We were provided with an article “A Place Called Deering” by Marion Harrison which details the history of the one-room schoolhouse.


            The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought a streak of luck to James M. Deering.  In 1854, he returned to the Ohio Valley with a bag of gold. That gold was changed into rolling hills and green meadows when James M. purchased a spacious tract of land which was named Deering after its found. James M. Deering was a man of vision. With thoughts toward the future, he donated a four acre tract of land which was to be the site of a school and a townhouse. If the land ceased to be used for community purposes, it was to revert back to the Deering heirs. Approximately between the years of 1885 and 1860, the one room school and townhouse was constructed.
The seats were made of split logs with pegs as legs. In the middle of the room sat a pot bellied stove which was used not only for warmth but to heat various foods such as a luscious piece of cornbread dripping with fresh, golden butter. Decorating the front of the room was a long recitation bench where each class, grades one through eight, performed to show their knowledge of the three R’s – – – Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, which was taught to the tune of a hickory stick.
In the corner of the schoolroom were several long hickory switches which were used to keep unruly students in line. At recess various games were played. The favorites were anti-over and shinny.
Buckets of fresh water were carried from the closest neighbor’s house. A treasured treat was to be the one allowed to fetch the water. Everyone drank from the same tin cup.
Adjacent to the school was a large building about forty feet by eighty feet which was used for community social events. Also, in the same area was a huge platform. Many people, young and old, square danced to the music of an old time fiddling country band. Apparently the platform was built several feet above the ground, because a young lad, James H. Deering, son of James M. observed with awe as he stood on tip toes and watched feet flying as people square danced.
The area where the school, townhouse, community building and platform were located was known at the Deering grove. It was the scene of many political rallies and camp meetings. The grove was visited by famous personages who gave political speeches. Some of the famous people of distinction were President William Henry Harrison, President Ulysses S. Grant, President James A Garfield, Senator H. A. Honoker, Mark Hanna, and Colonel William N. Nye. These distinguished people were guests at the beautiful home of James M. Deering. This house stood at the site where Baker’s store is now located.
During these political rallies and camp meetings freshly butchered beef was roasted over a hickory fire. Also, peacocks with tails spread like colorful fans freely roamed the grounds.
The Deering Grove was so named because this tract of land was dotted with virgin timber such as white and black oak and some hickory trees. The diameter of these trees was four to five feet. It was told that one had to lie flat on their back to see the top of these massive giants.
The one room school was used during the summer as a subscription school were prospective teachers were trained. Later the subscription school was known as normal school. One of the early professors was Doctor Hoss Burton who later went to study medicine.

The Lawrence County Fair was held at the Deering Grove. The merry-go-rounds were drawn by teams of mules and horses. A big event each year was the spelling bee. All grades participated. Mary C. Deering won the contest in 1883 – 84. A sketch of the school was presented to her by her teacher, A.W. Alford. The last instructor at the one room school was Shirly Bryant Large. Although the school has ceased being used as an educational facility, it is still a place where character and knowledge is cultivated. It is the weekly meeting house for the boy scouts.
If one listens very closely on a clear, quiet day you may hear the busy chatter of happy children playing games at recess and also, the sharp ting-a-ling of the old school bell ringing to gather the children back to their task of learning.


DEERING NOTES – Ironton Register, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1885

  • Everything lively in and around the corners.

  • Cutting corn, plowing for wheat and making molasses is the order of the day.

  • A. B. Booth commenced to wield the rod on the 14th.

  • Joseph Allen, from Kansas, is visiting friends here.

  • W. H. Alford will teach in the Rowe district, the coming winter.

  • Electa Booth left the 22nd for Chicago, where she will take charge of a department in the school as a Missionary teacher.

  • D. J. Willis’s horse dropped dead while in the wagon, last week.

  • The Sheridan B. B. club have won two games, one over Ashland with a score of 19 to 3; over Ice Creek with a score of 11 to 6, and tying Catlettsburg with a score of 2 to 2 in a nine inning game. Sheridan refusing to play longer because the umpire favored C. too much. Now, if any scrub club think they can flax S, let them come on, is what they say.

  • Fisher will get a majority in Perry precinct. We hear it rumored that the colored people on Macedonia are all going to vote for Jones. We were out there and heard some of them talk. Wait until after the election, then see where Jones is.

  • We say, hurrah for Fisher.

DEERING – Ironton Register, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1901

  • Our school opened Monday with Miss May Williams of Ironton as teacher. Seems as though she has started in to do good work if the scholars will obey orders. She enrolled thirty and they are not all in yet.

  • The farmers are very busy sowing their wheat. They seem to think wheat is not as good any more without fertilizer with it. John Hill did a big business selling bone dust to the farmers, judging from the wagons we saw go out.

  • Ice Creek Church held the annual election of pastor last Saturday and elected Rev. R. S. Alkire for the twelfth year. Rev. Akers has certainly done good work there.

  • A. D. Bruce and wife and H. A. Marting of Ironton were out to attend church at Ice Creek Sunday and spent the evening with Mr. B’s brother, W. R. Bruce.

  • Rev. B. S. Akers and wife, Isaac Sperry and wife, Mrs. Mollie Winters of Sheridan took dinner at Mr. John Woods’ Sunday

  • Mr. George Bruce and wife spent Sunday evening with W. R. Bruce and family.

  • Mrs. Abble Crippens will be here November 9 and 10 to hold missionary meeting Saturday night, Nov. 16. She will give a Chinese entertainment at the church. Everybody is invited to attend.

  • Mrs. Sites and granddaughters, Elsie and Ruth Woods, spent parts of last week with Mrs. J. H. Woods.

  • Frank Allen and sister of Marion spent Saturday with Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Allen.