With this section J. Peery Miller’s family comes to Yellow Springs. Because it it noted that he is younger than college age at the time of the move, it is startling to realize just how young he was during his Civil War service.
Mention is made of their address at the corner of Pennell and Phillips. We remind readers that Pennell Street is now the segment of Limestone between Phillips and Dayton Streets. For an illustration of the changes to Limestone and Mills Lawn, see here.
SCHOOL LIFE AT ANTIOCH COLLEGE, YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO
On my return from the army my sister Catharine had plans for our future living fully developed. She had bought property in the village of Yellow Springs with the intention of persuading mother to move off the farm and free herself of the hard work and drudgery which was too great a strain on her vitality. And, too, she had in mind the education of her two minor brothers, Clinton and myself.
The public schools of Yellow Springs and the preparatory school of Antioch College offered elementary advantages far superior to those of our old time district schools and their surroundings, and sister Catharine thought that the time was now ripe for a change that would put our young minds in touch with college life and thought.
While I was somewhat averse to this movement at first because of my close attachment to our old home and neighborhood associates, I soon was convinced of its wisdom and heartily lent a hand to accomplish it.
Mother had no trouble in renting the house and my brothers, Harrison and Samuel, enlarged their farming operations in behalf of mother and us minors.
One early morning in November, 1864, our household equipments were loaded on our farm wagons and, after a drive of twelve miles south, were deposited in our new home, corner of Phillips and Pennell streets, Yellow Springs, Greene county. O.
Sister Kate was soon chosen teacher of one of the grades in the public schools of the village, a position she was well fitted to fill because of her many years’ experience as teacher in the district schools of Clark county. Brother Clinton found his place as a pupil in one of the grade schools and I entered the first year of the Antioch Preparatory Department.
My country school training was not well arranged to meet the systematic requirements of a first class high school, but by close application and persistent effort, I made passing grades. I finished the three year’s preparatory course then prescribed and received a certificate of admission to Antioch College freshman class at the end of the school year 1866-1867, signed by Rev. George T. Hammar, President. I was very proud of this achievement for it represented something commenced and finished, a necessary stepping stone to further advancement.
It is well to note that at this period Ohio had no high schools as a part of the public school system. If one wished to enter college he must complete his high school course at a private academy at his own expense. Most colleges provided a preparatory school under the college management, the courses of study being arranged to meet the entrance requirements of the college freshman class. The teaching was done by or under the immediate direction of an efficient Principal, a member of the college faculty, thus assuring a high standard of proficiency on the part of the Preparatory school graduates.
I continued in college until I reached the Junior year when I thought it would be advisable to stop a year and earn some money before completing the other two years. I later completed the equivalent of the full college course in private study and teaching, but did not avail myself of the privilege of securing a college diploma. Success in teaching because of interest in the profession was of more value to one in securing a position in those days, than the mere possession of a diploma.
My school life at Antioch College was full of enjoyment. Class work was hard but very inspiring. First-class instruction was assured from each man as Dr. Edward Orton in science, Prof. Francis Tiffany in English Language and Rhetoric and a corps of able assistants. It was up to the student to make good in his daily tasks. Careless indifference was not tolerated. Lack of ability to comprehend soon relegated the student to work better adapted to his mental capacity.
Rules and regulations for study and general conduct were printed and copies given each student to ponder over that he might not plead ignorance if he should chance to violate them.
(These “Laws and Regulations” can be found in the bound volume of Antioch catalogues for 1855-1881 among the early numbers. They were largely in force during my period as a student. Horace Mann’s address to the students, giving his ideas on the so-called “Code of Honor” prevailing among students in the colleges of that period, is printed with the catalogue for 1855-1856. Everybody.should read it.)