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.

C. A. Palmer

[written circa 1971]

As of August 10, 1927 there were two high schools in Decatur County, Parsons and Decaturville. The county also paid 40% of the cost of operating the Scotts Hill High School which is on the line between Decatur and Henderson Counties Henderson County paid the 60% balance.

At this time there were around 40, one teacher schools in Decatur County. Included in this number there were three in the north end, Hydro, Yellow Springs and Mt. Oak, three in the south end, Smiths, Largo and Mt. Carmel. Besides these there were some two or more teacher schools, such as Sugar Tree in the northern part and Mt. Lebanon in the south end of the county. Mr. Gilbert O. Aaron was the principal and two of the teachers were Constance Morelock and Iris Adair. Iris was elected as principal the following year.

In 1927 there was one bus in Decaturvllle school. Driven by Norm Rainey, it brought students from McKendree school which burned. There was only one school bus in Parsons also. One from Jeanette school transporting them to Parsons and driven by Ed Walker. Jeanette school building burned about 1926. These first busses were rather crude, some on the back of trucks. Later the state improved the bus system.

Among the early bus owners and operators were the late, Joe Jordan, D. R. Price, John Primm, and Mac Vise, Jason Sims, E. E. Rhodes and others.

J.K. Vise was County School Superintendent in 1927 and preceding him were Ray Holley, G. L. Wortham. Down to the present time the county superintendents were R. L. Haney, K. K. Houston, W. C. White, C. A. Palmer, Jack Stevens, Guy Kennedy, Edward Hearington, Henry Evans, Ms. Henry Evans and Billy Stevens.

The first school supervisor was Mrs. Reba Broyler who served in 1936. She was followed by Rush Robinson, Ruth Potts and those serving in the past few years were Otis Dodd, Ray Bloodworth, Billy Stevens and presently, Mrs. Allie Mae Stevens.

Serving as principal at Decaturville High School in 1927 was A. M. Taylor. He was preceded by Zack Myers and W.C. White. Others serving as principal were C. J. Huckaba, John E. Malone, J. L. Sweatt, B. C. Daily, A. L. Davis, Perry Murphy, C. Haney, Roy Bachelor, Hobart Johnson and E. L. Haney.

Seving as principal in Parsons in 1927 was Mrs. Allie Mae Smith, from 1917 until 1921, Mr. Mahon Wood served as principal. Others who served were J. L. Davis, J. S. McMahon, Newton Turner, Dick Ayers, A. J. Steel, Fred Long, Jack Stevens, George L. Wortham, Neil Hobart, H. V. Webb, Dwayne Tucker, B. C. Dailey, Otis Dodd. C. A. Palmer followed Mrs. Mile Mae Smith and served as principal for nine years.

Scotts Hill principal in 1927 was Perry Murphy. Scotts Hill has been more of a school minded town than Decaturville and Parsons.

Some of the early teachers in Decaturville were Velma Loflin, Lella Thomas, W. K Barns, Mrs. Farmer Paschal, C. A. Palmer, Roy McPeake, Mary Maude McClannahan, Reba Lancaster, Mary S. Dunavant, Opal Haney, Ruth Adair, Lela Stout and Mr. Green.

Educators serving Parsons High School were Alvin Todd, Allie M Smith, Sue Smith, Eva Hays, Nellie Colwick, Ruth Jennings and Gray Evans, A. L. Jennings, K. K. Houston, Ruby Colwick, Sophie Malin, Dora Jane Wortham, Zelma Long and Audrey Churchwell.

Listed among other Scotts Hill High School teachers are Ira Powers, J. B. Austin, Nellie Blevins, Cecil Milam and Guy Kennedy.

Financial straits began to hit the schools about 27-28-29. Warrants were issued for the teachers but were not backed sufficiently by cash coming into the trustee's office. Due to multiple reasons, the main one being the depression, which struck in 1927 with full force, warrants had to be "shaved" or discounted about 20 to 25 percent.

Very few had enough money to buy up any considerable amount of these warrants however some did including J. K. Vise, Frank Houston, Jim Chalk, Perry Thompson, Joe Jennings and others.

In 1931 only three persons in Parsons paid income taxes and their names had to be listed in the Post Office at Parsons.

In 1942 alter the U.S. got into war and finances began to pile up, money from the state came into the county in sufficient quantities for school warrants to be paid off at full value at the trustee's office under Superintendent C. A. Palmer.

The hot lunch program started In Decatur County about 1927 under the supervision of K. K. Houston and has continued down to present days. Small schools were not consolidated until about 1950. As late as 1945 there were 41 schools in the county, mostly one teacher schools.

In the field of athletics, Scoffs Hill has never had a football team. They started playing basketball under the lights in 1927 on the out-door court in a hollow near the school. The lights were furnished by Delco system and when the engine sputtered out at times, they would have to call "timeout" and let the motor build up some extra juice so they could continue the game. A bunch of harnessed lightening bugs might have done nearly as well. But later they built a real gym and have always had a good ball club. Mike Scott of Parsons served as coach here last term.

Football was started at Parsons High in 1930 with Henry Evans serving as coach. Some of the later coaches were C.A. Palmer, S. E. Muilins, Sam Pearson, Neal Hobart, Floyd Chumney, Fred Long and Floyd Powers.

In the sports program C.A. Palmer became coach at Decaturville in 1927. A. L Taylor and many others were instrumental in the erection of a gym by subscriptions.

In 1929 a gym was built at Parsons High School by the town floating bonds. No bonding company would purchase the bonds so the teachers and townsmen bought them and they were paid off by the town later, 1/3 at a time.

Teacher's retirement was started in the state in 1945 while C.A. Palmer was serving as County Superintendent. One of the first to retire was U. S. Yates, who had taught around 40 years. His retirement pay was $50 monthly. Now there are 52 teachers in the county and 10,000 in the state. Retirement pay will be increased July 1, 1972.

Teacher's salaries ranged from $25 to $75 in the early days, according to their qualities as listed on their certificates. This is quite a difference from today, however economic conditions were just as different.

Some of the teachers who taught years prior to 1927 were John Tinker, Ryder Smith and the late L. C. Duck and Milt Houston.

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