Still Standing

The Anson Sapp Family -  Anson Jr., Anson, Mary, Clara and Martha. Note – The of Anson Bray Sapp, Sr.{which was located on JFK highway}was the farm of the Sapp family for over 100 years. The house was later sold to Robert Snyder. It was an old log house.

SUGAR GROVE CHURCH AND SCHOOL

Though many were opposed to the enthusiastic Methodists, Methodism grew rapidly on Sugar Grove ridge and soon the log meeting house, which doubled for a school for education purposes six days a week, and on Sunday religious services were held from 10:00 a.m. to candle lighting time, the Church had to erected a 20x25 ft. round log house, calling it the Hales Meeting House. It was used as a school house and meetinghouse until 1814, when a hewed log building 25x30 ft. was erected near it for church purposes only for a flourishing congregation

NEW SOMERSET
New Somerset is a small village situated in the northwestern part of Knox Township. Baltzer Culp is the founder of New Somerset. New Somerset was named in honor of his son, Adam, who was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania. He secured the land August 29, 1810.

Not much has been recorded about the schools in New Somerset. There was a post office as late as 1907. The first school house was sold for $13.00 to Larrison McLain, who tore part of it down and converted it into a stable. The New Somerset School was closed in 1943.

{The Stratton Village Story, A Community History, 1880 to 1976, written by Mary Ekey Robinson, 1976.} The Village of Stratton, earlier called Ekeyville, is situated in Knox Township, on the west bank of the Ohio River. This narrow bottom land was first owned by Jacob Nessley. Records show Nessley owned land from Empire to Yellow Creek. At one time he had 1,800 acres under cultivation, one half being orchards. He also built a home in Knox Twp. on the site now owned by the Abdalla family. The Abdalla Tavern was his farm house, being built in 1820. Jacob’s son, John Nessley married Judith McCoy. While the McCoy family lived in this house, great orchards filled the bottom lands up to Goose Run. The trees had been set out by the grandfather. The hill sides were covered with large trees of white oak, walnut, popluar beech, elm, locust and pines. There were many streams that never ran dry.

SCHOOLS
The community of Ekeyville was under the Empire School District for many years. All boys and girls of school age attended the two story wood frame school house in Empire and walked the narrow river road to go to school. The school stood in the north end of Empire where two white frames houses stand today.

This was before the street cars so all walking was either down the railroad tracks or down the County Road along the river bank. As the community grew, citizens asked for a one-room building for Ekeyville. It stood on the site where the Nazarene Church now stands.
This new school took care of the younger children, seventh and eighth grades went to Empire. This was adequate for a few years. Then in 1899 or 1903, two more rooms were added on the back of the first building, one up and one down. The students had to go outside the building to reach either of the new rooms.

Supplies were scarce and every child had to buy his or her own school books, paper and pencils. These supplies were bought at Stone Brothers’ store.

The school building was used as a community building. Social functions such as box suppers, pie suppers and literary society functions were held at night. Oil lamps hung around the walls and a pot belly stove fired by coal or wood furnished the heat. There was no running water. A water bucket and dipper were in every room and a little later stone jars held the water.

The floors were oiled with some sort of oil mixture to keep the dust down, the rooms were swept with brooms by manpower. There was a large hall up and down, hooks lined the walls for a cloak room. The toilets, one for the girls, one for the boys, were on the back end of the playground. A good sized coal house stood beside the toilets and the bigger boys were expected to carry in the coal and sometimes build the fires in the morning. The rooms were not always warm. Fire escapes were iron steps on the outside of the building.

Sometime in the early 1900’s Ekeyville petitioned to creat their own school district. Citizens felt they could do better by their children if they had their own Board of Education. Then in 1918 when the small school was really crowded, the Boad of Education had plans drawn for a new brick building with six rooms, an auditorium, including a modern water system and heating system.

In 1918 the United States entered WW I, prices increased, materials became scarce and before the newly planned building could be built, it was necessary to cut the plans to a four room building in order to stay within the allocated money.

In 1920 the first eighth grade class was graduated from the new building. Clara Boyer was the teacher and principal. There were four schooars: Maude Mellott, Katherine Williamson, Lawrence Rudder and Mary Ekey. Mr. Paul Wright was the Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools at that time.

In September, 1938, the "new teacher" was Leona Rodgers, from Bergholz, Ohio. The school board was President Delbert Nixon, Clerk was Charles Draa, Bea Dobson, Ada Nixon, and Roy Glass were the teachers. Other teachers that year were Elizabeth Warren – grades three and four, Iva Bray – grades five and six, and Nelle Brown – grades seven and eight. While Mrs. Brown was sick, Mrs. Le Troy taught for her during this time.

In 1939, Delbert Nixon taught, George Johnston, took his place on the school board. Other new board members were, McKinley Nixon and Harold Wright. Charles Draa and Bea Dobson were the only carry overs.

In 1940 Charles Draa moved out of the area and was replaced by Maud Shook, as a member of the Stratton Board of Education. Esther Long was a subsititute for Delbert Nixon for three months .

STRATTON GRADE SCHOOL SONG
When the schools of old Ohio
With their learning and their lore,
Fly their colors to the heavens
Blue and White we love you more.
For you’ll see the Stratton Grade School
With its wrealth of life’s best joys,
In the front ranks proudly standing
Telling of its girls and boys.
When the schools of dear Ohio
Catch the King of Learning’s call,
And they all stand up to answer
Stratton School will lead them all.
Then if you would pay some honor
To the greatest school you know,
Give three cheers for Stratton Grade School
And watch her grow and grow.
Chorus:
Stratton Grade School, You do we adore,
Dear old Stratton, we love you more and more.
Stratton Grade School, May we ever stand,
Loyal, true and faithfil to the best school in the land.

SOME OF THE EARLY TEACHERS WERE:
Chester Minesinger Willa Fleming
H. Lumley Harry Pittenger
James Huff May McLean Pittenger
Miss Winters Ruby Chambers Ballie
Miss Ward Hazek Tarr Kestner
Julia Stevenson Garnette Tarr Steel
Mary Tarr Ruth Tarr Secrest
Alice Tarr J.H. George
Victor Tarr B. M. Grayham
Mrs. Victor Tarr Mary Ekey Robinson
Lova Shamp Esther Jones
Freda Lewis Provort Leona Rodgers
Mary Hastings Rothsein Beatrice Philips Duncan
Eliza Allison Elizabeth Messerly
Ellen Greer Elizabeth Warren Grey
Grace Meyers Trimmer Esther Paisley Long
Iva Skinner Bray McKee Lucile Carnahan

PORT HOMER

{The Stratton Village Story, A community History 1880 – 1976, by Mary Ekey Robinson} A history of Ekeyville – Stratton would not be complete without mention of our fine neighbors and friends to the north in Port Homer.
In 1839, one hundred thiry-seven years ago, a post office and store were located at Port Homer. Mail reached this little post by men on horse back and by stage coach.

How did it start? A man by the name of William H. Wallace came from Quebec, Canada and in partnership with Jacob Groff at Linton (Yellow Creek) opened a small store in 1831. Business slowed down until it did not pay Mr. Wallace to stay on, so he looked for a new location. He came three miles south to the mouth of another creek, Goose Run. The site is not known, but he opened a new store and post office.

He named the location Port Homer after his son, Homer. It soon became a prominent shipping point for the entire section. Products from distilleries, flour mills and salt wells were brought here to be shipped on river boats.

Old timers say a barge would be brought downriver from Pittsburgh, left at the whark while the tow boat went downstream. Sheep growers would bring their wool, there would be long lines of these wagons waiting for the wool to be weighed and loaded on the barge. Apple growers brought in thousands of barrels of apples to a large warehouse, stored until the market was right, then loaded on barges.

Cattle and sheep were brought to Port Homer by professional drovers to cross the river. At this point crossing was easy because of the many islands, sand bars and the river was shallow.
Mr. Wallace sold out his business in 1851 and moved to nearby Hammondsville where he started another store and post office.

From early 1839 to 1856 people from Empire, all along the river and back country had to go to Port Homer for their mail. The first roadway along the river had been opened in about 1904 stretching from Brilliant up to Yellow Creek. This was a very narrow road maintained by the county. It was like the early pike roads going up and down all of the hills, through the valleys, forking all creeks and little streams. Travel was not easy.

William Maple came to Port Homer from Trenton, New Jersey as early as 1797. His son Benjamin Maple bored one of the first salt wells in the northern part of Jefferson County on Hollow Rock Run. The boring was done by spring pole. He also started to build a mill but sold it unfinished so he could carry produce on a kneel boat on the Ohio and trade in furs.
The Port Homer one-room school house was up the hollow of Goose Run. It stood on the property now owned by Grimm’s widow, Edna Nixon Grimm. It was used for fifty years or more, heated by a pot belly stove with water being carried in from a neighbor’s well.

In 1930 a new four room brick school building was opened and used until the Empire, Stratton, and Port Homer districts were consolidated.

EARLY FAMILIES OF PORT HOMER

Campbell HUDSON Wife - Kate Carwford Hudson
Their children were:

  • Ethel, Gertrude, Helen, Tom

David BRANT Wife – Berdie Brant
Their children were:

  • Eliza, Henry, Earl

Abel CRAWFORD Wife – Amelia Garrison
Their children were:

  • Fouler, Elizabeth, Kate, Howard, Edward

Cy MARK Wife – Mary Housen Mark
Their children were:

  • Ed Housen

Edward CRAWFORD Wife – Luella Grey Crawford
Their children were:

  • Tracy, Dorothy, Dohrman, Enid

Holmes SPROUL Wife – UNKNOWN
Their children were:

  • Dorothy, Frank, George, Hough

Benten MILLS Wife – UNKNOWN
Their children were:

  • Tom

Ephraim COOPER Wife – Martha Cole Cooper
Their children were: Wife 2- Harriet Stewart Cooper

  • Armor S., Edwin W., Lorena, Chase D., Ralph H., Charles

Abraham G. DeSELLUM Wife – Lucy Nessley DeSellum
Their children were:

  • John, Chase.

Frank GEER Wife – Lizzie Geer
Their children were:

  • Ellen

Jack BOLE Wife – Alica Mackey Bole
John BRANT Wife – UNKNOWN
Chester BRANT Wife – UNKNOWN
Howard GLENN Child – Anna, and a son
John TAGGART Child – Emery

Notes about Sammis Plant, Ohio Edison Company – Located on a 787 acre site along the banks of the Ohio River in the Village of Stratton, construction was started in 1956, completed in 1962 with additions in 1971-72.

Photo taken in 1936 at the Sugar Grove School - Standing: Charles Waggner, Helen Grimm, Naomi Stokes, Raymond Eddy, Lucille Eddy, Ralph Waggner, Anna Edminston, teacher. Center: John Myers, Shirley Van Dyke, Dorothy Grimm, Anita Hayes, Rose Silop, Velma McMasters, Sally Waggner, Jean Fullerton. Bottom: Bill Potts, Pete Silop, Lloyd Brown, Charles McMasters, Charles Eddy, Tom Potts, Web Waggner. Corrections are welcome. Send to - Robert C. Baker, 16347 Cannell Rd., Rockton, IL 61072-9712