The Old Schoolhouse
The Old Schoolhouse
Story from the History of Sutton, written in 1878
The Old Schoolhouse (by the Baptist meeting-house)
Opposite the church stood the old school-house. This house was at first located on a high hill fronted by a steep bank, which in icy time was the scene of many an amusing slip and slide in the "days of youre," when the winter school was attended more than now by the "large boys and girls."
At one end of the school-room was a huge fireplace that would take in "four foot wood;" at the other end the teacher's desk, flanked on each side by a desk for scholars. On the sides of the room, running the entire length, with the exception of a narrow space for passing behind, were desks, raised two steps from the floor, for the larger scholars. Behind these desks were benches made from plank or slabs, without backs; in front of them were low benches for the small children. The center of the room was unoccupied, only as some lazy or refractory boy or girl was called out for punishment.
A common punishment for girls was to study with a book or ruler on the head, which they were directed to keep in position.
Boys would sometimes be required to fasten their eyes upon a nail in the floor and "hold it down with one finger." Occasionally one who had incurred the peculiar wrath of the teacher, would be called upon to "ride the stone horse." This achievement consisted in occupying, at the same time, five round smooth stones, one as a seat and one for each of the hands and feet; a performance which, it is needless to say, was generally found a somewhat difficult one to go through with gracefully.
Whether the stone horse was ever introduced into the "Quabbin" school-house we cannot say.
In 1843 the school-house was repaired, in what was then the modern style. This house was burned by an incendiary in 1875. A new one, and finely furnished, was built on the Manchaug road in 1876.
Sutton Massachusetts School Buildings
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