8 Old-time Schools and School-books
tity that is attached to a church now. They were designed not only for places of worship, but for all gatherings as the people had need. Until after the beginning of the nineteenth century, meeting-houses were in some communities used for town meetings and even for sessions of the law courts. Occasionally the building was outgrown as a church and was then devoted to school use exclusively. This happened in 1664 in one of our Connecticut valley towns, and what had been the first meetinghouse sheltered the master and his pupils for thirty years. The structure had been erected about a decade previous to its becoming a schoolhouse, and was " of Sawen Timber, 26 foot long and 18 foot wide, 9 foot high from the lower pt of ye cell to the upper part of the raisens."
It was decidedly superior to the log houses which sheltered the people, for most of the pioneer dwellings were of round logs, and the finest of them had nothing better in their walls than hewn logs. The meeting-house, however, was of material that could only be obtained by great manual labor. Saw-mills had long before been introduced in the vicinity of the settlements on the coast, but many years elapsed before any were possessed by the new towns inland, and the only means of sawing logs into timbers or boards was by use of a long heavy saw operated by two men, one standing on the log and the other in a pit below.
The meeting-house had a single doorway, two windows, and a chimney. The roof was of thatch. Probably the edifice never had a pulpit or pews.