Friday, March 18, 2011

The History of Our Schools: Thompsonville


Facade, Thompsonville School, Thompson
Street, Middleborough, MA, photographed
by Mike Maddigan, March 18, 2011
During the 1930s, a series of short informal histories of the various Middleborough school houses were compiled by J. Stearns Cushing, Superintendent of Middleborough Schools from 1927 until 1955.  Mr. Cushing prepared these histories for publication as a series in the Middleboro Gazette beginning on February 24, 1933.  With information culled largely from town reports, the series entitled "The History of Our Schools" sought to provide the community with a better understanding of the past history of its public school buildings. As far as can be ascertained, the Thompsonville School on Thompson Street was built some time about or before 1854, and it was the oldest serving schoolhouse at the time Cushing penned his history in 1932-33.  Under the present ownership of the East Middleborough 4-H, the "little red schoolhouse" remains Middleborough's best preserved one-room schoolhouse open to the public for events and meetings.

Thompsonville

The Thompsonville school building is the oldest building now [1933] in use in the school system.  Built in the early fifties this building [has] served the children of the Thompsonville section for about eighty years. Although the records do not show particulars as to the building of this school we find in the report of 1881 that "The house was built about twenty-seven years ago, and has the same desks and seats (forty in number) with which it was then furnished.  It is thought, however, that they will answer for some time to come.  The ceiling needs to be replastered at once, and also a part of the walls.  It greatly needs paint within and without, which will doubtless be received during the next vacation.  A good woodhouse is not wanting, and the enclosed yard is all that could be desired."

The school was one of the largest at the time and according to the records was one of the best if not the best school in the town.  From the report of 1855 we find that "This is one of our largest and best schools and with the deep interest taken in the school by the parents we trust it will continue."  That interest evidently did continue for in 1859 we find that "This school reflects great credit upon both its teachers and amply vindicates its right to the high reputation it has long had.  Singularly fortunate in its teachers, this school has few equals, and no superior in town."  Again we find in the report of 1866 that "The pupils show that they appreciate the value of a common school education by remaining in school at a more advanced age than in any other school in town."

The Summer term of 1854 was taught by Miss Adeline V. Wood who was "aware of the duties and obligations of a teacher and endeavored to perform them."

The Winter term was taught by Mr. A. H. Soule whose methods evidently were progressive and a radical change from the older method of teaching for the reports tell us that "the progress of the school was impeded for a time, in consequence of a part of the parents and scholars having prejudged their teacher, and some made objection that his method of teaching was new, that they could not understand it, did not see the use of it etc.  The method that he pursued was to teach his pupils to give a reason for each process, to tell what they knew and how they knew it, thereby teaching them principles, developing the reasoning powers, and educating the whole mind, instead of burdening the memory with abstract rules."

The following year, 1855, the Summer term was taught by Miss Julia M. Caswell and the Winter term by Mr. John Nutting.  No report or record can be found of the teachers of the next two years but beginning with the year 1858 the teachers of the school have been as follows:

1858
Elizabeth King
Emery White

1859
Miss A. M. White
Frank M. Sprague

1860
Mattie Lane
Frank M. Sprague

1861
Mattie Lane
Henry L. Clapp

1862
Augusta W. Williams
John T. Prince

1863
Lucy S. Higgins
Emma C. Brownell

1866
Phebe W. Tracy
Robert P. Harlow

1867
Mary E. Thompson

1868
Phebe A. Alden
W. D. Cornish

1869
Lida J. Parker

1870
Lucretia G. Osborn

1871
Mary E. Thompson

1872
Mary E. Thompson

1873
Mary E. Thompson

1874
Mary E. Thompson

1875
Mary E. Thompson
Ella S. Thompson

1876
Ella S. Thompson

1877
W. Anna Harding

1878
Cora F. Ellis

1879
Clara A. Hagen

1880
Celia F. Stacy
Ida E. Andrews

1881
Annie E. Leach
Gertrude Blackmar

1882
Charlotte C. Nichols
Laura L. Harden

1883
Estelle L. Whitney

1884
Estelle L. Whitney
Hattie L. Blandin
Emma C. Sprague
Annie B. Parker

1885
Annie B. Parker
Nannie M. Morse
Mary A. Livingstone

1886
Mary A. Livingstone
Annie H. Weston

1887
Annie H. Weston
Gertrude M. Robinson

1888
Gertrude M. Robinson
H. Gertrude Holmes

1889
H. Gertrude Holmes

1890
Susan M. Pattangall
Jenny M. Clark

1891-1902
Mary E. Deane

1903-04
Helen A. Hammond

1905
Alice B. LeBaron

1906
Maude DeMaranville

1907
Mabel Morey

1908
Dorothy Shaw

1908-09
Mertie A. Shaw

1909-10
Alice S. Howes

1911
Agnes Fenno

1912-13
Edith M. Eldridge

1914
Mabel E. Stearns

1915
Flora A. M. Moore

1916-17
Mary D. Begley

1918
Mildred I. O'Donnell

1919
Elisabeth W. McGlone

1919-20
Mary E. Deane

1921
Lillian G. Powers
Consuelo R. Goodwin

1922
Ruth S. Sanford

1923-28
Blanche K. Howell

1929-32
Leah M. Boutin

The roll of teachers following the period covered by Cushing's history is as follows:

1933-34
Leah M. Boutin

1934-36
Marianne Medeiros

1936-38
Florence L. Giberti

The Thompsonville School was not reopened following the 1937-38 academic year "due to the lack of sufficient number of children ...and [that it] could not be economically continued in use."  Though its closure at the time was reported as only being temporary, the school in fact never reopened.


Sources:
Cushing, J. Stearns. "The History of Our Schools: Pleasant Street School". Photostatic copy of original manuscript, 1932-33. Author's collection.
Middleborough Town Reports, 1932-38.

1 comments:

Laura said...

Wow what a lot of research was put into each article. Very interesting. Thanks again for such great info. Remember going to the 4H fair as a kid. That area of town is so beautiful in the fall.

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