|Town Of Lee, Oneida County, New York||Schools|
|Site Index||Delta||Lee||Lee Center||Point Rock||Stokes||West Branch|
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Educating the children of the pioneer settlers was begun early in the settlement of the area. The first schools were erected by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants in money, materials and labor.
The West School House was erected in 1796 and classes commenced in 1797. This building, the first frame building in the town, was also used for public and religious meetings for over twenty years. According the several histories on the town, this building was located 3/4 of a mile southeast of Lee Center. Elijah Blake was the first teacher in this school.
Another early school house was built prior to 1800, and was the first schoolhouse in the town of Western. Joshua Northrup was the first teacher. After the division of Lee and Western this site was in the town of Lee.
Beginning in 1812, most early schools in New York State were District Schools that were supported by the residents in the districts. Common Schools provided education up to the 8th grade and was free to all persons over 5 and under 21 years of age residing in the district. In 1853 the Union Free School Act was passed which allowed districts to provide studies past the 8th grade. Prior to this, studies past the 8th grade was through private academies. The Town of Lee had one Union Free School that opened in Lee Center in 1872.
At a special meeting held August 18, 1813, three Commissioners of Common Schools of the Town of Lee, James Young, Jesse Dutton and James Eames, divided the town into school districts. Six school districts were set up.
On September 30, 1813, the Commissioners met with the School Commissioners from the towns of Western and Rome to form a joint district between the three towns. This was in the vicinity of Delta. On November 25, 1813, this district was altered and a new district was created. By the end of the year of 1813, there were eight school districts in the town, including one joint school district.
As the area became more populated new districts were formed and additional school houses were built. By 1824 there were ten school districts and four joint school districts within the town with 957 children being taught. On February 24, 1835, the Commissioners of Common Schools in the town met at the house of Charles Stokes to re-define the boundaries of the school districts within the town. At this meeting the town was divided into ten districts with an additional seven joint school districts.
The 1860 New York State Gazetteer by French notes that by 1858 the Town of Lee had 17 school districts with 1,190 students attending. With the exception of a few changes, the seventeen school districts within the town remained until the town of Lee schools consolidated the Rome City School District in 1957.
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