The history of Milton Middle School can only be told by including the history of education in Milton, Delaware. Education was, and still is, a vital factor in our community. On January 27, 1819, the Milton Academy was incorporated. The Hon. Joseph Maull, Arthur Milby, John D. Smith, Hon. David Hazzard, Eli Hall, William Morgan and Cornelius Carey were appointed commissioners and given the task of opening the school. Later a meeting of stockholders was held January 7, 1820. It was declared that the necessary amount of stock at $5 per share had been subscribed. The meeting was presided over by ex-Governor David Hazzard, and Peter T. Wright was chosen secretary. John Ponder, the Honr. David Hazzard and Cornelius Hazzard were appointed a committee to prepare a constitution. The preamble read: "We, the subscribers, in order to form a more perfect Union, insure tranquility, promote learning, and secure the blessings of tuition to our posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the Milton Academy."
A lot of land on the corner of Appletree (now Chestnut) and Coulter Streets was secured and a one-story frame building was erected 20x30. The subscribers met in this building on January 7, 1822 and elected the following trustees: The Hon. David Hazzard, John Gray, Eli Hall, Cornelius Coulter, Joseph Carey, William Vent and John Ponder. The first teacher was Morgan Rawlins who opened school on January 9, 1822. By April 15th, 1822 year the school had 30 pupils. The next teacher was George Middlebrooks. He was succeeded in September, 1823, by Shadrach Terry who continued until September, 1827. Mr. Terry advertised in the Wilmington papers as follows: "To those who may resort here for an education, notice is given that all branches will be taught." W. Thatcher was the next teacher. A few years after the adoption of the common school system, the academy was abandoned. In May, 1842, the Rev. Nathan Kingsbury took charged of the Academy school. In 1843 it was rebuilt and enlarged by an additional story. School was afterwards kept by Messrs. Cosby, Lamb, Bellis, Hicks and Wood. The Academy was last used in 1880 when Fredrick Thompson had charge. Many prominent
men owe their success to their early training at Milton Academy.
In the division of Sussex County into school districts, Milton formed a portion of two districts: That part north of Broadkill was in district #8. On the south side of the River was District #12. In District #12, school was held in Academy until a schoolhouse was erected nearby in 1833. This building was in use until 1876. The district was at this time subdivided into two districts: #93 and #160. In June, 1876, the district by a vote decided to buy the old Presbyterian church. This building was arranged into three rooms, two in the top of the church and one on the bottom. Previous to 1829, there were many private schools throughout the Hundred. Just when they began or started was unknown, but they all ceased when the common school system was adopted. Among the early teachers of private schools we find the names Nehemiah Dorman, Gilbert Poole, Daniel Drain, John Davis, Archibald Fleming, and Mitchell Lank.(1)
In 1882, these schools were joined into two school systems: one on the northern part of town, the other on the southern part. The Broadkill Creek separated the two attending districts. About 1890 these two schools were consolidated into one system. The school at the old Presbyterian Church southern of Milton continued to be used. In 1892 a new school was built on Walnut Street. This was burned before it was finished. A new building was erected using the same plans. This was completed in 1894. Its location was on the old Milton Academy lot adjoining the Methodist cemetery. This school had six classrooms, an office, auditorium, and storage space. It was built for 180 students and served the town and nearby community for thirty-nine years. During its time, Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics were added to the courses in 1917.
A need for consolidation was encouraged, so the schools of Ingrams, Cave Neck, Dutton, Donovan, Reynolds, Calhouns, Williams, Prime Hook, School No. 7, School No. 6, and Broadkill, consolidated with the Milton School and the lovely reinforced concrete and brick building we are using now was completed. The pupils of this area entered it in September, 1933. This building had 24 classrooms and was designed to meet the needs of 450 students. Several additions have been made to the school to meet the increasing population. In 1955 an elementary school, consisting of 4 modern classrooms and two other rooms, all on the ground floor, was completed. This structure was connected to the main building. Due to the increasing population a new elementary school was built in 1965. This was located on Mulberry Street and is known as the H.O. Brittingham School. It houses grades K-5. The main building on Federal street held grades 7-9 and the large addition connected to it held grades five and six. After Milton students complete ninth grade they go to Cape Henlopen High School located in Lewes.(2)
The 1980's saw a change in the configuration of the school. Grade 6 moved into the original area of the school with the the 5th grade staying in what is called the annex. Grade 9 was moved out of the building to join the Cape Henlopen High School. The 1990's is when the "middle school concept" was put into place in grades 5 through 8 here in Milton. In September, 2003 , another middle school was opened and housed grades 6 through 8. What was called Milton Middle School will serve another use. It became Milton Elementary School on July 1, 2003 housing kindergarten through fifth grade. This town has been blessed with a beautiful and strong structure that will move on into the 21st century.
(1) Hancock, Harold Bell. Milton's first century, 1807-1907 : Harold Hancock, Russell McCabe. Westerville, OH : Milton Historical Society ; printed by the Otterbein College Print Shop, 1982.
(2)Wilkinson, Jeff. History of Milton. 1980. This history is based on the recordings of Jeff Wilkinson who at age 13 gathered information for a Milton Middle school project.
(3)Kathy Lindemer, Library media specialist at Milton Middle School from 1983 to present updated the information.