Paw Paw Springs School, 1885-1920

PAW PAW SPRINGS SCHOOL before 1885-c 1920 was on the east side of the present Paw Paw Spring Road, also called Freeman Lee Road, and about three-fourths mile south of its intersection with the Del Thomas Road. According to Eugenia Price Lee Webb, the building was first a church and
was on the Will Webb place.

Large paw paw trees were in the school yard and across the road near the spring which was used by the pupils. The school was a one-room frame building with a stone for a door step. The building was heated by a wood-burning stove and the wooden desks were sometimes shared by two students.

An early teacher was Fletcher Spann, who wore a wig and moved to California after the turn of the century. Other teachers were Lillie Webb, Lockie Webb, Willie Bennett, Mary L. Halliburton, Mattie B. Coleman Carter, Ada Bethel, Lavonia Lee, Lizzie Cook, and Hazel McKnight Bennett.

Cora Coleman, b. 1890, and her brothers and sisters Anna, Ernest Neal, and Wrather attended school at PAW PAW. Mary Lee Wheeler and Minnie Thomas Webb were also early students. Family names of other students were Haynes, Heaton, Christopher, Sanford, Coleman, Lee, and Council.

Subjects taught were arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, and geography. There was no library. Students brought their lunches from home. Under some teachers there was no recess. Boys stayed after school to play baseball in a nearby field.

When the school closed, students were transferred to ROCKY FORK or to INDEPENDENT HILL SCHOOL.

On March 5, 1984, the County School Board relinquished any claim to the one-half acre that had been reserved “as a school house.” The property surrounding it is now owned by Swink Patterson and wife Margaret, Peggy Coleman, and Mary Lee Patterson. Land-owners in the vicinity intend to build an access road where the school once stood. The building is gone, and the only trees standing are cedar.

SOURCES: Deed Book 337, p. 261. Hoover, P. 271. Jim Spurlock, “Paw Paw? Where’s That?” The Daily News Journal, April 6, 1984, p.1. Interviews, July 10, 1984, with Mary Heaton Whitlock, student 1914-1917; May 11, 1954,
with Clark Smith, whose father married the widow of *Fletcher Spann; May 4, 1984, with Thomas E. Haynes, b. 1911 and student in grades 1-3; October 1985, with James Webb, son of Minnie Thomas Webb, grandson of Eugenia Price Lee Webb, and a school student from 1916 until the school closed. *Louise Wheeler Hilliard, daughter of Mary Lee Wheeler. Jim Spurlock, “Paw Paw Alumnus Is Found,” The Daily News Journal, April 6, 1984, P. 1. Interview, October 1985, with Nettie Coleman, b. 1899, whose brothers and sisters were students.

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