Eleven former students of the one-room schools of Northampton Township gathered July 14 at the Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church grove for their 11th annual combined reunion.
As in the previous years, the reunion provided prime time for the former students, their spouses and other invited guests to turn back the time and reminisce about times — more than 70 years ago — when the school bells rang at the former Wagaman, Brush Creek, Bauman, Southampton-Glencoe, and the Philson one-room room school houses to begin classes.
Before consolidation of the Northampton Schools into the Berlin Brothersvalley School District, the Northampton Township students obtained their common school education at their neighborhood schools. The pupils formed life-long friendships with other students and mingled with neighbors and other scattered families that resided in the mountains of a township that is best known today for its hunting and fishing opportunities.
Fae (Keidel) Hetrick, a former student of the Bauman one-room school, read off numerous names of living former pupils of the five one-room school houses. She shared the history of the various Northampton Township schools reuniting for a combined reunion during the past 11 years.
This combined gathering came at the heels of the Bauman School reunions that were strong in attendance in 1990 when they began, but which eventually dwindled down to such a small number. At that time former Bauman School students invited all the former township school pupils together to regenerate their social activity.
The pupils from the school houses that once existed in the areas of the villages of Glencoe, Philson, Southampton Mills, Johnsburg and along the Brush Creek came together to revitalize an interesting day for many Northampton Township natives.
David R. Hay, a volunteer at the Berlin Area Historical Society, conducted a short business meeting and encouraged the group to share their school and family memories. Duane Bittner of Somerset and his brother Leo Bittner of Brothersvalley Township shared about the gloves they purchased at the former Martz Store in the Village of Glencoe, where they and their brother Lawrence grew up and attended the Southampton (Glencoe) one-room school.
During recent months, Northampton Township lost its oldest brick residence to fire. It was the home of Mike and Carol Weimer in recent decades and formerly was the Theodore and Pauline Bauman family home along Danny's Lane. The bricks for the century-old farm house were made on the farm.
Edison Garlitz was named treasurer of the reunion to succeed William L. France who died during the past year. Copies of Farm, Field and Garden Magazine containing a story about Nora (Hittie) Ackerman and her cousin, Henry Hittie and their families' associations with Northampton Township farms and the current Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church were distributed.