Hermitage Academy (Christiana), 1879-1908

HERMITAGE ACADEMY 1878-c 1908 was built on a .75 acre lot in Christiana given by A. J. Brandon, Sr., to Trustees B. N. White, I. M. Miller, C. W. Johnson, R. S. Jameson, J. C. Patterson, A. J. Brandon, and N. C. Miller. The
deed was dated August 24, 1878. The school was next to the present Church of Christ and was sometimes called BRANDON ACADEMY or INSTITUTE.

By 1887, the one-teacher weatherboarded school was expanded to a three- or four-room building. Grades one through eight were taught. It is thought the BRANDON TRAINING SCHOOL for older children, which flourished in 1895, occupied one room before relocating in Wartrace.

In the beginning the finances were raised by subscription, but in its later years the school was under the regulation of a County School Board.

Principals were A. J. Brandon, Jr., 1887, John Woodfin, Sam Hargis, Jim Hale, Robert Armstrong Taylor, John Alexander, Mr. Barton, B. H. Lokey, and Mr. Dennison.

Among the teachers were Margaret Sugg Sutton, Carrie Jacobs of Beech Grove, ____ Burg, all in 1887; Sally Miller, about 1895, who was Will Miller’s first grade teacher; Almattie Jarman, about 1906 and 1907; Mary Knott, 1906 and 1907, who was teacher in lower grades; Liz Jarman, music teacher.

Graduates in 1889 included Andrew L. Todd, Florence Clark, and the Clemmons brothers of Chattanooga.

School programs were often presented using the front porch as a stage. The audience was seated in the front yard.

Light was furnished by equipment loaned by the railroad.

According to a program once owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gordon, a performance was given on December 4, 1895. C. C. Johnson gave the main address and E. R. Hancock presented awards. A. J. Brandon was principal at the time. One play was made a memorable one when Cora Brothers Williams was accidentally shot through the ear.

The school closed about 1908 when the new CHRISTIANA SCHOOL was built across the road.

HERMITAGE ACADEMY was the third known school in the Christiana community. It followed a log cabin in the middle of town and a school called HARD START.

SOURCES: Deed Book 24, p. 3. Hazel Miller Alexander, “First School for Christiana Was Started Century Ago,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 23. Emmaline Miller Muse, “History of Christiana,” term paper for Middle Tennessee State 1939. *Gene Sloan, “Memories Linger at Christiana,” The Daily News Journal Accent, Feb. 27, 1977. “History of Christiana High School,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 9, 1948, p. 4. Interviews, Feb. 18, 1983, with W. J. Miller, b. Dec. 15, 1889, and a student; Sept. 16, 1982, with Epper Bell Newman Webb, a student, b. Dec. 9, 1898, d. July 9, 1983; July 20, 1983, with Stanley Miller. *Myla Taylor Parsons and *Lena Taylor Alsup, daughters of Robert Armstrong Taylor.

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