Old school learning Monroe Historical Society open house


Period clothing worn by children in the 1700s hung from the walls of the Barn Hill-East Village Schoolhouse on Wheeler Road Saturday morning, and old books, quill pens and other learning materials of the day were on display. A bell was on the teacher’s desk in front of the room, and a stool in one corner had a dunce cap for anyone who misbehaved.

“That’s an original bell from this school,” Mary Kellogg, board secretary of the Monroe Historical Society, said during the open house.

In the top photo, Nathan McCall, 8, writes with a quill pen and his sister, Hailey, 3, draws on a slate board. Pictured here is the Barn Hill-East Village Schoolhouse at 311 Wheeler Road.

Of the families who visited, Kellogg said, “kids would learn what a typical day was like and how it differs from their school day.”

“It becomes clear pretty quick,” Kevin Daly said with a smile. Daly, the society’s historian, sat behind the teacher’s desk.

Aside from the dunce cap, Kellogg said another form of discipline, for children who were nosy, was to stand in front of their classmates with their nose pressed against a point on the wall, while on their tippy toes, until the teacher said it was long enough.

During the open house visitors got to see the outhouse, children’s period clothing and hornbooks, pieces of paper covered with clear animal horns to protect it from damage, so it could be used by different students each year.

Eventually, the school was able to purchase McGuffey’s readers, according to Kellogg.

In the back of the room, old roster sheets showed attendance with the children’s ages and why they were out. Kellogg showed one day where students were out sick with whooping cough and another when there was an outbreak of pink eye.

Mary Kellogg, board secretary for the Monroe Historical Society, looks over old roster books for students’ attendance.

On Saturday, two healthy children sat on a bench among tables where the students had sat. Nathan, 8, wrote with a quill pen, while his sister, Hailey, 3, doodled on a slate board.

Their mother, Kerstin Mayne-McCall, said she learned about the open house from an email sent by her children’ school, Stepney Elementary.

“I never went here, but he had on a school trip and told me about it,” Mayne-McCall said of her son. “He wanted to go.”

“I do the hoop stick,” Nathan said of one of the outdoor children’s games, in which a child uses a stick to roll a wooden hoop on the grass.

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