Upper Providence Township.
Schools. - The present Blue Hill school-house is erected on the site of one of the ancient buildings which, during the last century, was set apart as a place for the education of children. When the first house was erected is not known, but certainly in 1777 a school was maintained there. The land on which the school-house stood was the property of George Miller, the elder, who subsequently bequeathed the lot to trustees for school purposes. In the account-book of George Miller, now in the possession of his granddaughter, Sarah L. Miller, of Media, are several entries which show that Mary Massey, daughter of Isaac Massey, boarded at the house of George Miller for the purpose of attending this school. The entries in the account-book are as follows:
The late county superintendent, James W. Baker, in his report for 1876, states that Jesse Haines, Martha Cromwell, Thomas Hammer, Samuel Brown, Thomas Megarge, Elizabeth Passmore, John Hammer, and W. Lightfoot were some of the early teachers of this school, and were highly esteemed.
The house which stood on the lot in 1777 was probably a log building. George Miller, by his will dated Jan. 12, 1794, and probated in 1797, devised to Jacob Minshall one acre and two square perches of land, with all the buildings thereon, in trust for the society of protestants commonly called Quakers, of Chester Monthly Meeting, for "the use of a schol to be kept thereon," under the care of Friends. On this lot a stone school-house was built by subscription prior to George Miller's death, which occurred in 1797. School was kept there under the care of the Society of Friends from that date to 1837, when the Blue Hill school-house passed to the school directors of Upper Providence. In 1872 the old building had become so dilapidated that it was necessary to rebuild it, at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars, and to meet that expense the court, in June, 1873, authorized the directors to sell the Turner lands, which was done, realizing $1333.15
James Turner, in 1787, was the owner of a house and lot on Providence road known as Blue Hill. On the 26th day of the First month, 1787, he by will devised this land as follows:
"I give, devise, and bequeath to George Miller, the son of my cousin, George Miller, my house and Lott of ground, sittuate in Upper Providence, afforesaid, commonly called the Blue Hill, . . . to hold to him, his heirs and assigns forever, upon special trust and confidence, nevertheless, and to and for the uses, interests, and purposes hereinafter expressed, mentioned, and declared, and none other; (that is to say) for the use of the Society of protestants commonly called Quakers, of and belonging to the Monthly Meeting of Chester, for the erecting of one or more school-houses thereon for the teaching and Instructing youth therein, and all necessary conveniences thereto belonging, under and subject to the rules, regulations, and order of the said monthly meeting for the time being forever."
The remainder of his estate was devised to Jacob Minshall for the use of the school.
Jacob Minshall and George Miller, being individual trustees of these two pieces of ground, on Oct. 1, 1799, conveyed to Jacob Minshall, George Miller, Edward Fell, Ambrose Smedley, James Smedley, Isaac Sharpless, John Hill, Jr., and Joseph Pennell, Jr., the lands specified in the wills of James Turner and George Miller, in trust for the Blue Hill school, under care of Chester Monthly Meeting. After the enactment of the school law, and in 1837, "the school building and part of the grounds were suffered to fall into the possession of the school directors of the district of Upper Providence,"1 who maintained a school there. The residue of the Turner and Miller real estate devised for school purposes in 1865 was in possession of Isaac Miller as trustee under the wills of James Turner and George Miller. By the act of Feb. 7, 1865, the lands and income were placed under the control of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, "for the maintenance of a public school by the school directors, . . . at or near Blue Hill," with power in the court to order the sale or leasing of the real estate in its discretion. Under this authority the court, as before mentioned, in 1873 ordered the sale of the real estate, and the proceeds to be used by the directors in defraying the cost of the erection of the new school building at Blue Hill.
|1 Act of Feb. 7, 1865: Bliss' "Digest of Delaware County," p. 15.|
On the 18th of October, 1836, the board of directors purchased a half-acre of land on the Providence great road below the Rose-Tree, and erected a schoolhouse, which was used until 1870. At that date a half-acre was purchased adjoining, and a brick building twenty-seven by forty feet was erected, the old house being removed. It is designated as Sandy Bank, No. 2.
Prior to 1872 a school was maintained in a house belonging to Samuel Bancroft, near the "Burnt Mills" (Manchester Mills), and in that year the present lot was purchased of Andrew Pallas, an Englishman, who went to England, and is supposed to have been lost at sea. The money had not been paid, and it was in the hands of the directors for several years before his heirs made the proper application for it. The brick house thereon, twenty-seven by forty feet, was erected in 1872, and is known as District No. 1.
In 1825, at the election in this year Thomas Cassin, Isaac Smedley, and George Miller, Jr., were chosen "School Trustees for Upper Providence." It will be noticed that Isaac Smedley and George Miller were trustees of the Blue Hill school, the only school known to have been in the township at that time. In 1834, after the enactment of the school law of that