History ofElk Township
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In early times there was no school, therefore John Early made a special room
in his private home and hired a private teacher to teach the children.
information has been gathered, it has been determined that the first school was a
building situated on the South side of the present Aura Fire Company. The Lowery
family were the last occupants of the dwelling, and after they moved away it burned
A new school was built, which was a two-story, two-room structure, now
the Aura Fire Company. This school went to the eighth grade and was heated by pot-bellied
stoves both upstairs and down. Mrs. Porch and Miss Earley, both from Clayton, were
two of the earliest teachers. Another teacher was Miss Lore, who slapped the pupils
on the back with rulers for misbehaving. At that time school was held only three
months in the winter, and as soon as Spring came everyone quit. The students did
not go back until around November, while some of the younger children went a little
Many of us today would remember the two most recent teachers who taught
there, Mrs. Clara Stewart and Mrs. Sarah Smith . By now there was a full school year.
At one time, before the present Aura School wa s built, one or two classes were held
in the Grange Hall.
The old school was used for a town hall and voting place
after it was no longer a school.
Aura School in (1976)
A new school was built on its present site in 1927, and in 1944 the Ferrell and
Hardingville Schools were consolidated with the Aura School. In 1960 the Lawns School
was closed and the pupils and teachers were transferred to the Aura School.
the Saturday night following the closing of school for the Summer in 1948, the Aura
School was partially destroyed by fire. The school was reconditioned and then rededicated
on February 5, 1949. The back and center Portions of the building were totally destroyed.
While reconstruction was taking place, school was held in the rooms on the ends of
the building, which were unharmed. In 1959 a four-room addition was made to the Aura
School, with an all-purpose room which could be used as a gymnasium being included
in the plans. Expansion has continued, with a new kitchen, and 6000 volume library
implemented in 1971. The present enrollment of the Aura School, grades Kindergarten
through Sixth, numbers close to 300 students
It was now evident that expansion
was necessary. Therefore, in September of 1958 the Elk Township School District regionalized
with the Franklin Township School District to form the Southern Gloucester County
School District. Bonds were issued in January, 1959, and construction got underway
in August, 1959. The new school was dedicated in May of 1960,and Delsea regional
High School opened its doors to the first students in October, 1960. This regionalization
came about because Glassboro High School and Clayton High Schools were no longer
accepting sending districts. Elk and Franklin Townships were compelled to look elsewhere,
and decided to build a regional school for their districts. Franklinville was chosen
for the site since it was centrally located within the boundaries of the Southern
Gloucester County Regional District. After 20 years on split sessions a new Middle
School opened in 1990.....
Hardingville School (1830-1909)
Hardingville had its own School District corporated December 30th,1854. (Stewart's
Notes III, p. 289).
The first school built in 1832 was a little red school house
located close to where the Harbeson's property now stands. It was moved by Rulef
Johnson to the corner of the Elmer-Richwood Road and the Swedesboro-Franklinville
Roads and was used by Mr, Johnson as a potato house. (It is now located on the Thumbert
In 1906 a school was built in a field on the Aura-Hardingville Road.
After Aura School was built the school was not used anymore and was purchased by
the Glassboro Enterprise, and since has been torn down. The property is now owned
by Frank Stiles, and only the school flag pole, and well-house remain.....
The first school of Ferrell was a log cabin; however, ground was donated
by John Lafferty in 1875 for a new building. This school still remains and is located
on the corner of the Glassboro- Ferrell Road and the Swedesboro-Franklinville Road
s. It was a one-room school with four classes, but was closed in 1944 when all children
were transferred to Aura School. Some of the early teachers were Mrs. Haines, Mrs.
Davis, Mrs. Pearl Hudson and Mrs. May L. (Batten) Gerlack. The school has been remodeled
and is used for Fire Company purposes and social functions.
One of the cabins
of an original settler of Ferrell can now be seen at SmithvilleVillage. It was originally
on the Mood Farm, and has been moved by Smithville Village to its present location.
It is called the "Mullica House"..
The Lawns had a two-room school building which opened in 1924. It was located
on Stanger Avenue near 1st and Douglas Street and was complete!y of wooden construction.The
grades were from kindergarten through eighth, and all taught by one teacher, Ms.Fannie
Thomas. This classroom was adequate for the small number of children enrolled. In
1930, as the population increased, there was a need for more rooms and two were added
in the front; a large storage room, with two rooms remaining in the back, divided
by installing sliding doors.
One teacher taught two grades in the classroom,
as the student population increased. After graduation from 8th grade, high school
students walked "over the railroad tracks" to attend South Glassboro School.
After several parents went to the Board of Education in Trenton and requested transportation
by school bus, it was mandated for the student. The were then transported to the
high school located on High Street in Glassboro..
In 1934, one teacher assumed
a dual role of teacher-principal. and taught three or four different grades in each
classroom until the students graduated from 8th grade. They assigned the boys to
shovel the coal and keep the fires burning in the large iron bucket stove located
in back of each room. The girls washed the blackboards, beat the erasers and kept
the classrooms clean. The children used outside toilets and drew water by handpump
to drink. More teachers were employed to accommodate the influx of children as the
Lawns community continued to expand and grow..
Glassboro High School on
Delsea Drive was built which enhanced the integration of students. They were transported
by school bus and attended 9th grade until after graduation from 12th grade. In 1960
Delsea Regional opened.
Ms. Violet Scott was one of the early teachers and
administrators involved in the educational process of the pupils at Lawns Elementary
School. She was the first Principal appointed in the early 1930's and also taught
5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades, in one classroom until she resigned in 1935. Mr. Garfield
Jackson then joined the staff that September and was principal until 1940. He only
taught two grades in the same classroom because the student ratio per teacher was
decreased by the Board of Education.
Ms. Ina Hull was principal for more
than 15 years from 1934-1958 until her retirement. She will be remembered along with
other former teachers: Ms. Patty Thomas, Ms. Edith Maiden Eady (deceased), Ms, Dorothy
Latney, Ms. Percy, Ms. English, Ms. Florence Williams, Ms.Francis Harden, Ms. Ellen
Wallace (deceased) and Ms. Jessie Jackson. Other substitute teachers who taught part-time,
included Ms.Geneva Lofton, Ms. Virginia Randall, Ms. Dorothy Davis and Ms. Yvonne
The storage room at Lawns school was later remodeled into a
small kitchen for serving lunches. The school was closed in 1960 while Mrs. Ina Hull
was still the principal. The population of the school was approximately 160 students.
At the time of integrating the Lawns and Aura schools under a State mandate,
Mrs. Hull had been with the Elk Township School district longer than any other teacher
in the system, or has ever been continuously. Mr. Russ Gurlin was the first bus
driver to transport children in grades seven and eight to Aura School. The growing
population in this area made it necessary to institute this process long before the
merger of the two schools.
The children of the Lawns now attend with the
other Elk Township students at the school in Aura. The Lawns school burned down after
it remained vacant for a few years after its closing.
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