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Marathon, NY Early Schools

Early Schools in Marathon NY

Schools. — The first school in Marathon was taught by Miss Miriam Cowdry, a portion of the time in a log barn, and subsequently in a log school-house which stood near where the new barn of Wm. Squires is located. This school- house was a very primitive and rude affair, the windows being covered with oiled paper instead of glass; but as early as the close of the war of 1812 the log houses in this and adjoining towns began to gradually give way to the first small framed houses; school districts were organized and school-houses built and provisions made for the support of the common schools. Some of the older residents of Marathon village will remember that a small framed school-house was built some sixty years ago or more, near the bank of the creek, as it then ran, where Hazen’s store now stands; and that a heavy freshet so undermined the north side of the building that the structure assumed an angle of about twenty degrees. The school was, however, continued several days before the structure was repaired, during which time one-half of the pupils must have been compelled to look down somewhat on the other half. The main channel of the creek passed from the saw-mill southwesterly, crossing the road at the point where the Marathon House is now located. An elevated bridge over the stream stood between the hotel and the Hazen Block.

The first school-house of respectable pretensions was built by "Esquire" Burgess about the year 1818. He furnished the lumber and all the materials and painted it for the moderate sum of $100, receiving his pay in rye and corn, which were, more often than money, the medium of exchange at that time.

The Marathon Academy was chartered by the Regents of the University in February, 1866. The building in the condition it then was had been occupied by a high school kept by E.S. Weld, who owned the building. Mr. Weld enlisted in the 185th regiment in 1864 to go to the defense of the Union, and the building was sold to the Catholic Society about the year 1872, who have since used it as a church. The school was then given its present beautiful location and surroundings.

M.L. Hawley, who subsequently edited the Binghamton Standard, was principal of the academy during the first two years of its existence. The institution is now under the principalship of Hamilton Terry, who is assisted by Hortense Hodges, Eva D. Gardner and Hattie Livingston. The present board of education consists of D.E. Whitmore, president; C.C. Carley, secretary; D.D. Hunt, treasurer; W.A. Bentley, G.W. Miller, L.A. Hazen, O.H. Smith, D.R. Hunt.

History of Cortland County, 1885, Chapter 22, History of the Town of Marathon.