Mendon May Day— 1874
Hannah Leavitt Baker— A person of strong individuality, had snapping brown eyes and black hair, which was kept cut short until she was old enough to care for it herself. Hannah went to school a few months each winter. The desks were merely a board projecting from the wall. The seats were one long bench. The pupils sat facing the wall with their backs to the teacher. They came up and formed a line in front of the teacher’s chair to recite. In the winter the room was heated by a large fireplace. The mail came into town each morning. At recess the teacher, Mr. [John] Donaldson, dismissed the children, walked over to the post office and got the paper, then sat and read it before calling order. Hannah’s entire education consisted of about the fourth grade. She studied the three “R’s,” a little grammar and geography. At the close of school, all the children helped clean the school room. They would roast a half bushel of potatoes in the fireplace, and after the work was done, turn the affair into a celebration. At the age of sixteen Hannah was chosen queen of the May Day celebration, started by Isaac Sorensen. She wore a white petticoat with a hand-embroidered short night gown over it. They never thought of buying new clothes for any occasion in those days. Mrs. Muir curled her hair in ringlets using sugar and water to make it hold. She could not comb it out for two weeks after.