Some children who grew up in the 1800s and early 1900s attended one-room schools. Students, regardless of age, were taught by one teacher in a room. Logan County had at one time or another well over 100 one-room schools.
Children often walked to school, and the teacher came early to perform janitorial duties such as sweeping the floor, dusting, starting a fire in the stove or fireplace in cold weather (parents kept the school supplied with wood / coal), and carrying in a pail of water from the well outside for the children to drink. All this had to be done before the children arrived. During the school day, the teacher listened to each student read and recite poems and speeches, as well as watched each student do arithmetic on slates. The students would spend long hours practicing penmanship, as great emphasis was placed on this art. Students were divided up by age (or grade) so the teacher could teach them at the appropriate level. Older students helped the younger ones when the teacher was busy.
Lunches were carried in small metal pails and in warm weather eaten outside under the trees. Students were summoned to the classroom by the ringing of a hand bell.
The preferred readers were those written by Professor William McGuffey from Miami University in Ohio. These readers not only helped children learn to read, they also taught moral lessons as well.
The teachers often lived with the families of their students, thus having “room and board” included as part of their salary. The school year was approximately six months long, as children were needed at home to help with the planting and harvesting in this primarily agrarian society.
*Note – the Society owns the Flatwoods School, a one-room school used by a black settlement in northeastern Logan County from 1868-1920s. The school is now located at Veterans’ Park in West Mansfield. Starting in the Spring of 2003, the Society opened the school for field trips where students can experience what it was like for students in one-room schools.
Other items of interest:
· Our schoolroom portrays a one-room school between 1870 and the early 1900s
· Exhibit of Logan County one-room schools along the wall
· Slates/slate pencils
· School bell
· Desks – including some made by the A.C. Elliot &Co. in Bellefontaine
· Harper School sign
· Lunch pail
· Portraits of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, McKinley & T. Roosevelt on the wall