One of the first requirements of the settlers was for schools, and they were built in various sections of the town as the population increased. We know that by 1791 there were six schools, for on March 30th of that year --
|"Chose Reuben Thomas Esq.||Trustee for the South and first District of School|
|"Chose David S. Sanford||Trustee for the Second District of School|
|"Chose Enoch Bassitt||Trustee for the West and third District of School|
|"Chose Hull Curtiss||Trustee for the East and forth District of School|
|"Chose Lovel Hurd||Trustee for the North and fifth District of School|
|"Chose Ezra Birch||Trustee for the Sixth District of School"|
The town of Sandgate was growing; the census of 1791 showed a population of 773.
In 1794 it was voted to divide the "south District school that lyes on the River into two Districts of schools" but in 1799 this was rescinded and "voted that the two South Districts of School be one Entire District of School." That year the South District had 45 scholars, the Southeast District 34.
The story has often been told that at one time there were 100 children attending District No. 1 School. District No. 1 School was originally known as the South District School; in 1804, when this district was again divided, 73 pupils attended the South District School, according to the report of Samuel Thomas, District Clerk; and 49 attended the Southeast District School, according to the report of Joseph Snow, District Clerk.
By 1850 there were 10 established schools and School Districts, and by that time property descriptions read "District No. --" instead of First, Second, Third, or Fourth Division. The census was 850.
"April 1858 Record of the Returns of the Several School Districts" showed-
Board & fuel
Teachers' salaries varied from $1.00 to $1.50 per week (female); and $1.75 to $4.25 per week (male).
A male teacher usually had the winter session.
Board varied from $1.00 to $2.75 per week.
Public money (State Aid) was $210.37.
Number of weeks taught varied from 22 to 35 in the different districts.
By 1872 three schools were closed; by 1890 another school was closed. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 were still in use.
In 1899 there were still 6 schools, with State Aid of $220.20, as evidenced by the following:
"From State of Vermont, Treasurer's Office
Distribution of State School Tax
White River Junction, Vt., July 5, 1899 apportioned to Town of Sandgate $220.20 for 6 legal schools maintained during school year ending March 31, 1899.
John L. Bacon, State Treas.Total School Tax for 1899 - $87,381.82
Total number of legal schools maintained in State
1899 - 2,381
Amt. Tax apportioned to ea - $36.699962"
Do any of the "children" of 1912-13 remember this picture being taken? This was outside of District School No. 1, the teacher Miss Vivian Smith.
| Back row: Floyd Bentley, Harvey Woodcock, Chester Hayes, Gray Bentley, Jim Bentley, Richard Bentley, Earle Woodcock.
Front row: Glossie Bentley, Merle Bentley, Claude Hayes, Otis Woodcock. (Wager Hayes and Arthur McDurfee are not in the picture.)
Miss Vivian Smith taught in Sandgate No. 1, No. 3 and No. 8 schools, also in West and South Arlington. She served as School Director in Sandgate for 28 years, resigning in 1956.
One of Miss Smith's most valued possessions is a certificate reading:
"Bennington County- Vermont Improvement Assn This is to certify that the School of Miss Vivian J. Smith, Sandgate Dist. No. 1 has been awarded the First Prize in the good roads Maintenance Contest conducted by the Bennington County, Vermont, Improvement Ass'n.
November 1913 "H. N. Morse, Secretary"
This was for work done by the school children on the so-called "Upper Road."
Miss Ione Smith, another of the "Smith girls," as they have been affectionately called, taught school for over 25 years, starting when she was 17 years of age in the Camden Valley, New York State. She taught in Sandgate No. 3, No. 5, and No. 7 schools. She also served two terms in the Legislature as Town Representative, 1937 and 1941.
Sandgate now does not operate any school. With a decreasing population, fewer children, and difficulty in securing a teacher in rural areas, the last school, District No. 2, was discontinued in 1956. With a prospective enrollment of four elementary pupils, it was voted to send Sandgate children to the neighboring town of Arlington. Since there never had been a high school in Sandgate, high school pupils had been attending schools of their choice outside the town, usually Arlington High School.
District No. 2 schoolhouse still stands on its original site, and is the last remaining. It was built about 1840, north of the Congregational Church. The site of the first No. 2 schoolhouse was south of the church.
Farnham & Farnham