Lascassas School, 1889-1927

LASCASSAS SCHOOL 1889-1927 was on the north side of the Lascassas-Milton Road. It was on land donated for “The building of a school” where a free school would be conducted in the fall and a tuition fee charged for a shorter spring term. The site was the one on which the present school now stands.

On December 21, 1886, John and David Dement deeded one acre and sixteen poles on the north side of the road to Trustees of the LASCASSAS ACADEMY, W. A. Jones, H. C. David, H. C. Moore, E. J. Brown, J. C. McAdoo, H. W. Penuel, and R. E. Jarman. The land was bordered by S. L. McAdoo.

On the same date S. L. McAdoo deeded one acre and sixteen poles to the same Trustees.

On September 28, 1926, R. E. Jarman and H. C. Moore, the only surviving Trustees of the LASCASSAS ACADEMY, conveyed to Rutherford County the two parcels of property which they had held from S. L. McAdoo and John and David Dement. The Trustees had earlier vested the property in the
county but the conveyance had been lost and had not been recorded.

The original one-room, frame building faced south.

It was of clapboard construction, painted white with double doors at the front and a beifrey at the back. A hand pump in a well on the corner of the school campus served for the drinking water. As many as thirty stables were on campus for the horses and buggies. By 1894 three rooms, including
a music room, had been added on the east side to form an L-shaped building. Later a west wing was added. Both wings had porches on the front. The original room was then used as a principal’s office, an auditorium, and classes for advanced students.

Some of the principals and teachers were: in the 1890’s, Professor Wines, who was also a Baptist preacher; in 1900, Principal Edmund H. Childress and his assistant Margaret Dill and teacher Nannie Dill; Principal Ellington,
his wife Myra Ellington, and his sister Emma Ellington; and Miss Jarrell, who married a Brown. Other early teachers were Dexter McFarlin and Mattie Lowe McFarlin, Mr. Edwards, and Edward Throgmorton. Later teachers were John and Mrs. John Northcutt, Carrie McCullough, Betsy Nix Kelton, Ruth Kelton Ward, Lucile Maples Evans, Mildred Wilson Burkhart,
Willie Mae Watson, Mildred Copenhaven, Dana White, and Mr. and Mrs. Halbert Harville.

In 1890 County Superintendent James P. Nelson said, “We have some of the best schools in the state in our county: . . . Lascassas Seminary . . .

In 1910 or 1911 the school became a free school for both terms. Classes were first through the tenth and then through the eleventh grade. In 1926-1927, Principal Halbert Harvill, who later became Tennessee Commissioner of Education, President of Austin Peay, and for many years a member of the Tennessee Senate, succeeded in having a twelfth grade approved to make LASCASSAS a senior high school.

In 1913 the community built a rock wall to prevent erosion and to beautify the school grounds. A day had been set aside for the occasion. The men and women came with their wagons and teams; the men hauled the rocks and the women served the dinner.

At first, recreation consisted almost entirely of outdoor activities. Baseball was played across the fence in a lot owned by W. R. David; basketball goals were also on the lot. A fish pond was near the well. For lunch, many crossed the rock fence and spread their food under an old oak tree. Many students just met and sat on the old rock wall.

In the 1926-1927 school year, the building burned. Classes met temporarily in three local churches and in a small barber shop. In this tiny shop, girls with one treadle sewing machine and a kerosene stove managed to get
credit in Home Economics.

A new brick building was erected for the 1927-1928 school year with full four-year high school status.

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