Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

Mt. Tabor School. Clipping photo unreproducible.
This photo scanned from Lillye Younger's History of Decatur County Past and Present.

One of the early schools in Decatur County was held in a log one-room building in the Mt. Tabor community - just across the road from the Mt. Tabor Pentecostal Church on the old Parsons-Decaturville road. This building was first built as a Northern Methodist Church according to Mrs. Jewell Duck, a long-time resident of Parsons. "It was one of the first public schools in West Tennessee," she said.

 From the History of Decatur County written by the eighth grade students of the Decaturville School (about 1938) under the guidance of Mr. Henry Evans, teacher and Miss Reba Broyles, Elementary Supervisor in Decatur County, was found (by Mr. Rube L. Haney) a description of the Mt. Tabor School: "The school was built of hewed logs and daubed with clay."

Mrs. Jewell Duck, wife of the late Mr. Roy Duck, related a bit of interest about the seats in the early building. According to a friend of hers, Mrs. Leone Ivy Wilson, who died in the early 1940's, the benches were made of split logs and held up with split pieces at each end. Mrs. Wilson went to school in this building and remembered sitting on these log benches instead of desks which were provided later.

The late Mr. Roy Duck taught at the Mt. Tabor School in 1918. Every morning he walked to Mt. Tabor from his home in Parsons and then each afternoon he walked back home. Mrs. Jewell Duck, his wife, related that each time there was a funeral, school was dismissed as the funeral was held in the church building. Mrs. Duck, even though not a teacher herself, remembers when she did substitute teaching for her husband at the Mt. Tabor School during the winter of 1918 and 1919.

Mrs. Lelia Conder, one of the present members of the Decatur County Retired Teachers' Association, taught her first school in the old log Mt. Tabor building in 1915 when she was only fifteen years old. Her salary was $30 per month. Mrs. Julia McIllwain, her mother who was a teacher, went with her on her first day of school to help her get started.

During the summer months she walked to school most of the time from Decaturville where her parents lived. During the winter months she boarded with families in the community. The summer sessions were only two months long and then the school was dismissed for cotton picking. After the cotton picking vacation, four more months of school were taught, making a total of six months during the year.

Mrs. Pyke Vise Johnson, also a member of the Decatur County Retired Teachers' Association, remembers her first school at Mt. Tabor in 1922. Every morning she rode the "Mail Hack" to school and as a rule walked home in the afternoon, unless some member of her family met her along the way.

Mrs. Johnson taught eight grades and the older pupils assisted her with some of the younger ones. She taught at Mt. Tabor only during two summer sessions.

Water for the school was carried from a nearby spring by the pupils and everyone drank from the common dipper. Both the teacher and the students brought their lunches every day.

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