From time to time, folks ask me about a single piece of history that ends up with a whole conversation to and fro, from the original. Below are bits and pieces of Orange and Milford history to pique your interest and if you need the whole thing, just let me know through the newspaper. So here goes.
December 10th, 1750, the Milford colony voted money for a school at Bryan’s Farms. It was written as follows. “It was voted that money should be appropriated to the inhabitants of Bryan’s Farms for the purpose of setting up a school in winter, it being so well settled that one is deemed necessary.” The location of this school is unknown.
November 6, 1806 was the first meeting of the North Milford School Society naming the first, second and third districts. The first was in the southern part of town, the second was in the north and the third was in the west part of town. After 1822, a fourth district was established in the eastern portion of the town toward Allingtown.
- The Old Academy was built. This building was eventually moved to an area behind the convenience stores on Orange Center Road up the hill. The teachers were Benjamin Clark and Isaac Treat. There is a postcard which shows a building that could be the Academy but since it was used to store hay, it burned down.
June 9, 1829. The 3rd district school was built.
Winter school began in the middle of November lasting for 4 months with men teaching the classes with over the amount of children our teachers are required to teach today. Each family was required to see that there was enough wood in the school for the stove.
Summer school was from the middle of April for 6 months with women teachers. These teachers were boarded with the families of the children they taught.
- The 2nd District school was sold and a new one built. This 2nd school is now the second floor of a house on Ridge Road.
- The 3rd District School hired Charles Wheeler for $30 a month. His outstanding proficiency was his use of the rod. He could use it twice on a student. Then he or she was expelled and had to read an acknowledgement of guilt before the teacher and school would allow them to return.
- Miss Caroline Russell was paid $22.50 per month for teaching 22 weeks being boarded at Dennis Andrew’s house for $3.00 for two weeks. This was also the year a new 3rd District school was built.
1859 was the year a new school was built for District 1 and it is a private home now.
1860 saw the discontinuance of a general school society with each holding its own meetings.
- With the population growing, it was necessary for a 5th District school to be opened in the area known as Tyler City. The children started school in the newly built train station and then moved into their own school building just down the road.
October 5th 1874. The school year was changed to include 38 weeks with 3 terms.
October 7th, 1878. It was voted to build another Academy building where the 1812 Academy stood, using the second floor for a High School.
- Some families, living near Milford, asked to be included in the Milford district as their homes were close to that town. The petition was granted and the Orange districts reorganized. The 1st district stayed the same but the 2nd covered the northwestern section and the 3rd was in the northeastern section of town.
- At this time, the teachers were paid $10 per week.
- All of the school districts were now consolidated into one building on Orange Center Road with its name being The Orange School. If, when you drive by Mary L. Tracy School, you will see that name above the front doors, facing the road. There were 4 classrooms and an assembly room. Two grades occupied each of the classrooms.
- Four classrooms were added to the Orange School.
- Eleven classrooms and an auditorium were added to the Orange School.
- High Plains School was completed.
- Racebfook School was completed.
- Turkey Hill School was completed.
- Peck Place School was completed.
Below is an actual document for the rules that governed the schools in Orange, 1879.
R U L E S
GOVERNMENT OF THE SCHOOLS
In The Town of Orange
The Morning Session shall be opened with a brief religious service.
The Regular Sessions of the School shall be from 9 A.M. to 12 M., and from 1:30 P.M. to 4 P.M. Pupils are required to be punctual and regular in their attendance at the hours named. III
Pupils, if tardy or absent, must bring a written excuse from the parent or guardian. The teachers are instructed to refuse frivolous excuses and all excuses not signed by the parent or the guardian for the occasion on which they are presented.
Pupils are required to be industrious, respectful and obedient, to abstain from profanity and all noisy or boisterous conduct about the school buildings or grounds. At the close of School, each day, they must leave the school grounds immediately and quietly for their homes.
Pupils injuring or defacing in any way the school property, whether furniture, buildings or feces, will be severely punished and the parents or guardians will be held responsible for the damage done.
Concerts, theatrical exhibitions and like entertainments will not be allowed in the schools without the permission of the Board of School Visitors.
Any pupil refusing to obey the rules of the school shall be suspended, and a pupil who strikes or resists a teacher shall be expelled.
At the end of each month there shall be in the schools an examination upon the studies of the month.
Any pupil whose standing during the preceding term is less than seventy in a scale of one hundred shall be put back into the next lower class. A pupil will be promoted to a higher class upon passing the required examination.
Adopted by the Board of School Visitors, town of Orange, January, 1879