Sherrard High School 1911 ---- 1968 Historical Information
(Photo courtesy of Erma Grandstaff Melvin)
The area of Sherrard (named in honor of landowner and Congressman Sherrard Clemens), developed as a farming community. Early
settlers included John Stupe, Peter Orum, Sr., the McHenrys and the Caldwells.
Sherrard is located nearly midway between Wheeling and Moundsville via the hilltops. It is also midway between Wheeling Creek and Little Grave Creek. Route 88, which bisects Sherrard, developed as the "Wheeling and Fairmont Road", also called Fairmont Pike and Waynesburg Pike (1840). The toll road to the east provided a busy route for cattle drovers to markets, many "way stations" dotting the road. The community, primarily farmland and residential, is not incorporated and does not support a town government. At one time, the dairy business was the main enterprise. Sherrard High School was constructed in 1911. (See PHOTO circa 1900s) Today, students attend the consolidated John Marshall High School. The area does boast a modern junior high school and new elementary school.
Note: The above mentioned Sherrard Clemens is cousin to the well known author, Samuel Clemens (MARK TWAIN).
From the History of Marshall County, 1984.
History of Sherrard School
Found in the corner stone of the old Sherrard High School building and in alumni albums were old newspaper clippings giving some of the following information about the school's inception. One marked 1906 told of a meeting to ask for a new school. However, the community had to wait until Benwood and McMechen schools were completed. Before plans could even be made there was another year's delay. Finally, plans were made and the building to house the first consolidated school in the state of West Virginia was built in 1911.
During the first semester of 1911 and 1912 while the school was under construction, classes were held over the old Sherrard store. This store was owned by D.M. Garvin. The students furnished their own transportation. A.W. Curtis was the first principal and only instructor. Later Wilma Spears, his step-sister, was added to the faculty. At this time there were only grades 9 and 10.
In 1912-1913, six one-room schools were consolidated and Sherrard had all eight grades and a three-year high school. The year 1913 was the first graduating class with two seniors proudly receiving their diplomas. (See PHOTO of 1913 Sherrard Diploma) In 1914-1915, the school became a four-year high school. Mr. J. Evans was the next principal and apparently there were no seniors in 1914 as there was no mention in existing records of a graduation that year. However, the following year and every year thereafter there was a graduation until the final class of 1968. (Photo right shows horse-drawn school buses.)
A gymnasium was later added to the building with additional classrooms underneath. During World War II the students participated in air raid drills and all crowded into the lower cement hallways as an area of shelter if ever needed. In addition to the above principals, the following men were principals until the school's closing: Walter Duncan, A. F. Shroyer, Fred Bradley, Ernest Stutzman, James C. Cox, E. K. Merinar, John J. Kady, Hugh Mason, Sherrill Wilson, Karl Niekamp, and Raphael Deegan. While four spent seven years at the helm, Mr. Merinar held the post the longest with nine years - 1934 through 1943. The building from which students proudly received their education was razed in 1978. The wrecking crew told those observing the demolition that the building was so sturdy they had to use the wrecking ball many times to make the first dent. The corner stone was saved and is now located at Sherrard Elementary School which is situated on the same grounds of the original facility. Many Marshall County residents now have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren who have passed through the halls of Sherrard School.
Since records are not available, it is not known when the alumni reunions began, but many were held in the high school gymnasium. During the war years they were discontinued but then resumed when the school was changed to a junior high facility in 1968. The organizational meeting was held in June of that year with 34 of 55 classes represented. Many hours were spent finding names and addresses of the graduates. A collection was taken at this meeting to enable the reunion committee ot send out notices of the upcoming reunion. A grand total of $42 was collected. Sherrard reunions have continued since that time. While many who attended those early reunions are no longer with us, or were unable to attend, it is everyone's wish that they continue for many years to come.