I think you guys are focusing on the wrong things here. Obviously kids in 1895 wouldn't know things that haven't happened yet, I don't get what point your trying to make with that, and the school systems were different back then (that's a good point Coppermine), but I was focusing more on the wording and sophistication of the questions rather than on the actual material.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
If you learn how to do these it's probably not overly difficult, but it still does seem advanced for 12-13 year olds. Some of the subject matter may seem advanced for 8th grade nowadays, but if it was being taught to them, understanding would not be completely beyond the grasp of most kids that age. I'm not saying kids back then were much smarter than kids in the present, it just seems more was expected out of them. I think the sophistication in the questions is due to stricter schools and such rather than the kids themselves.