Looking Backward: Lysander Union School, District No. 17

Two years later, Sarah Smith Schenck decided that the people of Lysander should have access to the Artesian Well behind her home to water their horses as they went about their business. So, Sarah paid for a white watering trough built on the southeast corner. This local fixture, which was constructed in 1915, still bears her name. That same year Frances Kelly (Van Wie) was born.

Frances said "I went to school in 1920. I would daresay that Helen Bradley and I are the only ones who are alive today. I started in first grade, and my teacher was Mrs. Squire. My aunt, Leah Weller Kelly, taught me when I was in second grade, and she handled all three of the primary grades. I walked with friends to school every day. There were maybe three or four who lived above us, including Helen Bradley. I walked home for lunch because it wasn't that far. We never had snow days, because my dad and others would just hitch up the horses and take us by sleigh."

Thelma Foster Searles first attended the Lysander School around 1930. She remembers that "Our folks took us by horse or sleigh in the morning, but we usually walked home in the afternoon. It was two miles on the way there, but two and one-half miles on the way home. This was due to the fact that we went by way of Prine and Lamson roads in the morning, and then Plainville-Lysander and Church roads in the afternoon. We were afraid of the dogs on Lamson Road, so we would walk the long way home. Sometimes my brother, Masel and I would ride our bikes when the weather was nice."

Frances' favorite holiday was Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was known back then. "The whole school always celebrated Decoration Day together as a group, beginning at the church. We would alternate years, celebrating one year at the Methodist-Episcopal Church and at the Congregational Church the next. The exercises started at one o'clock in the afternoon. At that time, the little school band would play a few selections under the direction of Leah Kelly. There would be a speaker, usually some politician from Syracuse. Then we would follow our Civil War veterans, their sons, and grandsons, as they marched to the cemetery behind a marching band. After a short memorial service, everyone would go to a baseball game at the diamond east of the school. At the end of the day we all went back to the church for a community dinner. It was a big day."

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