Books and supplies were precious in one-room schools. Many students had to supply their own texts, often the family Bible. However, in 1881, the Freeman School provided textbooks for its students, ten years before it was required by the legislature. Some furnishings were hand-made, but the Freeman School had desks shipped from Indiana. Teachers were young, sometimes younger than their oldest students. Salaries were meager, and many teachers were housed and fed by the student's families.
The school stands quiet now. The sounds of the teacher's bell, children at recess, and Sunday Hymns have faded. Today, the Freeman school provides us with a window to the past, a small glimpse of life on the prairie frontier. The National Park Service has restored the school to look much as it did in the 1870's.
Did You Know?
To "Prove up" a homestead, the owner was required to make improvements including building a home, breaking the soil, and planting a crop for 5 years.