MELROSE — Once they crossed over the threshold of Riversdale Academy, third and fourth graders from Camas Valley found themselves transported back to 1867.

Schoolmarm Miss Barry, played by Patricia Duerfeldt, wore traditional attire as she taught the students Thursday morning.

The building has no electricity, but a pot belly stove in the front of the classroom kept the students and teacher comfortable.

Third grader Raelynn Cooley dressed up in traditional attire, including a bonnet. The garb came from her aunt’s best friend, who let her wear a dress for the occasion.

“I thought it’d be fun to wear today, and she agreed to let me wear it,” Raelynn said. She really enjoyed the multiplication and learning to write with a quill.

Miss Barry stumped most of the students when she asked how many socks do you have to knit if you make two pairs for four friends? Students answered eight or six, before a student in the front row gave 16 as the correct answer.

Class began with the flag salute, because the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t written until 1892, and students learned about President Andrew Johnson and how President Abraham Lincoln who was shot just two years earlier in 1865.

Girls were seated on the left side of the classroom, while the boys took their seats on the right.

Students tried to write in a journal with their own quill pens with varying degrees of success, as Miss Barry also pointed out that the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence were all written with a quill pen.

At the end of the lesson, students got to ask Miss Barry questions about school in 1867.

Daniel Simmons, third grade, asked to see the lashing stick.

Miss Barry read out some of the things students could receive lashings for, including boys and girls intermingling, having long fingernails and climbing up a tree.

She then brought Daniel to the front of the classroom to tell him that he’d be receiving three lashings.

Miss Barry raised the lashing stick as Daniel held out his hand, but just barely tapped his palm. She then showed the other places students could receive lashings; knuckles, legs and butt.

“It was awesome,” Daniel said afterward. “History is awesome. It’s cool because we get to do stuff they did back then.”

When he observed News-Review photographer Michael Sullivan taking pictures in the classroom, another student asked Miss Barry if cameras were around in 1867.

“Michael is from the future,” she answered.

Class came to an end. The girls curtsied and the boys bowed to Miss Barry, and then left to come back to 2019.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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