Early American School Days

Historical Significance

The hornbook was used in the 1600 and 1700s to teach children their ABC’s. It was called the hornbook because thin sheets from cow horns covered the handwritten letters and words as protection. At Tipton-Haynes we use reproduction wooden sewing hornbooks that taught the ABCs as well as the basics of hand sewing. Only well to do children had the opportunity to attend school in the times of Col. John Tipton and Landon Carter Haynes as their parents could pay for their education. If you were fortunate, you would learn some of your ABCs, how to write your name, and how to do very simple math.

How Early American School Days Related to Tipton-Haynes

Landon Carter Haynes was fortunate to have a good education. He and his brothers and sisters began their formal education at Anderson School, located at the head of Buffalo Creek in Carter County. Haynes excelled at school particularly during the weekly recitation. When Landon was about twenty years old, he enrolled at Washington College. The original name was Martin Academy but was later named Washington College in 1795 in honor of President George Washington. When Landon attended Washington College, the cost was approximately $40 per session; tuition was $10, board amounted to $30 including fuel and washing, and the library fee was 50 cents. There were two twenty-week sessions in a college year. Landon received a classical education and was able to read, speak, and write Greek and Latin. He graduated in 1838 and the next year he began reading law in the office of Thomas A. R. Nelson. He was admitted to the bar in 1840.

Student Activity

Students will learn what school was like in the 1700 and 1800s. Children learned their ABCs by using paddle type books covered with a thin layer of horn from a steer. Sewing Horn Books will be used by your students. Then students will do simple arithmetic problems on a slate board. The McGuffey’s Primer was first published in 1846. Students will read answering questions such as “What is a nag?” “What chores do the boys have to do?” and read a poem with feeling about the “dear puss.” The bell will ring and it’s time for recess. Students will try rolling the hoop with a stick or play with other wooden toys.