Susan B. Anthony, A Bit of Women’s History, and Me

Susie B. and Me
Susan B. Anthony keeps coming up in conversations about our school house. Her childhood home is located less than 2 miles from the school, in Battenville, New York. The house is owned by the state and currently sits empty.  Here’s an article from the Times Union written in 2016 that explains a bit more about the situation. In honor of Women’s History Month I did a little research and exploring!

SusanBAnthonyHouse.jpgSusan B. Anthony’s childhood home, Battenville, New York

We all know the name Susan B. Anthony and associate her with women’s suffrage. I realized after checking out an exhibit at our local library that Susan B. was instrumental in helping to pass a law in New York State in 1860 that for the first time gave married women the right to own property separately from their husbands. So, indirectly, I have Susan B. to thank for my purchase of  Gramp’s Old School!  For a more in depth biography you can check out the National Women’s History Website.

exhibit at Greenwich Free Library

Road Trippin’
Many people have asked me if Susan B. attended our school house or taught there. I learned she couldn’t have attended because our school was built in 1850 and she had left the area by then. A sign outside her house reads “Early Home of Susan B. Anthony 1832-1839.” Could she have taught there when she returned to the area as an adult? I don’t think so…but we’re going to keep researching. Since her home is so close, I couldn’t contain my curiosity and made a short pilgrimage down the road.

SusanBAnthonyHouseRear.jpgBack view of the home, yes that’s an open window!

a barn/garage/carriage house??? on the property

double chimneys, me and side porch, close up of scroll work

SusanBAnthonyHouseSidePorch.jpgside porch

SusanBAnthonyHouseSign.jpgsign in front of Susan B.’s House

IMG_1606

Women and Teaching
Susan B. spent some of her early career teaching at various places including Canajoharie Academy, (west of Albany, NY) and in 1846 made $110 a year (see link). This got me thinking about the teachers at our school house. I remembered we found a few papers about the teachers and their salaries when we did the first round of demo. Now I can’t find them! But I will! Luckily, Gramp is doing some light reading and about one room schools and will be sharing this and some more archival papers on a upcoming blog.

 

Family History
We are still looking for more old photos of the school. We did find this one in the library last fall in an old Greenwich Journal. We made a new discovery when we realized that my Great Grandmother, Martha Dewey Tefft also attended the school house around 1924. For local blog readers, anyone see any familiar names in this photo?!

CenterFallsStudentsmy great grandmother, Martha Dewey Tefft is identified in the photo as the girl in the white dress standing directly in front of the teacher.

To recap, because even I’m getting confused, we now know my grandfather, Richard Tefft Sr. attended the school in the early 1940’s and his mother, Martha Dewey Tefft attended the school in the 1920’s. I’ve only just scratched the surface of history here, but I’ve started contacting local historians and our friend at the State Historic Preservation Office is helping us piece together some info. I know many people in the area have a lot more knowledge about local history and school houses than I do and I can’t wait to find out more!

From The Desk of Em 
Em (my mom) is our silent partner in the project and isn’t too keen about being on the website. But a blog on women’s history month wouldn’t be complete without sharing a photo of the woman who’s had the greatest influence on me. Plus she dug out a few school photos of me when I was young…eeek!

Em’s First Grade School Photoimg_20180319_131011.jpgMy mom’s (Em’s) first grade school picture, she’s the girl in the third row from the bottom on the left end

My Second Grade School PhotoIMG_20180319_131819.jpgI’m in the second row (J. Tefft), the 9th one from the left

Me in First Grade (1986) and My Sissy Sarah in First Grade (2001)

Love my smile and love Sarah’s bangs!

Next Week
We’re back to the school house with an update on all the things we learned about the construction of the school from the preservation peeps.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Susan B. Anthony, A Bit of Women’s History, and Me

  1. I really enjoy the blog and keep up with everything all of you are doing. It truly is a shame that nothing is being done to Susan B. Anthony House for up keep.
    Thanks for your interest in the history of our community.

    Like

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