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District History

The schools of Benicia have an enviable record of being among the oldest in the State of California. Evidence of school records date back as far as 1849. The records of minutes of the City of Benicia provide original source data indicating that the first Board of Education was formed at a meeting in May, 1850.


We find in this district the earliest records of the establishment of a public school. From the records of the city council we find that a school had been opened in 1849, under the charge of Sylvester Woodbridge, Jr., who upon July 2, 1850, was paid the sum of one thousand dollars for a year's service as a teacher, ending in May, 1850. This amount was paid him in city bonds, bearing interest at three per cent per month until paid, and redeemable within six months from date.


In May 1850, the first Board of Education was established in the City of Benicia by the Council, which appointed Messrs. Semple and Robinson to act as such board. The first school property belonging to the district was a donation from Semple and Larkin. The following trustees were appointed to take charge of the property and draft rules and laws for the government of city schools: R. Semple, T.O. Larkin, Stephen Cooper, C.E. Wetmore, I.S. Bradford, H.D. Cooke and John Walsh. The first city Superintendent of Schools of Benicia, was Dr. W.T. Peabody, who was elected March 17, 1852, by the City Council, which upon this date had received a certified copy of the city charter. Dr. Peabody resigned this position in April 1853, a Mr. McLennan and Miss Horton were engaged in teaching in the City of Benicia. In a report made by the teacher, Mr. J. Flatt in October 1855, we find 229 census children and seventy-one pupils in attendance. The school was reported as a co-educational school.


Educational History of Solano County
Bancroft Publishing Company