Schoolhouse Records Give Glimpse of Life 100 Years Ago

  • In all aspects of life, so much history has been discarded or lost throughout the years. That is why we are thankful thoughtful district employees have taken good care of fascinating records that have been tucked away for generations, passed on from one caring person to another. 

    We are particularly fond of the collection of records kept in an unassuming box that is labeled “Attendance Registers, 1904-1943.” Fortunately, Rush-Henrietta has several dozen of these registers. Each gives a glimpse at educational history in the decades before our district was formed.

    The cover of each register indicates the city or village, name of the school, grade, and teacher’s name. One image we are sharing shows the Register of Attendance for Rush High School, also known as District No. 10. The teacher, Genevieve McCarthy, taught fifth and sixth grades. In this booklet, she kept track of 20 boys and 15 girls between July 1,1933, and June 30, 1934. 

    The inside cover shares Education Law Requirements. Legal reasons for a student absence included sickness, impassable roads or bad weather, religious observance, and quarantine. On separate two-page spreads, rosters list students at the school. On the left page, students are listed by name. On the right, parents and guardians are named. Attendance information was tracked carefully in the space between. In some respects, the pages read like an old-fashioned version of SchoolTool!

    Each registry includes a list of names that was a who’s who of the local community at the time. Many of the names listed in this particular Rush District No. 10 school register remain familiar in our area even today. This register features students with recognizable names such as Behnk, Faugh, Gaffney, Keyes, Mack, and Tinker, among many others. The documents truly provide an incredible connection to the past.

    The back of each booklet includes a Register of Visitors. Less than a dozen names are listed for the entire school year for District No. 10. Most examples have a completed Teacher’s Affidavit, indicating how much money the teacher earned. For example, Mrs. McCarthy earned $1,400 during the 1933-1934 school year. She netted $1,344, paid in 10 equal installments of $134.40. The remaining $56 was withheld to support her retirement fund. 

    One of the registers in our collection includes a note indicating that students were not in school for an extended period of time during the fall. The reason? Potato picking, of course!

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