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Remembering My Times in a
 One Room Schoolhouse 

E. A. Mackley

(Editors note:  We can across this story while searching for material on Emmitsburg's history in the old Emmitsburg high school building . . . and while it address a one room school house in Thurmont, its gives a good picture of what one-room school house in Emmitsburg were like.  We enjoyed it and figures you would to!)

Thurmont Md., Nov. 28, 1933

A friend of mind asked me to tell something about my experiences in the one room schoolhouse.

In the first place they were nothing like what they are NOW. The desks were long and backed against the wall, from the teacher's table clear around to the door, two on each side of the template stove. The benches were without backs, like some old wash benches, and our backs were to the teachers, and-when school was to be left out the teacher would say: "put away your books and turn around." A one-room house was the only kind I ever went to.

The first school was a small brick house standing where Mr. Hammaker's house now is, with a small playground around it. Miss Anna Scott was the teacher -- first teacher I went to. She was very kind and patient. On Friday she would have the girls sew quilt patches; I don't remember what the boys had to do at that time. On the last day of school she said we all should put on our Sunday clothes as she had something planned for us in the afternoon; so she gave us sugar cakes and lemonade, then we walked up West Main Street; we all thought that was fine.

There were not many pavements at that time, so every person just walked where they pleased. One day I "stumped" my toe very badly so I ran back to my father's tailor shop for him to tie it up. (The shop was a small building right in the northwest corner of the yard where Mr. Ed. Root had lived.) Then I went back to school again.

The next teach was Mr. Jacob Hesson, Cassandra Hesson's grandfather. I must have been bad as he gave a licking, and one other time I was eating popcorn he told me to sit on the floor and put my feet up on his platform. Baby like, I told my father what happened and all the sympathy I got was "Why didn't you behave, then you wouldn't have gotten it." Well I didn't ever tell on myself again.

The Catholic church was being built about that time. I do not know why or when they destroyed the old brick schoolhouse.

Then the next was the stone one-room school; it was also an old building. Mr. Ephriam Willhide, "Bud's" uncle, was a good teacher. The schoolhouse was just north of the old shed, still standing, that Mr. James Creager used for keeping his hearses in. Mr. Willhide used to sing from the maps against the wall -- that was nice -- he loved to sing.

There were big and little boy and girls all in that one room. Well we all learned something anyhow. Miss Esther Ream taught a while, and Mr. Wm. J. (Judge) Black. Then came Mr. Frederick White. He was a very cross teacher -- always had the hickory stick in his hand. He licked Katie Foreman Cassell and me for eating an apple in school.

Mr. John Landers was the last teacher we went to. His sister taught for a while, and his brother George. Then we all went to Mr. John Landers in the Academy, part of the building where the printing office now is. By that time there were more people in the town and country, so they had to build larger schoolhouses and rooms. We bought our own books and paid the teachers every month -- that was the way they had to make their living. 

We didn't have any high schools then, and no one graduated -- we all eventually just quit and went to work.

Have your own memories of Emmitsburg School's of old? 
 Send them to us at history@emmitsburg.net

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