Monday, October 20, 2014

Tennessee Schools in 1915

East Tennessee Schools, my thanks to Pam Mulinix for the use of her photos

Lots of improvements were underway in Tennessee schools:  


Standardizing  textbooks:

Haliburtion's Primer and Haliburton's First reader were recommended for the first grade.

Cover of Haliburton's First Reader, digitized by Google
Read Haliburton's First Reader Here

Improving school buildings:

More school buildings were being built and some of these schools were consolidated schools (combining two or more smaller schools). Consolidated schools were made possible by the use of school wagons. Local farmers were hired to drive the children to school. More of the school systems were starting to build brick schools too.
Boys' Corn Clubs were very popular. Read more about Corn Clubs

Moses School, Knoxville (photo shows later addition)

Modern desks
One room school circa 1910, showing wooden plank desks
Photo Credit: Derek Bruff, Some rights reserved

Increasing school year:

Carter was able to run some consolidated schools for 8 months.
Hamblen County 6 months
Henry County 6 months
Roane County 8 or 9 months
Hancock County 5 months
Hardin 4 months
Grainger 5 months and one week
Greene increased from 4 ½ to 6 months
Maury 8 months
Meigs County needs better resources to be able to run their schools for 6 months

Adding district school libraries:

Claiborne County had the most ambitious plan:

The Items of Standardization as printed below have helped our schools more than anything. The teachers unanimously adopted the following items of standardization for every school in Claiborne County at the County Institute:
1 School graded
2 Library and bookcase
3 House painted repair roof doors windows and locks
4 A flag for every school
5 Cooler and individual drinking cups
6 Time piece clock preferred
7 Globe maps blackboard erasers and waste baskets
8 Broom cluster sprinkler or oil floors
9 Cloak room or racks for hats and wraps
10 Daily schedule posted including study and recitation periods
11 Two pictures well framed and an additional picture each year
12 Call bell for class use
13 Proper seating
14 Proper ventilation
15 Proper heating stove jacketed 16 School improvement club
17 School pig – Who doesn't love a school pig?
18 Activity in Church and Sunday School
19 Attendance at Teachers Meetings
20 Taking and reading at least one educational journal
21 Minimum of three public gatherings
22 Visiting every home or reason for failure
23 No tobacco or alcoholics used by teachers or pupils
24 Personal supervision at play time
25 Neat personal appearance of teacher
26 Flowers on yard table or in window
27 Neat school grounds
28 Sanitary out houses
29 Orderly assembling and dismissing of pupils
30 Reading of the Bible at opening exercises
31 Teachers report to member of Board and Superintendent when absence is necessary
32 Neatly kept register with daily roll call
33 Domestic arts at home or school two exhibits of work from at least one half of the girls
34 Manual training at home or school an exhibit at close of school from at least one half of the boys
35 Inventory showing everything received or added during the year
36 An exhibit to the County Fair

The opening day of the County Fair was given over entirely to the school children of the county. Public school pupils took part in the following contests: Reciter's Declaimer's, Bird House Contest for the boys manual training, Apron Contest for the girls domestic arts. , Prizes were also given for the best General School Exhibit of the first three grades, also for the best General School Exhibit of the grades beyond the third.

 Our slogan for this year has been, “ A Library and School Improvement Association for Every School.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Buckeye for Good luck

 To be completely accurate, he was my Great Uncle.  I called him Uncle, but he was like a Grandfather to me.  He married my Grandmother's Aunt and they adopted my Grandmother.  They helped raise my father and my parents lived in an apartment at their house when I was born.




James Luther Lee was born on March 8, 1885, in Tennessee, his father, William, was 29 and his mother, Lydia Tennessee Marsh (Tennie), was 17.  In 1900, they lived in Wallous Ward, Hawkins co. Children: Samuel( 1882), James Luther (1885), George (1885),Roxy (1889),Molly (1892), Edgar (1894), Myrtle (1896) and May (1898). The family moved to Knoxville sometime between 1900 and 1910. He married Alice Ann Vance, daughter of John M Vance and Sarah Arnwine, on December 3, 1905, in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Uncle would take me out for walk, sometimes to the store and sometimes to his garden.  He always walked very slow, I don't know if he always walked slow or if he walked more slowly because he was holding my hand.  Every Fall, he gave me a buckeye and a silver dollar for good luck.


Photo credit: Hannah M. Gillenwater


Silver Dollar
"Peace dollar" by PAR at en.wikipedia Later version(s) were uploaded by Bobby131313 at en.wikipedia. - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by User:RoyFocker 12 using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - Link

Uncle died in 1958, more than 50 years ago, but neither my memories or my love for him have dimmed at all.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Louisville Part II Holston College

Holston College, Photo credit: The Prater Family

Holston College was developed on land belonging to the historically prominent Gillespie family who had come from Scotland by way of Ireland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and finally the Louisville area in what would be Blount County.  The migration began around 1740.  John Gillespie (1774-1842) helped build a school and businesses on William Gillespie’s property.  The school which would later be called Holston College had a Presbyterian-based education.  The Gillespie’s for generations were staunch Presbyterians. Grady Winegar

It was also known as Ewing Academy, Ewing and Jefferson College and Holston Academy. In 1901, it is listed as Ewing and Jefferson College and G. L. Miser is listed as the president or principal.
(Source: Annual Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Tennessee, Tennessee. Dept. of Public Instruction, 1901, Table XI)

Google map showing the location

Google map aerial view

Ewing and Jefferson College marker showing its location to the cemetery

Thursday, September 11, 2014


The Louisville area was settled in the early 1800s, and its situation on the Tennessee River* helped it grow into a key flatboat and steamboat port. It was incorporated in 1851. In 1974 Louisville's downtown was declared a national historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.

*The Holston River is now defined as ending at the French Broad River, where the confluence forms the Tennessee River just above Knoxville. Before 1933, the terminus of the Holston River was defined as where the Little Tennessee River enters the river. That point, the confluence of the Holston and Little Tennessee rivers, was considered to be the beginning of the Tennessee River.

According to Tennessee Valley Authority historians, when the TVA was created in 1933, Congress mandated that the TVA headquarters be located on the banks of the Tennessee River. Since the TVA headquarters were already designated to be located in downtown Knoxville, as part of area development on what was then the Holston River, to fulfill the Congressional mandate, the official start of the Tennessee River was moved upstream from Lenoir City to the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers.

Two hundred and forty-nine families in Blount, Loudon, and Knox Counties were relocated for the Fort Loudon Dam project between 1939 and 1942. (Source: All We Knew Was to Farm: Rural Women in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941, Melissa Walker, p. 154) 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Crossville may be best known for the federal government's Subsistence Homesteads Division which established the Cumberland Homesteads outside of Crossville during the 1930s, as part of the New Deal program. Cumberland Mountain State Park was also built as part of this project.

During World War II, Camp Crossville was built on the site of an abandoned 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps work camp. 

Homestead Tower Museum

 Link to more information about this museum and the history of the Homestead project.  Link

Crossville Depot

Monument to men who served in the Civil War

An article that appeared in the Nashville Daily Union on June 25, 1862 about troop movement in the Crossville area.  (The Nashville daily union. (Nashville, Tenn.), 25 June 1862. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. )  Link

Cumberland County Courthouse

Mileage and directions sign

Located on US Highway 70, Crossville was a crossroads for Tennessee travelers until the interstate system was developed.

The Palace Theatre opened in 1938 and is used for various functions today.  Link

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cumberland Mountain State Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park is situated on the Cumberland Plateau approximately halfway between the plateau's Walden Ridge escarpment to the East and the plateau's western escarpment to the West. The southern fringe of the Crab Orchard Mountains is just to the East of the park and the northern tip of the beautiful Sequatchie Valley is just to the South. Crossville is the closest city.

The Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, arrived in the area in 1934 to build the recreational area's facilities as part of Rosevelt's New Deal program. The construction of Byrd Creek Dam began in 1935 under the direction of the National Park Service and was completed in 1938, creating the 50-acre Byrd Lake. The dam is constructed of a native sandstone commonly called Crab Orchard Stone.

This building houses the restaurant and the gift shop.  If you are lucky, you can get a table with a great view of the dam.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Downtown in Cumberland Gap

The passage created by Cumberland Gap was well-traveled by Native Americans long before the arrival of European-American settlers. The earliest written account of Cumberland Gap dates to the 1670s and was written by Abraham Wood of Virginia.[1]
The gap was named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II of England, who had many places named for him in the American colonies after the Battle of Culloden.[2] The explorer Thomas Walker gave the name to the Cumberland River in 1750, and the name soon spread to many other features in the region, such as the Cumberland Gap. In 1769Joseph Martin built a fort nearby at present-day Rose Hill, Virginia, on behalf of Dr. Walker's land claimants. But Martin and his men were chased out of the area by Native Americans, and Martin himself did not return until 1775.[3]
In 1775 Daniel Boone, hired by the Transylvania Company, arrived in the region leading a company of men to widen the path through the gap to make settlement of Kentucky and Tennessee easier. On his arrival Boone discovered that Martin had beaten him to Powell Valley, where Martin and his men were clearing land for their own settlement – the westernmost settlement in English colonial America at the time.[4] By the 1790s the trail that Boone and his men built was widened to accommodate wagon traffic and sometimes became known as the Wilderness Road.

Cumberland Gap was the center of a lot of activity during the Civil War and these are sometimes called Battle of the Cumberland Gap. In June 1862, Union Army General George W. Morgan captured the gap for the Union. In September of that year, Confederate States Army forces under Edmund Kirby Smith occupied the Gap during General Braxton Bragg's Kentucky Invasion. The following year, in a bloodless engagement in September 1863, Union Army troops under General Ambrose Burnside forced the surrender of 2,300 Confederates defending the gap, gaining Union control of the gap for the remainder of the war.