A History of Oneonta
from its earliest settlement
to the present time
by Dudley M. Campbell. Oneonta, NY
G. W. Fairchild & Co. 1906

Transcribed & Contributed
by Sandy Goodspeed



The first newspaper here of which we have any record was the Oneonta Gazette. It was started about 1842, and owing to ill health of the editor, William J. KNAPP, it was discontinued after a brief career. The Oneonta Herald was first published in 1853 by Leman P. CARPENTER, and was made a living success by hard and persistent work. Its publication was continued by Leman P. Carpenter alone, when in about 1868 it was purchased by George W. REYNOLDS, who was editor and proprietor for a few years, when it was purchased by Edward M. JOHNSON, who afterwards sold the plant to Willard E.YAGER and George W. FAIRCHILD, who became sole proprietors. It is now managed by G. W. Fairchild & Co.-Andrew B. SAXTON and Carr W. PECK being associated with Mr. Fairchild in the business.

The Oneonta Press, established in 1876 by W. H. JEFFERSON, was the next in order of time. It has been successively under the management of RAYMOND & SMITH, COATES & WEED, S. W. FERENBAUGH, and is now under the management of Henry G. BISHOP, who became proprietor in 1894.

The Oneonta Spy was first published by George W. Reynolds, who was succeeded by E. C. REYNOLDS, and in 1895 it was purchased by Albert D. HITCHCOCK, who continued its management until its recent discontinuance.

The Oneonta Daily Star was established in 1890 by Harry W. LEE. Several attempts had previously been made to publish a daily newspaper, but after a brief existence in each case the effort was abandoned. The Star is evidently an established success. Its increasing popularity has given it a strong hold both in this and adjoining towns. Thus we have two weeklies and one daily published here.

Normal School.

By an act of legislature, which became a law in 1887, a State Normal and Training School was established here. In that year an appropriation of $45,000 was made by the State for the purpose of getting under way the work of erecting a building for the school. In 1888 an additional appropriation of $69,000 was made. In 1890 the legislature made a further appropriation of $40,000 for the purpose of grading the grounds and for equipping the school. September 4, 1889, the building was formally dedicated. A few days after the last date, the school was opened for instruction with James M. MILNE, A. M., Ph. D., as principal, aided by an efficient staff of assistants.

February 15, 1894, the school building with all its contents was destroyed by fire. The work of instruction was continued in various buildings about the village. Not a day of school work was lost, and of the four hundred pupils in attendance only one student withdrew from the school.

An insurance of $75,000 on the burned building was immediately made available for erecting a new building, and March 8, 1894, less than one month from the date of the fire, the legislature appropriated $100,000 to be applied towards the completion of the work. In 1895 an additional $50,000 was voted for the same purpose, and the work of construction was so rapidly pushed to completion that in the following October the different departments were transferred to the new Normal building.

In 1898 Dr. Milne withdrew from the school, and Percy I. BUGBEE, A. M., Ph. D., was appointed principal. The school has earned and still maintains a wide-spread reputation for its thorough course of instruction. During its comparatively brief existence its graduates have been in demand as teachers in all parts of the country.

The following is a complete list of the Local Board and Faculty for the year 1906:

Local Board: William H. MORRIS, President; Henry BULL, Secretary-Treasurer; Hon. James STEWART, Geo. I. WILBER, Willard E. YAGER, George KIRKLAND, Hon. Walter L. BROWN, Harry W. LEE, Eugene RAYMOND, Reuben REYNOLDS, Frederick A. MEAD, Hon. Hobart KRUM.

Faculty: Percy I. BUGBEE, A. M., D. Sc., Principal, Didactics; Arthur M. CURTIS, B. S., Mathematics; Edwin F. BACON, Ph. B., Modern Languages; Frank D. BLODGETT, A. B., A. M., Ancient Languages; Howard LYON, A. B., M. S., Sciences; Charles A. SCHUMACHER, A. B., Ph. D., English; Kate M. DENISON, Methods; Mrs. Margaret H. START, Music and Criticism; Mrs. Ella L. COLBATH, Drawing and Criticism; John L. DAHL, B. S., Biology and Criticism; Winchie L. COLLUM, Reading, Expression and Criticism; Florence M. MATTESON, Mathematics and Latin; Amelia E. ARMBRUSTER, Physical Training and Criticism; Blanche S. VanAUKEN, Manual Training; Eliza E. GEE, Principal of Intermediate Department; Cora H. PETTIT, Principal of Primary Department; Helen G. IRVING, Criticism and Model Teaching; Helen C. FRITTS, Criticism and Model Teaching; Frances A. TERRILL, Criticism and Model Teaching; Caroline D. HURLBUTT, Criticism and Model Teaching; Olive C. FREUDENTHAL, Kindergarten; Caroline TELFORD BOCKES, Secretary and Librarian.

Public Schools.

While the old-time "district" school in the outlaying parts of the town, has maintained a struggling existence, the Union school, with its several departments, in the village has been established and is in a flourishing condition. This school, under its new organization, opened in 1868 with Wilber F. SAXTON as principal. Mr. Saxton resigned his position in 1870, and was then succeeded by Nathaniel N. BULL. Large additions were subsequently made to the building on Academy street. In 1883, about six hundred pupils were in attendance and twelve teachers were employed, and an academic department was established.

Under the school law, Nathaniel N. BULL, A. M., who had served for many years as principal of the school, was made the first superintendent of the public schools, which position he held until 1895, when he was succeeded by William C. FRANKLIN, A. M., who is now the superintendent. Under the reorganization Albert W. ABRAMS, A. M., was the first principal; his successor was R. S. ROULSTON, A. M.. The present principal is Harry W. ROCKWELL, A. B., a recent graduate of Brown University.

The school is well known for its excellent educational work, the total registration during the past year being about 1200. It occupies three buildings. Besides the capacious structure on Academy street, there are two commodious and well arranged school buildings, one on River street and one on Center street. The principal of the former is Luella HUNTINGTON, and of the latter Linda V. MEAD. There is not another village between Albany and Binghamton having equal educational advantages.

As supplemental to the school facilities, the village has a public library of several thousand well selected books. The following is a complete list of the Board of Education and Faculty for the year 1906:

Board of Education: Albert MORRIS, President; M. G. KENNAN, Secretary; William EDMUNDS, Henry BULL, Henry SAUNDERS, Arthur E. FORD, John R. SKINNER.

Faculty: William C. FRANKLIN, M. A., Superintendent of Schools. Academy Street School, High School Department: Harry W. ROCKWELL, Principal; Ella M. BRIGGS, Vice-Principal; Flora K. ALLEN, Bertha VISCHER, E. Estelle SOUTHWELL, Harriet E. STEVENS, Alice E. LATTEN, Inez BATES. Preparatory Department: Emma BATES, Frances L. KELLOGG, Dorothy WILBER, Myrtle McKINNEY, Nellie ALCOTT. Intermediate and Primary Department: Winifred BROWN, Anna BUNN. Center Street School: Linda V. MEAD, Principal; Flora SHEARER, Mary BRAINARD, Ellen HITCHCOCK, Clara BUNN, Jennie M. GREEN, Jessie TRABER. River Street School: Luella HUNTINGTON, Principal; Mary WARD, Mila FRASIER, Elizabeth WARD. Rispah POTTER, Special Teacher of Music.

The school at East End employs four teachers, and should be, but is not, a part of the village school system. Among recent principals have been Edward E. BEALS, Charles A. BUTLER, H. G. GOODENOUGH, and Andrew SLOAN. The present principal is Edward P. SAXTON. The other members of the faculty are Misses Hannah HAYES, Grace PLATT and Minnie BRAINERD. The school has 125 pupils.

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