The following is an interesting report on the condition, curriculum, teaching methods and staff of the Madison Parish School System in 1901. It deals primarily with the Tallulah “Graded” School and, among other things, lists the attendees in Grades One through Seven. Apparently there were no students in Grades Eight through Eleven.




Delta, La. December 5, 1901.


Hon. J. V. Calhoun, Superintendent, Baton Rouge. La.


Dear Sir--I hand you herewith statistical report.


And in further replying to yours of December 2d, beg to say that our white schools are so few and small, except Tallu­lah of which I enclose catalogue of last year's work, in which you will see a picture of the school house. (I will write Prof. Nabours to send you photograph). This is the only school in our parish of much importance. (it has enrolled this session fifty-three scholars). and they are doing good work under Prof. R. K. Nabours, principal and Miss Oliva Richardson, assistant, both graduates of the State Normal.


The colored schools are very crowded; they are taught in the colored church and are improving.


We have been able to retain our teachers as a rule.


We have no local tax, all we receive from the parish is poll tax and criminal fines.

I suppose I should correct my statement as to Tallulah school being the only school of importance in our parish, as my home school (Delta school) has turned out several students who have entered other colleges and universities with credit to the home school, namely, Miss Oliva Richardson, who graduated at the State Normal, and her sister Miss Bessie, who is now attending the Normal; Geo. S. Long and Albert T. Felt, who are attending the State University at Baton Rouge; also Miss Lillie May Long, who graduated last year at St. Kathie, Bolivar, Tenn.

We need more school funds in our parish. The colored schools are very crowded.


But as the white people pay the tax it is hard to get them to see that it would be to their interest to educate the negro.


Our colored teachers are a class of good steady negroes, who have been teaching in the parish for some time, and giv­ing satisfaction to both whites and blacks.


The number of our white teachers has been reduced from thirteen last session to ten this session, and this has been done without any loss of pupils. The reason it requires even ten white teachers for the few white children is because they are so scattered over the parish. Our white schools opened Oct. 7th. Our colored schools opened Dec 2d.


Yours truly,


GEO. M. LONG, Superintendent.


Tallulah Graded School – Early 1900’s




Members of School Board:—F. L. Parker; Mound; G. L. Boney; Duckport; T. F. Ward; Tallulah; T. P. Broaddus; Tallulah; J. H. Riley, Omega; Frank Andrews, Lamar; N. Kahn. President; Milliken's Bend; Geo. M. Long; Secretary and Su­perintendent; Delta.


Teachers of the Tallulah Graded School.—R. K. Nabours; Principal; Miss Olivia Richardson, Assistant.



Adopted by the Madison Parish School Board for the Tallulah Graded School.

(Adopted by the State Teachers' Association.)



English. Heading.—Conversation upon familiar topics to encourage spoken language. Writing and spelling should keep pace with all other work—especially language.


Numbers—Primary Arithmetic—that is teaching of num­bers not to exceed 20, by oral lessons with objects. Simple combinations by 10. etc. Read to one hundred.


Science.—Observations upon plants, animals, weather, human body, as a basis for language work and other modes of expression.


Histories.—Stories of Columbus, Puritans, Smith, etc., as language material.


English.—Second Reader, Language Lessons. Part I. Spelling and writing as in first grade. Have set spelling Iessons; also writing as drill on new words learned during day in all subjects.


Mathematics—Nicholson's Primary Arithmetic in hands of teacher for drill. Simple figure work in addition and subtraction.


Natural Science.—One lesson a day devoted to observa­tion lessons, history stories, etc. the aim being primarily to develop language, and secondarily to teach something that will be valuable in the study of science or history later on.


English.—Third Reader. Long's Language Lessons. Part II. Writing and spelling same as second grade. Neatness and system must characterize all written work.


Mathematics.—Intermediate Arithmetic through Long Division.


Science.—Local Geography. Oral lessons in physiology, botany etc.


History—Oral lessons.


English.—Fourth Reader, Longs Language—Part Ill. Spelling and writing as in second grade. Speller used as text. Neatness any system must characterize all written work.


Mathematics.—Intermediate Arithmetic to percentage.


Science.—New Primary Geography. Oral lessons in physiology, botany, etc.


History.—Oral lessons.


English.—Fifth Reader or Supplementary Reading. Begin Graded Lessons—Reed and Kellogg. Spelling and writing as in fourth grade. Neatness and system must characterize all written work.


Mathematics.—lntermediate Arithmetic—half year—completed. Complete Arithmetic—half year—begun.


Science.—New Primary Geography---completed. Oral lessons in physiology. botany, etc.


History.—School History (begin.)


English.—Sixth Reader or Supplementary Reading. Graded Lessons—Reed and Kellogg—completed. Spelling and writing as in fifth grade. Neatness and system must characterize all written work.


Mathematics.—Complete Arithmetic continued.


Science.—Intermediate Geography. Oral lessons in physi­ology. botany, etc.


History.—School History completed and Higher begun.


English.--Reading continued or Supplementary Reading. Lockwood's Lessons in English continued. Spelling. From this point writing should be improved by requiring that all exercises shall be neat and systematically arranged.


Mathematics.—Complete Arithmetic (finished)


Science.—Intermediate Geography completed. Oral les­sons in physiology, botany, etc.


History.—Higher History continued.


English.—Composition and dictation to drill in punctuation, spelling, construction, etc. Selections to be made by teacher from classic masterpieces. Two lessons per week. Lockwood's Lessons in English, three lessons per week, first half year. Etymology, three lessons per week, first half year. Use Webb's Etymology or similar book. Spelling and writing have become part of the dictation and composition.


Mathematics.—Advanced Arithmetic—first half year Advanced Arithmetic—two lessons per week, second half year, Elementary Algebra through the four fundamental rules, three lessons per week.


Science.—Physiology—first half year. Botany—second half year.


History.—Higher History—first half year, Greek and Roman History, second half year. Use Barnes' Text.



English.—Grammar and Composition, three lessons per week. Whitney and Lockwood, Study of Literary Masterpieces, two lessons per week.


Mathematics.—Algebra—Nicholson's Elementary.


Science.—Physics, second half year.


History—English History, five lessons a week first half year. General History, three lessons a week, second half year, Latin, or French, or Commercial Branches, five lessons a week.



English.—Rhetoric, three lessons a week, Use Hart or Mill's Foundations. Study Literary Masterpieces and Compo­sition, two lessons a week.


Mathematics.—Algebra—five lessons—first half year, Geometry—five lessons—second half year.


Science.—Physics—three lessons per week. Chemistry-‑two lessons per week.


Latin, or French, or Commercial Branches—same as grade nine.



English.—Study of History and Development of American and English Literature and Composition in connection with study of selected masterpieces.


Mathematics—Geometry—first half year—five lessons. Geometry—second half year—three lessons. Reviews—sec­ond half year—two lessons.

Science.—Physical Geography—five lessons—first half year, Review of Physics, Botany and Physical Geography-second half year.

Latin, or French, or Commercial Branches, same as ninth grade.




English.-In the lower grades, conversation upon familiar topics is used principally for laying the foundations for good use of language. From the first, the misuse of words or phrases is corrected; if the correction interferes with the reci­tation, it is made immediately after. The pupils are encour­aged to call one another's attention in a pleasant way to the correct forms each should use in common conversation. These principles are followed through all the grades. Besides thorough drills in the arrangement of Parts of Speech and analysis of sentences. There are frequent composition exercises in which particular attention is given to paragraphing, spelling and punctuation and choice of words. The belief that “correctness and facility in speaking and writing are best gained by prac­tice" is the guiding principle throughout the study of language.

Reading.—The pupils are required to learn the meaning and proper pronunciation of words while reading an exercise. Some time is given to drill in articulation and pronunciation during each lesson. The observation of punctuation marks is given special attention. Sentences illustrating the different expressions are used in drill and their punctuation carefully noted. McGuffey's Readers are used as texts, but much of the reading is supplementary. The Five-Cent Classics, School World Literature Series and selected pieces from magazines are extensively used as supplementary to the regular books, thereby adding interest and giving general knowledge.

Arithmetic.—To thoroughly master the principles that govern the solution of problems is a point much emphasized in arithmetic. A sentiment against remembering the mere formula of examples is carefully cultivated. The pupils are never allowed to consider an example worked unless they can give reasons for each step. Numerous practical problems suited to many kinds of business are given. When Lineal Measurement is taught. the pupils calculate the number of rods, yards, feet and inches between points with which they are familiar. In Square Measure, they find the areas of lots, pastures and small fields. They measure several piles of lum­ber of different sizes; measure the wood stacked in their yards; compute the time in days, hours, etc., between familiar dates; use actual notes in calculating interest, discount. etc., and take the examples in Stocks and Bonds from the financial page of the current paper, and so on through the entire work in arithmetic.


History. —In the study of History. not only is it recog­nized that the pupils are to be more successful in future life by following the profitable plans of those who have been successful and avoiding the mistakes of the less fortunate, but the idea that "the chief use of history study is to form moral notions in children" is kept constantly in view. The pupils discuss the voyage of Columbus and the Cabots and the difficulties of such voyages. They then discuss a modern voyage and the advantages over the former. When the government during Washington's administration is studied, a comparison is made between the general arrangement of officers, etc., then and now, and so on with other developments. Particular at­tention is given to biography. Great men's lives are read and discussed and the salient features of their greatness given special emphasis. Great freedom of discussion, with the care­ful guidance of the teacher, is encouraged as being the best means of having the history study bring about the best re­sults. Geography is kept well up with history and no event is considered learned till the place of its happening is definitely located.

Geography.—A study of the bayous and drainage imme­diately near Tallulah is made; then the formation of the land, and then a study of the Mississippi river, and the whole sys­tem of the Mississippi. Personal observation is encouraged. Mitchell's geographies are used as texts, but the work is so arranged that several geographies are consulted. Map draw­ing is a special feature of the geography work. No better method of impressing locations of cities, boundaries, bodies of water and other locations has been found. The map work consists in drawing the map in outline, out of school, then locating the countries, bodies of water, mountains, cities, etc.,. in class from memory.


Physiology.—Johonnot and Bouton's How We Live for the beginners, and Martin's Human Body for the more ad­vanced, are the texts used. The plans of these books are followed as nearly as possible. A great part of the work consists in studying the parts of the common animals, cats, dogs, rabbits, etc., that correspond to the same parts of the human body. In studying the skeleton, the bones of common animals corresponding to the human bones are closely observed as to structure, shape and use. Drawings are made of the bones in different positions, and in cross-sections, and longitudinally, the study of the bones of the head, a human skull is used. When the class has progressed well enough, a rabbit or cat is dissected (cat always killed by the painless chloroform method) and observations and drawings made of the larynx, trachea, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and organs of digestion in regard to structure and relative position to each other. When the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys are studied sepa­rately, after their positions in the body are well known, speci­mens are secured from the slaughter house and a careful study and drawings of structure, shape and adaptability are made. Several days are spent in examining the brain and eye. The brain is drawn and parts named. The roots of as many parts of cranial nerves are found as possible. Several eyes are dissected and the principle of the eye's function learned from the eye itself. A specimen of the brain, parts of the eye and other parts of the body are kept preserved in formalin, for the use of the class at any time. Much reading is done in connection with the physiology work. The drawings and notes made by the pupils are kept in permanent form for future reference.

Botany.—Bergen's (Southern Edition) text is used, though the work is arranged so that any good book on botany may be used and several texts are consulted. The work begins by learning the parts of the seed. Two or three kinds of seed are planted in wet blotting paper and the process of germination closely followed. Some seeds of different kinds are planted in soil and daily observations and frequent drawings made of their growth. Experiments make up a great part of the first few months' work. Seeds are planted in boxes and bottles in wet blotting paper; and the part light plays in the germination and early growth definitely determined. Beans are germinated and arranged in corks floating on water, some with the seed-lobes cut away and others with the seed-lobes intact. Then the growth of the embryos is observed, drawings made of them and the use of the seed lobes made more ap­parent than by months of book study. The pupils are encour­aged to observe plants in general, their growth and habits. Much aid is given the botany study by the work of keeping a list of the flowers and trees as they put forth in the spring. Notes and drawings are required to be carefully kept in permanent form.


Literary Society.—The pupils have a general literary so­ciety which meets on Friday evenings. Debates, essays, reci­tations, music, instrumental and vocal, and the general parlia­mentary practices of electing and installing officers, appoint­ing committees, committee work, making and voting on mo­tions. make up the principal part of the society's work. It is also the social feature of the school. The people of the town and nearby plantations attend the society meetings and take great interest in them. The pupils receive great pleasure, as well as benefit from the society.


Medals.—In connection with the literary society and to encourage good work along the lines it is intended to follow, the school has offered three gold medals to be given during the closing exercises in May 1900 a gold medal, for each, for best essay, vocal solo and recitation.



During most of the winter months the fifteen minutes morning exercise period is taken up in song exercise and other employments that are pleasant and helpful. During the spring months there is a calendar kept by each pupil of the flowers, trees and birds and weather. Specimens of the flowers just found are brought to school and their names taken, and some time is spent in talking of them, their habits, were found, etc. The names of all the birds seen are calendered and conversation on their habits and appearances and songs fills out the period. The results of this kind of work are very gratifying. The beauties of the field and wood are made to mean something to the pupils. The work during the day, in all de­partments, is enhanced by these exercises.

Reading Table and Library.—A large table is arranged in the principal's room and the daily Times-Democrat is placed on it in convenient file each day. The teachers and pupils keep the table well supplied with the current magazines and periodicals. Whatever time the children are not actually engaged in preparing and reciting lessons, they are encouraged to spend at this table in quiet reading. The result from this is most pleasing. The pupils like it and the great world of today is brought before them and whatever study they have given the past is made more firmly a part of their knowledge. There are in the library several well-selected books.


Music.—An excellent music teacher resides very near and convenient to the school building. Several pupils take piano lessons. The excellent piano in the school and the literary society afford a splendid opportunity for cultivating musical taste, both instrumental and vocal.



The Tallulah Graded School is maintained by the School Board of Madison parish for the children of the parish, but will receive pupils from any other section till the accommo­dations are taken up. Tuition is free to children of the parish of Madison; pupils from other sections will be required to pay a tuition. In regard to tuition, application should be made to the Secretary of the School Board, Geo. M. Long, Delta. La.


Discipline.—The discipline is carefully watched after. The teachers endeavor to build a sentiment in favor of correct behavior in and out of school. This effort to have children do right from a sense of right-doing and a knowledge of the bene­fits of good behavior is found to be of great aid in the work of discipline and reduces the cases of enforced obedience to regulation to a minimum.



Promotions are made at any time of the year that the pupils are considered qualified to enter a higher grade. The teachers are glad to have parents make known their wishes in regard to the promotion of their children, but always reserve the right to finally decide as to the wisdom of any pro-motion.


Tallulah is situated in about the middle of Madison parish, Louisiana, on the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, twenty miles west of Vicksburg, seven miles from nearest point on Mississippi River, and is the parish site of the parish. Madison parish is in the chief long staple cotton section of the South. Cotton from this section brings a better price than from any other part of the country. Pecan trees of a fine variety are grown and some of the finest pecans come from this parish. It is a new industry but promises to become very ex­tensive.


The Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad passes through the parish from east to west, enabling people to get the New Orleans morning papers same afternoon. There are at present two surveying parties making surveys for a railroad from New Roads, Pointe Coupee parish, to Arkansas City. The Gould Company is making one survey, which assures a road being built very soon. This will place Tallulah on a trunk line from St. Louis to New Orleans.



There are regular services of the Methodist Church and Episcopal Church. There is Sunday School each Sunday. The Epworth League meets each Sunday afternoon.



The people of Tallulah and surrounding plantations are hearty in their support of the school, giving every encourage­ment to the teachers that could be asked for.



The school building is situated in a convenient portion of the town. It has three rooms fitted with the latest desks, charts, maps, piano, and in every respect is comfortable, and furnishes excellent conditions for well-regulated school work.



The principal of the Tallulah Graded School is a graduate of the Louisiana Slate Normal School and has had considerable experience in teaching. During the summer he will take a course of study in the Pedagogic Department of the Chicago University. The assistant is a graduate of the Hillman Female College of Mississippi, and has taught several sessions. She is also proficient in music and elocution.


Grade I. Lee Lane, Eula Sanford, Dorothy Slack, Julian Monette, Torbert Slack.

Grade II. Windson Hazel, Walter Scott.

Grade III. Ellie Hart, Cornelia Lane, Hattie Hazel, Marion Stewart.

Grade IV. Eugene Hazel. Mary McMillan. Bert Sigrest, May Sigrest, Ruth Lane, Edward Montgomery, Fannie Steele.

Grade V. Bartlett Eisely, Virgie Greaves, Coleman Lucas, Mathilde Erwin, Vivian Hough, B. Towne.

Grade VI. Stephen Davis, Paul Fleming, Lucy Greaves, Norman Kauffmann, Rose McFarland, Warren Scott. Earl Steele, Lelia Fleming, Willie Gilpin, Willie Harvey, Tom  Lucas, Eddie Montgomery, Stewart Slack, Iris Stewart.

Grade VII. Malvern Bruce, Mike Erwin, .Jr., Katie McClellan, George Sevier, Nellie Wilson, Ernest Erwin, Howard Hart, Alex Montgomery, Nora Slack, Nettie Yerger.