Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 81 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 81 of 192)
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books amounting to $11,695.80. On the basis

of the total enrollment of 6,850 for 1893-94,
the cost per pupil for the first supply of such
books was, therefore, $1.71. For the year
1894-95 the Board made additional purchases
to meet the deficiencies of the previous year
amd the increased enrollment of the current
j'ear, and supply books lost or destroyed on
account of contagious diseases, amounting to
$8,935.83, at a cost of fifty-seven cents per
pupil of the total enrollment. The cost of
books to the Board is about one-third less than
it would be to individuals.

The course of study extends through eleven
" years," seven of which, below the High
school, are divided into " half-years." Each
"half-year" is distinctly outlined, and each
scholar below the High school is graded in one-
half of some year, as "first year, first half;"
third year," " second half." etc.

The studies of the course below the High
school embrace numbers and arithmetic, lan-
guage — English and German — composition,
grammar, geography, history, music and in-
dustrial drawing.

The High school is broad and liberal, allow-
ing great freedom in the selection of studies,
and enabling students, who so desire, to pre-
pare with honor for the highest institutions of
learning in the country.

The fall and winter term begins Septem-
ber 2, 1895, and ends January 81, 1896. The
spring term begins February 3, 1896, and ends
June 26, 1896.

It has been the policy of the board to keep
the school buildings, out-houses, yards and sur-
roundings up to a high standard of neatness
and cleanliness, thus preventing, in large
measure, the spread of epidemic diseases.

It is worthy of note that the outer sections
of the city are as well supplied with school
accommodations as the central and more
wealthy portions.

Pupils, as a rule, are assigned to the school
nearest their homes, until they are ready for a
higher department.


The Teachers' Institute has been a source
of power in the improvement of the schools
since 1858. The sessions are well attended
and much interest is shown. The outline of
work is to improve teachers as individuals and
as instructors.



Out of the 186 teachers in 1895 all were
women but 7.

In 1882 the primary departments were ma-
terially strengthened by the appointment of a
supervisor of primary instruction.

The Board, by special action in March,
1883, made it impossible for persons without
successful experience or professional training
to be engaged as teachers, and established the
policy that a teacher's promotion and salary
shall depend upon the efficiency shown in the

The Mechanical Drawing School was or-
ganized in January, 1884. Drawing was in-
troduced into the evening schools, however, as
long ago as October, 1873.

The Teachers' Training Class, organized
in September, 1883, was composed of gradu-
ates of the High school of good standing, and
any others who had passed through a similar
course of study with credit, who wished to be-
come teachers. It was abolished in July, 18y5,
with the understanding that it is to be revived
in the fall of 1896, under the control of an ex-
pert training teacher.

Although music was on the programme
of the schools prior to 1868, in many depart-
ments little or nothing was done. In No-
vember, 1868, a special teacher was engaged,
and soon the singing in the schools assumed a
creditable phase.

Evening schools were organized in 1867.

A school for deaf mutes was opened Jan-
uar)% 1875, which lasted for several years.

German was made a special optional
branch of study in 1877. It has been taught
in the schools to a more or less extent, since


Below is a list of the teachers who have
been employed for ten years or more — the fig-
ures showing the years of their appointment :

Minnie Atkins, 1876.

Amy Barnette, 1871.

Lizzie Bryan, 1874.

James R. Burns, 1877.

Millie Brown, 1883.

Jennie Brown, 1883.

Daisy Boyd, 1885.

Susie Culver, 1879.

Lena Coughlin, 1885.

Jennie Douglass, 1876.

Mrs. Susan Fean, 1875.
Maria Farlev, 1881.
Mrs. Fisk, 1883.
Sarah Fletcher, 1885.
Sophia Gaggin, 1870.
Mary Golden, 1871.
Matilda Gaskell, 1881.
Celestia Hershey, 1873.
Libbie Hanlon, 1874.
Sarah Hubley, 1874.
Estelle Hutchins, 1879.
Madalena Hay, 1884.
Anna Hamilton, 1885.
Elizabeth Johnson, 1877.
Clara Johannessen, 1884.
A. C.Kilbourne, 1866.
Lucinda Kelsey, 1876.
Margaret King, 1879.
Emma Kerber, 1881.
Ada Love, 1874.
Susie Love, 1878.
Jennie Leo, 1884.
HattieMoorhead, 1873.
Emma Miller, 1884.
Sophronia Olds, 1877.
Mary O'Dea, 1885.
Mary Payne, 1869.
Mrs. Fierce, 1881.
Lizzie Probert, 1882.
Mary Pressly, 1885.
Mattie Rudd, 1867.
Emma Seay, 1867.
Mrs. L. M. Smith, 1872.
Anna Sterrett, 1874.
Ida Salisbury, 1876.
Nettie Stiles, 1879.
Lillian Slocum, 1879.
Julia Siegel, 1881.
Jennie Sullivan. 1881.
Carrie Sturgeon, 1884.
Adelia Smith, 1884.
Inez Torrey, 1877.
Frances Taylor, 1882.
Getta Taylor, 1885.
Henrietta Taylor, 1885.
Mary Wagner, 1873.
Belle Winchell, 1879.
Rose Whitney, 1879.
Rose Willing, 1880.
George Zwilling, 1884.

teachers' salaries.
The annual salaries paid to teachers per
year in 1894-'5 were as follows :



Hig-h School $400 to $1,600

Primary Grades —

First Year Teachers 350 to 500

Assistant 250 to 350

Second Year Teachers 300 to 400

Assistants 250 to 300

Third Year Teachers 320 to 420

Grammar Grades —

Fourth Year Teachers 350 to 450

Fifth Year Teachers 380 to 480

Sixth Year Teachers 400 to 500

Seventh Year Teachers 430 to 530

Assistants 250 to 300

Principals, 4 rooms 500 to 550

Principals, 6, 7 and 8 rooms, non-Gram-
mar 570 to 620

Principals, 8 rooms. Grammar 600 to 700

German 270 to 500

Music 650

Drawing- 500

Mechanical Drawing School 450


The following table of comparisons is of
value as showing the growth of the schools
and the relative cost of the same :

1870. 1880. 1890. 1895.

Population of city 19,646 27.737 40.634 48.000

Number of pupils enrolled 3 500 4,244 5.440 7 223

Average daily attendance . 2.046 2.911 4,352 5 a58

Pupils in HiRh School .... 166 245 311 491

High school Graduates.... 11 17 29 62

No. of teachers employed. 58 100 154 188
Amount of tax collected . . .»47,999.65 *52,578 08 »95,051.13 *125,276.90

Amount State appropriafn 2,002.93 5,722.02 8.529.30 36.336.96

Value of school property 293,000 440,000 651,900


On Columbus Day, October 21, 1892, the
entire schools of the city — public, private and
parochial — turned out in procession, and, led
by the National Guard and the veterans of the
war, marched through the principal streets,
preliminary to the more formal exercises. It
is computed that 7,944 children were in line,
and the scene was one that will never be for-
gotten by those who witnessed it.

The National Flag is hoisted on the
schools regularly in each year on the days be-
low mentioned : The Fourth of July, Labor
Day, Opening of Schools, 10th of Septem-
ber, October 19th, Thanksgiving, Christmas,
New Year's, 12th of February, 22d of Febru-
ary, 19th of April, Decoration Day (half-
mast), 14th of June.

The afternoon of the 21st or 23d of Feb-
ruary of each year, as may be determined by
the Superintendent, is set apart for special
exercises under the head of " The Nation's
Day," at which time the life and services of
Washington and his compeers, are commemo-

rated by music, recitations, declamations and


The School Board of Erie in office at the
beginning of 1895, are entitled to the honor
of taking the lead in securing the Free Public
Library law, which forms a portion of the
statutes of Pennsylvania. The law, substan-
tially as enacted, was drafted by a citizen of
Erie, aided by a former well-known school
director, submitted to the Board on February
7, 1895, unanimously endorsed by that body,
and forwarded to Harrisburg, with a circular
from the Board to each member of the Legis-
lature, asking him to support its passage.
Through the influence of Senator McCrearey
and Representative Gould, both of Erie, it
passed both Houses by a handsome vote, and,
on being laid before Governor Hastings, re-
ceived his prompt and hearty approval. Few
measures have ever been enacted in Pennsyl-
vania that reflect more credit upon the State,
and it is a matter of pride to know that it had
its birth in Erie, and owes its passage mainly
to the efforts of Erie people.

The School Board, on the evening of De-
cember 5, 1895, elected the following gentle-
men Trustees of the Library proposed to be
established in Erie under the law referred to :

For one year — Louis Rosenzweig, Dr. M.
C. Dunigan ; for two years — J. F. Downing,
L. M. Little; for three years — Charles Jarecki,
Benjamin Whitman.


This venerable place of learning was in-
corporated by the Legislature March 25, 1817,
Rev. Robert Reid, R. S. Reed, Robert Brown,
Thomas Forster, Thomas Wilson, John C.
Wallace, Judah Colt, Thomas H. Sill and
Giles Sanford being its first trustees. It was
endowed by the state with 500 acres of land
set apart at the sale of the " Reserved Tracts,"
adjoining Erie, for the use of schools and
academies. To this was subsequently added
fifteen lots between Fourth, Fifth, Myrtle and
Chestnut streets as a site for the Academy.
In 1820 an appropriation of $2,000 was made
by the State for the erection of suitable build-
ings. Later, by permission of the Legislature,
the site was changed to its present location on
Peach, between Ninth and Tenth streets, which



was purchased by the trustees from Enoch

The institution was incorporated as " an
academy or public school for the education of
youth in the English and other languages, in
the useful arts, sciences and literature." On
the 11th of December, 1822, a stone school
building, commenced the previous year, was
finished and accepted. It cost |2,500, and
was opened in April, 1823. Upon the burn-
ing of the courthouse in March, 1823, this
building was used by the Courts until the erec-
tion of a new courthouse. In 1849, 1850,
1851 and 1852 a fair was held on the academy

The Academy reached the zenith of its
prosperity about 1844, while in charge of the
well remembered principal, Reid T. Stewart.
The attendance in that year was 203, em-
bracing pupils from a wide scope of country.
Below is a list of those from Erie county :

Females— Ella Babbitt, Antoinette M.
Brown, Mary and Sarah Brewster, Catherine
Benedict, Eliza P. Ball, Sophia M. and
Harriet M. Chester, Sarah Dillon, Sarah
Davenport, Jane Dickson, Charlotte Downes,
Catherine E. Fleming, Annette J. Gunnison,
P. M. Hutchison, Emily K. Hallock, Hannah
and Isabella Heck, Anna Hughes, Mary E.
Hancock, Catherine R. Johns, Louisa Jones,
Margaret, Sarah J. and Lavinia S. Jackson,
Mary J. Kelley, Ellen Kain, Lavinia Klinken-
broomer, Martha A. and Jane E. Lapham,
Martha M. Lamberton, Susan Lytle, Malvina
Look, Mary J., Margaret, Emeline and Susan
Mehaffey, Adelaide P. and Harriet A. Mc-
Allister, Margaret McCracken, Jane Moore,
Mary Jane McClelland, Frances C. Newton,
Susannah Neely, Virginia W. Ottinger,
Maria Pogson, Jennette L. Reid, Adelaide
Ross, Anna Rhodes, Sarah A. Reynolds,
Harriet G. Reed, Mary Jane and Melvina
Spencer, Elizabeth W. Shirk, Caroline Snow,
Sarah Slocum, LucyE. and Eleanor SpafFord,
Elizabeth, Mary E. and Frances Scott, Matil-
da M. and Anna M. Tracy, Sarah G. Thomp-
son, Blanche Vincent, Caroline M., Helen
M., Cordelia L. and Sarah Jane Williams,
Rosina M. Winchell, Susan and Josephine

Males — Samuel M Anderson, Andrew
Adams, Henry W. Babbitt, Wm. Brewster,
Geo. C. Bennett, Ebenezer Backus, Elias
Bayle, Asa Battles, Carneal, Frederick, Henry

and John Benson, John Berriman, Hiram L.
and James Brown, Patrick and Thomas
Brunker, William Blaine, Depello R. Bates,
Andrew Caughey, Wm. N. Couse, Ezekiel
Chambers, Patrick Crawter, Andrew and
Wm. Culbertson, Wm. Camp, Norman Court-
right, Amos and Thos. Dillon, John W.
Douglass, Marcus D. Dobbins, Wm. Daven-
port, Jos. G. Ebersole, John Eliot, Wm. F.
Fleming, Richard F. Gaggin, James Graham,
Jas. L. Grav, Abijah George, Hiram Green-
wood, Henry Gifford, Myron A. Hays, Au-
gustus F., Frederick and Henry Harvey, T. J.
Hoskinson, G. W. and Samuel Himrod, Alex,
and George Hamilton, Albert Hardy, James
C. Hart, Thos. S. Heck, John and James
Hancock, William and Samuel Johns, James
Jackson, Geo. F. King, Ralph R. Kellogg,
Dennis Kelsey, David Kendall, Johnson and
Nixon Kennedy, John Kelley, Wilson Laird,
Henry Law, James Lyndes, John Lytle, James
and F. F. Marshall, Isaac Moorhead, Edward
A., Charles and Thomas Mehaffey, John Mel-
horn, Hugh D. and Dvi^ight J. McCann, David
McCreary, Neal and Archibald McFadyen,
Thomas McConkey, James McCracken,
Wheeler and Charles Pollock, Oscar Park,
John Quinn, Edward Reynolds, John W.
Riddell, John C. Reid, James and Joseph
Sill, George Selden, James W. Shirk, Samuel
Sterrett,Charles.C. SpafFord, Albert and Brad-
ley Sennett, Benjamin Stevens, Charles and
William Sherwood, William and Winfield
Scott, J. Ross Thompson, Charles Tracy, Geo.
W. Taggart, Joseph S. Tuttle, Alvanus
Thayer, Abram VanTassel, Strong Vincent,
Charles and Edward Vosburgh, John W. and
Thomas M. Walker, John H. Warren, Thos.
P. Wight, Ephraim'Willard, Francis Win-
chell, John Youngs.

In 1878 the academy buildings were re-
modeled and modernized. The old stone and
brick structure gave place to an edifice sur-
mounted with a Gothic mansard roof, making
the building three stories high. The building
is heated by the " Rutan General System,"
which supplies both heat and ventilation.

The academy is managed by a board of
nine trustees, who have heretofore been
elected by the entire people of the county.
By an act passed at the session of 1895 this
feature has been changed so that the board in
office at the time will name their successors.

The academy grounds are not only large



and centrally located, but are finely shaded by
grand old trees that were planted by the citi-
zens of many years ago.

The school has had numerous principals,
who, in the main, have conducted it to the
satisfaction of its patrons. It aims to fit stu-
dents for college, as well as to give a thorough
English education. Under Prof. Louis Leakey
and his wife, Jennie Drake Leakey, the pres-
ent principals, who took charge July L 1894,
the Academy shows evidence of renewed
vigor and prosperity.


An institution under the above title was
incorporated in 1838 and went into operation
soon afterward, having an annual appropria-
tion of $300 from the Legislature for several
years. It never possessed any buildings of its
own, its last location being the building now
occupied by the original structure of the
Hamot Hospital. The seminary did not have
a continual existence, but at one time ceased
operations, was again revived, and finally
went down about 1866.

ST. benedict's academy.

Which adjoins .St. Mary's Church on East
Ninth street, is in charge of the Benedictine
Sisters, five of whom came to Erie in 1856
from the town of St. Mary's, Elk county, the
cradle or nursery of the order in America.
They first occupied a small frame house west
of the church, bearing many inconveniences
for four years, at the expiration of which time
they were domiciled in a commodious brick
building on the east side of St. Mary's Church.
About 1864 they established St. Benedict's
Academy, and in 1870 they erected next to
the convent a spacious academy building and
boarding-school, for the education of young
ladies and children, to which was added, four
years after, a large, handsome chapel for the
use of the religieuse and pupils. The convent
has increased largely in numbers, and the
academy has grown to be one of the most
prosperous schools in the city. Additions and
improvements have been made to the academy
buildings until the}' ran'K with the best for the
purpose. Although under Catholic auspices,
pupils are received without regard to creed or
nationality. Sister M. Clara is the directress
of the sisterhood.

villa MARIA academy.

This splendid edifice, one of the finest in
the Erie diocese of the Catholic church, occu-
pies the entire square, bounded by Eighth,
Ninth, Liberty and Plum streets. The build-
ing was commenced March 9, 1891, and com-
pleted and dedicated May 9, 1892. The
ground was a gift from the late lamented
Father Casey, who also furnished all, or, at
least, a large part of the money for its erec-
tion out of the private fortune left to him by
his father. The building and grounds are
owned, controlled and managed by the Sis-
ters of St. Joseph, acting under the supervi-
sion of Bishop Mullen. They have no means
for the support of the academy other than such
as are contributed by friends and derived from
the tuition of its pupils. The Sisters intend
to add to the present building as occasion may
require, and, no doubt, in time it will be one
of the largest educational institutions in the
State. Besides the regular branches of an
academical training, the young lady students
are taught music, deportment and the several
acquirements specially pertaining to their sex.
Sister M. Theresa was the directress of the
institution until August, 1895, when she was
succeeded by Sister Ernestine.


The first Catholic school in Erie was con-
nected with St. Mary's Church, and opened
in a small frame building immediately east of
the present church, on Ninth street, in 1850,
under the pastorate of Rev. N. Steinbacher.
In 1851 the attendance numbered some fort}'
children. When the new church was com-
pleted, in 1855, the old one was fitted up by
Father Hartmann for a schoolhouse. In the
course of time this became insufficient to ac-
commodate the growing congregation, and in
1866 the Rev. Father Benno caused the large
brick school building, on Tenth street, be-
tween German and Parade, to be erected for
the children of the parish. It has a capacity
for 700 scholars, and contains a neatly fur-
nished hall adapted to miscellaneous purposes.
The school is under the charge of the Broth-
ers of St. Mary and the Benedictine Nuns.

St. Patrick's School was established in
1863, in a small building at the rear of the
church on Fourth street. The school was
taught by one lay teacher, and opened with



about fifty scholars. In 1867, the two-story
brick schoolhouse on Fourth, between Holland
and German streets, was opened for the re-
ception of the Catholic children. The Sisters
of St. Joseph are in charge of the school.

St. Joseph's School was established by
St. Joseph's Association in 1867, in a small
building on Eighteenth street. During that
year, the congregation of St. Joseph's parish
erected a two-story frame schoolhouse on
Twenty-fourth street, between Peach and
Sassafras, adjoining the old church on the
east, which was occupied in 1868. Up to
1871, the school was taught by laymen, but in
that year the Sisters of St. Joseph assumed
charge, and have continued ever since.

St. John's School was opened for the
reception of scholars in 1870, the erection of
the building on Twenty-sixth street, between
Wallace and Ash, being identical with that
of St. John's Church. This school was taught
by one male teacher until September 1, 1883,
when a small frame building was obtained in
the immediate neighborhood and the school
-was divided. In 1867, a large two-story brick
school-building, one of the finest for its ob-
ject in Erie, was erected at the corner of
Twenty-seventh and Wallace streets. The
school is taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

St. Michael's School, under the care of the
same Sisters, was opened December 1, 1885.
The school building adjoins the church on
Seventeenth street, between Cherry and Pop-

St. Stanislaus School opened September 1,
1888. It occupies two frame buildings at
Twelfth and Wallace streets. Prof. John
Nowak is the lay teacher in charge. He is
assisted by the Felician Sisters.

The parochial schools of the Catholic
Church make a specialty of religious instruc-
tion, aside from which the same branches are
taught and about the same methods followed
as in the public schools.

The Catholic Directory for 1895 gives the
following as the attendance of children in the
several parochial schools of the city :

St. Patrick's 400

St. Mary's 600

St. Michael's 175

St. John's 200

St. Joseph's 380

St. Stanislaus' 300

Total 2,055


The birth of this institution came with the
starting of a school in penmanship and book-
keeping by H. C. Clark, in 1883, which de-
veloped into the institution familiarly known
as Clark's Business College. For a number
of years its work was carried on in the Wayne
block, on State street, east side, near Eighth
street, from which it was removed to rooms
specially fitted up for the school in the Down-
ing building. In 1890, the institution was
incorporated and a number of leading citizens
became interested in its welfare. H. C. Clark
was elected President and A. E. Scheithe
Secretary and Treasurer, with seven gentlemen
as Directors. In January, 1894, Prof. Clark
resigned and J. F. Downing was elected
President and S. M. Sweet Secretary and

In April, 1894, in response to the desire
to co-operate more successfully in methods
and objects, the management consolidated its
work with the Erie Business College and
Short-Hand School, which came into existence
in 1888 in response to the demands for a short-
hand training. The latter was first known as
the Erie Short-Hand School, and was opened
by the law-reporting firm of Briggs, Fish &
Bochner. Shortly after it passed into the
hands of M. D. Fletcher, who conducted it
until 1891, when E. J. Coburn became prin-
cipal. The training it gave students produced
so favorable a reputation that it was devel-
oped into a fully-equipped business college.
From Mr. Coburn's control it passed into the
hands of John M. Glazier, who conducted it
until the consolidation with Clark's Business

The united schools started with the fol-
lowing directors : J. F. Downing, President ;
J. P. Byrne, Secretary and Treasurer ; John
M. Glazier, General Manager; J. F. Hifl, C.
F. McClenathan, Wm. B. Trask, L. M. Lit-
tle, Wm. Hardwick and Giles D. Price, Di-

Among its incorporators are some of the
best known men in the community. The
school has had a good degree of prosperity,
and gives promise of being one of the grow-
ing institutions of the city.


As nearly as can be ascertained at the
time of writing, the earliest kindergarten



work in Erie was introduced by Miss Anna
Kelsey, later a missionary in Alaska. Some
years after, the work was taken up by Miss
Sarah VV. King, whose school for the last few
years has been held in an upper room of the
Erie Academy building. The first free kinder-

garten was opened in the spring of 1894 by
Miss Clara L. Smith, on West Twelfth street.
The present movement, which is on a more
extended scale than any heretofore attempted,
was inaugurated in the fall of the same year
by Miss Kate Spencer.


Manufactures — Brief Sketch and History of the Leading Manufacturing Enter-
prises IN Erie. — [See Chapter XIV, General History of Erie County.]

THE early history of mills and manu-
factures in Erie is so fully given in
Chapter XIV of the General History
that it would be superfluous to repeat it
here. It is sufficient to state, that, al-
though various attempts had been made to es-
tablish manufactures in the city, the great
movement in that direction did not take place
till about 1860. Previous to that date the
citizens still looked to the lake trade as their
leading industry, and boasted that their pos-
session of the "best harbor on the lakes," was
sure to make Erie someday an important city.
When they finally waked up to the sad truth
that, even with our advantage in the matter
of a harbor, it was impossible to rival Buffalo,
with its great canal and superior railroad fa-
cilities, the effect was somewhat startling,

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 81 of 192)