One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections

By Jerry Apps

Paperback: $19.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-752-5

248 pages, 91 b&w photos, 7 x 10


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On a hazy August morning in 1939, five-year-old Jerry Apps donned a denim shirt with new bib overalls and then combed his hair at the insistence of his mother. Carrying a lard pail as a lunch bucket, two yellow pencils, and a five-cent pad of paper, he took his place in the procession of children on the dusty road headed to Chain O'Lake School in Waushara County. At the sound of the bell that signaled the start of the school year, the students hurried into the modest white building, where one teacher taught children spanning eight grades in a single classroom. It's a memory that might sound familiar to anyone who attended a one-room rural school in the early twentieth century. From 1791, when the first school was established in what is now Wisconsin, to the consolidation of rural school districts in the 1960s, the one-room school's history has been one of growth and change.

In "One-Room Country Schools," Jerry Apps relays this history through his own vivid recollections, along with the stories told to him by some of the countless students and teachers who populated small country schoolhouses across the state over the years. From the organized chaos of teaching disparate age groups in one room, to tales of recess, holiday programs, and classroom mischief, these stories provide a lively and detailed portrait of what it was like to be educated in the same room as one's siblings. More than just memories, this book provides insight into the value of the highly localized and more personalized educational practices of the past.

Find more Jerry Apps here!

And, discover a complimentary book about one-room schools for younger readers, One Room Schools, by Susan Apps-Bodilly.

Jerry Apps is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than twenty-five books, many of them on rural history and country life. Jerry's nonfiction books include "Every Farm Tells a Story," "Living a Country Year," "When Chores Were Done," "Humor from the Country," "Country Ways and Country Days," "Ringlingville USA," "Horse-Drawn Days: A Century of Farming with Horses" and "Barns of Wisconsin." He has written two books for young readers, "Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers" and "Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker," and the novels "The Travels of Increase Joseph" and "In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story." He received the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and the 2007 Notable Wisconsin Author Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Jerry was born and raised on a small farm in Waushara County, Wisconsin, about two miles from the land that is the subject of "Old Farm." He and his family have owned their farm, Roshara, since 1966, and he and his wife, Ruth, continue to live there part time. Once a small dairy farm, the property is now a tree farm with an ongoing prairie renovation. Check out his latest book, "Never Curse the Rain: A Farm Boy's Reflection on Water". Discover more books by Jerry Apps on the Jerry Apps author page!

For more information on author, storyteller and historian Jerry Apps, please visit:

And check out his blog, which covers his thoughts on everything from his books to environmental subjects to his personal life and much more at: