Hills, Maresh have Book Signing at Greer's Corner one-room Schoolhouse

By ISABEL MARESH | Aug 28, 2014
Photo by: Sandra McLellan Barbara Hills and Isabel Morse Maresh at Greer's Corner Schoolhouse

by Isabel Morse Maresh

An open house was held at Greer’s Corner Schoolhouse, hosted by Greene Plantation Historical Society on August 23, 2014, as part of Belmont’s Bicentennial celebration.  The old one-room Schoolhouse was opened at 1 p.m. to a steady stream of people who came to visited the old school, and to meet with Barbara (Fuller) Hills and Isabel Morse Maresh, who were having a ‘book signing’ of the book, "History of Schools in Searsmont, Maine, 1814-2014".  Some of the people attending the open-house were former students of the Greer’s Corner School, which was built in 1908, and closed in 1956 when the school across the road was opened.  The second schoolhouse across the road is now the Belmont Community Building and Town Office.  Also in attendance at Greer’s Corner School was Terry Newton, her daughter Michaela and Terry’s mother.  Terry is a teacher in RU20, and came to speak to the children about schools in the past.  There were not enough children in attendance for her to speak to them.  We appreciate her participation.

Barbara (Fuller) Hills is a member of the Searsmont Bicentennial committee.  Belmont and Searsmont are ‘sister’ towns, being organized on the same date, Feb. 5th 1814.  The towns had been Greene Plantation.  Morrill was set off from Belmont in 1855.  Barbara volunteered to do a report on the old schools of Searsmont.  It was found that there had been sixteen school houses in Searsmont.

Barbara did an in-depth report on schools, teachers, Superintendents, finances, teacher’s pay, etc.  She brought a computer ‘thumb-drive’ of sixty-two type-written pages to Maresh, who had volunteered to help her format and put the pages in order.  What they thought would be a breeze, and only take a short time, ended up consuming several months of daily work.

They searched for Searsmont school photos, from the early one-room schools up until 2014, which included the present Ames School.  There are many, many more photos, but they could only put into the books what they could find.  Photos came from private collections and albums, from Searsmont, Belmont, Lincolnville and Montville Historical Societies, from Carol Robbins, and a large amount of old photos from Alvin Pease of South Montville, who allowed them to be scanned, making up six pages of the forty-two pages of photos in the book.

The book includes eleven pages of Index, which had about 2200 names; two maps, names of early roads in Searsmont, and many pages copied from old annual Town Reports, of finances and Superintendent’s reports, some of which had a touch of humor.  Superintendent E. A. Davis, in 1917, in writing of parents who didn’t care if their children went to school or not, and usually the children didn’t go to school, called them “bone-headed parents”.  The Superintendents usually spoke out at what they believed was wrong in the schools.  Superintendent C. S. Adams in 1901, reported, “I believe the free text book law a gross humbug, and detrimental to the cause of education, and a most extravagant method of supplying our schools with books.”  Adams felt that the parents should purchase the books.

The book, "History of Schools in Searsmont, Maine, 1814-2014" is primarily a research book, but has some interesting reading, and excellent photos.  The books sold at Greer’s Corner School will benefit Greene Plantation Historical Society, as they were purchased by GPHS.  The price of the book is $22.50, profits to benefit GPHS, until arrangements can be made for other Historical Societies to participate.

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