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Organized by act of Congress, approved March 2, 1853. Area, 69,994 square miles; population, (United States census of 1870,) 23,751. The following letter by the Hon. James Scott, secretary of the Territory, contains all the information received from this remote portion of our country:
" WASHINGTON TERRITORY,
“ Secretary's Office, Olympia, June 18, 1870. “SIR: Your favor of the 27th ultimo asking for information on the condition of education, including total population, total school population, number of schools, teachers, children attending schools, and the amount of money raised for school purposes; also, any general and historical information and observations touching social life, education, and crime in Washington Territory,' is received.
“I regret to say the statistics of our Territory are so meager in relation to the subject named, that I can scarcely more than approximate toward giving you the desired information.
“The population of Washington Territory, as estimated from the vote at the recent election for Delegate to Congress, is about 30,000.
“ SCHOOL SUPERVISION.
“We have no territorial commissioner or bureau as a head of the school system, through which the census of our school population and other statistical information in relation to our schools can be gathered. The only school officers provided for by our laws are county superintendents and district school directors. It is hoped by the friends of education in the Territory that this evil will soon be remedied by the creation of a central bureau having a supervision over all our schools, and to which the county superintendents will be required to report. The number of school population in our Territory, as well as the number of schools, teachers, and children attending school, must be conjectured to some extent.
“ The number of school population in Washington Territory, of course, is not as great compared with the whole population as in the States, but larger than in any of the other Territories, for the reason that it is the senior of them all, and the pioneers have had ample time to prepare homes and bring out their families.
“I think the number of school population can safely put down at one-fourth the whole population, or 7,500.
“SCHOOLS, TEACHERS, AND ATTENDANCE.
“As to the number of schools, teachers, and children in attendance on school, the best information attainable is to be derived from the books of our county school superintendents. The books of the superintendent of Thurston County show that there were in that county, in 1869, school population between the ages of four and twentyone, 606; schools, average duration, four months, 15; teachers employed, 12; average attendance, 404.
“Tho proportion between the school population and number of schools, teachers, and average attendance on schools in Thurston County will hold good in the other counties, or nearly so.
“Our schools are maintained--
"2d. By a levy of a tax of three mills on all the taxable property in the several counties.
“3d. Fines imposed for the infraction of law.
“Congress some time since donated two townships of the public lands for the erection of and maintenance of a territorial university. The university lands have been principally sold, and the buildings erected at or near Seattle, on Puget Sound, and the institution under the charge of Professor Hall is in as prosperous condition as could be expected in a new country. It has in attendance 70 or 80 students.
* The Methodist Episcopal Church is making arrangements to erect and endow a university at Olympia, the capital of the Territory, which promises to be a success.
“The Catholics have in operation schools at Walla-Walla, Vancouver, and Steilacoom, which I learn are in a flourishing condition.
“ The foregoing relates to schools for whites. We have in Washington Territory an Indian population numbering about 15,000. The Federal Government sustains schools on the Indian reservations, of which we have ten or fifteen in the Territory. There is a large school of this character at the Puyallup reservation.
“The society in Washington Territory is as good as is usually found in the States. Most of the citizens are from the New England States, bringing with them the intelligence and habits of the New Englanders. Almost all of our villages contain one or more neat church edifices, with most of the other concomitants of a good, healthy state of society.
“ The laws are generally respected, and where violated are rigorously enforced by the proper tribunals, so that I can safely report that we are as free from lawlessnes and crime as most older settled portions of the country. “Very respectfully, yours,
Secretary Washington Territory. "Hon. John EATON, Jr.,
“Commissioner of Education, Washington City."
Organized by act of Congress, approved July 25, 1868.
Wyoming being the youngest of the organized Territories, with few children in proportion to the whole population, has made
but little progress in establishing public schools. The legislature, by act approved December 10, 1869, provided for the organization of school districts and schools, and that the auditor of the Territory shall be superintendent of public instruction, with a salary of $500 per annum for this duty. It also provides for county superintendents, a county school tax, and district school board. Dr. J. H. Hayford, of Laramie, having recently been appointed auditor and ex-officio superintendent of public instruction, is required by law to report at the next session of the legislature. In answer to letters of inquiry regarding the condition of schools, addressed to many persons in different parts of the Territory, the following replies have been received:
“OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR LARAMIE COUNTY,
“ Wyoming Territory, Cheyenne, June 4, 1870. “Sir: The population of the county is about 3,500; school population, about 200; number of schools, 1; number of teachers, 1. Amount raised for school purposes during the last year, about $2,800.
** Two teachers were employed last year during the whole school year. One is now teaching the summer term of eight weeks.
“There are other public schools in the Territory, at Laramie, Rawlings, and at Atlantic City
“Few children come with the first population to this new West. The mass of the people take but little interest in schools. Anything which can be done to aid us in awakening an interest in this important subject, and to help us to lay the foundation of a wise school system, will be cheerfully received and acted upon.
“Dr. J. H. Hayford, of Laramie, Albany County, has just been appointed auditor of the Territory, and ex-officio superintendent of public instruction. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
"J. D. DAVIS,
“Superintendent Public Schools for Laramie County. “General JOHN EATON, Jr.,
“ Commissioner of Education."
"South Pass, WYOMING, June 6, 1870. “DEAR SIR : In reply to a communication from your Department under date of 24th May, I have to state that there are but two public schools in this Territory at present. The first of these was erected at Cheyenne, Laramie County, during the winter of 1867–63. The attendance at that school varied at first from 75 to 100 pupils, of ages ranging from about four to fourteen years. Subsequently the number of pupils attending this school was considerably reduced, in consequence of the opening of a parochial school by the rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The total number of children under fifteen years of age who should attend school in Cheyenne, will be at present about 200. Originally a male principal and female assistant teachers were employed at the Cheyenne school. After the opening of the parochial school one teacher was found to be sufficient.
“The second public school in this Territory was established during the summer of 1868, in Laramie City, Albany County. The attendance at this school did not, I believe, at any time exceed 40 pupils of the primary class, as indeed were most of those in Cheyenne.
“The Cheyenne school-house was built at the expense (mostly by subscription) of the citizens of that city alone, but a deficiency of about $1,000 for the payment of the building baving accrued in the spring of 1868, the school-house, and indebtedness too, were transferred to the county, since which time it has been a public school, under the laws, first, of Dakota, and at present of Wyoming. The Laramie school was established under the law of Dakota.
“In this (Sweetwater) county no public school-house has yet been built, or district organized. During the summer of 1869 Mrs. Robert Barker opened, in this city, a private, or rather a public school, with a charge of $1 per week for each pupil. The attendance at her school was 20 regular scholars during the summer.
“This year a parochical school was established here by the Episcopal rector, and a private school by Miss
but neither of them was well attended, although children seem to be as numerous as ever. So it might almost be said there is no school of any kind in this county; and as yet no steps have been taken toward the establishment of schools or organization of districts.
“The total population of this Territory will not exceed 8,000, of which there shonld be about 600 attending public schools daily. This county alone should have at least 150 old enough to attend school and too young to work, which latter seems to be regarded by too many parents as the chief end of man and the main object of boys. The educational interests of the Territory are generally neglected, either from indifference on the part of parents, or an avaricious disposition to make the propagation of children return early profits, or their superstitious dread that a little learning is a (more) dangerous thing for their sons and daughters than blasting in a mine, driving an ox team, or taking in washing, and marrying early. I believe that, in the cause of education, the Territory of Wyoining is behind all other States and Territories in the Union, except, perhaps, Alaska.
“Regretting that the above could not be made more satisfactory to myself, and of more importance to your department, I remain, "Your obedient servant,
"J. W. WARDMAN. "General JOHN EATON, Jr.,
“Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C.”
A letter from A. B. Donnelly, esq., dated Rawlins Springs, July 8, 1870, gives the following information respecting the schools of Carbon County:
“Population, about 3,000; school population, 400; average attendance at schools, 200; number of schools, 2; number of teachers, 2. There is not one public school within the limits of the county, the two schools referred to being entirely private enterprises. The financial condition of the county has rendered it impossible, thus far, to spend money for school purposes, but it is hoped that when the taxes are collected a small amount may be spared from the fund set apart for district court and other purposes. The revenue is very small, as real estate and improvements are not very valuable, and the only tax levied is upon the property of the Union Pacific Railroad Company. There is very little income from fines, which revert to the school fund in cases of misdemeanors, because of the laws being pretty generally observed.”
List of school officers.
Dr. J. H. HAYFORD, ex officio superintendent of public instruction, Laramie.
Laramie County, J. D. Davis, superintendent; post office, Cheyenne.
Table showing the date of organization, area, number of acres of land now surveyed, and the
estimated amount of school lands in each Territory.
Area, 577,390 square miles. Population, (about,) 30,000.
No information in regard to any schools has been received, and it is not known that any now exist within the Russian purchase, whose population, according to Mr. William H. Dall, from whose recent work, “Alaska and its Resources,” all of the following matter is taken, is : “Russians and Siberians...
483 “Creoles or half-breeds
1,421 “Native tribes ....
26, 843 “ Americans, (not troops)
150 “Foreigners, (not Russians).
200 “Total population....
29, 097 “The actually civilized population is about 1,300.
“ The first school was established by Shelikoff, in Kodiak, to teach the natives to read; the traders were the teachers. The second school was also in Kodiak, and the pupils received instruction in the Russian lauguage, arithmetic, and religion. A few years after a similar one was opened at Sitka; but until 1820 it was very poor. In that year a naval officer took charge of it until 1833, when it fell into the hands of Etolin, who made it quite efficient. In 1841 an ecclesiastical school was opened in Sitka, and in 1845 it was raised to the rank of a seminary. This, as well as the other schools, was in a very bad condition. In the latter pupils received instruction in the Russian language, religion, arithmetic, geometry, navigation, trigonometry, geography, history, book-keeping, and the English language.
“In the ukase of November 1859, a plan for a general colonial school was approved. It was opened in 1860 with twelve pupils; eight of these were educated for the company's service, and four were the sons of priests. A few day scholars were admitted free. After five years' study the company's students were obliged to serve the company for fifteen years, at a salary of $20 to $70 per annum. (It is to be hoped that the announcement of these facts will enlighten those philanthropists who have declared, since the purchase, that the United States were depriving the natives of the advantages which the company* had afforded them of a free education. The only free schools in the Territory were those of the missionaries, and in them were taught little beside the religious observances of the Greek Church and the art of reading the Sclavonic or ecclesiastical charaeters.) The annual cost of this school was $5,800. In 1862 it contained 27 pupils, of whom only one was a native. Only nine studied navigation. In 1839 a girls' school was established for children of servants of the company and orphans. In 1842 it had 42 pupils; in 1862, 22 pupils. The instruction was principally in sewing, washing, and other house-work. În 1825 Father Veniaminoff established a school in Unalaska for natives and Creoles. In 1860 it contained 50 boys and 43 girls. A school on Amelia Island in 1860 had 30 pupils. The priest at Nushergak in 1843 had 12 pupils. A school-house was built on the Lower Yukon, but there were no pupils.”
INDIAN TERRITOR Y.
This Territory, which has an area of 68,991 square miles, is peopled with a number of tribes of Indians living on reservations. The condition of education among these tribes is described in the article on the “General condition of education among the Indians," on pages 343–344.
GENERAL CONDITION OF COLORED SCHOOLS UNDER THE SUPERVISION
OF THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU, JULY 1, 1870.
By the courtesy of General 0. O. Howard, Commissioner of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, we are enabled to include in this report a summary of the general condition of the schools under his supervision, up to July 1, 1870.
In submitting his tenth and final report, embracing a period of six months preceding the above date, the Commissioner states that, although nominally the report is only for the above named period, it includes two-thirds of the usual school months, and therefore gives substantially the results of the whole year. The long vacation closed on the 31st of October, but the opening of the schools was delayed, in many cases, for the gathering of the crops. After the Christmas holidays all commenced, and by New Years were in full operation.
The reports are not as full as those of the last year, on account of changes in the superintendents; but a much higher average attendance is shown than for the preceding year, with a higher grade of teaching. The aggregate of schools, teachers, and
a pupils reported remains nearly as large as ever. It would be much larger if the work done by the States themselves were included.
The character of the education of the freedmen is in every respect higher than ever before. “The whole race is recovering from the effects of slavery; in all industrial pursuits, in moral status, and intellectual development even the adult population is rapidly 'marching on.””
More than 247,000 children gathered in the various classes of schools the last year, “under systematic instruction, have been steadily coming forward to a cultured man and womanhood, and the majority to assume, with credit to themselves, the front rank of this rising people. Their influence will be normal, formative, and enstamp itself upon many generations."
But the report, “though closing an office must not be understood as recording a finished work." "This Bureau has only inaugurated a system of instruction helping its first stages, and which is to be continued and perfected.” It is only a yet pending experiment.” “The masses of these people are, after all, still ignorant. Nearly a million and a half of their children have never as yet been under any instruction. Educational associations, unaided by Government will of necessity largely fall off. The States south as a whole awake but slowly to the elevation of their lower classes. No one of them is fully prepared with funds, buildings, teachers, and actual organizations to sustain these schools.” “With sorrow we anticipate, if the reports of superintendents can be relied on, the closing of hundreds of our school buildings, sending thousands of children who beg for continued instruction to the streets, or what is far worse to squalid, degraded homes to grow up not as props and pillars of society, but its pests." “The several States will ere long, we hope, come nobly forward, in duty to their children. They cannot afford to leave those in ignorance who are so soon to be upon the stage of action."
* Russian Fur Company.