Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Mann, John P.
"Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic", pp. 186-207 PDF (9.3 MB)
'RITIN' AND 'RITHMETIC '' port, we learn that in 1850 there were five districts in the town. Only three maintained schools that year. There was an average of four months of school for each district, taught by 'qualified'' and ,unqualified" men teachers. The average every town in the county. One of the earliest was erected in 1850 in Medina, by Harvey Greenfield and Peter Garret. The building, which was large enough for 30 pupils, stood in a forest of very large oaks. Mrs. Greenfield was the first teacher. Classroomf of Y sterday pay was $20 per month. Two districts, in which there were 109 children, had no school. In the schools~which were main- tained attendance was irregular. The total cost of all schools for the year was $214, including four dollars for fuel. Books commonly used included the famous Mc- Guffy's Readers, Webster's Grammar, Bent- ley's Spelling Book, Murray's Arithmetic and Goldsmith's Geography. A typical building of early days was built of logs, with a "shake" roof, a pun- cheon floor, a fireplace of mud and sticks, and crude home-made furniture. Benches were made by driving pegs into basswood puncheons. Some desks along the wall were made of similar puncheons and at times there were no desks. Rough planks served for the teacher's desk. Pioneer records mention such buildings in nearly The first school in the Town of Center, likewise, represents the common pattern. When seven electors met in 1851 at the home of Peter Hephner, they elected offi- cers and voted to have a school. A Mrs. Leith taught in her house for three months and she was paid $25. Philo Root, who attended this school afterward re- called, "At Mrs. Leith's school, the chil- dren sat on chairs. They wrote on slates. The subjects studied were writing, reading and arithmetic. There were eight or nine pupils. Mrs. Leith was kind and kept the hickory stick out of sight, behind the door. '' Later, Philo Root became a teacher and then a county superintendent. The town superintendent, who gave him his first teacher's examination, remarked, "I have no doubt you know a great deal I 'READIN' 187
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