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Branchville Elementary Visits Peter Parley Schoolhouse

Third grade students from Branchville experience a one-room school with educators from the Ridgefield Historical Society

Three third grade classes from Branchville School visited the Peter Parley/West Lane School in March to learn about early education and how women’s roles in society have changed since the school was begun in the mid-18th Century. 

Their teachers, Mistress Darla Shaw and Master Dennis Waymire, had prepared a lesson plan especially for these students, explaining what subjects the young scholars would have studied and how they learned when books and paper were not widely affordable. Mistress Shaw and Master Waymire also talked about how chores and punishments were a part of the school day and what kinds of games and activities the boys and girls enjoyed. They were assisted with the class by volunteer Christine Johnsmeyer.

The Peter Parley School was in use from about 1756 until 1915, when women had still not achieved the right to vote. As part of the day’s history lesson, Mistress Shaw talked about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an early proponent of woman suffrage, and Alice Paul, one of the leaders of the final push to obtain passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, who lived for many years on Branchville Road. Master Waymire told about Frederick Douglass’s fight for freedom, first from enslavement, and later to give women their rights. He also explained to the third grades how women’s lives changed during World War II, when many women worked in the war effort, and were known as “Rosie the Riveters.”

The boys and girls, who each pulled the rope to ring the antique bell as they entered the school, also learned a bit of the history of this school and of Ridgefield’s other one-room district schools, including their school’s namesake, the Branchville School/District 10, awaiting restoration on Old Branchville Road.

For more information about school visits, please email [email protected] or call 203-438-5821.

Peter Parley Schoolhouse


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