The white schoolhouse, brick church, and cemetery are rich in history. The present two story school was built in 1879, but a smaller school was on the site even during the Civil War. Our schoolmarm told us that it was common for parades of soldiers to pass in front of the school, so the children would stand outside for sometimes up to an hour as the soldiers passed by. Even though in 1889 the school had grown to two stories (younger children were upstairs, older children downstairs), they currently have it set up as just one classroom on the main floor, using the upstairs for park rangers.
Our day began with the children playing outside until the schoolmarm rang the bell and had them line up outside the building. The morning was spent practicing the 3 R's, including oral reading from McGuffey Readers. A geography lesson was next, using a period map of the United States. All morning I was struck by how easy it was for the schoolmarm to juggle all these different children of different ages. How can it be so simple for her when I have trouble juggling two or three children at home? : )
The teacher also explained what classroom discipline was like back then. Because none of the students would volunteer, a mom modeled a dunce cap for us. In the picture below, the girl with the pink dress was demonstrating how some disobedient students would have been required to stand with their nose pressed in a circle drawn on the blackboard!
Then it was time for lunch and recess. Grace brought a lunch of cold fried chicken, biscuit, and an apple. Children filled their enamel or tin cups from the common water bucket. For recess they played games like Red Rover or Drop the Hankie (similar to Duck, Duck Goose). Some kids also played with wooden hoops and several girls just picked flowers.
The afternoon hours included touring the cemetery and church, singing songs, poetry recitation, and a spelling bee.
I'm so thankful for places like this that let you really experience history. I'm sure this will be something Grace remembers all her life.