Bradford County PA
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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Schools of the Tri-Counties
Ulster School History 1961
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This article is taken from the 1961 Smithsonian-
The Yearbook for the Smithfield/Ulster/Ridgebury Joint School System
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Ulster Township Schools

Our present-day Ulster School is a far cry from the first recorded institution of learning in this area. We do know that prior to 1772, there was a school established by the Moravian missionaries for the purpose of giving instruction to the Indian children of this area. This school was a part of the Moravian Church which was said to have stood on the site of what is now the Ulster Presbyterian Church.

However, the Moravians left Ulster in 1772 and not much is known of local education until 1795, when the celebrated French traveler, Duke Liancourt, passed through this territory. He reported that there were two schools in the community, both run by women. The curriculum consisted mainly of two subjects, reading and needlework. Boys, evidently could only obtain instruction in reading and the schools were maintained by a tuition of five shillings per quarter.

Not much is known about the hit and miss education of the next hundred years.

The first public schoolhouse in the town of Ulster was in use as early as 1850. The date of the first schoolhouse's abandonment and the beginning of the use of the recently abandoned site is not definitely known but is supposed to be about 1870 or 1872.

The next school that gained any prominence in the local picture came to light in 1801, headed by Phineas Kingsbury. Growing interest in the local education picture led to the formation of the Ulster Independent School District in the year 1900. This district was for many years the only one in the county and one of the very few in the state. It was at this time that the Ulster High School was established and Mr. R. B. Allen was the first principal of this school.

The first graduation exercises were held in 1902, the school being a two year high school. Five girls and one boy made up the first graduating class. In the school year of 1909-1910, the third year was added, and in 1924 Ulster became a four year high school. It continued to operate as a four year high school until 1953; it was then discontinued. At this time, Ulster Township formed a double jointure with the Athens Area Schools and with the Smithfield, Ridgebury Schools. The name of this latter jointure was then changed to the S.R.U. joint Schools. Some of the Ulster students, grades 9-12, attended the Athens Area High School and some, the S.R.U. joint High School. The wooden building in Ulster was in need of repair, and it was thought best to seek a new elementary school building. In order to effect a greater financial saving, Ulster and Sheshequin Townships united to form a jointure. Approval was given by the state for the construction of a new elementary building and the building was completed in 1958. All elementary students from Ulster and Sheshequin Townships now occupy the new thirteen room elementary building which is located on an eight acre site on the west side of the village of Ulster. [Ulster High School Alumni Listing 1902-1953]

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 25 DEC 2000
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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