A History of Troy (PA) Schools 1823-1932
Updated: Sep 13
Editors Note: As part of the Troy High School Centennial and All Class Reunion, the Troy Alumni Association is uncovering the history of the school, its faculty, and students who have attended. The following is an excerpt from the history researched by the classes of 1931 and 1932 and published in their yearbook. It includes a look at how the school system was formed in the early 1800's and developed into the public high school we have today. At that time, May 1932, publishers of the yearbook had the foresight to include a photo of the Class of 1943, which would have been their First Grade year.
As a bit of perspective, this 1930's historical account mentions The World War, which we now refer to as World War I. Little did those first graders know that a second World War was looming. Stay tuned for information from the 1943 yearbook, which is a fascinating look at that first grade class and the culture they would have experienced in their time at Troy High School.
For more information on the October 6th-8th, 2023 Centennial Celebration, check out the website at https://www.troypaschoolfoundation.org/thscentennial . This is an event open to all Alumni, past and present faculty, students and staff as well as the community. #THSCentennial
From The Trojan Yearbook, Volumes Fifteen and Sixteen Combined, Published May 1932, Troy, Pennsylvania
(Note to English Teachers out there reading this... grammatical errors were made by the Class of 1932!)
The oldest institution of learning in this vicinity was the old shad schoolhouse, situated on the sight of the present meat market. It took its name from the weather vane in the form of a fish, which surmounted the building. This school was built by public subscription and as money was scarce in those days all of the subscriptions were in terms of lumber iron or work. The work was commenced in 1823. Forty years after its erection it was bought by Bryan Hanaway and moved to the lower end of Elmira Street to make room for a new Schoolhouse which, converted into a meat market, still stands on the old site.
The McKean Female Seminary was founded about 1838. It was situated on West Main Street on the site of the double house owned by the late Mr. N. M. Pomeroy. The building served the double purpose of school and church, and is now used by Mrs. Harry Mitchell as a barn. It was named for Gen. Samuel McKean, by whom it was endowed in his will. In the year 1839, Miss Mary Sayer was principal.
The Troy Academy was built in 1840 by James Riddle under the direction of Colonel Pomeroy. Among those who originated and aided in this undertaking were Colonel Pomeroy, V. M. Long, Francis Smith and S.W. Paine. In 1842 it was incorporated and for some time received aid from the state, but this was not its only means of support. Its chief revenue was derived from the tuition, paid by the students in cash. This building was long used for the Academy, and today, as a dwelling house, it stands on its original site on Paine’s Hill.
The Academy was opened in 1842, with Rev. Freeman Lane, an Episcopal clergyman, as the first principal. The rates were moderate. Mr. Charles C. Paine was the second principal and his assistant was a Miss Greenough. The third principal was Mr. Ezra Osden Long. Miss Margaret Eglin was assistant teacher. A little later Mr. Long died and Miss Eglin continued as assistant to Mr. Liddell and later, for a time, with Ambrose Axtell, who succeeded Mr. Liddell. Miss Eglin was succeeded by Miss Ribley of Oswego. The curriculum at this time embraced “a thorough English education” or a study of literature including as study of the classics. There was a primary branch and a common branch and a higher English branch including, Geometry, Surveying, Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Botany, Classics and Modern Languages, Drawing and Painting. The advantages of this imposing array of subjects could be procured for the magnificent sum of from one dollar and a half per term in the primary branches to five dollars per term for Classics and
Modern Languages. At this time board could be procured for from one dollar to a dollar and a half a week.
In 1848, H. Boardman Smith was principal and his sister, Grace, had a charge of the primary department. The Kellum family was next in succession. Mr. John H. Kellum as principal, his sister, Augusta, as teacher of the primary department and Mrs. Kellum as music teacher.The next principal was P. S. Ruth, who also served as Rector of the Episcopal Church. It has been said of Mr. Ruth that he had a withered arm but a sound head.
Next came Dr. Pratt, who was interested in music to the extent of having the pupils learn and recite their lessons in a sing-song way. On good authority it is stated that there was no school from the spring of 1854 to the fall of 1856. During the summer of 1856 the building underwent some necessary repairs. In the fall, school was opened with Hiram C. Johns as principal and for the first term his assistant was a Miss Seymour; for the second term his assistant’s place was filled by Albert C. Hopkins.
About this time many strong debates were held in the Academy on the question of slavery, for at that time there were just as many who believed in that great evil as there was who opposed it.
The next year (1857) a former pupil states that there were one hundred one pupils in all grades in the school, some of them very far advanced. Mr. Johns was succeeded by J. J. Crandall with Miss Willmot and Miss Mary Bowen and assistants. Rev. Sidney Mills was principal during a part of the year in 1857 and during the year 1858. Besides teaching he put in the spare time as minister in the Presbyterian Church. One of Mr. Mills’s strong points was that he was a superior elocutionist and to him belongs the credit of introducing oratory into the school. Prof. Daniels succeeded Rev. Mills. He was noted for his strict discipline. He was succeeded in turn by Prof. Cowdry, Mr. Goss, Prof. F. N. Cross and Prof. Verrill from Maine taught in 1865.
There was open all this period a district school. But in 1868 a public school was founded which absorbed all the others. The first principal of the Troy Public Schools were Prof. Johnson, he had no assistant at first, but later he was ably assisted by Mrs. Delos Rockwell. There Primary, Intermediate and Grammar and High School departments under this system. Mr. Hutton re-organized the whole school into grades as there had been no real grades as we know them now.
Mr. Hutton was succeeded by Professor J. T. McCollum, so he troy Public School became the Troy Graded and High School. Professor McCollum was in charge of the school for a number of years and it is partly due to his excellent management and business ability that the Troy school established such a fine reputation. Professor McCollum was succeeded by Professors Fleisher, Murray, Whatenecht, Gordinier, White, Denison, Crosley and Croman.
Two teachers who served for many years in Troy High School were Mrs. Sarah Willett and Miss Grace Sayles. Many alumni are thankful that they had the privilege of studying under these enthusiastic and devoted teachers. Their influence has been very great.
The school at one time boasted a fine library of 1,500 volumes. These books were moved down town to a form a nucleus for the Public Library.
In 1913 an agricultural department was added to the school and in 1915 a large annex to the schoolhouse was built. In this year a complete modernization was undertaken with the junior High School idea as the main objective.
In 1917, the Van Dyne Civic Building was added to the school plant. This is the gift of Mr. E. E. Van Dyne to the people of Troy and vicinity. It contained an auditorium with a large stage and fine scenery and a moving picture outfit, a gymnasium for basketball, indoor athletics, dancing, etc., a kitchen, a free public library and restrooms. This was a wonderful gift and was highly prized by the citizens and students.
In 1920, Mr. Henry P. Davison gave to Troy Borough School District the beautiful house known as the Principal's Home. This was completely furnished. Mr. Davison also purchased and remodeled the buildings known as the Davison Apartments. In doing this he had two objects in mind. First, that the Income from these apartments would pay for the upkeep of the Principal’s Home, and second, that the center of the town would be greatly beautified.
In 1921, the Alumni Association erected a second annex to the building. This balanced the annex of 1915 and made an imposing looking structure. The entire building was destroyed by fire on January 6, 1922. The present building was financed by what is known as the Troy Plan. Sessions were begun in this building March 18, 1924.
In 1925, a Commercial department was added to the courses of instruction and in 1926 a Home Economics department. This same year the school was officially approved as a Junior-Senior High School. In 1932, the playground was enlarged and modernized.
The growth of the school in recent years has been quite remarkable as is shown by the following table of enrollment in grades 9 to 12.
1905-1906 73 students
1914-1915 104 students
1917- 918 182 students
1920-1921 216 students
1925-1926 285 students
1931-1932 332 students
The present needs of the school are better facilities for the Music department and a larger library in the school building.
Principals of Troy Academy
1842 Rev. Freeman Love 1856-57 Hiram C. Johns
Charles C. Prine 1857-58 J. J. Crandall
1845 Ezra Osden Long 1858-59 Sidney Mills
John A. Liddell 1859-61 Charles Davids
1846 Ambrose Axtell 1861-62 Mr. Coudry
1848 H. Boardman Smith 1862-63 Mr. Goss
John A. Kellum 1863-64 F. F. Cross
P. S. Ruth 1864-65 Mr. Charles Verrill
Principals of Troy Graded and High School
1867-68 Mr. Johnson
1869-72 Mr. H. H. Hutton
1872-84 J. T. McCollum
1884-96 Daniel Fleisher
1896-1900 Mr. Murray
1900-01 Mr. Whatenecht
1901-03 Charles Gordinier
1903-04 Mr. White
1904-11 W. M. Denison
1911-15 Dorr Crosley
1915 W. R. Croman
Troy High School In The World War
S. A. T. C. OVER SEA
Dana Card Major General H. P. Davison
Lee Smith Major Daniel Pomeroy
Francis Ballard Max Nearing
Robert Van Syckel *Capt. Lee Fletcher
Harry Cory John Parke
Leonard Wilcox Fred Blood
Robinson Pierce Earl Bloom
Frederick Pomeroy Francis Maher
Michael Ryan John Collins
Edmund Fanning LaRue Davies
Sherman Thomas Joseph Vineski
Daniel Holloway *George Ogden
Ellery Califf Prof. Minich
Harvey English Louis Palmer
Henry Case John Gernert
Louis Shadduck George O’Connor
Clifton Doane Edward Stanton
Harold Peters Frank A. Mitchell
Stephen Kennedy Lieut. Burton Parsons
Harold Cornell Rev. Hiram Bennett
Mahlon Hoyles Lester Newell
James Bardwell William O’Connor
Donald Woodworth William Holloway
Homer DeWitt Clyde Lee
Carlton Sherman Allan Pierce
Prof. Page Edward Morse
Fred Leonard Frank Flick
*Charles Stanton Allan Lyles
John Woodworth Leon Smith
Roe Smith Samuel Bardwell
Lester Kelley Maurice McGee
Lieut. Hugh Cameron John Canedy
Joseph Barker John Morse
Albert Watkins Ensign Charles Weigester
Harry Califf Lynn Card
Milan Flick Margaret Willour
Max Leonard Lieut. Leland Parsons
Robert Putnam Charles Say
Prof. Brandt Wendell Card
Carmen Calouch Theodore Watkins
Hartley Smith Harden Gustin
Lawrence Ballard Neil Cameron
Grant Fivie Ralph Van Keuren
Lieut. Donald Cameron Clifford Scouten
Paul Greenough Robert Dwyer
Harold Daugherty *Denotes Distinguished
Leland Alexander Service Cross
Local Activities of Troy High School in the War
Junior Red Cross
Liberty Loan Parades
Sale of Smileage Books
Red Cross Orderlies
Sale of War Stamps
Junior Four Minute Men