Showing posts with label Willow Creek School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Willow Creek School. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Willow Creek School Teachers 1898 - mid--1950s

One of my Willow Creek school classmates sent me a PDF of the 1848-1948 Centennial program for Willow Creek school.  My great-grandmother, Mrs. Arthur (Jessie) Agard, gave the historical sketch; the keynote address was given by Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, Professor of Agriculture, Emeritus and Director of Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University.*

The program listed the trustees and teachers from the year 1898 through 1948. Those educators in the one (then two) room rural schoolhouse were:

1898-99 - Rose A. Troy
1899-00 – Charles F. Smith
1900-01 – Grace I. Bardwell
1901-03 – Lottie M. Eddy
1903-04 – Gertrude E. Mortimer
1904-05 – Bertha Blauvelt
1905-06 – Cora Drummond
1906-07 – Eleanor D. Smith
1907-08 – Nellie Grey Wilson
1909-12 – Leah H. Clark
1912-13 – Ella M. Pierce
1913-16 – Pearl I. Houston
1916-17 – Gyda T. Rumsey
1917-31 – Sarah Tichenor
1931-33 – Esther Hopkins
1933-37 – Alice Viele  (Married Bill Agard in 1937; Alice died in 1939)
1937-41 – Marion La Rue (Married Bill Agard in 1941)
1941-43 – Ruth Holley
1943-46 – Lydia Sears
1946-48 – Marion Evans (tenure lasted until school was closed in mid-1950s)

With a couple of exceptions it is interesting to see in the early years teacher tenure lasted one year.  Since only one was male, I suspect the females got married. It would be interesting to confirm why these women left after only one year.  Another project to add to my list!

* What’s a Hortorium? Here is the description from the Cornell University website.

“Founded by Liberty Hyde Bailey in 1935, the Hortorium has historically been the major U. S. center for the systematics of cultivated plants. Today, the Hortorium's mission has expanded to include systematic studies of wild and cultivated plants, ethnobotany, molecular systematics, paleobotany, phylogenetic theory, biodiversity studies, and pharmaceutical studies of tropical plants.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

It’s My Three Year Blogiversary! And - Calling all Polio Pioneers!

Celebrating my three year Blogiversary

Last Monday’s blog that developed from identifying an old photo to finding information on Ithaca's 1916 polio epidemic has kept me preoccupied with further research on this topic. The question: oral versus shots.

Courtesy of

I vividly remember the day I became a Polio Pioneer. I was attending Willow Creek School as a second grader.  We had been indoctrinated about the importance of the role we were about to undertake.  We knew that some children would receive the live vaccine; others a placebo. With much anticipation we marched into the central hall that separated the two schoolrooms.  In the hall was a long table filled with little white paper cups that held the liquid.  And that is where my memory ends. I do not remember getting an additional shot.  My husband, who grew up at the opposite end of Tompkins County, said the students in his school received the polio vaccine via shots.

I learned from a brief Internet and yes, encyclopedia, search that the oral vaccine wasn’t available until the early 1960s.  If that was true, how did we happen to have it available to our rural school in abt 1954?  Or, was the oral vaccine the placebo?

I contacted the Tompkins County Historian, who immediately replied she didn’t know the answer to my question, but was now herself very curious. She grew up in New Jersey at about the same time and also received the oral vaccine.  She suggested I contact the Tompkins County Health Department.

Before doing that I contacted the History Center in Ithaca.  They too responded immediately, but saying, sorry, all they had were a few photos of children getting the vaccine.

We are awaiting a call back from the Tompkins County Health Department from a nurse who might know if the polio records from the 1950s were kept and if so where they might be archived.

In the meantime I went to the library to take out Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky.  This book will not give me the specific answer I am looking for as far as immunizations in Tompkins County is concerned, but it will give me a lot of interesting information on polio in general. 

And offshoot of finding the photo of the Lamkin family is my husband just finished an article on the Lamkins and the polio epidemic for the Newfield Historical Society’s next newsletter.

You just never know what road genealogy research will take you. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Willow Creek School

Willow Creek School was built in 1848. Originally a one-room schoolhouse, it is located at the corner of Willow Creek and Agard Roads, halfway between Trumansburg and Ithaca, New York.

I still feel the excitement of each new school year. There was the opportunity to pick out a new pencil box, a new lunch box, and of course choosing just the right outfit for the first day of school.  The dress had to be comfortable, yet eye-catching, with new ankle socks and shoes to match. 

In 1951 the small Willow Creek community faced a crisis: the school could no longer support the growing number of students.  A committee of parents was set-up to investigate the options of consolidating with either Ithaca or Trumansburg.  A record turnout of residents at the next meeting agreed they did not want their children bussed elsewhere. Over the summer all able-bodied residents worked on renovation and an addition to the schoolhouse. The building now had two classrooms, two new bathrooms, a new cloakroom space, and an additional teacher. Enrollment rose from 30 to 42 students. My father, Ed Nunn, was instrumental in working to keep us at the Willow Creek School.  The closing paragraph of the Morse Chain Echo newsletter where Dad worked stated: “Willow Creek is a closer knit and a better community today because so many of its people have gone to school and learned, very literally, to work together and like it.”

When I started school the schoolhouse had grades K-3 in one side and grades 4-6 in the other. In the middle entryway was a long line of coat hooks and at the end of the hall were the bathrooms. We arrived each morning and left our coats, boots and lunch boxes in the cool entryway before entering the classroom.

Our teacher, Miss Marian Evans, drove from Spencer, New York each day. I enjoyed attending a two-room schoolhouse, and took advantage of listening to the lessons of the other grades. When a grade had its instruction the students were asked to sit at the front, as to not disturb the other grades.  My third grade class consisted of three students.

Everyone brought their lunch, and my favorite lunches were bologna sandwiches made with lettuce and mayonnaise on white bread, or a cold hot dog on a roll with ketchup. Sometimes I brought a thermos of hot soup, and always a container of milk that Miss Evans opened. She opened everyone’s milk to minimize spillage. It was always a special treat at the beginning of each school year to shop for a new lunch box. They were metal and had popular television or book figures on them. Our lunch boxes were stored on shelves above the coat racks in the hall of the school. The hall was not heated – or at least not much, consequently our lunches stayed cool. After lunch we went out to the playground. There was a whole line of swings and slides along the hedgerow to the side of the building. At the back of the school was the Lehigh Valley railroad track. Trains went by on a regular basis; it was fun to be on the playground when a train went by.  We stopped what we were doing and waved. One day students in grades 1 through 3 were driven to Geneva where we boarded the train and rode to Ithaca. The older grades that remained at the school lined up along the fence separating the tracks from the playground. When the train went through we waved to each other.