The First Schools in Grant County

But two school-houses were in the county at this time. One of these was on Forklick Creek, near where Chas. W. Porter now lives. This house was built of small round logs, 14 x 16 feet, and covered by clapboards, which were retained in their position by heavy 'weight poles.' It had a rough puncheon floor, and was profusely ornamented with puncheon benches, supported by legs made of round saplings driven in auger holes bored in them.

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Long wooden spikes or pins were driven in the logs around the wall on which the children hung their dinner baskets. The roof of this house was just high enough to admit the teacher and 'big scholars' to walk under without striking their heads against the boards. There was no window, and but one doorway to which there was no door.

James Williams taught school in this house. He had from twelve to sixteen scholars, and charged one dollar and a half per quarter. This was paid, one-half money and one-half in current produce-coonskins generally. The other school-house was situated a little down the ridge from the residence of Esau Conrad. In this house Wm. Littell reigned as chief pedagogue for several sessions. What his emoluments were we have been unable to ascertain. Previous to the formation of the county the Legislature of Kentucky had made an appropriation of a large number of acres of Green River land for the benefit of County Seminaries.

When Grant county was formed she became entitled to a portion of this, and Mr. Arnold, always ready to promote the interest of the county and prompted by his true and laudable spirit of enterprise, undertook and built for the county her first Seminary for the consideration of that part of the Green River land to which the county was entitled. It was a brick building, one story high, and stood at or near the present residence of E. H. Smith.

Schools were taught in this building for several years. Mr. L. Abenathy was one of the principal teachers. He had from thirty to forty scholars, and in the winter this number would be increased to sixty. The first debating society of the county was organized and held in this building. It was largely attended by the people of the county for many miles around, most of whom participated in the debates. This was kept up for several years, and many an evening the walls of this old building were made to echo with the ringing reverberations of pioneer eloquence.

There are a few old persons now living in the county who made the first speeches of their lives in this building. After it had stood for about fifteen years the walls began to give way, and it was torn down, and Williamstown never again had another school that approached to the dignity of a High School or Seminary until 1874, when, through the energy of Messrs. J. H. Webb, W. F. Webb, T. M. Coombs, and Dr. J. M. Wilson, the present Academy was erected. This is a two-story frame building, constructed upon a modern plan, and well and conveniently furnished.

The first school was taught in this, during the last school year, by Prof. L. V. Ware, of Georgetown, as principal, and Miss Katie Coombs, of Williamstown, as assistant teacher. Very Much credit is due to these two popular and efficient teachers in securing for this school in its infancy a brilliant reputation, and enhancing its bright prospects to a degree of certainty for a success in the future.

The first and only chartered school in the county was in Crittenden. This school was chartered in 1868 as the Crittenden Seminary, under the direction of Littleton Fenley, R. M. Ratcliff, F. T. Mansfield, A. F. Hogsett, J. Poor, Thomas Rouse, and their successors, as Trustees. Competent professors were employed for three or four years, but for some cause, it was suspended, and the building is now used by R. L. Collins for a steam flour mill, of which we have before made mention.

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