Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Last week’s column focused on the new four- year program, the Dora Hunter Allison Spiva School of Education at Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, Georgia named to honor a worthy Union County citizen and long-time educator, Mrs. Dora Spiva. The college is celebrating sixty years of continuous operation during 2006. Were there precursors to the present college? How did it all begin? Go back with me as we trace a history of this Christian institution,“A Light in the Mountains.
Where did the spark begin that
the steady light of learning produced for sixty years by
1886-1930, and Mountain Preachers’ Schools, held for a week in the
certain mountain counties had great influence in starting schools.
preachers’ school in the summer of 1886 held in Hiawassee,
Rev. Fernando Coello McConnell a young preacher, stood on the steps of the Towns County Court House and preached an impassioned sermon. No one threatened to arrest him for using a public building for a religious message. Preachers and citizens hearing him caught his vision of a Christian school. Rev. McConnell, who had the support and financial backing (though money was limited) of his father, merchant-farmer-businessman, William Ross McConnell, proceeded to start a mountain school.
Rev. McConnell’s first cousin,
Washington Truett of nearby
By the end of the first two
Truett and McConnell left the operation of
Several factors brought the
school to an end in 1930. One was obviously the Great Depression.
the gradual opening of public schools making high school training more
accessible. The third and most unfortunate incident causing the closure
Collegiate Institute, Another
Not as old as Hiawassee Academy, Blairsville Collegiate Institute operated in Blairsville, Union County, from 1904 through the end of the spring semester in 1930.
Past columns have given
highlights in the
history of this school sponsored by Notla River Baptist Association and
Home Mission Board. Miss Dora Anne Hunter, whom the present Truett
honoring, graduated from the Institute and taught there before it
had the good academic training and the “normal school” preparation of
at the Collegiate Institute to qualify her as a teacher. She continued
The question of a mountain
(To be continued next week.)
c2006 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 23, 2006 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]
Updated August 4, 2009