36 Old-time Schools and School-books
mastiffs at his heels, and the dogs would unceremoniously enter the schoolroom " bringing with them myriads of fleas, wood-lice and ticks." Then there were two sisters who rode on a single horse to the schoolhouse door, followed by " a running footman of the negro tribe with their food in a basket." The building was of logs. It stood on blocks about two and a half feet from the ground, and the space underneath formed a convenient rendezvous for hogs and poultry. The interior had neither ceiling nor plastering. When it stormed, the rain was excluded by going outside and propping a square board against the window opening with a broken rail — and yet the farmers of the neighborhood referred to this rude structure as " The Academy."
The first schoolhouses in the Middle colonies were of logs almost exclusively. Such school buildings were common in many sections for at least fifty years after the Revolution, and among the mountains they have lingered in use until quite recently. The earlier ones had a rough puncheon floor, if they had any floor at all. Often there was only the bare earth which the children's feet soon rendered very dusty. On occasion the youngsters would purposely stir up this dust in clouds to annoy the teacher and amuse their fellows. Sticks were inserted between the logs around the sides of the room at a convenient height, and boards were nailed on them to serve as desks. Roofs were of bark, and at one end of the building was a chimney of short logs laid up cob-house fashion and daubed with clay. Many of the school-houses, even to the borders of the nineteenth