Genealogical Society at ‘Brown Schoolhouse’


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The Clinton County Genealogical Society met Monday, August 22 at Sub District No. 6 Schoolhouse, or “The Brown Schoolhouse” at 1399 Brown Road.

Vice President Jim Burge conducted a short business session to a packed group of members and guests.

Gene Snyder began the evening’s program by explaining the why of “Brown” Road and “Brown” Schoolhouse — that four Brown brothers who were sons of Revolutionary War veteran David Brown migrated to Washington Township, Clinton County, from Massachusetts and settled in 1813.

Their many descendants were farmers in the area for over 150 years.

Snyder is a descendant of one of the four, James, and James’s son David Brown who, at age 41, was placed in charge of a group of volunteers from the county, “The Squirrel Hunters”, who went down to defend Cincinnati during the Civil War.

Clinton County History Center Director Shelby Boatman followed with an overview of early education in the county.

Subscription schools would begin when several parents would pay a teacher a sum to teach their children for a several weeks. The Northwest Ordinance stressed that there be public education for all, and schoolhouses were built in all of the townships.

The site where we were meeting had a first building in 1852 and the present brick structure was dedicated in 1882. It was referred to as a sub district school because it enrolled pupils from both Washington and Union Townships.

From an article in the News Journal of July 28, 1961 headlined “Great Old Days of Clinton Schools Told by Mrs. Lazenby”: “Mr. H.D. Pennington, former teacher and pupil at Brown Schoolhouse, taught there four years … When he was schoolmaster in 1896 the following pupils listened and learned: Ottie Crawford, Roscoe Pennington, Mertie Haynie, Iva Brown (Baker), Pearlie Brown, Orvie Brown, Roy Brown, Edna Crouse, Sie McKibben, Lulu McKibben, Pearlie McKibben, Lena Mckibben, Walter McKibben, Rowena Berlin, Mary Berlin, Lillie Brown, Birdie Brown and Goldie Brown.”

The highlight of the evening was Jim Burge explaining with a Power Point presentation how he and wife Joan purchased this building in 2017 and proceeded to convert a dilapidated ruined structure into the beautiful meeting site and BnB that it is today.

Brick walls had crumbled and the roof and flooring had to be replaced. Raccoons and other varmints had been living in it.

As Jim proceeded over the years one repair always seemed to lead to another problem. But now it is a solid structure and nicely finished and decorated inside.

A remarkable transition and a gem of an asset to our community.

It was a great evening.

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