Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bald Hill School | Descendants of First Pupils Recall Events

August 23, 1929
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

"The only former pupil and teacher [present] was Mrs. Amanda Terry Ruland of Terryville. Among those present were . . . Mrs. W. G. Corwin, Mrs. Thomas Corwin, Miss Ethel Corwin, Miss Ethel Corwin, Mr. and Mrs. L.W. Ruland of Southampton . . .the Rev. Jesse Halsey and Miss Abigail Halsey of Cincinnati, Ohio; Mrs. Luella M. Terry of Patchogue."

"The Bald Hills Schoolhouse"

In eighteen hundred seventeen
When James Monroe was President and when
Long Island’s Middle Country road
Was but a footpath way,
The few settlers
In the shadow of Bald Hills
Built a schoolhouse for their children.

A good school makes a settlement,
And others came, and children grew
To womanhood and manhood
Making homes.
In eighteen fifty three the school out grown
Was sold to one James Clark,
And on this site
The present one was built:
‘Tis known today both far and wide as Farmingville.

My Mother went to school here,
I can see her now,
Little Melvina, trudging on between
Her brothers, Tom and Dan’l,
Holding by the hand
Her little sister, Lyd
Who grew to teach the school,
That is my story
Yours is just the same,
Each one of you who gather’s here today.
Your Mother went to school here or your Father –maybe both,
Their names are carved upon the trees and in the desks.

Their feet have worn the door sills, as with laugh and shout and lessons done they whooped their way to freedom through that door.
Their road, to knowledge, rough perchance, and steep
Grew many flowers of joy along its way
Whose odors sweet are wafted down the years.

Their fathers all were farmers,
Men who owned their land,
And every man a king in his own right.
And in this place they gathered on the Sabbath to acknowledge Him, the giver of all good—Almighty God.
They took their joys, their sorrows
And their planting and their harvests from His hand.

Their children growing here in this good land,
(Inhaling freedom in the air they breathed),
Grew up together making their own homes and teaching to their children
As their fathers taught to them,
Lessons of uprightness and thrift.
Some went away, some wandered far,
But once a year we all come home.
Here in the schoolhouse in the wood
We meet to pay homage due those noble souls
Our fathers and our mothers, true Americans
This is America
This spot of ground
Where freeborn men and women
Made their homes and reared their children
In the fear of God,
Afraid of none
And bound to none
And envying non:--
God save America

By Abigail Fithian Halsey
For the Fiftieth anniversary
Of the Farmingville Reunion Association, 1935

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