Mount Vernon School

The Mt. Vernon School
Mt. Vernon School 1927 -1968

     The picture at the top of this page is of the Mt. Vernon or Nundayali School.  This was probably the second Mt. Vernon School.  The site of this school was located in front of where the Mt.  Vernon Baptist Church now stands.  The land was granted or given by Mr. Newton Sitzlar of Mt.Vernon. H. L. Callahan took this picture in November 1928.  Callahan was the superintendent of schools in Monroe County in 1919.  With the exception of two terms from 1919 to 1929 he held the office of superintendent.  He gave the schools Indian -names during his time in office.  Mt. Vernon was Nu-ndayali, Shoal Creek was Estanalle, Ebenezer was Hance, and Piney Grove was Connahance.  These schools along with McConkey School were consolidated into Mt. Vernon.

     Superintendent Callahan made regular visits to the schools.  He was truly dedicated to his job of taking care of the schools.  Family members told me that Callahan never learned to drive so he left home very early in the morning to do a job he loved and was committed to. He served Monroe County well as Superintendent of Schools.

     In 1910 Monroe County divided the 20 civil districts into 5 districts. There were 68 schools operating in these districts with Mt. Vernon being located in the 4th. district.  In 1909 E.O. Luther and wife Mattie granted 2 acres for the Mt.  Vernon or Nundayali School.  An additional 4.6 acres were acquired in 1927 from Mr. & Mrs. Luther to build the new school.  The new Mt. Vernon School was built on the site where part of it still stands and is occupied by Douglas Cherokee Head Start.

     Mt. Vernon Baptist Church would purchase the old school building to establish a new church.  A committee of 5 people bought the old school in 1929.  They paid the sum of $150.00 for the property and building.  Family members told me that Mrs. Texine "Grandma" Teague gave one hundred dollars on the church purchase.  She was also one of the first six members of the Mt.  Vernon Baptist Church.

     Sweetwater Baptist Association started this missionary project to help establish a new church in this area.  The association called upon each of their member churches to give five dollars or more to help pay for the new church.  The pastors and deacons of those churches were asked to meet at Mt. Vernon for the sole purpose of organizing and establishing a Baptist church at this location.  The church later built a new church and has had several additions to their building to become the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church of today.  The teachers brought the students of Mt. Vernon School to Bible School at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church during school hours.  Maybe some of you can remember those days.

     As I was looking for the history of Mt. Vernon School, Codella Daugherty loaned me a book on the history of Monroe County written by Sarah Sands.  In the book I found a picture of the post office with the school in the background.  I remember we used to stop at the post office every evening after school. The post office played an important part in the Mt. Vernon community.  There was also a listing of the postmasters starting with James Hair (Hain or Wain) and Joe Blair or Blain (the spelling was hard to make out by Mrs. Sands) in 1823.  From 1834-1872 postmasters included Hiram Turk, Newton Spillman, Joseph Young, James Kelso, Frances Beals, William Lee and Grimes Spillman.  The post office was discontinued due to bad times after the Civil War on December 3, 1872.  The post office was re-established on January 16, 1873.  The postmasters list continues with Robert Winn, William Lee, James Samples, Jefferson McConkey, Newton Sitzlar, William Richeson, Eula Sitzlar, Calloway Sloan, Effie Sitzlar, John Lee, Sam Gregory, Grady Moses and Lula Grace Harris.

     The post office had different locations. I learned one location was just across the railroad tracks where I used to live.  Another was where Don Holcomb now lives.  One in the John Lee building and another in the back of the Mt. Vernon store building.  The last location was in a garage building owned by Ben Ellis.  The postmasters for this location were Eugene Snider and Ruth Holcomb.  Eugene Snider retired with 27 year’s service and Ruth Holcomb was the last postmaster when the post office was discontinued on March 11, 1988.  Ms. Holcomb was transferred to the Tellico Plains Post Office where she is still employed. 

     Bud Lee had built a building hoping to house the post office but for one reason or another the state decided to close it.  In the horse and buggy days, the horses could rest and early automobile owners could get water to cool their engines at the post office.  It was also a popular stopping place located about halfway between Madisonville and Tellico Plains.  Located near the railroad tracks it was a regular stop for the train to pick up the farmer's produce for market.  This main part of Mt. Vernon is gone and will only be remembered if we tell our children and they tell their children.

     The Mt. Vernon School closed in 1967-68 and the students were bused to Tellico Plains.  The building was still owned by the county and put to good use as a community Center.  It was used for many functions and get-togethers.  The building was also used for a manufacturing plant operated by Mrs. Kenneth McConkey which employed several people in the community. 

     In 1979 the court requested the State Highway Department to resurface the old highway 68 from Sweetwater to Madisonville.  Mt. Vernon, the old Liberality and part of the old Notchey Creek property were put on the auction block.  Mt. Vernon residents Sam and Bob Gregory bought the Mt. Vernon School and property.  The old part of the school was partly tom away by Ben Sitzlar and finished later by Bob Gregory.  The new part was left to house the Douglas Cherokee Head Start, which has leased and occupied the building for over 20 years.

     As I was gathering this information I learned Mt. Vernon had a restaurant around 1945 to 1946.  This restaurant was operated by H.K. and Mafie Gregory.  This information was never mentioned during the time my family lived in Mt. Vernon.  We need to remember history fades away if it's not recorded.

     There is no telling how many students have passed through the doors of Mt. Vernon School through the years.  Some received their education with simple instructions and some seasoned with the rod of correction (HA!  HA!).  As I was assembling this article I couldn't help but think how much things have changed.  When we were in school we had some great teachers most of whom were Christians.  I'm thankful for those teachers.  They not only taught us reading, writing and arithmetic but also started each day with the reading of the Bible, praying the Lord's Prayer, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  They taught us good morals and how to be good citizens.  We can all look back with more appreciation for those fine teachers.

     I want to thank each one that helped me assemble the information in this article.  And a special thanks to Codella Daugherty, Janie Underwood, Fran Wallace, Doris Davis, Jackie and Shirley Holcomb, Travis Holcomb, Don Holcomb, Hazel English, Vickie Lee and Francis Moses for all their help. I hope that you will be able to look back to childhood days and good times shared with friends at Mt.Vernon and Mt. Vernon School.      - By Glenda Harris Croft


Old Photos From Mt. Vernon & Mt. Vernon School

Ben Ellis Grocery
Homer Harris, Chance Holcomb,
Bent Harris, Beed Holcomb

Amos Lee & Cleo Ervin

Ronnie Lee, Preacher Sitzlar,
Lavern Holcomb

Barbara Roberts & Dana Ditmore
at Ervin's Grocery

Ervin's Grocery Store

Gordon & Wanda Ervin

Ruby Gregory

Goldie Fay Sitzlar

Mt. Vernon School Cafeteria

School Days

Mt. Vernon School in the 1950's

Gordon Ervin

First Mt. Vernon School

Mt. Vernon School Nov. 1928

Mt. Vernon School in 1955 in Snow

2004 Reunion Photos

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