Waterville Historical Society

your connection to the past

The Waterville Historical Society collects, preserves, provides access to, interprets and fosters an appreciation of history that has an impact on the Waterville, Ohio and surrounding area.

Early Education - The Red OX Mill School

The earliest pioneers who arrived in the Waterville area had to first focus on survival, then on things important to their culture. The Adams party and their neighbors who settled just north of present day Waterville knew that their grain crops had to be ground into flour or meal for their survival so they built a crude mill soon after their arrival in1818. The mill stone was turned by horses or oxen driven around in a circle. This crude structure was painted red and so was known as the Red Ox Mill. By 1825 John Pray had built a bigger and better water powered mill in Waterville but the folks in the Adams neighborhood had a new need. There were children and these folks wanted their children educated. In those days public education did not exist. The people taxed themselves to provide for a school building and to pay a teacher for at least three or four months of the year. So it was in 1825, that the second floor of the crude Red Ox Mill became the first classroom in this area. Hiram C. Barlow was the first schoolmaster there. This mill/school was located next to the river near what is now the end of Dutch Road. It was built on the Adams farm, later the Hutchinson farm.  About 1831 a log cabin near the mill was used and later on another one 20 rods up the river was used as a school. A few years later the Waterville Township government took ownership of public education and created school districts. There were just two at first, dividing the township into north and south districts, number one and number two. As the population grew more divisions were made creating more school districts. At this time the township received a small amount of money from Lucas County for public schools. (Lucas County was formed in 1835)


P.O. Box 263,  Waterville, OH  43566            whs43566@outlook.com

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