THE ROBERT CATTERSON SCHOOL

 

The Robert Catterson School was built in 1832 by Robert Catterson.  It was of simple beam and board construction.  After only a few years, the building burned to the ground and was rebuilt at the corner of Maple Grove Road.  This area was located at the end of Bortree Road in Flugenville.  It was first known as Flugenville School and later changed to Maple Grove.

 

The school was maintained by its without taxation instruction and was limited to the three R’s: Reading, Riting and Rithmetic.  Since the students furnished their own books, they were inadequate and in many cases the Bible was used as a Reading book.  Free textbooks were not introduced until 1895.  These schools were open two months of the year since its pupils could only attend when they were not needed at home to work on their farms.

 

In 1845, the school term was lengthened to four months and was often divided into Summer and Winter terms.  The Summer session made it easier for the smaller children who had to walk a long distance to attend.           

 

The parents of the pupils paid for the cost of the school, unless, they were too poor to meet the expense.  The County paid for the tuition of the poor pupils.  The plan created an unpleasant and undemocratic feeling in the school and the community.  The parents kept their children home because they didn’t want their names on the poor list.

 

The law of 1834, which created a common school system supported by Taxation, remedied these conditions.  Under the requirements of the law, a County tax of $3,000 was levied for school purposes.  The State appropriated $407.09 to be used to support the schools throughout the County.

 

In 1835, the first School Board was elected in Sterling Township.

 

In 1854, there was a notable change in education, for in that year schools were levied for building schools.  Wood frame buildings with better lighting, heat and equipment replaced the early log cabin schools.  Teachers now had to pass an examination given by the County Superintendent before they were allowed to teach.

 

By 1874, Geography, History, and Spelling were added to the three R’s.  The pupils were arranged in classes according to their age and what they knew.  The children were not compelled to go to school until 1895.

 

In 1918, the final consolidation of all the Sterling one-room schoolhouses took place and was now known as Sterling Township Consolidated School.