Bethel School (Black), 1900-1967

BETHEL SCHOOL BLACK 1900-1967 a Rosenwald school, was first located on land which joined Little Bethel Missionary Baptist Church on Holly Grove Road. The land was donated to Rutherford County by the United Sons of Relief Lodge. BETHEL SCHOOL was preceded by CRAWFORD SCHOOL in the area.

The second location of BETHEL was on the south side of the same road and about one mile east of the Lebanon Road. On September 6, 1954, Tal R. Vaughn and wife Alice signed a deed to the Rutherford County School Commission for 5.832 acres for the new school. On October 24, 1955, the Rutherford County School Commission deeded the one-half acre of the first school land to the Trustees of Bethel Colored Baptist Church, Raymond Matthews, Neil Johns, Ethel Wade, Robert Watkins, Jimmie Lee Wade, Henry Watkins, Jim Gaines, Will Wade, and William Dunnaway.

The first school was a frame building which burned in 1953. Classes were held in the church building until the fall of 1955 when the second school building was completed. At that time HICKORY GROVE SCHOOL was consolidated with BETHEL.

The second school was of concrete block construction with three classrooms, a kitchen, and a lunchroom. When the school became a four-teacher school in 1958, the fourth teacher used the lunchroom for classes.

The number of teachers varied from one to four. The teachers in both schools included Novella Crawford, Johnnie Scales, Ben Woods, Bertha Jarrett, Bertha Green, Fannie Sanders, Minnie Hyde McIntyre, Miss Fuller, Miss Sharber, Mattie Butler Bracey, John Joe Malone, Audrey King, Robert Macks, Miss Moore, and Mis Hamilton.

Fruzzie Burrus Anderson and Geneva Buford were the first teachers in the two-teacher school in 1938. Fruzzie Anderson, Helena Alexander, and Lucille J. Spy were the first teachers in the three-teacher school in 1955. Fruzzie Anderson, Miss M. L. Wade, Mrs. J. J. Pruitt, and Lucille Spy were the teachers in a four-teacher school in 1963.

When the school closed, students were sent to WALTER HILL SCHOOL.

On November 20, 1969, the Rutherford County School Commission deeded to Robert Watkins, William Wade, Jimmie Lee Wade, and Etta Wade the 5.832 acres of the second school property for the Bethel Baptist Church.

SOURCES; Deed Book 114, p. 319; Book 116, p. 590; Book 193, P. 233. “Bethel Was Founded 1900,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 11. *R. T. Butler, d. April 5, *Lucille Johnson Spy.

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