Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ruth Chandler ~ School Teacher and Matron of the Friends Boarding Home

Ruth (left) & her sister Elizabeth in front of the
Friends Boarding Home

Elizabeth & Ruth Chandler (on the right) in the
Matron's Office the Friends Boarding Home

Many people in Waynesville, Ohio still remember the Chandler sisters, Ruth and Elizabeth. Their parents were Edwin Chandler (October 3rd, 1849 ~ November 27th, 1924) and Sidney J. Pettit Chandler (1850 ~1934). They had three children: Ruth (b. February 10th, 1884 ~ d. August 25th, 1962), Elizabeth (October 29th, 1886 ~ December 20th, 1978) and Lewis W. (March 4, 1874 ~ d. January 7, 1952). Their uncle was Aaron B. Chandler.

Even though both sisters resided outside of Waynesville for many years living active and interesting lives, people today remember them as elderly maiden ladies and associate them with the 1905 Friends Boarding Home where they lived during their retirement. Ruth was the Matron of the Friends Boarding Home from 1944 till her death in 1962. Elizabeth, after her retirement from Hampton Institute in Virginia, moved to the Friend Home and became Ruth's assistant. Sadly, since this line of the Chandler family has died out with the death of Gertrude Chandler in 1997, many people do not realize how prominent the Chandlers were in Waynesville.

Elizabeth and Ruth were close sisters but their personalities were different. Ruth was never in administration and taught all of her career in Ohio. More quiet and deferring than Elizabeth, she was a well-respected member of the Waynesville community and the other towns she lived in during her career. She was noted for her intelligence and an excellent teacher of elementary children and honored for it. She had a sense of humor she was a steady presence in any organization. Elizabeth, although sickly as a child, was more outgoing and ambitious. Enthusiastic about learning, her fervor was infectious. Incredibly insightful and capable, she was a leader who walked the extra mile to strive for excellence within herself and in others. She pursued continual education for herself and her vita is extensive. During her career, she lived in various places in Ohio, Michigan and in Virginia. She retired a Professor of Education. Her career paralleled developments in increasing higher education for teachers. Because of higher education and wider living experience, Elizabeth had a broader view of life.

Ruth and Elizabeth had experience many teaching methods as children and many teacher-training styles as adults. As children within their family circle progressive minded teachers surrounded them. As students they experienced the one-room district schoolhouse across the road from the Chandler farm known as the Chandler School. As students they took the Boxwell Exam of the Ohio school system and graduated from 8th grade with the promise of a free high school education. After graduating from Waynesville High School and while attending the National Normal University in Lebanon and attaining their teaching licenses, they both taught in the local district one-room schools (Wayne and Clearcreek Townships and Lytle school system). They actually taught together in the Lytle and Greenfield, Ohio school systems. They both taught in the newly consolidated school systems of Ohio from 1915 on. Elizabeth exhibited great ability at administrative skills. Elizabeth rose to be director of a number of Normal Schools in Ohio and taught at numerous summer normal institutes during her career. When the old Normal Schools for teacher training were being transformed into teacher colleges, Elizabeth moved up to college and graduate levels of education. Both sisters were perpetual students and consummate teachers. They lived during the years when American education changed from being non-professional or semi-professional with a focus on rote learning to being professional with a focus on the child and his/her family and life.

In 1925, an anonymous author penned the following descriptions of Ruth and Elizabeth, graduates of Waynesville Unity High School in a series of articles entitled “A Short Resume of the Characteristics of Each and Every Graduate of the Waynesville Schools (Miami-Gazette October 7th and October 14th, 1925):

RUTH CHANDLER (Class of 1900): She seems to be able to find, create and cultivate a ready soil in which to plant the seed of understanding in the minds of her students; her system, aim and hopes are of a high order. She also believes in absolute cooperation between parents and teachers.

ELIZABETH CHANDLER (Class of 1904): Let us strive in our community to have a moral and religious awakening, a resurrection in our schools, making them a more constructive factor for good in the lives of our boys and girls, helping them to solve the more important problems in life, giving them a larger vision, a greater inspiration and power for actual service for good.

Clearly, Ruth and her sister Elizabeth Chandler were excellent teachers in their fields and the Miami-Gazette newspaper of Waynesville delighted in documenting their accomplishments.

"Ruthie", was already “a winsome little school marm” at the age of eighteen (Miami-Gazette, December 4, 1901) who was teaching very successfully at the Wayne Township District School in District #1 named Red Oak School. She taught there for two years before being contracted to teach at another Wayne Township District School, the Crosswick School (Miami-Gazette, July 8, 1903). The following report is taken from the Miami-Gazette (April 29, 1903) which clearly depicts the life of a “school Marm”:

Miss Ruth Chandler last Friday closed the second year of successful teaching at Red Oak School. A large number of patrons and friends of the school gathered in the morning and at noon enjoyed a picnic dinner together, after which a very fine literary and musical program was presented by the pupils, much to the pleasure of all present. Mrs. John Lamar, who had taken her Gramophone to the school house, delighted the audience with a large number of selections, many of them being the latest minstrel songs. Miss Chandler, at the beginning of the term, offered a prize to the pupil who, at the close, had been neither absent nor tardy, and was most happy to present a book to each of five pupils for this praiseworthy punctuality.

In September of 1904 Ruth Chandler chose not to be assigned to teach at one of the local district one-room schoolhouses. Instead she and her sister Elizabeth both entered the National Normal University at Lebanon, Monday, where they will follow a course of study during the fall and winter (Miami-Gazette, September 7, 1904).

Ruth Chandler’s students and their parents expressed their regard for her in a farewell surprise party at the end of 1903-1904 school year. On May 4, 1904 the Miami-Gazette reported that

the surprise was well arranged and carried out. Mrs. Evans, who lives across the road from the schoolhouse, invited Miss. Chandler to take dinner at her house. This invitation was given in order that the surprise, which was planned, might be more complete and unexpected, for about noon thirty or forty friends drove up to the school to spend the remainder of the day. They brought with them baskets filled with good things for a delicious picnic dinner, which everyone enjoyed. In the afternoon there was a program rendered by the children appropriate to the closing day. The Spring Branch school has an enrollment of about thirty pupils the past year, and the school has been very successful.

In 1911 Ruth started teaching in the Selma, Ohio school system. It is reported in the Miami-Gazette on May 15, 1917: RE-ELECTED IN SELMA SCHOOLS: Miss Ruth Chandler has been re-elected Primary teacher at the Selma Centralized Schools at a salary of $80.00 per month. This is the sixth year for Miss Chandler in the Selma schools and her advancement is well deserved.

The Miami-Gazette reported on January 23, 1918 that Miss Ruth Chandler, who has been teaching in the Selma Schools for a number of years, passed the examination at Columbus recently and was awarded a life certificate. We congratulate the young lady on her good fortune.

Ruth, who for a number of years had been teaching at Selma, was appointed as a teacher in the Greenfield schools. The following is taken from the “Greenfield Republican”: “Miss Chandler is a graduate of the National Normal University and is a teacher of wide experience. She will be assigned to the Primary Department and will also act as a critic teacher to the Normal School”. Miss Elizabeth Chandler is the director of the Highland County Normal and Supervisor to the Elementary school at the same place (Miami-Gazette, May 12, 1926).

Misses Elizabeth and Ruth Chandler, who have been attending summer school at the University of Cincinnati, returned home Saturday (Miami-Gazette, August 31, 1927).

The Chandler family were very active in the local Farmers' Club. Edwin Chandler was the president of this organiation in 1917. The local newspaper was peppered with many references to their activities. For example, the Miami-Gazette reported on July 18, 1917 the activities of the Farmers’ Club meeting that was held at the Chandler homestead, which included Miss Ruth Chandler reading an excellent paper prepared by Miss Elizabeth Chandler. It dealt with our present conditions in a thoughtful way, bringing out the idea that the unjust settlement of national differences caused the present war. During a July meeting of the Farmer’s Club. . . Ruth Chandler read a short paper on the modern reading lessons and quoted high authority as saying we were letting imagination have too full sway in our children’s education (Miami-Gazette, July 20, 1921). At this same meeting her father, Edwin, opened the discussion on “Community Threshing”.

Ruth Chandler was the secretary of Miami Quarterly Meeting from the early 1920s till the time of her death in 1962. She inherited the job, so-to-speak, from her father Edwin who was the clerk of Miami Quarterly Meeting after the death of his brother Aaron B., who held that office, in 1915 and many years before.

Ruth Chandler had become an active member of the New Century Club of Waynesville during the 1944-45 year. This was the year of her retirement from the Cedarville School system where she had taught sixth grade for many years. Every year each member was assigned a topic that she would report on at their monthly meetings. From 1945 on Ruth reported on Recent Books and News of Education. The club rotated the duties of hosting the meeting (either in their homes or in a local restaurant) and planning the program for each monthly meeting. During the year of 1948-1949, Ruth was the group’s secretary. During the 1952-1953 year, Ruth was the President.

From 1948 until her death Ruth Chandler had been a faithful member of the Board of Trustees of The Wayne Township Library (later renamed The Mary L. Cook Public Library). On September 28, 1950 she accepted the position of Secretary. On December 29, 1960 Ruth became the First Vice-President of the Library Board. Upon her death the Board wrote the following it its minutes: The board voted unanimously to embody in the minutes a resolution recognizing and appreciating the efforts of Miss Ruth Chandler for her long tenure on the board; sixteen years as secretary, and most recently as Vice-President. She brought enthusiasm, a delightful sense of humor and faithful care to every task. She will be sorely missed (Record Book [Minutes of the Board] June, 1958-September 1967, p. 119).

While on their way to the Yearly Meeting in Wilmington on Saturday, August 25, 1962, both Ruth Chandler, 78, and Dr. Emma Holloway, 88, were killed in a severe three-car automobile accident at the intersection of US 42 and SR 73 in Waynesville. Also in the car with Miss Chandler and Dr. Holloway were the driver Elizabeth Chandler, 76, Mrs. Nellie Bunnell, 80, Mabel Bursk, 79, and Maria Elbon, 76, all residents of the Friends Boarding Home. They were taken to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton and all recovered from minor injuries. The other two drivers, P. C. Zink, 78, along with his wife Mary of Lebanon, and Mrs. Carol Pennington, 44, of Middletown were not injured. Funeral services for Ruth Chandler and Dr. Holloway were held Tuesday, August 28 at the Friends Meetinghouse in Waynesville at 2 PM and 10 AM. Ruth Chandler was buried in Miami Cemetery in Corwin. Dr. Emma Holloway, a pioneer woman doctor from Indiana, was taken to North Manchester, Indian for burial at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 1962. She had boarded at Friends Boarding Home since October, 1944. (The Western Star, Thursday, Aug. 20, 1962).

To learn more about The 1905 Friends Boarding Home see:

To learn more about The Mary L. Cook Public Library see:
Dr. Mary Leah Cook 1869-1964