Students Donate Illustrations of Searsmont Historical Figure

Updated 5 months ago

Searsmont students are ending their school year with a visit steeped in Searsmont history.

Ames Elementary School third graders are donating their hard work to the town. It was a project about a historical member of their community.

At 16 years old, Josephine Knight was a teacher.

She kept a diary from 1885 to 1888. It was handed down through generations in her family until in landed in the hands of Amy Robbins-Wilson.

Knight was her first cousin, three times removed. Robbins-Wilson transcribed the diary and it was published.

She approached her son’s teacher about using it as a learning resource for the students.

“So, we found all these different things that the kids really would be interested in and they decided which entries other children would find interesting,” sait their teacher, Karen Craig-Foley.

Over several months, students researched and illustrated events from the diary.

“They really made a connection to Josephine and the book. It was a fabulous experience for me and I know it was a good one for them,” said Craig-Foley.

Even at such a young age, Clayton Wilson sees the value in his mom’s work. He’s the tenth generation in his family.

“I would personally think that every person that comes behind us would be able to read this book and learn a little bit about history,” said Wilson.

“Who would have thought that an eight-year-old, or a nine-year-old, would be that interested in a diary from the 1800’s?  But, because of all that they’ve learned at school, they really are genuinely interested in seeking out new knowledge,” said Robbins-Wilson.

“It was really exciting to have the honor to make a book and publish it,” said Erin Fuller, one of the students.

Now,  Josephine Knight’s recollection of Searsmont will be remembered for years to come thanks to the young minds, because two copies of their illustrated book will be kept at the library and historical society.

Thridwas a remarkable woman that supplied a lot of entertainment for the town back in the old days. She put on plays, she put on dances.  That’s the whole idea. Preserving the present for the future,”  said Norman Withee, the curator for the historical society.


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