Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

From 1882 to 1891 the general agent of the trust was Rev. A. G. Haygood, D. D., of Georgia, who resigned the office when he became a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Since 1891 the duties of a general agent have been discharged by Dr. J. L. M. Curry, of Washington, D. C., chairman of the educational committee.

Remarks of President Hayes on the death of Mr. Slater.

Gentlemen of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Slater Fund :

Our first duty at this the fifth meeting of the trustees of the John F. Slater fund for the education of freedmen is devolved upon us by the death, since our last meeting, of the founder of this trust.

John F. Slater died early Wednesday morning, the 7th of May last, at his home in Norwich, Conn., at the age of 69. He had suffered severely from chronic complaints for several months, and his death was not a surprise to his family or intimate friends.

Two of the members of this board of trustees, Mr. Morris K. Jesup and myself, had the melancholy privilege of representing the board at the impressive funeral services of Slater at his home, at the Congregational Church, and at the cemetery in Norwich, on the Saturday following his death.

When he last met this board, his healthful appearance and general vigor gave promise of a long and active life. It was with great confidence that we then expressed to him our conviction that his wise and generous gift for the education of the emancipated people of the South and their posterity was made at a period of his life when he might reasonably hope to observo during many years its beneficent influence. But in the providence of God it has been otherwise ordered, and the life which we fondly wished would last long enough to yield to him the satisfaction of seeing the results of his patriotic forecast has been brought to a close.

He had a widely extended and well-earned reputation for ability, energy, integrity, and success as a manufacturer and as a man of affairs. He was a philanthropist, a patriot, a good citizen, and a good neighbor. He was a member of the Park Congregational Society in Norwich for many years and was warmly and strongly attached to the denomination of his choice. His church relations did not limit his sympathies, nor narrow his views of duty. In his letter establishing this trust is the folfowing clause:

“'l ho general object which I desire to have exclusively pursued is the uplifting of the lately emancipated population of the Southern States, and their posterity, by conferring on them tho blessings of Christian education.”

When asked the precise meaning of tho phrase “Christian education," he replied that “the phrase Christian education is to be taken in the largest and most general sense-tbat, in tho sense which ho intended, the common-school teaching of Massachusetts and Connecticut was Christian education. That it is leavened with a predominant and salutary Christian influence. That there was no need of limiting the gifts of the fund to denominational institutions. That, if the trustees should be satisfied that at a certain State institution their beneficiaries would be surrounded by wholesome influences such as would tend to make good Christian citizens of them, there is nothing in the use of the phrase referred to to hinder their sending pupils to it."

I forbear to attempt to give a full sketch of Mr. Slater. Enough has perhaps been said to bring to your attention the great loss which this trust has sustained in the death of its founder, and the propriety of placing on our records and giving to the public a worthy and elaborate notice of his life, character, and good deeds.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

REPORT ON EDUCATION IN ALASKA.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION, DIVISION OF ALASKA,

Washington, D. C., June 30, 1895. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of the general agent of education in Alaska for the year ending June 30, 1895:

There is in Alaska a school population of from 8,000 to 10,000; of these, 1,030 were enrolled in the 17 day schools sustained by the Government. In addition to the Government schools, the missionary societies of the Moravian, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, Congregational, Baptist, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic churches sustained 24 schools with an enrollment of about 900 pupils. Of these latter, threefourths were industrial pupils; these were clothed, housed, fed, and taught at the expense of the societies.

St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea.–V. C. Gambell, teacher; enrollment of pupils, 52; population, barbarous Eskimos; mail, once a year. On the 15th of September, 1894, the revenue cutter Bear steamed away from St. Lawrence Island, leaving our two missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. V. C. Gambell, shut off from all communication with, or sight of, the civilized world for the next eight or ten months, as they then thought; but on October 2d a whale ship, which they vainly hoped would anchor, steamed close along the shore. When Mr. Gambell found that it would not stop, le hurried some natives into a boat, and, waving a coat to attract attention, rowed after it. The captain, seeing this, turned about and came back, taking Nír. Gambell on board. They had been in the Arctic over winter and were on their way to San Francisco, but hearing that the Gambells were on the island, had sailed near, so as to give them a chance to send letters or to afford them any help they could. After Mr. Gambell left the steamer and returned to their island home, their complete isolation began.

The school room is under the same roof and communicates with the house; but a new outside door allows the pupils entrance to it without going through the house.

The school opened the first Monday of November, 1894. The whole village was excited over this event. They are like one large family. Being separated from the main land by so much water, they rarely mingle with other Alaskans or Siberians, and, of course, intermarry constantly, so that everybody is related to everybody else, and the interests of one are the interests of all. So the opening of school would naturally be common talk. The pupils, ranging in age from 16 years down, are principally boys, the girls being too shy to go. The men were anxious to go, too, but it was thought best not to have them with the boys. Mr. Gambell had been apprised of the fact that the native language was very difficult to acquire, and this he has found to be the case. He teaches the children English, and they are as apt at learning as the average pupils in our schools. He writes, June, 1895, that the boys have learned enough English to be able to make themselves understood and to understand almost anything he wanted to tell them. They are partienlarly quick in arithmetic, as far as he has taken them, and specimens of their penmanship that he sent home are really remarkable. One exercise was copying on paper and reading short sentences written on the black board. After only a month's teaching they could read at once sentences containing words that they had learned. The men visit the school frequently, and are very much pleased to hear the sentences read. They sit breathlessly attentive until a sentence is read, and laugh heartily when it is rubbed out. When a boy hesitates, and fails to recognize a word at once, the men grow excited, and say, "00-hook, oo-hook," an exclamation they use to their dogs when the want them to go faster. Some of the men try to write and make figures, but they do not succeed so well as the 15-year-old boys. In March, Mr. Gambell writes : "The boys are getting along well. "They like number work, adding correctly and rapidly columns of five figures, some of them never making a mistake. Many of them know the multiplication table to the 'elevens.' I let them do so much of this because they like it, and I think they have more confidence in themselves and use the English they know. They read well in the First Reader. I have used the phonetic method of teaching reading.” They are fond of music, and learn the school songs readily. The whole village has learned these songs, and they can be heard at almost any hour of the day or night.

Teller Reindeer Station.- Teacher, T. L. Brevig; enrollment, 56; population, Eskimo. There are in the native village about 60 persons under 21 years of age. With but three or four exceptions, all of the children under 15 and over 6, have attended school with greater or less regularity. The discipline has been very easy to maintain. Tho teacher complains of lack of application and concentration with the pupils. Perlaps his difficulty is want of a common language, as the teacher does not understand the Eskimo and the Eskimos have not yet gained a sufficient knowledge of English to understand it.

Unalaska.John A. Tuck, teacher, and Miss Mattie Short, assistant; enrollment of pupils, 39; population, Aleut. Good progress has been made during the year by the children in the practical acquisition of the English language. The greater part of those who have been under instruction for three years or more not only read, writo, and speak, but do their thinking in English. In geography good work has been done, especially in drawing and interpretation of maps. The children encounter their greatest difficulty in mastering arithmetic, hence inore than usual attention has been paid to their training in that subject. Many of the older pupils have fully conquered the four fundamental operations so as to be fairly rapid and remarkably accurate in their work. One girl has progressed well in mental arithmetic, and handles quite complex operations in fractions with ease and readiness. The attendance during the year has been mainly from the pupils in the Methodist Mission Home. Last spring a large and comfortable schoolhouse and teacher's residence was erected at an expense of $5,000. Before it was occupied, during the prevalence of a severe gale, it was blown from its foundations, and the school as in former years is still kept in a rented building. We trust that another season will see the Government building repaired and in good shape for use.

l'nga.-0. R. McKinney, teacher; enrollment, 40; population, Aleut. This school continued from September without interruption until Christmas, when it was found necessary to close the house a few days for repairs. Through January and February the entire school population of the village was enrolled. During March an cpidemic of sickness closed the school again for three weeks. Rapid advancement was mado in reading, spelling, writing, and hygiene, and moral lessons. In these studies they made better progress than the same class of children in the States; they did not prove so bright, however, in aritmetic, although one class finished both decimal and common fractions during the year and reviewed the subjects in other books. The teacher has been enco

couraged by the special interest which the children take in the school. They never seem to tire of it, and often ask why they can not have school all the time. Over against this encouragement is the discouragement of much drunkenness in the community without any court of law to control the community. The most atrocious crimes can be committed and the perpetrator be allowed to go free.

Afognak.-Mrs. C. M. Colwell, teacher; enrollment, 38; population, Russian Creoles. During the winter a school of the Russo-Greek Church was opened in the village. Almost all of the inhabitants of Afognak are members of the Russian Church, and as the church officials insisted upon the children attending the church school half of each day the work of the public school was materially interfered with.

The natives of this region are exceedingly poor, and in order that some of the poorer children might attend school the teacher provided them with clothing.

Kadiak.-C. C. Solter, teacher; enrollment, 56; population, Creoles. The attendance during the year has been unusually good, some days the schoolroom being too small to accommodate all those wishing to attend. The teacher also reports increased regularity of attendance. There was a notable absence of the larger and older pupils, they having dropped out to go into business; one of the boys has secured a clerkship with the Alaska Commercial Company. Special progress was made in penmanship, composition, writing and drawing. Greater progress could be made if the pupils spoke English at home; but in their homes and out of school they hear nothing but the Russian language; as a natural consequence very few of the smaller pupils comprehend enough of English to understand what the teacher is saying to them. Singing continues a great attraction in the school. At the close of the school year an entertainment was given to a crowded audience of parents and citizens generally. The children performed their parts well, eliciting many expressions of commendation from the audience. As intemperance is so rife in nearly all Alaskan communities it is a source of special gratification to the teacher that the school children have all signed a promise not to tasto any intoxicating liquor of any kind until they are 21 years of age. They show inuch pride in being called “temperance boys and girls,” and sport their blue ribbon badges. A suitable woodshed has been constructed during the year in connection with this schoolhouse.

Haines.-W. W. Warne, teacher; Miss Fanny Willard (native), assistant teacher; enrollment, 64; population, Thlinget. The past year has been one of progress and the best of the four years that the present teacher has been in charge. This is largely due to the increased number of children in the Presbyterian Home. Experiments have been made with fair succees in raising garden vegetables and opening up a small farm.

Sitka, No.1.-Mrs. G. Knapr, teacher; enrollment, 37; population, white-American and Russian. The opening of a parochial school in connection with the Russian Church and the ever changing population of the town caused a considerable diminution in the attendance at this school. A kindergarten was conducted for the white children-American and Russian-during several months of the year.

Sitka, No. 2.-Miss Cassia Patton, teacher; enrollment, 180. Several of the adult natives have been as anxious to learn to read and write English as the children, and as most of them bad to work during the day, the teacher gave them instructions after school hours As usual, the spring migration to the fishing grounds carried with it the majority of the children.

Juneau, No. 1.-S. A. Keller, teacher; enrollment 54; population, white. The schoolhouse during the year has been repainted and refurnished, new sidewalks were built to and around the schoolhouse, and pure, clean water conducted to the build. ing from the city waterworks; also a small sum was spent in draining the marshy, swampy school ground and removing some of the stumps. The work should be continued on the playground until all of the stumps are removed and the ground thoroughly drained. The school itself has received more than usual sympathy and encouragement from the people themselves. The pupils are reported as bright and intelligent beyond the average. The winter being unusually mild, tho regularity of the attendance of the primary class was better than ever known before; at the same time a large percentage of the children between 6 and 14 are still very irregular, and the teacher, in common with all the other teachers in Alaska, pleads for some law obliging regular attendance. At present no school in Alaska bas advanced beyond the ordinary grammar grade. There are some pupils, however, that wish very much to continue the high-school work, and the hope is expressed that in timo a high-school department may be established which shall draw advanced pupils from other sections. There is also great need for a primary teacher, Juneau having 40 children of the kindergarten age.

Juneau, No. 2.-Miss Elizabeth Saxman, teacher; enrollment, 50; population, Thlinget. During the year a comfortable building has been erected in the neighborhood of the native village. Here, as in several other places, the children of the Mission Home (Presbyterian) were the most regular in their attendance. The branches taught were reading from chart to World Reader, history, language, arithmetic, hygiene, geography, writing, and spelling: A small stock of kindergarten materials supplied the teacher proved of great service. Among the pupils was a middle-aged man who was so anxious to learn to read that he was always present at school whenover he was out of work. His diligence and zeal, although not accomplishing much for himself, was an inspiration to the childron.

Douglas, No. 1.-L. A. Jones, teacher; enrollinent, 42; population, white. During the winter an epidemic of scarlatina interfered very much with the progress of the school.

Douglas, No. 2.-Miss F. A. Work, teacher; enrollment, 26; population, Thlinget. This school consisted principally of children who were in the Friends' Mission Home. The pupils seemed anxious and willing to do anything required by the teacher, and while very bright in reading, writing, etc., seemed very dull in mathematics. As the Friends are proposing to establish a school the coming year for the native children, the Government will next season transfer this school to the neighborhood of the Treadwell Mills, where provision has been made for the erection of a suitable schoolhouse and teacher's residence.

Fort Wrangel.-Miss Anna R. Kelsey, teacher; enrollment, 61; population, Thlinget. During the previous vacation the well lighter and ventilated schoolroom had been further brightened up by a fresh coat of paint, adding much to its attractiveness to the children. The school has a moderate supply of apparatus, embracing physiological charts, maps, globe, numeral frame, unabridged dictionary, eto. A small supply of kindergarten material furnished the teacher has proved a valuable assistance. As at the other schools of the place, a Christmas entertainment was given the pupils. Much complaint is made of irregular attendance, many, even of children of 7 and 8 years of age, being kept from school to attend the native dances. A spirit of emula. tion, a desire to stand well in their classes, which has sprung up helped to secure good progress.

Klawack.- Miss Anna R. Kelsey, teacher; enrollment, 50; population, Thlinget. Owing to the smallness of the appropriation of Congress, this school has been closed for several years, and was opened dnring tho present suinmer only during the vacation of the school at Fort Wrangel; but little more was accomplished than to keep up

« PreviousContinue »