Our former Edwards Historian, Leah Noble, wrote that
it was found that school was taught in Edwards as early
as 1814. She wrote that U. O. Kerr passed on the information
that his father, John Kerr, son of 1819 Scottish immigrant,
Alexander Kerr, went to school in a barn in 1819 and 1820.
This barn was on the property assigned to the Alexander
Noble family by Joseph Pitcairn (or his agent, George Allan)
and located on County Road #24 where Richard Brown lived
until a few years ago.
There were ten districts in the township.
The village school was designated #1.
were five village schools over the years. The first
known was a log cabin located on the mainland across from
the George Allan brick house. The next one was built
in 1840 of stone beside where the present VFW building is.
It was large enough to accommodate the 10-12 students in
attendance. About 20 years later a one room wooden
structure was erected just east of the Methodist church
on Main Street to teach the elementary grades, but not high
school. Because of the expanding population, a second
room was added in 1887 and a second teacher employed.
In 1898 this school was abandoned when a new one story,
three- room school was built on East Main Street where the
Assembly of God church is now.
After the turn of the century the townspeople saw the
need for a four-year local high school. There was one year
of high school, and perhaps two, in place. To make
this vision a reality, the roof of the school was raised
and in 1914 the first high school graduation was held with
three members completing the requirements.
the 1930's the 1898 school had outlived its usefulness.
A vote decided a new, modern school was necessary and a
two-story brick school on Trout Lake Street was erected.
In June of 1936 the combination gym and auditorium was completed
and the first graduation was held from the stage.
In the fall of 1936 the Main Street school was permanently
closed and classes began in the brick school. School
was held in this structure until June of 1989 when it was
closed. The brick school on Trout Lake Street was
the final location of a school building for Edwards students
within the township of Edwards. The present school
for Edwards is located on County Route 24, just over the
line in the town of Russell, to house the students of our
merged districts of Edwards and Russell and is known
as Edwards-Knox Central School. This picture shows
the brick school on Trout Lake Street when it was new in
1936 before any landscaping was done or cement walks
School (or Barraford), Dist. #2, was located on State Highway
58 towards Fine about a mile from the village. There
was an earlier school building in the district, but the
location is not known. It has been told that the school
week at that time included Saturday. The plot of land on
which the last Creek School stood was sold for $1.00 to
the farm from which it had been taken, after the school
was closed in 1952 (from BOE minutes). The farm was
owned by Clarence Given at that time and later he razed
the school, built a retirement home on the same spot and
sold the farm to Dale J. Freeman, present owner.
Settlement School, Dist.#3, was organized to accommodate
the children of the families who lived in the area of the
two small ponds – Smith (Soft Water) and Jones. While
it was only a short way from the South Edwards district,
it was necessary for the students to have a school within
walking distance in order to be able to take advantage of
public schooling. Blitha Bullock was the teacher there
when the school closed in June 1956.
Edwards School was Dist. #4. The first settler came
to South Edwards in 1824. Others followed and about
1829 Reuben Guiles and his wife, Hannah Shaw Guiles arrived
in the young community. Hannah Guiles became South
Edwards first teacher. Since she had a growing
family, perhaps, she taught school in her own home.
So.Edwards has had more than one school building, but the
one still standing was probably the first country school
in Edwards with two rooms, one for primary grades and one
for the intermediate grades. Eventually only the room
on the left was needed for all grades taught. In June
1952 residents voted to keep school open another year.
The last teacher was Ruth Kerr. After closing the
school the residents of the area felt they needed a place
for community activities. Arrangements were made for
it to become a community center, which it remains today,
hosting Old Home Days, public dinners, and other gatherings
that bring together people who remember South Edwards with
pride and nostalgia.
School, Dist. #5, was located on the River Road and the
building is still standing. At one time the teacher
was Minnie Little Ingraham. She lived on the road
that is now State Highway 58, which was across the river
behind the Harmon School. When weather permitted,
she walked to the river behind her home (Max Lanphear's
now), rowed a boat across the water and walked to her teaching
position at District #5, saving herself a number of miles
daily. This school, which closed before centralization
in 1948, has served as a dwelling as well as a school.
The Chapin family lost their home to fire, so moved into
the empty school, which was on their property, and lived
there quite a few years. The building now stands unoccupied.
School, Dist. #6, was actually designated District #10,
when separated from Pleasant Valley, but at one time, due
to a clerical error, it became District #6 (1896 map shows
it as District #10). While the hamlet had an earlier
school building, the one presently standing was built in
1894 on land donated by Albert Noble. At that time
there were about 50 students and a larger, two-room school
was needed. Grant and Bell had the contract to build
it. This school served the community for many years,
finally needed only one room with one teacher, then closed,
in June 1963. The last teacher was Grace LaMora.
It was the last country school in operation in Edwards.
This photo is a very early view of the Talcville school.
Note that there are no railings on the steps.
School, (or Dog St. school) Dist. #7, was located on Dog
Street outside of Fullerville headed toward Pitcairn.
It is in a remote area and the building is used as a hunting
camp now. About 1900 when the district had families
with school aged children, a young French-Canadian born
girl from Gouverneur, Miss Clara Beauregard, taught there.
She boarded at a home three miles away and walked the six
miles to school and back daily. This area is now part
of the Gouverneur school district.
School, Dist. #8, was the second country school established
in Edwards as that area was settled early in Edwards history.
The Brodie family had a schoolroom in their home just outside
Edwards village towards Gouverneur and invited the neighborhood
children to come to classes along with their family.
In 1881 this one-room school was built by James Webb at
the corner of the road to Talcville to replace an earlier
school and was attended by the district children until it
was closed when there were not enough children in the district
to warrant keeping a school open. Mary Tripp Noble,
who was the last teacher there, stated that it closed in
1941. Mrs. Noble related that her contract specified
that she must resign if she married or the school closed.
The school was sold at auction to Ray Webb in 1954.
Since then it has been razed and a trailer occupies the
lot. This photo of the Brodie School was taken in
School, Dist. #9, is still standing and located on County
route 24, the road towards Russell. This district
got its name from the Scottish immigrants who settled that
land beginning around 1823 after their indentures to Joseph
Pitcairn had been paid off. One 1897 contract of a
teacher of this district, James O'Brien of Rossie, NY, has
been saved and is on file. This building is now a
rental property of Clifford Bullock. Mr. Bullock believes
the school closed when the districts centralized in1948.
This photograph shows the Scotland School in 1908.
Valley School, Dist. #10, (called Freeman District #6 on
the 1896 map of Edwards) was located about three miles from
the village towards Gouverneur. The land for this
school was given to the district by Gouverneur Morris on
11 Dec 1843. A bookkeeper's error, at some time, transposed
the #6 to Talcville and #10 to Pleasant Valley, which it
kept for the remainder of its days. The school closed
in 1952 and became a community center for many years.
The property was purchased in 1990 by Kenneth and Avis Brown
McGinnis. They built a home on their property and
tore down the defunct one room school in 1991. Here
we see the Pleasant Valley School as it appeared in 1908.