Schools

Book Title: SCHOOLS

Written in 1935 by Miss Daisy Mason

In 1896 when the New Plymouth Colony was settled, a town hall and a water office were built, but no school house. So for five years the Town Hall became the school house. This building was located about where the bakery is now. Across the street and north of the vacant lot near the post office was the Water Office. During the year a store was built a short distance north of Town Hall. The Post office was in the store also.

The first settlers in the Payette Valley located near the river and creeks. They never dreamed that land farther away from the river would be settled some day. Some of the people just north of the colony belonged as the district down on the river. But this was such a long distance to go they were allowed to the school in the colony providing they furnished their own desks. This was easily done since all the desks had been made by a carpenter and lacked paint and varnish. They were made so they could be moved as the Town Hall was not always just a school house. The school district near the river later became part of the New Plymouth district.

The first teacher was a young man from Iowa. Some high school subjects were taught as well as all the grade subjects, but the next year high school work was not given.

The next year, 1897, Mr. D. A. Clemens of Tennessee who had bought ten acres in the colony taught the school. Mr. Clemens was a Presbyterian minister and sometimes was the minister in the Town Hall Sunday morning. Later on he was a mathematics instructor at Caldwell College.

Miss Stovel, another original colonist, was one of the early teachers. She and Miss Veasey lived in a cottage on the lot where the Crawford home is. Some of the material used in constructing their house came from the Chicago Exposition. At one time Miss Veasey and Miss Stovel had the post office and store.

Miss Helen Gillespie was the first Caldwell College graduate to teach in New Plymouth.

Miss Ida Schenck of Caldwell was one of the first five teachers in the Colony. Some weekends she rode home horseback or relatives came after her with a team and buggy.

Miss Lena Whiffin was another Caldwell girl who taught in the old hall.

The boarding place for out-of-town teachers was grandma Burn’s home. This is now the George Ackerman house. Mr. Burns, a retired Methodist minister, had built the house himself.

In 1904 the little brick school house was built. One of the school board members, Mr. Rose, thought it was entirely too big. Walter Burke and Joe Mason were the other members of the board. Two teachers were now employed. Mr. Hambleton and Miss Kitty Ransom, now Mrs. Rustin Shaw.

The new school house meant a great deal to the people of the colony. To have it as the Community Bldg now quite fits in with the place it occupied in the early history of the town.

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