February 1990

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Note from the Editors

This issue features Caroline Kirkland. We begin with Chapter 27 from her book A New Home, which we are serializing in the pages of the Crooked Lake Review. Bill Treichler reports on the school that William and Caroline Kirkland started in Geneva, New York, in 1828 and continued until 1835, when they moved on to Michigan.

There were many accounts from Geneva newspapers about the school and some of them are reprinted in this article. Eleanor R. Clise, who is Archivist at the Geneva Historical Society and Historian for Geneva, located the newspaper reports and found the information about the Kirkland family relationships that are recounted. She also provided valuable advice and suggestions about the article. Eileen Moeri at the Warren Hunting Smith Library also helped in the search for newspaper references to the Kirkland school.

When the Kirklands moved to Geneva they purchased a brick house on south Main Street that is still standing. It is owned now by Ford and Harriet Weiskittel. They have been restoring the house that was originally built, according to the Geneva Gazette, in 1824 by Rev. Mr. M'Donald. The Weiskittels have studied the house to determine when changes and additions were made.

At the time the Kirklands lived in the house probably only the center part existed. There are indications that a frame building was close to the house on the north side. This might have served as dormitory space for the boys who lived with the Kirklands. The school house where the boys took their lessons is thought to have been a frame building across the street. It has since disappeared.

Mr. Kirkland called his school the Domestic School and the newspaper accounts which were all very enthusiastic explained that he wished to treat the boys as though they were a part of his own family—that it would be a home school. Judging from the warm congratulatory reports of the progress of the school and the achievements of the students, at least the newspaper writer considered the school a success.

The Kirkland's ideas about teaching and the importance of a home environment 162 years ago seem in advance of our present state of education when family home-schooling is just beginning to be accepted.

No mention was found in the newspapers of the Kirklands or of the school at the time of their departure from Geneva. There was no mention ever of Caroline Kirkland in any of the papers.

Bill Treichler also tells about Caroline Kirkland and her writing career after the Kirklands went on to Michigan and later to New York City. His article is based on John Nerber's introduction to the republication of A New Home in 1953.

Edwin Harris continues his stories of Harpendings Corners with the early history of Fredericktown and the naming of Dundee.

This issue concludes with Fran Dumas' article about the Cascade Millsite, another in her series of informative accounts of the mills along the Outlet to Keuka Lake.

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