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!
Susan 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
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.
Back 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
sign in front of Susan B.’s House
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.
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?!
my 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 PhotoMy 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 PhotoI’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!
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.