(Union County History, High School Library,
Copes Chapel was used as a schoolhouse until the first school building was erected in 1858, and was called the Jersey School. It was a one-room building twenty-four by thirty-six feet, and it accommodated fifty or sixty pupils. It was closed in 1895,and in 1904 a brick building took its place.
The following is an article called "School Daze" written by John E. McMahan as a pupil at Jersey School in 1904.
There was much activity in the Jersey neighborhood that summer of 1904. A new brick schoolhouse was being built to replace the old frame building. But as is often the case, the new edifice was not ready at the start of the new school year.
That is why I started my first couple of months of the school year in the old frame building. Then we moved across the road to the new place. The new building had no water fountain, but a pump in the school yard took care of our needs along with a tin cup for all to use. Mother, thinking that was not very sanitary, bought an aluminum collapsible cup that could be carried in the pocket or dinner pail. Of course, this being a new thing everyone had to try it, thereby defeating the purpose for which it had been purchased.
There was a rail fence along the road, and often we teeter-tottered by using a rail taken from the fence. A nice flat one was better than a round or three-cornered one, as it didn't roll and was more comfortable to ride. Those sharp rails were murder.
The little kids shoved the rail through the fence for a low ride while the older and braver boys put their rail over the top of the fence and sailed high in the air. I don't recall that the farmer ever complained about the condition of his fence.
We sometimes played town ball. We made our own rules, and a baseball as we know it now was unheard of. What we used was made of cord string, tied together and wound as tight as we could get it. There must have been a shortage of string in all our mothers' kitchens. Sometimes we had to stop the game until the ball was rewound. A flat board was the bat. It worked fine because it was the best we had, and we didn't know of any better way.
Sister Ethel and I walked the half mile to school and carried our lunches. I think Ethel used a basket, but I insisted on using a lard bucket that would hold a couple of sandwiches and anapple. Guess I thought the pail wasn't as sissified as a bucket. Anyway, that's how a kid's mind works sometimes.
This new schoolhouse was more modern than the old one. It had a cupola or tower with a bell and cloakrooms on each side of the entrance -- one for the boys and one for the girls. (The comfort stations, we didn't call them that in the old days, were out back.) This building even had a basement. I'm not sure about the heating system but think it was a wood-burning heater in the basement. The teacher was janitor as well as instructor. Occasionally, if the big boys were good, they would be allowed to ring the bell and fire the furnace.
The windows were large and provided all the light necessary for day-time study, but when a special event was held at night there must have been oil lamps with reflectors.
Ironically, the new brick building is now a heap of rubble, while the old, discarded frame one is still there and in use --probably as a granary or tool shed.