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

The article that follows was scanned from People of Action (1983), a book compiled from newspaper clippings. Mrs. Younger died in 1998.

The Herald Gazette, Trenton, Tennessee

Do You Remember ‘Pig-Tail School'?

By Lillye Younger, Parsons City Judge and Former Gibson Countian

How many of you remember Pig Tail School?

Located almost five miles west of Trenton between Hickory Grove and Olive Branch, the one-room frame structure served as the orientation of numerous youngsters' education.

Its true name was Milligan School, this to the fact it was near the Jeff Milligan home and it's possible that Mr. Mulligan donated the land for the school site.

The name "Pig Tail' could have derived from the fact that pigs roamed the school grounds when not driven away by youngsters.

Eight grades were taught by one teacher in the one room school. Each class approached the front of the room and sat on recitation benches. And believe you me, you had better be abler to recite when your time came. Students were seated at desks built for two.

Methods of discipline, besides "Hickory Tea" were the dunce stool, which was located in the very front of the classroom, and either front corners of the building. When one sat on the dunce stool, fellow classmates laughed at him more than those standing in the front corners. The minutes rolled around quite slowly at either place of punishment.

Those were the days of the horse and buggy and the big boys always got to unhitch the horse each morning, feed it at noon and rehitch it up when school turned out..

At lunch time, one type of recreation was getting between the buggy shaves playing horse and pulling the buggy, chugged full of classmates. It was easy downhill.

Another great privilege in those days was to be allowed to ring the bell for "Time Books," as it was called. Unfortunately, I was never allowed to ring it because the teacher was my aunt, the former Sarah Washburn. It was so hard to understand just why I wasn't allowed to ring it.

I was a student at Hickory Grove but since my aunt, in whose home I lived, taught here I thought it would be a breeze. It was anything but.... Each afternoon I would tell my grandmother, Mrs. Lizzie Washburn, who reared me, on my aunt, but even that did no good. The next year I was more than happy to return to good ole Hickory Grove School.

Each morning at 10a.m. we had a 30 minute recess and each afternoon at 2p.m. School schedules in those days were from eight until four, with one hour off for lunch.

Lunch programs were unheard of then. Lunches were carried in decorative lunch boxes with crossed handles. Usually they contained sausage and biscuits, ham and biscuits, sweet potatoes and fried apple pie, from the apples dried on the roof. Oft times we traded lunches.

Chapel exercises were a must each morning. Of course that was the day before the Supreme Court ruling. It was quite a thrill to take part in these religious programs. Everyone sang the songs which were usually, America, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Tenting on the Old Camp Ground, etc.

School buses were only a far away dream and those living nearby walked to school However, my aunt and I lived too far so went in a buggy. Riding down the countryside was quite a thrill each morning.

But the cold weather days weren't quite so pleasant. Lap rugs, worn over the knees, hot bricks placed to the feet and side and front curtains, with only a peep hole for vision, added a bit of comfort on cold snowy days.

Traffic was limited and wrecks practically unheard of, however, I recall a buggy wreck about that time on the Dyersburg road. Newlyweds were foxtrotting down the road late one night when their horse ran away and hit the mailbox of the late Mr. Charley Harris. Both were thrown out but only the bride sustained injuries and was taken to the Harris home for treatment.

Like many of the small country schools, Pig Tail, too, joined the ranks of those who "Folded their tents, like the Arabs and silently stole away," giving way to higher learning in the town schools of Gibson County.

Thank you, editor, for allowing me this bit of nostalgia.

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