The school life
of a student was very different in the days of the one
room schoolhouses compared to today. Sometimes an older
student would be paid from 6 to 15 cents to go to the
schoolhouse early and start a fire in the stove, usually
located in the center of the room. Children would put
their mittens on the hot area on top of the stove to
dry them and sometimes scorch them as well. I would
guess that the smell of wet wool on a hot pipe was pretty
Kids in those days
would walk to school, and it didn’t seem to matter
the conditions one had to trudge through. Be it rain,
snow or sunshine, the daily trek was the same. The teacher
was simply expected to get through no matter what. The
bathroom facilities were located outside and most were
of the “two-holer“ variety. In –as
– much as multiple age groups were represented
in the student body, numbering probably 15 or less,
the older kids would be expected to help the younger
ones, if required. In the wintertime, I’m sure
gloves, boots and coats were required equipment in making
the trip to the “restrooms”.
There were daily
chores that had to be done such as dusting the erasers,
erasing the chalk board at the end of the day, Taking
out the ashes, emptying the waste baskets etc.
Usually water was provided
via a large water jug kept near the entranceway. This
may have come from a nearby spring or a home. Students
probably drank from the same cup.
A students writing instrument
was a pen and desks had individual inkwells usually
located in the upper right hand corner of the work surface.
Ink was provided in powdered form and students simply
added water for their daily supply. Using these must
have been an art in itself. Using the correct pressure
was important as the ink would tend to flow out of the
pen rapidly and the pen would even puncture the paper
Mrs. Florence Smith,
one of the town's long time and most loved teachers
recalled that parents were very involved and interested
in what their children were doing at school and sometimes
would even accompany them and help out as required.
The first school
was built in 1747 and it was located on the town green
next to the first church and possibly physically connected
to that meeting house.
Around 1750 a second
school was opened on the east side of town.
About two years
later another opened on the west side of town.
reported that there was no record of where those additional
schools were located but he believed they were actually
in private homes.