History of Pavilion Academy
By Marcellus H. Evans
Published in the Kendall County Record, June 15, 1932
Edited & compiled by Elmer Dickson
Highland, CA, June 1, 1932.
Dear old Record:
I saw in a recent issue of the Kendall County Record a reference to the old "Academy" at Pavilion. I have just been reading in the Record of May 25, that fine article on "History of Millbrook Methodist Church," by Miss Laura A. Nichols.
It is thirty-six years today since we landed in Highland, California. Over seventy years ago I went to school in the "Old Pavilion Academy." I think the only people living who were pupils at that time are that lovely woman of Yorkville, Mrs. Zillah Kellett Dunn, my sister, Mrs. E. E. Elsdon, living here, and myself.
I do not know the exact date the Academy was built. The original building was torn down many years ago and the present building was built out of the material (brick) from the old. When built, it was the largest building for many miles in any direction. Until torn down there was a "half way" wooden partition with folding doors that could be thrown open to use the entire building in an emergency. The southerly end of the building was used as a school. My father, John Evans, came to Pavilion in 1835, then twenty-three years of age.
The first church building in that neighborhood was a log house standing on the north side of the "Big Slough," on the Lew Martner place, about eighty rods north of the "Roberts (John) schoolhouse," later known as the Sherman (Nick) school."
When the "Academy" was built, some time later, there were two churches involved in the arrangement, the Methodist Episcopal and the Baptist. These two churches held services alternately, one on one Sunday, the other the next. The same choir sang for both, and my father was the chorister. The only difference that ever showed itself between these two churches in their beautiful relationship, was that the Methodist people said "amen" a little louder than the Baptist people did.
This arrangement went on for many years. When separating, the Baptist people built the old Baptist Church building now standing at Pavilion. The Methodist people went three miles south of Pavilion to what was then known as the Lewis District. It was there that the grand old man, whom we all loved, "Father Lewis", Reverend Michael Lewis, held forth for so many years. Reverend Lewis was the grandfather of George Needham of Yorkville.
Senator John R. Marshall was my first County Superintendent of Schools and Scott Coy the second. Hugh Marshall, youngest brother of the Senator, was my "seat mate" in school. He was a brilliant fellow. I shall never forget the day when word came to the schoolhouse that Hugh had been killed by a runaway team.
Before my day, many young men and women came from a distance and "attended school" at the "Academy." Boarding with the neighbors.
My, I could write for two weeks, night and day, of the experiences clustered around that old school. Our boys' "swimming pool" was upon the old Marshall homestead, half a mile south of the schoolhouse in the woods where there was a very large "pond"
How we did enjoy it when our backs began to "peel," each of us losing about enough hide to make a "blacksmith's apron." Sincerely to "You All," signed M. H. Evans.