We are not enirely sure where this school was located. We know where Boyd Knob Mountain was located--eastern Tennessee near the Kentucky border. So it is likely that this is where the school was located. There is no town nanmed Boyd Mountain, it was a country school. Interestingly, we have a good dea about what life was like in this area. This is the general area where Dolly Parton grew up. So we get in her songs a beautiful touch about growing up in eastern Tennesse -- what life was like for these children. What Dolly would call, 'my Smokey Mountain DNA'. Songs 'like 'My coat of many colors'. The school building has been described as a one and two room school. Apparently there was more than one school building over time. And a school was located at the site for a considerable time, We note a school portatsit from 1939-40, but it may be just the younger children, although two teachers are with them. The children look to be about 6-10 years old. Most of these schools had a program going up to 8th grade whch woild mean younger teen agers. Although in rural areas older children might attend. Some of the children had to walk quite a fistance. We notice one accouunt where a pupil had to walk 2.5 miles. So presumably some children had to walk even further.
A pupil in the 1890s writes, "The school I went to was a one-room schoolhouse with four large windows on each side and two front doors. One was for the boys and the other for the girls. There was a row of seats, each seat holding two pupils. There was a large pot bellied stove in the center of the room for heat. Two rows of seats in the middle of the room went down as far as the stove. The boys sat on the north side of the room and the girls on the south. The seats in the front of the school were smaller in size but just as long as the others so the small ones could sit three or four in each seat.
The seats when I first started to school were very crude and we used them for several years. They were made of soft pine. There was no back. There were two boards on the side of the seat with a shelf with a top for use in writing. There was no support for your back. They were very uncomfortable and to sit all day without any rest for your back was tiring to say the least.
The teacher taught all eight grades although I was in my teens before the school was graded. Our promotion went by our readers. If you were smart, as your reading progressed so did your spelling and arithmetic. But, some would be in the sixth reader and in the second grade speller or arithmetic. You were promoted in whatever grade you excelled in.
Each class went up front to the recitation seat to recite when their class was called. The recitation seat was an oak plank, two inches thick, 12 inches wide, and about 10 feet long. The legs were stout wooden pegs. It was just in front of the teacher's desk.
If we didn't have our lessons prepared we had to stand on the floor in front of the others and study until we got them. We had visitors at the school quite often and Oh the degradation of being caught standing on the floor! We were not allowed to whisper in school either and standing on the floor was a penalty for that also."
We know at some time that the school was separated between younger and older children which is what the two rooms accomodated. The school only outdoor facilities. Water came from a cistern. Note how common overalls still were at the time. This was the case in rural area. Not all the boys wear them but most do. They were still very common in rural areas. Motice how similar the overalls are. Most were provably bought from the Sears nail order catalig. This would rapidly change in the 1940s. The girls all wear dresses, many with l0ng stockings. This also was much less common in city schools.
White, Keona Newton, "Boyd Knob School" Jacob Hunter Tryst
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