Look Back: Schools need resources | News, Sports, Jobs

(Editor’s note: This is a reproduction of historical newspaper excerpts and includes language that is considered obsolete and would not appear today.)



Volcano has an excellent public school, attended by over 100 scholars. It is a primary school. Miss Mary Tavenner is the principal, assisted by Miss Maggie Anderson and Miss Alice Tavenner. The school is in a prosperous state.

The Parkersburg

state newspaper

April 7, 1881


School is now in session

School started on Monday with good attendance. Our young friends generally seemed delighted that day and could be seen on the streets early in the morning, with their books in their arms and smiles on their faces, waiting for the familiar “to the books”.

The new school on Avery Street for colored children will be completed and ready for occupancy on Monday. The building has four large classrooms – two on the upper floors and two on the lower floors. The building is certainly very believable and looks better than the school in Washington. Mr. William McKindley is the contractor. Jack Phelps and Son do the plastering, while the Sharnock Bros do the painting.

Excerpt from The Parkersburg Weekly Sentinel

September 10, 1881


Tools to Work With – Harris Ferry, September 22, 1881

State Journal of Editors: Hon. JP Slade, State Superintendent of Illinois Public Schools, says most sincerely “that at least four things are needed in every school: good blackboards, a comprehensive dictionary, blank maps and a good globe.

These devices allow a teacher to transmit instructions by means of the eye as well as the ear. They are the means of saving valuable time, for the pupils receive by a single glance at an object better and more precise impressions than could be given by a mere verbal representation. These tools are to the master what the mace is to the blacksmith, the saw to the carpenter, the trowel to the mason, the ax to the lumberjack, the brush to the painter or the plow to the farmer. They should be found in every classroom; it is not economical to do without. Will the superintendent of Wood County help school boards in said county provide schools with all the tools they need, and will every teacher honestly and confidently make the best use of these tools?

The common schools in this state are sadly neglected. We don’t pay enough attention to our schools. Parents send their children to school day after day, without knowing what they are doing, because they never visit the schools to find out what is being done there. Teachers need help from parents, and teachers also need tools to work with. Children learn to listen, without the aid of any object to look at. How clearly can we imprint new ideas or thoughts in the minds of students through objects. It is not what we hear, but what we see that takes shape in our mind. You have to have attention, and what better way to get it than to present an object in front of the students? Attention is the stuff of which memory is made. Memory can be called the muscle of the mind, it develops through exercise; the more appropriate the exercise, the better the result, and, rest assured, if the teachers have the necessary tools to work with, the classroom exercise will be both interesting and profitable. Mary A. Camp.

The Parkersburg Weekly State Newspaper

September 29, 1881


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have any comments or questions about Look Back articles, please contact him at: [email protected], or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.

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