Saturday, May 3, 2008

Homesteaders' Schooling

Last week we posted how the homestead public education system began with the allocation of two sections in each township. This week we hear from the voice of one that experienced that schooling.

Manuel Hastings’s parents homesteaded near Pie Town, NM in the early 1930s. Manuel remembers his elementary school. It seems that he was then a third grader.

When boarding school was only a tent….After arriving to the homestead, we drove up to the Divide schoolhouse which was about three miles northeast from the foot of the Alegra Mountain. Daddy talked to the schoolteacher, Miss Margarite Robertson. She lived in a little one-room log building that was just south of the Holley’s. She was happy to have me stay with her. I remember that year. I stayed with her for a while. Then she bought a tent and moved it u by the schoolhouse. It had a board floor and four 12-inch boards high around the room with a door. The tent was about 8x12 feet long. We each had a bed and a little stove to keep warm and cook our meals. We were only 100 yards from the schoolhouse. By then the snow started to come. It would be so heavy on the tent, we’d have to stand on the underside and bump the snow off the tent so as to not collapse the tent.

Basic education and home schooling.... That winter of 1936, the snow was deep and I was unable to get to school. Imogene and I were taught by our mother from what teaching material she could come up with. She would read stories from the Old Testament and had pictures. I learned many of those stories that have come back to me many times.

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