Pioneer Day at Harper School
spring the third grade from nearby Three Rivers School visits the
schoolhouse and the ranch. The photos on this page and the following
text are from reports on the 2006 visit by Andy (left) and David (right).
Andy – We spent a day as pioneer children.
David – When I heard we were going to Vandevert
I was excited but I was nervous. I had to decide what to wear and
what to eat. Here’s what I brought – a cheese sandwich, some
walnuts, and a couple pieces of jerky. I wore overalls and a
striped shirt. I was ready for a wonderful day!
– I wore clothes that were a straw hat from home, suspenders from
home, and a buttoned shirt. My lunch was cheddar cheese,
johnnycake, peanuts, and bread and butter. At Vandevert Ranch I saw
trees, owls, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and pine needles. I felt
it was exciting, hot, sunny, and shady.
David - When we got there we set down our
lunches. Then we went to the centers. First my group went to
sketching. Then we went to P.P.E. Next we went into the
– During the day we did stations. One of my favorites was the wood
tools. My favorite tool was the bark remover and the crosscut
saw. The other one I enjoyed was the schoolhouse. I liked the map
because it was very different from nowadays. Another one was a
hike. We saw metal, a dock, and a river. Another group was
drawing. Another one was beading. We played jacks and marbles and sticks and
- After lunch we went to centers only this time we got to pick which
center to go to. First I played checkers with Elisha. Then I
played marbles with Elisha. Next I played horseshoes with Elisha.
Finally I went to camp with Cade. After that we listened to Mr.
Myer’s story and ate ice cream. Then we went on the merry-go-round.
Then we had to go back to school. And there you have it – my
wonderful day at Vandevert Ranch.
- Finally we got to go on the wagon, it was really fun! Then
we ate lunch and danced and I had a blast! But it wasn’t over.
David - When we were coming back on the bus I
realized how hard it was for the pioneers. They have to know how to
hunt before the age of 17. And the girls had to know how to make
clothes by the same age. It was very hard for them. I sure
wouldn’t like being a pioneer! No electricity, no sports, but what
I’d miss the most is the food – like pizza! I wonder how my family
would do being pioneers?
Grace Vandevert McNellis adds, "Those kids were wonderful. The
girls are so cute in their dresses and bonnets. I have to say
I never dressed like that but my grandmother did! And the boys
...they dressed just like my Dad. Those overalls were what he
wore every day when working on the ranch. They had deep
pockets that held his Bull Durham tobacco and a handkerchief (always
red). He bought them at J.C. Penny Company in Bend - probably
about $3.50 a pair in those days, maybe less. Little boys love
all those pockets to put things in."
Pioneer Day continues. Two photos below from Pioneer Day 2009 show children dancing and walking down the road to the Old Homestead. The
third photo is a class photo from a July 4 picnic at the Big Meadow School, near the present Sunriver Lodge, in about 1897. Six of the children in the photo are Vandeverts.