Kittrell School, 1889-1912

KITTRELL SCHOOL 1889-1912 was opened on the same site as the former 1880 school and the present school. On November 11, 1889, P. M. Puryear and C. O. Abernathy deeded one acre of land to School Directors W. R. Jamison, William Arnett, and M. E. Pitts. The deed located the school as
being on the road “from Memphis to Bristol.” The names P. M. Puryear and C. O. Abernathy are shown on the 1878 Beers Map as being landowners. Since a store nearby had been named for Major Marion Kittrell, a citizen of the community, the school was also named KITTRELL.

It was at first a one-room, one-teacher frame school with a door at the front, windows on the sides, and a stage and window at the back. Blackboards were on both sides and on the back wall. As the enrollment increased, a
room was added to the back. The back window became a door and access to the back room was over the stage.

The school term was only three months long followed by a subscription school for several weeks. Reading and spelling books were available. Mathematics was learned from the blackboards. Students had individual slates. Chalk was provided by the school, but, for the sake of economy, the chalk was broken into two pieces.

Teachers in the one-room school were Lillie Hayes, John Northcott, Thomas Jamison, W. R. Shelton, Ella Pitts Coleman, and Jim Bragg. In the two-room school, principals were Miss Willie Goodloe, Charley Elkins, S. A. Youree, Miss White Jetton, Walter Kirby, Jennie Speer, Genoa Bowling, and Mr. Flint Speer. Miss Nannie Stanley of McMinnville taught music and art. Other teachers were J. M. Charles, Pollard Runnels, Sam Billingsley, James Madison Meadows, and Ned Gooch.

An old organ was donated to the school. Miss White Jetton played it for morning chapel singing.

Lurleen Carnahan McCrary remembers riding at the feet of Mr. Flint Speer as he drove his white horse and one seat buggy to school. Since he would pick up only the smallest children, Lurleen soon had to give up her ride to
her brother, Burton. The older children walked until a wagon started running from Readyville to KITTRELL SCHOOL.

Mary Hall, b. August 9, 1895, the daughter of Ella Lowe Hall and Dr. Joseph David Hall, started school in the one-room school at KITTRELL.
KITTRELL SCHOOL Graduating Class 1915. Top row: Willie Hoover, Charley Dunn, Principal C. T. Molt, Erin Jacobs Coleman, Jesse Coleman. Row 2: Virginia Tilford Youree, Zema Prater Northcott, Mary McKnight Manley, Willie Mal Youree Williams, Lurleen Carnahan McCrary. Row 3: Tommy Hoover, Mamie McCrary, George Youree, Marie Jamison, Reeves Burton Carnahan. Bottom row: Irene McNabb Tilford, Frank Early, Flora Tilford Dinges. Mary Manley furnished the picture.

The lone frame building had a center double door with a window on each side. The door opened to the auditorium which was at times also used as a classroom.

Extended wings on each side, with porches at the front, provided for classrooms.

Principals of the school were first, E. T. Stem, followed by Flint Speer, who was responsible for getting the building, C. F. Holt, Mr. Bryant, C. E. Richards, Flint Speer again in 1923, Mr. Brier, and Frank Bass.

Other early teachers were Commodore and Mrs. Holt, Lurleen Carnahan McCrary, Alta Northcutt, Esther Couch, Alline Youree, Mary Hall, and Rebecca Brevard Johnston.

The first graduates in 1913 were Esther Couch, Mary Hall, Sam Jones, Frank Lowe, Ervin McCrary, Emmett Travis, Alline Youree, and Annie Youree Butler. Those in 1914 were Bernice Couch Lawrence, William Hall Davidson, Dennis Hatha McKnight, Will Early, Aubrey McCrary, Walter McKnight, Sallie Bell Cantrell, and Sam Ralston.

Ode Hoover drove the first school wagon in 1914. He purchased a new wagon for which George Ralston of Porterfield constructed overhead framing covered with canvas.

Benches were built along the sides. Two mules, a red and a black, named “Tobe” and “Tiqe” pulled the vehicle. Other wagon drivers at KITTRELL were Jim Arnette, Will Weeks, Dowell Hall, Elmer Carnahan, A. B. Black, Mr. McGill, Craig Youree, and Roy Good. In 1923, Jack Coleman enclosed the body of a stock truck with pine wood and equipped the sides with hinges so that they could be opened during hot months and closed during cold ones. Benches were constructed along the sides and the back. In 1924, “Uncle Jack” purchased another truck, used tin for the lower part and heavy canvas for the upper. Some of the students often received “tongue lashings” from the driver “for pounding against the tin and making a terrible noise.” It was not long until all the wagons were replaced by trucks.

In 1926, KITTRELL became a four-year high school and the old frame building was replaced by a brick building.

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