting all the old friends, in fact I have thought of this being one of the leading events of the season, but just now a trip takes me to Duluth, Minn. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind, Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days of auld Lang-Syne?

Never, and next year I hope to be there. Wishing you all many happy returns of the day and asking to be remembered. Yours most sincerely." [8]

Aaron Cox of Fostoria, Ohio, Says

  • Aaron Cox of Fostoria, Ohio, says

'I want to thank you for your kind invitation. I am the son of Kinzie Cox, and am 80 years old. We left Canaan just 68 years ago. Out of my parents family of ten I am the only one left. My sister Eliza, married Fletcher Richart; sister Mary married Stephen Hall. Both of them attended the old Academy. I was just 12 years old when we came to Seneca county. I was back on a visit siz year ago and was entertained by Mr. Scott, and was treated so kind I shall never forget him. I want to speak of some of the boys of my age at that time: Wm VanDoorn, Thos. Wells, Allison Barns, Oscar Miles and others, and of old young men, Ira Ricket, Chas. and Albert VanDoorn, Hiram Hall and Champ Keeney. I will not be able to attend. I send my regrets and hope you will have a good time. Would like to know if there is any one remembers me, or family, and now when it is over I will be glad to get an account of it." "I appreciate very much being remembered, but am sorry that I cannot be present on that happy occasion. My spirit will be with you. If I came to the reunion do not suppose I should know a half dozen people who I would recognize. All my age are gone. My wife and I visited relatives at Canaan 25 years ago, and when we concluded our visit it seemed like leaving home. Have often thought I left part of my heart in Canaan when I left for the west and I have always had a longing to return. With kindest regards. J. W. {{Surname|Miles, Manchester, Iowa."[9]


Canaan Academy

No more is heard the musical bell Of dear old Canaan Academy, For many long years it rang to tell Of the need to enlightened community.

The Academy stood on hill so green, A signal light for miles around; And many were the students to be seen, Whose written names on its walls were found.

And gathered there in hall so fair, Were instructors, numerous and wise, Term after term their knowledge to share, With those who sought their wisdom to prize.

And the lessons learned, we trust were such As have had a tendency others to lead, Onward and upward, giving e'en much Of life's fairest and best while yet there is need.

But alas, as the years their flight sped on To this Hall of learning there came an end; Like Jericho, its walls fell down, And naught has been done its ruins to mend.

But while time shall last, its fame shall be sung, The good acquired shall ever flow on; And noted, and classified of times among, Are its many choices blessings one by one.

Oh, there's much might be written in order to tell Of the paly ground's enjoyable sport, Of the teachers and scholars who loved so well, To the medows and hills to resort.

To list to the rippling waters near by, And note the sweet songs of the birds, To gather the flowers from the hedge nearby, And delight in the help that nature affords.

Dear country so fair with Biblical name, Land with mil and honey e'er flowing, So great and glorious has been thy fame, And ne'er shall cease they wondrous showing.

Then as we meet today and recall Past hopes, fears and joys, we will Not forget our dear friends one and all, Those passed beyond and those with us still.

The memory of those brightsome days, With peace and joy shall fill each heart; If true and faithful in all life's ways, God's kindness from us shall ne'er depart. -- Mrs. M. E. Littell, Creston, Ohio, Aug. 26, 1916. [10]


  1. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 9.
  2. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  3. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  4. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  5. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  6. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  7. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  8. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  9. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.
  10. Creston Journal, Creston, Ohio. 1916 September 6, p. 12.

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