Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

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Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 19 of 227)
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READING FREE LIBRARY— PAGE aio




ADMINISTRATION BUILDING OF READING SCHOOL DISTRICT-PAGE a03



EDUCATION IN COUNTY



55



early part of 1755 to secure the benefit of these
contributions so as to establish some of the schools,
and Schlatter accordingly organized a school at each
of the places named.

But the charity schools proved an. utter failure,
and Schlatter was personally the chief sufferer.
His official position as superintendent rendered him
the main object of popular hatred, though for a
time the Lutheran and Reformed ministers had sus-
tained him. The German people lost confidence in
this undertaking through the denunciations of Chris-
topher Sauer, who asserted in his German news-
paper (published at Germantown) that these schools
were intended to prepare the way for establishing
the Church of England in this part of the province,
and in this way it was believed Schlatter's influ-
ence was entirely destroyed.

Common Schools. — Various and repeated legis-
lative attempts were made toward general educa-
tion throughout the State, and they gradually devel-
oped a public sentiment in its behalf until finally
there was established the compulsory system, pro-
vided by the Act of 1849, which was improved by
the Act of 1854.

The Constitution of 1776 had provided that "a
school or schools shall be established in each county
by the Legislature for the convenient instruction
of youth, with such salaries to the masters paid by
the public as may enable them to instruct youth at
low prices"; and that of 1790: "The Legislature
shall, as soon as conveniently may be, provide by
law for the establishment of schools throughout the
State in such manner that the poor may be taught
gratis." This provision continued in the fundamen-
tal law of the State unchanged until the new Con-
stitution of 1873, when it was modified as follows :
"The General Assembly shall provide for the main-
tenance and support of a thorough and efficient sys-
tem of public schools wherein all the children of
this Commonwealth above the age of six years may
be educated, and shall appropriate at least one mil-
lion dollars each year for that purpose."

A great weakness in its early history was the
incompetency of teachers. Educated men and wom-
en of experience in teaching could not be obtained
because duty to themselves and to their families
obliged them to labor in vocations which afforded
better remuneration; and a pronounced opposition,
on account of burdensome and unjust taxation to
support the system, discouraged those 'who felt in-
clined to teach. But a greater weakness than in-
competent teachers existed. It was the distinctive
feature of the public schools and of the children
attending them, for they were called "pauper
schools," and "pauper scholars," and this made them
odious to the very class that was to be principally
benefited.



In 1833, when the State contained about eight
hundred thousand children, less than twenty-five
thousand attended the common schools — just one
in thirty-one, or about three per cent, notwithstand-
ing the offer of education at the public expense.
But in 1883, the State contained about two million
children ; and the number attending common schools
was over nine hundred and fifty thousand, nearly
one-half, an increase of sixteen-fold in fifty years.

The general system, provided by the act of 1834,
is attributable to a society which was organized at
Philadelphia in 1827. The express object of this
society was general education throughout the State,,
and its efforts, after laboring in this behalf for seven
years against bitter opposition, culminated in the
passage of the act mentioned. In 1835 a great ef-
fort was made to repeal this act, but it failed. The
credit of preserving the system at that time is given
' to Governor George Wolf and Hon. Thaddeus
Stevens.

System Accepted by Districts. — The following
statement shows the year when the several districts
of the county accepted the common school system:



Reading 1834

Caernarvon 1834

Robeson ! 1836

Union 1836

Womelsdorf 1836

Ruscombmanor 1837

Colebrookdale 1838

Hamburg 1838

Kutztown 1838

Marion 1839

Hereford 1845

Alsace 1849

Exeter 1849

Heidelberg 1849

Maiden-creek 1849

Amity 1850

Bern 1850

Brecknock 1850

Cumru 1850

Douglass 1850

Heidelberg, Lower. . . . 1850
Heidelberg, North .... 1850
Oley 1850



Rockland . . ' 1850

Spring 1850

Tulpehocken 1850

Washington 1850

Windsor 1850

Bern, Upper 1851

Bernville 1851

Centre 1851

Earl 1851

Greenwich 1851

Longswamp 1851

Muhlenberg 1851

Ontelaunee 1851

Penn 1851

Perry 1851

Pike 1851

Maxatawny 1852

Bethel 1854

Richmond 1854

Albany 1855

Jefferson 1855

Tulpehocken, Upper ..1855



All the districts had accepted the system of 1834
before the' compulsory provision had gone into ef-
fect, excepting District township, which held out
until 1867, refusing in the meantime to accept the
State appropriation. The districts subsequently es-
tablished, accepted the system at the time of their
erection.

Pleasantville was established as a separate district
out of Oley township in 1857.
_ Altogether the districts in the county number
sixty-one.

In 1854, the schools numbered 363, and the schol-
ars 10,116 ; in 1884, the schools, 599, and the schol-
ars, 26,848 ; and in 1908, the schools, 855, and the
scholars, 28,340.



56



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

TABULAR STATEMENT FOR SCHOOL YEAR ENDING JUNE 1, 1908





Schools


Teachers


Scholars


Tax and Rate
Per Cent












s


s








B






K
































































B


^






O




ss


m


Districts




o


tn


41


■-M


Mh


w


<u


-J
















ra






u














.a


II


C3

s


s






CD

B


s

<L)


Ur


J3
O


If












«4-l


« ti




Ut






g













§


o


as


o

(30 =


o

I-


O














> -


s


s






^


■a




1


1^


ffl U 5




<


!z:


Z


<J


<


z


i




u


^


fSj



Albany 12

Alsace G

Alsace, Lower 4

Amity 10

Bechtelsville S

Bern 12

Bernville 2

Bern, Upper 6

Bethel 15

Birdsboro 11

Boyertown 9

Brecknock 6

Caernarvon 7

Centre 9

Centreport 1

Colebrookdale 9

Cumru .■ . . 26

District 4

Douglass S

Earl (i

Exeter 15

Fleetwood 5

Greenwich 11

Hamburg 12

Heidelberg 10

Heidelberg, North,... 5

Heidelberg, Lower.... 21

Hereford 8

Jefferson 7

Kutztown 4

Lenhartsville 1

Longswamp 16

Maiden-creek 11

Marion 7

Maxatawny 15

Mohnton 7

Mount Penn 3

Muhlenberg 13

Oley 13

Ontelaunee 9

Penn S

Perry 12

Pike 6

Pleasantville, Ind 1

Reading 331

Richmond 14

Robeson 17

Rockland S

Ruscombmanor

.Spring 10

Tilden

Topton 3

Tulpehocken 14

Tulpehocken, Upper. . . S

Union

Washi'ngton 9

West Leesport 3

West Reading 7

Windsor 5

Womelsdorf

Wyomissing 3



7
8
7
7
9
9
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
9
7
9
7.S7

7.15
7
7
9
S

7.06
7

7.14
7

7.14
9
7

7.07
7.11
7.25
7.12
7
7
10
7



7

7.42
7
S.33

7

7
7
8
8
7
9



5

1
6
2
5
15
3
4
6
1
7

2
52
4
3
6
8
3
5
4
4
3
12



1

5

12

4



4
1

14
2
6
7
7

10
5
2
9



4

10

1

2

7
1
5
4
4
2

317

12

11

1



46.(
47.50

48.00
60.00
43.33
50.00
50.00
47.66
58.34
56.25
45.00
60.00
44.28

45.00
47.27
42.50
43.33
48.33
48.75
60.00
48.00
56.25
55.00
50.00
52.32
50.00
50.00
60.00
50.00
53.00
43.33
52,05
48.00
60.66
55.00
50.00
50.42
65.00
51.72
53.50
45.00
60.00
111.04
46.10
40.66
45.71
47.14
48.50
50,00
51,50
47.78
47.14

45.00
50.00
55.83
48.33
85.00



$46.66

48.75
42.00
60.00
41.68

60.00

50,56
50,00

42.03
45.00
40.00
45.71
45.00

40.00

43.56
60.00
43.33
50.00
46.60
40.00
46.60
43.33
50.00
60.00

48.00
43.76
46.25
47.00
50.00
50.00
44.29
40.00
44.00
45.17
40.00
50.00

52.51
45.00
46.00
50.00
60.00
46.66
50.00
50.00
44.00
40.00
44.44
43.33
60.00
47.50
40.00
50.00
52.55



162


167


87


88


SO


88


56


57


93


151


129


78


47


31


93


169


148


88


22


24


93


89


81


95


201


183


91


235


222


93


185


217


94


78


62


87


38


102


74


148


129


88


14


19


93


163


136


87


477


647


92


66


55


86


125


105


90


96


84


89


306


271


91


103


120


93


166


154


91


240


226


96


141


151


89


06


62


90


322


282


01


133


99


88


71


76


96


97


ino


95


11


12


96


222


208


89


169


157


89


84


87


91


214


ISS


92


148


151


90


73


62


96


276


253


88


334


194


94


127


131


89


107


106


93


180


155


86


86


76


89


22


27


94


0,593


6,631


90


199


170


82


235


214


86


140


113


87


123


107


90


270


243


90


115


99


90


77


65


94


179


105


89


113


97


91


110


110


86


135


111


88


30


43


90


161


144


90


76


79


90


89


124


93


52


65


80



8,34 304



$51.51



$46.25



$1.99


6


$3,813.26


1.31


5


1,481.10


2.01


5


1,924.71


2.00


3


2,666.38


1.71


4.5


724.26


2.28


3


3,484.71


2.87


7


918.42


2.19


3.5


1,632.99


2.56


4.25


4,066.35


2.05


5


8,848.21


1.57


6.5


6,926.37


2.74


3


1,353.78


1.62


4


2,808.78


1.82


3


2,414.83


1.86


3.5


30S.13


1.88


3.5


2,460.62


1.53


2.5


10,924.95


1.41


4.0


968.00


1.86


6


2,445.27


2.18


5


1,429.19


1.47


3


5,115.73


2.40


5


2,943.41


2.22


4


2,914.76


1.68


5


6,335.65


2.14


2.5


4,284.44


2.51


3


1,442.03


2.27


4


8,668.68


3.09


3.5


2,045.69


1.77


2.6


1,440.07


1.35


2.5


4,229.31


2.50


4


281.04


3.25


6.5


7,040.00


2.28


3.35


3,492.95


2.33


2


2,035.23


2.10


3.5


4,622.22


1.55


7


3,214.30


2.22


4


2,573.51


1.32


2


3,290.56


1.8S


2.5


3,564.31


1.75


4


2.940.57


2.60


4


2,660.58


1.32


3.6


4,451.96


2.22


5


1,401.15


1.09


2


315.27


1.68


4


230.938.60


2.15


3.5


3.844.52




4


4,311. 4S


1.70


6


2,575.28


2. OS


5


1,972.25


2.28


3.5


6,076.43




4


2,074.70


1.33


4


1.411.62


2.57


3.5


3,548.01


2.11


4


1,977.23


1.45


5


3,121.21


2. OS


3


2, 196.11


2.37


6


969.23


1.01


5.5


3,575.86


1.81


2.25


l.OoS.70


1.90


6


3,838.49




3.5


3.876.87



S'hillington included still with Cumru, not having been erected.



$1.97



4.06 $419,790.28



Note; State appropriation to districts of county. $139,630.84; of which $64,155.80 to Reading

Total estimated value of school projierty in county, $i. 180,100. and in State, $90, 303,311

Total receipts in county for school |)urposes, $738,178; teachers' wages, $375,034; total expenditures



$620,080.



EDUCATION IN COUNTY



57



Lecture on Weiser. — Extracts taken from the
compiler's lecture on the "Life of Conrad Weiser,"
delivered in different parts of the county during
1891, 1892 and 1893, by way of describing the
direction and influence of the educational system
of the State on the people of Berks county :

The general education of the people of Berks county
has been going on continuously from the time of the
first settlements until now. Starting at a time when a
considerable population was settled in all sections of the
county, say in 1752 when it was erected as a political
organization in the State, and extending over a period
embracing a century, the education of the people through
the instrumentality of schools was confined to the rudi-
ments, that is, the ordinary accomplishments which en-
abled them to carry on industrial and social affairs in
a successful manner. It was rather of a practical nature,
and therefore more inclined to the useful than the orna-
mental. A common education consisted of a general abil-
ity to read, write and cipher, and to talk in the English
language reasonably well, and this was regarded as suffi-
cient for the ordinary demands of life.

In 1752, schools were scattered in all the sections of
the county. There were several in a township, and the
scholars farthest distant were about five miles off. There
was no taxation for school purposes. Each scholar paid
two or more cents a day, according to studies, and the
teacher earned about a dollar a day. The buildings were
ordinary structures, built mostly of stone or log. The
money expended was made to reach as far as possible.
The education obtained was necessarily of a simple nature,
so as to be easily acquired. Everything connected with
it was expressive of economy. This idea stood out very
prominently, and it had a good effect upon the manners
and habits of the people. The perceptive faculties were
more active than the imaginative. Labor was king, not
education. Labor was regarded as the foundation of ev-
erything, and education only as a means for facilitating
its intelligent direction. Everybody labored — men and boys
at farming and industrial pursuits, women and girls in
household affairs. It was labor that produced and im-
proved, and economy that multiplied results. Hence the
county grew- rapidly. There was little or no waste. No-
tions and practices of this kind prevailed in a general
way until about 1854.

Then a uniform system of education was established
by the State government and this has prevailed since.
It has been encouraged by increasing annual appropria-
tions for school purposes. The enormous amount for the
year 1893 ($6,000,000) shows the people's extraordinary
spirit of liberality towards general education. In the in-
terior districts, the school buildings have not advanced
much beyond the buildings of 1854, but those of the cities,
even of some of the towns, show a remarkable growth in
size and appearance. By comparison of general results,
it will be found that the system of 1854 has inclined in this
time more towards the ornamental than the useful. The
scholars are led to devote too much time and energy to
information that they do not use, and are not expected
to use in the ordinary associations of life; also to matters
and things that are too much disposed to develop the
imaginative faculties rather than the perceptive.

In this way the love of labor has come to lose its hold
upon a large proportion of the people, and consequently
labor is no longer king. The spirit of education has grown
so much that it is of more consequence than the spirit
of labor. Through it the school children are getting to
be more and more inclined to settle in employments that
are designed to produce or serve things for ornament
rather than use, and they are running more towards
clerking, soliciting, negotiating and kindred employments
which require earnest action of the mind rather than of
the body far beyond the natural and equitable demands
of society. And the sustenance of this increasing number
with their numerous magnified wants is obtained at the



expense of the physical exertions of a large proportion
of the people. This has been stimulated to such a degree
that it has become burdensome in a very appreciable man-
ner.

A growing inequality in various ways is more and more
apparent, especially in respect to property, money and
income, and the influences which they exert; and as this
inequality grows on the one hand, extravagance manifests
itself on the other, indeed, to such an extent that it is
commonly regarded as necessary to social existence. A
prominent desire, flowing from this inequality, is to profit
by the labor of others without mental or -physical exer-
tions; and though this is admittedly a great disadvantage
against the industrious element of any community it is
justified and encouraged without the slightest compunc-
tion. A desire growing entirely too common is to , fill
an office, exercise municipal power and dispose of public
funds, all of which lead the mind and conscience away
from .a just conception of industry and from the real
value of money. And another injurious desire, not only
in Berks county but elsewhere, is the migration of many
industrious people from country districts to populous
places where equality, comfort and contentment are not
half of what they formerly enjoyed. Decrease of popula-
tion in townships and increase of it in the cities is a bad
indication for the general welfare. Evidently some evil
influence is at work that produces such a result in social
affairs.

This general tendency must be changed. It must be
guided into the channel that was occupied naturally be-
fore 1854. Labor m,ust be restored to its position as the
recognized king. The practical must be studied and en-
couraged in preference to the ornamental ; and the devel-
opment of the perceptive faculties must receive a larger
share of consideration than the imaginative. Each one
of us should be so taught as to .obtain a proper idea of
industry and to feel the absolute necessity of contributing
his share of useful labor in the production of things of
real, not speculative value. And industrial affairs should
be so conducted, or rather they should be permitted to
so regulate themselves without legislation or other inter-
ference, that the small communities shall have equal op-
portunities with populous cities in the race of progress.
The question may well be asked : Can this be accomp-
lished? If so, how is it to be done?

I would answer through our schools by teaching branch-
es of knowledge that can be utilized by the scholars when
they come to act for themselves and that will fit them
for the stations which they may be expected to occupy;
through a proper conception of the importance of labor
and of local rights, and a uniform desire to co-operate in
the several affairs of life ; and also through lecturing on the
character of men and women who have been useful, just
and honorable to the communities in which they lived.
In this behalf I have selected Conrad Weiser as a proper
subject for our consideration. By studying his career
we shall find for our guidance the useful things of life
rather than the ornamental. The former constitute the
basis of general association and incline us to co-operate
with one another in individual and social affairs ; but the
latter create a spirit of rivalry and incline us to strike
out for ourselves regardless of consequences to others.

Ornamental education has been to us for some years
a proud and presumptuous mistress, but we have come
td find at last that she has misdirected our efforts and
generosity and misled many of us away from the sta-
tions for which we were adapted by nature and associa-
tion. Through her a great , many persons have drifted
into unproductiveness, idleness, or restlessness to such
a degree that it behooves us to stop and see if we cannot
find what steps must be taken to restore useful industry
and produce general contentment. Investigation and re-
flection will lead us to conclude that labor must be sub-
stituted as master in the place of education as mistress.
In this way only can we come to adopt and hold on to
the useful and practical, and to transmit our individuality
to future generations.



58



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



Educational Purpose of \'\^eisee Lecture. — An
introduction to the compiler's lecture, explanatory
of his purpose, was published and distributed with
the lecture under the auspices of the Reading Board
of Trade in 1893, and the forcibleness and truthful-
ness of his remarks at that time, sixteen years ago,
will be appreciated by studying the condition of edu-
cational, political and industrial affairs at the pres-
ent time, in the year 1909. The introduction was as
follows :

The tendency of the times for some years has been
against the uniform development of the districts that con-
stitute larger divisions of territory, as counties and States.
Like the draining waters of creeks and rivers into the
ocean without artificial impediments — as in the primeval
period when mechanical power was not demanded — in-
dustries, wealth, and population have been drifting,' or
rather drained, toward great centers, such as Boston. New
York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, St.
Louis and San Francisco. It is even to be noticed in
inJand counties like Berks, Lebanon and Lehigh, for the
county-seats are growing so rapidly that they are com-
ing to have the major part of assessed property and popu-
lation, notwithstanding the area of territory occupied is
comparatively limited. Political and social influences are
thereby developed in channels leading to personal distinc-
tion rather than general welfare. In this way too much
power is permitted to settle gradually but surely in
certain persons, and their individual judgment is taken
as public opinion. This is against the substantial inter-
ests and prosperity of the people taken as an organized
body.

General education and government have been carried on
for many years by a prescribed system for the general
advantage of all the inhabitants. The manifest design
of this legislation was to build up the parts which con-
stitute the whole, on the theory that if the several parts
be recognized for intelligence and self government the
whole must necessarily be distinguished in these respects.
But with all our State and local appropriations for the
purposes of education and government, many parts are
found to be deteriorating, while only few are improving.
This is particularly noticeable in respect to property, pop-
ulation and social influence ; and in respect to individual-
ity, co-operation, confidence and reliability, the average
development is not what we have a right to expect in
return for the taxes levied and expenditures made. Elect-
ors contribute their share of the taxes to enable the several
parts or districts to be successfully maintained and devel-
oped, but the substantial and uniform local benefits for
which the taxes are assented to without complaint are not
realized.

Steam and electricity have latterly become so important
in the development of industry for the superfluities of
life, and capital and speculation have concentrated so
largely in metropolitan places, from which they exert
a most extraordinary influence over the manners, cus-
toms and desires of society, reaching out hundreds if
not thousands of miles, that little hope can be entertained
of effecting a change by the discussion of local rights
in the interior parts of Pennsylvania ailong the moun-
tains, I mean such a change as would give to labor a due
proportion of its products in the districts where it is
carried on.

The waters rise not in the mountains simply to flow
on to the sea without advantage to the people as they
pass, nor are men and women intended to establish do-
mestic relations in the interior parts of the country sim-
ply to permit their offspring to be drawn away to swell
the population of great cities, nor are they expected to
work and practice rigid economy simply to give the real
benefits to financiers and speculators far removed from
the seat of industry ; but they are designed to serve a
more direct purpose in the affairs of mankind. The nat-



ural results would be more advantageous to the locality
if they were not commonly and persistently drawn away
by selfish manipulations. A true conception of local rights
would greatly modify these manipulations in such a man-
ner as to encourage plans and schemes of distribution that
would produce a imiform appreciation and development of
the general rights, privileges and conveniences of the people.
Circumstances, sometimes accidental, but mostly the result
of deliberation, may enable a man or body of men to take
an unfair advantage over others, whether as neighbors
of the same locality, or as fellow citizens of adjoining or
distant localities, but in the short span of a life-time this
advantage will be found to result eventually in a disad-
vantage of some kind, either of a personal or general
nature.

Our education being intended for social elevation, and
our government for political equality, the former should
incline us to be just and fraternal, and the latter in all



Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 19 of 227)