The One-Room Schoolhouse and the Pot-Bellied Stove

In 1906 I was a first grader in our one-room country school on the southern Illinois prairie. The schoolhouse was heated by a big pot-bellied stove. Seats for younger pupils surrounded the stove while older pupils occupied those in far corners of the room. They often put on their coats while studying and at the same time we found the heat stifling.

A couple of years later we came to school to find the old pot-belly gone and seats where it had been. In the corner was a big, round apparatus; they told us it was a jacketed stove. What a difference; far corners of the room were just as warm as the center. I best remember that stove by how glad I was to see it gone.

Florence Palmer
Paris, Illinois

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.