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As It Was: Betty Carrier Recalls Early Shasta, Calif., School Days

One of three children in the first grade at Little Shasta School in 1937, was Betty Davis Carrier.  Her first teacher, Mrs. Fern Meamber of Yreka, taught 15 students and all eight grades.

The school, east of Yreka, Calif., was established in 1857, its current building, constructed in 1875, is one of the two oldest continuously running schools in California.

Carrier described the school this way: “When I first attended school, the building was heated with an oil heater, that at times would explode into a cloud of oily soot.  There was no running water, so we would pull a bucket of water from a well in the front yard.  There were two outhouses in each corner of the yard, one for girls and one for boys.  A large closet in the center of the building held our coats, galoshes and lunches.  We did have one extra room that was used as a playroom on rainy/snowy days, and it doubled as a stage for Christmas programs and graduation.”

The nearby Table Rock School opened in 1869 on the Davis Ranch Road, but it closed for good in 1932.

Source: Jenner, Gail L. One Room: Schools and Schoolteachers in the Pioneer West. Two Dot Publishing. 2018. p. 57.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.