{Taken from, The Pathfinders of Jefferson County, published in 1900, pp. 245 - 252. The index to this book is available from our chapter homepage as a publications and/or pdf file. Check under publications for sale to learn more about this wonderful index to a great source for early researchers in Jefferson County history. }

{pp. 245 - 252} Early Educational Facilities – The Schoolhouse Soon Followed the Church – The Old Log College Sent Out Teachers – The Irish Schoolmaster Early in the Land – The Old Log Schoolhouse made Famous by Dr. Alexander Clark – The First Female Seminary West of the Alleghenies Established in Steubenville – Noted Teachers from Jefferson County. The pioneer fathers who settled the upper Ohio valley appreciated facility for education. From their point of view education was no less a spiritual element in character building than religion. It was as essential to the enjoyment of life as were the means of grace and the schoolhouse was invariably under way before the church was roofed.

The Cumberland and Virginia valleys were well filled with schools before the fathers moved over the mountains and into the wilderness of Jefferson County. Their own schoolmaster was with them, for the minister came with the flock.  The Irish schoolmaster was abroad in the land, too, and the annuls of Ohio are filled with incidents of this worthy man of letters.

Two years after Jefferson County was organized a log schoolhouse was built on what is now section twenty, Colerain Township, Belmont County, near Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson County. The pupils traveled long distances because the settlements were very scarce. The pupils were in constant danger of their lives, there being Indians as well as wild beasts in the wilderness where these first log schoolhouses were built.

There is a tradition that a schoolhouse was erected in Cross Creek township previous to 1800, there having been a number of families in the township as early as 1797. By 1804 the records show an Irish schoolmaster named Green was there teaching. In 1809 a subscription school was taught in that part of the township known as the Long settlement, a Mr. Morrow, a Scotchman, being the first teacher. In 1805 Richard McCullough also taught school in this township.

There was also a schoolhouse at a very early date on Battle run in Steubenville township, near the scene of the Buskirk battle, and not far from the Cross Creek falls.

In 1814 Samuel Clark, the father of the late Rev. Dr. Alexander Clark, taught a school in Brush Creek township. In 1830, in the same township, was built The Old Log Schoolhouse, immortalized by Dr. Clark, poet and prose author.  He was educated and reared amidst the scenes of rugged nature from which he took his themes, and readers saw the beauty of nature in this part of the country. He was an Irish schoolmaster who founded School day Visitor, the first distinctive child’s paper published in the United States and afterwards became The St. Nicholas Magazine. He was also a prominent Protestant Methodist minister.

Undoubtedly there were educational facilities in the village of Steubenville previous to 1805, but the records show that Mr. Black, another Irish schoolmaster, taught a school in 1806. The first teacher at the Little Red Schoolhouse was James Thompson, succeeded by Thomas Fulton, and Hull. Both Fulton and Hull were eccentric, viewed that one should look upon a tutor to be a moral example to his pupils. They had a fondness for intoxicants and their indulgence frequently led to napping, when they would awaken to find their slippers removed, or hats decorated with quill-pen feathers.

Judge William Johnston, a native of the Scotch settlement on Yellow Creek, and a man of wonderful force of character and influence was appointed to a committee to form the first public school system in Ohio. In his address to the legislature he drew attention to the youth of the state who did not have the means to pay for tuition, growing up boobies, and ever after up to his death Judge Johnson was called Boobie Johnson.     

Mordecai Bartley, the thirteenth governor of the state, although he was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Jefferson County, having settled near the mouth of Cross creek. While a member in Congress, he was the first to propose the conversion of the land grants of Ohio, known as Section sixteen, into a permanent fund for the support of the common schools.

Dr. Henry C. McCook, the noted scientist, was at one time a teacher in Steubenville schools, and his brothers, Rev. Dr. John McCook, professor of languages in Trinity College, Gen. Anson G. McCook, Secretary of the United States Senate, were pupils in the Steubenville schools. Prof. Sloane, of Columbia College, author of the best Life of Napoleon ever written, is a son of J. R. W. Sloane, president of Richmond College in 1848. Prof. Woodroe Wilson, of Princeton, and the author of A Life of Washington, is the grandson of James Wilson, the editor of The Steubenville Herald for many years after 1815. Dr. Eli Tappan, who is reckoned by Dr. Hinsdale as one of the most thorough teachers in the country, a profound scholar, was a native of Steubenville, the son of Senator Tappan, whose grandchildren now teach in the Steubenville schools, one being a professor in an eastern college. Rev. Mr. Huston, a Presbyterian minister of Jefferson County, is a grandson of Senator Tappan. He also has Stanton blood in his veins, being a grandson of Stanton’s sister.

In 1837 the Friends erected a boarding school at Mount Pleasant, the building being commodious, but very plain. The school was opened with Daniel Williams as superintendent and his wife as matron. The teachers in the male department were Robert S. Holloway and George K. Jenkins and the female department, Abby Holloway and Abigail Flanner. The attendance of pupils was sixty-nine. In the factional fight that divided the Friends into Gurneyites and Wilburites in 1854, the Wilburites retained control of the boarding school, which they held until dispossessed by the Supreme Court in 1874, which placed the title in the name of the Gurney division. The Gurneyites expended a large sum of money for repairs and were prepared to reopen the school, but on the night of January 7, 1875, the entire building was consumed by fire.

It is noted that Mary Edmondson, the mother of Anna Dickinson, taught school in the Short Creek meetinghouse in 1826.