Text Box: Thanksgiving at Pleasant Valley School
Production Year:  2007
Suggested Donation:  $65 (100% of your investment will be used for ministry).
Recipients will be given a specifically numbered print of a limited edition of only 200 Prints that are personally signed and numbered by the artist.  In addition, recipients will receive a signed “Certificate of Authenticity” that includes the following information from the artist:
      The scene in this painting is of the one-room schoolhouse as it stood years ago, situated on a ranch land hill in Pleasant Valley, California.  This is the school that my brothers and I attended in the mid 1950’s.  The total school enrollment was approximately 11-13 children, and we had one teacher, Madeline Black, who taught all of us (1st–8th grades) simultaneously.  The schoolhouse, well over a 100 years old when we were students, had a tower with a bell, that when rung each morning, would echo throughout the valley.
      During recess, we could view many of the 200 head of cattle grazing on Henry and Alice Magonigle’s 300-acre ranch that completely surrounded the one-room school.  Henry served on the school board for over 30 years. His forefathers were among the early settlers of the area, having purchased their property from the Schwartz family, whose land bordered the 10,000-acre Williams Ranch.  After Henry died, Alice lived in the same old ranch house on Piper Lane and continued raising cattle for many years until her death at age 93.
      Historical records report that in 1859, only one-third of the Nevada County’s children had attended school during that year, “while the other two-thirds are growing up in ignorance.” To help remedy this dilemma, the Pleasant Valley School District was officially established on March 4, 1868. The minimum enrolment to keep the school open was seven pupils. In 1879 the Superintendent of Schools reported that of the 32 kids registered at Pleasant Valley’s one-room school, 15 were under the age of 5, and the average daily attendance was just nine kids. In this same report, school expenses for Pleasant Valley for that year were a grand total of $79.05, and total value of the school property, including books was $700.
      In those early years, a teacher’s pay averaged $77/month for men, $64/month for women.  Attendance was sporadic, partly due to the distance between home and school. The children traveled to school by horse or by foot.  Students took turns hauling drinking water in a bucket from the nearby Bitney Springs Creek.  Rumor has it that Bret Harte, the famous western writer, was once employed by Pleasant Valley.
      Years later, another building was constructed adjacent to the original 100-year-old school.  Today the original one-room schoolhouse remains standing, now a residence, noticeably remodeled and adjoined to the additional building.
      I was inspired to paint this historical landmark, after reminiscing about the instruction I received from the two godly ladies I mentioned above.  Mrs. Black, my first public education teacher, and Alice Magonigle, one of my earliest Sunday school teachers, were both instrumental in my coming to faith in the Lord Jesus.  They deeply embodied and faithfully taught the principles given in Colossians, Chapter 3, verses 15 and 16:
“ Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking, because you were all called together in one body to have peace.  Always be thankful.  Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly.  Use all wisdom to teach and instruct each other by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
It is my prayer that all who view this painting will come to know and trust our Lord Jesus more fully as they experience His joy and peace, even while learning to be thankful in all situations along life’s way.
      With grateful Love in Jesus Christ, who offers to all the free gift of Eternal Life, as well as the peaceful assurance of a heavenly home with Him at the end of this world’s journey …


 N. R. Vogt
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