September 1993

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The Schools of Bath


Charles F. Kingsley, Esq.

from The Centennial of Bath, New York, 1793-1893

In the very first year of the settlement of the town of Bath, 1793, a school was established here, and Robert Hunter was the school master. This fact is authenticated by Charles Williamson's cash book, which is now in the hands of Hon. A. J. McCall, in this village. In this cash book we find the following original entries:

"1793, June 13. To cash advanced Mr. Hunter as school master at Bath, $20.

"1794, February 7. Robert Hunter, on acct. of salary, $1.61.

"1794, April 23. 1 doz. spelling books and '/2 ream cartridge paper, 1 shilling, 1 pence."

The first school house was built on the north-west corner of Pulteney Square, where Mr. Hewlett's furniture store now stands. In the picture of the village of Bath in 1804, from personal recollections of W. H. Bull, which is printed in the History of Steuben County, published in 1879, locates the site where this first school house stood. This school house was probably erected before 1800, as Colonel Bull states he went to school in that building in 1805, and that it had been built some years then. A Mr. Dix-on was then the school master. This school house was removed when the old stone jail was built, in 1808.

A school was kept in a small frame building on the east side of Pulteney Square, a little south of the old Clerk's office, and was taught by Elam Bridges, of Prattsburgh, in 1811. This building was not on property owned by the District, nor was it built for school purposes.

The first conveyance for school purposes was on October 4, 1803; Sir William Pulteney to Samuel Baker, William Read and Eli Read, of fifty acres of land in Pleasant Valley, for the use and benefit of public schools. This was then in the town of Bath. Afterwards, by an Act of the Legislature, chap. 115, laws of 1815, the grantees in said deed were directed to convey the fifty acres to Cornelius Younglove, Amos Stone and Lazarus Hammond, Trustees for School District No. 7 of the town of Bath, which was done.

1815, February 1, the Duke of Cumberland, and others, conveyed to Thomas Aulls, William Holmes and Otto F. Marshall, Trustees of School District No. 5, of Bath, two acres in lot No. 33, of Kersey's allotment, on the west bank of Canoni Creek. This is now in the town of Wheeler.

The first conveyance I find on record of land in the present boundaries of this town was on December 29, 1812—Henry A. Townsend, and wife, to Dugald Cameron, Howell Bull, Luman Hopkins, and Samuel C. Haight, Trustees of Bath school; consideration $50; conveyed sixty feet on the north side of Steuben street, where the most easterly building of Abram Beekman's sash and blind factory now stands. In 1813, a two story building was erected on these premises, the lower story of which was used for a district school, by District No. 5 of this town, and the upper story for the society of Free Masons, and it was known as the "Old Academy."

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