Central Academy (Barfield), 1887-1913

CENTRAL ACADEMY 1887-1913 was on the Midland Road about 1/2 mile north of the place where Panther Creek crosses the road. It was on the west side of the present Armstrong Valley Road just after its intersection with the Barfield-Crescent Road.

On June 39, 1887, for the sum of fifty dollars paid by W. C. Harrison, treasurer of the Board of Trustees for CENTRAL ACADEMY, T. B. Snell sold to Trustees W. C. Harrison, S. Norman, John Boyd, W. D. Alexander, Frankie Turner, H. C. Crockett, Robert Smith, R. H. Avaritt, and R. H. Overall two acres of land for the school. The land was bounded on the east by R. Young and on the north by Charley Ransom.

In 1891, Superintendent James P. Nelson said, “We have some of the best schools in the state in our county”.

Central was a well-built one room school.

Lockie Webb, daughter of Isaac Webb, was a teacher. Other teachers were Tennie Halliburton, 1911, and Dooley Gobelet, 1912, both from the community of Rucker.

Among the students were L. J. T. Smotherman, b. 1889; the Prices; Charlie, b. 1895, Andrew, b. 1899, and Mary, b. 1897, all of whom attended in 1909; Fred Woodson a classmate in 1909; Clarence Harris, who started when he was five years old in 1911 so that his brother would have company; and his uncles, Jack and Simp Harris.

Mary Price used to watch sympathetically as Simp Harris mounted his horse. The horse was so big and Simp was so small.

At a regular meeting of the Board of Directors of CENTRAL ACADEMY, it was moved and carried to dispose of the property.

W. J. Overall and R. H.. Avaritt were authorized to make the sale in consideration of the premises and $400 in cash. On October 18, 1906, Trustees R. A. Smith, E. S. Alexander, S. A. Smith, R. H. Avaritt, J. R. McCord, and W. J. Overall sold the lot, building, and other improvements to School Directors Aaron Todd, W. J. Overall, and L. H. Woodson.

The school closed at the end of the 1912-1913 term. The children, including Clarence Harris, rode a wagon to BARFIELD SCHOOL. Fount Crockett was the driver in 1913 and Will Baskin, in 1914.

By a deed signed August 29, 1914, J. D. Jacobs, chairman of the Rutherford County Board of Education, sold to H. D. Snell and wife the two acres for $255, the highest bid offered. It was the same property that had been purchased from T. B. Smell. In 1914 it was bounded by John Grigsby, Charley
Harrison and H. C Snell.

SOURCES: Deed Book 29, p. 307; Book 47, p. 356; Book 57, p. 129. Tennessee. Department of Public Instruction. Annual Report 1890 Nashville: Marshall and Bruce, 1891 , p. 160. Interviews, July 1, 1983, with Clarence Harris, student, 1911-end of the 1912 term; July 12, 1983, with Mary Rowland
Smotherman, b. 1890, wife of L. J. T. Smotherman; June 5, 1985, with *Mary Price Snell, a student in 1909.

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