As America began to populate, there was a strong need for the children to be educated. Middlesex County was populated with a variety of school houses. The goal in a location was to be no more than two miles from the students who were to be educated, as they would walk to and from school each day. Church services, Christmas parties, community gatherings, lectures, and spelling bees were all held in the school house. The “school bell” was used not only to call everyone to gather for their lesson, but also to warn of dangers (such as a fires) and to ring in the holidays.
On display at the Middlesex County Museum, you can find an old School Bell we have on loan from Ms. Becky Young, as well as an old School Desk.
The summer school term ran from May until August and the winter term from November through April. By the 1900s, the nine-month term was established allowing the students to work in the fields during planting and harvesting seasons. School hours were from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Attendance was voluntary and subject to farm chores and weather.
The subjects covered were known as the “Three ‘R’s”: Reading, Righting (Writing), and Rithmetric (Arithmetic).
See more Early School House items at the Middlesex County Museum!