Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey, Ludlow Schools: Turns Out You're 15 Years Older Than You Think You Are

Public schooling for the children of Ludlow, Kentucky, began in the 1848-1849 school year – fifteen years earlier than the starting date of 1864, as has been previously reported.

In Judge Hunnicut’s History of the City of Ludlow, the initial date is set at 1864. However, a brief reference is made to an earlier “state operated school” that predated what the citizens thought of as the Ludlow School.

I would typically insert the quote here, but my book is at the office and I'm not. : (
The first reference to a school in Ludlow, Kentucky, actually occurs in the Report of the Superintendent in 1849.

Beginning with Superintendent Rev J J Bullock, in 1838, every state superintendent of schools presented an annual report to the legislature listing the counties that had built schools, and outlining the census for each district within the county, pursuant to the Kentucky Act of 1830. Typically, the report was made on or about the month of June, at the end of the academic year.

At that time, Ludlow was part of Campbell County. Campbell, unlike some other counties, showed an interest in building schools and reporting their progress faithfully, beginning in the first year of the common school system, 1837-1838. By 1842, there were eleven district schools in Campbell, but there are no details referencing any school in the area that became Ludlow.
In 1843, Kenton County was formed.

During the term of Superintendent Robert J Breckinridge, Kenton County reported a school in District 24 in the 1849 census report. But District 24 is otherwise unidentified.

The record is not specific as to the location of most of the county’s districts, except where cities had formed. So in northern Kentucky, schools could be confirmed in Newport and Covington, but as many as 40 districts existed in the two northern counties in unincorporated, relatively remote, locations. At that time a county school existed within its own district. A single one-room school typically equaled one district.

Following Ludlow’s incorporation as a city in 1864, the name Ludlow was added to the record for Kenton County District 24, beginning in 1865. Having established the school in Ludlow as District 24, and working backwards, I discovered that each of the intervening Reports of the Superintendent showed Kenton County District 24 in operation all the way back to 1849. No report was made for District 24 in 1848.

Thus it is derived that the operation of the first public school in Ludlow, Kentucky, likely began in the fall of 1848, concluding in the spring of 1849 when the first district census was reported by Superintendent Breckinridge.
In that year, 29 scholars (out of 100 children in the city) attended school for 5 months. The school spent roughly $2.50 per pupil from a total school fund of $58.33 - $33.33 from the school fund and $25.00 collected from a 2-cent tax.

There you have it. So Curtis, take your arthritis medicine and lay down. You're older than you think.

Hat tip to the Department of Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, Bridgette at the Kenton County Public Library, my ol' classmate Lynn Alig and Ludlow High School Librarian Ms Millar for your research assistance.

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