Farming Communities' Financial Problems Affected One-room Schools During the Depression Era

Wisconsin woman remembers her job as a teacher at a one-room school in a rural farming community during the depression era, and how hard she worked to keep that job

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It was 1930 - after the start of the Depression Era. Farming communities were struggling with more and harder work to make a living. In their midst the one-room schools were scratching for their very existence. Teachers outnumbered the schools and underbid each other for jobs. Definitely the economy had affected the work and recreation of the one-room school communities. I was fortunate to get a position in a "country" school in this year and I worked hard to keep it. 

The young people of the community were starved for evening recreation. For them the school was a place to practice home-talent plays which then brought out the whole community on performance night. The proceeds went to the school. 

Since the teacher boarded at a home in the school district, everyone knew where she went, what she did, and whom she dated. But the people of the community also backed the teacher. Their appreciation culminated in the good-time togetherness at the spring picnic on the last day of school. 

Verna Gallatin
Marshfield, Wisconsin

 


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.