Ohio History Journal

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The early free schools of the West have been described many

times, often sentimentally. But of the pioneer private schools

little has been written.

In the unpublished autobiography of Charles Daniel Drake,

only son of Dr. Daniel Drake, there is an account of the author's

experiences at a boarding-school for boys at Worthington, Ohio,

conducted by the Right Reverend Philander Chase, first Episcopal

Bishop of Ohio.

Charles Drake was born in 1811 and, at the age of five, en-

tered the Lancaster Academy in Cincinnati, a co-educational day

school, conducted somewhat after the ideas of Pestalozzi. Dr.

Drake had advanced ideas on primary education and had been one

of the founders of this curious school which was modelled on the

plan of an Englishman named Joseph Lancaster.

Four hundred boys and girls all sat under one teacher, an

arrangement that kept the tuition down to eight dollars a year.

The master sat at one end of the long room, on a raised platform,

with the whole school before him on an inclined floor, seated at

desks running nearly across the room, with an aisle seven or

eight feet wide on either side.

On the floor of these aisles were marked semicircles, round

which the classes stood to be taught by larger boys or girls called

monitors. The monitors had no authority to punish the children

but reported delinquents to the master who alone exercised


For the younger children's instruction large placards were

hung on the walls over the semicircles, with letters and words of

one syllable printed on them, and on the tops of the desks were

small troughs containing a thin layer of sand, in which the little

ones with their fingers could trace figures and letters. Every