Cannonsburgh Chapel-Tipperary School, 1915-1925

The Cannonsburgh Chapel in Murfreesboro was at one time TIPPERARY SCHOOL 1915-1925, a subscription school in District 3.

It was on the south side of the present Waldron Road about one mile from the railroad in Lavergne. The TIPPERARY SCHOOL was first named GAMBILL SCHOOL in honor of School Director Charles H. Gambill. When the song, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” became popular, school boys unofficially called their schoolhouse “Tipperary” and the name remained.

On July 6, 1915, George Noe and Allen Sanford and wife Lillie deeded one acre to the Rutherford County Board of Education whose chairman at that time was J. D. Jacobs. The parcel of seventy acres had been given to George Noe’s granddaughter Lillie Sanford but was not to be turned over to her until his death.

TIPPERARY was a one-room, one-teacher school building. Ben Davis, Jim Waidron, and Charlie Gambill helped to raise funds and solicit material and labor to erect the school. The building was a rectangular, weather-boarded structure with a tin roof. Three windows were on either side and a small window was at the back near the teacher’s desk which was on a raised platform. At the front of the room was a pot-bellied stove. Water was carried from the Pearson and Waldron farms.

The first teacher was Audrey Williams Moore. Others were Ruth Omahundra, George Williams, Jo Lena Bond, Gutha Williams, Fannie Bell Paul Taylor, 85 years old in February 1986, who taught when she was 18 years old, and Hazel Thomas, the last teacher.

Some of the students had formerly attended CEDAR GROVE, ROCK SPRINGS, and CANE RIDGE SCHOOLS. Mary Elizabeth Davis Hodge of Smyrna started to school here. Emmett Waldron was also a student.

Class size varied according to planting, growing, harvesting, or resting seasons. Students also brought younger brothers and sisters to school. All were required to be prompt, neat in appearance, polite to the teachers and to each other, and responsible for the school building and grounds.

One punishment assigned for a misdemeanor was a “write-off.” A “write-off in a legible hand” was a severe punishment because it consumed double the time.

The children walked or rode their horses to school. Gutha Williams remembered one moment of crisis when a student drank a quantity of horse liniment. Gutha resourcefully gave the child a handful of lard to eat. At another time, a boy rode his pony down the aisle of the schoolroom.

Teachers were expected to maintain rigid discipline, spend one night with each pupil, dress sedately, engage in community activities, attend church regularly, and refrain from social engagements with men. For all this they received forty to fifty dollars a month from which they paid eighteen dollars for board.

When the school closed in 1925, students were transferred to the LAVERGNE SCHOOL.

On November 19, 1927, C. N. Haynes, Chairman of the County Court, and J. P. Leathers, Clerk, deeded to C. A. Neal the one acre of land of the former GAMBILL SCHOOL. It was bounded on the north and east by Allen. Sanford, on the south by N. A. and E. C. Kimbro, and on the west by a public road.

At times vacant, TIPPERARY became both a dwelling for Will Thomas Neal and then a store house. In March 1976, Mrs. Robert Carrothers, owner, donated the building to Cannonsburgh Pioneer Village in Murfreesboro, where it now serves as a chapel. A steeple, stained glass windows, an antique organ, and church pews have made it a picturesque setting for local weddings.

SOURCES: Deed Book 57, p. 563; Book 72, p. 251. *Gene Sloan, “A Long Way to Tipperary, It’s a Long Way to Go,” The Daily News Journal Accent, April 3, 1977. Walter King Hoover, A History of the Town of Smyrna, Tenn. Nashville: McQuiddy, 1968, p. 276. Carol Vaughn Alsup, “Tipperary,” a paper for an MTSU class under Dr. Huhta in 1976 in which she interviewed *Gutha Williams and Mary Elizabeth Davis Hodge. Interviews, Feb. 9, 1983, with Lillian Brown Johnson; March 14, 1986, with Mattye Gambill Rion, b. 1899, a niece of Charles Gambill; April 7, 1986, with Vester Waldron. *Fannie Bell Paul Taylor. *Louise Hilliard.

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