The following account is by Ruth Henry Myers. Mrs. Myers graduated from Slippery Rock Township High School and Slippery Rock University. She taught in Slippery Rock Township, Ellwood City, and New Castle schools.

Wooden pencil

I started to school when I was only five. I walked about a mile to school every day. My sister, who was three years older, walked with me. I had an older brother in the eighth grade, but he wouldn’t walk with the girls. We had quite a bit of fun walking to and from school, but I remember one windy day when we were crossing the bridge over Brush Run, the wind blew me right into the water. I arrived at school soaking wet and had to dry around the pot-bellied stove.

All of the schools were essentially the same. There was one big room – a teacher’s desk, blackboard, desks for the students. There was a flag on the wall and a piano in the corner. There was a cement porch and a pump for water and a large bell to call the students to school. There wasn’t any electricity or plumbing.

School kids early 1900s
Local school children at the turn of the century

There were usually about 25 students in the school and you knew everyone. We all came from the same background — most were farmers. The day started with Bible reading, Lord’s prayer, and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. There wasn’t any library, but we were given certain books to read. One that impressed me particularly was “The Perfect Tribute” about Lincoln composing the Gettysburg address.

The teacher had to be a strict disciplinarian. I remember the teacher tried to make me stand in the corner one time, but my big brother came to my defense and said I hadn’t done anything wrong. So she said, “All right, you go stand in the corner.” Things always had to be under control. I also remember one little boy in the first grade who was terribly shy. The first week of school the teacher scolded him, and he never spoke another word that whole year.

In high school Miss Stevenson threatened to hang the boys who misbehaved out the second story window by their thumbs, but she never did. I remember her taking off after a couple of boys, and she followed them all the way home to tell their parents how they had behaved.

– Ruth Henry Myers
Mrs. Myers graduated from Slippery Rock Township High School and Slippery Rock University.
She taught in Slippery Rock Twp., Ellwood City, and New Castle schools.

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