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The Lark: Vol 1, Issue 8, January 2022

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NEARBY TREASURES

As you experience this New England winter, perhaps you are thinking about spring  and summer, a time to get out, even for just a day trip, to explore, and to visit local attractions. “Nearby Treasures” will present places that are easy to get to in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Our debut article focuses on a gem in Rehoboth, MA.

The Hornbine School Museum
Old Fashioned School Days Just a Drive Away
by Beverly Pettine

In the quiet southeast corner of Rehoboth, at the intersection of Hornbine and Baker Roads, sits the one-room Hornbine School. Built in 1846, it was one of fifteen one-room schoolhouses that dotted the Rehoboth landscape of the 1800’s. No one wanted a child to walk more than two miles to school, so over time several one-room schools were established in the town. (Photo taken by David Downs.)

Grades 1-8 were taught by a single teacher. In the 1920’s, with attendance at a high of 49 pupils, the school was extended 14 feet in the back. When Hornbine School closed in 1937, Rehoboth was well on its way to establishing larger brick schools. The building remained, but it was emptied. The desks were broken down and the metal was used during World War II. Over time the school was used for storage and as a summer residence. After being sold and changing hands many times, the school stood vacant.

As Rehoboth prepared to celebrate its 325th anniversary in 1968, many people in Rehoboth, young and old, worked tirelessly to raise money to purchase the school, restore it, and give it back to the town. The yard was cleared of brush and rubbish. Clapboards were replaced where needed, and the building was given a new coat of paint. Electricity was installed and a new outhouse was constructed. Since none of the original desks remained, a truck was driven to Vermont where 20 desks were donated by two Vermont towns.

When all of this work was completed, Hornbine School was ready to welcome children once again. Children from Rehoboth, Dighton, Swansea and several other surrounding towns began to visit the school with their teachers to experience a day of school as it might have been in the 1800’s. The girls in long dresses, the boys with long-sleeved shirts and vests arrived at the school carrying their lunches in baskets and pails. The flag was raised just outside the front door, and the children entered the building ready for their day at school to begin. Lessons were completed with slates and slate pencils, quill pens and paper. At recess large hoops were rolled with wooden sticks. Jacob’s ladders, The Graces, and balls and cups rounded out the playtime experience. The day ended with an old-fashioned spelling bee. A piece of stick candy was awarded to the winner.

In June 1983, Hornbine School was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The school program, interrupted only by Covid, has run from 1970 to the present day. Over the decades many women have taken on the duty of “school marm.” Members of the Rehoboth Historical Commission oversee the welfare of the building ensuring that this historic gem continues to be a place of welcome for children and adults alike.

The school is closed for the winter. Classes for children are held in May and June. From June–September, the school is open to all on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month from 2-4.

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Notice: Dorcas International Institute Website

The December edition of this publication provided a website for Dorcas International Institute where you could find information on donating to the Afghan refugee initiative. However, a problem occurred with the website, and it has had to be reconstructed. Please keep trying the website (diiri.org) if at first you cannot find information on how you can help.

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New Vice President for LLC

Carolyn Roberts, a partner in Connors/Roberts Associates, a healthcare consulting business, will serve as Interim Vice President for LLC until May. Joe Fisler, President, and the Board welcome her.

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Away from Home: Native American Boarding School Stories
From Joan Hausrath

I recently visited a traveling exhibit, Away from Home: Native American Boarding School Stories, on view at University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston, RI. and hosted by the Tomaquag Museum. The exhibit was organized by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.

The exhibit tells the story, from the 1870’s into the 20th century, of how the US Government attempted to educate, train and assimilate Native American children by placing them in boarding schools. With text, including testimonials, historical photographs, objects and videos, the exhibit reveals that the motivation behind these efforts to “civilize” the children was to relocate the Indian populations into urban settings making it possible for the government to acquire and sell thousands of areas of treaty-protected native land to white farmers.

The themes in the exhibit included the early forceful separation of children from their families, the efforts to erase Indian culture from their lives, the poor physical conditions of many of the schools, and the educational programs that focused on manual training. As time went on, the conditions improved and the curriculums expanded.

Although the traveling exhibit is no longer on display in Rhode Island, the entire exhibit can be viewed online at https://heard.org/boardingschool/introduction/. (As you scroll down the page you will find links in small red lettering to advance to the next page.)

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Children in their native attire and then wearing military-style school uniforms with their hair cut and stripped of all of their cultural accessories. 

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Reading for Black History Month
from Sheila Brush

The Rhode Island organization Stages of Freedom offers a range of programs and a short, informative daily e-blast “Connected.” In December, the e-blasts featured a list of seminal works authored by African Americans between the mid-1800s and the 1980s.

This booklist has been uploaded to the LLC website where it will live indefinitely.

To learn more about Stages of Freedom, go to stagesoffreedom.org and to subscribe to the daily e-blast, email stagesofFreedom@aol.com.

Stages of Freedom is a Rhode Island non-profit organization that promotes black cultural events for the entire community and educates and empowers inner-city youth by providing cultural opportunities and access to museums and live performances.

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Interesting Facts from RINews

  • Despite its small population, Rhode Island has the largest percent of people in the US who claim Portuguese as their primary ancestry. December 27, 2021
  • Ann and Hope was the first discount department store in the United States.
    Opened in Cumberland, the company was named after the ship Ann and Hope which was lost at sea off Block Island in 1806. January 4, 2022
  • The Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge in Foster is the only remaining covered bridge in Rhode Island. January 6, 2022
  • The American straw hat industry was launched by 12-year-old Rhode Islander, Betsey Metcalf, in 1798 when she started making inexpensive straw hats. She failed to patent her hat and another woman did - Mary Kiss of Killingly, CT. January 13, 2022
  • While they were working together at Bryant College, Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales came up with the idea to create their own school. They wanted to work for themselves so that they could be in charge of what they taught. In 1914 they opened up a school in Gertrude’s home and called it Johnson & Wales Business School. January 14, 2022
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