Redstone School and Mary’s Little Lamb



Below is a photo of the Redstone School that used to be in Sterling Massachusetts but was relocated to Sudbury, MA. This school is the sight of the famous Mary Had A Little Lamb nursery rhyme.


A girl named Mary Sawyer was dared by her brother to bring the lamb she was raising to school. She did and put the lamb under her desk as you can see below there would be enough room to hide a lamb. Rebecca Kimball was the teacher and apparently found it humorous. Then there was a visitor named John Roulstone who was at the school on the very day Mary brought the lamb to school. He wrote the first 12 lines of the poem. The poem however was added onto and credited to Sarah Josepha Buell Hale in 1830 and was first seen in a book titled Poems for our Children, Designed for Families, Sabbath Schools, and Infant Schools, Written to Inculcate Moral Truths and Virtuous Sentiments.



Below is a plaque outside the school honoring the people involved.


When I saw the name Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, the surname Buell rang a bell with me. I looked through my ancestors and found that surname also. It turns out that Sarah is my 4th cousin 6 times removed. Our common ancestors are Samuel William Buell and Deborah Griswold. They are Sarah’s 3rd great grandparents and my 9th great grandparents.

Other interesting things include Lowell Mason creating the music for the poem and this was the first thing Thomas Edison recorded for the first phonograph.

Here is the whole poem.

Mary had a little lamb,
His fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

He followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.

And so the teacher turned it out,
But still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
Till Mary did appear.

“What makes the lamb love Mary so?”
The eager children cry.
“O’, Mary loves the lamb, you know,”
The teacher did reply.

And in you each gentle animal
in confidence may bind,
and make them follow at your call,
if you are always kind.

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11 thoughts on “Redstone School and Mary’s Little Lamb

  1. That’s very interesting to see the school house where Mary and her lamb spent a day…and that you’re actually related to her. Congratulations! As good as a president to me! And a lot more people would have heard of Sarah Buelle’s poem.


  2. Very interesting to hear about the origin of what I just imagined to be a classic nursery rhyme, and great that you are related to one of its authors. I’ve never heard that last verse you have, but my father used to add on a couple of rather unfortunate lines, namely ‘and now she carries it to school, it to school, it to school, and now she carries it to school, between two lumps of bread’.


  3. Nice research! I’m a little irked at your distant relative, however, for ‘stealing’ John’s poem. After all, he wrote most of it. I hope she took the time to look into it as you have & gave John the credit he deserved? Glad to see the placard lists him! As Jo mentions, however, many people over the years have added or reworded verses to suit their purpose. I wish I could find the extra verses I wrote for an olio number during a melodrama that a theatre group I was part of did called “Sheepless In Seattle”, but alas, I couldn’t find them quickly though I know I have them somewhere. Oh well.


  4. What a fun post. I had no idea “Mary Had a Little Lamb” came from the U.S. I always classified it with the Mother Goose nursery rhymes. What fun for you to learn you’re related to the author of the poem.


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