Tipperary School, 1915-1925

TIPPERARY SCHOOL 1915-1925 was a subscription school in District 3 and was located on the south side of the Waldron Road to Rock Spring. It was about one mile from the railroad in La Vergne. The school was first named the GAMBILL SCHOOL in honor of School Director Charles H. Gambill.

When the song, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” became popular, school boys unofficially called their schoolhouse “TIPPERARY” and that became its name.

On July 6, 1915, George Noe and Allen Sanford and wife Lillie deeded one acre to the Rutherford County Board of Education whose chairman at that time was J.D. Jacobs.

The parcel of seventy acres had been given to George Noe’s granddaughter Lillie Sanford but was not to be turned over to her until his death.

Ben Davis, Jim Waidron, and Charles Gambill solicited funds, materials, and volunteer labor to build the school house. It was a weatherboarded, one-room structure with a tin roof. There was a single door at the front, three
windows on each side, and a small window near the roof at the back. Inside, double desks were arranged on each side of a center aisle which led to the platform and the teacher’s desk. Girls sat on one side of the aisle; boys, on the other. A pot-bellied stove furnished the heat. Nails were driven into a board on the wall to hold the children’s coats. Water was carried from the Pearson and Waldron farms.

The first teacher was Audrey Williams Moore. Others were Ruth Omahundra, George Williams, Jo Lena Bond, Gutha Williams, Fannie Bell Paul Taylor, and Hazel Thomas.

Gutha Williams and students

Some of the students had formerly attended CEDAR GROVE, ROCK SPRING, and CANE RIDGE SCHOOLS. Class size varied according to planting, growing, harvesting, or resting seasons. Students also brought younger brothers and sisters to school. All were required to be prompt, neat in appearance, polite to the teacher and to each other, and responsible for the school building and grounds.

One punishment assigned for a misdemeanor was a “write-off.” A “write-off in a legible hand” was a severe punishment because it consumed double the time.

The children walked or rode their horses to school. Gutha Williams remembered one moment of crisis when a student drank a quantity of horse liniment. Gutha resourcefully gave the child a handful of lard to eat. At another time, a boy rode his pony down the aisle of the schoolroom.

Teachers were expected to maintain rigid discipline, spend one night with each pupil, dress sedately, engage in community activities, attend church regularly, and refrain from social engagements with men. For all this they
received forty to fifty dollars a month from which sum they paid eighteen dollars for board.

When TIPPERARY SCHOOL closed in 1925, the students were transferred to the LAVERGNE SCHOOL.

On November 19, 1927, C. N. Haynes, Chairman of the County Court, and J.P. Leathers, Clerk of the County Court, deeded to C.A. Neal the one acre of land of the former GAMBILL SCHOOL. It was bounded on the north and east by
Allen Sanford, on the south by N.A. and E.C. Kimbro and on the west by a public road.

The building was converted into a home by Will Thomas Neal. Later Mrs. Robert Carrothers donated it to Cannonsburgh Pioneer Village in Murfreesboro where it became a chapel. A steeple, stained-glass windows, church pews, and an antique organ have made it a picturesque setting for local weddings.

The Wedding Chapel at Cannonsburgh Village

SOURCES: Deed Book 57, p. 563; Book 72, P. 251. “Carol Vaughn Alsup, “Tipperary,” a paper for an MTSU class under Dr. Huhta in 1976 in which s.he interviewed *Gutha Williams and Mary Elizabeth Davis Hodge, a former student. *Gene Sloan, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, It’s a Long Way
to Go,” The Daily News Journal Accent, April 3, 1977. *Louise Hilliard. Interview, Feb. 9, 1983, with Lillian Brown Johnson. Hoover, p. 276. *Fannie Bell Paul Taylor. Interview, March 14, 1986, with Mattye Gambill Rion, b. 1899, a niece of Charles Gambill. Interview, April 7, 1986, with Vester Waldron, whose brother Emmett was a student.

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