Life in the Pineywoods – Chapter 2

Ona Wood writes about life in Wood County in the early 1850’s reflecting the life of Peter Gunstream and especially the Holly Springs community of eastern Wood County in Chapter 2 of the story of her ancestor’s coming to the county. This chapter is available on the members only site by going to the link at the top right of this page. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter:

It was not until the year 1857 that the first school house was built in the settlement of the deep eastern part of Wood County. The little log school house was located about one half mile southwest of the Gunstream home. The principal patrons were P. M. Gunstream, Mr. Isham Burnett, and Mr. B. L. Robbins.
The first school that was taught in the log structure was under the tutelage of Miss Emily Smith, a very young girl. She had an enrollment of fifteen pupils.
The school term was very short. That was the case of all the school terms throughout the entire county, and in many other places of the state for the next half century. The school usually ran for a term of three or four months; and in some instances two months in the summer time after crops were “laid by.”
The children had to walk long distances to reach the school house, even as much as four miles or more. By the time a youngster reached the school building, ate his lunch, and returned home, most of the day was gone.
The only school books were those that parents might have brought from the old states or , perchance, some father had been lucky enough to find during a trip to Jefferson or Marshall when going for supplies for the family.

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