Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brigham Young and Education

Before the pioneers came west, Brigham urged them to bring copies of books, maps, paper, pencils and other things that would be helpful in teaching children to read. So books and note pads were tucked into blankets in the wagon beds and brought west. At Brigham’s request, the Saints who sailed around South America brought with them a large library of school books.

The first school in the Salt Lake Valley opened in October of 1847, in an old military tent shaped like a wigwam erected in the middle of the fort. The teacher, Mary Jane Dilworth, sat on an old camp stool, and the students sat on logs. Some of the pupils brought slates to write on and others had paper and pencils. But a few wrote on smooth logs or dried bark with a piece of charcoal.

The first day of school, the teacher began with a prayer and then each pupil learned a psalm from the Bible. In the winter, schools were opened for adults. Several languages were taught, including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. A series of classes cost $1.20 and an individual lecture was $0.20.

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