Challenges of a One Room School, Reynoldston NY, 1880-1940

Description of attendance and the challenges of teaching in a one room school in Reynoldston NY in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries

Reynoldston School

13/09/2011

One Room Schoolhouse

Arbor Day at the Schoolhouse before 1920 Reynoldston New York

 

 
Earliest Schooling
Mrs. Delia Moquin remembers hearing that when Orson and Phoebe Reynoldst first started the mill that Phoebe taught school to the few children that lived in the community in the same building that later became the company store. *
 
Only Institution in Reynoldston
The Reynoldston school was the most durable institution in the community, outlasting the mill by at least 15 years. That families remained in Reynoldston long after logging and milling had essentially ended may testify both to the importance of staying in familiar surroundings, and to the ability of even large families to scrape by on subsistence farming, roadwork, and hunting and fishing.
 
Not and Easy Place to Teach
Reynoldston had a tough reputation among teachers in northern New York and often attracted teachers that had personal or family relations within the community. Teachers in Reynoldston had to contend with as many as sixty students in one room. While one teacher found that not many students wanted to learn, another found that, if he played football with the boys at recess and lunchtime, burning their energy, classwork would go smoothly. Of course, those who couldn’t stand school could easily drop out in their early teens, and go to work in the woods, or at home, and in fact most youngsters seemed to have taken this route. Very few from Reynoldston went on to high school – they would have had to board all week in Malone or Brushton, and that cost money that was not available to them – and fewer still went to college.
 
Importance of the school
Yet, the role of school in Reynoldston life should not be minimized. School brought the mill owners’ children into daily contact with workers’ children; it held the only library in the community, and, by hosting Christmas exercises, may have provided the only organized entertainment from one year to the next.
 

One Room School

The only organized insitution in the community was the School. It educated students for the first six grades in a one romm school from roughly 1880-1940

[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_arbor-day-at-the-schoolhouse-before-1920-reynoldston-new-york.jpg]470Arbor Day at the school before 1920, with original shoolhouse that burned in the mid 1920's
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_children-playing-in-the-schoolyard-reynoldston-new-york.jpg]610Children plalying in the school yard
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_some-of-the-older-children-on-he-fence-near-the-school-reynoldston-new-york.jpg]600Some of the older children on the fence near the school
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_some-of-the-younger-children-near-the-school-reynolston-new-york.jpg]550Some of hte younger children on the big rock next to the shcool
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_mrs-collins-the-nurse-in-reynoldston-and-not-bill-collins-wife-reynoldston-new-york.jpg]460Mrs. Collins the nurse in Reynoldston
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_frances-spaulding-teacher-reynoldston-pulbic-school-brandon-township-district-5-school-souvenirschool-offficers-fredus-wilcox-supt-thomas-campbell-trustee-1920.jpg]650Frances Spaulding Ellis teacher Township of Brandon Disttrict 5
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_list-of-pupils-reynoldston-public-school-district-5-1920-reynoldston-new-york.jpg]530List of pupils in the School 1920
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_haidee-reynolds-sitting-on-big-rock-near-school.jpg]380Haidee Reyolds Rushlow sitting on hte big rock next to the shool
Reynoldston, NY
[img src=http://www.reynoldstonnewyork.org/wp-content/flagallery/one-room-school/thumbs/thumbs_school-house-that-was-moved-from-mill-1920s.jpg]360The school house as a camp 1970
Reynoldston, NY
 
Mrs. Frances (Spaulding) Ellis  –Teacher

Yes, it was very small and I had forty six kids. And the aisles were very narrow and very uncomfortable and there was a lot of windows broken and the Trustee talked to me about it and I said that they are not broken during school hours, but after I leave at night.

The big boys going through. There was a cut off to go over to the store. They cut through the pasture and walked through the school yard. And they threw stones at the windows. And he did not replace them too much. I said, I am not the one that is suffering; it is the children, because some children were very poor, and in those day they didn’t run to the welfare for winter clothes. So a lot of the children were not well dressed. Because, well they just couldn’t afford it.

Mrs. Frances (Spaulding) Ellis  oral history interviews 1970   tape 1 p.10


Clifford Berry – Teacher

We had Christmas entertainment…Well I can remember the staging. I remember the staging. We had…the Reynolds Lumber Company gave us the lumber to build a staging in school. We had stage at the front of the school, where we put on a Christmas entertainment. It was the only entertainment that they had at Christmas up there. If I didn’t make something, they would have had nothing. We had a Christmas tree and we had presents…

Clifford Berry  oral history interviews 1970 tape 1 side 2 p3  

 


Haidee Rushlaw – Student

I used to walk to school. I was timed five minutes to the school door… my aunt did it ( timed her). I could walk it in five minutes. (teachers) There were so many different ones. Well Dr. McCarthy was afterwards…he was my teacher at one time. And it has been so long…..Mary Taylor, she was a cousin of the Reynolds…she was a teacher there.  

We used to have a pail with dipper, and teacher would pass the water and different ones would pass the water, we’d all drink out of the same pail. Wasn’t that something…not too sanitary was it.  

(Arbor day) We used to clean the school yard and go up in the woods…up towards Bombards go back in the woods and get little trees and put flowers. We loved that. 

(Dunce Cap) Yes I was telling my grand daughter when we did something…I don’t know what teacher it was, when we did something we shouldn’t, had to stand up with a dunce cap on.

 Haidee McGoon (Reynolds) Rushlaw  oral history interviews  1970 tape 1 p.4


 

* From notes taken by RH. McGowan in August 1978 following interview with Mrs. Delia Moquin.

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