In And Around Hannibal, by Rita Hooper

In 1898, the Hannibal Village School was chartered by the New York State Regents.

The smallest graduating class for the school district occurred in 1903, when Blanche Hall Darling was the sole graduate. In 1904, a sizeable annex was added to the school to accommodate the increased enrollment. In 1906, the Hannibal Village School became a senior high school. For the previous seven years, it had been referred to as a union school, and before that a common school.

In 1908, academic agriculture was introduced into the high school curriculum by Principal Stephen Roy Lockwood, making Hannibal one of the very early pioneers in the state in this field. Actually, Hannibal was the second school in New York state to establish a high school department of agriculture., the first being Belleville in 1901. Vocational agriculture courses were organized in 1911.

The agricultural curriculum was continued for many years, giving Hannibal High School the distinction of having the oldest continuous agricultural program in the state of New York and one of oldest in the United States.

However with the decline of farming after World War II, interest in the agricultural curriculum started to decrease. Roger Reniff was the last agricultural teacher when the program was eliminated in 1969.

Academic homemaking courses were introduced in 1911. The following year, vocational homemaking courses were organized and the Home Economics Department was created. A room on the first floor in the south end of the school was equipped to teach homemaking courses to 10 students at a time. The first homemaking teaching was Blaine Welling.

Interest in the new program was intense among the high school girls with everyone participating except two that year. This necessitated splitting them up into three divisions. Each group had one recitation period and two practical laboratory periods weekly. Equipment was short  in the beginning, but with candy and food sales, sufficient funds were raised to obtain more utensils.

In 1913, the Home Economics Department moved to the upper floor of a new two-story wooden vocational training building, which had been recently constructed behind the high school. The first floor was reserved for the agricultural program. In later years, the structure was sold, moved to Fulton Street and converted into a private residence. It was finally torn down during the 1980s.

In 1913, teacher training courses were organized at the Hannibal High School.  Classes were taught in the room recently vacated by the Home Economics Department. This one-year program furnished many able teachers to the rural schools of the Town of Hannibal and the surrounding area. Teacher training classes were eliminated in 1933.

Before there were school buses or many automobiles, many rural students had to either drive a horse to school or stay in the village during the week in order to acquire a high school education. For students who drove a horse and buggy, parents had to provide an extra horse for the purpose.

In addition, arrangements had to be made to stable the horse in a barn of shed in the village during school hours. This could cause considerable sacrifice on the part of the parents.

A popular alternative to this was ‘basket boarding.’ Under this arrangement, students brought food from home and stayed with someone in the village during the week for a fee. Among those who took boarders in the early 1900s were Ethel Phillips Gault, Emma Wilson, Mina Brackett, Mrs. Green, Melzar and Edna Van Auken and Robbie Metcalf.

Basket boarding was practiced not only by high school students from rural areas but also by those who attended teacher training classes in Hannibal.  Basket boarding disappeared after the teacher training classes were eliminated and cars became more numerous.

To be continued…


The Southwest Oswego United Methodist Church will have a roast beef dinner at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, with takeouts available. The menu is roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, cole slaw, roll, beverage and homemade pie for dessert.

Hannibal Senior Dining Center meets at noon for dinner at the Senior Center (Library Building) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Come early for coffee and news or to work on a jigsaw puzzle or  play games or just some idle chit-chat.  Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation, 564-5471.  This week’s menu is:

Monday:  Homemade macaroni & cheese, scalloped tomatoes, vegetable blend, ice cream

Wednesday:  Meatball sub, Italian blend vegetables, tossed salad, cookie

Friday:   Turkey sloppy Joe, rice pilaf, vegetable blend, fruit cocktail

Activities:  Monday —  games; Wednesday — music with Deanna, bingo after lunch; Friday —  jewelry-making

News from the Elderberries:

Elderberry Thanksgiving dinner will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Community Center.  If you haven’t signed up to bring something, give Gloria Simmons a call to find out what’s missing,

There will be a sign-up list and money for the Christmas dinner will be collected.

There will be no meeting Nov. 26.

Future meetings will be at noon until spring.

The Christmas gathering will be at noon Dec. 10 at the American Legion. Catered by Brenda Fletcher.

The Friends of the Hannibal Library have two upcoming events of interest.  A wreath making workshop will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 16 at Beckwiths Tree Farm, Mill Street, Hannibal. Take home an evergreen wreath. All supplies are included, ribbon for bows extra. Signup at the library by calling 564-5471 or Linda at 564-6643. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

The annual Thanksgiving Raffle Basket is at the library full of great stuff for your holiday. It has a gift card from the Village Market, gift certificate from Travis Floral, turkey platter, tablecloths and more. Drawing is Nov. 24.

Plans are underway for the celebration of the 10th Annual Country Christmas in the town of Hannibal Nov. 23 and 24.  This event kicks off the holiday season and showcases local merchants’ seasonal offerings.

The Friends of the Library will hold their annual Christmas Tree Festival Nov. 23 and 24 at the Community Center, 162 Oswego St.. Visitors can bid on decorated trees and wreaths.

Oswego County Hospice will be celebrating Hospicetality at several area restaurants. Having been a recipient of Hospice when my husband was ill, I urge your support. Canale’s Nov. 12, Ruby Tuesday’s (Oswego) Nov. 14. Canale’s and Ruby Tuesday require a coupon which is good for lunch and dinner. Arena’s Eis House, Mexico, for dinner only on Nov. 19.

Shirts ‘N Skirts, Square Dance Club, meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Friday  at the Fulton Municipal Building, South First Street. Admission is $5.

All ages are welcome, under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Info: 591-0093 or email

The Hannibal Village Board meets the second Monday of the month.  11-11

The Hannibal Town Board meets the third Wednesday of the month.  11-20

Remember this column is about and for the people of Hannibal and the surrounding area.  If you have an event that you would like the public to know about, send me an e-mail or give me a quick call.

Rita Hooper 706-3564

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