The very first school building erected within the Township was one of logs built by New Garden Friends near their Meeting House in 1777. (It was located just about where the fireplace is in the yard today.) Friends were pioneers in education in Chester County. The Yearly Meeting from time to time gave earnest and practical advice relative to establishing schools, and in 1778 - a year after New Garden School was established - advised that ground should be provided within the scope of each Monthly Meeting with sufficient space for a garden, orchard, grass for a cow, etc., plus a suitable house and stable be provided for a teacher of staid character and proper qualifications. It also recommended that funds be collected for establishing and supporting schools.

Within the buildings, desks were provided for older children; benches without backs for the younger. A desk for the teacher, a bucket, and what was called a "pass" comprised most of the furnishings. The latter was a small paddle with the words "in" and "out" written on its opposite sides. The New Garden building had in lieu of the large stove usually provided in the buildings a large fireplace to furnish heat. Schools were conducted upon a subscription plan whereby parents and guardians of those who attended paid the teachers' salaries.

Chestnut Green School

On August 31, 1807, plans were made to build another school house within the Township. A group of men met and made the following agreement:

"In order to build a School-House on the Land of William Thompson in the Township of Newgarden near the old brick kiln we the subscribers hereby promise to pay Swithin Shortlidge or any other person who shall be mutually agreed upon to review the same the sum annexed to our names for the intent and meaning of the above building which as to size materials, etc., etc., is to be agreed upon by the subscribers after the said Thompson has secured the ground to them by lease or otherways."

It was signed by:

William Miller                           Septimus Evans                        Hiett Hutton
Thomas Brown                         Abner Wilson                          Thomas Hutton
Moses Beans                            John Roney                              Jacob Shortlidge
John McIntire                           James Queen                            John Boyer
James Hall                                James Hall                                Addam Hart
Jacob Jones                              Thomas Kay                             Hugh Harkin
Swithin Shortlidge                     James Shortlidge                       John Curl
William Thompson                    Jesse Owens                            William Founes
Joseph Temple                         Joshua Richards

Each man pledged a certain sum of money. The largest amount promised at any one time was $12.00 by William Thompson who was an Assessor. This agreement in all likelihood covered the purchase of 36 perches of land from Jonathan and Catherine Moore on January 23, 1808 for $5.00, part of their 210 acre farm that lay in what is now Kaolin and on into the State of Delaware. A Deed covering the sale passed to Thomas Wilson, Thomas Wickersham, Jonathan Pyle, Thomas Withers, Israel Hoopes, and Benjamin Seal, for the purpose of erecting a School House in the Township of New Garden along the great road leading from Lancaster to New Port. Wilson, Wickersham, etal. were chosen by the subscribers as Trustees. When their number was down to two, they were to convey the property to other trustees chosen by the subscribers.

An Act passed April 4, 1809 provided free education to those children between five and twelve years of age whose parents were unable to do so. Schools built for this purpose were often called "Paupers' Schools," and this small stone building may have been just such a one. Assessors were required to make returns of all "poor children," and after they were checked and revised, parents were notified to which school their children would be sent. The first year returns were filed, 1810, New Garden reported five poor children. The list included the names of boys and girls, and contradicts the story that this school was a boarding school for boys, only. Perhaps it was used in later years for that purpose. Superintendent of Newgarden School, Joseph Sharp and William West, signed the bill sent to the County Commissioners covering tuition payments in 1813. Usually, the bills identified it only as the school of certain teachers. Thus, it was variously the school of William Gawthrop, John Chandler, Aaron P. Osmond, and Phebe Hoopes, among others.

No females were supposedly employed in Chester County schools until about 1840 for it was considered rather a disgrace than otherwise for women to teach. The title of schoolmistress was more avoided than sought by young ladies. However, residents of New Garden then, as now, didn't always do the things expected of them! Phebe Hoopes taught in 1814 and received $2.21 tuition for teaching poor children, with approval given by Benjamin Hoopes and William West.

The name "Chestnut Green" first appeared in 1822 when "Chestnut Green Seminary subscribers Israel Hoopes, Joel Baily, and Isaiah somebody received the bill of Aaron P. Osmond for teaching poor children." Ten years later Directors Evan Brown, Robert L. Watter , Joshua Jefferis and Eber Sharp approved Elizabeth Dixson to teach "Orthography (spelling), Reading, Writing, Arythmatic, Grammer, Geography, Algibra Mensuration." A statement by the Directors of the school in 1834 after an examination by them, apparently to make certain that poor children were receiving a proper education, said in part:

"We send to the same school and pay at the same rate and we believe that the above named children were taught and treated in the same manner, that the other children of the school were taught and treated."

The Directors in 1846, William Jones, Nathaniel Wilkinson, and Hiram Walker, advertised for a man to teach at the common school known as Chestnut Green. Twenty years later, all the trustees were reported to have died and new ones were needed for the property purchased from Jonathan Moore. Citizens met as contributors and patrons of the school at a public meeting in the New Garden Hotel on November 8, 1866 to elect new ones and selected Jabez Thompson, William Howard, Benjamin Williamson and John Mendenhall, along with John Wilson and Thomas Marvel who were appointed Chairman and Secretary, respectively. The Trustees then sold the property to the New Garden School District for $1.00; the New Garden School District in turn sold it the same day to George P. Pierson. An undated note says that the last teacher there was William Foote.

Eden School

Joseph Lake, Jr. in his history, "Hockessin, A Pictorial History," reports:

"The earliest date for a public school deed found in this area is for the Eden school, just over the Pennsylvania line, recorded in September 1815. While the district for this school was located within Pennsylvania, children from the Little Baltimore area, and from Limestone Road as far south as Tweed's Tavern (Valley Road) attended the school, prior to the opening of North Star School in 1847."

This school appears on a Delaware map of 1823, located just over the line in Pennsylvania. There were no references to it by name or location in the varied information on New Garden schools. A stone marked "EDEN-1814" in the newest section of Little Baltimore is believed to mark the location of the old building, and that is now in the State of Delaware. Perhaps it closed when North Star School opened and remained unused as a school building for so many years that its identity became lost. The ruins of a small building were still standing there in the early 1900s.

Union School

The only reference to a school by this name appeared in a newspaper advertisement in 1836 stating:

"A man well qualified will meet with good situation if application be made soon to the committee of the employers of Union School. On Behalf of said Committee -Amos Barnard and Jeremiah Starr."

It has not been further identified.

Common Schools

When the question of accepting a common school system was submitted to delegates representing school districts of Chester County in 1834 and 1835, a considerable majority voted "no," for many opposed sending their children with the poor. In 1836, however, quite a change took place in public opinion. Of 45 districts, delegates of 38 voted in its favor; soon thereafter the system became general. New Garden Township adopted the free school law in 1839. The number of poor children had jumped from five in 1810 to 87 by 1835 within our Township. When the free school law was adopted, this reporting of "poor children" ceased.

The Friends School was said to have been the first free school within the Township, and it is likely that Chestnut Green followed shortly after. Directors of the Common Schools of New Garden Township - John Richards, Amos Barnard, Joseph Newlin, John W. Thomas, Joseph Thompson, and Nathaniel Wilkinson - arranged in 1838 for four new schools to be built. They were the ones we came to know as Walnut Run on Landenberg Road; Greenwood Dell on Hillendale Road; Penn Green on Penn Green Road (also called Penn Grove School); and Toughkenamon School, although they were not identified by name in the beginning. The last one, Toughkenamon, was on the corner of present Newark and Polo Roads and is not to be confused with the later one on Toughkenamon hill (or Schoolhouse Hill.)

Another school was built two years later in Landenberg along Osmond Road (now Laurel Woods Road.) An earlier school was conducted in Landenberg by one Peter Dougherty who taught classes in a part of the weave mill from 1828 to 1832. All of the new buildings, plus the log school house of the Friends and Chestnut Green School House made a total of seven scattered throughout the Township available for children's education. The school system expanded in 1847 when Cedar Springs school house was built near the site of present Liberty Knoll Apartments.

Friends' School

Public school attendance outgrew the log school house and the Meeting resumed control in 1848 and reopened a Friends School which continued until 1856. Attendance had grown quite small by that time as many Friends patronized the public schools, and the school was closed. The building was converted to a dwelling that rented for $35.00 per month until 1872. In need of repair by that time, the Meeting decided to take it down after almost a hundred years of service to education. Many Friends with sentimental memories felt it was a great desecration when this place of learning was demolished and the lumber used to build a barn on the Miller farm.

Expanding School System

Classes began at 8:00 a.m. in those early years and ended at 4:00 p.m. with an hour out for lunch. A teacher was expected to maintain full control within the building to earn his or her salary of $25.00 or $30.00 per month. Christmas Day was often the only holiday. Wood had to be brought in daily to keep the stove going and the water bucket had to be filled, often at a nearby farmhouse. No concern existed over the fact that all used the same drinking cup or dipper for there was not yet any worry about germs or bacteria being a real danger. Children asked to be excused often in good weather to visit the "little house outback," for a bit of daydreaming could be done while going and coming, but teacher applied a paddle if a child misbehaved too often. The classroom furniture resembled that described in the Friends' School - benches for the children; a few desks; and a table or desk for the teacher.

The school known as Sunny Dell near Sunny Dell Road on Route 41 was built in 1862 on one acre of land purchased for $200.00. Earlier schools had been built on lots of approximately one-quarter of an acre purchased for amounts ranging from $5.00 to $25.00. Another lot was sold to the School Directors by Sidney Marsh on the Doe Run-Newark Road in 1870. It appears that the first Toughkenamon School was used only a short time, for a map of 1847 shows Hoopes' School, a private one, at that location.

By 1873 efforts were being made to move the public school classes from the dilapidated building in Landenberg to the new hall atop Martin Landenberger and Company's general store. The Directors resisted since they felt it was too near a public house. Just how long the old building was used has not been determined, but they were still arguing about a site for the new building in 1875. The Board of Directors petitioned the Court of Common Pleas for settlement, stating:

"That the board of Directors of said District have been unable to procure an eligible site for the erection of a School House as they have deemed expedient by agreement with owners of the land and have on behalf of said district entered upon and occupied a certain piece of land the property of Ury Anna and Alfred Williams, minor children of James J. Williams, deceased, who have for their guardian Septimus E. Nivin which said lot of land they have designated and marked off and which is bounded and described," etc.

"That the said Board of Directors have entered upon and occupied said tract of land for the purpose of erecting thereon a school house with its necessary and convenient appurtenances."

The Court appointed three men who owned no property in this district to meet, decide the matter, and to determine the value of land taken; whether any damage was sustained; and to whom damages were payable. Damages of $180.00 were awarded to Ury Anna and Alfred Williams, but paid to David Niven to partly satisfy his lien on the property. The newspaper reported on the arguments:

"A lively contest - For some weeks past the village of Landenberg has been exercised over the location of a site for a new school-house, the citizens dividing off into 'downtown' and 'uptown' parties. Meetings have been held, addresses made, resolutions adopted, etc. The 'uptown' party triumphed and a new school-house will be built upon the high hill N. E. of town."

Landenberg School and the school on Toughkenamon hill have been called sister schools for they were built on basically the same plan and within a short time of each other. The fate of Landenberg's old school building in Laurel Woods is unknown. Many years ago, someone said they thought it had been used as a tavern or drinking hall by mill workers of the area.

There were various reports of students who aspired to pugilistic honors, but one in 1876 developed into quite a fuss when some favored using only persuasion to maintain a peaceful classroom, while others favored a more physical means. Teacher A. G. Yeatman of Toughkenamon School chose the "West Chester Local News" in which to state his argument:

"...there are men, and women too, in this village who are anxiously waiting an opportunity to express their opinion on the subject of public school government... Now gentlemen, and ladies too, when you see one in the school-room who is both willing to use moral suasion and able to use physical force, and when the former fails, the latter has to be substituted, and that, too, with good results; you take precisely the opposite side of the argument that you did when suspension was resorted to as the only means... If you think that moral suasion is all that is necessary... then come in and try it; and if you will... keep good order... and use nothing but moral suasion, I will do the teaching; and moreover, I will pay you laboring man's wages for every day that you wish to try it; but first, you must let me tell them plainly that you are to keep order and I am to do nothing but teach; and it matters not what they may do, you are not to whip one of them..."

He concluded:

"If your business should seem to prohibit your accepting, we will try and get you a substitute... for I feel that you would soon resign the school-room position..."

Teachers present when the New Garden Teachers Institute met in January 1876 with Directors Joseph P. Chambers, James H. Hollingsworth, Benjamin I. Miller, Washington Ewing, William Brown, and Thompson Richards, were:

Landenberg School - William H. Leeds
Walnut Run - Maggie White
Penn Green - Mary Gunning
Sunny Dell - L. Jennie Coates
Toughkenamon - Alfred G. Yeatman
Cedar Springs - Annie Hayman
Greenwood Dell - Carrie Palmer

After the argument over the change in boundary lines between London Grove and New Garden Townships, the School Board reorganized and shortened the school term from 8½ months to eight months because parents wanted children at home to help with work on the farms. The next year, Republicans of the Township voted for three School Directors, and as this was one more than provided for by law, the whole vote was thrown out and the Democratic Directors, Milton Strahorn and Washington Ewing, were declared elected. Bids were received in July of 1884 for building a Frame School House at Avondale. Property was purchased from James and Rebecca Watson for $200.00 and the building erected on Third Street. M. Lydia Mendenhall was appointed teacher there in 1886, bringing the number of schools in the Township to eight. This particular one was inherited by Avondale when it became a Borough in 1894, and is now the Galilee U. A. M. E. Church.

Students' achievements were extensively reported to the newspapers in the 1880s. Those with perfect attendance were listed; children who received high grades were acknowledged; various entertainments and festivities were noted; and many problems were aired. Some schools published their own newspapers, usually handwritten, in which students expressed their opinions on varied subjects and displayed their writing talents. The "Sunny Dell Intelligence" was edited by Ida A. Wollaston in May 1876. "The Students Prize" of Walnut Run School was written under the direction of Editresses Emma Jefferis, Lydia M. Shortlidge, and Sarah Moore, while Hanna L. Shortlidge, Ellis Hicks, Thomas B. Miller, Constantine Strong, Harriet Wilson, and Jacob Conoway contributed.

Some random selections from various local newspapers follow:

"The Landenberg School Whipping Case"

"Mr. Editor: I desire to correct an error which has gained publicity through your columns in reference to the Landenberg whipping case. Your informant does injustice to the teacher by misrepresenting the facts. The truth is the boy punished had given the teacher a great deal of trouble, at one time using such language to her as would have undoubtedly caused his expulsion from the school had it been brought to the knowledge of the School Board. The teacher had exhausted every means to govern him, using the rod more than once through the advise of his parents, who did not want him suspended. At this particular time some bad feeling had been engendered by sending other members of the family home for bad conduct, and the arrest was made to retaliate rather than get redress for the abuse of the boy, which it is generally thought was inflicted at home. On inquiry the directors found the whipping at school consisted of about fifteen strokes with an ordinary switch. They concluded that the boy had not been abused, and were present to support the teacher at the trial. The prosecution, finding public sentiment was entirely with the teacher, did not appear, but paid the costs and gave it up."
                                                                        "A MEMBER OF THE BOARD"

This followed the arrest and trial of a lady teacher who whipped a young man for striking a little girl with a stone.

"The following is the report of Landenberg School... February 10, 1887: Those present every day during the month were: Carrie Ewing, Martha Hird, Eva Merritt, Laura Ewing, Emma Ross, Annie Savage, Anna Crossan, Lena Hird, Charlie Walker, Charlie Hughes, Elmer Walker, William Ross, James Graham, Warren Walker, James Fisher, Joseph Rigler and Fritz Roser; those missing one-half day: Annie Spencer, Asa Walker, John Whitley and Willie Merrit; not over two days: Ida Ewing, Lizzie Hird, Lillie Spencer, Frank Cochran, Thomas Pierson, Frank Crossan, Willie Kellett, Newton Palmer, Joseph Ross and Eddie Palmer."
                                                                        "Mame A. Pollock, Teacher"

"A MODEL SCHOOL - A visit to the school of Penn Green... presided over by Miss Hettie Yerkes... showed a well disciplined and methodically conducted school. The attendance will average over forty scholars. The excellent management of the school reflects no small credit on Miss Yerkes as a teacher."

"...pupils of Penns Grove School in conjunction with the teacher, Miss Jennie Lamborn, collected... enough money to procure a bell for the belfrey of the school house and pay for putting it up. The bell was hung during the spring vacation (1884). After deducting the expenses... from the money collected there remains... $1.92 which will be expended for something for the school."

"The report of Sunny Dell School... May 21, 1886: Number in attendance 30; average daily attendance 24, with the following... attending every day: Willie Kelleher, Harvey Wollaston, Walter Wollaston, Herbert Goodwill, Frank Phipps, Willie Brown, Edna Brown, Eva Schrader, Ella Kelleher, Lillian Foote, Bertha Goodwin and Anna Connell. The teacher of this school was M. Jennie Wright."

The Sunny Dell Home and School League organized during the winter of 1917. President was D. F. Sheehan; Secretary, Mrs. Nathan Lamborn; and Treasurer, Mr. John Schrader. Captain Robinson, "our good friend," donated a large dictionary in 1919, and later books and money for the library.

"January 1880: Walnut Run School is again without a teacher, having had three within a few months. The first one was made sick by the odor of the fresh paint, and the second one was likewise affected, and the school has been in charge of Miss Eva Wright, one of the pupils who is holding the fort until a regular teacher is appointed.

The "Walnut Run Literary Society" met March 15, 1889 for a social evening that included various recitations and selected readings. Harvey Underwood was President and Lottie Cowen served as Secretary. Those with perfect attendance at Walnut Run in May 1906, were:

"James Hollingsworth, Herbert Hollingsworth, William Anderson, Christy Anderson, Frank Brandenberger, Norman Keidel, Leslie Newlin, Charles Hendrickson, Charles Brandenberger, Jesse Hendrickson, Mabel Enright, Viola Newlin, Elizabeth Browning, Clara Hendrickson, Gertrude Peirson and Anna Peirson. Those present every day but one were: Earl Newlin, Rosa Brandenberger, Grace Simmons and Morris Friend. Number of pupils enrolled, 29; males 15, females 14."
                                                                        "Anna Blanche Moore, Teacher"

"June 1880 - Rebecca Lemon, of Toughkenamon, has attended the public school... for the past four years without missing a single day. She is a bright, willing girl of fifteen, an excellent student, and promises to make a fine scholar."

"October 1884 - A few mornings ago a Kennett Square man driving near the public school at Toughkenamon saw a number of boys pitching at a stake. He remarked that it was a little late in the season for playing marbles when he was assured that is wasn't marbles they were pitching there, but money; and sure enough, they were pitching dimes and half dimes at a stake. One of the boys had a handful of the coin which he exhibited with great satisfaction."

And the following students were reported with good attendance at Toughkenamon School in November 1887:

"Number enrolled, boys 24, girls 26. Those who attended every day are: Willie Strahorn, Willie Pugh, Willard Carpenter, Walter Scott, Eddie Kugler, Walter Kugler, Jennie Carpenter, Annie Pugh, Mattie Heaps, Jennie Reese, Florence Burton, Clemmin Burton and Mary Johnson. Those missing but half a day are Enos Strahorn, Thomas Heaps, Willie Jeanes, Sally Jeanes, Lottie Sherrer and Rebecca Johnson. Those missing but one day are Willie Hannum, Lavina Hannum, Dora Townsend, Alpha Townsend, Clara Reese, Kate McKay and Carrie Johnson."
                                                                        "J. Jennie Wright, Teacher"

"Cedar Spring School reported an attendance of 39 with an average of 34 daily, with the following pupils present every day during the month (of June 1886): Thomas Milhous, Taylor W. Richards, Sara S. Barnard, Anna J. Taylor, and Mary Boyer. One pupil deserved special mention, Taylor W. Richards, who had not missed a day in two years. The teacher of this school was M. Lydia Mendenhall."

"Report of Greenwood Dell school... 4th mo., 13th, 1881. Number of pupils on roll 32. No. in attendance since 4th mo. 1st, 22. Monthly examination averages are as follows: Lidie Thomas 94, Martie Pratt and Lawrence Thompson each 98, the former making four perfect marks (100) this and the previous month; Frank Milhous, Laura Cloud, and Anny Lucy each 93, Anna Thompson 92, Jesse Milhous 95, Howard Thompson and Caleb Brinton each 88. This month Martie Pratt and Lidie Thomas rank first in class A. Frank Milhous, Caleb Brinton and Howard Thompson each second. In class B, Anna Thompson first, Laura Cloud, second; Iona Wagner, Annie Chambers and Caleb Brinton attended every day during the month."
                                                                        "Mary Michener, Teacher

Between 1875 and 1880 additional land was purchased adjoining Penn Green, Cedar Spring and Greenwood Schools, and a piece added by condemnation proceedings to Walnut Run. Various reports indicate the schools may have been rebuilt at the same time, and some indication that entire new structures may have been substituted for old ones, but no other information really substantiates this. A photograph of Sunny Dell School taken after this period of time clearly shows an addition made to the front of the building. The following letter touches on rebuilding:

"The schools... opened on Monday, September 6th (1880) under... the following teachers: Toughkenamon, Miss Sue Speakman; Cedar Springs, Miss Faroe; Sunny Dell, Miss Anna Leonard; Penn Green, Miss Martin; Walnut Run, Miss Annie M. Brown; Landenburg, Miss Josephine Boice; and Greenwood Dell, Miss Mary Nelson. A building is in process of erection at the latter place which will be completed in about a month.

The school buildings...are all new... substantially built of brick, neat and attractive... pleasantly located. The furniture is of the most approved style, and nearly all of the schools are furnished with a large bell. That the citizens of this township have a love for the beautiful is evident from the pretty and somewhat romantic names with which they have christened their schools. Some of them, however, are misnomers, the 'Walnut Run' for instance, there being no walnut trees in the immediate vicinity, but those of the willow variety. We would therefore suggest that a more appropriate name would be 'Willow Brook.'

"The text-books... are very good with the exceptions of the readers and arithmetic. Greenleaf's old common school arithmetic... is the most inferior work of the time now extant. Outline maps are greatly needed, as the present ones are in so dilapidated a condition that it is almost impossible to use. They... bear the scars... of many a hard-fought campaign; and if perchance it is necessary to use them,

We take them up gingerly,
Handle with care,
Lest we make larger
The rents that are there.

As New Garden takes such pride in her school buildings, she will no doubt see that they are supplied with appropriate apparatus ere long..."

By 1893 there were about five hundred children of school age in the Township, but still eight school buildings. Two of these had two teachers handling almost ninety children in each. The Directors, Isaac Richards, Joel B. Pusey, Mrs. Saran Sharpless, Mrs. Sallie Shortlidge, E. K. Taylor, and W. W. Sullivan considered adding a graded school at New Garden village in 1894; one at Toughkenamon the following year; and a third at Landenberg in 1896. The school tax rate of 2½ mills would be raised to cover additional building costs. A year later, February 1894, it was reported:

"New School House Needed"

"The School Directors of New Garden Township are discussing the question of a new school for the lower end of the township. The change in the boundary line placed several families in the township who were formerly in Delaware, and these families are a long distance from Walnut Run... This fact and the increase in the school population demand a new school house."

Still another year passed. Another letter was written by a woman who strongly berated the Board of Directors for "playing politics!" Some parts of her letter read:

"There being a great deal of power invested in a school board, it is very important that the people... should look well to the interests of the children... and not ignore them for the benefit of directors or teachers... Directors should be appointed by a unanimous agreement of the people... and not by political strategy... teachers should have but few laws in the government of her school room, and great care should be taken that they be well defined and understood by the pupils and strictly observed... My judgment is few teachers are fit for a position in the school room who have not been well raised.

In 1891 the School Directors... appointed a teacher for one of the schools who produced a satisfactory certificate and made a favorable impression on the Superintendent and Directors. But when she entered the school room and the little children... were assembled, she not only expressed her disappointment in looks but in words... that the school was not what she would like as she did not like little children, and it was evident that the children did not like her... She expressed a desire to remain for three years in order to make a record as a teacher and she was permitted to do so. Many of the children were kept at home. Others were sent to another school and when it became so large that the teacher could not get through with her classes, an assistant was appointed. No one was sent back or discharged from the school.

(The children who had gone) were not missed. When she left the school at the end of her third year it was very small. When the teacher that succeeded her entered... in fall of 1894 and the children were gathered together, it was surprising to see such a large number of pupils... the school soon filled up to its normal condition that of four years previous. Then the Directors began to devise some plan to get rid of the children."

She went on to say that the Directors refused to appoint an assistant as they had done earlier, and began sending away children. The teacher refused to tell the children they couldn't attend, and they remained until one father came with the message that since they had discharged a family of Irish, others had to go because the Irish would kick!

"We have a brave set of agents... afraid of the Irish... and afraid of their Republican constituents...

Our township is under the control of a political caucus... the office of School Director is as much sought after as though it was a financial success, and after a Director has served for two or three successive times, he feels that he is competent to fill a county office (or) to aspire to a State office.

For several years the Directors... planned a new building and the establishment of a high school in the village of New Garden... Every winter a notice is given out that the present Board of Directors sanctions this movement. This announcement creates quite an interest and they are re-elected, after which there are many protests... The Directors of our township deny there are local districts and claim their right to send the children from one end of the township to the other. They do not acknowledge that they are the people's agents, but claim that the people are their subjects and have no right to interfere with their proceedings...

I am an old woman, have almost reached my three score years and ten, saw the first public school building in the township erected and was one of the first to enter it as a pupil and have never known so little interest taken in them by the patrons of the schools. The only hope for the poor is to get into a town or borough. All those that can in any way afford it send their children to select or sectarian schools. How is this to be remedied?"
                                                                                                "P. S. H."

Perhaps her anger aroused the Board, for in June of that same year it was announced that Hoopes and Strickland were awarded the contract for a new school building in Landenberg, and G. Pugh the one for a new school at Toughkenamon, with work to start immediately. Entire new buildings were not constructed, but second stories were added to each of the existing ones in those villages. Grades one through four were taught in the first floor room and five through eight in the second.

During 1898 and 1899 it was necessary to use the Lyceum House for classroom facilities, but in August of 1900 another school building was under construction. It sat on a lot purchased from Edward Dillon for $315.00 at the corner of Route 41 and New Garden Road and adjoined the Lyceum House. Two names have been attached to this building, New Garden School and the Central School. It included a two year high school course, but closed in only ten years. When it was sold to Benjamin Walton in 1911, it was listed as Central Grammar School. Area children who received a high school education after that found it elsewhere. One young lady, Anne Sheehan, the daughter of the aforementioned Daniel Sheehan, was the only graduate in the Class of 1914 from Avondale. She reported that her attendance was required there since her father had worked so strenuously to have the third year added to its course. On Graduation Day she was ushered from that hall of learning with all the pomp and circumstance that would have been given to a class of a hundred. She finished her fourth year of high school in Kennett.

Walnut Run School was sold in 1916, followed by Cedar Springs in 1917. The Townships of New Garden and London Grove, along with the Boroughs of West Grove and Avondale agreed to consolidate their districts, subject to taxpayer approval, in 1920. To the utter dismay of the Boards involved, New Garden rejected the consolidation and continued independently until 1931 when it became part of the Kennett Consolidated School District. The remaining school buildings were then closed and sold. The "little red schoolhouses" were all gone.

Central School is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Williams; Walnut Run that of Mr. and Mrs. William Aurig; Cedar Springs was torn down when Liberty Knoll Apartments were built. Greenwood Dell is the residence of Mrs. Catherine Francescon; Sunny Dell that of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Patterson; Landenberg the home of' Mr. and Mrs. John C. Breckenridge. Toughkenamon School is a residence; Penn Green School has been demolished. Chestnut Green School House, the oldest standing in our Township stands sadly empty on the property of its owner, Mrs. Raymond O'Neal.

Boarding Schools

Information of the school of Hannah Cope may be found under the section entitled Toughkenamon. One of the oldest and best known boarding schools in New Garden Township was that of Enoch Lewis. Located in the house now owned by the Bonafacino family on New Garden Road near Route 41, it was opened on October 1, 1808, by a man of superior abilities who had long been respected for his achievements both in education and for his work with the Society of Friends of which he was a member.

Lewis was born in Radnor to Evan and Jane Meredith Lewis. Mrs. Lewis was a woman of superior intellect, particularly noted for her mathematical ability. Her son soon showed a passion for figures and a great thirst for knowledge. His education was limited to that received by other farmers' sons of the time, and after he was eight years old, he attended school only three months out of each year for he was needed on the family farm. He learned all his teachers could supply and at age 15 very successfully taught the Radnor school himself. After a year, he went to Philadelphia and enrolled at Friends' Academy where he attended half a day, and taught classes the other half. This ended when his instructor died and he turned to surveying as well as teaching for a few years. Alice Jackson, daughter of Isaac and Hannah Jackson of New Garden Township, became his wife in May 1799. Because of recurring yellow fever epidemics he left teaching for awhile, but shortly assumed direction of the mathematical department at the Friends' boarding-school which had been established at West town a short time earlier. He continued there until 1808. His father-in-law died in the meantime and Lewis purchased of the heirs part of the farm in New Garden Township including the "mansion building" and moved there. He spent the summer of 1808 enlarging the dwelling to provide accommodations for pupils. Enrollment in the "New Garden Boarding School for Boys" increased rapidly to 25. Although he had originally intended teaching only mathematics, he soon added reading, English grammar, Geography and experimental philosophy. Mrs. Lewis often taught the reading and grammar classes. During long winter evenings lectures were delivered, and experiments exhibited on the laws of gravitation, mechanical action, light, heat, and electricity. Between 1808 and 1812, although busy with his school, Lewis revised for publication books on algebra and trigonometry. When his wife died in 1813, Lewis dismissed school and went on a tour of southern states to ascertain the sentiments of the leading men there on the subject of Negro slavery. As October 1814 neared, Lewis decided to reopen school. Board was $160.00 per year, but later dropped to $30.00 per quarter. Lewis only taught for half the year since he preferred to tend to his farm during the summer months. His son, Joseph, taught from 1819 to 1821, and left to take charge of Chester County Academy in Great Valley at age 20. Enoch Lewis remarried in 1815, and ten years later in order to save himself from financial loss, purchased a house in Wilmington, Delaware, where he opened a school for young men interested in mathematics. He returned to New Garden in 1836 and stayed eleven more years before moving to Philadelphia and selling his local property. Lewis died in Philadelphia at age 85 in 1856. His influence was readily felt in the Township for he was considered an uncommonly kind man who took great interest in those around him. He frequently lost money that he lent others. It has been said that while many lived more brilliant lives, rarely did any live a better one than Enoch Lewis.

Benjamin Hoopes' School

Sometime after Lewis' school closed, another operated by Benjamin Hoopes, Jr. opened above Toughkenamon, located one mile north-west of the Hammer and Trowel Inn. It first appears on a map of 1847, and its advertisements in 1852 and 1853 state that the New Garden Boarding School for Young Men and Boys would open for twenty weeks in July. It supplied a substantial English Education with lectures of various scientific subjects scheduled for once a week. Tuition, boarding and washing were supplied for $35.00 over a twelve weeks period.

A map of 1860 shows a school building at this location, but does not identify it by any name and no further references were found to Hoopes' School.