Hard Start School (Christiana), 1872-1883

HARD START SCHOOL 1872-1883 was located in Christiana. It was built behind the present Church of Christ on the knob where Uncle Sandy Murray’s house later stood. It was across from the present Brandon View Baptist Church on Miller Road.

Judge Tiliman Davis Johnson, born January 8, 1858, has this to say in his “Memoirs” “About the time I was 14 they built a little log schoolhouse about a mile from where my father lived . . . in the Post Office Village. . . . A school
teacher from Boston came . . . called Brandy. . . . I took Latin, algebra, and geometry. . . . When about 15, a teacher came about 20 years old . . . James A. Laughton. He was a Presbyterian and had been to Cumberland University. He prepared me for the Freshman Class at Cumberland. At 18 years, fall of 1876, I went to Cumberland University for a half year.” Tillman Johnson ran out of money and returned home at 19 to teach school. He taught at HARD START and his brothers and sisters went to school under him. “I was 19 years old in 1877 and I had boys as old as and older than I was. . . . We had trustees as that was a free school period . . . . Grading cards were from 5-10. 10 was so-called perfect.”

Among the teachers were: Brandy, a school teacher from Boston, in 1872; James A. Laughton in 1873, who finished his senior year and graduated with Tillman Johnson from Cumberland University in 1880; Tiliman Johnson, in 1877; A. J. Brandon, Sr., and Tom Finney.

HARD START closed when HERMITAGE ACADEMY was founded in about 1883.

SOURCES: *Tjllman Davis Johnson, “Memoirs of Judge Tillman Davis Johnson”n.d.. Emmaline Miller, “History of Christiana,” term paper, Middle Tennessee State 1939. Hazel Miller, “First School for Christiana Was Started Century Ago,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 23. Interviews, October 1982, with Dorothy Fingers Barringer, who owns a copy of the “Memoirs” and is a niece of Johnson; May 1981, with Will Miller, b. Dec. 15, 1889.

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