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Thursday, June 9, 1983


PIX #1 - Possum Hill School as it appeared in 1935-36. Seated on the porch were Wanda and Walter Corthell, both living. Wanda is now Mrs. Wanda Clouse, residing in rural Tiffin.

The two rural school articles (April 7 and 14) developed additional interest among local readers and from the Tiffin area.

John Buskirk, named in one article, was successful in locating more information about the Possum Hill School, including the photo of the school building that was still in use in 1935-36 (shown with this article).

Readers will recall from the one article that Roscoe Carle, publisher of The Fostoria Times, presided at the 19th annual reunion of Possum Hill School in 1930. He was elected to serve as president until 1940 at which time the school would have observed its centennial. He died before that event.

In 1932, Carle was present at the school's reunion and read the poem "Sixty Years Ago" which he had written 20 years earlier. The peom was originally entitled "Forty Years Ago" and reminded his old friends of long ago memories.

A copy of the poem was preserved by one of those in attendance and passed along to me by Buskirk. It is below:


I've wandered to the school-yard, Tom, I've sat beneath the tree On dear old Possum Hill that once sheltered you and me. But none were left to greet me, Tom, and few are left we know Who played with us upon the hill, some 60 years ago. The grass is just as green, Tom, and barefoot boys at play Were playing just as we did then, with spirits just as gay. But the master sleeps in Pleasant Ridge in the grave we know, With many of his pupils of the 60 years ago. The old school house is altered som, it's the third one in its place, Some better desks are used, not those our jack-knives did deface. The house was built of brick long since, the bell swings to and fro; It's music just the same, dear Tom, as 'twas 60 years ago. The boys still play the same old game, beneath the same old tree; I have forgot its name just now - you've played the same with me. On that same spot 'twas played with knives, be throwing so and so; The loser had a task to do - there, 60 years ago. The Spicer Creek is flowing still; the willow on its side Are larger than they were, Tom, the stream appears less wide. But the grape-vine swing is ruined, now, where once we played the beau, And swung our sweethearts - pretty girls - just 60 years ago. The spring that bubbled 'neath the hill, close by the spreading beech, Is very low - 'twas then so high that we could scarcely reach. And kneeling down to look, dear Tom, I was frightened so To see how sadly I have changed, since 60 years ago, "Twas by that spring, upon an elm, you know I cut your name, Your sweetheard's just beneath it, Tom, and you did mine the same. Some heartless wretch has peeled the bark, 'twas dying sure but slow, Just as that one, whose name you cut, died 60 years ago. My lids have long been dry, Tom, but tears came to my eyes; I thought of her I loved so well, those early broken ties. I visited the old church-yard some flowers took to strow Upon the graves of those we love, some 60 years ago. Some are in the church-yard laid; some sleep beneath the sea; But few are left of our old class, excepting you and me. And, when our time shall come, Tom, and we are called to go, I hop we'll meet with those we loved, those 60 years ago. At Possum Hill the old and yound will meet for many years; The young with happy laughter, the old with secret tears, But we'll be marked "absent", Tom, absent and forgot by some; But let's be here in spirit, Tom, for 60 years to come.


When 1935 arrived, Mrs. Carle and son Stanton, attended the reunion in Roscoe Carle's absence, Stanton serving as master of ceremonied.

That year, Mary Tewalt, teacher, gave each pupil a souvenir booklet "to serve in years to come as a pleasant reminder of your school days".

The booklet contained the teachers photo and four appropriate poems to impress the 12 students. All the poems were wisely chosen, "At School Close", "Better Than Gold", "Give Your Best, and "My Gift".

I'd wager that those poems were read and reread by the students and that they helped guide them into adult life. I read them several times. The souvenir booklet was preserved by Hazel Tewalt, sister of the teacher, residing on Ohio 101 near Tiffin.

Mary rewalt was still teaching in 1933. That year, the principal speaker for the Possum Hill School reunion was J.M. Reed, superintendent of Fostoria Public Schools.

The only known teacher of Possum Hill School still living is Mrs. Rule Brundage, 79 of rural Tiffin.

From Buskirk, I learned that Roscoe Carle was reared on a farm located close to Possum Hill School.


When the second school article pertaining to Behel School appeared, one of the readers George Emahiser, Rock Street, telephoned me.

He told me that he and his wife knew many of the members of the Sellers family who were mentioned in that article and shown in the photo. Later, at the Emahiser house, they told me about them.

Two of the Sellers family appeared in the photo with the article: John and his sister Fannie, both in the top row. Fannie was listed at Fran.

After his rural school days at Bethel, John went to Fostoria High School and on to college at Ypsilanti, MI. There he earned a degree in philosophy and became a professor. Sellers Hall on that campus was named after him.

Fannie also became a teacher and later married Charles Frederick.

Teaching seemed to be in the Sellers blood. Ruth and Florence (not in the photo) but in the class of 1911, also became teachers. Florence taught at the rural Keiser School.

Lela Sellers, not named in the article married a minister and became a missionary to China.

According to Mrs. Emahiser, a second cousin to John and Fannie, and all of the Sellers from two generations, came to America from Germany in the 1700's.



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