Samuel Matney's Continuing Education
Tuesday July 26, 2005
By Dr. Warren Addicott
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Today there are many opportunities for senior citizens to continue life-long learning. Educational travel courses through Elderhostel, computer clubs, and senior community centers are just a few of the many avenues for continuing education. In 1887, Samuel Matney didn't have as many choices, but he found his own way to expand his educational horizons.
In retirement, the former cattleman ran a small hand-powered seed mill below the Jess Valley School in Modoc County, California. One day Matney, better known as "Tule [TOO-lee] Dad," dropped into the one-room schoolhouse to rest his one-hundred and three-year-old legs. It was his first time in school. The teacher welcomed him and gave him his own seat - an inverted nail keg.
Matney continued to attend class. The centenarian sat by the stove with his head and hands resting on his mahogany cane. He was a listener; he couldn't read or write. "Tule Dad" learned one lesson at school; it was in geography. He learned to locate Jess Valley and the area in Tennessee where he was born on a wall map of the World.
Samuel Matney's days in school just go to show, that one is never too old for new knowledge.
Today's episode of As It Was was contributed by Dr. Warren Addicott, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Addicott, J. E. Prairie Pioneers. Los Gatos, California: privately published, 1951