ROCKDALE SCHOOL District 1 before 1878-c 1965 first met in a building on William Freeman land in the Friendship Community. The building is thought to have been the one Friendship Church had used before 1854. The site of the school is on the 1878 Beers Map and is shown on Sanders or Fellowship Church Road, now the Rockdale Road.
The first school was a cedar log building. Then, in a deed signed February 3, 1888, Henry and Sarah Wood and J.B. and M.A. Bodily gave one acre for a public school west of the log building. This second school was a one-room
frame building with a long porch across the front. In time, another classroom was added behind the original room and a kitchen was built at the front, an arrangement which made the schoolhouse L-shaped.
On July 25, 1953, Mrs. Elizabeth Welch Patton, the widow of J. W., James Welch Patton, and George Allen Patton signed a deed to the Rutherford School Commission for five acres across from the second Fellowship Church which is also shown on the 1878 Beers Map. This four-room brick building had three classrooms and a kitchen.
Among the early teachers were Alvis McCollough, T. Pinckney Edmondson, Jinny Marlin, Arnanda Miller, Mable Callahan, Mary Halliburton, Neal Elrod, Berry O. Carter, and Inez Carter. Later teachers were Fannie Short Wright, Beulah Miller, Clara Belle Pearcy Barrett, Nell Pearcy Lannom, Catherine Ward Barrett, Mary McAbee, Louisa Goodman, Viola Tucker Carter, Elizabeth Dement Youree, Louise Hilliard, Elaine Miller, Mildred Smart, Pauline Adkerson, Dora Thompson, Florence Sublett, Mary Garvin, Thelma Flexner, Mr. B. A. Martin, Jimmy Tune, Blanche Alsup.
Louise Hilliard remembers the program which Miss Bessie Freeman, the oldest lady in the community, gave for the children. Miss Freeman related the history of the school at ROCKDALE. She had started school in the one-room frame building.
Josephine Sanders, born 1822 and a resident of the community, married T. Pinckney an early teacher. When the school closed, the children were bused to Smyrna.
In a deed signed November 4, 1955, the Rutherford School Commission sold to J. A. Patterson one acre, the second ROCKDALE SCHOOL and lot. In a deed signed April 1, 1974, the Board of Education sold to J. B. Patterson and wife Pauline and to Jerry Lee Patterson and wife Sandra five acres, the site of the last school.
SOURCES: Deed Book 30, p. 388; Book 228, pp. 399, 576; Book 117, p. 58. Christine Sanders Farrar, “Historical Notes on Friendship Church and Community” RCHS, Pub. no. 6, Winter 1976. Interviews with Barbara Barrett
Milligan, daughter of *Clara Belle Pearcy and niece of *Ne].]. Pearcy Lannom; Arline Wright Lee Adams, whose mother Mae Wright Wright was a student in the one-room frame school. Walter K. Hoover, p. 98. *Fannie Short Wright. *Louise Hilliard.