Hickory Grove School, Kittrell (Black) 1880’s-1930’s

HICKORY GROVE SCHOOL BLACK 1880’s-1930’s was also called SEED TICK SCHOOL. It was on the east side of Cripple Creek Road and just south of the Woodbury Highway. In the 1900’s the lane to the school was through private property owned by the Swaffords and the school, as well as Hickory Grove Baptist Church, were in a corner of a woods owned by Mr. Shelton.

At first the school was held in the Baptist Church.

On January 8, 1894, Jim G. Smith deeded to M. E. Pitts, W. E. Youree, and W. S. Arnett land for a school. An old log residence with a dirt floor became the schoolhouse.

Students sat on logs for seats. In about 1917 classes were again held in the church while Mr. Shelton replaced the log house with a one-room frame building. It had two windows on each side. Inside, the back wall was painted black for a blackboard.

Among the teachers were Frank Ferguson, Cordie Douglas, Virginia Bowling Bradley, Mattie Crockett, Elizabeth Howse, Annie Mai Prirnrn, Grace Watkins, Mattie Bracey, and Leanna Smith. The last teacher was Frank

Alice Wright, b. 1867, was an early student. Willie Bell Dunn, b. March 2, 1900, who started school when fourteen years old, and her cousins Hattie Murray and Mattie Lou Henderson, who were six and seven years older, were students in the first and second school buildings. Family names of the other students were Knight, Robinson, Floyd, Brandon, and Swafford.

At first school was held for only three months a year. Willie Bell Dunn, who learned to read before she started school, remembers studying arithmetic, geography, language, and reading. She learned to write by printing letters and then joining them together.

On a Tuesday, the last day of school, when Willie Bell was to receive her diploma from the eighth grade, it snowed. There was no school. The teacher did not return to the school and Willie Bell never received her diploma.

She has regretted it ever since. She is nevertheless glad that she received an education and is able to read her Bible every day.

When HICKORY GROVE SCHOOL closed because of a decreased enrollment, the children went to READYVILLE SCHOOL BLACK.

The schoolhouse was torn down and the Hickory Grove Baptist Church was moved out to Cripple Creek Road.

SOURCES: Deed Book 36, p. 158. *Mary Hall, “The History of Kittrell” RCHS, Pub, no. 2, Winter 1973, p. 50. Interviews, Nov. 30, 1983, with Willie Jones, b.
1917, student in the 1920’s; Nov. 28, 1983, with Lawyer Brandon; Dec. 2, 1983, with Gilbert Brandon; Dec. 2, 1983, with Willie Bell Dunn, b. 1900, a daughter of Alice Wright.

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