Eliza Northop

When many people of Medina hear the name Eliza Northrop, the first thing that comes to mind is the Elementary school that was named after her. While miss Northrop lived in the earlier 1800s, she is a very important person in the history of this town.

Eliza Northrop was the daughter of a pioneer family that moved to Medina from Connecticut. As a young woman, she became the first teacher in the very first school in Medina.

Established in 1817, miss Northrop's class took place in a small log cabin. There were 24 students, both boys and girls, of various ages who attended the school. These children came to class willingly whenever they were able to get out of working at home.

Eliza Northrop's school is very different from the school system we have in place today. Over time, schools have changed to accommodate the demands of the time. Schools today are much bigger and there is a public school system in place. A lot has changed, but Eliza Northrop is the one who started it all in Medina.


Images

One Room School House

One Room School House

Eliza Northrop taught in a small, one-room, log cabin beginning in July of 1817. This cabin, however, was not just a school. This small building was used as a common meeting place. It was used as a school, a church, and a meeting hall for the entire community. Miss Northrop would teach from math books and bibles to the children who would come to class whenever they could get out of working at home. Since there was no public school system in place, families would pay a monthly fee that went towards the teacher's pay. Some families were not able to get the money in time, however, so she would often have to wait until she could be paid. Her school was not very long lived though. By 1818, just one year after the school was established, there was a fire that destroyed the building and put an end to the school. After the fire, Eliza Northrop married Giles Barnes and gave up teaching. Not much else is known about her after that. Image courtesy of Gloria Brown's blog View File Details Page

Pioneer History of Medina County

Pioneer History of Medina County

Eliza Northrop was part of the History of Medina County. This book, Written by a relative of hers, mentions her a few times. Included is information about her one room school house, the 24 students who attended, how teachers were paid, and what the school was like. The book also tells us that Eliza Northrop's wedding was the very first wedding to take place in Medina County. Although it was written by a family member, Eliza Northrop is not carried out through the entire book. Her name is mentioned while the author tells of early education in Medina County. This is the best source of information about her, as it was written by someone who was related to her. However, there isn't much information in it about her other than the basics of her short-lived teaching career. (Image courtesy of Casey Ridings) View File Details Page

Eliza Northrop started the first school in Medina County, but she was not the only educated one in her family. A relative of hers, N.B. Northrop, wrote a book called "Pioneer History of Medina County" in 1861. This book tells about the earlier settlers of Medina and what life was like. Much of the known information about Eliza Northrop comes from this book, which can be found at the Medina Public Library. The book explains that everything must start somewhere. during the 1800s, Medina was just getting started. The start of a town means that many different things must be established and that can only happen if someone steps up and takes on that responsibility. It is mentioned that Eliza Northrop is responsible for two known "firsts" in Medina county. Being the first teacher in Medina was a big accomplishment because she was the one who got the idea and importance of education established in the county. She was also the first to be married within Medina county when she married Giles Barnes in 1818, just after the school house was destroyed by fire. (Image courtesy of Casey Ridings) View File Details Page

Miss Northrop's Legacy

Miss Northrop's Legacy

Eliza Northrop's legacy lives on in Medina today. We now have a full school system set up, which includes seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and a senior high school. What started off as 24 students in 1817 is now a very large school system where thousands of kids in grades Kindergarten through 12 attend school five days a week. One of the more recently built elementary schools was even named after Eliza Northrop. This is very fitting because elementary school is where a child's education begins, just as the history of education in Medina began with Miss Eliza Northrop herself. (Image courtesy of www.mcsoh.org) View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Casey Ridings, “Eliza Northop,” Discover Medina, accessed July 21, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/74.
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