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Margaret Manchester, Professor of Modern Lan
Ida Margaret Berry, Principal Vocal Department. Board of Trustees: Hubbard M. Smith, M. D., President; W. B. Robinson, Attorney-at-Law, Secretary; J. L. Bayard, President First National Bank, Treasurer; Walter M. Hindman, Dental Surgeon; Edward H. Smith, hardware; W. C. Johnson, Attorney-at-Law; Judge Ray Gárdner, Washington, Ind. ; James W. Emison, Attorneyat-Law; Charles Bierhaus, wholesale grocer; S. N. Chambers, Ex-United States Attorney, Indianapolis; H. A. Foulks, Esq.; T. H. Adams, Editor Commercial and Postmaster; Royal E. Purcell, Editor Sun; Major W. P. Gould, Paymaster United States Army.
ST. GABRIEL'S COLLEGE.
St. Gabriel's College was established in 1837, by the Reverend John August Vabret, who brought with him to this town a colony from Rennes, France, called Eudists. He purchased the University of Vincennes property in 1839 and used the building as his school. He was succeeded as president by the Reverend John P. Bellier, in 1840. The school was maintained until 1845, when it was closed by an order from the Superior-General of the Eudists. The building was then occupied as an orphan asylum, and, afterward, by St. Rose Academy of Providence, under the management of Sister Cyrilla, until it was replaced by the present fine and commodious building, accommodat
ing 275 pupils. St. Vincent Orphan Asylum being built two and a half miles south of the city, the orphans were transferred to it, and one hundred are domiciled there, under Sister M. Carmel, a Sister of Providence. St. Vincent Orphan Asylum was built first in 1847. used at first as a diocesan seminary for boys, but it is now used also as an asylum for boys, since the erection of the present fine building, which was built in 1864. It contains a chapel and is served by a pastor.
St. Ann's Orphan Asylum for Girls was situated near the cathedral. In 1849 it was removed to Terre Haute.
In addition to the schools noted, one is connected with St. Xavier's Church, with one lay teacher and two Sisters of Providence, and embraces 250 pupils; and another parochial school connected with St. John the Baptist Church, under the supervision of Reverend Meinrad. Fleischman, and four Sisters of Providence, by whom 215 pupils are taught.
The common school system may be said to have been inaugurated in Vincennes not before 1850, and then only in a feeble manner. The sentiment of the State before this period was against laws levying a tax for the support of free schools. When the present Constitution of the State was adopted, the right to inaugurate the common school system was acquiesced in by the people generally and soon efficient free school laws were enacted, and then public schools were established all over the State. The Legislature, in 1824, made an attempt to blot out of existence the Vincennes University, the first educational institution established in this State, through and by its Territorial Legislature, endowed by Congress with one or more townships of land, by the establishment of a free school in this county under the title of the “Knox County Seminary.” But as it appropriated the proceeds of the sale of the University lands to establish Bloomington College, the effort proved an utter failure, and the “Knox County Seminary” died of inanition, the Legislature having failed to provide for the school's support. Hence for nearly a half century, and not until the State grudgingly had been compelled, after long and expensive legislation, to make a partial restitution to the University, was there an effective revival of education in this town.
In 1853 the public school system was fully inaugurated here by and through the trustees elected by the people, composed of George D. Hay, John W. Canon and Lambert Burrois. For lack of funds the schools were inefficient, and even in 1855 only three months' tuition was vouchsafed to the pupils. In 1857 the duration of the school year was extended to five months, with Anson W. Jones as principal, at a salary of only $50 per month. In 1860 the first school building was erected (now known as the Central School) at the corner of Buntin and Seventh streets, at a cost of $19,000, under the supervision of Trustees John D. Lander, William Williamson and G. H. Deusterberg. Professor A. W. Jones was elected superintendent, succeeding himself in 1863, and retaining this position until his death in 1873. This building has for its principal at the present writing, M. R. Kirk, with nine assistants. Another building was erected on the south side of this city in 1878. E. A. Quigie is now principal, with three assistants. The third building was erected on the north side in 1885, and is now conducted by Miss Josephine Crotts, as principal, with five assistants. The building on the east side was erected in 1891, and is now conducted by Miss Melvina Keith, as principal, and four assistants. The present High School building was erected in 1897, at a cost of $30,000, on the corner of Buntin and Fifth streets, and is a beautiful modern structure. All of the buildings are of brick, substantial, commodious, well equipped and furnished.
To the Central School there is attached a kindergarten department which is conducted by Miss Caroline Pelham with Mrs. Flora Andrus Curtis as assistant.
The building for. colored pupils was erected about thirty years ago, on the corner of Thirteenth and Hart streets, with B. L. Anthony as principal, and two assistants as present instructors. The enrollment of pupils in the public schools of this city in the last report was 1,900.
The High School has a faculty of ten teachers, including Professor E. A. Humpkie, the present superintendent.
The epithet applied to this region by Provisional Governor Arthur Sinclair, of the Northwest Territory, in his first report to the United States Congress in 1780, to wit, "The Wabash Valley has the most ignorant people on earth, and not a fiftieth man can read or write”, has long since ceased to have any foundation in truth. When this expression was uttered, only one year had elapsed after the Wabash Valley had passed from the hands of Great Britain into those of Uncle Sam, and but few white persons, except soldiers, occupied it. The schoolmaster has been abroad in the land and the Vincennes University did much in the early part of the last century to dispel the clouds of ignorance that had brooded over the Wabash Valley from time immemorial, and to make this place the radiating center whence the first streams of knowledge flowed over the great Northwest.
The common schools of Indiana, the sequence of advanced education, are now the pride, not only of the State, but of the Nation, and illiteracy is the exception and not the rule. Could good old Governor Sinclair but awaken from his Rip Van Winkle slumbers and view our colleges and white school houses, which dot hill and valley like the cattle on a thousand hills, he would be astounded and constrained to exclaim, “Great is Hoosierdom; and her knowledge enlighteneth as the rays of the morning sun.” Indiana claims to have the largest common school fund of any State in the Union, and possibly has, with the single exception of the State of Texas, which, upon its admission to the sisterhood of States, retained all her public domain for the use and maintenance of her public free schools.