This is a newspaper clipping in my grandmother's scrapbook. Sadie was my grandmother's aunt by marriage. I know that Sadie was born on Dec 4, 1889 so this would have been published in around 1965, but no date or place of publication is given.
SADIE HERBERT TELLS OF COLD SPRING SCHOOL
(In conjunction with news story on the restoration of the Cold Spring school, the following story of life in a county school seems especially appropriate as students resume their school year in our modern well equipped and evenly heated buildings. It was vastly different some 70 years ago.)
Mrs. Sadie Herbert recalled her school days when she attended the first country school opened, the Glen Erin school built in 1879. The Cold Spring school was the second one opened in Custer County.
MRS. HERBERT'S RECOLLECTION
I was born in a little log cabin near Buffalo Gap 76 years ago and have lived all my life in Custer county so I guess I am an old timer.
My parents moved to what is known as the Kinsey ranch five miles from Custer when I was seven years old. I attended the Glen Erin school which was built about 1879 and is the first school built in Custer county. From our home it was a distance of one mile which we walked in all kind of weather, sometimes 30 degrees below zero and with eight or ten inches of snow on the ground, and we didn't have the kind of footwear the kids have nowadays, either!
My first teacher was Maud Drew (I believe she taught in Cold Spring school many years ago). I got all of my schooling in the little Glen Erin school house. Maud Drew drove from Custer in a one horse buggy. I also went to school to the Bower girls, Roxie and Erva, who walked to the school from what is now known as the Conner ranch near Stockade Lake.
In those days the teacher was also the janitor whose duty it was to arrive about 8:30 and get the fire started in the box wood stove for which there always seemed to be plenty of good pitch wood. She also swept the floor and outlined the day's work on the the black board.
The student who sat next to the red hot stove roasted while the one who sat next to the wall in the double, homemade seats, froze. Those desks were made of one inch lumber and painted brown. They were heavy but strong and fairly comfortable, we thought.
It was pretty cold in the little one room log school house on a winter morning. We had bottles of ink which often froze and burst. We used slates and a slate pencil about six inches long and the size of a ten penny nail. The slate pencils broke very easily. We washed our slates off with a piece of cloth and water which often froze as we tried to clean them. We carried our lunch in a five pound lard pail which we placed on an extra desk in the back of the room or on the window sill where it sometimes froze!
The kids took turns carrying drinking water in a pail from the Walsh spring about one mile away.
At first the school term was four months, later raised to six months, for which the teacher received $30.00 per month and paid $10 for room and board.
We worked our arithmetic problems on the blackboard, also diagrammed sentences and wrote our spelling. There were seldom books for each so two of us had to study from the same book -- that didn't work too well.
Some of my later teachers were Ella Doran, Effie Wood and Mrs. Scott Durst, nee Alta Harkness. Sometimes there were more than 20 children in grades from 1 to 8 going to school in the little log school house, which is still standing but falling to pieces very fast now.
This would seem pretty tough to the students of today but we DID learn, and after all, those were the good old days!