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Darrtown's Earliest Schools


"In the spring of 1806, the first school was made up in this part of the township and taught by George Howard. The house stood a quarter of a mile northwest the center of the town. It was a log building, with a large fireplace in one end, logs cut out for windows, roof covered with clapboards, which were held down by weight-poles. This house lasted and was used for twenty-five years.

Among the teachers were John Blackburn, Enoch Morris, and Robert McManus, an Irishman, who was a fine scholar and a gentleman. The Irwin boys, the Kegards, Stouts, Haynes, Prices, and the Darrs were among the scholars.


The second schoolhouse was a frame, which stood on the public square, erected in 1830, or thereabouts. Abram Darr and Philip Brown were among the first teachers. This building was used for about eight years.


For the third schoolhouse, the Darrtown people had frame building, which stood near Darr’s distillery. The house is now used for a dwelling, near the center of the town. William Hewett and David P. Nelson were two of the first teachers.


The fourth school building, a frame, was erected about 1848, and occupied a site two hundred yards west of the center of the village. This building was used until the present brick was put up, with an Odd Fellows' hall above, but which has been sold to the school directors for school purposes. Richard Chambers and Gardner Darr were among the first teachers. Mr. Cornelius Jones, of St. Charles, is the present teacher. There is an average of seventy scholars."

Webmaster Note:


The description of Darrtown's earliest schools that appears at the left was excerpted from the Darrtown section of Milford Township history at the Rootsweb site. For the full article, see:

It seems that the Darrtown schools preceded schools in other parts of Milford Township. The first Darrtown school is dated 1806; Collinsville's first school teacher is recorded as 1818; and the village of Somerville was not laid-out until 1831.

To see a map of Milford Township school sites, visit: History/Maps and scroll to "Map of Milford Township school sites."

Early (undated) Images of Milford Township School History

ABOVE: Elsie Fillager is seen as the third student from the left in the first row. The date and the location of this photo is unknown. This image was donated by Harry Fillager in June 2012.

ABOVE: Elsie Fillager is seen as the second student from the left in the third row. The date and the location of this photo is unknown. This image was donated by Harry Fillager in June 2012.

Recollections of Darrtown / Milford Township Schools

This history section provides access to two types of recollections; (1) published and (2) personal.

(2) PERSONAL Recollections:

> School related memories are offered by Hazel Green, Fred Lindley, and Fay (Dees) O'Brien; see the "Recollections page."

> School related information also appears at the Marie Schmidt biography page.

(1) PUBLISHED Recollections:

Several published news articles about the Darrtown schools have been located and POSTED BELOW.


Hot Lunches to Again be Served


The Collinsville school opened on Tuesday, September 1 with a total of 105 pupils. MIss Nellie Campbell - Grades 1, 2, and 3 with an enrollment of 33 pupils; Miss Leron Campbell - Grades 4 and 5 enrollment of 39 pupils; Mrs. Ethel Finlay [1] - Grades 6, 7, and 8 enrollment of 33 pupils [2]. Both the Primary and upper grade rooms had perfect attendance for the first week. The intermediate room had only one absent.


During the last school year, the boys and girls took subscriptions for the Country Gentleman. Twenty-five of the reading circle books for Children's LIbraries adapted to each grade were bought with the money. These books were in the library for the first day of school. John Smith, Albert Lindley, Fred Grothaus, and Russell Bowman had each read three books at the end of the first week.


Supt. Roker called at our school on Tuesday and Friday of the first school week.


Mothers' Club Busy


The Mothers' Club has been very busy for the last month in canning a supply of food for the hot lunch. Canning day No. 1, 174 quarts of peaches, 5 quarts jelly, and 23 glasses jelly; canning day No. 2, 157 quarts of apple sauce, 6 quarts jelly, 12 glasses jelly, and 28 cans peaches; canning day No. 3, 39 quarts apple sauce, 21 quarts apple butter, 23 quarts green beans, 8 quarts jelly; canning day No. 4, 48 quarts of corn, 21 quarts of beans, and some jelly.


The ladies are planning to serve hot dinners beginning November 1 and continue through March. [3]


Our eighth graders from last year have all found their places in various High schools. Robert Shaw, Lewis and Warren Fisher, Evan Cain, and Arnold Lambert have entered Milford Township High school at Darrtown; Paul Gerber at Middletown; Howard Goldsmith at Oxford, and MIldred Cox and Robert Winters at Seven MIle."

Webmaster Notes:


Regarding the news article at the left...people who attended the Collinsville School in the 1940's recall...


...[1] Mrs. Ethel Finlay as a teacher. Mrs. Finlay occasionally substituted for sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Virginia Teckman, during the late 1940's. The two other teachers named in the first paragraph are not known. (However, some research about Nellie and Leron Campbell led to the notes that are listed below, opposite the image of the 1930 Federal Census.)


...[2] classrooms at Collinsville School with two grade levels (1 & 2) (3 & 4) and (5 & 6). As students, we had no idea that, some 20 years earlier, the school had classrooms with three grade levels each; nor did we image having 33 or 39 pupils to one classroom / teacher.


[3] This news item about the "Mothers' Club" confirms that the ladies of Collinsville school were engaged in providing hot lunches to the Collinsville students - for five months of the school year. This all occurred before the Federal Lunch Program for schools.


The image of the 1930 Federal Census (left) is included because it provides information about the teachers whose names appear in the "school news" paragraph above.


This census report confirms that Nellie B. Campbell lived at the Robert Finlay residence as a "Lodger." The original record shows that her occupation was "teacher."


"Extra Info" - Roberta Russell, also listed as a lodger at the Finlay home, was also identified as "teacher." Miss Russell would become the wife of Milford Township resident, Howard Laughln.

Somerville and Collinsville School News

From Hamilton Evening News - 1929, April 11


"In The Rural Schools of Butler County 


Purple Stock is Boosted


"With probably the best track team in her history, Ol' Somerville High will be a favorite in Butler County's sixth annual track and field meet, May 3, at the great Butler county fair grounds. With every man on the squad showing up better each day, the Purple Stock is being sent sky-high." [1]


...portions of article deleted for brevity...




"Both the primary and upper grade rooms have had perfect attendance for this week.


Our school has received a charter from the state, rating us as a first grade elementary school." [2]


...portions of article deleted for brevity...and the article includes a list of the results from a spelling test - by grade levels, with names of students placing first, second, and third.


And, then, the following sentence appears:


"The results of the Otis Intelligence Scale given in the primary room are as follows…" [3]

1926 School News

1929 School News (item A)

Webmaster Notes:

[1] The Somerville portion of this news article goes on to to describe individual exploits…of athletes with the following family names that have been long associated with the northeast corner of Milford Township: Brenan, Buell, Bell, Withrow, Ponder and Hageman. Also, there is a later reference to the "Purple Flyers." So, it appears that the Somerville School may have been known by the color purple.

[2] It seems that Ohio rating local schools is not unique to the 21st century. At least, the Collinsville school earned a rating of "first grade."

[3] The reference to the Otis Intelligence Scale is significant by 21st century standards. Imagine the firestorm (i.e., law suits) that would follow, if today's school officials released (and newspapers published) student intelligence scores! And, yes, the 1929 newspaper account listed student names!


Box Social Planned 

Last Friday, the Darrtown nine gained another rung of the ladder in their effort to win the county baseball cup a second time [1], when they defeated the Monroe lads to the tune of 7 to 4.


Hanover, of the western division, has not been defeated by any other team in that section. However, the Darrtown boys traveled to Hanover two weeks ago and found them to be easy marks, the score being 19 to 5 in Darrtown's favor.


Darrtown and Monroe were tied for first place in these side of the county, but Friday's game puts Darrtown in the lead.


Schulteiss and Starr formed Monroe's battery, while Alston [2] and Smith [3] handled the Monroe batters for Darrtown. Alston struck out 10, but Schulteiss succeeded in fanning only 2 of Darrtown's batters.


Wright [4], of Darrtown, landed a three bagger and Alston a two-base hit. Alston, Wright, Betz [5], Smith, and Decker [6] each counted 2 hits out of four times at bat. Warren, of Hamilton, officiated.


Darrtown is booked to play Jacksonburg next Friday, unless different arrangements are made.


Box Social 

On Friday evening, April 19 at 8 o'clock, the Junior class will be in charge of a box social and entertainment at the school building.


The eighth grade will present a play, 'Welcome, Miss McGregor.' The characters are as follows: 

Katherine Parker: Hilda Withrow

Both Collard: Gustabel Bradbury

Richard Parker: Woodrow Whitehill

Jerry Tensdale: Paul Krebs

Clyde Harrison: Glen Ward

Elsie Wessel: Helen Bufler

Edward Carston: Garland Wyckoff

Jack Morris: James Irwin

Miss McGregor: Mary Bennet

Madge Muggins: Glenna Pierson

Nellie Burke: Florence Gault


The Juniors will present a play, "Cappy Explains." The characters are as follows: 

John Sterling: James Pierson

Ann Sterling: Josephine Bradbury

Dorothy Gray: Margaret Grothaus

Kent Leighman: Eldon Betz

Olga, the maid: Eva Cain

Cappy: Wilbur Smith

Jerome Long, undertaker: James Harris

Miss Patterson: Lela Alexander

The Detective: Robert Shaw

The Eel: Paul Gerber


Following the plays, the well-filled boxes brought by the girls will be auctioned off. Ice cream and soft drinks will be on sale. Everyone is assured of a pleasant evening's entertainment."



The science class installed a radio [7], kindly loaned by Mr. Wiley and tuned in, Thursday afternoon, to the "School on the Air." The students particularly enjoyed the interesting and instructing talk on the Geography of the Netherlands, by Professor McConnett of Miami."

1929 School News (item B)

Webmaster Notes:

[1] See image of the 1928 Darrtown High School championship baseball team.

[2] Walter "Smokey" Alston

[3] Wilbur Smith

[4] Clarence Wright

[5] Eldon Betz

[6] Clifford Decker

After reporting on the junior class box social, the news article continues with a list of "Class Ranks" - which reports the names of students ranked number one through number three (and four in two instances).

Baseball teammates, Walter Alston is listed among the ranked seniors; Raymond Wiley among the sophomores; and Clifford Alexander among the freshmen.

Lela Alexander (who would become Mrs. Walter Alston) was listed among the ranked juniors.

[7] Just as schools today try to keep up with technology (computers, Internet, etc.), the schools of 1929 were also trying to stay abreast of recent developments. In this case, the item of interest was...the radio!

Notice that the radio was not owned by the school; it was on loan from Mr. Wiley.

1930 School News

From: Hamilton Evening Journal - 1930 / December 5



Thanksgiving Program


An interesting program in keeping with the Thanksgiving season was presented by the Senior Class at Darrtown on Wednesday morning.


    Orchestra selection: School orchestra

    Bible Reading: Edna Weibel

    Prayer: School

    A song of Thanksgiving: School

    Story of the First Thanksgiving: Howard Fox

    Orchestra selection: School orchestra

    Original poems, by seventh grade pupils: Mildred Harris, Gladys Ledwell, and Martha Grothaus

    Thanksgiving story: Luella Bowers

    Song, "Landing of the Pilgrims" : Senior class

    Original poems by the eighth grade pupils: Carl Hayes, Frances Lang, and Arthur Fulmer

    Thanksgiving stories: Ernest Tackett and Helen Geisler

    Song, Thanksgiving prayer: Senior class

    Contest: Words formed by the letters in "Thanksgiving"

    Pep meeting leaders: Jessie Lindley and Ralph Reynolds


Basketball with Okeana 

In spite of bad weather, the boys and girls basketball teams and their enthusiastic followers journeyed to Okeana on Thanksgiving eve. The girls played a fine game, but were defeated by the Okeana girls. The boys, in a close and fast game, suffered their first defeat of the season by a score of 25 to 20. The teams hope for different results when they play Okeana on January 9. On Friday evening, December 12, the boys' and girls' teams will play Monroe.


Scholastic Rank 

Several changes were made in the class rank of individual pupils, when the grades for the past six weeks were given out. Names intentionally omitted here; however, the original newspaper article listed the first four students for each grade levels 8-12.

Junior Class Sweaters 

An order of brand new wool sweaters, which have pervaded the school building, was easily traced to the members of the Junior class, who were strutting about, adorned with their handsome black class sweaters, with the scarlet, chenille "M" and the numeral "32." [1]


Banking Banner 

The seventh and eighth grades are to be commended on their thrift habits, having won the banking banner for the past two weeks."

1931 School News

From the November 9, 1931 edition of the Hamilton Daily News




With the close of the baseball season, the interest is turned to basketball at Darrtown school and the pupils are looking forward to a busy and successful season. The following schedule will be followed by the Darrtown teams this year: 

Nov. 13 - Seven Mile

Nov. 20 - Okeana

Nov. 25 - Ross Township

Dec. 4 - Open

Dec. 11 - Somerville

Dec. 18 - McGuffey

Jan. 8 - Okeana

Jan. 15 - Open

Jan. 22 - Monroe

Jan. 29 - Seven Mile

Feb. 5 - Ross Township

Feb. 12 - Fairfield

Feb. 19 - Open

Feb. 26-27 - Tournament


On Thursday, Oct. 29, the Darrtown and Somerville teams met at Darrtown to play off the tie of the first game. At the end of the second inning, the score was 2 to 2 and it was necessary to call the game, because of darkness.


The hot lunches were begun on Monday, November 2. An attractive and nourishing menu has been planned for this month and many children are buying their lunches."

1938 School News

From the Hamilton Journal and Daily News ~ Saturday, May 28, 1938


"Wayne and Milford Diplomas Presented


Commencement exercises were held Friday night for Wayne High school in the Wayne HIgh school auditorium and for Milford High school in the Darrtown Lutheran Church."


(...Wayne school news omitted from this website…)


"Dr. Walter L. Collins, president of Wilmington college addressed graduates of Milford High school in exercises in Darrtown Lutheran Church. He was presented and introduced by C.H. Williams, superintendent of Butler County schools.


The program included Processional, "Festival March, " Weber; orchestra, "Air de Ballet," Gluck; invocation, Rev. Floyd S. Webb, pastor of the Darrtown M. E. church; salutatory, Robert Howard; clarinet solo, selection from "Lonisa de Montford," Bergson, Donald Seibert, accompanied by Mrs. Carl Seibert; class address, "We Build the Ladder by Which We Rise," Nancy Robinson; orchestra, "Cossack Dance," Moussorgsky.


The presentation of diplomas was by John Burkhart, superintendent of the school; a selection by the orchestra, "The Commander," Brockton, and benediction closed the program.


The class roll includes: James Arnold, Frederick Baecker, Edith Bryant, Emily Bryant, James Cornelius, Kathryn Dynes, Mary Alice Fisher, Lorraine Gerber, Wilber Gibson, Robert Howard, Melvin Leslie, Lee McWhorter, Nancy Robinson, and Carlisle Wolfe."

The end of the Darrtown / Milford Township anecdotal record.

Webmaster Note: The "Anecdotal Record" at the right was exceprted from a page of text that was among several historical documents that Harry Ogle contributed to the website in January 2012.


Neither the author nor the date of the anecdotal record was identified. However, within the article, there are two instances where present tense is used, with references to the year, 1947.


The anecdotal record, which was identified as "Page 10" and titled "Institutions," had the appearance of having been typed on a manual typewriter and, presumably, was someone's attempt to record the history of how and why the Darrtown high school was closed.


This anecdotal account seems authentic, as the information that appears on the other pages in the collection of papers contributed by Harry Ogle is consistent with records that are available from the Milford Township section of the US GenWeb Project.

A hand-drawn pie chart that accompanied the anecdotal record indicated the following percentages in 1947:

"40% to Seven Mile

40% to Stewart

10% to McGuffey

10% elsewhere (Hanover, Hamilton, etc.)."


Given the apparent authenticity of this anecdotal record, it is included here as additional information about the closing of the Darrtown High School.

The Closing of Darrtown High School - An Anecdotal Record


"In 1938, the only school existing in this town, was condemned by the state authorities.


For several years, it had been debated as to whether this school would continue or not. Two small towns within Milford Township, Darrtown and Collinsville, carried on their school system as one unit.


Both towns had a school building, but neither of these buildings was large enough for the grade school and high school students from both towns. Some adjustment had to be met, as to the division of students.


For about ten years, the first six grades went to Collinsville school and the last six grades went to Darrtown school. Although the first six grades are going to Collinsville school to this day (1947), there are a number of reasons why the Darrtown school was condemned.


In the first place, the student enrollment of this school was very small, which meant that it received inadequate support from the state and thus could not be rated as a grade A school. When it finally closed, the main reasons given were that was not absolutely fire-proof, and the physical educational facilities were not up to standards.


The outcome was that all the students, in this part of the township, from grades six to twelve, had to be divided up and sent to schools nearest their homes. Half the pupils were sent to Oxford schools (they had their choice of McGuffey or Stewart) and the other half to Seven Mile high school. The graph below indicates the distribution of these students, as it is at the present time."