Cleve Winesett

I went to a school called Red Oak located across from where Red Oak Church is now. At that time you could go to school from when you was five years old ‘til you was twenty one. The county paid the teachers to teach in these schools, but the sessions only lasted for two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half months. The longest school session I ever went to was five months in a one-room school. The teacher had anywhere from 20 to 40 pupils. She taught everything from what we called the primer to physical geography.

The first school teacher I ever went to, was a woman by the name of Spangler. She boarded at our house. At that time we lived up the forks of the road a little further from the old school house. I was five years old. I didn’t have any books, only a what we called a primer. It’s made out of cloth. It had the alphabet in large letters and the small ones. All I learned that year was, the alphabet. The next year my daddy bought my first reader and it had short sentences in it. Just two or three or four words. Well, I learned to read. When I went to school, you had a first reader, second reader, third reader, fourth reader, Virginia history, (that was the history of Virginia), then you have our U.S. History. It told about all the different states. I think there were two people in school at that time that had ancient history, told about things that happened a way back. But I never did study that any.

The state didn’t require you to go to school. You went, or you didn’t. But later on in years in early part of my life, they passed a law that compelled your parents to send you to school. Supposed to report if you don’t. And some people obeyed that law, and some didn’t. Course that played out pretty soon. Then they put up a school at Ceres that had the different grades there. They commenced grading them first, second, and third grades, and finally had four years of high school at Ceres. I finished going to school over at Red Oak in five months, and then I wasn’t quite 21 years old, so I went to Ceres to school down there, ‘til I was 21 years old. When I was 21 years old, I quit going anywhere. Of course, if you went after that, you had to pay the teachers for instruction. And there was no teachers to pay.