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School days of yore take place at Clarkstown

By Staff | Aug 30, 2017

PHOTO PROVIDED This is the old one room school house at Clarkstown in autumn of 1925 as a fierce snowball battle was in progress.

CLARKSTOWN Preparing for the fall opening of school in 1925 surely differed from today, now 92 years later. Instead of shopping for clothing, moms stitched garments on sewing machines. In many old-time photos, sisters are identifiable as often dresses were made from the same bolt of fabric.

Clarkstown had its own village stores where cloth, shoes, pencils, chalk and slates were available for purchase.

It could be wintertime before a traveling photographer came to capture those for posterity, the years’ assembly of students.

Recently, two locals inquired as to the name of the school at Clarkstown. The response given current residents Ruth Fraley and Millie Moyer came from a book entitled “One Room Schools of Lycoming County.” It reports, “The first wooden built school was washed away when Muncy Creek flooded, and a brick school was built on the opposite side of the stream (along the Old Clarkstown Road to Muncy). An 1870 record book refers to the school as Penn Mills. In 1932, it closed when Muncy opened the new consolidated school.”

It is possible the name came from the nearby grist mill, for a photo taken when owned by the Bieber brothers showed sacks of flour clearly marked as the Penn Mills brand.

Also, clay used for brick in the structure may have been produced locally. A sister school on the road from Clarkstown toward Route 118, also built of brick, was commonly called Clay Hole School.

It was only a few weeks after the Fraley/Moyer conversation, a scrapbook was given to a local individual who shared its contents. Photos, along with a printed booklet, was distributed to students at each year’s completion of studies. Sometimes booklets were a single page. Other times several pages included a front cover of exceptional artwork, and inside, a poem praising education.

Students identified in the 1925 printing were: Warren Bitler, Elizabeth Confer, Thelma Dugan, Charlotte Foust, Chester Herr, Gordon Herr, Clarice Hill, Raymond Houseknecht, Edna Lockard, Marguite Litchard, Eugene Michael, Pauline Michael, Homer Opp, Kimber Opp, Paul Reece, Kathryn Sherwood, Amos Shipman, Louise Shipman, Lucille Shipman, Kenneth Shook, Bruce Vandine, Clara Vandine, Charles Vandine, Clark Wallis, Fordythe Wallis, Margaret Wallis and Russell Wallis.

Teaching the 27 students was Milton Landis of Cogan House Township. School board members were J. R. Ebner, Louis Heberling, C. R. Michael and John P. Michael.

Also on the printed keepsake was the identifying script: Clarkstown School, District No. 36, Muncy Creek Township, Lycoming County, PA.