Monday, August 31, 2015

Thankful for Teachers

From Flickr: Boston Public School, 1892
As my son returns to school today to begin 6th grade, I am thankful for those who dedicate their lives to educating our children. It's a tough job but so important!

I don't remember seeing any teachers in my family tree, but my husband has some relatives who spent time in front of students. This isn't a complete list, but here are eight:
  • Elizabeth Lee (1852-1938) - one of three sisters who taught in Atchison County, Kansas
  • Ella Lee (1857-1929) - another sister who taught in Atchison County, Kansas
  • Mary Lee (1850- ) - the 1870 shows her as a teacher living in Mount Pleasant, Atchison, Kansas; I haven't been able to locate her after that year
  • Luella Lewis Wiegel (1873-1957) - music teacher who lived in Elizabeth, Allegheny, Pennsylvania
  • Nellie Lewis Laing (1869-1949) - teacher who lived in Elizabeth, Allegheny, Pennsylvania 
  • Henry Stewart (1831-1908) - he was a Pennsylvania farmer, store clerk, salesman, and shipping clerk, but the 1860 census shows that he also was a teacher
  • Mary Vance Rudy (1893-1967) - the 1930 census shows her as a "public school teacher"; newspaper articles identify her as an instructor in the Third Ward school of Canonsburg, Washington, Pennsylvania
  • Gladys Vance Paul (1908-1998) - the 1930 census shows her as a "country school teacher"; a newspaper article indicates that she taught in the North Strabane school district in Washington County, Pennsylvania

Men and women who wanted to become teachers typically enrolled in a "normal school." You can find publications online from some of these schools that include lists of students and alumni. Here are just a few that I found in the HathiTrust Digital Library, and many of these have additional years as well:

Be thankful for the teachers in your family tree! While these publications may not give you new facts about them, they provide a list of courses your teacher ancestors would have taken, giving you a peek at what their lives might have been like during the years they attended a normal school.

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