Volume 4 , Number 12, Summer 1973
I was reared on my grandfathers homestead. Times were hard. Farm wages were fifty cents a day. We were poor on that homestead, five miles west of Harrison, Arkansas.
I was graduated from the eighth grade. The last two terms, our wonderful teacher at Capps, Ark., taught psychology and school management. Then I attended Normal Summer School during August at Harrison. My, but a School of the Ozarks would have been a blessing. We had no money for tuition nor transportation to high school in Harrison.
I started my first school in July 1912, at Bear Creek Springs. But first I bought me an Elgin watch for $25.00. I bought it on time and paid it out in three months.
I was just 17 years old and scared of that first day. I feared the directors were to be present at the opening of school. Luck was with me, one was sick, a second one, a doctor, had to care for him. The other did not show up.
The school was five miles from my home. I was paid one hundred dollars for three months, from the district money.They held a box supper and paid me $35.00 the last or fourth month. My board was $5.00 a month. I was janitor. The children carried water from the big spring, one-fourth mile away. Dipper and bucket were used for drinking. The woods furnished our toilet facilities. The building was church as well as a school.
Friday evenings I would walk the five miles home and my Daddy would return me late Sunday afternoon.
My next school was at Orion, five miles down Bear Creek, from Bear Creek Springs. There I had 30 pupils, ages 6 to 17. I was paid $45.00 per month for five months. My board was $6.00 per month. Same facilities as Bear Creek. A friend had my horse saddled for me by the time I walked the mile from the school through millions of seed ticks, open range. I rode this draft horse the ten miles home Friday and beck Sunday, late.
This was a very disturbed district as there were two separate groups over a double shooting.
My next school was at Scott School, five miles east of Omaha, Ark. There I enrolled 48 pupils from 5 years to 21 years. I was paid $45.00 a month for nine months. I paid $8.00 a month for board. I walked two and one-half miles to school, did my own janitor work and supervised athletics.
I had written tests which I put on at recess and at the same time I held oral classes for the lower grades. I had a large colored chart on the wall. Roll call often was answered with mating a bird they saw on the road to school with one on the wall picture. We had tooth washing every day at home. They were rewarded with sample tooth paste tubes. We sang songs in the morning.
I have dreamed many times about those lovely scholars. At the close of the first term we had a temperance play, "Out in the Street", with directors, pupils, and friends as actors and with not room enough for all who came to see the play.
The second term started with 40 pupils, 6 years to 19 and first to eighth grade. One director caused trouble, because I did not board at his house. At this school, ladies had an outside toilet. I did not get home often. Though my mother came as often as she could, using a horse and buggy and driving the 25 miles. She would get there by four o'clock on Friday, closing time at school.
Water was carried from a spring by either two boys or two girls for a quarter of a mile.
Here the right man came along. I closed this term in February and married in May. We lived for two years on a homestead in the district. But they did not hire married women to teach.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home