The One Room Schoolhouse

Thanks to the Madison County Historical Society for sharing the following facts from "Madison County Heritage, Number 36, 2010." Contact the Madison County Historical Society to obtain the full version.


Few symbols evoke a greater sense of America than the one-room schoolhouse. They are more than just a slice of Americana; they serve as a reminder of the dramatic change that has taken place in U.S. education over the past 100 years. Education has long been considered the key to opportunity in this country. However, it was not always democratic. Beginning in the early 19th century, often referred to as "The Common School Period," education progressed from the domain of the affluent to universal education.

Guiding Principles

One of the guiding principles of public education was to enhance our democracy-to provide all citizens with the tools they would need to make informed decisions on the issues of the day-to be participants and not spectators in governance.

No Longer Needed

Today, many one-room schoolhouses have been turned into local museums. Others have been converted into dwellings by enterprising individuals. Some stand as ram-shackled structures-ignored-their purpose now forgotten. Most have long since ceased to exist, their presence no longer needed. Many students who attended these schools have become successful leaders, professionals, and inventors, and made major contributions to life as we know it today.

Parting Shot

In addition, a cute "parting shot" from an independent thinker of Stockbridge's one-room schoolhouse history: "Professor Wheeler was writing on the board. Suddenly a spit ball hit his head. He turned about and said, ‘Who shot that?' One of the boys said, ‘I didn't aim at you, but I missed Edwin's head.'" When we ignore the importance of the lessons forthcoming from a one-room schoolhouse, we lose a part of our heritage. We lose a part of our American identity.

A List of Town Accounts - 1848

Here is a handwritten list of accounts "as audited and allowed by the town auditors" November, 1848. Compare this documents with that filed by the town of Eaton for the same period.
List of Town Accounts

Agricultural Implement Manufacturing in Munnsville

William Stringer Jr.

William Stringer Jr., born in Eaton March 1, 1815 of Irish immigrants, trained at the early age of 10 as a farmer. At the age of 21 Stringer took up the trade of carpenter and joiner. In 1837 he moved to Munnsville where he married Louisa Sherman Barr. Together they had one son, William H. Stringer (birth September 22, 1839, death August, 1887). Louisa died in 1845 a short six years after her marriage to William. In 1848 Stringer married Adaline J. Shepard of Verona, Oneida County. Together they had three children – Henry, Sylvia, and Charles.

Stringer served the community as Town (Stockbridge) Supervisor (1852 - 53) and as Railroad Commissioner.

Portrait of William Stringer: Biographical Review - The Leading Citizens of Madison County 1894

William Stringer

A Descriptive & Biographical Record of Madison County, New York

John E Smith, 1899 states the following:
"Sometime between 1840 and 1850 the business [of manufacturing axes and edge tools] passed to Daniel Holmes, who continued it until 1853, when William Stringer, Solomon Van Brocklin and R. S Barr acquired an interest and the manufacture of various agricultural implements was begun. The firm name was Holmes, Stringer and Co. A few years later Van Brocklin sold his interest to his partners, and in 1861 Holmes also disposed of his interest and the firm of Stringer and Barr continued. In 1866 William H. Stringer, son of William, became a partner and the style was changed to Stringer, Barr and Co. Upon the death of both Mr. Stringer and Mr. Barr their two-thirds of the property was bought by C. W Dexter and Lewis Coe, Charles Stringer taking the remaining one-third, the firm name become Stringer, Dexter and Co. In 1892 J. E Sperry bought Mr. Stringer's interest and soon afterward the Munnsville Plow Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000."

1868 Directory Listing for Stringer, Barr & Co.

1868 Directory Listing for Stringer, Barr and Co.

Portion of Munnsville Showing Stringer, Barr & Co Agricultural Works, Beer's Atlast 1875

Portion of Munnsville Showing Stringer, Barr and Co Agricultural Works

Munnsville Plow Company

The Munnsville Plow Company was incorporated (PDF) December 15, 1892. The capital stock of the corporation was $50,000 (500 shares at $100 each). The directors for the first year were: Clarence W. Dexter of Munnsville (167 shares). Will R. Paul of Munnsville (167 shares), and John E. Sperry of Elbridge (166 shares).

William Stringer died September 5, 1893.

American Machinist (Volume 52) reported that the Munnsville Plow Company “was destroyed by fire on March 25 [1920]. Only the office and records were saved. The loss is estimated to be about $110,000.”

Sperry Foundry
By 1923 the company had re-formed under the name Sperry Foundry. Eventually the corporation relocated to Oneida under the name Oneida Foundries, Inc. Oneida Foundries continued operations until it was dissolved in December of 2002.