Porterfield School, 1888-1939

PORTERFIELD SCHOOL 1888-1939, known at first as PORTERFIELD NORMAL ACADEMY, was erected on land given by a McKnight. J. A. Dement and Amziah McKnight, aided by other men in the community, built the school. It was located on the old Hall’s Hill Pike between Hall’s Hill and Milton and on the Rutherford-Cannon County line.

In 1890 Superintendent James P. Nelson said, “We have some of the best schools in the state in our county Porterfield High School . . . .”

The building consisted of three rooms, a middle hail with a classroom on each side and an auditorium at the end of the hail. The classrooms were in Rutherford County; the stage, in Cannon County.

The number of teachers varied from one to three. Cora Hooper taught in 1898. In 1906-1912, there were three teachers and about 100 students. Some of the teachers were Lesly Arnette, Virginia McElroy Barker, Sue
Becton, Emma Becton, Ellis Brandon, Maude Brandon, Mai Bell Blankenship, George Campbell, John Campbell, Odie Dement, Nan Dill, Pearl Elrod, Maggie Dill, Mayme Francis, Mae Francis, Mr. Gobelet, Albert Hall, Mary Hall, Jennie Hooper, Alpha Jones, Mrs. Keaton, Maggie Kerr, Lucy Lacey, Lula McKnight, Duff McKnight, Beulah McKnight, Grace and Lera Mae Tilford Northcutt, Clyde Richards, Lee Ann, Ada, and Mae Smith, Miss Sneed, Lela Spurlock during World War I, Polly Troxier, Glera Tenpenny, Henry Todd, John White, and Made Whitfield. Ruth and Mable Dement were teachers in 1923.

Early students were Nannie Ready, who died while a student in 1889, Ella Paschal Richardson, Kate Northcutt Beaty, Minta Barker Paschall, Hazel Elrod, Eppie N. Duggins, and Irvin Ready in 1890.

The second PORTERFIELD SCHOOL 1939-1944 was built on the same site as the first. Edward Elrod, Mr. Mason, and Charlie J. Brandon helped to build the school which was completed on August 17, 1939, Edward Elrod’s wedding day.

In 1940 the music room was converted into a kitchen for a hot lunch program. Miss Maggie Ralston was in charge.

Some of the teachers in the final years of the school were Mrs. Chester Helton, Mrs. Sam Turney, Julia Snell, Mrs. A. R. Craddock, and Roberta Justice. The last teacher was Hester Elrod.

By the third month of 1944, there were only twelve or thirteen students enrolled. One was Steve Blankenship.

The students were transferred to HALL’S HILL, READYVILLE, or

The school building is now used as a community center.

SOURCES: *Gene Sloan and *Steve Cates, “Local Citizens Recall History of Porterfield School,” The Daily News Journal Accent, March 28, 1979. Tennessee. Dept. of Public Instruction. Annual Report 1890 Nashville:
Marshall and Bruce, 1891, p. 160. Interview, July 7, 1982, with Alfred Cooper, student. *Jessie Arnette Mann, daughter of *Lesly Arnette. *Christine Couch.

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