One-Room Schoolhouse Rock

Slate boards and pencils were important in one-room schoolhouses.

| Good Old Days


I just found one of my Momma's boxes with slate pencils inside. What a thrill! I hadn't seen a slate board or slate pencil for years. In one-room schoolhouses slate boards and pencils were very important. Tablets and lead pencils were not as plentiful as later.

Each student carried his or her own slate board and pencil. If you should lose your pencil you could use a sliver from a slate rock. Slates were used to write individual lessons on. They could be erased and used over. Caution! Both slate boards and pencils break easily. Slate boards came in a variety of sizes and frames. To own one with the frame painted red with Pennsylvania Dutch motif on it has always been my dream.

The "black" boards in the one-room schools were large framed slate boards. They never wore out, but heavy! Unbelievable! I never could understand why they were thrown out for the more modern chalkboards and chalk. Slate boards were easier to clean with less dust. When washed, the slate boards were beautiful!

Della May Clifford
Garber, Oklahoma

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. 

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