KINGWOOD SCHOOL 1881-1946 was about eight miles from Murfreesboro on Kingwood Road which runs south off Franklin Road. The school was on the east side of the road just past the Williamson farm and a rock quarry. KINGWOOD was the successor to BLACK GNAT SCHOOL.
In a deed dated July 29, 1881, George Beesley sold seven acres of land for a school to Trustees James M. King, Frank Battle, John Beasley, W. H. King, and T. H. Williamson. On May 17, 1889, the Trustees sold five acres of the school property to John Gannon. In a deed filed in 1911, William King, T. H. Williamson, J. F. Baskin, and George Beesley, Trustees, sold the two acres of KINGWOOD to the County Board of Education.
In 1890, James P. Nelson said, “We have some of the best schools in the state in our county . . . KING’S WOOD HIGH SCHOOL . . .” Later the name became KINGWOOD ACADEMY and then, KINGWOOD SCHOOL.
In the 1920’s the school was a frame building with a front porch, a back porch, and a tall flagpole in the yard.
A front room and a back room were separated by folding doors which were opened for programs. A small door in the folding doors allowed passage from one room to the other. Just inside the front door was a small platform on which was the teacher’s desk. During 1927-1934 a piano was placed at an angle to the left of the desk. Behind the piano was a bookcase of library books and beyond the piano was the pot-bellied stove. In the corner by the
stove was a sand table for many art projects.
The number of teachers varied from one to two. Early teachers remembered are Mary King Floyd and Lulu Simkins King in 1890. Later teachers were Miss Robinson, sister of Dr. Robinson, Mary Dement in 1906, Lura Williamson, Miss Moody, Anita Jackson, Charlotte King Floyd, Robert Martin, Mrs. Waggoner, Florence Parman Hartnan, 1927-1934, Anna King, Sarah Beesley, Grace Smotherman Hogwood, Mary Burkhart Putnam, Azilee Snell, Ms. Hall, Ms. Rion, Ms. McAbee, and Anna Manson King.
When WRAY’S SCHOOL closed, students were transported to KINGWOOD by a school wagon. In 1945, the school day opened at nine o’clock and closed at five because of bus schedules.
Mary King Floyd, b. 1872, was both a student and a teacher at KINGWOOD. She had been an earlier student at BLACK GNAT SCHOOL.
An early incident has been recorded by Robert W. Baskin. On February 4, 1891, Mr. W. H. King and Miss Lula Simpkins, a teacher from Alabama, were married at the Academy. Miss Simpkins taught school as usual that day. When people began to gather in the school room at four o’clock, school was dismissed and the teacher and pupils retired to the music room. Because the groom was late, teacher and pupils entertained the crowd with many “soul stirring” songs. As they finished “Behold the Bridegroom When He Cometh,” they looked out of the window and saw Mr. King driving up; forthwith they went out to meet him. Speedily all things were arranged. The window blinds were closed; the lamps, lighted; and behind the curtain on the rostrum the children were grouped to right and left in a semicircle. At a signal, the curtain was raised; the bride and groom stepped forward; and the impressive ceremony was conducted by the Rev. W. H. Doss. A splendid reception was tendered the bridal party at the home of Mr. Christopher Beesley where the bride was boarding.
The school closed about 1946 and the building was later torn down.
On October 28, 1950, the Rutherford County School Commission signed a deed for the two acres to the Kingwood Community Chest.
SOURCES: Deed Book 25, pp. 603, 504; Book 31, p. 471; Book 54, p. 54. Robert W. Baskin, History of Blackman Salem-Windrow Communities 1973. Typewritten. Paper written by Catherine Hartman Gordon, daughter of *Florence Parman Hartman. Typewritten. Tennessee. Dept. of Public
Instruction. Annual Report 1890 Nashville: Marshall and Bruce, 1891, p. 160. Interviews, September 24, 1984, with Sarah Elizabeth King, b. Nov. 1899, and a student in 1906, 1907; Oct. 26, 1984, with Margaret Beesley Prince, a student, and a sister of Sarah King.