Thursday, November 21, 2013

Class of 1883 NVHS

The Class of 1883 was the third class to graduate from New Vienna High School.  The high school was organized in 1878 and the first class graduated in 1881.  The five members of the Class of 1883 were Ella Blackburn, Harry Brewer, Nellie Conard, Clayton Nordyke, and Marley Rayburn.  More information about them follows.
School 1878-1917 New Vienna Ohio
Superintendent of New Vienna School in 1883 was John F. Fenton (1848-1909) who served as Supt. from 1881-1885.  He was born in Brown County, attended Southwest Normal College in Lebanon, and taught school in Brown County before accepting the New Vienna position.  Later he became Supt. of Schools in Coshocton.

The graduating class of 1883 was made up of three women and two men.  They were born about 1865 at the end of the Civil War.  No information is known about Nellie Conard, but of the other four one became a doctor (most likely the first woman doctor to have graduated from NVHS); one a lawyer; one a Manufacturing Chemist of patent medicine, who had a "day" job as a railroad conductor and the fourth died at the young age of 22.  Only one of the five is known to have married and none of them are known to have had children.

  • Clayton Brown Nordyke - 1864-1943, second of two children born to Thomas Rich Nordyke, a Green Township farmer, and Elizabeth A. Gifford Nordyke.  His mother died when he was three, and his father remarried to Mary Ann Morey and had six additional children between 1870 and 1889.  In the 1880 census he and three of his half-siblings are living with David and Martha Truitt Curtis, great-grandparents of Virginia Eaton Hildebrant.  Clayton graduated from Earlham College in 1887, and was employed as a teacher in Los Angeles, California in 1888.  In 1890 Clayton married Luella Eliza Clark from Indiana.  He moved to Denver, Colorado before 1900 and worked as a Patent Medicine Dealer (1900 census); Manufacturing Chemist (1910 Earlham College Alumni Info), and Railroad Conductor (1920 census).  He died and was buried in Colorado in 1943. 
  • Clayton Brown Nordyke & Luella Eliza Clark Nordyke gravestone
    Clayton B & Luella E Nordyke Gravestone, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
  • Ella Blackburn - 1866-1961, third of seven children of Washington and Mary Ann Good Blackburn.  Her father was a farmer in Fairfield and Penn Townships.  She became a physician and had a medical practice in Shelby County, Indiana (1900 census); worked in a hospital in Cook County, Illinois (1910); and as a physician in Henry, Iowa after moving to Iowa in 1912.  In 1920 at the age of 53 she had returned to the New Vienna area, living with her widowed mother in Penn Township.  By 1940 she had moved to The Bethesda Home for the Aged in the Clifton area of Cincinnati.  She died, never having married, in 1961 at age 95.
    Ella Blackburn (1866-1961) Obituary
    Ella Blackburn (1866-1961) Obituary, Hillsboro Press-Gazette 14 Apr 1961, p7
  • Harry Brewer - 1865-after 1940, second of seven children of Josiah Brewer and Emma Conard Brewer.  His father was a farmer in Green Township but died in 1879, when Harry was 14.  He worked on the farm while attending NVHS.  He became a lawyer and lived with his sister, Anna Brewer Whipple, and her husband, Myron, in Chicago from before 1920 until after 1940.  He never married.
  • Nellie Conard - about 1865 - ? - no information confirmed, though there was a Nelle Wilson Conard who graduated from Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania) in 1893 and died in 1902.  There were many Conards in the New Vienna area in the 1800s but the closest name I could verify was Sarah Ellen Conard, born 1862, however her nickname appears to have been Sadie.  There is also a Nellie Conard mentioned in the Hillsboro newspaper (Highland Weekly News, May 30, 1878, p3) in 1878 (about age 13) when she was one of the top 10 students at Hillsboro's Union School.
  • Lemarley "Marley" Rayburn - 1865-1888, third of nine children of Thomas W Rayburn and Emeline Underwood Rayburn.  Her father was a farmer in Penn Township.  Other siblings who graduated from NVHS include:  William Clinton "Will" Rayburn was in the 1881 first graduating class of NVHS; Lida Rayburn Saum, NVHS 1882; Myrtle Rayburn Mills, NVHS 1888; May Rayburn Roads, NVHS 1890; and Charles Brown Rayburn, NVHS 1895. Sadly, Marley died in 1888 at the age of 22 and is buried in the New Vienna IOOF Cemetery.


  1. For such a small class they did very well in terms of careers. I also saw the Virginia Hildebrant reference---it is neat how things seem to be interconnected and interwoven. Thanks much!

  2. The school pictured above---I wonder why it was torn down so soon---it was not even 40 years old. I also wonder what is up with the strange looking chimney thing on top of the school building --- it has a little tree house looking thing attached---??

  3. The strange looking thing on top was a cupola – sometimes used to provide a lookout, but mostly to admit light and air. The school history states: "This building was removed from the school lot in the summer of 1917, when a new modern fireproof building was constructed and was ready for the school term starting in September of 1918." The source for that is the New Vienna High School Memory Book 1881-1963.

    I've read elsewhere (can't find the source at the moment) that the old building, pictured in this post, did suffer a fire and that students attended classes elsewhere throughout town during the school year of 1917-1918. Some of the younger students in the then opera house, a portion of which later became the NV Senior Center. Older students had classrooms above some of the downtown stores.