A clipping from the The Mirror, a publication of Norwood High School students.
Vol. IV, No. 7, March, 1918


By Prof William S. Cadman

    There is a old document in the possession of the Norwood Board of Education, which is of much interest to the student of local history as it gives the earliest authentic information we have concerning school matters in the region now called Norwood. It is a lease by which David Mills and his wife conveyed to the Trustees of the Sharpsburgh school a piece of land upon the Columbia—now Smith road. This land was in shape "a compleat parallelogram" four perches wide and three perches deep, or 66 ft. by 48½ ft. (sic–should be 49½ ft.; 1 perch=16.5 feet); just about four times as large as one of our High School class-rooms.
    The language of the lease shows that the school house was already standing upon the property, and it seems probable that David Mills had allowed the school to use his land without charge previous to the making of this instrument.
    The exact location of this lot is unknown, but it was certainly somewhere in the north-east part of the present Central school property. Lying upon the Columbia road it did not extend back to the Pike and so the school boys of that day who lived along the Pike to the south used to jump the back fence and cut across lots to save the longer trip up to the forks of the road, some hundreds of feet to the north—where the B. & O. Bridge now stands. The School house was a small brick structure of one room, which served not only for the school, but also as a town hall and as church.
    Probably the only person now living who went to this school is Mr. Edward Mills, a nephew of David Mills, the lessor, to whom the writer is indebted for much interesting information. Of the five persons named as leasees and witnesses one has left his name on the map of Norwood. Williams avenue is named after the family of which Rezin (not Reason) Williams was the head, and Rezin Williams' great-grand children now attend the Williams Avenue School.
    Two curious facts are worthy of note: the lease was made September 8, 1828, but was not recorded until November 3, 1846. David Mills gave a lease for ninety-nine years and renewable forever so long as the property was used for school purposes, but when the Board of Education found it necessary to buy the property outright so that it might be put to other use, it was necessary to pay the heirs of David Mills, fifteen hundred dollars to extinguish their rights in the property.
    A copy of the lease follows with spelling, punctuation and capitalization exactly as prepared by William Baxter ninety years ago.
    This indenture witnesseth that whereas David Mills and Elizabeth his wife of Hamilton County State of Ohio of the first part and Robert Benefiel, Samuel M. Frazee and Reason Williams, Trustees of the Sharpsburg school of the said County aforesaid of the second part that covenanted and agreed together as follows, viz: That the said David Mills and Elizabeth his Wife, for and in consideration of the sum of five dollars to them in hand paid by the above named Trustees of the second part do agree to Lease unto them and to their successors in Office as Trustees of said School a certain Lot or Parcel of Land whereon the said School house now stands laying and being on the easterly boundary of said Mill's land adjoining the Columbia road leading to Sharpsburgh in the thirty-fourth section of the second fractional range Columbia Township Miami purchase containing twelve perches and bounded as follows beginning at a stake for a corner forty perches from the south-east corner of said Mills' Land and running thence from said corner North fifty-five minutes West four perches to a stake for a corner thence West fifty-five minutes South, three perches to a stake for a corner, thence South fifty-five minutes, East four perches to a stake for a corner, then East fifty-five minutes North at the place of begining making a compleat parallelogram and containing twelve perches which said Lot the said David Mills and Elizabeth his Wife doth covenant and agree for the above named consideration of five dollars which they do hereby acknowledge to have received to Lease upon the said Trustees of said School and to their successors in office the said Lot with all the privaleges and apurtinances to be used for a school and no other purposes thereunto belonging for the term of ninety-nine years and should it continue to be occupied for the use of the school that it shall then be considered as a renewal of the Lease from time to time during such occupancy. In Witness whereof the said David Mills and Elizabeth his Wife have hereunto set their Hands and Seals this eight day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight.
    The presence of Us:
Abel Woolverton                 David Mills (Seal)
Wm. Baxter                   Elizabeth Mills (Seal)
    The State of Ohio, Hamilton County, ss ........................ personally came before me, one of the Acting Justices of the Peace, of said County the within named David Mills with Elizabeth, his Wife, who being examined as the law directs, who acknowledged the within Indenture to be their voluntary act and deed for the purposes within mentioned.
    As witness my hand this Eighth Day of September, 1828,
William Baxter, J. P. (Seal)