Florence 80 Years Ago Had Only Private School; Croquet was Favorite Sport
by: A.M. Yealey
(The following article appeared in the Boone County Recorder in 1955.)
We know what Florence is doing today and I often wonder if you know what was transpiring in our city 80 years ago.
Do you know that 80 years ago Florence had no public school buildings from 1880 until 1888? From 1880 up to 1888 all the children were taught in private homes or a rented building paid for by the teacher.
Let me give you a quotation from a citizen who lived here 80 years ago. “Educational interests are not entirely neglected as we have four schools in operation.” Viz: Mrs. W.E. Conner is teaching a small subscription school at her residence. Miss Lizzie Billiter is teaching fifteen or twenty five or thirty scholars, on Main Street near Shelby Avenue.
Prof. I.J. Daughters is conducting a select school of eighteen or twenty advanced pupils in the Town Hall. (The right to teach in the Town Hall was sold to the highest bidder every August by the Town Trustees.)
Other news in town 80 years ago:
Prof. Johnson is conducting a large class in penmanship at this place.
Our supporting element has croquet fever.
Word has come to our town that Judge Dills has leased the Grant House. If this be true, we bespeak for him a pleasant future and a host.
Dr. Sayer has quite a number of friends in the town of Florence. Men at work upon his residence, building an L and repairing the foundation. This residence was built in 1841, remodeled in 1880 and 1920.
The Town Council of Florence consisted of the following men during 1880: H.A. Cantler, Mayor; Dr. A. Sayre, J.R. Corwine, S. Menzes and Henry Oelsner, J.W.R. Bradford, clerk; L.L. Youell, attorney; John Buckener, assessor; O.H. Conrad, marshal.
The first thing they did was to establish the tax rate at 25 cents on the $100 and attached the right of all house holders to have one dog free of tax, but if you had two you were compelled to pay $1.10 and if you rented you were not allowed to keep a dog.
The audit report shows they ran the town during 1879 at a cost of $272.61, and had a balance in the treasury on Jan. 1st 1880 to the amount of $180.82. The license to sell liquor in our town 80 years ago was $12.50 per anum, and they were generally granted to people who kept a tavern or hotel. During those days Florence had from three to five taverns.
On account of the city and accepted streets the town as originally incorporated was not a square, but a pentagon or a five sided piece of land which I shall attempt to describe. Beginning at the corner of Oblique Street and the Burlington Pike with a straight line to the Union Pike including the Fred Hull residence a distance of 1950 feet more or less. From the Hull residence a distance of about 1800 feet to the Marcus Heirs. Then from a corner in the Marcus land to a distance of about 1275 feet in the land owned by Dr. A. Sayre. Then a distance of 1500 feet to a locust tree at the elbow in Price Pike, then 1125 feet on Locust Street to the point of beginning. This boundary line enclosed the following streets with their given length: Main, 2200 feet; Youell, 750 feet; Banklick, 1150 feet; Oblique, 600 feet; Girard, 1125 feet; Center, 90 feet; Montgomery, 450 feet; and Shelby, 1200 feet.