Join in the continuation to learn more about Hopson School's early days as a new school district formed at the end of the nineteenth century...
Rubicon No. 5, also known as Hopson School, was located on the south side of Minnick Road three-fourths of a mile east of the intersection of Minnick Road and Stafford Road or the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 34, Rubicon Township, Huron County.
According to the 1891 Annual Inspectors Report at the State Archives, 40 children – 20 boys and 20 girls – between the ages of five and 20 lived within the district boundaries. Of the 40 children, 24 were between the ages of eight and 14 and were required by law to attend school. The new school had the capacity to seat 50 students. The frame schoolhouse was valued at $500, and the total indebtedness owed by the district totaled $400. All other entries on the form were left blank, and a handwritten note explained, “No school has yet been kept in District No. 5.”
The Annual Inspectors Report for the year ending September 5, 1892, showed the first indication that Hopson School officially held classes. Although the report was, for the most part, illegible, all the blanks on the report had been filled in; however, the details of that first year’s term could not be deciphered.
Treasurer John Hopson was the father of Albert Hopson, who leased the land. According to oral history shared by Hopson family descendents, teetotaler John Hopson agreed to build the school with the understanding that liquor would never be sold or consumed in school or on the school's grounds. John Hopson’s theories must have made an impression on son Albert since that condition was stated in the deed.
Hopson School was built in Section 34 on the south side of Minnick Road about three-fourths of a mile east of Stafford Road or one-fourth of a mile east of what is now Schmucker Road. (Schmucker Road runs north and south directly through the middle of Section 27, which is directly north of Section 34.) The schoolhouse was painted white and faced the road with a driveway from the road leading to the school's entry. The school's bell, situated in the belfry on the north end of the school's roof, could be heard for miles around.
The schoolhouse was situated close to the eastern property line, which butted up against a wooded area. The well was located near the flagpole, which stood in front, or northwest, of the school, and the outhouse could be found behind, or southwest, of the school. Wood to heat the school was stacked in a lean-to, which stood next to the outhouse, and additional wood was piled behind the school along the south side of the building. The children played ball and other games on the west side of the school, where there was a good-sized area to run. The children used their imaginations and often created their own games to play since the district did not have any playground equipment for the children.
Three windows located on the east and west sides of the school allowed for adequate light, and a small window was also located in the entrance on the west side of the door. A pail of water – complete with a dipper that all of the children used – was kept in the school’s entrance. Children passed through the entry room and stomped the snow off their shoes and boots before proceeding into their appropriate cloakrooms. Students stored their lunch buckets on a shelf above the coat hooks. An aisle in the main schoolroom led straight to the teacher’s desk located on the south end of the building. Rows of desks stood on either side of the aisle, but in later years, only a few of the desks were filled due to continued declining enrollment. A potbellied stove strategically stood in the middle center of the schoolhouse so that the heat would reach all of the students; the schoolhouse was heated with coal and wood.
The history written in 1938 shed a bit of light: “The first school board was E.C. Peckins director, John Hopson treasurer, Joe Schmucker moderator. The first teacher was Lydia Schmucker. She was paid $25 per month. Quite a bit later than that Alice Humphery hired at $24. Mr. Peterson says she asked for $20, but he raised it to $24.”
According to the 1893 Annual Inspectors Report, 43 children between the ages of five and 20 lived within the district. Of the 43, 16 children were between the ages of eight and 14 and were required by law to attend school. Of the 43 children, 26 were enrolled at Rubicon No. 5’s Hopson School, including the 16 students between the ages of eight and 14, so truancy had not been a problem. One female teacher taught six months of school and earned a total of $132. The schoolhouse and lot were valued at $600, and the total indebtedness owed by the district equaled $300. Ed C. Peckins was listed as director for the ensuing year.
Be sure to look for the continuation next month to learn more about the history of Rubicon No. 5 during the dawn of the twentieth century.
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