Blackman Academy, c1889-1913

BLACKMAN ACADEMY late 1880’s-March 13, 1913 was first called CENTRAL ACADEMY. It was located on the north side of Manson Pike and west of its intersection with Brinkley Road. A Mr. Alsup deeded the land for the school.

In 1890, James D. Nelson said: “We have some of the best schools of the state in our county: . . . Seventh District Central High School . . .

The schoolhouse was a two-room white frame building.

Louvered shutters protected the glass windows.

The number of teachers varied from one to two.

Among the teachers were Alma Read, Annie Manson, Jackson Batey, J. H. Bush in 1908, and Ada Beesley, the last teacher.

On March 13, 1913, a tornado blew away the school house just after the students had been dismissed.

An uncle had come in a surrey for Fannie and Bessie Lee Batey. John L., the brother, had been sick and had stayed at home that day. The horse became very restless.

The Batey children left and were well on their way down the road when the tornado hit the school. The teacher and five children, Nannie and Grade Fann, Dewitt Bridges, and Julia and Mattie Bell Harding, were still on the school grounds.

Ada Beesley held the hands of Dewitt Bridges and one of the Fann girls. All three of them were blown over a wire fence.

No one was seriously hurt. All that remained of the schoolhouse was the flattened west wall and the floor, swept clean.

The new BLACKMAN SCHOOL was built in 1913 on the J. C. Batey farm.

On March 18, 1916, the Rutherford County Board of Education sold to E. E. North the one acre of school property that had been deeded by Mr. Alsup. The Blackman Community Club is now on the site of the school.

SOURCES: Deed Book 58, p. 255. Robert W. Baskin, History of Blackman-Salem-Windrow Communities 1973. Typewritten. Larry Jobe, “Blackman.” From the files of the Rutherford County Historical Society. Tennessee.
Dept. of Public Instruction. Annual Report 1890 Nashville: Marshall and Bruce, 1891, p. 160. Interviews: Feb. 13, 1983, with LeVoy Bivins; with James Batey, b. 1893, a student under Alma Read and Annie Manson; Oct. 1985, with *Bessje Lee Batey Haynes, Fannie Batey Talley, and John L. Batey, children of J. C. Batey and Mary Bass Blackman, b. 1875, who finished school here; Nov. 26, 1984, with Mrs. E. E. North.

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