Bethel One Room Schoolhouse #6
Skippack Pike and Bethel Road, Worcester
On 12 Jan 1792, David Wagner and Rebecca, his wife, granted a plot of ground to a group of Trustees for the purpose of erecting a building and a burial ground with a notation that “as a school house it is to be built adjoining the Meeting House and that Dutch and English shall be taught every two years alternately, at the discretion of the Trustees, until otherwise to change.”
In 1849 a committee was appointed “to meet William Beyer to agree upon the value of the old school house at Bethel and that aforesaid committee purchased a lot of land, get it surveyed, and deed executed, likewise superintend the building of the new house.” The board bought 40 perches of land on 10 Dec 1849 from Samuel Supplee for $30-$35 to build a new school house at Bethel. William Beyer was awarded the contract to build the school house for $475.This was the first school building build by the new Directors of the Common Schools. It replaced the community school on the church property.
The following is an incomplete chronology of teachers, class lists, and events from the earliest records until the school was sold in 1915. Class lists are often incomplete. Teacher ‘Reports to the Board of Directors’ occurred monthly. Students who did or did not appear on one list may have appeared or disappeared on another. Attendance, Progress, and Deportment was tracked. Progress and Deportment were listed as Very Good, Good, Average, Middling, Poor, Very Poor, and Indifferent.
This list pre-dates the new school but Bethel as a subscription school was already in place with the following students:
1848–1849 George M Weber
Jacob Stillwagon, Richards Mills, James Daly, Corson Kneasel, James Gotwals, Henry Gotwals, Henry Bruner, Charles Jones, John Stem, Lons Englesmen, Hannah Jones, Martha Jones, Jonathan Jones, Adaline Cassel, David Harley, Ann Detwiler, Benjamin F Soby, Silas M Weber, Samuel Cassel, Albert Pennypacker, Henry Workeiser, Franklin Skeen, E K Bruner, Enos Beyer, Catherine Beyer, Nathaniel Beyer, Ann E Kneasel, Sarah Spear, Bethel Jardine, William Jardine, George W Nice, Michael Fox, David Kinkinger, Catherine Schrack, Joseph Skeen, Israel Mester, Michael Bruner, Amos Gotwals, Charles Gotwals, Elizabeth Markley, Elizabeth Bruner, Jacob Bruner, Theodore Kinchiner
Subjects: spelling, writing, reading, arithmetic, geography and English grammar. The term was six months.
1849-1850 George M Weber
An order from the teacher (Mr Weber), to a Philadelphia firm, dated 3 Dec 1849, calls for a number of school books, one-forth hundred quills, best and one dozen steel pens. A postscript says: “Please bear in mind, those books, are to be sold to scholars.”
1850-1851 George M Weber
1851-1852 George M Weber
1852-1853 William G Rhoades
1853-1854 David L Harley
1854-1855 David Thomas
List of Female Pupils Only: Sarah Jane Bell, Isabella Bruner, Amanda Dickey, Sarah Ann Fisher, Hannah Harley, Joanna Harley, Mary Ann Harley, Martha Jones, Hannah E Knesel, Isabella McGlathery, Emma Mills, Margaret Reapp, Amanda Reiff, Anna M Reiff, Maria Spear, Catharine Supplee Sarah M Supplee, Laura Supplee
Subjects: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic, Spelling, Orthography
1855-1856 Jacob U Brunner
Boys and girls are listed separately on the monthly report: James Airly 7, Almira Bean 7, Emma Bean 8, Silvester Bean 5, Benjamin Bisbing 8, Edgar Bruner 6, Henry Bruner 17, Isabella Bruner 7, Samuel Bruner 13, Catharin(e) J Daily 6, Mary E Dickey 10, John Egan 11, Alonzo Engleman 14, Sarah Ann Fisher 13, Henry F Gotwals 15, James Y Gotwals 17, Andrew M Haas 9, Charles L Haas 10, Frederic(k) Haas 7, Samuel Haas 13, David Harley 14, Hannah Harley 12, Mary Ann Harley 10, David Heist 10, Charles Jones 13, Theodore Kingkingner 16, Hannah Kneezel 15, Franklin Mills 15, Emma Mills 9, Isabella McGlathery 15, Abraham Printz 7, William Siens 7, Angelina Smith 15, Franklin Smith 9, Isabella Smith 9, George Stem 17, Jesse Stem 13, Franceanna Supplee 4, Irene Supplee 6, Laura Supplee 11, Leslie Supplee 9, Sarah M Supplee 6, Washington Supplee 8, Cattell Zimmerman 8, Edmund Zimmerman 14, Franklin Zimmerman 12, Isaac N Zimmerman 9, Jacob Zimmerman 17, John Zimmerman 11, Joseph Zimmerman 15
1856-1857 Jacob U Brunner
1857-1858 George Mulford
1858-1859 John R Johnson
1859-1860 Jacob U Brunner
1860-1861 F A Weber
1861-1862 F A Weber
On Apr 2 1861, permission was accorded to Mr. Zimmerman to open a private school at Bethel School House. What has become of this privilege is not known.
1862-1863 Franklin Hoffman
The school term was fixed for 6 months. Previously a 5 month term was taught.
1863-1864 John H Reigel
1864-1865 Jacob U Brunner
Teachers salaries were fixed at $25 per month.
1865-1866 Jacob U Brunner
1866-1867 Jacob U Brunner
1867-1868 John Kriebel
Teachers’ salaries were raised to $33 per month and the school term to was increased 7 months.
1868-1869 A R Jones
1869-1870 Mary Snyder
1870-1871 James Hoot
1871-1872 B F Berkert
1872-1873 Hannah Bean
Numbering of the seven Worcester schools begins. Bethel is assigned #6.
1873-1874 Addison K Jones
1874-1875 Frank Zimmerman
1875-1876 Lewis Wile
1876-1877 Lewis Wile
1877-1878 David Custer
1878-1879 David Custer
1879-1880 Jacob U Brunner
1880-1881 Howard M Nyce
1881-1882 Howard M Nyce
1882-1883 Horace K Anson
(First year of Horace K Anson’s 45 years of teaching in the Worcester District.)
The teacher’s salary was raised to $38 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1883-1884 Horace K Anson
The teacher’s salary was raised to $40 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1884-1885 Mary F Flint
A “graded” system was adopted for the 1885-1886 term. The highest grade taught was 8th grade.
1885-1886 J B Detwiler (resigned) Alice Props
1886-1887 A L Anson
1887-1888 A L Anson
1888-1889 A L Anson
[“The Montgomery Transcript,” a German-language newspaper printed in Skippackville, begins to publish in English. Excerpts from this local paper have been included here when relevant.]
”The teachers of Worcester Township met last Monday evening at Center Point to adopt the questions for the final examinations.” 1 Feb 1889 – Montgomery Transcript
“County Superintendent Hoffecker spent two days visiting our schools last week. We have to believe that he never found them in better conditions.” 8 Feb 1889 – Montgomery Transcript
“During the present term about every progressive public school teacher is striving to establish a library in his school for the pupils. The means to purchase books, however, is generally lacking, and teachers are using various laudable means to raise money for that purpose, some by collecting of the patrons and others by giving entertainments. In every instance thus far the schools have succeeded in getting a good beginning by purchasing a number of useful books, to which additions will be made from time to time as funds accumulate. Horace K Anson, teacher of Stump Hall School, Worcester Township, held a very successful entertainment January 19, Samuel K Brecht, teacher of Metz’s school, in the same township secured by Horne to deliver a lecture.” 1 Mar 1889 – Montgomery Transcript
“The directors of the Worcester schools propose to hold the examination of the seniors private. No one but those immediately interested will be admitted. This is not done from a selfish standpoint, but formerly so very many attended, but the noise confused both the examiner and the examined, and even crowed the latter.” 15 Mar 1889 – Montgomery Transcript
“Superintendent Hoffecker finished the examination of the senior class of the Worcester public schools last Monday. The following are the names of the graduates, all of whom passed a very creditable examination. Theodore Morgan [Quarry Hall], Bessie Weikel [Quarry Hall], Bessie Grater, Charles K Meschter, Horace A Heebner [Stump Hall], John K Heebner [Stump Hall], Rose Wanner [Quarry Hall], Alice K Anson [Stump Hall], Elwood W Anders [Stump Hall], Katie Schultz, Ida C Slough [Anders], Mary Ella Beyer [Cassel’s], Winfield Place [Roberts], Araminta Anders [Anders], Ambrose Kriebel [Metz’s], Amanda Detwiler [Quarry Hall]. This is the largest class Worcester ever graduated. The Commencement exercise will be held Saturday Afternoon, May 16, in Lowne’s Hall, Center Point. The program will be published in due time.” 5 Apr 1889-Montgomery Transcript
“A week to-morrow (Saturday, May 18,) the public school of Worcester township will hold their fourth Annual Commencement in the Schwenkfelder church, commencing at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when sixteen pupils representing six schools will graduated and receive their diplomas.
“As predicted the Commencement of the public schools of Worcester Township Saturday afternoon, was a great occasion for the township, and a larger audience never occupied the basement of the Schwenkfelder church than that which crowded itself into the building. The hours was set at 2 o’clock, but all who came at that hours were obliged to remain outside, and there were many of these. It would have required a room again is large as the basement of the church to comfortably seat all who were inside and outside. People were present from Lansdale, West Point, Norristown, Upper Merion Township, Ironbridge, Zieglersville, Skippack and other places, all whom agreed that Worcester is in the front rank in educational matters. All of which is due to the progressive Board of Directors in that township.” 24 May 1889 – Montgomery Transcript
1889-1890 A L Anson
“Tuesday evening February 4th, Bethel, Anders, and Metz’s schools of Worcester Township will be presented with flags by Washington Camp, No. 33, P. O. S. of A. (Patriotic Order Sons of America) of West Point. The exercises will be held in Lowens Hall, and will be participated in by several schools. Exjudge H C Hoover, of Camp No. 322, will deliver the presentation address in behalf of Camp No. 33. After the flags have been received by the Schools, James H Wolfe Esq., of the Philadelphia Bar, will deliver an address. The public is invited.” 24 Jan 1890-Montgomery Transcript
”Measles are still in our midst, Metz’s school has been reduced from sixty pupils to eighteen. When it was decided to close until next week. Anders school may also be closed.” 28 Feb 1890-Montgomery Transcript
“Measles are still prevailing and spreading over the township. The attendance of all the schools is more or less affected. Cassel’s school has been closed for over a week. H K Anson opened his school Stump Hall again last Monday.” 21 Feb 1890-Montgomery Transcript
”The following are the names of seven graduates of the schools of this township who have passed an examination by Superintendent Hoffecker, last week: Samuel H Schultz and James W Cassell, Metz’s School; Mary Yerger, Nora Meschter and John G Stong, Anders’ School; Allen S Beyer, Cassel’s School; Daisy Gotwals, Bethel School.” 11 Apr 1890 – Montgomery Transcript
”Superintendent R F Hoffecker, Monday examined seven applicants for schools in Worcester township. All succeeded but one. The School board elected the following teachers after the examination. Clara B Custer, Fairview Village School; Bessie Grater, Roberts School; Wm. M Geyer, Metz’s school; H K Anson, Stump Hall School; A L Anson, Bethel School; Alice Hendricks, Anders school; the teacher for Cassel’s school has not yet been appointed. 20 Jun 1890 – Montgomery Transcript
1890-1891 A L Anson
“The teachers will hold an examination for the Senior pupils of the public schools Saturday, at Stump Hall School House, beginning at 8 o’clock in the morning. The object is to ascertain the general standing of the pupils. It is thought the passing average will be raised. This would be a good step forward. 2 Jan 1891 – Montgomery Transcript
“The School Directors Tuesday finished their annual visiting tour of the schools. Water Street and Stump Hall schools being the last on the list. The Board was entertained at the residence of David Roberts, where an excellent dinner was given by the veteran President of the Board, now about to retire. 27 Feb 1891 – Montgomery Transcript
“After 27 years of continuous service as a member and President of the Worcester School Board, David Roberts will this year retire from the Board. His successor, Joseph H Hunsberger, was elected Tuesday. Jeremiah K Anders was elected to succeed the late Abraham K Anders who was a member of the Board for 21 years.” 20 Feb 1891 – Montgomery Transcript
“The examination of the senior class of the schools of this township by Superintendent Hoffecker was held Saturday in the Fairview Village school house. The entire class, fourteen in number passed. Eleven are girls. The names of the graduate and the schools which they attended are as follows: Allen Seipt, Warren Anders, Flora A Heebner, Stump Hall; Irene Seipt, Katie Brecht and John R Keyser, Metz’s; Anna Morgan, Emma Detwiler, Mary Morgan, Mattie Markley and Andrew Trucksess, Fairview; M. Anna Dotts and Jennie Wilkinson, Bethel; Tillie Walker, Anders School. The commencement will be held in the Schwenkfelder church, Saturday June 6.” 8 May 1891 – Montgomery Transcript
“The contract for the erection of a new school house at Bethel has been awarded to James Beyer, Norritonville, at $1,311. The building will be 30 feet by 40 feet, of stone. The school board has also purchased quarter of an acre of ground from Chester K Schultz, to enlarge the school ground. The price paid was at the rate of $200 per acre.” 29 May 1891 – Montgomery Transcript
1891-1892 Theodore H Morgan (Class of ’89)
“The schools of this township opened Monday. The number of pupils in attendance was as follows: Stump Hall 29, Water Street 34, Fairview Village 38, Metz’s 40, Anders 42, Cassel’s 35, and Bethel 26.” 4 Sep 1891-Montgomery Transcript
“Last Thursday and Friday Superintendent Hoffecker examined the senior class of Worcester Township. The following composed the class and passed the examination: Mamie E Schultz, Bertha I Moyer, Sallie Seasholtz, Katie Place, Etta Custer, Howard Beyer, Charles Kriebel, Wilson Freeman, and John Bossert, the commencement will be held on the afternoon of May 28th in the Schwenkfelder Church.” 6 May 1892-Montgomery Transcript
“The commencement of the public schools of Worcester in the Schwenkfelders church last Saturday was a grand success. The singing by Heebner quartette was especially fine. Dr. George K Meschter addressed the graduates, his chief theme being every man to his own work. Jesse S Kriebel, in presenting the diplomas, made some very appropriate remarks and encouraged the parents to take a personal interest in schools and encourage the children by visiting the schools. Superintendent Hoffacker made a strong address. He upheld the necessity of education. In the course of his remarks, during which the Superintendent grew warm, he said: I speak somewhat excitedly to-day, because I heard that one of the townships intend to lower the school tax by lowering teachers salaries and shorting school term. He urged Worcester to hold the standard high.” 3 Jun 1982-Montgomery Transcript
“The School Board has increased the salaries of the teachers from 40 to 45 dollars per month, and made the following appointments: Anders, Miss Hendricks; Cassel’s, Miss Ella Moser; Metz’s, Isaiah M Stover; Stump Hall, H K Anson; Robert’s, A L Anson; Fairview Village and Bethel are still vacant. 24 Jun 1892 – Montgomery Transcript
1892-1893 Theodore H Morgan (Class of ’89)
Columbus Day was observed at Bethel school last Friday, in the mornig all kinds of games were had, while the boys and their teacher, Theodore Morgan made arrangements for the raising of the flag, for which Mr Morgan deserves thanks. 28 Oct 1892 – Montgomery Transcript
1893-1894 Ambrose Moyer (did not complete his term) Theodore H Morgan (substituted)
On Feb 26, 1894 county superintendent R F Hoffecker and school board met at Bethel School and suspended J Howard Dotts and Allen Erb for the remainder of the term.
1894-1895 Jesse Cassel
1895-1896 J B Bergey
1896-1897 J B Bergey
1897-1898 J B Bergey
1898-1899 Eugene A Anders
Class list: Benjamin Bean, Blanche Bean, Edna Bean, Edgar Beyer, Adolph Caniglio, Ernest Caniglio, Elmer Custer, Elsie Custer, Ethel Dotts, Helen Douglass, Viola Douglass, Mabel Evans, Leroy Frick, Bertha Holland, James V/B? A Holland, Laura Holland, Levi Holland, Oscar Holland, Leroy Huber, Marsena Huber, Harriet Illick, Emma Keeley, Frank Keller, Clayton Kr, Allen Kriebel, Charles Kriebel, Elmer Kriebel, Emma Kriebel, Jennie Kriebel John Kriebel, Mabel Kriebel, Edna Moyer, Charles Moore, Florence Etta Moore, Harriet Moore, ? Moore, Frank Moyer, Charles Ortman, Catharine Rader, Alice Schultz, Alma Schultz, Cora Schultz, Corrennie Schultz, Ethel Schultz, Florence Schultz, Loyd Shaffer, Margie Schultz, Norman Schultz, Stanley Schultz, Rebecca Schultz, Charles Smit(h?), Charles Trout, Emma Trout, Edward Sommers, Raymond Sommers, William Sommers, Philip Weber, Margaret Wilkinson, Katie —. plus 8 illegible
1899-1900 Eugene A Anders
1900-1901 Eugene A Anders
1901-1902 Eugene A Anders
1902-1903 Emma J Seipt
1903-1904 Emma J Seipt
1904-1905 Laura H Buck
1905-1906 Katie H Faust
Class list: E Boorse, Mabel Boorse, Mabel Evans, Lillias Harding, George Huber, Leroy Huber, Marsena Huber, Frank King, Allen Kriebel, Edna Kriebel, Melvin Kriebel, Harry McAllister, Stanley McAlister, James McKay, Edna Moyer, Frank Moyer, George Moyer, Charles Ortman, Lizzie Ortman, Mazie Radner, Ada Robeson, Ethel Schultz, Mary Schaffer, Emma Schaffer, Alma Schaffer, Laura Schaffer, Alma Schultz, Cora Schultz, Florence Schultz, Ralph Schultz, Stanley Schultz, Charles Trout, Linda Weber
1906-1907 Katie H Faust
1907-1908 Ida Bright
The tax rate was fixed at 4 mills in preparation of opening a High School, which was decided on June 15, 1908, in Farmers Hall, Center Point. Professor Harvey G Allebach was appointed as Principal. The assistant teachers were eliminated for one room schools.
1908-1909 Ada B Hatfield
1909-1910 Ada B Hatfield
1910-1911 Ada B Hatfield
1911-1912 Genevieve Schultz
1912-1913 Clara Phipps
1913-1914 Clara Phipps
1914-1915 Myra Sabold
Pupils were transferred to the Center Point Consolidated School
1916 – The building and lot were sold February 28 at public auction at the Farmers Union Hall for $400 to the Bethel Church Trustees. Three school bells were sold for 70¢, $1.25, and $ 1.50. A stove was sold for $1.40, curtains for 50¢, two black boards for 10¢ and other articles for 15¢. The total sale of properties [for all seven one-room schools] amounted to $2,765.60.
Heebner, Joseph R., “A Century of Public School System of Worcester Township Montgomery County, Penna.”
Deeds, Montgomery County Records Archive
“The Montgomery Transcript” Extracts by Lester Landis