Wentz’s Church School/Lederach’s Seminary/Metz’s One Room Schoolhouse #4
Skippack Pike, Worcester, PA
The oldest community school was at Wentz’s Church dating to 1765. Some time after 1783, Letherach’s Seminary replaced the community school at Wentz’s. The school was built by Henry Letherach, Sr., on his property across Skippack Pike from Wentz’s Church. Henry Letherach, Sr., provided land for a community school in 1841, with the stipulation that it never be used for a common (public) school or “singing school.”
In 1859, when Worcester was finally in the process of implementing the common school system, this restriction was avoided by having Garret Metz, then a school Director, purchase the schoolhouse and then sell it back to the school district, minus the restriction. The Directors justified the sale and repurchase by declaring that the school property was too small for a common school. Garret Metz sold the district a larger parcel of land to address this need. The school was called Letherach’s Seminary until this land swap occurred in 1859.
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 was listed as Very Good, Good, Average, Middling, Poor and Very Poor and Indifferent.
1850-1851 Joseph Allebaugh
1851-1852 William G Rhoades
1852-1853 Daniel H Cassel
1853-1854 Daniel H Cassel
1854-1855 Samuel K Cassel
Class list (Male and Female Pupils were listed separately): Hannah Artner, Susanna Artner, Sophia Batz, Catharine Blackburn, Emeline Cassel.Frederick Denner, Jacob Denner, Sarah Denner, Susanna Denner, Andrew Detwiler, Daniel Detwiler, Joseph Detwiler, Mary Jane Drake. Deborah Frederick, Elizabeth Frederick, Francis Frederick, Jacob Frederick, Jesse Frederick, Catharine Fuss, Jacob Fuss, Mary Fuss, Hannah Hartman, William Hawk???, Charles Hendricks, Samuel Hendricks, Frederick Henning, Henry Henning, John Henning, Abner Johnson, Amanda Johnson, Charles Johnson, Henry Johnson, Harriet Johnson, Mary Johnson, Henry Keeler, Sarah Keeler, Henry Knipe, Amos Kriebel, Francis Krieble/le, Michael Krieble/el, Susanna Kriebel, Samuel Kriebel, Mahlon Kulp, Abraham Metz, Hannah Metz, Susanna Metz, Isaac Moyer, Samuel Schultz, Susanna Schultz, William Schultz, George Stong, Levi Stong, Matilda Stong, Isaac Stover, William Stover, John Summers, James Vanfossen
Books Used: Primer, Spelling Books; Comly’s & Emerson’,s New Testament, History Goodrich’s U States & Parleys’ Ancient, Aritmatics Rose & Pike, English Grammar Smiths Geography Olneys’ Mensuration Vogdes,
Branches Taught: Orthography, Reading Writing English Grammar, Geography, Arithmetic and Mensuration
1855-1856 William Goshow
Class list: Mary Ann Berge, Allen Boorse, William Bowman, Emeline Cassel, Andrew Detwiler, Mary Ann Drake, William Drake, Catharine Foose/Fuss, Mary Fuss, Jacob Foose/Fuss, William M Foose/Fuss, Deborah Frederick, Jacob Frederick, Jesse Frederick, Franklin Frederick, Elizabeth Frier/Fryer, Susanna Frier/Fryer, Susannah Gamon, Emeline Gresh, Hannah Hartman, Abbey Haldeman, Abraham C Haldeman, Isaac C Haldeman, Martha Jane Heist, Jacob Hendricks, Henry Henning, Frederick Henning, John Henning, Susanna Hoot, William Houck, Amos Kriebel, Samuel Kriebel, Francis Kriebel, Michael Kriebel, William Krieble, Mahlon Kulp, Henry Knipe, Cynthia Land, Elizabeth Land, Jacob Land, Silas Land, Franklin Land, Abraham Metz, Garret Metz, Hannah Metz, Susannah Metz, Isaac Meyer, Elizabeth Moyer, Hannah Otner, Susannah Otner, Samuel Schultz, Susanna Schultz, William Schultz, Abner Sheridan (the only student listed as “indifferent”), George Stong, Levi Stong, Matilda Stong, William Stover, James Vanfossen, Henry Yerger
Books used: Cobbs and Cormley’s Spelling Books; Rose’s, ?ileys, Ticknor’s, Green’s, Pike’s and Greenleaf’s Arithmeticks; Bonnycassles Mensuration; Cobb’ s First, Fourth and Fifth Reader; Bible and Testament; Olney’s Geography and Atlas , Smiths English Grammer
Branches taught: Alphabet, Orthography, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Mensuration, and Geography
1856-1857 Joel H Krause
1857-1858 E K Gresh
1858-1859 E K Gresh
The tax rate was 20¢ per $100 with 8¢ per $100 additional for building purposes. Paid $60 11 Aug 1859 for half an acre of land to Garret & Hannah Metz. to build a house for $350 and the old building in addition. [One source says Garret Metz for $350 another says John Metz for $360 and that the school was then named for him.]
1859-1860 E K Gresh
1860-1861 E K Gresh
1861-1862 Ephraim Burget
1862-1863 H S Cassel
The school term was fixed for 6 months. Previously a 5 month term was taught.
1863-1864 H S Cassel
1864-1865 Isaac W Longacre
Teachers salaries were fixed at $25 per month
1865-1866 Aaron S Swartz (became president judge of the county courts)
1866-1867 Christian D Cassel
1867-1868 Christian D Cassel
Teachers salaries were raised to $33 per month and school term to 7 months.
1868-1869 George E Brecht
1869-1870 John W Longacre
1870-1871 George E Brecht
1871-1872 George E Brecht
1872-1873 George E Brecht
Numbering of the seven Worcester schools begins (likely a voting district) and Metz’s is assigned #4
1873-1874 George E Brecht
1874-1875 George E Brecht
1875-1876 George E Brecht
1876-1877 George E Brecht
1877-1878 George E Brecht
At the Feb 4, 1878 meeting the school board gave a committee of Wentz Church through Samuel K Kriebel to the use of Metz’s School house for Church and Sunday School purposes during the summer month of building the new Wentz’s Church.
1878-1879 Rachael Snyder
1879-1880 Joseph H Johnson
1880-1881 Joseph Johnson
May 14, 1881 meeting, contract given for a new school house at Metz’s for $1230.
1881-1882 Joseph Miller
1882-1883 Joseph Miller
The teacher’s salary was raised to $38 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1883-1884 Joseph Miller
The teacher’s salary was raised to $40 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1884-1885 Joseph Miller
1 Jun 1885 adoption of a “graded” system. [This begins the creation of first grade, second grade, etc. culminating in 1885 with 8th grade]
1885-1886 Joseph Miller
1886-1887 George K Brecht
1887-1888 George K Brecht (became a lawyer)
1888-1889 Samuel K Brecht (Class of ’87) (Abraham R Kriebel assistant)
[“The Montgomery Transcript”, printed in Skippackville, begins to publish in English and excerpts from this local paper have been included here when relevant]
“Dr. A R Horne, Principle of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, has been engaged to deliver a lecture in Lownes Hall at Center Point, next Thursday evening January 17, on the subject “Push and Pull.” The lecture will be held for the benefit of the library at Metz’s school in Worcester Township. Dr. Horne will undoubtly very abel, “Push and Pull,” his presence of a large audience, which he certainly deserves.” 11 Jan 1889-Montgomery Transcript
“Push and Pull” the lecture by Dr. A R Horne, of Allentown, which was advertised to be held at Center Point last evening, has been postponed and will be held next Thursday Evening, January 24, rain or shine.” 18 Jan 1889-Montgomery Transcript
The lecture by Dr. A R Horne, given in Lownes Hall, Center Point, for the benefit of the Library of Metz’s school, was good and was appreciated by all who heard it, but owing to the inclement weather is was not very largely attended, and consequently it was not a great success financially. 1 Feb 1889-Montgomery Transcript
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
“Metz’s school, in Worcester township, Monday added thirty three volumes to their library, among them Alden’s Mansford cyclopedia, when completed, thirty volumes. Thirteen have already been published, and the remaining volumes will follow at the rate of one a month.” 22 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 crowed itself into the building. The hours was set at 2’oclock, 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 William M Geyer
”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 Lownes 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 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
”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
”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 William M Geyer
“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 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
1891-1892 Isaiah M Stover
“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 Isaiah M Stover
1893-1894 Isaiah M Stover
1894-1895 Isaiah M Stover
1895-1896 Isaiah M Stover
1896-1897 Isaiah M Stover
1897-1898 Isaiah M Stover
1898-1899 Isaiah M Stover???
1899-1900 Isaiah M Stover (Mary Z Bean assistant)
1900-1901 Isaiah M Stover
1901-1902 Emma Seipt
(Louisa Phipps assistant she later resigned and Mary Snyder took her place)
1902-1903 Mary S Rittenhouse (‘93) (Mary Z Bean assistant)
1903-1904 Mary A Nyce
1904-1905 Mary A Nyce
1905-1906 Herbert S Detwiler
1906-1907 Bertha Schlichter (Sarah Detwiler assistant)
1907-1908 Bertha Schlichter (Mary Z Bean assistant)
At November 5 meeting the board authorized the secretary to by one half acre of land from H Henning for an addition to Metz’s school lot.
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 Anna E Rossell
1909-1910 Edna Farnsworth
1910-1911 Edna Farnsworth
1911-1912 Edna Farnsworth
On May 1, 1912 a meeting of the school board committee purchased two acres of land for $1000 fronting on Skippack Pike to build a High School
1912-1913 Emma Weber
“A word contest is keeping the pupils of Metz’s school thinking this evening (Friday). The teacher has given his name and the pupils getting the most number of words out of it will receive a prize. Leroy Schultz was awarded first prize for getting the most number of words out of the teacher’s name, Robert Whitman. He formed 713 words. A second prize was awarded to one of the scholars who had 522 words. 28 Mar 1913–Montgomery Transcript
1913-1914 Robert Whitman
“A Thanksgiving play will be given in Metz’s school house on Thanksgiving evening. An admission of 10 cents will be charged.” 13 Nov 1913-Montgomery Transcript
1914-1915 Raymond Adans
to Center Point Consolidated School
(see Consolidation of Worcester schools)
1916 Building and three fourths of an acre sold February 28 at public auction at the Farmers Union Hall before about 200 citizens for $580 to H M Geyer. Bidding started at $300. School bells were sold for 70¢, $1.25 and $ 1.50 respectively. 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 schools] amounted to $2,765.60.
Metz’s School Reunions
Reunion of former teachers and scholars of Metz’s school, to be held on the lawn at Wentz’s church on Saturday afternoon will very likely result in a homecoming of many local boys and girls who received their early school training in that old one-room stone schoolhouse now the comfortable residence of Leroy Geyer twenty five years ago and over as well as of some of the former teachers who taught in the days when the hickory rod ruled the roost.
Among the former teachers who are expected to attend this reunion are Dr Geo E Brecht of Chalfont and Joseph H Johnson, of Royersford, both of whom will speak.
An interesting program has been arranged for the occasion several photographs of scholars and teachers one of which was taken fifty years ago, will be shown. [If anyone has any of these photos PLEASE contact firstname.lastname@example.org] A box lunch will be served and coffee and ice cream will be provided. 12 Sep 1929 – Montgomery Transcript
Eight formers teachers and fifty-five former pupils of the old Metz’s school attended the first reunion in memory of the old educational landmark held in the Sunday School room of the Wentz’s Reformed church on Saturday afternoon. It proved a unique gathering, one that will linger in the memory of every person who attended it.
The highlights of the interesting program rended during the afternoon were addressed by the oldest former teacher present. George E Brecht, of Chalfont, and Joseph H Johnson, of Royersford, who taught there half a century ago and a historical address by Amos H Schultz, of Worcester, a former scholar of the old school and a present secretary of the School Board of Worcester township.
Former teachers present included George E Brecht, of Chalfont; Joseph H Johnson, of Royersford; Prof Samuel K Brecht, of Manoa, Delaware county; I M Stover of Harleysville; Miss Mary R Rittenhouse, of Worcester; Herbert Detwiler and Mrs Mary Bean Arnold, of Reading.
Thomas Koffel, a former pupil of Mary Rittenhouse, came from the State of Washington to be present at the reunion.
At the conclusion of the program it was unanimously decided to make the reunion an annual affair to be held at Wentz’s church each year.
EARLY HISTORY OF METZ’S SCHOOL
Metz’s school was established in 1849 and the first school house was a log cabin located across from what is now Wentz’s Reformed church where a six months term was held each year for about ten years when the directors bought half an acre of ground nearby for $60 and erected a one room stone school house at a cost of $360. The contractor was John Metz and the school was named for him.
The first board of directors was appointed by the court in 1849 and was organized at the public house of Peter Bowman at Center Point. The first officers were: President, Amos Hendricks; Secretary, Joel Supplee; Treasurer, Jesse Homsher.
For many years the teachers’ salary was $60 per month which at that time was considered high.
The first teacher of the old school was Joseph Allabough. Succeeding teachers include Daniel Cassel, Samuel Cassel, William Goshen, Joel Krause, E K Gresh, Ephraim Burkert, H F Cassel, Isaac Longacre, John Longacre, Aaron s Swartz, later president judge of Montgomery county courts; Christian Cassel, Mary Allabough (the first woman teacher in Montgomery County, elected about 1866;) George E Brecht, Joseph H Johnson, Rachel Snyder, Amos Evans, Joseph Miller, George K Brecht, S K Brecht, William M Geyer, I M Stover Mary Rittenhouse, Herbert Detwiler and Mary Bean Arnold. 19 Sep 1929 – Montgomery Transcript
We were interested in the account of the first reunion of former teachers and pupils of Metz’s school, which appeared in last week’s issue of the “Transcript.” However, there was one error which I wish to correct. The salary paid teachers should have read $20 per month instead of $60. In those days teachers were obliged to teach twenty four days a month.
COPIED FROM WENTZ’S CHURCH ANNIVERSARY BOOK
In 1765 the church sponsored a school since no public education was available. Thirty pupils attended Mr. Kerndoeffer was the teacher.
About 70 years later or 1835 when the Common School System Law, it met with strenuous opposition in Worcester. The protest was so great that citizens of Skippack and Towamencin Townships in raising a sum of $300 to pay for a “Lobby Agent” to go to the Harrisburg Assembly to have their townships exempt from the Common School System, but the lobbyists returned without success. On one occasion, a legislator came to the area to talk with the residents, but as he had voted for the law he was set upon by the people with such abusive language and violent threats that he beat a hasty retreat from this area. Matters dragged along for a few years. Then conscientious citizens prevailed as many were convinced that education was needed for progress.
One of the main objections was the raising of revenue it takes to build new schoolhouses and salaries to pay the teachers, which was $20 a month.
26 Sep 1929 – Montgomery Transcript
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