1870: Petition for school in Darlington
Public education in Harford County had its beginnings in 1723, though it was not until 1865 that a "thorough and efficient system of free public education" was established by the Maryland legislature.
After the first meeting of the Board of School Commissioners in July 1865, schoolhouses in Harford County quickly were built. They were numbered and divided among six districts.
On Feb. 17, 1870, a petition was made for a new school in Darlington. Based on board minutes, it is speculated that School Number 16 in District 5 was built in 1872 at a cost of $800. The 24-by-36-foot structure was referred to as the Stafford School.
Nine years later, a petition was made for the Stafford School to be moved to Deer Creek. Though appearing on Martenet's 1878 map of Harford County, it appears the 1872 schoolhouse was abandoned. The new Stafford school was likely an existing building owned by the Smith brothers. Rent was $4 per month. Several other buildings were rented for the Stafford School, until 1906 when the school became known as Cherry Hill, and was located on Cherry Hill Road.
[Source: Harford Historical Bulletin, No. 94, Fall 2002. Research by Harford County Public Library.]