Smithville Days by James L. Orr

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Smithville Days: a graphic sketch of the origin, aims and accomplishments of Smithville High School in its forty years of wandering through the desert of educational effort and development from 1865 to 1905 together with letters, incidents and accounts of some who wandered. Edited and compiled by James L. Orr, A. M., LL. B., Ph. D. Smithville, Ohio. August 12th, 1922. Memorial Edition.

Lift your eyes, the day is breaking,
To it's beauty be not blind;
When you face the golden sunlight,
All the shadows fall behind.
Fears are foolish, doubts tormenting,
Ghosts and goblins of the mind;
Your tomorrows will not hurt you,
If your yesterdays were kind.
--James L. Orr.


To write history is to invite criticism. To draw inference is to invoke censure. So many and varied are the conclusions reached from the same evidence when based upon the mental attitude of the person sitting in judgment that rarely do two men agree upon the same verdict. When differences of opinion arise the inevitable conviction is, "He who differs from me is wrong; how could he be otherwise?"

To narrate the incidents of one's school days, and have all his companions of that period agree with him is well nigh impossible from the fact that the years that lie between have been so filled with less agreeable experiences that, in comparison with their heartaches and disappointments, the rosier days of youth have taken on a brighter hue with each remembered event until departed glories gleam through the mists of forgetfulness brighter than the golden fancies of the famed Arabian Nights.

To lift the shadows from that happy past and permit us to view once more its peaceful, pleasing scenes, even as then we saw, in bright anticipation, upon the rugged heights before us, the crowns of distinction we hoped to win and for which we gladly staked youth, strength and perseverance against all odds in the game of life, is the purpose of this little book. May its mission be fruitful, as well as hopeful.

To those who have so cheerfully and faithfully labored with us to make this hope a realization, we acknowledge our sincere thanks and appreciation. May they rejoice in the knowledge that their efforts have been abundantly rewarded by the happiness they have given and the good they have accomplished.

James L. Orr.




The wonderful progress, in early educational facilities, taken in conjunction with the rapid development of a consistent school system in Ohio, during the last half of the eighteenth century, makes it impossible to convey to the mind of the average boy or girl, of today, a correct idea of the educational situation in the year when the founder of Smithville High School began his great work there.

In the early sixties, the only well defined and generally recognized agency for intellectual development was the "district" school. It consisted of three distinct departments, viz. Primary, Intermediate, and Grammer (sic). No high schools had yet been provided. Half a dozen major colleges had been established in the eastern states and were showing good results. In Ohio, several weak and wobbly ones had been started and were struggling along between poverty and obituary, hoping almost against hope for some turn in the tide of affairs which would bring them distinction instead of destruction. No preparatory schools had, as yet, been organized and the gulf between the district school and the college was well nigh impassable.

Two things marked the progress of the early college and made its continuance more precarious.

First, it was little understood and much misrepresented.

Second, it misconstrued the needs of the people of that age and came far from responding to them.

It has always been a weakness of the American people to believe that anything, to be desirable, must be exclusive. So the college was hedged about with terrifying tales of hardship and self-denial, of exhaustive study and midnight oil, of grilling examinations and dismal failures--all told to enhance its value and prove its exclusiveness. The result was natural and logical. Students were driven away instead of being drawn to it and the struggling, dying condition of the instuitution (sic) was prolonged instead of being merged into the success hoped for. Again, the college was looked upon as a school for professional preparation, preferably for the ministry, and did not offer much inducement to young men and women who wished to fit themselves for other vocations such as business, mechanics, or agriculture. Between the district school, with its limited opportunities, and the college, some sort of "Pons Assinorum" must be built, either to enable students to enter, or to lure the high-brows out; for, until they learned to met and mingle on common ground, there could be no great or real achievement in education.

The first attempt to bridge the gulf was by means of so-called Select Schools. These were subscription schools, in which the methods of teaching were much the same as employed in the district schools. Pupils, however, were adults and the studies were somewhat advanced. Subjects taught were principally Higher Arithmetic and Complete Geography, usually supplemented by Grammer (sic) and Analysis, and sometimes even a class in Elementary Algebra or Geometry. Pupils who attended these select schools paid a modest tuition and the work, as a rule, was directed to the preparation of teachers for the district schools. The work of the Select School was very similar to that of the present day Normal Schools. These schools failed to fully meet the demand of the times and further steps were taken by the establishment of High Schools, sometimes called Academies, in which effort was directed to a more general line of intellectual development. Classes continued through the greater part of the year and the work was divided into three regular terms of fall, winter and spring. In as much as the courses of study offered were quite flexible, and substitutions to suit the needs and wishes of the individual were permitted, these schools were frequently known as Normal Schools. This arrangement was better adapted to cover the gap between the District School and the College and afforded a passable bridge over which the latter might be reached.

High Schools, or Academies, became quite popular and soon almost every progressive community had its own institution of learning for completing the work begun in the common school. Some of these higher schools were short-lived and soon ceased to function; others continued many years and won high distinction as educational centers. Much depended on the teacher in charge. Such schools were established at Smithville, Apple Creek, Fredericksburg, Haysville, Canaan and Savannah, Ohio, as well as in many other parts and villages of the state. All were conducted independently of the district schools and each secured creditable attendance and standing. Of them all, Smithville excelled in popularity and attained an enviable reputation as an educational center.


Smithville High School was founded in the summer of 1865 by Prof. John B. Eberly, then a young graduate of Mt. Union College, where he received his degree of A. B. on June 22nd of that year. Prof. Eberly was a son of Peter and Sarah Eberly, and was born in Cumberland County, Pa., on February 5, 1837. In 1840, the elder Eberly removed with his family to Wayne County, Ohio, and located on a farm a short distance west of the village of Smithville. On this farm young Eberly spent his boyhood and, by dilligent application to study, both at home and in his district school, fitted himself, in a measure, for teaching. The list of "isms" was somewhat shorter then than now and when he had mastered the real essentials of rudimentary education, he had no difficulty in securing a certificate to teach and a contract for a term of service in a local school. As was the custom of young men at that time, he taught only during the winter term and attended school in some advanced class or institution during the spring and fall terms to better equip himself for his chosen work.

In the autumn of '61 a Select School was opened in Smithville by Prof. James B. Taylor, a graduate of Westminster College, at Bethany, Pa., who received his degree of A. B. that year. The Taylor School was held in the Presbyterian Church, commonly known as the "Old Synagogue," in the east end of the village, and was the first organized expression of the educational sentiment of that community. Mr. John B. Eberly had been teaching in a district school during the winter term of '61, and, at the end of his term in the spring of '62, entered Mr. Taylor's select school as an assistant teacher and for advanced study. J. B. Eberly's classes, during those few weeks, recited to him in the Winebrenarian Church. In August of '62 Prof. Taylor gave up his school and volunteered for military service. These were the opening days of the Civil War and young men everywhere were flocking to the colors in defense of their country. By Prof. Taylor's own statement, nearly a score of loyal young men left their classes and followed him to the front. Mr. Eberly offered himself for military service, but was rejected, owing to lameness which had afflicted him from childhood. The interruption due to the war sounded the death knell of the select school at Smithville, as no one possessing the necessary qualification, viz. a college degree, was left to assume the responsibility and take up the work.

The select school at Smithville, although a logical forerunner, had no connection with the school afterward known as Smithville High School. An interval of three years existed between the end of the former and the beginning of the latter.

In the autumn of 1862 Mr. Eberly entered the High School, or Academy, conducted at Fredericksburg by Prof. B. C. Smith and remained in attendance there from that time until the fall of 1864, except during the winter terms, which he spent in teaching in the district schools of Wayne and Green Townships.

During his studies at Fredericksburg, Mr. Eberly gave special attention to such subjects as were required for graduation at Mt. Union College and took his examinations for promotion under the faculty of that institution. It was his desire to secure his degree from Mt. Union, but the rigid economy made necessary by his limited finances led him to do most of his studying at Fredericksburg where the expense would be less and where, by diligent application, standards acceptable to the college authorities might be attained.

A peculiar incident occurred, during Mr. Eberly's Fredericksburg experience, which serves to fix definitely the time of his attendance there. An old gentleman of that locality, with more zeal than discretion, made some very disparaging remarks about the "Lincoln soldiers," which were openly and severely resented. The students went so far as to capture the offender, put a rope around his neck and take him out to administer what they considered proper punishment for the offence. The old man, greatly frightened by the results of his too great freedom of speech, became quite penitent and promised all manner of reformation. He was finally dismissed after due censure for his disloyalty and a warning not to repeat it. It so happened that, during the excitement, the guilty individual recognized one of his assailants and, as soon as he had secured his freedom, took steps to have him apprehended and punished. The young man, whose name was Roth, was an intimate friend of John B. Eberly and was quietly spirited away and concealed at the home of young Eberly's father near Smithville until the elderly Eberly could find opportunity to take him to Wooster, where he voluntarily appeared before the proper authorities, confessed his participation in the disturbance, was fined one dollar, and sent back to school. The date of this incident was September 21, 1863. At that time John B. Eberly was a student a Fredericksburg Academy and no High School had yet been established at Smithville.

During his residence at Fredericksburg, as a student in Prof. Smith's school, Mr. Eberly had, as an intimate friend and forensic rival, Dr. J. H. Todd, now a resident of Wooster, Ohio, and, for more than fifty years, recognized as one of the leading physicians of the State. Early in 1865, at the close of the last term of district school he ever taught, Mr. J. B. Eberly entered Mt. Union College, and there, on the 22nd day of June of that year, completed the course of study prescribed for him and received his degree of A. B. from that institution. From that date he was no longer "Mr.," but "Prof." J. B. Eberly.

During the last year of his preparation for his great life work, Prof. Eberly had been casting about for a suitable location in which to establish a school of his own. He had just about decided that Canaan, Ohio, should be the scene of his endeavor when his father, Peter Eberly, came to his aid and secured for him, as a suitable starting place, the Old Synagogue in the village of Smithville where the select school of Prof. Taylor had been held in 1861-'62.

The Old Synagogue was the property of the Connecticut Missionary Society, of the Presbyterian Church. This Society became active in Ohio territory about the year 1820. In that year they sent Rev. Thomas Barr to the new mission field under a contract to spend half his time preaching and the other half in erecting churches for the Society on ground to be selected and secured by them for that purpose. The Old Synagogue was erected before the village of Smithville was platted or laid out. It was a large, substantial frame structure, located on the south side of the main street of the village, about half way between what is now known as "The Square" and the W. and L. E. Depot. It was minus the steeple, common in early days, had three large windows on either side, and a large center entrance in front. Here, in the straight-backed, uncushioned, uncomfortable pews--the only kind then in use,--men and women gathered, Sunday after Sunday, the women on one side and the men on the other, to listen to exhortations, in line with Calvinistic doctrine, as dry as they were lengthy, and about as needful in the lives of those early pioneers as the home-spun linen breeches and gallusses they then wore would be in a modern dress affair of present day society. In this old, historic edifice, on Tuesday, August 1st, 1865, the Smithville High School had its origin.

Full credit for the founding of the school must be given to its projector and first teacher, Prof. J. B. Eberly; but back of him, as his endorser and financial support, stood his noble father with sublime faith and unlimited confidence in the son who has so honored his name and promulgated his virtues.

When it was announced that Prof. Eberly would open a high school in Smithville that year, a number of undergraduate students of Mt. Union College rallied to his standard and came with him to the new seat of learning. Among these were James Dushane, Isidore Slutz, Josephine Hotchkiss, P. Hurst, J. Zook and W. E. Kidd. Two of these, viz. Miss Slutz and Mr. Kidd, later became assistant teachers in the new institution. All were Wayne County students who felt that they could secure at Smithville, at less expense, the intellectual development they sought to acquire in Mt. Union College.

During the autumn of 1865, the Old Synagogue was sold by its church owners and, for a time, it looked as if the end of the experiment was in sight for the rising young Socrates of the new school. True, his lease of the building held till April of 1866, but even at that, it would terminate before the end of the school year and he was sure to be dispossessed. At this critical juncture his faithful backer again came to the rescue. It so happened that, in 1839, Peter Eberly and his brother-in-law, David Brenizer, had financed the building of a church in Smithville for the congregation of the United Brethren Church in Christ, otherwise designated the River Brethren (Dunkards). This church stood in the south edge of the village, just back of what was known, long after, as Paul's Grocery. The author well remembers that old church. It still stood, in the late '70s, at the edge of a lonely, ghostly graveyard--unkept, unkempt and about as dismal a resting place as one could well imagine. It was the high(?) honor of the author to be selected, at one time, to act, in conjunction with the village constable, as referee of a prize fight to be staged in that lonely spot at low twelve, (midnight), between a big, brawny student and two town boys who entertained the idea that, together, they could get away with the aforesaid brawny specimen. Arriving at the proposed battle ground, it was decided, after some discussion among all parties to the arrangement that, in as much as the constable was an officer sworn to preserve and enforce the peace of the village rather than encourage its sanguinary proclivities, it might be better to postpone the conflict and the battle did not materialize.

When an untimely end for the new school was almost in sight, it occured to Peter Eberly that since he had long ago extinguished the interest of David Brenizer in the old River Brethren Church property and was now its sole owner, it might be fixed up and made suitable for an assembly room for the new school and its use could be supplemented by rooms secured for class work in private homes till better arrangements could be made. Acting on this plan, necessary repairs were made in the church building and there the Smithville High School found temporary shelter until the end of the school year, in July, 1866.


So great was the desire for better education and so eager were the young people of the community to avail themselves of the advantages of the new center of culture established at Smithville, that no fewer than 173 offered themselves for enrollment as students during the first year. The unprecedented recognition given to the school and the inadequacy of its housing facilities convinced the citizens of the community that, not only was the enterprise worthy of their united support, but that immediate measures must be taken to afford it reasonable opportunity for expansion and development. Housing facilities must be provided, not only for the school as an organization, but for the individual students as well. A doubling of the village population was at once, a matter of civic pride and financial prosperity. The excellent reputation of the school abroad called for extra recognition of its popularity at home. As a meeting place, the old River Brethren Church was wholly inadequate and a better must be provided if the institution was to be maintained. Efforts were immediately put forth to finance and provide a suitable place for a school home. This could be done only by the erection of a new building. A plan was devised and adopted to secure funds for a new building by the sale of stock in a joint enterprise. The sum of $5,000 was secured and a new building projected. In the meantime, a new school year was at hand and the enrollment reached a grand total of 234. Temporary arrangements were made with the village school board to permit the use of the village school building for the new high school, at least until the opening of the regular winter term. The additional space permitted the formation of classes for another year, especially when supplemented by the old River Brethren Church and the use of rooms in several private homes.

Those were busy days for Smithville, but they were hopeful and happy days. Smithville was strictly "On the map" and citizens, teachers, and students alike were proud of the success of Smithville High School.

All went well until time for beginning the regular winter term of the village school. Then it became more than ever apparent that congestion and cramped quarters must seriously interfere with the comfort and convenience of the high school work, since additional class rooms must be secured in other and widely separated buildings and much inconvenience result from that necessity. It is not unlikely that in times like the present, the whole effort would have been scoffed at, mocked and abandoned. But times were different then. Education was a vital necessity and had not been cheapened in the public estimation by undue coddling and over-indulgence. Young men and women, in those days, went to school to learn and not to satisfy their own caprices or the whims of foolish parents who wanted dear little Algernon, when he grew up, to be fitted for some exalted position in which he would not "have to toil, as they had done," or perhaps, desired that Kathryn Maybelle might, by showing a minimum of intellectuality, be fortunate enough to contract an alliance with some coveted combination of high-sounding title and foreign worthlessness. In those days, school meant work and everybody expected to work. Work was the order of the day and the order was strictly enforced. Cramped conditions interfered with comfort, of course, but they did not hinder real progress. The battle was on and not a soldier faltered. To make the best of conditions was a virtue and virtue was a stepping stone to success. Everyone lent himself to the betterment of conditions as far as it could be done. What could not be cured was endured and forgotten, but the work went on. The tale of bricks must be delivered, either with or without straw, and in due season, the worker had his reward.

Thus the winter term of 1866-'67 went by.


Before entering upon a discussion of that period of Smithville High School's history which had to do with its greater expansion and the consequent increase of its activities and influence, brought about by better housing facilities and stronger organization, it will be well to submit substantial evidence of its advantages and usefulness, as foreshadowed in its earlier experience, lest some fail to understand how and why it secured so great and lasting a hold upon the interest and affections of its student body as well as of residents of the village and community.

No better demonstration of this could be offered than to reprint some of the original catalogue announcements of attendance, courses of study offered, literary programmes presented and statements of opportunity for self-development and economic advantage. The following is a bona-fide reprint of the enrollment of faculty and students for the first year during which the school functioned in the Old Synagogue and, during the spring term, in the Old River Brethren Church.

Tuition charges in Smithville were certainly not open to any suspicion of profiteering, as witness the following announcement of terms:

From Catalogue of 1865
                                     1st Term      2nd Term      3rd Term
Common English Branches                $5.00        $9.00         $5.00
Higher Branches, including Languages   $6.50        11.75          6.50
Instrumental Music $10.00 per twenty-four lessons.
Plain Penmanship $3.00 per twenty-four lessons.
Ornamental Penmanship, Pen Drawing, Flourishing, etc., extra charges.
Tuition for lessons in Penmanship, invariably in advance.
All other bills of tuition must be paid or satisfactorily settled before
  the close of the Term.
No incidental expenses will be charged.
Including Orthography, English Grammer, including higher analysis,
Geography, including descriptive and physical, Mental and Written
Arthmetic (sic), the latter including Ray's Higher, and Elocution.
                    THE HIGHER DEPARTMENT
Includes all the branches usually taught in Academies and Colleges.
"Good board, with rooms furnished, in private homes, $3.00 per week.
A large majority of the students have been boarding themselves at a
cost of less than one-half the price of hired boarding. Rooms suitable
for self-boarding can be had at $1.50 to $2.00 per month."

J. B. EBERLY, A. B., Principal
     Professor of Mental and Moral Science, Ancient Languages,
     German and Higher Mathematics.
     Assistant teacher of Mathematics and the Sciences.
     Assistant teacher of Mathematics.
     Professor of Commercial and Ornamental Penmanship, Pen
     Drawing, etc.
     Teacher of Instrumental Music.

        NAMES.                       RESIDENCE.
Delinda Boydston,_________________East Union.
Elvira Booth,_____________________Le Roy.
Lib R. Brenizer,__________________Smithville.
Mary A. Bowman,___________________Smithville.
Mary E. Brenizer,_________________Smithville.
Lydia Bowers,_____________________Smithville.
Sophia C. Bachman,________________Smithville.
Emily Boydston,___________________East Union.
Anna Bricker,_____________________Wooster.
Kate B. Brenizer,_________________Smithville.
Lucy S. Coe,______________________Dalton.
Lizzie J. Crawford,_______________Congress.
Sade A. Christy,__________________Cedar Valley.
Hannah Clark,_____________________Congress.
Lide M. Coe,______________________Dalton.
Ellie C. Eberly,__________________Smithville.
Sade Eberly,______________________Smithville.
Hettie Felix,_____________________Smithville.
Bell Flickinger,__________________Smithville.
Annie M. Graeter,_________________Madisonburg.
Lydia L. Grimes,__________________Burbank.
Mary E. Gardner,__________________Orrville.
Libbie E. Glass,__________________Golden Corners.
Sade S. Gardner,__________________Orrville.
Mary A. Hurting,__________________Smithville.
Jossie B. Hotchkiss,*_____________Canaan.
Barbara Hurting,__________________Smithville.
Lib Hurting,______________________Smithville.
Maggie E. Jones,__________________Clinton.
Rosa M. Kiefer,___________________Smithville.
Ellie E. Kimberlin,_______________Orrville.
Mary L. Lewis,____________________Old Hickory.
Mary Lawrence,____________________Blachleyville.
Esther S. Lutz,___________________Smithville.
Mary J. Lehman,___________________Madisonburg.
Rebecca Martin,___________________Smithville.
Myrt McIlvain,____________________Old Hickory.
Lizzie Motts,_____________________Madisonburg.
Clara Miller,_____________________Smithville.
Ann Musser,_______________________Smithville.
Rachel J. Miller,_________________Smithville.
Hannah C. McFadden,_______________Smithville.
Clarisa A. Miller,________________Reedsburg.
M. M. Myers,______________________Doylestown.
Jossie McDonale,__________________Cedar Valley.
Maggie S. Oswalt,_________________Madisonburg.
Ann Oliver,_______________________Smithville.
Maria M. Oswalt,__________________Madisonburg.
Emma V. Oswalt,___________________Madisonburg.
Ella C. Redinger,_________________Smithville.
Frank Ricksecker,_________________Ottowa, Kansas.
Amoret Redinger,__________________Smithville.
Jennie Stirk,_____________________Madisonburg.
Lizzie Sauder,____________________Smithville.
Lucinda J. Sidle,_________________Blachleyville.
Anna Smyser,______________________Wooster.
Maria A. Stirk,___________________Smithville.
Eliza Winters,____________________Smithville.
Nannie V. Wilson,*________________Smithville.
Susan Walker,_____________________Ashland.
Ellie S. Wills,___________________Cedar Valley.
Lizzie White,_____________________East Greenville.
Becca Yost,_______________________Clinton.
Sophia S. Yoder,__________________Smithville.
Sarah Yost,_______________________Clinton.

        NAMES.                       RESIDENCE.
Gilbert Armstrong,________________Fredericksburg.
Cyrus Ash,________________________Mt. Eaton.
T. J. Armstrong,__________________Fredericksburg.
W. M. Bricker,____________________Smithville.
J. E. Barnard,____________________Burbank.
H. G. Boydston,___________________East Union.
Thomas Barrett,___________________Orrville.
B. N. Bricker,____________________Smithville.
S. M. Coe,________________________Dalton.
H. B. Clark,______________________Salineville.
J. Coe,___________________________Dalton
J. DuShane,_______________________Canaan.
T. P. Dodd,_______________________Wooster.
Henry Eberly,_____________________Smithville.
Laban Funk,_______________________Reedsburg.
D. R. Firestone,__________________New Pittsburg.
John A. Gardner___________________Orrville.
William Hoover,___________________Smithville.
P. Hurst,_________________________Smithville.
G. S. Hutchison,__________________Smithville.
D. M. Irvine,_____________________Golden Corners.
W. K. Kidd,_______________________Seville Station.
D. W. Krysher,____________________North Manchester, Indiana.
W. H. Kimberlin___________________Orrville.
J. W. Kurtz,______________________Wooster.
S. P. Kiefer,_____________________Smithville.
S. Z. Kaufman,____________________Huntington, Indiana.
S. M. Longsdorf,__________________Smithville.
E. Lawrence,______________________Wooster.
H. W. Lehr,_______________________Cedar Valley.
A. Miller,________________________Wooster.
C. C. Mathews,____________________Madisonburg.
H. J. Martin,_____________________Smithville.
J. T. Mylar,______________________Smithville.
J. R. Metsker,____________________Smithville.
J. W. Myers,______________________Doylestown.
A. Mumaw,_________________________Mt. Eaton.
H. J. Norris,_____________________Smithville.
S. B. Norris,_____________________Smithville.
G. S. Oller,______________________Golden Corners.
W. S. Orr,________________________Burbank.
Wm. M. Orr,_______________________East Union.
S. F. Plumer,_____________________Wooster
E. A. Palmer,_____________________Smithville.
L. G. Royer,______________________Smithville.
H. G. Russell,____________________Canaan.
J. W. Robertson,__________________Fredericksburg.
A. C. Ross,_______________________Wooster.
D. A. Smith,______________________Smithville.
A. B. Stutzman,___________________Smithville.
S. B. Schrock,____________________Orrville.
J. M. Sauder,_____________________Smithville.
Wm. H. Sidle,_____________________Blachleyville.
Peter Stull,______________________Marshallville.
Wm. M. Smith,_____________________Smithville.
S. S. Strayer,____________________Cedar Valley.
G. J. Smyser______________________Wooster.
J. T. Tawney,_____________________Smithville.
E. F. Taggert,____________________Wooster.
J. Vannostran,____________________Wooster.
J. A. Wagoner,____________________Smithville.
D. M. Whonsettler,________________Golden Corners.
A. C. Wiles,______________________Canaan.
G. L. Wilson,_____________________Smithville.
L. J. Willaman,___________________Smithville.
S. B. Walter______________________Orrville.
J. M. Wiles,______________________Canaan.
H. M. Wilson,_____________________Smithville.
Wm. Walter,_______________________East Union.
Henry Winger,_____________________Orrville.
W. H. Winkler,____________________Cedar Valley.
Z. T. Wilson,_____________________Smithville.
J. B. Yoder,______________________Bristol, Indiana.
J. L. Zimmerman,__________________Madisonburg.
J. Zook___________________________Madisonburg.

             Students in Penmanship Only.
        NAMES.                       RESIDENCE.
C. Bowman,________________________Smithville.
J. W. Baumgardner,________________Shreve.
David Beidler,____________________Smithville.
Mose Easterday,___________________Shreve.
H. S. Goodyear,___________________Smithville.
J. J. Lutz,_______________________Smithville.
Harman Lowery,____________________Smithville.
Wm. McIntire,_____________________Canaan.
Isaac Metzger,____________________Smithville.
James McFadden,___________________Polk.
S. H. Miller,_____________________Smithville.
John Manly,_______________________Shreve.
B. M. Norris,_____________________Smithville.
Wm. Oliver,_______________________Smithville.
James Oliver,_____________________Smithville.
V. Snyder,________________________Crestline.
C. P. Yoder,______________________Smithville.
        NAMES.                       RESIDENCE.
Lu M. Alexander,__________________Wooster.
Mary Bower,_______________________Old Hickory.
Ann Balmer,_______________________Smithville.
Lu. Baumgardner,__________________Shreve.
Emma A. Bowman,___________________Smithville.
Kezia K. Bowman,__________________Smithville.
Mary Coleman,_____________________Fredericksburg.
M. M. Davidson,___________________Smithville.
Kezia E. Funk,____________________Shreve.
Lib. Lutz,________________________Smithville.
Mary Musser,______________________Smithville.
Nancy McIntire,___________________Smithville.
Lib. Musser,______________________Smithville.
Kate Stucker,_____________________Fredericksburg.
Minerva E. Winkler,_______________Smithville. 

No. of Males in Literary Department,_____________________________  76
  "    Females     "         "      _____________________________  65
       Total ____________________________________________________ 141
No. of Males in Department of Penmanship alone, _________________  17
  "    Females     "         "             "   __________________  15
       Total, ___________________________________________________  32
  Total number of students in the Institution, __________________ 173

In explanation of the above rates, it may be said that the room rate charge per month was for the room, regardless of the number of occupants. Thus, if two young men or two young women arranged to occupy the room together, the cost per month was, quite uniformly, $1.00 each.

The author happens to have in his possession a book statement of expenses for one term of eleven weeks, kept by a young man who attended Smithville High School and, by agreement with his father, who advanced the necessary funds to meet expenses for the term, was obliged to keep an accurate and itemized list of expenditures so that the debt might, at a later day, be repaid out of wages earned in teaching. The statement, in its exact and original form, is here given.

Expense account, August 1st to October 20th, 1876.
Three months lost from farm work, at $15.00 per month    $45.00
Room rent, three months_________________________________   3.00
Tuition, eleven weeks___________________________________   7.25
Penmanship tuition______________________________________   5.00
Washing and Baking______________________________________   4.00
Crackers and Butter_____________________________________   3.61
                              Total_____________________  67.86

A better appreciation of the intense longing for education among young people of that day may be had if we only pause to weigh in the balance, against privileges and opportunities offered, the personal sacrifice and privation necessary to secure them.

When a farmer boy of from 15 to 18 years of age, who has never known any stint in either quality or quantity of good and wholesome food, or any restraint of his freedom in the pure air and clean environment of his rural home, will voluntarily surrender that freedom and, for a long time, make of himself a recluse on scanty fare, deprived of personal liberty and health-giving exercise, to secure an education, impossible, on account of circumstances, to be otherwise obtained, one may readily believe that he is actuated and controlled by a desire strong enough to carry him to any height to which he may aspire.

By the cost statement above given, it will be seen that the personal services of the young man mentioned were valued at more than four times the combined cost of his board, room and laundry. Can the same rule of valuation be applied in estimating the services of the average student of today?

After considering statements of advantages and opportunities like the foregoing, one can scarcely help wondering what would be the fate of the present day high school if it were compelled to operate on the same basis. And, even at that, it is doubtful if the latter day institution, with all its boasted superiority and lavish equipment, could accomplish any more, even if as much, good.

Smithville High School produced men and women of rugged character, high ideals and unconquerable determination. Their work has been witnessed and their influence felt in every state of the Union and in almost every occupation and profession open to human endeavor. Smithville boys and girls were not sent to school; they went.

Another interesting paper, relative to the early experience of Smithville High School, is a copy of the programme offered for the first public entertainment undertaken by the students. As many will recognize the names of those who served as performers in that presentation and, so recognizing them, recall, also, the forms and faces of the performers, we take the liberty of reprinting, here, the programme in its original form and language.

The following programme was given on the last day of the first term of eleven weeks of Smithville High School and serves to fix definitely the date of origin of the school. It was Tuesday, August 1, 1865. Note the trend of thought as indicated by the subjects presented. Nothing sensational or pedantic, but solid, substantial, religious and patriotic--quite in contrast with so many entertainments, of the present, in which the chief effort is to make people laugh. If you can only "Make 'em laugh," you're a howling success.

One other old programme will be given. It is that of the entertainment given by the Musical Department of the school at the end of the first term's work in the new building, an account of which will be given in the next chapter. It is offered, principally, to show the character of the musical compositions in use at that date, and, incidentally, to establish the exact date of occupancy of the new building. The programme appears on page 25.

Literary Entertainment
                             Given by the 
                           Literary Society
                            Connected with
                           The High School
                          Smithville, Ohio.
                    Friday Evening, October 13th, 1865.
                     Exercises to begin at 7 o'clock.
                            Admittance free.

                        Motto:-Energia est Genius.

                           Order of Exercises.


Salutatory,_____________________________________H. M. Wilson, Smithville.
Decalmation:- The Inspiration of The Bible, Miss Clara Miller.
Essay:- Make An Attempt.___________________Miss M. A. Bowman, Smithville.
Declamation:- The Puritans,_______________________Wm. Hoover, Smithville.
Oration:- True Patriotism,_____________________Wm. M. Orr, East Union, O.
Declamation:- The Union,_______________Miss E. V. Oswalt, Madisonburg, O.
Essay:- Changes Time Has Wrought,          Miss Mary Lewis, Old Hickory, O.
Declamation:- Last Speech of Robert Emmit,
_____________________________________________W. E. Kidd, Seville Station.
Oration:-Let None but Patriots Rule,____________L. B. Eberly, Smithville.
Periodical:- The Sunbeam,_______________Miss Ella L. Christy, Burbank, O.
Debate:- Resolved., That political parties are conducive to the best
  interests of a republic.
     Aff. W. S. Orr, Burbank, O.            Deny, J. E. Barnard, Burbank, O
Periodical:- The Rural Independent,______________J. Zook, Madisonburg, O.
Valedictory:- At Eventime it Will Be Light,
                                  Miss Isadore Slutz, Canaan, O.
                         By the Musical Department of
                            SMITHVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
                               Assisted by the
                              Wooster Orchestra
                     Thursday Evening, October 22, 1867.

                             PART I
Joy to the World!-Choral Anthem,_______________________________Chorus Class.
Forest Echoes!-Echo Song by G. F. Root,_______________________Primary Class.
The Secret!-Solo by Frank Schubert,_________________________Miss Sue Bowman.
God of The Fatherless.-Sentence, by Von Weber,_________________Chorus Class.
Crowding Awfully.-Temperance Song,____________________________Primary Class.
Thou Art So Near and Yet So Far. Solo, Reichardt__________  Miss Lizzie Musser.
Air from William Tell.-Instrumental;________________________Miss Anna McFadden.
                                                          Miss Elgie Christy.
It is Better to Laugh Than Be Sighing.-Solo, Donizetti
                                                         Miss Ellen Eberly.
The Burlesque Band.- (Exercise song, G. F. Root),_____________Primary Class.
The Death of Warren.- (Solo by Demster),________________________W. H. Fleck.
Our Fairy Queen.- (Glee, by T. J. Cook),_______________________Chorus Class.

                            PART II.
Dundee,- (Choral),_____________________________________________Chorus Class.
Over The River.- (Solo by J. P. Webster),______________Mrs. E. Blattenburg.
Beautiful Angel,- (Song, G. F. Root),_________________________Primary Class.
He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shephard.- (Solo, Handel),
                                                             Mrs. M. Bishop.
Will The Angels Come to Me?,- (Song),_________________________Primary Class.
Beautiful Blue Violets.- (Solo, Rodwell),______________Miss Amoret Redinger.
I Love The Sea.- (Solo and Chorus),_____________Miss Sue Gardner and Chorus.
She Sang Among The Flowers,- (Ballad, W. T. Wrighton),
Country in The West.- (Narrative Song, Frisbie)         Miss Lizzie Blatzly.
La Seranade,- (Solo, Frank Schubert),_____________________Miss Ellen Eberly.
Israel's Sons with One Accord.- (Solo and Obligato Chorus,) Rossini,
                                                      Mrs. E. G. Greenamyer.
The New Star Spangled Banner.- (Solo, Webster),______________F. H. Durstine.
Gloria,- (Mozart's 12 Mass).___________________________________Chorus Class.

"Not a very classical list," says some one. Perhaps not, but far and away ahead of such selections as "Say It With Liquor," "Cry Baby Blues," "My Man," "I'm Just Too Mean To Cry," and "Ain't We Got Fun?"

Whatever else may be said of the old time songs, they breathed no hint of silliness, coarseness, disrespect, or immorality. They would scarcely be considered "Hits" in the reckless, sensational vaudeville world of today, but their melodies and harmony were sweet and winsome and their sentiment such as to arouse emotions as gentle and pure as they were tender, religious or patriotic. Rag-time abominations and "jazz" had not yet been invented.

With the opening of the spring term, 1867, came a measure of relief from the overcrowded conditions that had marked the winter's work. Once more the village school building, now tenantless because of the end of district school activities for the year, was placed at the disposal of the High School. Enthusiasm for work expanded with added convenience. Many young men, absent during the winter months by reason of teaching engagements, returned to swell the classes of the spring term. Everybody looked forward to greater convenience and additional advantage when the new building would be ready to house and shelter the school and, with all activities centered under one roof, strength and energy could be directed to the accomplishment of intellectual tasks rather than to mental worry over inadequate facilities and physical exhaustion due to frequent change of location.


On Tuesday, July 30, 1867, the Smithville High School took possession of its new home. It would be impossible, at this distance, to estimate the value of that achievement to the young people of the community. The new High School was not only a bridge between the elementary school and the college so many desired to reach, but between a life of limited possibilities, based upon the meager education otherwise possible, and the wider activities and advantages of business and professional attainment made possible through the opportunities it offered. Other means of bridging this chasm might have been devised in time and, no doubt, would have been; but the fact remains that Smithville High School did bridge it and, to the school and its founder justly belongs all praise and honor for the achievement.

The new building was erected at a cost of approximately $8,000, not including ground and equipment. The latter was quite limited and entailed no great expense. The building was of brick and about 50 x 100 feet in dimensions. There were three rooms on the first floor and a commodious auditorium, equipped with stage and curtain, on the second. The entrance was in the center of the east front and led into an entrance hall, some 10 x 20 feet, leading back to the principal recitation room in which Prof. Eberly himself conducted recitations in Grammar, Analysis and such other classes as usually enrolled large numbers of students. On the right, as one entered the building, was a room devoted to the Commercial Department, which was presided over by Prof. Benjamin Musser,--Prince of Penmen in his day. On the left was a recitation room devoted to Science, Language and Advanced Mathematics. Able assistants were appointed from time to time to instruct classes in this room and in these subjects.

With the tension relaxed by the enlarged class room facilities of the new building, came a corresponding relief from many minor restraints that had hitherto presented obstacles to success. The citizens began to look upon the institution as an established fact. Many had subscribed modest sums to aid in the construction of the building. Peter Eberly, father of Prof. Eberly, brave old promotor as he was, who never lacked faith or faltered in his generosity, had donated a sum which, measured by the limited business opportunities and financial conditions of that day, would, if computed in terms of the present, equal the entire cost of the new edifice. His subscription was the then princely sum of $1,400.

Although fully $5,000 had been pledged, we regret to state that all subscriptions were not paid in full and a mortgage had to be put on the building as security for the unpaid balance of its cost. That mortgage finally proved to be the undoing of the enterprise and caused the loss of the investment. These difficulties did not, however, destroy the belief that the High School, a distinctly Smithville and community asset, had come to stay and would, henceforth, be a center of larger influence and greater fame for the village. Students were looked upon as desirable, rather than tolerated as additions to the village life. Better accommodations were provided for them and they were accepted as part and parcel of the institution which had become the pride and boast of the community.

The activities of the school were numerous and extended to all lines of progress. Literary Societies were established in which elecution, composition, rhetoric and dramatic art, were taught and encouraged. Debating Clubs were organized for the benefit of such as cherished forensic ambitions. A complete Musical Department was established. Lectures and entertainments were provided and every possible advantage offered to make student life more profitable and attractive. The personnel of the student body was exceptionally good. No vicious habits were permitted and none ever indulged or betrayed. Intemperance was wholly unknown and profanity rare. Nearly all the students came from homes in which religious training had been observed and the effect of such teaching was apparent in the lives of all. Student society was clean and wholesome. A large proportion of those in attendance boarded themselves and thus reduced the cost of living to very modest figures. Certain buildings were given over entirely for student's quarters and these were given fantastic names sometimes more forceful than elegant. There were "Cincinnatti Home," "The Cathedral," "The Observatory," "White Hall," "Fort Pheonix," "The Parsonage," "The Collar Block," "Saint's Rest," "Intelligence Hall" "Break of Day Hotel," "The Lunatic Asylum," and "Buzzard's Roost."--all perfectly respectable, of course, but made famous by some peculiarity of appearance or occupancy which suggested their euphoneous names. An occupant of "Buzzard's Roost" or "The Asylum" was received equally in student society with the occupant of "Intelligence Hall" or "The Parsonage." The notoriety attached to the place and not the individual.

After gaining access to the new building, greater effort than ever was directed to building up the school and widening its sphere of influence and patronage. The largest enrollment ever recorded was in '74-'75, when 325 names were reported. The smallest enrollment was in '80-'81, when only 175 were in attendance. That was also the first year in the history of the institution in which the attendance went below the 200 mark, except the year of its origin, when only 173 enrolled. During the period from 1865 to 1879 the average enrollment of the school was 261. During the twenty years in which the school continued its functions in Smithville without interruption--from 1865 to 1885--it enrolled, according to Prof. Eberly's statement, more than 5,000 individuals in its various classes. The average length of time spent in the school was approximately three terms, or one full year, per student. If the average expenditure for school purposes was only $100 per annum, the value of the school to the village, in that time, was in excess of $500,000. Since the only outlay required to secure the institution was the subscription necessary to erect the building, the returns on the investment were decidedly comforting if viewed from the financial side only. Add to that the mental and moral forces made operative and effective in those 5,000 human dynamos of activity and what has Smithville not accomplished for the glory of the school days we celebrate and for the mental and moral regeneration of the world? Only the records of time and eternity can reveal the worth of its accomplishment.

Early in the 70s a movement was started to have the United Brethren Church take over the Smithville High School and continue it under the control of that organization. Some money for that purpose was subscribed and appropriated but not sufficient to meet the need. One condition of the purchase was that a class in Bible study should be added to the curriculum. Rev. D. Kosht, then a local pastor of the U. B. Church in Smithville, was designated to act as instructor of the Biblical Department and a class of several promising young men was organized and work begun. Recitatations of this class were, for the most part, held at Mr. Kosht's home. In 1873 Rev. Kosht was transferred to another charge and the Biblical Department languished. Four years later Rev. Kosht was returned and plans were inagurated to complete the transaction whereby the school would pass into control of the church. Rev. Kosht undertook to raise the necessary funds by subscriptions and had secured a considerable portion of the amount needed when Prof. Eberly's financial embarrassment ended in insolvency and the subscriptions were returned to the donors and the plan abandoned. Catalogues covering the period from 1870 to 1879 show the church organization in control of the High School. From that date untill 1885 the school was once more in charge of Prof. J. B. Eberly and conducted as his individual enterprise. For many years, high school departments, added to the public school system, had been making efforts to prepare students for college work and this naturally cut off some attendance from schools organized to provide that preparation. Wooster University had organized a preparatory department and many prospective students of the University thought it wise and advantageous to go there for their preparatory work. All these things greatly reduced the support formerly given to Smithville High School and, in 1885, Prof. Eberly transferred the school from Smithville to Wadsworth, Medina County, where, in the autumn of 1885, he began work as the Western Reserve Normal College, an institution which he conducted for seven years along lines similar to the work in Smithville High School. Of his work there, a full and clear account will be given by Miss Emily Noyes, in her letter on another page of this book. Miss Noyes was for many years associated with Prof. Eberly, as an assistant teacher in the Wadsworth enterprise and is able to speak, "As one having authority," on that subject.

As it will, no doubt, add greatly to the interest of this history to have the subject presented from many angles and vouched for by many competent witnesses, all of whom were, at times, identified with the great institution and are now living exponents of the excellence of its teachings, we shall call to our aid a number of the "Old Guard" and ask them to tell, from first hand experience, what Smithville was to them in days gone by and what it is in their thoughts and affections today.

As an account of the activities of Smithville High School must, of necessity, begin with a personal treatise on the characteristics and personality of Prof. J. B. Eberly, we feel it essential to a proper understanding of the subject as well as a respectful tribute to the great teacher himself and to his illustrious pupil who so nobly portrays him, to introduce Mr. W. G. Patterson, of Wooster, Ohio, who will give, in his clear, concise manner, his impressions of "Eberly--The Man," and the powerful influence he exerted upon the lives of such as were fortunate enough to know him and enjoy the advantage of his teaching.


By W. G. Patterson.

Some one has said that the history of a nation is but a biography of its great men. The early history of the Smithville Academy is essentially a biography of Professor J. B. Eberly. His personality was as essential to that institution as was that of Hamlet to the story of Shakespeare which bears his name.

What, then, were the outstanding traits or characteristics of this remarkable man whose deeds we today recall?

First--He was a man of many parts. During my acquaintance with him he was always a farmer. Whether raising a cereal crop, Morgan horses or cucumbers, he kept near to nature's heart. He was a surveyor. Like the father of his country he was familiar with the tripod and chain. He was at home on the lecture platform or conducting a chautauqua. And I have seen him vigorously trying a lawsuit in justice court. Of course the overshadowing occupation of his life was teaching.

Second--His family life was ideal. The young wife, who was the center of his home, was always the object of his most tender affection. The greatest tragedy of his life was her untimely death. Just in the happiest hour of their domestic voyage, when eager winds were kissing every sail, his ship of domestic felicity struck the unseen rock. He was content to go through life with no other heart allegiance. His wife had been his soulmate. He could place no other on the pedestal with her and the tender memories of their happy married life were his most holy possession. He loved his two children devotedly and to watch their early lives unfold into a resemblance of the lost wife and mother stirred the deepest feeling of his soul.

Prof. Eberly was an orthodox church man but not a deeply spiritual man. His personal character was as clean as a hound's tooth and his life was firmly grounded in the fundamental morals which underlie the real basis of society. His daily life forced from his associates respect rather than affection.

Discipline was to him sine qua non. Few students who came within his sphere of control but felt the bitter sting of his sarcasm in wounded sensibilities, and yet, "If severe he was in aught, the love he bore to learning was at fault." Anyone who sought a quarrel with him would always find a a foeman worthy of his steel. It was impossible for a man with the fearless courage and initiative he possessed to sail an untroubled sea. From his quiver he could draw shafts of sarcasm and invective and hurl them with unerring aim. Yet when the battle was over he completely forgot and forgave.

Prof. Eberly was a man of broad charity. I attended the last services before his body was laid away in the tomb. On that occasion this phase of his life was not given the attention which it deserved and one of the reasons I accepted the request to say a word today was to accentuate this element of his character. In many of his activities Prof. Eberly stood in the limelight. Frequently he chose publicity, but the gracious charities he spread were scattered silently and copiously like the dew from heaven. I have knowledge of many a poor family, in and about Smithville, who, time after time, were the quiet recipients of his bounty. No worthy student ever left his school on account of lack of money to pursue his education. Money, a bank account, financial success--these were in no sense the goal for which he strove.

It has always seemed to me that this charitable element in the life of Prof. Eberly was the least appreciated of any of his traits.

The executive powers which he possessed blended, insensibly, into another feature of his life which crowned all and which to me was the most interesting part about him. That was, his restless, tireless energy. I cannot imagine Prof. Eberly in repose. That frail body was a human dynamo of activity. He never knew a discouragement or a failure and both were common in his life. Coupled with this dynamic energy was the dominant obsession of his life--to educate.

He possessed, in an extraordinary degree, the power to draw out and expand the latent capabilities of his pupils. In truth, but few men are so richly endowed with that quality as was Prof. Eberly. His great ambition was to take an undeveloped country boy and transform him into a finished man. He furnished equipment whereby hundreds of raw, untrained youths were enabled to become citizens of worth in their respective communities. In later years when word came back to us from the west that one of his pupils had been chosen to some responsible position or had been elected to some office, his eyes would light up, his face would brighten, and he would say with joyful emphasis, "He is my boy"! That was his reward. Prof. Eberly is fast becoming to us a steel engraving. In our memories the picture of his frail form is dimming. Let us continue to revere his memory by these occasions.

Other letters of equal interest will follow. The first of these is by Mrs. Ella Eberly Leyda, sister of Prof. J. B. Eberly and one of the first to enlist in support of his great undertaking by enrolling as a student at the opening of the first term in the "Old Synagogue." Since her experiences relate chiefly to the first years of the school, we accord to her letter first place in the series. We feel assured that all old students who knew its author in those days of tribulation when, to enlist in an untried institution like Smithville High School, as it then appeared, was like putting out to sea in an open boat without chart or compass, will recall Ella Eberly, the bright, vivacious but always demure and respectful young recruit, whose sublime faith in her great teacher brother would have impelled her to deeds of even greater heroism had his wisdom pointed the way.

Mrs. Leyda is now a resident of Enon Valley, Pa. To her excellent memory of the events of those early years and her patient, kindly assistance in gathering data relative to early experiences of the school, much of the success of this little volume is due.


By Mrs. Ella Eberly Leyda.

I cannot write such an expression of appreciation as I feel for this most wonderful movement to honor the memory of those who labored so earnestly for the betterment of Smithville and for its educational ideals and advantages. My memory of past events is quite good and I am ready to take up the threads of duty that lie scattered all about me and add my efforts to the accomplishment of so noble a work.

A little more than a year ago I met, in reunion, with my old college class at Mt. Union where we celebrated our Golden Anniversary. Besides myself, five members of that little group of distinguished men had attended school at Smithville before entering Mt. Union. Now we are honoring the faithful teachers who prepared us for the greater privileges of that famous institution. I am in my second fifty years. It does not seem possible that I have lived so long--thrice twenty years and ten--when but yesterday I played my childish games in the dooryard of my girlhood's home. The dear old home, where I watched the builder do his work, stands today as a memorial, even as we stand, living memorials, of the sublime faith, goodness and efficiency of those who built us up in steadfast character and intellectual supremacy so many, many years ago. In fancy I walk once more along the roadway, bordered by shady trees, leading to the well-remembered village, my school books under my arm and happy anticipations in my heart; for this morning in Aug., 1865, is to be opening day of the long hoped for Smithville High School. The "Synagogue," a dilapidated and unused church building in the eastern part of the village, was my destination. There were more boys than girls at that first gathering of anxious, wondering students. Women were rather silent factors in the early days while "Lives of men were told in song and story." A woman, if mentioned at all, might have her history told in a few brief sentences. Whittier expressed it briefly but beautifully when he said,

"More wide, perchance, for blame than praise,
The schoolboy's humble name hath flown;
Thine, in the green and quiet ways,
Of unobtrusive goodness known."

If a woman had been a good mother to some ten or twelve sturdy sons and virtuous daughters, due mention of that fact would be made. It might even be added, as so much to her credit, that she had lived and died in the faith of the gospel of peace and rightousness. But seldom, and always grudingly, was it admitted that she was the equal of man. So, in early days at Smithville, women were admitted to equal privileges with men in the high school but were closely and dutifully watched by both teachers and classmates to see that the privileges granted them were properly appreciated and fully improved.

Soon after the opening of the term, a "Union Literary Society" was organized and the girls were there ready to take their places and perform whatever duties were assigned to them. The first term lasted eleven weeks. At its close, a public entertainment was given by the Literary Society. No fee for admission was charged and a full house was the result. The programme consisted of orations, essays, declamations, periodicals and debate, interspersed with orchestral music. Six young women and eight young men took part in the programme. Among them were W. S. Orr of Burbank, Ohio and W. K. Kidd, of Seville Station, as it was then called, roommates, class mates and inseparable companions. The valedictory was given by Isadore Slutts--later Mrs. Bash--of Canaan, Ohio, who was, at that time, student, teacher and author of "Brinkey Sorrel," a beautiful little story popular in its day. Her subject was, "At Eventide all will be light." Her effort was enthusiastically received and much appreciated. The "Eventide" so pathetically portrayed in her valedictory came to her not long after in the very morning of her bright, young life and she drifted away to the vale of eternal silence.

A two weeks interval between the first and second terms was none too long for the arrangements necessary to be made for the larger attendance expected. Applications from new students were rapidly coming in. Rooms had to be provided and furnished and boarding arrangements made. The brick building in the west end of the village was purchased and named, "Ladies' Hall." It was in this building that we, the Eberly family, established our home for the winter. There were sister, Sarah and myself with brothers Henry and Prof. J. B. and we managed to make our rooms very cozy and comfortable.

The plan and scope of the work was to be broadened and strengthened. A Commercial Department was to be added to the course of instruction offered. There were to be two Literary Societies and, what seemed best of all, plans were being made for a new school building. I recall many happy memories. Brother J. B., for a long time afflicted with lameness that hindered him greatly in his work and movements, was learning to walk quite well without crutches and our home life was delightful. The memories of those days are delightfully precious and sweet. Would that, even now, I could exchange them for realities. It makes me sad to think that I know so few where once I knew so many.

Smithville High School, at that time, numbered about one hundred and seventy-five young men and women of sterling worth and character. How I wish I could express the hearty enthusiasm and interest they displayed at all times in recitation rooms as well as in Literary Societies. They actually thirsted for knowledge and had flocked to the new fountain that they might profit by its advantages and not to abuse its privileges.

The winter term ended in March, 1866. Two excellent entertainments were given, by the Literary Societies, on the evenings of March 22nd and 23rd. The performances were held in the brick church in the village, opposite where the new high school was later erected. Profiting by the experience of the former term, a charge of twenty-five cents per capita was made for admission. Twenty-five young men and sixteen young women took part in the programmes and acquitted themselves most creditably to crowded and enthusiastic audiences. All had been carefully and studiously coached and there were no failures. The periodicals were especially interesting, dealing as they did with current and local news both general and personal in character and filled with jokes and witticisms both mirth provoking and good natured. The titles suggest something of the character of their contents. They were named, "The School Girls' Gem," "The Mirror of The Mind" and "The Grind-Stone." A spirited debate was held on the question, "Resolved, That young men and young women should be educated in the same school." No records have been kept of the decision made but the writer feels quite certain that the affirmative won every point and Smithville went into history as strongly favorable to co-education.

With the opening of the second school year came an army of new students, all glowing with the fine dreams of future success, to link their hopes and enthusiasm with golden recollections of the veterans of the year that had passed, and, with their united endeavors, sweep the very strongholds of ignorance and superstition into oblivion. Like a victorious army, the expectant host marched proudly down the sidewalk of the village to the new building to attend chapel and answer roll call.

It is not my recollection that any "quadrupeds" had been placed on the platform for this special occasion and I think that feature of school life had not been as fully developed then as it proved to be later. The social features and privileges of that year consisted in sleighing parties and oyster suppers which were introduced and permitted, for recreation, during the winter months. Sometimes special variations were added such as upsetting a sled and dumping its occupants into the snow.

During the second year the enrollment of the school reached 234. The banner year came next year, in 1868, when the number in attendance reached 268 and remained about that figure for several years thereafter.

But time and space will not permit me to follow the destinies of the school further. To my schoolmates of those early days permit me to express one little sentiment of hope and comfort:

We have not failed in putting through,
The little we were called to do.
So, when the final hour shall come,
As come it must when lips grow dumb,
Be this our answer, one by one,
I'm ready, Lord, Thy will be done.


No history of Smithville or its famous high school would be complete without a sketch of plain, blunt, but warm hearted old Benjamin Musser. His connection with the school began with its first term in 1865 and ended only when death closed his career twenty years later.

Benjamin Musser was born in Lancaster County, Pa. in 1815. When he was eighteen years of age his father decided to "Go west" and, in 1833, came to Ohio, where, after some prospecting to satisfy himself with his choice, he secured forty acres of wilderness land where the village of Smithville was afterward located. It is a singular coincidence that the great penman should have, before he discovered his true vocation, cleared the land, planted potatoes and hoed corn on the very ground where he afterward won distinction as a pen artist of the highest rank and where we, long years after, meet to commemorate his greatness. Always of a studious disposition and diligent in all his undertakings, he had made such progress in his studies before coming to Ohio that he found no difficulty in securing the school in his local district to teach for the winter term. His wage, in that first term, was $9.00 per month and he boarded himself. The term lasted three months. In that new country, schools were held during winter months only and, usually, the length of term was from three to four months. Spring, summer and autumn seasons furnished plenty of work in clearing the land and getting it in condition for cultivation. In all these activities young Musser took a sturdy part. His spare time was devoted to study and his winters to teaching. He taught, in all, thirty-five terms of school, thirty-two of which were in his own district. The other three terms were all in the same district, adjoining. What a record of appreciation and satisfactory service! A teacher who even dared dream of such an experience today would be declared an old fogy and dismissed without an opportunity to prove his worth or demonstrate a failure. "O tempora, O mores."

During Benjamin Musser's thirty-five terms of service as a teacher in the district schools, the highest salary he ever received was $20 per month. He taught his last district school when he was 52 years of age.

In 1852, when he was 37 years old, he received his first lessons in penmanship from an itinerant teacher of the art named James Gray. So rapid was his progress that after only eleven lessons he actually excelled his teacher and the instruction ceased. Benjamin Musser had, at last, discovered his ideal and the most ardent dream of his heart was fulfilled. From that time on he combined penmanship with his other teaching and employed every spare moment in making himself a complete master of the art.

Few opportunities for instruction existed and Benjamin Musser was essentially a self-taught man. Practice, his only available teacher, was never neglected or forgotten. It is said that after a hard day's work, at some other occupation, he was never too tired to practice penmanship and pen-art exercises till midnight. Now and then he found opportunity to visit some other teacher who devoted time and effort to the art he loved so well, but such visits were more for an interchange of ideas than for practical instruction. His ideals were his own and only teachers. In 1862 he spent one day with Spencer, author of the Spencerian system of penmanship, then a teacher at Oberlin. He also visited Folsom & Phelps at Cleveland and spent two days with Cowley at Pittsburg. Later he spent ten days with Cooper at Hudson, Ohio, where he got his first definite ideas of ornamental penmanship, a phase of the art in which he afterwards distinctly excelled.

The fame of his Musserian system began to attract attention and he filled positions, from time to time, in such places as Wooster, Ohio, in West Moreland County, Pa. and in Greer's Commercial College at Dayton, Ohio, where he taught in 1864.

In 1865 Smithville High School began its great work and, side by side with the directing genius of that institution, Benjamin Musser took his stand, an acknowledged master, a willing worker and a faithful and successful teacher, beloved and honored alike by friends, pupils and teachers.

Professor Musser's first classes were held in the hotel building now standing on the northwest corner of Main and Milton Streets and operated as a hotel by Mrs. William Coulter. After the completion of the Normal Building he had his room assigned to him therein and never changed it. There, two-thirds of those who attended Smithville High School "Took penmanship' at the fabulous cost of $3.00 to $5.00 per term of eleven to twenty weeks. To this day the author occasionally receives letters, from old student friends, that bear plainly the imprint of the Musserian system and they are always clear, clean and legible.

Professor Musser died in 1885 and his body rests in the little cemetery just south of the main street of the village of Smithville in the rear of what was formerly known as Paul's Grocery. It should be the Mecca of many a reverential visit by those who were so fortunate as to enjoy his teaching and his friendship and, in time, a suitable monument to his greatness, never fully appreciated and not yet publicly acknowledged, should be erected there by those who were his beneficiaries, his pupils and his friends.

"As man may, he fought his fight,
Proved his truth by his endeavor;
Let him sleep in solemn night,
Sleep forever and forever."

Another letter, from the pen of Dr. E. F. Warner, will here be given. Dr. Warner has been state inspector of high schools in Ohio since 1914. His home is at Bellevue, Ohio, where he has been prominently identified with "Every good word and work," since he first went to that village as superintendent of its public schools in 1886 and where he now lives, retired.

His story of Smithville experiences is quite comprehensive and, as the author can testify from his own knowledge and experience, not in the least overdrawn.


By Dr. E. F. Warner.

I entered Smithville Academy at the opening of the fall term in 1869. As nearly as I recall, there were about 160 young people in attendance with a preponderance of young men. These students came from all the country around for a distance of forty miles. The counties of Stark, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Ashland, Medina, Summit and Wayne were each well represented. There were a few from places even more remote.

To accommodate these students, many citizens opened their homes taking roomers. In addition, the brick dormitory, since known as Ladies' hall, was in use but then occupied wholly by men. A boarding club was maintained, in the basement of this dormitory, which cared not only for the lodgers therein, but for numerous others. Good table board was furnished at from $1.80 to $2.00 a week. Many students boarded themselves. In the years following, students in White Hall, Fort Phoenix and other student homes did this.

In those days Smithville had but one railroad, the Pennsylvania, and a "hack" met all trains at "The Summit," as Weilersville was then called. While a goodly number of students came by train many more came by the wagon route.

Now-a-days pupils graduate from high school at the average age of eighteen years. In the Academy, the age of the average student was close to twenty.

The school year, as I recall it, consisted of spring and fall terms of twelve to fourteen weeks and a winter term somewhat longer. Tuition for the ordinary academic branches ranged from $7.00 to $11.00 a term. Music and penmanship were taught as specials and came under another schedule.

Throughout my entire connection with the school, which was at different times during the years 1869-'73, Prof. John B. Eberly was the principal and owner of the school, which was entirely a private enterprise. Other teachers associated with him during this period, in the teaching of the academic studies, were A. B. Stutzman, I. M. Taggart, L. B. Eberly, S. Conklin, Chas. Saxe and, I believe, Wm. Hoover. Prof. Benjamin Musser had charge of the department of penmanship and Mrs. Dr. Greenamyer, the department of music. Prof. J. B. Everly and his brother Lee, as we familiarly called him, were graduates of Mt. Union College. Messrs. Stutzman and Taggart later graduated from the same institution.

At the time of my attendance, school functions, with the exception of the work in music, were held in the brick Academy Building. Prior to that some classes were held in the abandoned Presbyterian Church building in the east end of the village and known to the students of that day as the "Old Synagogue."

The old Academy Building I knew was a plain and simple building as compared with the high school buildings of today. It had no basement. All heating was done by stoves. On the first floor were three recitation rooms and one or two storage closets. On the right as you entered was prof. Musser's room. On the left the room used by the chief assistant. Extending across the entire west side of the building was the "Long Room," which Prof. Eberly used for his own classes. The entire second floor was occupied by the Hall, as we called it in those days but which today would be called the auditorium. Here additional classes were heard during the week and here, every Friday night during the term, were held the literary exercises of the Alpha and Philo Societies. These societies alternated in giving programmes. On Sundays preaching services were held in the "Hall," usually by the United Brethren. At the time ofmy acquaintance with the village the Lutherans, Winebrenarians and United Brethren maintained services.

The course of study was quite elastic. A student was admitted to such classes as he elected. There was no such close classification as we find in secondary schools today. Many students carried five to six studies as against the four constituting the standard now.

Large emphasis was placed upon the mathematics. I recall classes in Mental, Third part and Higher Arithmetic, Elementary and Higher Algebra, Geometry-Plane and Solid, Trigonometry, Surveying and Calculus. I believe, with the exception of Calculus and the Elementary Arithmetic, I took most of the others myself.

In English, stress was placed on Techincal Grammar, English Analysis and Rhetoric. I do not recall any study of the classics as such and little of the History of English Literature. In science there were classes in Physical Geography, Astronomy, Physics and Psychology. German and Latin were taught, also Logic and Moral and Mental Philosophy. The social studies, History, Economics and Sociology were little in evidence.

One of the strong features of the school, as I see them after a lapse of fifty years, was the work of the literary societies before mentioned. This work trained in declamation, debate, composition and dramatics. Under the ordinary procedure a student was called upon to participate at least six times during a term. By volunteering he might appear every week. These societies trained some notable examples of the forensic art. There were the Bell Brothers, J. P. Yockey, I. N. Spreng, S. Cocklin, Theo. S. Bach, John Van Nostran, G. W. Kettering, G. W. Houck, Charles Krichbaum, C. M. Idleman, D. W. Kimber, W. C. Yost and a host of others.

In addition to the opportunity for debate, afforded by the literary societies, numerous debating clubs sprang up each term. Somewhat elaborate literary programmes marked the close of each term and were looked upon as the climax of the term's work.

The athletics of the school were more of the nature of unsupervised play. Tennis, foot-ball and track work were unknown. Base ball was coming into vogue, croquet had its votaries and there was something of horse-shoe pitching. The organized athletics of today were unknown. A base ball game with an out-of-town nine was very rare. We played with a live ball and home runs were frequent as the ball was pitched and not thrown as today.

The absence of regular, organized athletics was responsible for many of the tricks, irregularities and petty deviltry that furnished an escape valve for a superabundance of animal spirits. Who has not heard of the "green 'un" being taken on a snipe hunt and being set to hold the sack while the other fellows beat up the snipes and drove them in? How many of the fellows have been in a party bent on stealing cider at the Bricker or was it Brenizer press west of town and, being surprised at it, fled to town pursued by supposedly vengeance seeking owners with cracking revolvers and blacksnake whips? There were the fellows who, on Hallowe'en, hauled Prof. Eberly's carriage a mile out of town only to find the Professor hidden therein and to be asked to haul him back again. The writer has some knowledge of a trio who, during the absence of the Professor and many of the students at a republican rally at Marshallville, rigged up an empty sugar hogshead, loaded with stones, at the head of one of the dormitory stairways. The apparatus was planned to roll downstairs when a sort of trap-stick device was touched. It rolled.

Mock arrests and trials were common. "Stacked" rooms, almost a daily occurence. Occasionally sheets and tablecloths became exchanged and the exchange was not discovered until after retiring for the night when the fish bones in the table cloth, which had displaced the sheet, would compel an investigation. Notwithstanding these outbursts, the morale of the student body was high. There was very little drinking. In fact, even at that day, Smithville had no saloon. Smokers were very, very few,--so few as to be a negligible quantity. Quite in contrast with high school boys of today who are so generally wedded to pipes and "coffin-nails."

A considerable portion of the young people were outspoken in their profession of christianity. It is remarkable what a large number of ministers came up from the student body of the old academy: Kettering, Spreng, Houck, Cocklin, Sanders, Rhodes, C. J. Kieffer, S. P. Kieffer, Kauffman and others. The years since then have seen these students the representative men and women in their respective communities. They have furnished editors, lawyers, bankers, college professors and presidents, legislators, and administrators of state and national government. The old school is justified in the lives and work of its product. It is gratifying to know that a community high school is to be built on the site of the old academy. This school will preserve, I trust, the history and traditions of its predecessor. Hundreds of former students will look upon this as a worthy monument to those who labored here.

No account of early Smithville days would be complete without a sketch of plain, brusque, out-spoken old Ben. Musser, long time teacher in penmanship in connection with the academy. The writer took one of his courses. He was the foremost exponent of rapid writing, Spencerian system, in Wayne and surrounding counties. His execution was fully equal to the work of Platt R. Spencer, himself. Higher standards of excellence in writing were carried far and wide by his students. Under a somewhat gruff exterior he carried a kindly heart and was deeply interested in each and every one of his pupils. He was deeply religious, a firm adherent of the United Brethren Church. He died about thirty-five years ago. His grave, much neglected, I am sorry to say, lies in the southwest corner of the old Brethren Cemetery, in the village where he so long labored. Prof. Eberly and his wife are buried in the newer cemetery on the hill half a mile east of the village.

Some of the students I recall as of yesterday are, first, my roommates, John A. Cramer, Frank Penix, I. N. Hough, Ray Christy--all deceased except the first named. Next, my classmates in special studies as John H. Holl, Louis Mathie, G. W. Houck, I. N. Spreng, Samuel and Jacob Devise, J. P. Yockey, Joseph Lutz, A. B. Campbell, S. V. Lerch, John Christman, L. D. Cornell, Elmer Funk, S. Cocklin, J. D. Holcomb, H. K. Sauder, I. M. Taggart, E. A. Heckert and C. W. Heister. Then there were the girls: Gertie Slater, Anna McFadden, Sadie Bowman, Hortense Heckert, Eunice Warner, Tillie Oberlin, Olivia Donat, the Boone Sisters and hosts of others.

A half century has intervened between the then and the now, fifty years with all their change. Yet the scenes and events, the pleasant memories of those student days are recalled in all their vividness. I doubt not that like memories are the source of inspiration and pleasure to hosts of others, former students of the old, beloved Smithville Academy, now no more.


The social side of life in Smithville High School was clean, invigorating and inspiring. Hard work did not eliminate a genuine appreciation of wholesome sport. The moral standard of the student body was high and punctuated with gentility, courtesy and kindness. Sympathy was never lacking but jokes, and tricks were the very essence of genial good will and friendship. The same mental aptitude which insured progress in class work was directed, now and then, to tasks not set by teachers or accounted for in the grade books. We have thought it worth while to record here a few of the many incidents by which school life was enlivened to give the reader an idea of the genius manifested and generalship shown in translating it into action:

A Terrible Scare.

It was quite common at Smithville for students of either sex to organize little study clubs to secure united effort in the mastery of difficult lessons. Strict attention to duty was required and often much good was accomplished in this way. Such a gathering was once scheduled to be held in the room of the author and his cousin who roomed together and did their own housekeeping. On the day preceeding the event, a gallon jug, used as a container for a supply of fresh milk sent from home now and then, needed scalding to freshen it and keep it sweet. With a small quantity of water therein the jug was placed on the stove to heat. By some means, not intentional, the cork had been pushed in tight and, when the water boiled and generated steam pressure, it was blown suddenly against the ceiling with a loud bang and half the water in the jug, converted into steam, followed it and spattered over the room.

The incident was immediately seized upon as the basis for a good joke with which to entertain the study club next evening. Accordingly the jug was put in readiness and all prepared. The hour came and with it came the boys--Ed Hershey, The Huntsbergers, The Longs and one or two others. Books were produced and all got down to work. The jug, this time tightly corked, was shoved to the hottest part of the stove and a long anxious wait followed as the lesson proceeded. It took hard pressure to dislodge the stubborn bung but it came at last with a bang that might have been heard a block away. The effect was electrical. The light went out and all the boys tried to follow suit. In the darkness, chairs were upset, somebody yelled and general pandemonium reigned. The room was on the second floor and the door opened upon a small landing at the head of a narrow stair. Somebody got the door open and one fellow tumbled down the stairs. Soon they realized that no one had been killed and the racket subsided. Investigation disclosed the cause of the alarm, which was attributed to oversight and accident. The perpetrators of the fraud never confessed and this will be the first intimation to the victims that the explosion was planned and not accidental. Forgive us, gentle readers; we're penitent now.

Forbidden Fruit.

A young fellow, whom we shall designate only as Albert, joined the school a year or so later. He was soon sized up as one who was a little green and needed seasoning. Some of the boys undertook to apply the remedy. Glowing accounts were given, in his presence, of the joyous thrills to be had from stealing grapes from a vineyard over near the Summit, south of town. Albert grew interested. At last a visit to the delectable spot was suggested. Would any one volunteer to go? Albert volunteered. He would not miss that for anything. Plans were carefully laid and, in due time, the gang set out. Arriving at the vineyard, they entered quietly and were soon feasting upon the luscious vintage. For a few moments all went well. Suddenly Albert was startled to see, directly in front of him, two evidently strange men, minus coats and hats and apparently looking for trouble. One of them held a pistol that looked to Albert, as big as a sawlog. The other, peering over the leader's shoulder, said "There he is; shoot him, Pap!" Instantly that old pistol let go like a howitzer in real service. The sound could have been heard a mile away. But it couldn't have traveled any faster than Albert did as he hit the trial for Smithville and the seclusion of his lonely room, with the apparently vengeance seeking farmers at his heels. Breathless and half dead from fright and flight, he reached his goal. Not until the next morning did he realize that he had merely been the victim of a practical joke when, on entering the class room, he was greeted with a rousing "Shoot 'im, Pap" from all sides. Albert blushed, looked silly and, soon after, left school indefinitely. He couldn't stand the pressure.

Faithful to Duty.

No old student of Smithville who attended contemporaneously with Ezra Goodyear ever forgot the timid, mild mannered boy whom everybody liked and teased. None ever deemed him capable of participating in one of the best jokes ever perpetrated on "Old Prof.," to trick whom was considered a crowning piece of generalship. But Ezra proved equal to the task. What help he may have had by way of suggestion and advice from outside parties may never be known, but Ezra alone shone as the star performer. Ezra wore a full beard, heavy, dark and curled close to his face. A classmate, I. A. Starn, now of Rochester, N. Y., was a likable chap, bright, quick and progressive, exactly the opposite of Ezra who often found difficulty in mastering the lessons assigned to him. The two, while much alike in build and size, were totally unlike in looks and actions.

One morning, greatly to the surprise and delight of everybody, Ezra appeared in the classroom with one exact half of his face clean shaven and the other still wearing its accustomed hirsute ornament. Seating himself where the smooth side of his face would be toward the professor's table he calmly sat while all the school looked on, giggled and waited. Entered Professor with his accustomed salutation of, "Good Morning." Quiet reigned and the morning exercises were begun. Reading of the scripture, followed by prayer, was completed and then Professor, with a pleased smile and anticipating a new recruit, said: "Ah, I am glad to see that we have a new face among us this morning. We are always glad to have new students. I'll just take your enrollment, if you please. What is your name?"

"I. A. Starn," replied Ezra, solemnly, regardless of the fact that Mr. Starn sat within a few feet of him.

"What?" said Professor, in surprise. "Look this way if you please."

Ezra turned and revealed his physiognomy, as cleanly divided into shaved and unshaven portions as if it had been done by measurement.

"Ezra Goodyear," thundered the Professor. "What do you mean by coming into the class room in that ridiculous condition? Why have you not shaved clean?"

"Well, Professor," drawled Ezra. "You told us that when we heard the bell ring we should stop whatever we were doing and come to class and I just got half shaved when I heard the bell."

Tableau: Professor dumbfounded and uproarous laughter from the school.

The Midnight Bell.

Citizens of the quiet little village were once awakened at midnight by the tolling of a bell. It proved to be the bell on the academy building and its ringing called into activity all the latent energies of the faculty--Prof. J.B. Sending out an S. O. S. for volunteers he soon threw a cordon around the building and slowly but surely began to close in on the daring intruder who was reckless enough to disobey rules and disturb the peace and dignity of the village by tolling a bell at midnight. Cautiously they approached the door of the building and found it open. Onward inward, upward they went. To the second floor, where they found the ladder leading to the attic had been taken away, making it necessary to get another. Finally they reached the belfry where they expected to catch the intruder red handed. Surely they would get him now. But, no, only the string remained. Attached to the clapper of the bell, it passed out between the lattices of the belfry and stretched away in the direction of The. Krysher's stable across the street. That, then, was the rascal's game. He was tolling the bell from a distance in hopes he would not be apprehended. Once more their forces were deployed and noiselessly they surrounded the stable. Closing in, they felt, instinctively, that the game was won. Triumphantly they entered only to find the other end of the string tied to the leg of a calf which caused the bell to toll irregularly as it moved about the stall.

Diligent search and inquiry was made to find out who, of all the boys, had recently purchased wool twine at either of the stores, but no one had, according to the testimony of the store keepers. Later, a voluntary confession by the Trickster cleared up the mystery. He had purchased that twine three months before and kept it hidden in his trunk till the transaction was forgotten. Well planned, half done!

This list of escapades might be prolonged almost indefinitely and the end not then reached. Human activity is a wonderful asset and the boys and girls of Smithville were strictly human. If they had faults they also had virtues. The record of their deeds in the great world is no less interesting than their pranks in school. In youth they were dynamos of potential energy; in manhood, batteries of successful activity. We view their accomplishments with pride and bless the good fortune that made us one of their number. May we ever be as worthy of the honor as we are proud of the distinction.

The story in the following chapter was originally written much more in detail than as here given. Through an unfortunate occurance it was lost in the mails and this excerpt, prepared from notes on the original, does not fully represent the effort made or the matter produced. It serves as a connecting link, however, in the history and experience of the old school.


Miss Emily Noyes

Early in the year 1885 a proposition was made to the citizens of Wadsworth, by Prof. Eberly, to the effect that if they would provide adequate housing facilities and better equipment for the work of his High School, than it enjoyed at Smithville, he would remove the school to the Medina city. After some consideration the citizens decided that the proposition should be met by purchasing, for the use of the school, the old college building, then in disuse and, as soon as possible, to erect, in addition, a new twenty thousand dollar building. Their offer was accepted and, at the opening of the school for the year '85-6, the transfer was made.

The first faculty for the school, in its new location, included Prof. J. B. Eberly, Principal, Prof. F. I. Miller and Prof. J. W. Bricker--all teachers of recognized ability. An enrollment of approximately one hundred marked the opening term. Work was begun in the old college building which was poorly equipped and painfully inadequate to the needs of the school. The promised new building was not provided till in '88. In that same year the school received its charter as "Western Reserve Normal College." The new building provided the much needed facilities for better work and the school entered on a new era of influence and activity. Prof. Eberly, in his first catalogue issued at Wadsworth, said:

"Our school is strictly normal. Each class is made a method or practice
class and students are so trained that they can conduct any recitation in
which they are engaged whenever called upon to do so. If you want to
learn Grammar come here; we make the study so interesting that stud-
dents, in after years, recall the pleasant memories of the Grammar Class.
The same is true of Arithmetic, Elocution, Geography and all other

Some of the advanced students assisted, from time to time, as cadet teachers. The school year was divided into terms of ten, eighteen and ten weeks. Tuition for the year was $24.00 This was increased, in 1900, to $26.00. One hundred dollars paid the expenses of a girl student for one year. This included tuition, board, furnished room, light and heat. Many girls boarded themselves and thus reduced expenses.

Two Literary Societies, the Alpha and the Philotecnic, were maintained and both were well patronized and helpful in training for public speaking. The societies met on alternate weeks and were well attended by young people of the town as well as of the school. A course of lectures during the winter term gave students an opportunity to hear many excellent speakers. An athletic field was provided for sports and games. Attendance increased from year to year. In 1887 the enrollment was 165. In 1890 it was 245. Special classes were maintained for those preparing to teach and many of the surrounding schools drew their teachers from the Normal.

The Musical Department was in charge of Prof. T. M. Holloway, and, under his direction, frequent musical recitals were given. The first graduate from the Musical Department was Isie M. Eberly, daughter of Prof. Eberly, who completed the course in 1888. Five other graduates were given their diplomas that year.

The social life of the school was clean, pure and wholesome. Occasional "Surprise Parties" were permitted and held. From this form of diversion even Prof. Eberly himself was not exempt. The quarter centennial reunion of the school was held at Wadsworth on June 5, 1890. Many old students, from both Smithville and Wadsworth classes, attended.

The class of '92 was the last and largest class graduated by the Western Reserve Normal College and numbered twenty. A new feature of the commencement that year was a Junior Reception and Banquet given in honor of the senior class and faculty. A large stone, with the date, '92, cut upon it, was placed on the College Campus where it still remains. Commencement exercises on June 10, 1892, closed the work of the Western Reserve Normal College. Many of those who studied there are today filling positions of trust and responsibility in many lines and places.

I look back with pleasure to the time spent in the school and to my associations with those whom I met, day by day, in its classes as well as those with whom I was so closely associated in Ladies' Hall. Sometimes perplexing problems arose, but I do not recall a single instance in which anything was intentionally done to cause me personal annoyance. Only the pleasantest memories remain of years I spent in the Western Reserve Normal College.


When Professor Eberly left Smithville in 1885, he did not attempt, nor could he have hoped, to take with him the wholesome desire for better education which his long residence and arduous work in that community had created. As well might he have tried to blot out the light of the noonday sun. Smithville might lose the man but it was inconceivable that it should be willing to also give up the advantages of a good school. It had too long been recognized as a source of financial advantage and intellectual distinction. The village had grown accustomed to the alternate coming in and going out of the student population, like the ebb and flow of the tide. They liked the rollicking, boisterous gayety of term time, interspersed with brief intervals of vacation quiet. To give up the school was to forego not only the pranks, tricks and practical jokes of boy life but the enjoyment of debates, entertainments and financial profits as well. Smithville objected and her objection crystalized itself into form in the organization of another school to take the place of the ones she had lost. It was housed in the same building and conducted along similar lines with customary activities. The acknowledged head and moving spirit of the new enterprise was Prof. P. C. Palmer, a graduate of Mansfield Normal College, and a man of wide experience as a teacher. Prof. Palmer had conducted a Normal School at East Sparta, Ohio, for several years and was recognized as a capable and successful educator. He began his school in Smithville in August, 1885, and continued it on the usual three term plan for a period of four years, from 1885 to 1889.

In the later eighties a wave of prohibition sentiment, known as the Murphy Movement, swept the country and the citizens of Smithville, in common with those of many other communities, undertook to rid their village of saloons. Prof. Palmer joined in the campaign against John Barleycorn with the statement that either the saloons or the school must go. The saloons went, but, with true allegiance to the time honored custom of blaming every neighborhood quarrel upon the school teacher or the minister, certain citizens began a vigorous campaign against Prof. Palmer in revenge for the part he had taken in the banishment of the saloon and did not cease their opposition till he accepted an offer, in 1889, from Fenton, Michigan, and removed to that place.

Among those who faithfully labored with Prof. Palmer, to build up the Smithville School were Mr. W C. Schott, now of New Philadelphia, Mr. Gideon Bixler, afterward teacher of penmanship in Wooster public schools, Miss Sarah Graham, of Menter, Ohio, Miss Nora E. Schidler, Mrs. H. D. Powell, Miss Laura Thomas and others whose names we are unable to recall.

Prof. Palmer died at Fayette, Ohio, March 26, 1901. At the time of his death he was in charge of Fayette Normal University. His widow still lives at Marion, Indiana.


I. Harmon Hershey.

In recalling events of school days of thirty-five years ago, it must be evident that some have gone from memory. It is a trick of the mind to forget the essentials while remembering the trifles. Our experience of recent years, because of the contrast, reminds us of one of the economic conditions of the Palmer period. This was the great value to be obtained for the dollar. However, in those days we were not so much impressed by the purchasing power of money as we were by the difficulty of acquiring it.

The writer has several copies of the Normal Advance of 1888 which, by some mischance, survived the third of a century. It was a small monthly paper published in the interest of the Northern Ohio Normal School, and a conspicuous announcement in each number says that "Twenty-Seven Dollars pays for board, tuition and room rent for a term of ten weeks at the Normal." Whether this meager sum really paid for all this service rendered is in doubt but we can testify to the honesty of the offer. The instruction was of high quality; the rooms were satisfactory and the board must have been the proper diet for a student, because the writer has never since been able to equal the record for weight which he established when boarding under the club plan. The fact that his place was at the end of the table and he got what was left, may or may not explain the interesting phenomenon.

It was because of this generous offer that many ambitious young people of limited means were enabled to obtain the necessary qualifications required for the position of teacher in the district schools and history will show that these district schools, taught by Normal graduates, produced in turn other scholars who became Normal students and who are, today, filling responsible positions in all walks of life.

This lack of money had its beneficial results. The intensive work of the brain, necessary to carry on without it, produced financiers. Our attempts to make the best showing with the means at our command, were not so amusing to us at that time as they seem to be now in retrospect. We were happily spared many of the temptations to spend money that now beset us on every side. We learned self-reliance. We operated our own laundry. A certain type of collar lightened the labor. Our mothers furnished us with a little sewing kit. One young fellow had a pair of tight trousers. That kind of trousers was the style, or it is more probable that they had been the style. One night these trousers were left too near the stove pipe and the heat scorched the end of one leg. A new pair was not to be considered, so the owner, after a little work with needle and thread, went his way with one pant leg shorter than the other. He hoped to meet some man who had legs of unequal length with whom he could dicker for a trade. He found one of this description but, on checking up, it was discovered that, to make the trousers fit, he would be obliged to wear them hind side before.

Another young genius, who is now a wealthy banker and business man, found himself very scarce of presentable neckties. He showed his ability to manipulate by cutting off the clean, flowing end of a tie and sewing it over the shabby part that was visible.

The school terms ended with a lecture, concert or other form of entertainment, to which the admission fee was a quarter, or perhaps a half dollar, it matters little which amount, for we had neither at the end of a term. On one of these occasions a boy friend gave the writer a ticket. It was the only ticket he had but he claimed he could get in "On his face." The concert was in the Assembly Hall on the second floor and the ticket taker was at the top of the stairs. The entertainment was in progress when the writer went up, handed over the cardboard and looked for a seat. He was recalled and asked where he had obtained that ticket. Memory does not confirm it but he should have said, "What is wrong with the ticket? Isn't it all there?" Whereupon, the ticket taker probably would have replied, "That is just the trouble; there is too much of it here," and then he would have shown a handful of tickets all of which had a certain corner clipped off. As the ticket taker was a policeman, there was no room for argument, so the two boys looked for some other form of entertainment that night.

For the teachers of the Northern Ohio Normal School, no words are too strong to tell their praise. They were earnest, self-sacrificing, devoted to their work and the welfare of the students was their serious concern. Professor P. C. Palmer, the principal, was a man of noble qualities. Calm, dignified, able, generous, considerate, he endeared himself to all. Whether in assembly hall, class room, or wheeling potatoes to the club hotel, he was the same, likable man. Miss Sarah A. Graham was one of those women who are born to be teachers. It is a rare quality. From the serious minded students to the mischief makers, all united in highest esteem and praise of her ability to teach the subjects assigned to her. Miss Nora Schidler, whom the boys liked to tease, captured the hearts of all her scholars and the stately Miss Rhodes commanded the respect of all. W. C. Shott had a character as rounded and perfect as the capitals he could so well execute with his pen. Being called to other fields, he was succeeded by H. G. Thresh, who, with his assistant, Miss Ella Wirt, ably sustained the high ideals of the faculty of the Northern Ohio Normal School.

The influence and teachings of these instructors are not to be measured. Together with the many schools of its kind dotted over the three states--Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, it has had a mighty influence in the political development of this section, which may be called the heart of our country. It is the greatest section of the Union. The people are the most intelligent, moral, sound-thinking and can be depended on to stand firm for the right in every crisis. Do you know that of the presidents of the United States elected during the last sixty-five years, this region of Normal Schools furnished seventy-two per cent?

Our social activities were of a promiscuous sort. The hot summer days saw a troop of the younger fellows getting their desired swim in a pond some distance east of the village. The autumn found them frequenting the cider mill and filling their pockets with choice apples from the farmers' wagons. In the winter, there were parties. The year 1888 was noted for its leap year parties. In the spring, base ball had its inning. The one place to which we all made daily pilgrimages, regardless of season or state of weather, was the village postoffice. Letters from home and friends were eagerly watched for.

For many of the students, the last look at the old academy building occured at the end of school days and, to those who returned after the unfortunate fire, there was a keen disappointment in viewing only a vacant site. The regret felt for the loss of the familiar walls is only exceeded by the sorrow we feel at the news that some of our dearest friends of that olden period have gone to their long home.

As memory flits from one to another of the group of faces seen in those happy days, it pauses at the old turnstile and seeks to personify this old landmark that, for years uncounted, guarded the entrance to the campus, except when on Hallowe'en it was removed to the belfry tower or some hiding place for a short season. It reckoned not the passing years, but remained ever youthful; for was it not always inn the midst of a troop of gay and happy, carefree girls and boys who came and went and in their turn were followed by others full of life and hope and dreams? It was a friend to all. Its arms were ever extended to greet the newcomer and to wave a fond farewell to the departing ones. It listed as its friends, teachers, students, townsfolk, visitors, all, nor betrayed the confidences reposed in it. Many meetings of lovers, by chance or otherwise, made of it a trysting place and sweet were the messages it was privileged to hear. To it belonged the rare pleasure of a mutual friend. Although it held the fair co-eds within it arms, no jealous word or look could it provoke among the swains. Many a friendship progressed into love within its domain, some to abide for all time and others to cease when school days ended. While we were studying science, history and the like, the turnstile pondered on hearts and faces and it perceived that the mind of youth stored away in memory those friendships that will never be forgotten and there is a longing that brings them back to the old scenes, fondly hoping to meet once more these friends of long ago.

After the close of the Palmer School in Smithville, an interval of two years ensued during which Smithville High School held no sessions. But the sentiment in favor of a school, though dormant, was not dead. Citizens who realized the value of the institution, as a community asset, were unwilling that it should remain inactive and steps were taken to revive it. After two years of vacation the school was once more reorganized under another head, the story of whose activities and accomplishments will be made the burden of another chapter.


In the autumn of 1891 the Smithville High School was again opened and began its regular work under the leadership of Prof. C. F. English, then pastor of the M. E,. Church of the village, assisted by Prof. J. W. Bricker, a teacher of well known ability and high professional standing. Prof. Bricker had been assistant to Prof. Eberly at Wadsworth the year previous but returned to Smithville to aid in the regeneration of the old High School. On the opening day the enrollment totaled 30 which number gradually increased until it reached 65. The average enrollment of the school, during its three years' of activity, was 45. The aim of the school was to prepare young men and young women for entrance into college and to assist rural teachers in reviews necessary to procure certificates to teach.

The English school offered a liberal elective course but did not graduate or issue diplomas. A large percentage of the pupils enrolled came from Amish-Menonite homes and were deeply imbued with religious sentiment. Prof. English states that, at one time, every pupil in the school, with the exception of three or four, was active in church work and profession of faith. Yet they did not permit church allegiance or religious activity to lessen their devotion to, or activities in, the work of the school. The strong religious sentiment that animated both teachers and pupils in the English school found its outlet in a choice of the ministry and other allied occupations as professional callings. Teaching, as an occupation, was encouraged and the school furnished many earnest and successful teachers for other localities.

In point of attendance and financial results obtained, neither the English School nor the Palmer equalled the original Eberly school. The desire for personal improvement was still as great but times had changed. Young people no longer seemed to crave learning as in the earlier days. Opportunities for education had greatly increased and, as a consequence, were less highly prized. Many were still sent to school but fewer went. Money became more plentiful and opportunities that formerly were earned by service were often purchased with cash or favor. Lofty ambitions and high attainments were less in evidence. Standards were easier of attainment. Aids and conveniences greatly mulitplied. Routine became more frequent and regular and individuality was less frequently noted. The high sense of obligation to duty was, in many cases, sadly lacking and flippancy prevailed to an alarming extent. Multiple effort took the place of individual effort. Clubs, fraternities, sororities and sodalities were organized and encouraged. Added to this growing spirit of indifference came a closer limitation of spheres of activity. High School departments were organized in many of the schools maintained, in part at least, by state aid. Colleges established preparatory departments to fit students for their own particular courses. All these things helped to make the independent high school less popular and prosperous. Attendance grew smaller and, to meet the greater per capita expense, a higher tuition had to be charged. Instruction, though just as thorough and valuable, was discounted because of the strenuous personal effort necessary to digest and assimilate it. Young folks craved easier methods, shorter courses, greater publicity, more stage setting and less hard application. The prevailing idea was to, "Get through," not to "Get wisdom" and sometimes, even, to get a mediocre preparation and go out to face the world and its work but little more than half fitted for the work to be done.

In the midst of these discouragements, calls for additional service and self-denial in the ministerial field were continually coming to Prof. English and at last, rather than cripple two noble and worthy callings by the division of effort their interests seemed to demand, he gave up the school in order to devote his entire time to his ministerial duties. It had never been his intention to give up, entirely, the work of the ministry for the duties of the school room. The two enterprises were expected to go hand in hand to a complete fulfillment of their ultimate possibilities. When it became apparent that greater development of the two distinct services must soon bring them to a point beyond which human effort could not reasonably hope to follow, he relinquished the school in order that he might develop greater efficiency in his original service of the ministry and Prof. Bricker, his able assistant, decided not to continue the work alone.

The English period of Smithville High School closed with the end of the spring term in 1894, and, for a period of two years, the educational field of that community lay tenantless awaiting the day when a new Joshua, strong enough to overcome opposition, prejudice and the combined forces of ignorance and evil, would arise to rally its scattered forces and lead them to battle and to victory. Meanwhile the flying shuttles in the loom of time were weaving into the fabric a design wholly at variance with that in the minds of those who watched and waited.

Rev. English now lives at Denver, Ross County, Ohio, whence he serves a circuit of six churches in that county and Pike County adjoining. His ministry to them is precious and helpful and, "He that goeth forth with weeping bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him."