Family Farm: Sunday School in a One-Room Schoolhouse

An Oregonian recalls attending Sunday School in a one-room schoolhouse while growing up on her family farm

| Good Old Days

  • Old-Time Country School
    A one-room schoolhouse from days gone by. Not only was school held there, but also Sunday School.

  • Old-Time Country School

Our family farm way out in the country and there was no church in our area. We had permission to meet for Sunday School in the one-room schoolhouse about a half-mile from our home. The Sunday School was under the direction of the Scandinavian Baptist Conference, but they seldom had a minister come for preaching service. A.K. Tollefson, a man who was a farmer and a preacher, often came to conduct a worship service.

In the schoolhouse we had a small square Victrola and a few records for music appreciation class. One record I recall was, "Oh, It's Nice To Get Up In The Morning But It's Nicer to Lie In Bed."

When Mr. Tollefson, who was a fairly large man, came to preach, he would set the Victrola on the corner of the teacher's desk for his pulpit. The Victrola had no cover but he could lay his Bible and notes on the turntable. Often when he wished to emphasize a point he would slap his hand down sharply on his notes. He did this often. Much later at school when we put records on the Victrola to play, the teacher noticed that the turntable slanted to one side, but we children never told her what had caused it.

In the mid 1920s, my father, John Hoien, bought a two-pole circus tent and set it up by our corncrib. He wrote to a minister to come and hold meetings for our community. These meetings lasted for several weeks. We had hoped that a church would be organized but that didn't happen. Then in the late 1920s, my grandfather, Soren C. Anderson, decided to do something about it. He hired contractors and had a church built on some of his property. He paid for the entire building, but family and neighbors paid for the pews, piano and pulpit. This church served the community for many, many years. After automobiles became common and people were willing to drive farther to church the building was unused for a time. Then a group bought it and moved it to Aberdeen for their use.

Eunice Hoien Dahlgren
Sweet Home, Oregon

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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