A moment in local history, Orders Road School

Photos courtesy of Janet Shailer
Above, the Orders Road School now sits at Century Village in Fryer Park. Below, are the old fashioned desks children used at the school.

By Janet Shailer
Southwest Franklin County Historical Society

The state of Ohio was 12 years into its history when Jackson Township was organized in 1815. At that time, the land was full of rich agricultural soil, but very few inhabitants.

The Orders Road School is just a quarter-mile from Harrisburg Pike on farm land once owned by the Orders Family. Today it is part of Century Village at Fryer Park.

Early education in Jackson Township

Although educational standards for rural children did not exist during the early 1800s, Jackson Township already had one log schoolhouse built by 1815. The Borror School, built on the Solomon Borror farm at the corner of Jackson Pike and state Route 665, was built to serve the Borror, Seeds, Fishel and Fitzgerald families.

By the 1870s, most states had enacted compulsory education laws. In rural areas, township school districts built schools like the Orders Road School and assessed local citizens for upkeep and teachers’ salaries.

In 1879, Allen and Mary Orders deeded one acre of land to the Jackson Township Board of Education to build Schoolhouse No. 10, known as the Orders Road School.

Other one-room schools dotted rural Jackson Township. They included the Hopewell School (corner of Stringtown Road and Jackson Pike), the Walnut Grove/Taylor School (Seeds Road), the Lakeview School (Holton Road), the Hoover School, the Barbee School, the Fairview School, the Oakwood School, the Greenleaf School and the
Urbancrest School.

The Orders Road School was deeded back to the farm’s owners in 1928.

Orders family

The family that farmed this land in the 1800s typified 19th century Ohio settlement patterns. After serving with General Anthony Wayne at Fort Greenville in the mid-1790s, English immigrant Jonas Orders came to central Ohio from Virginia in 1805. Neighbor Sarah Ford nursed him through a frontier illness. They married and established a farm in 1829. Of their 10 children, one son, Allen, and his wife, Mary Galion Orders, farmed here through the mid-1800s, raised seven children and provided land for the school. Their son, Jonas Orders II, served in the 113th Ohio Regiment during the Civil War and was wounded at Chickamauga. He married Sarah Knagi and lived here with their eight children. Early in the 20th century, the family left the farm.

Transportation to school

The distance from the Orders Road School to the homes which it served was, at greatest length, two miles. Students were either taken to school in a horse-drawn wagon (or sleigh), rode their own horse or walked.

In colder weather, farm children often were given a half-baked potato to hold while they walked to school to keep their hands warm.

Typical school dress

Girls: most wore cotton dresses, cotton skirts and blouses, aprons, shawls or scarves, bonnets, shoes with laces.

Boys: most boys wore some combination of boots or laced shoes, woolen, cotton or corduroy trousers with suspenders, cotton or flannel shirts, and denim overalls, knickers with long socks, vests, straw hats, and caps.

Course of study

Students were generally in the ages of 5-16. There were about 15-40 students at each one-room school. It was not unusual to have several children from one family studying in the room. The older children often helped the younger ones.

The day-to-day course of study included reading, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, writing and penmanship, geography, and history.

At the end of eighth grade, students could take an exam for graduation. Jackson Township did not provide high school education until 1894 when it set aside room in the old Park Street School for secondary studies. High school then was a three-year course of study. The first class to graduate in 1896 was comprised of four students – Evelyn McGiven, Lillie Barbee, Lizzie Jones and Sally Jones.

Typical lunch

Students ate mostly what they consumed at home: lard or sugar sandwiches, jam sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cold pancakes, biscuits, bacon, sausage, peanut butter, cheese, apples, carrots and homemade cookies. If students brought a half-baked potato to school to hold to keep their hands warm on cold days, they could put the potato in the stove until fully cooked and eat it for lunch.


Teachers in one-room schools were strict about discipline. Titles of Miss, Mister, Ma’am or Sir were the rule. Pupils spoke only when called upon by the teacher or if their hands were raised. They all followed the Golden Rule – courtesy, fairness, and good manners.

Punishment for misbehavior included standing in the corner with a nose to the wall, sitting on a stool wearing a dunce cap, given a whipping with a leather strap or birch switch, and a boxing of the ears.

Restoration of the Orders Road School

Plans began in the late 1990s to restore the school and, in 2001, restoration commenced. Funds for the project were donated by the city of Grove City and Jackson Township. Much of the labor and supplies were donated. The cost of the restoration project was $101,000.

The city of Grove City and the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society maintain the building. The next tours will be conducted in the spring. To book groups for a tour of the Orders Road Schoolhouse, contact Linda Lewis at 871-5247.

The Southwest Franklin County Historical Society meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Life Center of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3220 Columbus St., Grove City. Everyone is welcome to join.


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  1. I was told that my Great Great Grandfather, George Weygandt, was the architect of this building. I do not live in Ohio and can not visit. I wondered if his name is on the informational sign in front of the building.

  2. I’m descended from those Orders folks. One of their descendants, Joshua Orders, moved to Hardin County, and that’s where 700 or so of us are centered. I’ve only in the last couple of years made contact with the Orders cousins that remained in the Columbus area. Fascinating news story!


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