l6 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
verified. The benefits the youth have derived and are deriving from the free school system, viewed alone from a social and economic standpoint, are incalculable, and the impetus public schools have given to agriculture, manu¬ facture, and commerce is of great importance to both state and nation.
Well, we were on the new farm and were pleased with the change and with the new farm also. My father was from home but Httle the first summer, leaving only for some important work and then only for a few days at a time. My duties were practically the same as those of my two former years on the farm. As the farm was large, the work was somewhat harder and the harvest season longer. When the seeding was done, the corn all in, and all fall work completed, I was next gotten in order for my three months' schooHng, which generally commenced in the latter part of November or early in December. I was then over ten years of age, and had only about one and a half miles to walk. I attended school every day it was in session, up to the latter part of February, or the first of March, when the winter term closed.
The teacher was a Mr. Baker, who was considered a very competent person. He had succeeded in obtaining sub¬ scriptions for about forty scholars, which was quite a good munber for that time. He was a stern, resolute person, quaUfications that many people at that day thought essen¬ tial, especially for the winter term, when only boys attended. As a great many of the boys were from fourteen to twenty years of age, people were of the opinion that to insure proper control it was necessary for the teacher to know how to handle the rod. In this line Mr. Baker was an expert, ever looking for an excuse to use it. An opportunity one day occurred in the most unexpected manner. The older boys took delight in plaguing the kids, as they called the