West Bush School


Jeanne (Smulen) Galway grew up in Johnstown in the mid 1900's.  She has fond memories of the area, as she later moved away.  She returned upon poor health of her parents and now resides in her parents home, full of treasures!  The following is a description of the West Bush School from her memories of 1943 thru 1951, as well as teachers who taught during that time and fellow students.

West Bush School District #17, Town of Johnstown was built in 1901. In the School Meeting records of August 14 of that year it states that it was to be built on corner of Peckville and Bull Run roads. These roads are known today as the West Bush Road and the Burdick Road. It was on the west side of the West Bush Road as it turns down the hill connecting with Route 309. (Known by locals as the Bleecker Road.)

The school was sold when the District consolidated with District #16, Meco School in the Town of Johnstown in 1956 or 1957. The property is now owned by Ernest and Joan Western. 

At the front East end of the school was a small kitchen, with a door that led to the a class room where grade one thru four were taught. On the petition between the kitchen and this class room was a black board. The Teachers desk was in front of the black board. There were also black boards, as well as a large clock, on either side of the petition that separated the rooms. The students desk were in rows, in front of the Teachers desk. The number desks changed from year to year. Across the front wall of the class room there was a book case and three windows. At the the opposite end of the room from the Teachers desk was the door to the main hall.

There were three windows on the wall of the second room.  That room could be entered by using a door in the kitchen, making the kitchen excisable to both rooms.  Upon entering the second room there was the stage area, on either side of the door were book cases, that reached from ceiling to floor. The "stage" floor was not raised but level with the second class room, where grades five thru eight were taught.  The teacher's desk was at the opposite end of the room facing the stage.  Desks were between the stage area and the Teachers desk. To the right, when facing the teacher's desk, was the door that entered the main hall way.  There was at some point a telephone installed the school and it was located in the second class room, next to the teacher's desk.

On the front West end of the building was located three step to the main entrance door, which was covered by a roof. Behind the door was the a common hallway, on the left were doors to both the first and second room.  On the right across from the class room doors were the cloak/bathrooms.  The boys was in the front of the building and the girls at the rear of the building.  A petition was placed at end of the boy's room and one at front of the girl's room, creating a space of about four feet, which was an open area where a table could be set-up to sell tickets or refreshments when dances, ect. were held in the school.  At the end of the hall directly opposite the main door was a door that lead to a landing with an outside door or you could continue down the stairs to the cellar.

The School bell was located on the roof over the main entrance, with the bell rope coming through the ceiling of the closet in the front class room.  A warning bell was rang at 10 of 9 in morning and the final bell promptly at 9 A.M.  No one had to ring a bell at 4:10 P.M. -  for we all watched the clock when that time was near.  The Teacher dismissed us.  School was over for another day.


who tough during the years of 1943 thru 1951 at West Bush School,
District #17, Town of Johnstown, Fulton County, New York.

Mrs. Bernice Dodge
Mrs. Elizabeth Shear
Miss Mary Melita
Miss Asieta Altamar 
Miss Jennie Yuckniewicz
Miss Lucille Martin
Elizabeth Keller

The majority of these teachers were from the Johnstown - Gloversville area.  There were two exceptions - Miss Yuckniewicz was from St. Johnsville, N.Y. and Miss Altamar was from Long Island, N.Y.

These two teachers were not at the West Bush School during the same period of time. However they both roomed at the home of Clifford and Mildred Walters. Their farm was located directly across from the school, on the road that is now referred to as the Skunk Hallow Road.

Miss Altamar later married George Ward the son of Grace and Eugene Ward.  Mrs. Ward was not only a faithful member of the P. T. A., she also served as the janitor for many years.  This required a great deal more than keeping up with floors and emptying waste-paper baskets. She had to keep the coal furnace from going out, not only during school hours but during the night a well. She was a much respected member of the community. 

During the WW II years finding teachers was very difficult, especially for a rural school district. Occasionally we had teachers who had not completed the four years at college to receive a Teaching Certificate from New York State. Their dedication to teaching us those first eight years, gave us the background to continue and acquire a higher education.


School District #17, Town of Johnstown
West Bush 
Names Of Student In 1940's Thru 1950's


Carolyn McLain Lee Bartlett
Ruth Bartlett Eleanor Walters
Arthur Edel George Edel
John Edel Larry McLain
Ronald Cook Richard Cook
Marlene Woodcock Howard Ayers
Henry Ayres Allen Woodcock
Marilyn Woodcock Betty Clark
Freda Clark Mary Clark
Loretta Woodcock Edgar Miles
Leonard Beck Janet Chase
Claude Beck Tony D'Onofrio
Hedden Beck Wesley Hurd
Clifford Beck Marion Edel
Leona Beck Patricia Beck
Carol Beck Ronnie Beck
Janet Beck *Rebecca Colson
Alfred Roy *Judith Colson
Raymond Roy *Gary Carpenter
Paul Roy *Paula Carpenter
Kathy Rose Beverly Vosburgh
Fitch Rose Francis Vosburgh
Boy (?) Cummings Jim Armstrong
Alice Cummings Steve Armstrong
Jim Cummings Ricky Beauchamp
Burt Cummings David Johnson
Alta Cummings Philip Johnson
Joyce Foland Barbara Johnson
Betty Richards Betty Button
Clarence Richards Mary Ann Button
Louise Edel Kenneth Button
Caroline Smith Joyce Rose
Jimmy Smith Lois Walters
Caroline Smith David Walters
Margaret Kimball Bucky Walters
Grace Ward Gary Smullen
Audrey Ward David Rhdes
Ruth Edel Barbara Smullen
Leslie Ryder Robert White
Jeanne Smullen Delbert Buyce
Sandra Oathout Kirk Oathout
Roland Oathout Carol Cook
Carol Edel  

*Washburn School District Contracted to bring their Elementary School age children to West Bush School District #17. These 4 children were brought to the school by car.  Mrs. Elizabeth Shear, who lived on Pearl Street in Gloversville and taught grades 5 thru 8, picked up these children from the Washburn Hill School District and brought them to West Bush School on a daily basis. Several other children's families who had lived in that district had moved into West Bush District.

I believe these were all the children who were of school age that remained in Washburn school at that time, unless their parents choose to take them to Gloversville to attend school. 

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Copyright 2001, Jeanne Galway
Copyright 2001, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:10:43 PDT