Filer's Corners Schoolhouse
Thomas Alvah Filer moved to Butternuts from the Rochester area where he had taught, specializing in English. He first used this building as a select school, which was like a private school today. In 1840, Filer sold the building and land to the Trustees of School District No. 9, who maintained it until The Farmers’ Museum purchased it in 1945.
School in the 1840s in Central New York
Education played a major role in children’s lives in the 1840’s. Parents hoped their children would use their education to attain a higher station in life.
Pupils studied reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, and moral lessons. Instead of grade levels divided by age, teachers organized students into groups that spelled and read at the same level. Lessons were assigned to each group to study and prepare at their desks, after which students were brought before the teacher to recite the lesson.
The state laws assumed that each student began their education at the age of five. Male students left school to help on the farm or begin an apprenticeship by the age of fourteen or fifteen. Girls could remain in school longer – until sixteen to eighteen – depending on the family’s circumstances. The farm schedule also influenced the school year. In rural areas, farm families needed their children’s help with work on the farm during the spring and fall, so schools closed during these seasons.
Related Primary Sources
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