OAK GROVE SCHOOL 1888-1938 was on Oak Grove Road and near the Old Leb Church. It was “a hundred yards north of Dry Creek and about the same distance east of the road.” It was the third school in the Link Community, following FATE LAMB CORNER SCHOOL, and before that, a log cabin.
Records show that the “tract of land thirteen poles wide and twenty-five poles long was purchased from W. C. Sudberry for a consideration of $7.50 for the erection of a school building.” The tract was deeded January 18, 1888 to W. H. A. Haynes, W. C. Sudberry, J. G. Rowland, L. C. Lamb, and W. C.
Westbrooks as Trustees.
The schoolhouse was a frame building 24 by 60 feet. A bell on the roof at the front was rung by a rope which passed through a hole in the ceiling. Two recitation benches were on the stage at the far end of the room. There were four double rows of desks with the smallest ones in the front. In 1919, a classroom for grades 7-8 was added on the north side with a porch on the front and in line with the front of the building.
In 1922, a room for grades 9-10 was added to the rear of the old building with a porch running its full length and a door opening to the original room which now housed grades 1-6.
Among the teachers were: Sally Miller, Forrest Rhodes, Beacher Horton, Lena Chick, Rufus Hale, John Wilson, Ella Haynes, Annie T. Crowell, Ruth Pinkerton, Lucy Key, Cora Shores, Sarah Jane Alsup, Allie C. Becton, Cora Wiseman, Annie Wilson, Alvin Edward Hawkins Hooker, Mamie Brown, C. T. Lowe, Ida Wheelhouse, Carrie Wheelhouse, Elma Stephenson, Dewart Bowling, Grace Wiseman, Leoma Smotherman, Vanita Smotherman, Zelma
Jackson, Allie Lee Pearcy, Jewell Webb, Lena Taylor, Estelle McFarlin, Robert Harrell, Roscoe Westbrooks, Lillard Martin, Audie Bell, Grace Bowers, Oneida Chandler, Lena Gilbert, Deborah Kerr, Myla Taylor, Lucile Scott, Clifford Wright, Nellie Malone, Gena Dell Crockett, and Myrtle Ogles.
Mary Rowland Smotherman, b. 1890, attended OAK GROVE when she was twelve to fourteen years old and graduated from eighth grade. She lived with her grandfather, Jim Rowland, who boarded teachers. She also attended subscription schools at OAK GROVE. Parents would collect money to pay for the extra terms.
There is a well-known anecdote, too, about W. H. Westbrooks. A nephew, who was attending Georgia Tech, invited W. H. Westhrooks to attend a banquet in lieu of his own father who was unable to be there. In the company was the lady friend of the nephew. In the course of the evening the young lady turned to Mr. Westbrooks and inquired, “And what college did you go to, Mayor Westbrooks?” Without hesitation, W. H. Westbrooks answered, “Link University.” “Oh,” said the girl, “I believe I have heard of that school.”
In 1938, the school closed and the children were sent to their nearest consolidated school, MIDLAND, ROCKVALE, or CHRISTIANA.
SOURCES: Deed Book 29, p. 622. W. H. Westbrooks, “A History of th Link Community of Rutherford County, Tennessee” RCHS Publication, no. 6, Winter, 1976 *Gene Sloan, “Oak Grove School Last One in Link,” The Daily News Journal Accent, July 17, 1977. Westbrook-Williams and Related Smothermans of Rutherford County, Tennessee, comp. by *Sarah Jones Goodwin, Estelle Jones Potts, and *Leoma Smotherman Smotherman RCHS,
1984 . Interviews, with Geneva Rowland Lovvorn, student; July 12, 1983, with Mary Rowland Smotherman, b. 1890, student. *Carrie Wheelhouse Mitchell, b. Oct. 21, 1892, d. June 26, 1984.