Milton Seminary (aka Milton Academy), 1857-1956

MILTON SEMINARY or MILTON MALE AND FEMALE SEMINARY 1857-1956 is shown on the Beers Map of 1878. It was on the northeast corner of State Road 96 and the North Milton Road.

By 1850 William Byrn, Green Byrn, and Enoch Jones contracted with the Rev. Jared Warren, a Baptist preacher from the north, to erect a school building. School Trustees were Dr. B. H. Bilbro, Dennis Smith, William B.
White, William B. Byrn, and George W. Ferguson. George Ferguson deeded two acres and one hundred and thirty-two poles on November 3, 1857 for $122.50, and in 1858 the Seminary was incorporated. On February 6, 1880 Sarah J. and S. P. Ferguson, Mary M. Cranor, W. E. Dillon et al deeded two acres to the school; and on January 22, 1888 G. W. Peake and wife M. E. deeded two and three-fourths acres.

Trustees in 1888 were B. White, W. B. Byrn, J. P. Smith, Dr. A. P. McCullough, and A. P. Cranor; and in 1889, Rev. John Martin, Joseph Smith, R. G. Byrn, A. P. Mccullough, and William J. Hooper.

In April 1890 Superintendent James D. Nelson wrote: “We have some of the best schools of the state in our county . . . Milton Seminary . . . .‘

According to Edgar Walter Hoover, born February 17, 1868, the school building was “a log house with log seats to sit upon, no desks . . . you hold the books in your lap.” The building had three rooms divided by sliding doors and extending east to west with gables at the ends. During the Battle of Milton in the Civil War, the schoolhouse was struck by a cannon ball which entered the west gable and passed out the east side. The hole was patched until the school was remodeled and an auditorium added in 1883.

School was held in the old Masonic Hall until the remodeling could be completed.

The remodeled building had clapboard painted white. The front entrance was recessed with a semicircular transom above the double doors. On each side of the door were narrow glass windows with curved framing at the top.

On each side of the entrance was a small room with front and side glass windows with shutters. Inside the double doors, a hall ran laterally to the small rooms at each end and a door opened to the auditorium at the back. The big room had four glass and shuttered windows on each side. At the
rear of the room was a stage and two dressing rooms. In this room also was the piano. Heating was provided by stoves which used first wood and then coal.

Rev. Jared Warren was a teacher in 1857 or 1858. E. G. Donk Brown taught from 1861 to 1871 including the time of bombardment by the Federal artillery in 1863.

Tennie Elrod Couch, b. 1867, was a student under Mrs. Goodloe. Edgar Hooper’s first teachers were Amanda Dill and Mrs. Goodloe; as a teenager he was taught by H. B. Northcutt and N. D. Overall. N. D. Overall also taught Carrie Anderson Williams Dement, born August 5, 1866, and Judith Rooker Williams, stepmother of Carrie Dement, both of whom later taught at Milton. Professor W. A. Peay and his wife taught in the remodeled building in 1883. Teachers under Professor N. D. Overall in 1886 were Beatrice Elrod, Rosa Vaught, and Mary Hill. In 1896 N. D. Overall, who was at that time Superintendent of Schools, had as Milton teachers Robert Bass, Lulie Ogle, Baily Bugg, William H. Turney, Lou Overall, Jennie Hooper, and Beatrice Elrod.

Other post-Civil War principals were H. B. Northcutt, H. C. Tip Alsup, Rev. Enoch Windes, J. B. Phillips, Pete Talley, William H. Turney, Jeff Ritchie, Joseph Laughlin, Mrs. Simette Summar, E. K. Sharp, John Edgar Brandon,
and David Stricklett. Robert Armstrong Taylor was principal during the year 1899-1900. He married another teacher at the school, Mary Otha Carter.

Principals during the twentieth century were James O. McKee in 1905-1906, Ballard Donnell, B. R. Kennedy, Frank Sullivan, Walter Martin, B. H. Lokey, Mary Knott, W. O. McKee, and J. E. Cook. According to a brochure, the faculty in 1908-1909 consisted of Principal John F. Pruett, Mrs. W. A. Baxter, Nannie Dill, and Allie Robinson. Other principals were Robert Becton, R. Y. Neal, Clyde Howard, Leslie L. Gould, Angie Haynes, Donnie Braxton, K. T.
McCrary in 1923-1928, Harvey Dodd, Allen Barrett, Alma Lannom, Billy McNabb, and Ruby Lannom.

Among the last teachers were Jessie Belle Arnette Mann, Ruth McGee Rowlette, Mattie Belle Owen, and Alberta Baxter.

The school was operated by a Board of Trustees until April 15, 1913 when W. M. Byrn et al, Trustees of MILTON SEMINARY, deeded the school to the Rutherford County Board of Education.

In 1934 a new brick veneer building was erected on the same site.

SOURCES: Deed Book Y, p. 393; Book 11, p. 405; Book 25, p. 89; Book 25, p. 538; Book 61, p. 21. *Homer Pittard, Griffith Bicentennial Commission, 1976 . *Homer P. Pittard, “Famous Institutions Once Taught Local Students 100 Years Ago,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 12. *Elsie Knox and Emil Hood, “A History of Milton” RCHS, Pub. no. 23, Summer 1984 . Tennessee Dept. of Public Instruction. Annual Report 1890 Nashville:
Marshall and Bruce, 1891, p. 160. *N. D. Overall, Manual and Course of Study for the Public Schools 1896, p. 23. Hector Floyd Adams. Edgar Walter Hooper, “A History of the Fourth Child of Twelve Hooper Children” Typewritten. *Christine Couch, daughter of Tennie Elrod Couch. *Elsie
Knox, b. 1893, student under *John F. Pruett and later a teacher. *Lena Taylor Alsup and *Myla Taylor Parsons, daughters of R. A. Taylor and Mary Otha Carter. *Buist Dement Smythe, daughter of Carrie Anderson Williams Dement and stepdaughter of Judith Rooker Williams. *Jessie Belle Arnette Mann. *Ernest Hooper, son of Edgar W. Hooper. *Bealer Smotherman, nephew of *Nat D. Overall. Interview, June 6, 1984, with Clarence P. Blankenship, b. 1886 and student in 1896 under *William Turney.

MILTON ACADEMY 1840-? was in District 16. On November 19, 1840, John S. Wooldridge deeded four acres to Alexander, Nathaniel W. Daniel, John L. Moore, John Baxter, and Godfrey S. Newsom, Trustees of Hopell Church and MILTON ACADEMY. The land was bordered by M. W. Armstrong and Robert Orr and ran to the Readyville Road. The Hopewell Church is shown on the 1878 Beers Map.

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