One Room School - Chestnut Grove School - Elk Township, Clarion Co, PA
My mother, Thelma Lucille GRUBER, was born Aug 8, 1905 at home on their farm (almost 3 miles west of Shippenville on Route 322) in Elk Twp, Clarion Co.
Their township school, Chestnut Grove School, was on the NW corner of Route 322 and the (now) Pine City Road. The local Grange was built next to it years later. Here are some excerpts from her life story:
"The elementary school house was up on the hill and it was the centerpoint of the lives of the families in that area. It was called Chestnut Grove School, and yes, there were many chestnut trees around the area. All eight grades were in one room with one teacher. My Grandfather Paul Black had donated the land from one corner of his farm. The families paid the tuition to the township.
"I remember being envious of my older brothers going to school and I was not able to attend yet. The students came to our spring for drinking water, carrying it in a bucket back to the school. Each student had their own cup with their name on it and their own nail to hang it on. using the pitcher in the bucket, each would pour their own drinking water.
Sometimes at recess some of the children would play down by our home, and because there were not too many young girls, they let me play with them. Because there was not a kindergarden class, I was glad when finally at 6 years old I could start school. There were 4 or 5 other children my age. All total there were 20-30 students at the school with one teacher. My father made swings from the tree limbs and a seesaw with a plank of wood attached to a tree stump. I don't know how he did it but it worked great and for many years.
Winters were full of snow! I remember my father hooking a snow plow up to the horses and many times, he would make a path for us to be able to get up to the school house. then he would make paths all around the school house for the other children. We had a wood burning stove in the building and wanted to sit near it.
The 7th and 8th graders would recite together, as would the 5th and 6th graders, and then the 3rd and 4th graders. There was a bench at the front of the room, and one group at a time would go and sit on the bench to be in front of the teacher and then recite to her. Then they'd go back to their seats, and another group would go up to the front. I distinctly remember that while I was in the 6th grade, I would always be listening to the older students recite. I enjoyed listening and figured it was easier to learn that way than by reading. Maybe that's why I'm a poor reader now, I would learn by using my ears more than my eyes.
We didn't have much choice of subjects. There was history, geography, arithmetic, reading and spelling. I usually had 3-4 other students in my grade level. when I was in 8th grade, usually there were only two of us. There was a third, but he only came every once in a while - often enough to cause confusion, because he would always want to know what the lessons were supposed to be about.
For many years, the teachers boarded with my family in our home because we lived so close to the school and had a room for them.
One year while I was in school, the teacher was Cora Jenerette, and I liked her. Another years there was Miss Linda Fisher and I remember that she had a brother who married Maud Mong.
Another year our teacher was Pearl Motter. I think I was 8 or 9 yeras old and she boarded with us during the school year even though her family lived in Shippenville.
For my 7th and 8th grade years, I had Ruth Young. She lived with her family in Pitch Pine, which was a couple of miles north of the school. She walked daily from her home to the Chestnut Grove School. Miss Young is the teacher that recommended me for the 8th Grade Exam. This examination was given by the County to see if we could attend High School. The school teacher would recommend which students should go to Shippenville to take the tests to enter high school. Then the teacher would tell us if we passed.
When my teacher told me I had passed the exam, she said that I could have passed it a year earlier, because I knew everything necessary at that time. But she did not recommend that I advance a year early because she did not think it would have been right.
Education was very important to my parents, and they desired the best for their children. All three of us attended high school, which was unusual for our farming area."
Thelma Gruber, born Aug 8, 1905. Parents were John William Martin Gruber and Minnie Louella Black Gruber. Brothers were John Paul Gruber born July 1900 and Gerald Vaughn born Aug 1903.
1) sorry if some of the teacher's names are misspelled.
2) my cousin, Jiggs (J. Paul Jr.) Gruber, in Shippenville has two photographs of the school children with the teachers. Contact him at 814-782-3259. He can also show you the location of the school building.
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Marsha Gold Allen
2124 E. El Parque Dr., Tempe, AZ firstname.lastname@example.org