Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The Question of
School Consolidation, a Matter of Community Pride
(A History of Education in Union County, part 4)
Mr. M. L.
Duggan from the Georgia Department of Education in
his 1916 survey of Union County Schools proceeded with his
consolidation, studying district maps carefully, and computing the
students would have to travel as they went to a better and more
located school. In the Suches Community,
he recommended that Zion
and Mt. Airy go to Mt. Lebanon
and, with some upgrading, that it become a “standard” school.
It took twenty-four more years for
consolidation to occur in the five one- and two-teacher schools in the
area. Woody Gap
dedicated in the fall of
1940. A dream of Ranger Arthur Woody
and implemented by his son Walter W. Woody, the school was erected on
where Georgia’s Civil War Governor, the honorable Mr. Joseph Emerson
lived while he was growing up. Woody Gap School
stands today as a
tribute to those who hold great pride in their community and in
education for their children.
Inspector Duggan moved to the
Coosa District. Fairview School
there had 32 students in four grades in 1916 taught by W. C. Sullivan. The building was in very bad repair and there
was no equipment. Mt. Pleasant
School was two
northwest of Coosa
the south. W. T. Sullivan was teacher of
the five grades with 37 pupils enrolled.
School, the best
of this grouping of
three schools, had Miss Docia Lance as teacher, 38 pupils, a good
painted building with charts, maps, blackboards, long benches and a
desk. Mr. Duggan’s recommendation was
and Mt. Pleasant to consolidate at Coosa. This advice
may have been followed sometime between 1916 and 1933, for on the
latter date Coosa had two teachers,
J. C. Hemphill and Ms. Velma
Byers, with 55 pupils listed for each. Mt. Pleasant
was still operating in 1933 with 50 pupils and Ms. Vianna Hendrix as
Mr. Duggan’s next grouping had six
schools. Smyrna School
had Miss Bessie Mauney as teacher and 32 students in 7 grades. Bell
School had Miss
Mauney as teacher, with 34 pupils in 6 grades.
School had I. V.
Rogers as teacher with
33 students in 7 grades. Pleasant View School
was a dilapidated building where Miss Callie Hill had twenty pupils
but only four present the day Mr. Duggan visited. Russell School had Miss Queen
Henson as teacher with 20 students in 7 grades.
School had 45 in 7
grades taught by W.
N. Clements. Mr. Duggan’s comments
were: “This group calls loudly for
consolidation. Mountain barriers would
perhaps exclude Bell
School and Antioch might
in another direction.” Some of these
schools consolidated or the names were changed by 1933.
was still operating with 57 students with Queen Henson as teacher (this
had been at Russell
School in 1916—no
listed as Russell in 1933). Smyrna was still
1933 with the same teacher, Bonnie Mauney, teaching 29 pupils. Ebenezer
School had E. S.
as teacher with 39 enrolled.
Mr. Duggan recommended that Mt. Pleasant,
Pleasant Valley Schools
be consolidated. In 1916 statistics for
them were: Corinth, Clarence Rich,
teacher, meeting in a church building in bad repair, five grades, 30
Mt. Pleasant, Miss Mary Mauldin, teacher,
good church building but poor equipment, 24 pupils in 6 grades;
Pleasant Valley School with Miss Janie Carder, teacher, 6 grades and 56
How had the picture changed for these
three schools by 1933? Mt. Pleasant
had 46 enrolled with W. C. Sullivan as teacher; Corinth had 39 enrolled
(Rev.) Claude Boynton as teacher; and Pleasant Valley
was manned by Vianna Hendrix with 50 enrolled.
In 1932, Corinth
School had entered
two-room school building with a stage where dramas and programs were
presented. Peggy Hale
School had been
built to take the place
of the school that had met in the Mt. Pleasant
Church. This school, named for a lady, had Mrs.
Vienna McDougald (Mrs. W. J.) as teacher and 18 pupils.
was not mentioned by Mr. Duggan in his listing in 1916, but in 1933
was teaching at this school held in a church building and she
Under his heading “Some Consolidations
Advisable” Mr. Duggan listed five schools that included Union
with James Patterson as teacher, seven grades and 33 pupils. He noted that it was only one and
three-fourths miles from Mt.
and two miles from Bruce
Zion had Miss
as teacher in a large two-story building, with lodge rooms on the
floor. Miss Mauney had a large
enrollment of 61 students in 7 grades. Bethany School was also a two-story
with lodge hall overhead. Miss Mary
McClure was teacher of six grades and 34 enrollment.
School had Miss
Cook as teacher with 24 students. She
was meeting in “temporary” quarters because the school building had
burned. Mt. Olivet
School had J. M.
Clements as teacher,
with an enrolment of 47, but Mr. Duggan did not see the school in
session as it
was “temporarily closed.” By 1933, Union School
was not listed but Mt.
Zion had two
G. Byers and Annie Colwell, with 80 enrolled.
School was still
operating in 1933 with
Tennis Bruce as teacher and 39 pupils. Bethany had
grown to an
enrollment of 57 by 1933 with Florence Dyer as teacher.
Miss Flossie Cook had moved to Mt. Olivet
School as teacher
1933 she had 47 students.
Four schools came in his next
grouping: Bethlehem with W. O. Kincaid as
55 students in 7 grades. It is the only
school he noted as having a library with 150 volumes.
School had R. L.
as teacher and 52 students in 7 grades. Camp Ground School
was manned by S.
H. Neal, had 50 students and 7 grades. Providence School had Garnett Brackett as
in a good church building, six grades and 38 enrolled.
was still in full swing in 1933 with Miss Nellie McClure teaching 59
students. Confidence was not in the 1933
list. Camp Ground
had Miss Mary McClure as teacher and 40 students in 1933 and Providence had
26 pupils under Miss Mary Lou
Mr. Duggan was not able to inspect
Young Cane, Bunker Hill and Center Hill Schools
in 1916, noting
that they were “temporarily closed.”
Young Cane was going strong in 1933 with 88 students and three
B. J. Wilson, Vinnie McDougald and Mrs. Tom Conley.
had 38 pupils in 1933 and Ruby Queen was teacher. Center
Hill evidently had merged with a
nearby school as it was not listed in 1933.
named for the nearby Rugby Post Office, was founded about 1921 and was
of the Timber Ridge (sometimes called Chigger Ridge) and Camp Ground Schools. Even though an article in Heritage of
Union County History gives the founding date of Rugby as 1921 and
closing date as “between 1945-1950” when further consolidation
Timber Ridge (A. L. McClure, teacher, 29 pupils) and Camp Ground (Mary
40 pupils) were listed separately in the 1933 listing of schools.
Why did it take so long for the
recommended consolidation to occur? One
factor was poor transportation. The
second was recovery from World War I, only to be met by the Great
and economic decline beginning in October, 1929. But
lying at the heart of the question of
consolidation was the independence of mountain citizens, community
the desire to have a school at the center of their settlements. Ingrained ways are hard to change and we
people, even when it comes to education, operate on the side of
Jones; published September 2, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA
September 8, 2008
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