Rogersville was 18 miles from the Tennessee-Virginia line in Stanley Valley where T T Ross lived. Roads were often muddy and near impassable. He and his neighbors needed a school close by so that their children could remain at home and still get an education.
In his 14 July 1883 column of “Along the Line” for the Hawkins County Telegraph, he first told about the mail route starting 4 July 1883 in the valley — the valley was 22 miles in length — and the mail carrier liked to talk along the way and get the news. Then he wrote that the citizens of the area had “a meeting at Pleasant Grove Church yesterday for the purpose of building us a big school. William R Jones, Alex Skelton and T T Ross are a committee to select the teacher, the Committee’s address being Opossum Post Office.” (Opossum Post office later became Oakdale and the Skelton and was discontinued 31 Jan 1903).
School was held at Pleasant Grove for several years. In his 6 Aug 1883 “Along the Line,” he reported that “School has opened with 87 students. A A Hensley from ____ is the teacher. Mr Sheffly, Supt., should come and visit the school.” On 27 Aug 1883, Supt Sheffly crossed into Stanley Valley, spent the night with Mr Jones, and visited the school at Pleasant Grove Church. Mr A A Hensley had charge assisted by Miss Nannie Ross. They had a 10 month school with 109 pupils.
1889 was the first mention of work on the school building (Okolona?) that I found in his log. Okolona High School ended its “First Annual Session” 29 April 1892. The following is a program of that commencement, kept by Fuller Walters, a descendant of one of the students. It was printed on one page, folded in the center to make 4 pages. The two inside pages were the students, the tuition and the requirement. The back page listed the books to be studied.
First Annual of Okolona *High* School for Session Ending April 29, 1892, with Announcements for next Session, Which Will Open August 15th, 1892.
Wm. C Patton, A. B., Principal
Board of Directors:
T. T. Ross, D. F. Shanks, J. C. Spangler, J. L. Hensley, W. R. Jones
This is a new school situated in the Seventh District of Hawkins County, Tennessee, 19 miles N. E. of Rogersville.
Rogersville, Tennessee, printed at the Herald Book and Job Office. 1892.
|C D Jones
A S Spangler
J S Jones
J H Ross
C H Walters
G E Bellamy
G R Bradshaw
Mary A Walters
J H Stephenson
C M Ross
G N Clifton
T T Ross
M L Winegar
R H Tarter
Primary Department 37
Secondary Department 9
High School 7
Primary Department — $1.00 per mo.
Secondary Department — 1.50 per mo.
Higher Department — 2.00 per mo.
Music — 2.50 per mo.
Fees should be paid at the close of each term. Boarding reasonable and in good families.
This is a new enterprise, and is managed by five of the most reliable men in the county. The building is well adapted to school purposes and is situated in the center of a good community that is interested in the cause of education. Post office and store nearby.
All students on entering school must subscribe to the following pledge and rules:
Pledge: I pledge myself that while a student of this school I will be strictly obedient to its rules and faithfully improve my time and opportunities.
1. All students on entering school must subscribe to the pledge.
2. Each pupil will be required to have a song book and Bible or Testament.
3. All students must be strictly obedient.
4. Swearing and the use of tobacco in the school room are strictly forbidden.
5. The conduct of each pupil must comply strictly with the rules of morality as laid down in the Bible.
Patrons of the school are asked to aid the teacher in the inforcement of these rules.
First term opens August 15th 1892. Second term opens January 2nd, 1893. Entertainment at the close of each term.
Course of Study
Primary: McGuffey’s Reader 1 through 4, Ray’s Primary and Ray’s Practical Arithmetic, McGuffey’s Spelling, Harvey’s Primary Grammer, Primary Geography, Eclectic History of the United States. Drawing made a specialty.
Secondary Department: McGuffey’s Fifth Reader, Harvey’s Spelling, Harvey’s Practical Grammar, Davies’ High Arithmetic, Davies’ Primary Algebra, Robinson’s Plain Geometry, Steel’s Natural Phylosophy, S. and K. Geology of Tennessee, Paptou’s Agriculture, Composition and Rhetoric, Elocution, Peterman’s Civil Government, Steel’s Physiology, and B and S Bookkeeping.
Higher Department: Wentwood’s Higher Algebra, Wentworth’s Trigonometry, Robinson’s Plain and Solid Geometry, Robinson’s Surveying and Navigation, Robinson’s Copic Sectiam and Anyletical Geometry
Latin: Harper’s Indicative Method, Introductory, Harkner’s Reader, Ceasar’s Salic Wars (Harper), Brook’s Ouid, Cicero’s Orations (C and S), Horace’s Oder and Satires (C and S), Virgil Aneid (C and S) Harkner’s Latin Grammar, Livie, Book 5.
Greek: Harkner’s First Greek, Xenophen’s Anabsis, Goodwin’s Grammar, Johnson”s Herodotus, Xenophon’s Memorabilia, Homer’s Iliad (Boise), New Testament.
Sciences: Maney’s Physical Georaphy, Tenny’s Geology, Steele’s Chemistry, Steele’s Chemistry, Steele’s Minerology, Wood’s Botany.
Metaphysis: Haven’s Moral Phylosophy, Haven’s Mental Phylosophy, Evidences of Christianity, Butler’s Analogy, Logic.
Patrons of the school and friends of education are asked to visit the school often.
The latest and best methods of teaching will be introduced into the school.
Our object is through work and our motto learn well what you learn and teach well what you teach.
Special: Each pupil will be charged from time of entering to close of term, and no reduction except on account of sickness or special agreement.
Okolona School – 1892
(source not identified.)
Palmer, Maggie, Matilda
Bellamy G E, Maggie
Ross, Ben, C M, Chas, Ellis
Bradshaw G R , Rog, J H, T T (Jr), Sue
Clifton, T N
Shanks Bettie, Henry, Nannie
Gibbins, Samuel Stephen, Vona
Hensley, Alice, Froney, Geo.
Sivert, R. Ida Martha, Orban
Spangler, A S, Livia, Polly
Jones, D C, Crawford, J S, Mary, Reba, Thomas, Sidney
Stephenson, J H
Tarter George, Lydia, Maude, R H
Walters, C H, Lida, Mary A
Winegar, Bessie, Phil, M L
Okolona School – 1913
The Rogersville Review Thursday, June 20, 1969, printed a picture of Okalona School, 1913. The picture of the students belonged to Mrs Hattie (Marshall) Horton. She was 18 and this was her first teaching assignment.
Her brother was principal. Her salary was $25 a month, and of this she spent $10 a month for board . This list has many of the same family names as the first school in 1892. The first program spelled the name Okolona, but by 1913 it was Okalona.
Bradshaw, J C
Byington, J D
Ellis, Mary E
Winniger, C D
Submitted by Vera Boyatt.