Schenevus central school district

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School History
School History

Timeline of History of Schools in the Town of Maryland

1790 Israel, Eliphas, and Phineas Spencer, along with Elisha Chamberlain, ventured west from Columbia County and made the first permanent settlement in the Town of Maryland near the present hamlet of Maryland.

1791 Josiah Chase and Joshua Bigelow each built a log house near the present hamlet of Schenevus on their one thousand acre piece of land.

1800 Around this time the first school in the town was reportedly built in the hamlet of Maryland near where the RR station was later built. Mary “Polly” Spencer was the first teacher but following her Jan. 1804 marriage to Samuel Hotchkin, she was naturally replaced (by Luna Chamberlain). There is also a story of a log cabin school in Schenevus around this time near corner of today’s Tannery & Main St.

1808 The Town of Maryland was split off from the Town of Worcester.

1812  NY State legislature passed The Common School Act (sponsored by Jedidiah Peck, Town of Burlington, Otsego County) requiring Towns to draw up school districts, providing state aid & enabling local taxes & tuition.

1813 March 2. At Town Board meeting, residents voted to raise by property tax, an amount equal to the state school fund allotment, to be used for teacher wages. They elected 3 School Commissioners & 3 School Supervisors and agreed to pay them 75 cents for any days spent overseeing and visiting the district school houses.

1813 May 15. School Commissioner’s met & divided the Town into 7 common school districts. For example, “District No. 1 From the westerly line of said town on the schenvis crick road to the east line of lot No. 15 of Franklins Patent & those inhabitants to the north of said road.”

1814 March 1. At Town Bd meeting, the money was allocated to each of the initial 7 districts in accordance with the number of students regularly attending the new district schools. The state allocated $57.42 and the Town raised an equal amount with school No. 5 receiving a high of $23.13 and No. 3 receiving a low of $9.00. Additional money was needed for the school house, supplies, and to pay for indigent children, so each school district assessed their student’s parents tuition, according to the number of children attending and the number of days they attended. Interestingly, the residents voted that the amount to be raised by local property taxes for the next year, be double the state amount. The idea of truly “free schools” without tuition was debated in the state for many years until ending the practice in 1867.

1814 and in the following years, frequent petitions were brought before the the local Commissioners to change the district lines or create new districts to accommodate the children of new residents. By 1845 the initial seven districts had become nine plus an additional seven districts that were “branch” districts, meaning they were districts where children of Westford, Worcester, Milford or Davenport attended combination schools with Maryland kids where districts overlapped the two adjoining towns.

1824 Total of 556 “scholars” enrolled in the districts and branches - $168.47 distributed.

1836 by this year, the state contribution to Maryland had reached $100 and the U.S Congress then passed an act authorizing the U.S. Treasury’s surplus be shared with the states. New York received $4,000,000 and the state legislature directed that $160,000 of it be added to the common school fund each year. Consequently the Town of Maryland’s 1838 share more than doubled to $254.

1850 In US Census for Town of Maryland - persons over age 20 who couldn’t read & write = 41 out of 2,152 = 1.9%. It was 28 men & 13 women.

1867 Tuition or rate bills were ended for in-district students throughout the state.

1870 The Town had 2,402 residents listed in the 1870 U.S. Census and that was the highest in the Town’s history.

1872 The wood frame Schenevus Academy was built on Arch St. following the consolidation of the two school districts in the village & it offered grades one to eight plus a year or two of HS. Floyd Lowell was the 1st Principal & wife Mary his assistant.

1873 16-year old Laura Chauncey (later Squires) taught at Crumhorn District School #7 for $2 per week and boarded around spending one week in the home of each student. She had just graduated from Hartwick Seminary.

1876 There were 18 school houses with a value of $17,405 in the Town, serving 799 students.

1879 The State authorized the school to teach 4 years of high school as it changed from a graded school to a Union Free School and offered Regents Examinations.

1880 A State law was enacted making women eligible for school offices and giving them the same rights as men in voting at school elections.

1883 The first 4 year HS class (of 3 girls) graduated at the Schenevus Union School.

1886 Tuition for out-of-district students at Schenevus Union School Primary & Intermediate grades was $3 & $4 per term respectively. For Academy out-of-district students tuition was: Common English $5; Higher English $6 and Languages $7 per term. They either boarded the week in Schenevus or took the train each day.

1887 The first one-year Teacher Training Class for HS graduates was organized at the Schenevus Union School & Academy. Several years later it was discontinued.

The Schenevus HS Alumni Association, the first in Otsego County was organized, making it currently the oldest Alumni Association in the county.

1886 - 1892 Andrew S. Draper, a native of Westford, served as the NY State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In his 1889 Report, he noted there were 631 children in the Town of Maryland’s 17 school district schoolhouses with 22 teachers.

1900 The commencement Program used just the name Schenevus High School for the first time (no Academy). Prof. Floyd S. Lowell retired after 24 years as SHS Principal - An Alumni Assn dinner was held for over 200 in his honor. The Teacher Training Class was re-established with the first graduating class in June 1901.

1902 Compulsory Attendance law required ages 8-12 attend from Oct 1 to June 1st. Required ages 12-14 attend at least 80 consecutive days when not legally employed & between 14-16 attend when not legally employed.

1902 While Andrew S. Draper was President of the Univ. of Illinois, in 1902, he was in a runaway horse accident & had his right leg amputated.

1904 - 1913 Andrew S. Draper, became the first NYS Commissioner of Education. He died in 1913 while Commissioner.

1910 A new red brick Schenevus HS was built on Arch St replacing the wood frame Academy, at a cost of $25,000. By Dec. it was one of 30 Schenevus homes/businesses that had a telephone installed.

1912 The Maryland Union School District #2 was built on Dog Hill Road in the hamlet of Maryland and the former schoolhouse was moved to Depot St in the hamlet (as a residence) where it still stands. In 1914, 6 districts consolidated and the new school offered two years of high school. In 1932 five students graduated after 3 years of HS & the name changed to Maryland Union High School. Never offered 4 yrs of HS.

1912 Jun. The SHS baseball team played games at Tannery Park.

1912 Diarist, age 15, Edwin Hubbard, graduated grade 8 from District School #11 on Hubbard Hill in June 1912 and enrolled in SHS in Sept.

He traveled the 5.1 miles each day to the new Schenevus HS. This meant going down into the valley to catch the 7:11 train at the Maryland Station in order to get to Schenevus at 7:19. Or perhaps his Pa or brother were going to Maryland or Schenevus and would take him by buggy. Sometimes he rode his horse or as he said on Jan 24, 1916 “I am going on the wheel now. Fine wheeling.” The fine wheeling depended on both the weather and his bike’s unreliable tires. He finally got better cord tires & inner tubes and that helped reduce his problems. Roads were better in 1916 as the State Road had been completed by 1914. Muddy Main St Schenevus was now being paved. He did keep track of his expenses for the school year 1912-13:

For 3 books (Latin HS English, Zoology & a lab book) $3.95. For tablets, composition books, drawing pads, pencils, a book strap & 1 pair of sneaks, the total was $1.68. then there was “school mileage $6.93” which was for the discounted RR tickets. Coincidently, we have in our collection, one of his drawing books. In Sept he noted “There was no school today.  We went to the fair.” A scheduled day off each year.

1915 The Westford Union School was built, consolidating the district schools into one District. State Ed allowed the school to give 2 years of high school work. Some Maryland & Westford 2nd or 3rd year graduates went to SHS for their 4-year HS diploma.

1915 A picture of the Schenevus HS building was shown on a large screen at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, a world's fair held in San Francisco, as an example of one of the most modern schools in NYS.

1916  June. Edwin’s SHS graduating class consisted of 4 girls and one other boy. Also graduating in June 1916 were 7 girls, from the one-year teacher training class. That would allow them to teach school or gave them one-years credit at a State Normal School. Among the papers that Cindy & Roger Hubbard found along with his diaries, was their grandfather’s June 1916 Address to SHS Juniors. In it he cautioned them to study hard, apply themselves, follow the rules and accumulate a large number of credits. Edwin continued, “Now there are a great many temptors and temptations in all kinds of business and also in the school. We warn you not to pay too much attention to the other sex, when school duties demand your attention. It distracts the mind, makes you uneasy and dissatisfied, and fills your head with a lot of things which are of no value. Better wait until you are older.” Edwin goes on to speak about each Junior class member, for example he observes that “We commend Jesse Stickles for her perseverance in school work although she has a long wait for the train every night. We would remind her however, that if she expects to graduate next year, she must attend strictly to business. We will allow Ernest to take her home nights in that Ford, if he will promise not to get sentimental and if he will confine himself to discussions in German.”

1917 Friday April 6 the SHS senior class left at 10 am for Washington, DC via train. Principal Hardy accompanied them.

1918 Apr. To help with the scarcity of farm workers during WWI, six SHS students left school 6 weeks early to go work on farms in what was called the “Boys Working Reserve.” They needed a 75% average & could earn Regents credit points.

1918 Oct - Dec The Schenevus Village Board of Health closed the school (and banned all other public gatherings) several times for days at a time, because of the influenza epidemic. It killed 18 Town residents during those 3 months, including both town doctors, Dr. Burdick & Dr. Adams.

1921 The last Schenevus Teacher Training Class graduated. A total of 215 women & 22 men graduated the 1-year course since 1901.

1923 I have not found any mention of SHS women’s sports teams before this 1923 girls basketball team photo. Perhaps the 1920 law granting women the right to vote encouraged this change.

1926 4 years of Westford HS was approved & the first HS class graduated in 1927.

1926 The Maryland Union School catalog was praising the benefits of a newly acquired slide lantern which was making the teaching of geography & history more effective when accompanied by the projected pictures.

1938 June. The residents of the Towns of Westford, Maryland, Milford, Roseboom & Decatur voted to combine to form the Andrew S. Draper Central School District, 343 - 31. It was named after the prominent Westford native.

1939 June. The school district residents voted buy the 18-acre Wyckoff property for $12,500 for the location of the new school, 102 - 31.

1939 Oct. The district residents voted (78 to 3) to spend up to $270,000 to build the new school, even though the $180,000 Federal gov’t WPA funding was canx.

1938 - 1943 the new School Bd took some interesting actions to ease the transition to centralization: planned for combined graduation; combined Sr class trips; combined social studies classes for an Albany trip; DCS grades 2, 4, 6 & 8 to be bused to Maryland & Maryland grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 10 to be bused to DCS for instruction each day; arranged transportation for practices & games for Westford basketball players that wanted to play for DCS; provided soup to be sent to Chaseville school; allowed a number of Chaseville students be transported to DCS; bought band instruments for Westford school; Westford school repairs to be done; ordered 150 tons of coal for all 3 school buildings plus the Homemaking cottage in Westford;

brought some equipment from district schools that were closed, to DCS;

gave each 1940 graduate $10 for Washington class trip; bought a biology torso for $138; plans for the new building presented Mar40; controversy over whether married female teachers should be retained was resolved by leaving it up to each Principal; Mr. Unckless music teacher hired for July & Aug to lead the band for village band concerts & uniforms to be purchased; busses to transport for practices and concerts; notify Maryland parents that as of Sep1941 no transportation would be provided to the Maryland school house; agreed to sell the Westford homemaking cottage; commissioned a mural by Drix Duryea in the new primary room ($140); approved buying a dental chair & hiring a dental hygienist for the clinic; approved the new community basketball league use of DCS gym for practice & one/per week games; agreed to move the coal & wood from Maryland & Westford schools to DCS; auctioned contents of old HS building in Schenevus 1May43; Defense Training Courses set up; and approved Sat night movies at school.

1941 Sept. The new DCS opened on schedule as the workmen completed the finishing touches such as drapes and curtains and the Town road workers finished grading the lawn & grounds.

1941 Dec 20 DCS won its first league basketball game at home vs Milford (last year’s league champs) 27-18.

1942 Jan 16. The new DCS building was dedicated. In addition to 15 classrooms there was a kitchen & cafeteria serving noon meals & a combination gym and auditorium seating 650. The Library had 2,500 books & 20 periodicals.

1943 May. The 1910 brick Schenevus HS building was sold at auction for $500 to the Hayes & Co., Gloversville glove manufacturers. They let school buses use the basement. Eventually, it became known as the municipal building with a Village Hall on the 2nd floor toward the front and the Glove Factory on the rest of the 2nd floor. The basement was subsequently used as the Fire House.

1943 Sept. Residents of the Maryland School District #2 voted (32 - 6) to authorize the DCS Board of Education to sell school #2 to the Maryland Community Assn Inc. for $1. Minutes through 1950 show that that group sponsored many community activities: a boy scout troop, newsletters to the servicemen, welcome home party for vets, petitioned Town Bd for a lighting district, they raised & donated money and various community groups held meetings there.

1945 Sept. A half-day kindergarten program was begun (wartime restrictions had delayed this).

1946 The WWII monument in front of the school was built by Bob Unckless.

1946  The new six-man football team had a late start due to difficulty obtaining uniforms. When the uniforms did arrive, there was time for only three games. They beat Milford twice (52-12 and 48-6) and beat Worcester (48-6).

1950 NYS Section IV Boys Basketball Champions.

1960 The Town had 1,386 residents listed in the 1960 U.S. Census and that was the lowest in the Town’s history since 1820. (Estimated 2016 pop. = 1,805.)

1961 Sept. The television set donated by the Class of 1961 was operational via cable and able to receive one channel each from Albany, Binghamton & Schenectady. Viewing was in the auditorium or cafeteria.

1964, 1965, 1966 & 1968 NYS Section IV Boys Basketball Champions.

1976 The brick Schenevus High School on Arch St. was torn down to make way for the Snyder apartments.

1976 & 1977 NYS Section IV Boys Basketball Champions.

1981 NYS Section IV Girls Soccer Champions & Section IV Boys Baseball Champions.

1982 NYS Section IV Girls Volleyball Champions.

1986 An addition to the DCS of six classrooms & office space was made.

1990 Oct. District residents approved, 347 to 216, an even more comprehensive addition and upgrading of the existing building costing $5,496,000. It included 12 classrooms & a new gym for the 410 students. I

1992 The Head Start Center was opened in Schenevus.

1993 Andrew S. Draper Central School renamed as Schenevus Central School.

1997 June. The Vincent A. Ciliberti Gymnasium was dedicated.

1998 The Hallway of Honor was begun by Schenevus graduate, Rich Westcott. He has elicited almost 200 letters and signed photos from well-known athletes & coaches with inspirational messages to our students.

1999 NYS Section IV Boys Baseball & Section IV Boys Soccer Champions

2000 NYS Section IV Girls Soccer Champions & Boys Section IV Baseball Champions

2003 NYS Section IV Boys Baseball Champions

2003 A new bus garage was constructed providing six bus bays, a working garage with lifts, a wash bay and bathroom facilities for the athletic fields.

2009 NYS Section IV Girls Soccer Champions

2015 The voters approved a $6.7 million building project with a focus on energy efficiency and modernization. Construction was completed in 2018.

2016 & 2017 SHS concert band won 1st place in the Sherburne Pageant of Bands Competition, two years in a row.


Compiled Spring 2018 by Bob Parmerter, Town Historian, 638-934 or email at                                   [email protected]

Corrections, additions & the loan (for scanning/photographing) of materials welcome.
Legends and Folklore

The Legend of Chief Schenevus

 The Legend of Chief Schenevus
On South Hill...across from Chaseville, there is a place called Manaho Gorge. It is named for "Manaho," the only daughter of Chief Schenevus. Years ago, the now tine brook was a roaring stream which flowed into a foaming waterfall & cascaded down into a tranquil pool at the base of the gorge. It was here that the great tragedy of the tribe of Chief Schenevus...the tribe of the Speckled Trout occurred.

Schenevus was an Indian Chieftain in the region of the Susquehanna River. There was no Chief as powerful & feared as he. Chief Schenevus had many warriors under his command. He also had many scalps which hung in his wigwam. But even more than all his power, Chief Schenevus loved his daughter, Manaho. Manaho was light of foot, light of heart, happy and loving. Her voice was like rippling water and her form was like the passing of a soft breeze.

There were many lovers who sought the favor of Manaho, but she loved only one man...his name was Manatee, son of Wameto. Manaho and Manatee's favorite retreat was the pool at the bottom of the falls, in what is now called Manaho Gorge. One evening, while gazing into the pool, the young lovers' happy faces were mirrored side by side on it's tranquil surface. "Look," said Manaho, "we are there together." Manatee replied, "It is a sign from the Great Spirit that where I am, there you shall always be."

One clear summer morning, the braves of Chief Schenevus set out to hund deer. Manatee took the trail that led along the edge of the gorge. Another brave, named Ghangu, (who also loved Manaho), followed Manatee closely. At the edge of the gorge, high above the pool, Manatee stopped. He bent over the edge to gaze at the pool beneath. Ghangu took this opportunity to catch Manatee off guard. He sprung forward and pushed Manatee into the gorge. As he fell, the pines on the hill echoed Manatee's dying wail. The waters of the pool stirred greatly as they received him but were quick to close over him peacefully. Ghangu departed and was never seen again.

Later that evening, all of the hunters returned. All that is, except Manatee. Manaho, thinking that perhaps he was waiting for her at the gorge, went to the edge above the pool. He was not there. She leaned forward to gaze at the waters below and staring up at here were her lover's cold, still eyes. Manaho looked again and there mirrored on the surface, were their two faces side by side. It was then that she remembered the words of Manatee; "It is a sign from the Great Spirit that wherever I am, there you shall always be."

The two young lovers were found dead beneath the watery surface of the pool. Upon hearning the sad news of their discovery, the village mourned greatly for Manaho, the last blood of Chief Schenevus.

Since then, years have passed. It is said that even now, when twilight falls and the wind blow through Manaho Gorge, and echo in the hills still whispers, "Where you are, there too I shall always be."

What was then a great stream is now only a trickle, but there is a huge stone at the base of the falls where the pool of water lies, which bears a great red stain. It was here that the life blood of Manaho and Manatee was mingled.

So ends the legend of Chief Schenevus and Manaho Gorge.

Thank you to Chief Schenevus Restaurant and Bakery for sharing a pamphlet containing this legend.

Gold In Schenevus

During the Revolutionary War, it is said that Tories and Indians passed through the town of Maryland many times. There is a vague belief that during these trips, the Tories and Indians hid gold, believed to be either stolen or belonging to the British, near Schenevus. This belief was handed down and kept alive by descendants of the Tories and Indians, who visited Schenevus at various times aroused attention with their supposed strange movements, There is a story which goes along with this belief, and it goes as follows:

In 1870, an Indian claiming to be a medical doctor arrived in Schenevus. Soon after his arrival, two strangers drove up to a farmhouse a mile or two from Schenevus, had their horses put into a stable, and went off by themselves. They were seen in certain fields, apparently in search for something. After a couple of hours, they returned to the farm, got their horses, and left. A few days later, they came back at early evening, put their horses in the stable, and went away, only to return sometime during the night and ride off with their horses.

These strange movements aroused the curiosity of many people. This curiosity was increased by a report that these men were descendants of Tories who had lived in Schoharie County during the Revolutionary War times. A search was instituted for the cause for their strange movements. Measurements were found that had been made from certain springs and permanent landmarks, and stakes were stuck in the ground along these areas. At one point, there was an excavation of earth, in which the dirt that was thrown out was returned. The hole was reopened and at the bottom was the plain form of an old fireplace dinner pot with a flat stone near it that fit as a cover.

The searchers never found out what had been in that pot, but the belief is that it was filled with gold at one time.
Schenevus Pictures
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Schenevus Central School District
159 Main Street, Schenevus, NY 12155
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