Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California on February 8, 1970 · 159
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Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California · 159

Oakland, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 8, 1970
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Oakland's First School Bell Had a Wedding Bell Peal EEDS grow today there Oakland's first i b 1 i c school once stood at Fourth and Clay streets. Most of the surrounding area is now industrial property, but on the northeast comer where the little one - room Carpentier school was erected in 1853 theres an approach road off the Nimitz Freeway all fenced in, with weeds lining a wide area along its sides. It would be appropriate, it seems, to have a monument of some kind erected there or at least a plaque permanently fastened to the fence. Reminiscences of the first school days in Oakland include tales of romance and weddings as well as readin, writin, rithmetic . . . and spanked pupils. Looking back on a clipping from the scrapbook of Franklin Warner, the little school house away down on Fourth Street at the corner of Clay couldnt have been more than 30 by 20 feet overall and contained but one room without even an entry hall, lobby or cloakroom. Warner was the schools second teacher. The first teacher was Miss Hannah Jayne, afterward Mrs. Edson Adams. The teachers desk wasnt only a step to the altar for Miss Jayne .There was an assistant teacher given Warner by the name of Sarah Walker who afterward became Mrs. Franklin Warner. The walls of the school werent even plastered, the clipping in Warners old scrapbook notes. They were simply boarded up. Even so, the crude little structure cost Carpentier an estimated $1,000 to $1,500 and when he tendered it to the town he called it elegant and commodious.' In turn, Carpentier received almost every inch of Oaklands priceless waterfront, a deal that embarrassed the town leaders for many years afterward. MISS JAYNE taught in the school for some 13 months at the nominal salary of $150 per month. Unfortunately, the money was not forthcoming at the end of that time and a law-suit was brought against the town trustees asking for both principal and interest. There w'as no school board at that early date. Of course, the law-suit must have been a sort of friendly one. Edson Adams, the man she married, was probably responsible for most of the town trustees being on the job. He was chief among the town founders. After this, the scrapbook informs, Miss Jayne gave up her school, but not without the sincere regrets of parents and pupils. She was an excellent teacher and had brought her mixed and ungraded pupils into remarkable discipline. She was immediately followed in her position as instructor by Franklin Warner, the man who compiled the scrapbook from which were quoting. Thanks to the scrapbook we now know how Warners name was brought before the people. It happened through a rath-- er exciting adventure. Warner was living on a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley when one day a hunting party from Oakland stowed and begged shelter for one of heir members who had been severely torn and mangled by a grizzly. His name was Bennett, said to be a brother-in-law of A. W. Burrell, one of Oakland's earliest trustees. Warner immediately took the wounded man into his cabin. Then, it is related, the wounded mans companions left under the pretense of going to Stockton for medical help. Their companion was left entirely in the care of the stranger. BENNETTS companions were not heard from again, and Warner unaided in his remote cabin cared for the wounded man and nursed him back to strength. Bennett gave Warner such a glowing account of the beauties of Oakland and prosperity of the coastal town that it required but very little persuasion to induce his benefactor a well-educated man to come to Oakland. It wasnt long after his arrival here that Miss Jayne resigned her school post and, partly due to Bennetts influence, Warner was elected to the position of school teacher. That w'as in January 1855. During the first term of the school there were probably not more than 50 pupils, but after Warner filled the position a short time the number increased to near 150 boys and girls. In fact, there were far too many for the little schoolhouse to hold, and in order to have space during recitations the teacher would send his best scholars in the upper division out under the trees with their books, while another di vision of pupils recited their lessons inside. The one strict injunction was that the group outside should study and learn their lessons and not idle away their time. The penalty, if this rule was disobeyed, denied the unwilling pupil any future permit for this outside privilege. IN RECALLING all of this to mind Warner noted that he had never seen pupils in so large and mixed a school so obedient and w ell-behaved. With the pupils ranging all the way from five years to 16-years-of-age it was impossible for one teacher to get over all the ground in one days work, he said. As an aid to myself and the school . I would appoint some of my older and brightest students as teachers of the little ones. Then, in order not to lose their own instruction, the older students so used as teachers would stay after school hours to recite their lessons. In May of 1855 the school was so crowded that in order to accommodate the increasing number of new pupils all the older members of the school were removed to what was known as The Pavilion, a hall that stood on the northeast comer of Fifth Street and Broadway. It was at this time that an assistant was given Warner in the person of Miss -Sarah Walker who afterward became Mrs. Warner. She taught the younger pupils who remained behind at the old school at Fourth and Clay Streets, Mr. Warner han- Continued on Page 20 h g c 9 V c a i cr oo o o

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