Johnson’s “Green Hill”/Johnson’s “Water Street”/Roberts’
One Room Schoolhouse #2
Kriebel Mill Road and Water Street Road, Worcester, PA
The fifth community school was Johnson’s located on the Worcester side of the Township line Road and Skippack Township [Grange Ave and Water Street Road]. On April 1820 William Johnson bought the farm of Jacob Zimmerman from family members representing the Zimmerman estate. The deed of 1820 states that “a new school house IS erected” differing from the Joseph Heebner version that states “that a plot of ground with a new school house be erected; is reserved.” It is this school that was referred to as the Johnson or “Green Hill” School, owing to its location in the township.
On March 26, 1831, William Johnson and wife Lanah, conveyed this farm of 100 acres to their son Isaac Johnson.
According to Eleanore C “Elsie” Custer (Hunsicker) in “The Old and the New Schoolhouse” from The Custer Family, “It was not long before the poor little building became quite dilapidated and, as the directors thought it was too small anyway, they decided to build a new one right near my home, on the other end of the large Isaac Johnson farm. In the meantime a son-in-law of Mr. Johnson had bought the farm. His name was David Roberts and he was willing to give [it was purchased at a later date] the quarter acre of ground at the lower end of his farm for the new school provided they called it the Roberts’ School, which was so decided.”
“I was one of the first to be there when school opened and another early one was a neighbor boy who lived just across the meadow from my father’s farm. Elhanan Gotswalt. Well we surveyed that schoolroom to quite an extent and we though it one of the finest we ever saw, especially when we compared it to the old one. Then we looked outside and saw the little creek running right by the ground of the schoolhouse and Elhanan and I decided it should be called ‘Water Street Schoolhouse’. By that time some more of the scholars had come, all this was talked over and they thought it a novel idea to call it Water Street. It was not long before the new building became universally known as the Water Street Schoolhouse and the original name was seldom used except in business.”
The death of Elhanan Gotwals during the Civil War (22 Apr 1865) proves that the name of “Water Street” was given to the 1860 building.
She also provided this description: “The desks were in one long row all around the schoolroom, against the wall, with a long bench to fit each desk. There was a little entry before coming into the schoolroom.”
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.
1849-1850 John Pugh
1850-1851 John VanAllen, refused to serve, John Pugh assigned
1851-1852 Joseph L and D W Allebaugh W C Weber and Fanny Frey 2 months
1852-1853 William C Weber
1853-1854 David Allebaugh
1854-1855 William Reese
1855-1856 William Reese
Isaac Johnson, Elhanan Gotwals, Samuel Custer, Jacob Snyder, David Ritter (sk) [Skippack], James Rittenhouse, David Godshall (sk), James Polk Wise, Joseph Johnson (sk), Henry Gotwals, John Rawn, Danile Hendericks, Charles Johnson, Joseph Cassel, E—J Johnson, Lydia Custer, Ellen Custer. Ann E Roberts, A M Gotwals, Anna Hendicks, Mary Snyder, Isibella Ritter (sk), Selena Swinker, Rachel Swinker, Mary Swinker, Ann Walter, Sarah Rittenhouse, Sarah Hendericks, Mary Johnson, Harriet Godshall (sk), Elizabeth Hiser (sk), C Detwiler, Isibella Snyder, Isaac Johnson, James Custer,Henry Gotwals, Elhanan Gotwals, Joseph Cassel 7, Elizabeth Custer 14, Ellen Custer, James Custer 16, Lydia Custer 12, Samuel Custer 8, C Detwiler (f), A Matilda Gotwals 11, Elhanan Gotwals 11(male), Henry Gotwals 16, Sarah Gotwals 18 , Wm Gotwals 19, Anne/Anna Hendricks 9, Daniel Hendricks 12, Elizabeth Hendricks 15, Sarah Hendricks 14, Charles Johnson 14, Mary Johnson 9, Ellen Jane Johnson 9, Hophni Johnson 17(male), Isaac Johnson 16, John Rawn 14, James Rittenhouse 6, Sarah Rittenhouse 12, Anna E Roberts 7, Isabella Snyder 12, Jacob Snyder 6, Mary Snyder 9 , Selina Swinker 9, Rachel Swinker 6, Mary Swinker 6, Alfred Thomas 18, Sarah Jane Thomas 15, Robert Thomas 12, Henry Tyson 15, Matthias Tyson 19, Mary Undercuffler 9, Ann Walter 10 , James Polk Wise 11
In addition, the following pupils from Skippack Township attended this school- Abraham Godshall 12, Harriet Godshall 9, David Godshall 5, Elizabeth Hiser 11, Josiah Johnson 12, David Ritter 9 and Isabella Ritter 8
Books used: Rose’s Arith Mitchels Geography, Cobb’s Fifth, Fourth and Third Readers, Testament, Cobb’s and Comley’s Spelling Book
Subjects Taught: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, Orthography
1856-1857 Benjamin Nutter
1857-1858 Samuel Eppert
1858-1859 Samuel Eppert
1859-1860 Joseph Ebbert (he resigned and Samuel U Brunner was appointed)
On 21 April a motion was passed to build 2 new houses, one at Johnson and one at Methacton. On June 9, 1860 a resolution to build a house in place of the one at Methacton was discontinued for the present year.
On Jul 13, 1860, one half acre of ground was purchased of Isaac Johnson for $82 to build a new house. Franklin U Brunner received the contract at $385. The old school house and property containing 9 perches of land was exchanged to the school board as pro rate toward the land sold the school board by the Trustees Abraham Detwiler, David Godshall and Matthias Custer of Johnson school.
1860-1861 Algernon Walton
Later it [the above said land] was sold by the New School on Nov 17, 1860.
1861-1862 Jesse Z? Johnson
1862-1863 Jesse L? Johnson
The school term was fixed for 6 months. Previously a 5 month term was taught.
1863-1864 Jesse W Wentze
1864-1865 Daniel Y Hendricks
Teachers salaries were fixed at $25 per month
1865-1866 Daniel Y Hendricks
1866-1867 David Ritter
1867-1868 James Law
Teachers salaries were raised to $33 per month and school term to 7 months.
1868-1869 Howard Ramsey
1869-1870 Alfred Thomas
1870-1871 Alfred Thomas
1871-1872 Alfred Thomas
1872-1873 J Howard Ellis
Numbering of the seven Worcester schools begins (likely a voting district) and Water Street is assigned #2
1873-1874 B Place
1874-1875 Lewis Harley
1875-1876 Rachael Snyder
1876-1877 Rachael Snyder
1877-1878 Rachael Snyder
1878-1879 Jacob B Detwiler
1879-1880 W A Jones
1880-1881 Joseph Miller
1881-1882 Margaret “Maggie” S Gotwals (Dickinson)
1882-1883 Hettie J Gotwals
The teacher’s salary was raised to $38 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1883-1884 Hettie J Gotwals
The teacher’s salary was raised to $40 for 7 months for 22 days per month.
1884-1885 Hettie J Gotwals
1 Jun 1885 adoption of a “graded” system. [This begins the creation of first grade, second grade, etc. culminating in 1885 with 8th grade]
A new school house at Water Street was built by Beyer and Hallman, at the contract price of $1288 given at the 18 Apr 1885 meeting. Bought a strip of land 22 Jun 1885 of David Roberts for $26.71 to enlarge the grounds.
1885-1886 Hettie J Gotwals
Roberts’ – Water Street
1886-1887 Hettie J Gotwals
1887-1888 William M Geyer
1888-1889 William M Geyer
[“The Montgomery Transcript”, printed in Skippackville, begins to publish in English and 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
“About $22 was realized from the entertainment at the Water Street School Saturday evening.” 22 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 hour was set at 2 o’clock, but all who came at that hour 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 Mary Ella Bechtel
“Water Street School in Worcester Township, Miss Mary Ella Bechtel, teacher will hold their annual entertainment Thursday evening, December 12th, in the school house commencing at 7:30 o’clock. The exercise will consist of dialogues, recitations, tableaux and vocal music. Admission 10 cents. The receipts will be devoted to starting a library in the school. 29 Nov 1889 – 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
“Miss Mary Ella Bechtel, teacher of Roberts’ school, who had her right arm broken, is fast improving and expects to open her school Monday. She will be aided by an assistant. 28 Feb 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 Bessie Grater (Class of ’89)
“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 A L Anson
“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 (Rushong); Metz’s, Isaiah M Stover; Stump Hall, H K Anson; Roberts’, A L Anson; Fairview Village and Bethel are still vacant. 24 Jun 1892-Montgomery Transcript
1892-1893 A L Anson
1893-1894 A L Anson
“A spelling bee was held at the Water Street School house last Friday evening at which six prizes were given away. The attendance was large. The enjoyment of the evening was marred by a teacher from a neighboring township, who, it is said, was under the influence of liquor, and becoming angry, whipped several of the boys.” 20 Apr 1894 – Montgomery Transcript
1894-1895 A L Anson
The plug used to close the pipe in the artesian well at Robert’s school house were driven down into the pipe several feet by some miscreant one day last week. Great difficulty will be experienced to get it out. A reward is being offered for the person or persons who did the act. 26 Jul 1895 – Montgomery Transcript
1895-1896 A L Anson
A Lincoln Anson, teacher of Robert’s and Theo H Morgan, teacher of Stump Hall school, about June 1st, will leave for Valparaiso, Ind, where they will attend school. They will make the trip on there wheels. Bicycles. The distance is about 700 miles. 18 May 1896 – Montgomery Transcript
1896-1897 A L Anson
1897-1898 A L Anson
1898-1899 A L Anson
1899-1900 A L Anson
1900-1901 A L Anson
1901-1902 A L Anson
1902-1903 A L Anson
1903-1904 A L Anson
1904-1905 A L Anson
1905-1906 A L Anson
1906-1907 A L Anson
1907-1908 A L Anson
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 A L Anson
1909-1910 A L Anson
1910-1911 A L Anson
1911-1912 A L Anson
1912-1913 A L Anson
1913-1914 A L Anson
1914-1915 A L Anson
to Fairview Consolidated School
(see Consolidation of Worcester Schools)
Building and 128 perches of ground land sold February 28, 1916 at public auction at the Farmers Union Hall for $220 to Andrew S Denner. Bidding was started at $100. 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.
Robert’s School Reunions
A reunion of former pupils of Roberts’ (Water Street) school will be held in the old Custer Woods adjoining the old school house on Saturday, August 18. The central figure of this event will be A L Anson, of Worcester Township, who taught school at that place upwards to thirty-five years. An interesting program is being arranged for his occasion by J F Wiltsee, 619 Derstine Avenue, Lansdale. A former pupil of this school, who is being assisted by several old timers who received their early education within the walls of this modest one room school.
In case of unfavorable weather this event will be held in Assembly Hall, Fairview Village.
Former pupils of this school, or anyone who has any information relative to the early history of this school should notify Mr Wiltsee. 9 Aug 1934 – Montgomery Transcript
The first reunion of former pupils of Roberts’ school (Water Street) located on Water Street, Worcester Township, in which the central figure will be A L Anson, who taught there for 35 years will be held in the woods adjoining the old one room school on Saturday afternoon, August 18.
At this reunion many of the one hundred former pupils, several former teachers and several men who were members of the School Board almost two score years, will renew old time acquaintances and recall pleasing recollection of old-time school days.
In case of unfavorable weather the reunion will take place in Assembly Hall, Fairview Village.
Games and Social Hour at 1 PM
Invocation Rev Russel D Custer
Address of Welcome J F Wiltsee
Informal Introduction of former Students, History of Robert’s School Joseph H Hunsberger
Address A L Anson
Classes A L Anson
Etymology Class – Eldredge’s Etymology
Literature Class – Westlake’s Literature
History Class – Barnes’ History
Mental Arithmetic – Brooks’ Mental Arithmetic
More Advanced Mental Arithmetic Class – Dubbs’ Mental Arithmetic
Spelling Bee – Raubs Speller
Basket Lunch in the Grove. 16 Aug 1934 – Montgomery Transcript
Upwards of 150 of the former pupils of Roberts’ School, located on Water Street, Worcester Township, met in Detwiler’s woods, adjoining the former school property on Saturday afternoon when they held their Annual reunion. This association who, organized in honor of A L Anson, who taught Roberts’ school from 1891 to 1920.
After an hour of reminiscent invocation by Joseph Hunsberger, a former school director, J Russel Kramer led in singing. Mrs Hettie Caldwell and Mrs Dickinson; teachers, gave interesting talks. Other speakers included Mrs Horace Reiner, a daughter of David Roberts, the donor of the original Roberts’ school property; Mrs Jacob Bolton, who attended the school seventy years ago; Mathias Custer, Abram Cassel, and William Bean.
The following officers were elected: President, Joseph F Wiltsee; Vice President, M Wesley Detwiler; Secretary, Mrs S L Titlow; Treasurer, Nelson B Slough. 22 Aug 1935 – Montgomery Transcript
The annual reunion of former pupils and teachers of Roberts’ School, will be held in Custer’s Grove, adjoining the school property on Water Street in the Western part of Worcester township on Saturday, June 27, at 2 o’clock. The program will consist of games, singing by the group, a history of Roberts’ School by George K Brecht, Esq, talks by former pupils and teachers and a business session at the conclusion of which a basket lunch will be enjoyed in the grove.
Joseph F Wiltsee, president of the reunion will preside, and Mrs S L Titlow, Secretary, of Bryn Mawr, will read the minutes of the last reunion.
The historical address by George K Brecht, Esq, a well-informed Norristown attorney and a farmer from Worcester township boy, will contain many interesting highlights about the old school, its scholars and teachers.
In case of unfavorable weather this reunion will be held in Fairview Village Assembly Hall. 25 Jun 1936 – Montgomery Transcript
The annual reunion of the former pupils of Roberts’ School, Worcester Township, was held Saturday afternoon in the Fairview Village Assembly Hall. Nearly 125 former pupils and teachers were present.
Among the teachers present were Mrs Hester Caldwell, nee Gotshall, of Philadelphia, who taught the school during the period of 1881 to 1887 and A L Anson, Worcester, who taught from September 1891 to Jun 1915 when the school was abandoned due to consolidation.
The program was opened by an invocation by Joseph H Hunsberger, former school director of Worcester Township for a number of years. He now resides at Penn Square. Mr Hunsberger has been very active in the formation of this group furnishing valuable historical information communications were read from Justice Owen M Roberts, of the United States Supreme Court, a former student, and Dr James M Anders, of Philadelphia is former teacher.
The address of the afternoon was delivered by Attorney George K Brecht, Norristown, a former Worcester boy. Miss Ida Reiner, of Norristown, daughter of Roberts, gave a very interesting account of her father’s administration of the township. Remarks were made by Mrs Caldwell and Mr Anson. A number of the former students touched on amusing incidents in their school life.
The following officers were re-elected for the ensuing year: President, Joseph F Wiltsee, Lansdale; Vice president, M Wesley Detwiler, Norristown: Secretary, Mrs Ivy M Detwiler Titlow, Bryn Mawr; Treasurer, Nelson B Slough, Worcester. Group singing was led by J Russel Kramer, Lansdale. The reunion date was set for the last Saturday in June 1937.
A basket lunch was served in the basement of the hall. 5 Jul 1936 – Montgomery Transcript
The annual reunion of the former pupils of Roberts’ school, Worcester Township, was held Saturday afternoon, June 26, in Detwiler’s woods, formerly known as Custer’s woods, adjacent to the old school ground.
More than a hundred former pupils and friends met to renew acquaintances, meet old friends and to relive scenes of their childhood of years ago.
The meeting was opened by prayer led by Joseph H Hunsberger, of Penn Square, after which the roll was called of former pupils by the president.
Those present responded, citing some incident of their school days, many of which were quite amusing.
Dr Harry Rosenberry, a Veterinary Surgeon, of Auburn, California, who was reared in Worcester Township, attended and responded by relating some of his experiences which happened during his 47 years absence from his boyhood home.
Resolutions of respect were paid of two of the former teachers who died since the last reunion, namely: Mrs Margaret Gotwals Dickinson, and Dr James M Anders, both of Philadelphia. Also to the following members who died during the past year: Benjamin Reiff, Isaiah Gouldy and Dr Melvin Custer.
Joseph H Hunsberger, a former school director for this school; Mrs Hester Gotwals Caldwell, 3525 Hagert Street, Philadelphia, a former teacher, and A L Anson, Worcester this school continuously for twenty-four years, were elected Honorary President of the Association. Oher officers elected were President, Joseph F Wiltsee, Lansdale: Vice President, M Wesley Detwiler, Norristown; Secretary, Mrs Ivy Detwiler Titlow, Bryn Mawr; Treasurer, Nelson B Slough, Worcester.
An unsuccessful effort was made to locate the original site of the old schoolhouse which stood on the Roberts’ farm near the Skippack Worcester line
After the meeting a picnic lunch was served. 1 Jul 1937 – Montgomery Transcript
The annual reunion of the former pupils of Roberts’ or Water Street School, Worcester Township, was held Saturday afternoon June 25, in Detwiler’s Grove, adjacent to the former school ground.
One hundred and fifty former pupils and friends assembled to renew old acquaintances and recall their school days experiences. Among those present were honorary President, A L Anson, and Mrs Harriet Gotwals Caldwell, a former teacher, School Director; Harry Rosenberry, a retired Veterinarian of Auburn, California, and Job Trout, of Mullville, NH. The attendance honors went to Frank G Bean family, of which all the living children were present, and a daughter of Helen, now deceased; also to the Ellis family of Norristown, there being a member of the family of each one of the Ellis children who attended the school.
The program of the afternoon opened with the Invocation led by Joseph Hunsberger, following by Roll Call, to which those present were given the opportunity to express their pet recollection and incidents of by gone days.
An amateur program was held for the children with M Wesley Detwiler acting as master of ceremonies, The following program was presented; Tap dance by Janet Rittenhouse; Ballet dance by Vada Rittenhouse; reading by Sara Titlow; Song by Detwiler trio, Harmonica solo by John Detwiler, Tap dance by Adelaide Schantz, Mums song by Janet Rittenhouse, Reading by Mrs Ruth Bitting.
An old fashioned Spelling Bee was held with Mrs Rae Johnson and Mrs Emma Bean as Captains. After “choosing” of their respective teams, A L Anson pronounced the words, using former County Superintendent Hoffecker’s favorite speller namely ”Poolers test word speller.” Mrs Hester Gotwals Caldwell, a member of Mrs Johnson’s team won the honors for her “side.”
The following officers were reelected for the ensuing year: President, Joseph F Wiltsee, 619 Derstine Avenue, Lansdale; Vice President, M Wesley Detwiler, 12 S Schuylkill Avenue, Norristown; Secretary, Mrs Samuel L Titlow, 19 Summit Grove Avenue, Bryn Mawr; Treasurer, Nelson B Slough, R D 2 Norristown, PA.
At 5.30 PM an ox roast was served having been prepared by Samuel C Detwiler, Guy Johnson, George Ruth, Samuel Titlow and Norman Ellis. This portion of the program was exceptionally prepared as there remained not one single morsel of delicious roast at 6.00 PM complying with the request in the invitations, the ladies responded generously with a supply of cakes, including a special anniversary cake presented by Mrs Hester Gotwals Caldwell. The cakes also disappeared quickly.
Opinions expressed by those present indicated this reunion to be outstanding one to date. 30 Jun 1938 – Montgomery Transcript
The annual reunion of the former pupils of Roberts’ School, Worcester Township was held Saturday afternoon, June 24, in the Samuel Detwiler grove, adjacent to the former school ground.
More than 100 of the former pupils and their families assembled for the reunion, to renew old acquaintances and discuss old times as well as their school days escapades. Honors to the members coming the longest distance to the reunion went to Dr Harry Rosenberger, of Auburn, California.
The annual spelling bee was conducted by the former schoolmaster, A L Anson with the captains being Harry O Dengler, 483 W Walnut Lane, Philadelphia, and J Russell Kramer, 630 York Avenue, Lansdale. The latter team won. “Raub’s Test Word Speller” was used by Mr Anson.
Albert B Reichenbach, a former teacher in the Worcester schools, now a Pottstown photographer, was present and took pictures of the assembled group, and also of the former teachers, A L Anson and Mrs Hester Gotwals Caldwell. Greetings were read from Mrs Mary Ella Bechtel Ward, Royersford, PA a former teacher, who was unable to attend due to an impacted fracture of the hip received in an automobile accident on June 19, 1939.
This being the annual reunion, the Association decided to issue a souvenir booklet, containing a brief historical sketch of the school pictures and brief sketches of the present living teachers, a list of all former teachers, and members of the Association and their addresses. A photograph of the last school building, before its conversion into a dwelling house was donated by Mary Burns Atcheson, 659 Chain Street, Norristown. Mrs Ella Roberts Reiner, 1229 W Marshall Street, Norristown, granddaughter of Isaac Johnson, original grantor of the plot of ground for the erection of the school building, is editor-in-chief of the booklet. [If anyone has a copy of this souvenir booklet, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Misses Vada and Janet Rittenhouse, grand daughters of Emma Bean Ruth, entertained with several dances and songs.
A lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers, prepared by Samuel L Titlow, Guy Johnson and George Ruth, who served, after which a quiz known as the “Battle of the Sexes,” was held with Rae Bean Johnson, captain of the girls team, and Norman B Beyer, captain of the boy’s team. Mr Anson prepared the questions from the examination questions, used by him in the old school days as final tests. The girl’s team went down in defeat – extracts from Westlake Literature being their Waterloo.
The following officers were reelected for the ensuing year: President, Joseph F Wiltsee, 519 Derstine Avenue, Lansdale, PA; Vice President, M Wesley Detwiler, 57 N Schuylkill Avenue, Norristown, PA; Secretary, Mrs Samuel L Titlow, 19 Summit Grove Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA; and Treasurer, Nelson B Slough, R D 2, Norristown, PA. 20 Jul 1939 – Montgomery Transcript
The seventh annual reunion of the former students of Roberts’ School, known also as Water Street School, Water Street Road, Worcester Township, was held at Wonder Woods, the summer home of Samuel C Detwiler, of Norristown, which adjoins the old school, on Saturday afternoon, and was attended by more than 125 former students and their children and friends.
A short business meeting, these officers were re-elected; Joseph Wiltsee, of Lansdale, President: M Wesley Detwiler, Jeffersonville, Vice President; Mrs S L Titlow, Bryn Mawr, Secretary; Nelson Slough, Fairview, Treasurer.
A roll call of student was made at which time each recalled some incident during their school life. A Lincoln Anson, who for many years taught at the old school, and in whose honor the reunion was originated, gave an interesting reminiscence of experience during his teaching period.
Dr Ralph L Johnson, of Girard College, a native of Central Montgomery County, and an authority on local history, gave a talk on the history and origin of education in this section of the county, dating back to 1740. Dr Johnson is the author of a book entitled “History of Several Providence Families” and referred to these as some of the ancestors of many of the pupils of this school.
Harry Rosenberry of Auburn, Placer County, California, traveled the longest distance (exactly 3866 miles) to attend the reunion. It was the fourth straight year Mr Rosenberry, a retired Veterinarian, came East, for the event.
Attorney George Brecht, a friend and speaker at the 1936 reunion, was present and made appropriate remarks. The secretary was instructed to send letters of sympathy to Mrs Hettie Gotwals, Mrs Ida Reiner, and Mrs Florence Horrocks, who were unable to be present because of illness.
Miss Janet and Vada Rittenhouse granddaughters of Mrs George Ruth gave several dances.
An old fashioned spelling bee conducted by A Lincoln Anson, a former teacher of the old school, attracted much attention. Mrs Harvey K Lesher, of Evansburg was the winner.
It was decided to have the 1941 reunion again at Wonder Woods, the date to be decided upon by the officers next year. 4 Jul 1940 – 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