RUTLAND TOWNSHIP — Education had a prominent role in Rutland Township’s history beginning soon after the passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 by the Continental Congress.
The land that became the Northwest Territory had been part of the British colonial territory, and was ceded to the United States following the Revolutionary War in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The Ordinance put in place system of government and outlined parts of the territory could become states.
Former Revolutionary War General Rufus B. Putnam, along with partners, established the Ohio Company of Associates with the purpose of settling the Territory. In 1788, he led a group of Revolutionary veterans to the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers and established Marietta.
More pioneers followed and came directly to the Rutland area in 1799. The first settlers were the families of Brewster Higley, Joel Higley, and Samuel Denny, from Massachusetts and Vermont. The township was named at the request of John Miles, who came from Rutland, Massachusetts and Able Larkin, who moved from Rutland, Vermont. Rutland, Massachusetts was named in honor of England’s Duke of Rutland, and also given as the home of Putnam.
According to Hardesty’s Historical Encyclopedia of Meigs County published in 1883, Samuel Denny built the first school in 1801, just two years after the community was settled. Classes were taught by Samuel Dana, an undergraduate of a New England college.
The 15 students “came from a distance, walking was their only means of transportation, so the boys boarded in a small hut near the school and the girls stayed at Judge Higley’s house.”
“Rutland’s school history will remember Samuel Halliday as a pioneer in education in the community.”
Taken from Rutland School in Early 1800’s, Able Larkin is quoted as saying “Samuel Halliday came from Scotland in 1820, fresh with educational honors from the University of Edinburgh, and enroute to a professorship at the Ohio University in Athens. Travel in a new country was impeded and he was stranded in the little county place of Rutland, where he found his life work.”
Halliday began teaching and “established a reputation for success in giving instruction to his pupils.”
A two story brick school house was built and became known as the Halliday School. The building was used for many public assemblies, religious and political, as well as lectures on temperance or abolition. Judge Ephraim Cutler sent his two sons, Manasseh and William B. to attend the Halliday School; Manasseh became an early educator at Ohio University. General Samuel Holcomb also sent his son Anselm to be taught in the Scotchman’s College in Rutland.
In Hardesty’s it was also reported that Rutland Township had 17 one-story frame school buildings by 1883.
Rutland High School was built in 1915. Additions were made to the two-story brick structure that was in use until it’s closing in 1968.
“On a personal note, my maternal grandmother, Marjorie Plummer Milhoan, was in the first Rutland High School freshman class, and I was in the last class in 1967,”said Donna Jenkins, who presented the information at the Chester Shade Historical Association banquet.
Jenkins said the importance of education is part of the fabric of her family, perhaps instilled by generations of Rutland residents that have made schools a priority.
“My grandmother Milhoan, my mother Margaret Milhoan Weber, and I all attended Ohio University. My mother started her teaching career in 1943 at Scipio High School. I also started my teaching career there in 1975; the building then was Harrisonville Elementary. I transferred to Rutland Elementary in 1978 after marriage and taught there until 2003, when Rutland closed and the new Meigs Elememtary near Rutland opened. I retired in 2012 after 35 and one half years with Meigs Local.”
Next week Part II will tell some interesting history of the post office in Rutland Township.
Township Tales and Tidbits for Rutland Township were presented by Donna Jenkins during the Chester Shade Historical Association Banquet.