Morton School - ca 1917
Brief History of Morton One Room School

First Schools in the Morton District
The first school in the Morton School District was built in 1833. It was
located to the West of the current schoolhouse. It had a mud / stick
chimney on the outside, forming a fireplace on the inside that was large
enough to lay two logs side by side. The seats consisted of logs split in the
center, and hewed on one side, with two holes bored in each end with pegs
driven in for legs. The desks were wide boards fastened to the walls. The
windows were single panes placed across two sides and one end. In the
winter of 1841, this school house burned down.
The second schoolhouse was also built to the west of the current location
and was used for two years until the district was divided in two. In 1843, a
third building was constructed on the opposite corner from where it is now
located (Gwirtz's Market is currently located of that previous site). This was a frame
building, painted red, with black walnut interior and seats similar to
the first school house. It was heated with a stove. This district had
as many as 104 students with a average daily attendance of more
than 50 for many years during this 28 year period.
In 1871, a brick school house was built on the North East corner (across
from Gwirtz's market), but due to poor ventilation, the floor deteriorated and
in 1882, the present Morton building was constructed.
So the current Morton Schoolhouse is the 5th in a series of schoolhouses
used to provide education to the students in this area.
(Most of the above information first appeared in a 1893 Shelby Times newspaper article.)

More Morton School Early History
Records regarding the daily operation of the Morton School as well as
records from the other schools in the township are scattered. Due in part
to the fact the original school records were intertwined with the records
of the Township Trustees. As each individual school closed, the records
from that school were simply set aside without much concern for their
future value causing them to be lost or destroyed.
Fortunately, some of the forgotten records are now being rediscovered. In a
book donated to the Morton School Museum Project by the late Ira and Donna
Reed / Clabaugh, the following details regarding the operation of the
Morton School have become known.
On April 16, 1855 Norman S. Morton was appointed the Librarian for District 1.
The Morton School District. The duties of the Librarian were, to give out books
belonging to the common school library on the first Saturday of the month and
recollect them monthly.

According to records found in the Clabaugh book, the following books were on
the shelves of the District #1 library at the beginning of May in 1857. They were:
"Buckeyes Abroad, The Life of Sir Walter Scott,
Sunshine on Daily Paths, Beech Nut, Tip Top,
and, The Poor Rich Man."

The "enumeration" or, children in attendance for District #1 as of September 1,
1857 was 78 students. Recording 41 boys and 37 girls. (It is interesting to note
that often times the balance of male to female students in a one room school was
determined by the closeness of the schools to the actual farms. For the most
part it had to be a short and safe walk in order for a girl to attend).
It was also in September of 1857 that it was resolved that McGuffies's series
of "readers" and "spellers" alone be used in all the common schools of the districts.

The above Norman S. Morton Family & Morton School history was supplied by
Mr. Kim Butler Histed -
If you have further questions on the history of the early one room schools in the
Shelby, Ohio area, or if you would like to add to the page, please email us.
Copyright © 2003 Morton One Room School Historical Society. Inc.