If you grew up in the United States, Mary Had a Little Lamb is likely a nursery rhyme you can still recite.
This one-room schoolhouse is the actual place that little Mary Elizabeth Sawyer’s precious farm friend followed her, prompting the publishing of the classic poem/song by Sarah Josepha Hale in 1830.
Originally located in Sterling, Massachusetts, the 1798 schoolhouse was purchased by businessman and industrialist Henry Ford in 1927 and relocated to the grounds of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass., in order to be preserved. (Ford purchased the Wayside Inn, along with acres of property, in 1923 because he wanted to create a museum of Americana. We will feature other buildings on the vast property in upcoming posts.)
The town of Sudbury used this building as a school for first to fourth grade until 1951.
Interesting fact: Thomas Edison, a close friend of Henry Ford, and frequent visitor to the Inn, made the first recording of a human voice in history reading this poem,” says the Wayside Inn’s website. Tuck that away in your brain for the next round of Trivial Pursuit.
Besides the above information plaque, another one resides at school site as well and chronicles the entire poem of Mary Had a Little Lamb. (We had never heard the later verses!) It’s a little hard to read because the print is small, so we’ll post it for you here:
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.
He followed her to school one day,
That was against the rules.
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned him out,
But still he lingered near,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear.
And then he ran to her, and laid
His head upon her arm,
As if he said, “I’m not afraid,
You’ll keep me from all harm.”
What makes the lamb love Mary so?
The eager children cry;
“O, Mary loves the lamb, you know,”
The teacher did reply.
“And you, each gentle animal,
T’is you for life, may bind.
And make it follow at your call,
If you are always kind.