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excerpts from "An Historical Survey of Elementary Education in Stillwater Township, New Jersey by Raymond J. Kendall" submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree at the Newark State College, February, 1966.



In 1784 when Casper Shafer died, his will remembered the church and the schoolhouse. The latter was built near the Dutch Meeting House. It would seem that this could have been the first school located in Stillwater.

There was a record of a school in 1822. The teacher who taught in this frame building was Samuel Waddell. There was a record of earlier teachers in this district such as Patrick Mucelvany, Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Hand, and Mr. Boulton. In 1834 a school existed on the Stillwater-Fredon Road. In 1837 Melitta Condit taught in a schoolhouse opposite the old cemetery.

Figure 15 on P. 54 illustrates a building erected in the district in 1842 that served as a school for approximately sixty-seven years. The right portion of the building was added in 1954. The school site had been owned by William A. Shafer, son of Casper Shafer, one of the first settlers of Stillwater. The first teacher in the new building was Isaiah Condit. Very early this school became known as “The Academy”.

The trustees of Stillwater District in 1849 were William S. Shafer, Andrew Huff, Benjamin Van Campen, Silas Casterline, Garret Rosencrans, Henry Dodder, and John Obdyke. There were seventy-nine students whose parents were J. W. Obdyke, Henry Puder, John Vought, Jacob S. Wintermute, Andrew Huff, Silas Casterline, Robert Danley, William A. Shafer, Henry Huff, Jacob Boston, David Lanning, Adam S. Kanoff, Charles Wintermute, Robert Struble, Samuel D. Groover, William Cooper, William Slater, Garret Rosencrans, Jacob Countryman, Matthias Johnson, John M. Hetzel, Samuel Kidney, William L. Kindred, David Hill, Benjamin Van Campen, Ellen Smalley, N. A. Shafer, Peter B. Shafer, Valentine Dangler, T. B. Condit, and John Puder.

In the late 1800's the Stillwater School District was designated No. 25. It was surrounded by Hardwick Township to the south, the Susquehanna Railroad to the east, Middleville School District to the north, and Mt. Pleasant School District to the west. Board of Education minutes from 1904-41 indicated the district as No. 6.

Those who later served as clerks where J. H. Coursen, 1873; John Swartswelder, 1879; J. S. Obdyke, 1882, Obadiah Van Horn, 1890; and Joseph H. Rosenkrans, 1892. Other trustees during this period were George Simmons, 1873; Jacob J. Roof, 1873; Barnett Huff, 1876; John S. Maines, 1883; Charles L. Lewis, 1888; and Emmet T. Moore, 1890.

Teachers were A. W. Slockbower, 1876; William A. Struble, 1877; Thorner S. Snover, principal, 1878 with Oliver Hankinson as assistant. (Thorner has also been spelled Thamer and Thamis) Lewis Wildrick, taught in 1888.

Thorner Snover was perhaps one of the most famous of Stillwater's teachers. In his time he was said to have contributed more school teachers for Sussex County schools than any other teacher of that period. He was on of the same calibre William Rankin of an earlier date and A. B. Cope later on. Thorner Snover was remembered with great fear. Perhaps this was because there where seventy-nine students in the school from first grade through high school. When Sussex County Superintendent Hill visited the school on December 13, 1878 he commented, “This school is in a prosperous condition”.



Minutes of the Board of Education showed that in May 1909 a committee was appointed to select a new school site. On May 22nd it was decided to purchase land from John W. Earl for an amount of $300, and to have him build a new school at a cost of $1500 to replace the Academy which was sold at public auction to the Patriotic Sons of America for $300.

Raymond Main who began his teaching career at Mt. Pleasant, the school he attended as a child, was transferred to the new Stillwater School in 1909 where he taught until 1914. Mary Vail instructed classes at this school from 1919-21. James R. Dalling, Ph.D. taught at the Stillwater School in 1924 and remained at that post until the school was closed in 1941 because of consolidation. He retired from the Stillwater Consolidated School in 1943. The school house was sold in 1941 at public auction to Justin Tharaud, Jr. for a sum of $1,400.

The Stillwater Academy still serves an educational function. In 1943 when Mary Dixon was principal of the new Stillwater Consolidated School a library was begun. These quarters at the school soon became cramped, and as a result the Academy was purchased in 1946 by Assemblyman and Mrs. Amos Dixon to serve this need.

Hiram Beegle, a long time native of Stillwater, donated his museum collection to the library. The library did not have enough room to serve as a museum too. In 1954, because of this condition, Charlotte Jones of Middleville donated an addition to the right end of the existing building to serve as a museum. This addition can be be seen in the illustration of the Stillwater Academy. Mildred Hughes reports this museum to have an exceptional collection for a town of Stillwater's size.