Education in the 1800’s

In the 1800s Northwest Franklin County was a rural area. Because the area was mostly a farming community and homes were far apart, the population was very small. As a result, the landscape was dotted with one-room schoolhouses.

The one-room school house helped many children to read and write. The teacher knew the students and the parents very well. She usually lived close to where she taught, and she was a highly respected member of the community. It was like she was her own principal. 

The most important part of country schools was that they had a close relationship with the community. The school was not only a school, it was a community center for many programs and meetings. It may have been a church on Sunday, or a place to go vote on election day. No school in the American experience has ever been so close to the people.

The first school in Norwich Township was opened in a log building at Smiley’s Corners, on the river road, in about 1814. By the late 1800s, several one-room schoolhouses were educating students in Northwest Franklin County. In 1878 the Consolidated School was built for $2500 for students to attend.

If you travel down Main Street in Old Hilliard, you will see the consolidated school building now called the Masonic Hall. It was called a consolidated school because it combined both black and white students in one building. Before this, they went to different schools.

By 1887, the first high school was in the Consolidated School. In 1888, the first class to graduate consisted of two students, Emma Harrington and Frank Elzey.


The Blue and White, A History of the Public Schools of Hilliard Ohio, 1814 to 1994, c. 1994
Articles adapted by Amy Wolf, Leslie Salamony, Linda Bryant, Joyce Temple and Anita Dignan

Overview Compiled and Edited by Bill Wheeler, Lauren Davis, Kathy Parker-Jones, Kay Bible and Meribeth Gillies

The Pioneer, Volume 1, Issue 1, c 2001
Adapted by C. Higginbotham

Photo: Northwest News, “Clarence Latham,” c1978