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FAIRFAX RESIDENT REUNITED WITH
FOURTH GRADE TEACHER


Reggie Barkyoumb & Ruth (Wrisley) Williams talk about the old days at the Cherrierville One Room School which was located in North Fairfax


Ruth (Wrisley) Williams looks at an old Barkyoumb Family Photograph as she renews memories of the family she boarded with during her first year of teaching at the Cherrierville One Room School in North Fairfax


Henry Raymond presents Ruth (Wrisley) Williams a copy of her teachers book in her own handwriting, which she had kept when a teacher at the Cherrierville One Room School 1940/41 while her husband Bill Williams and former student Reggie Barkyoumb of Fairfax look on.


Henry Raymond presents Ruth (Wrisley) Williams a copy of her teachers book in her own handwriting, which she had kept when a teacher at the Cherrierville One Room School 1940/41 while her husband Bill Williams and former student Reggie Barkyoumb of Fairfax look on.


Bill, 88 years old, Ruth (Wrisley) Williams,age 84, and Reggie Barkyoumb, who was a fourth grade student at the Cherrierville One Room School in 1940/41, pose for a quick photo at the Barkyoumb home in Fairfax May 4, 2002


Bill, 88 years old, Ruth (Wrisley) Williams,age 84, and Reggie Barkyoumb, who was a fourth grade student at the Cherrierville One Room School in 1940/41, pose for a quick photo at the Barkyoumb home in Fairfax May 4, 2002


The Ed & Clara Barkyoumb original homestead located at 400 Cherrierville Road, which burned in the early 1950s. Moe & Gail Stafford built their new home at this location later.


The Ed & Clara Barkyoumb Family as it appeared in the early 1940s
Reggie Barkyoumb is shown sitting on floor, in front of his mother, Clara.

In mid May, I received a call from Marianne Green who lives in St. Albans. She told me that Greg Hartmann, a local contractor here in Fairfax, had told her that maybe I could help her with some information. Marianne said her mother had a friend who had been a teacher in a one room school here in Fairfax in 1940. She said she didn't know where the school was, but thought it had some kind of a French name and that the teacher's name was Wrisley.
I gave Marianne my email address so she could pass it on to her mother, enabling me to communicate directly so we could easily exchange information. While waiting for information, I did some research and found there was indeed a Ruth Wrisley who taught school here in Fairfax at the Cherrierville School in the year 1940/41. In addition to that, I found the original teacher's book which listed the names of the students who attended the Cherrierville School that year.
About a week later, Phyllis Graham of Hartford, NY, who along with her children, were former students of Miss Wrisley, sent me an email giving me the information that I had received from her daughter Marianne. In addition, she told me that Ruth is now 84 years old and her husband Bill Williams is 88. She also informed me that Miss Wrisley taught in Wilmington, NY for one year after leaving Fairfax, then went to teach 2nd grade at Hartford Central School, Hartford, NY where she retired at the end of her teaching career. Whenever she and her husband Bill Graham take Ruth and her husband Bill for a ride and cross the Vermont border, Ruth always mentions her first teaching job in the one room school in Fairfax.
I immediately replied, letting her know that I had found out where Ruth had taught here in Fairfax. Unfortunately the school was sold to a Walter Fanton, torn down and the lumber used to build a house on Route 104 just beyond Minors Country Store, which burned in 1967. The only photo showing any part of the school, at least to my knowledge, was lent to me by Rita Magnan several years ago, and showed the teacher at that time which was Mary (King) Ratte with her students. With the help of Florence Magnan, the students were identified and I placed the photo on my website.
Phyllis printed out the photo along with their identification and also the other information I had given her. When she showed this to Ruth, things began to click. After all, it had been 61 years since Ruth left Fairfax to continue on with her approximately 40 years of teaching. Ruth remembered then that when she was teaching here in Fairfax she had boarded with the Barkyoumb family. Phyllis sent me back a note and told me that they would like to bring Ruth over to Fairfax this summer so she could see where the school had been and see the house where she had lived with the Barkyoumbs. Unfortunately, I had to tell them that the house had burned.
The Cherrierville School was located just beyond the Jim Magnan Farm on the same side of the road and a path between two large trees led up to the school which was in that meadow. The old Barkyoumb house was located where Moe & Gail Stafford's home now stands.
One of Ruth's students in 1940/41, Reggie Barkyoumb, still lives here in town. I stopped in to see Reggie and asked him if he remembered Ruth Wrisley. He told me he certainly did and confirmed the fact that Ruth had boarded with his parents when she was a teacher here. When I informed him that Ruth was coming to Fairfax, he told me he would certainly enjoy seeing her. Since my knowledge of North Fairfax is very limited (I get lost everytime I go up there), Reggie agreed if they would let him know when they were coming that he would meet with them and would show them where the old school and Barkyoumb house stood.
Phyllis Graham was elated with the information and arrangements were made for them to come to Fairfax on May 4, 2002. We all met at Reggie's home and Ruth reminisced with Reggie about her year at the Cherrierville School. Reggie had gone through his old photographs and found a picture of the Barkyoumb house along with a family photo which brought back many memories for both of them. Prior to teaching here in 1940/41, Ruth, a native of Lake Placid, NY, had made numerous visits to Fairfax to visit the Morton family who were her aunt and uncle and resided here at that time.
Among the things they remembered were that Ruth used to walk behind Reggie in his tracks as roads were rarely plowed when they went to school in the morning. In the spring of the year when it was muddy, the mailman used to drop the mail off at the school for the kids to bring home to their parents. Water for drinking was brought with a pail by a couple of the students from the neighboring Jim Magnan farm and put in a galvanized container that had a spigot on the bottom. Reggie remembered how to make his own paper cups our of arithmetic paper for drinking. Ruth remembered that she made $17 a week and paid $7 for room and board. She also said that she went through the initiation of a new teacher when the kids decided they would try to scare her with a live snake. Although petrified, she calmly said, "My what interesting colors, we'll just have to look that up and see what kind it is when we go back in the school." One of the older boys was always hired to start the fire and warm up the school before class in the winter. Reggie remembers in later years he got 25 cents a day for doing this.
After reminiscing for about an hour and a half, we all went up to North Fairfax, stopped at Moe & Gail Stafford's and viewed the surrounding area as well as where the Cherrierville school was originally located. The Grahams could not get over what a wonderful view of Mount Mansfield there was from that location. We all said our good-byes and Ruth, Bill, Phyllis and Bill left for their long trip home. It was a beautiful sunny day and a later note from Phyllis said Ruth could not stop talking about what a wonderful day she had all the way home.