Educational opportunities were somewhat meager. Two schools were erected in Dunnstable Township before 1834, no one knows exactly where. The first school available for Swissdale is the previously mentioned log one, built on the farm of B.F. Probst in 1841, one mile east of the Cross Roads, several years after the bill of Free Education became a law. This school room had the typical “pine benches, without back,” not fastened to the floor. As a result, many a cry was raised by pupils and benches rolling on the floor. Some of the old residents still carry injuries, such as broken noses, sprained ankles, and crippled fingers as a relic of those days.
Here the first pupils were taught the three “R’s” without books. Many learned to read and spell from newspapers, and learned to multiply fromt eh blackboard. Some of them declared they never had a book of any kind during their entire school career.
The teachers of this school were: W.J. Riley, Mr. McNerney, Mr. Olman, Mr. Newell, Mr. McCormick and Mr. Shrack. Among the early teachers in the school at the Cross Roads were: Bob Airs, Isaac McCloskey, David Suiter, John Bechdol and W.T. Shoemaker.
Most of these teachers, who were Germans, practiced the old adage “Spare the rod and spoil the child” and these children were certainly not spoiled. The teachers here were well remunerated, receiving from $15.00 to $20.00 a month from which they paid their board. Then as now, the words of Chaucer still ring true, “Quite learned was the pedagogue, All threadbare was his coatee.”
The Eckard School was built in 1845 and the Deise in 1855 in another part of Dunnstable Township.
The information listed here was taken from History of Clinton County by Cora Suiter, the History of the Probst Family, Swissdale History by Florence Laubscher. All this can be found in the Ross Library.
*Donated by Dean Laubscher