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					                        From Log Cabins   1




History of Clay County Schools


   From 1850 until Present




               by

            Mark Leek
                                              From Log Cabins        2

                  Acknowledgements and Author’s Note

   This document of the History of Clay County Schools was a

summer doctoral project in the Issues of Rural Education class

at Western Carolina University. This account of the history of

Clay County Schools is in no way completely comprehensive due to

the limits of time and resources available to me as the author

of this document.    The purpose or intent of this document was to

highlight historical educational events in the county as I was

able to uncovered within the given time period.    It was at no

point my intent to leave out or omit any part of the history in

creating this document.

   I wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for

all the individuals from both Clay County and Western Carolina

University who contributed information, time, and efforts to

assist in the completion of this project of History of Clay

County Schools.    Their contributions to this project were

invaluable.


Mark Leek

Doctoral Student

Western Carolina University

July, 2003
                                            From Log Cabins   3

                        Table of Contents

Introduction                                      4

Chapter One                                       6

Brief History of County Origination

Chapter Two                                       8

Education from 1850 until 1899

Chapter Three                                     23

Education from 1900 until 1929

Chapter Four                                      44

Education from 1930 until 1959

Chapter Five                                      58

Education from 1960 until 1989

Chapter Six                                       63

Education from 1990 until Present

Chapter Seven                                     67

Conclusion

References                                        68

Appendix A                                        72
                                                From Log Cabins     4

   From Log Cabins to One Campus: History of Schools in Clay

                       County, North Carolina

                               Introduction

    As the Clay County School System enters the 21st Century, it

becomes important to stop and reflect back on the history of the

school system.   This reflection will not only record the past

for posterity, but it will also enable the school system to have

a better understanding or picture of time and place.      This

history may better enable the school system and the community to

chart the future of education in the county.

    The Clay County School System, not unlike many rural school

systems all across the nation, has undergone extensive and

diverse changes during the past 150 years.      The school system

persevered and flourished in the face of many issues that have

been commonplace for many rural and urban schools alike over the

past century.    Such issues consisted of consolidation,

segregation and integration, busing, funding, facilities,

politics, and other such issues involved in providing the
highest quality education available.

    However, in examining and researching the history of

schools in Clay County, there are certain historical aspects of

the educational process, the evolution of the schools, and the

system in general that were unique to this rural, mountainous

county in the southwestern tip of North Carolina.      There is

little doubt that education and the schooling of their children

were and still are a major priority in the lives of Clay County
residents.   According to Padgett J. (1976), Clay County
                                              From Log Cabins     5

residents view their youth as their most important resource and

export.

    In examining and researching the history of schools in Clay

County, it becomes essential to have a general overview of when

and how the county originated.   This assists in viewing the

educational history in proper context as the first accounts of

schools pre-dated the county’s origination.
                                              From Log Cabins        6

                                Chapter One

                         Clay County’s Origination

    According to Padgett J. (1976), the first white settlers

arrived in the Tusquittee section of what was then to become

Cherokee County, North Carolina in the early 1830s.    As the

population continued to move westward, Cherokee County and what

was to become Clay County were taken from what was then part of

the Macon County territory in 1839 to accommodate this increase

in population.   Padgett further states that the origination of

Cherokee County closely coincided with the Federal Government’s

action of the removal of the Cherokee people from their native

lands to the Oklahoma Territory.    The federal soldiers, under

the command of Captain Hembree, constructed Fort Hembree in 1839

for the purposes of capture and removal of the Cherokees.    After

the removal of the Cherokees, the fort remained and served as a

hub for the community in terms of civic and business

opportunities, as well as protection from the Cherokees that

escaped capture.
    What is now Clay County remained a part of Cherokee County

until 1860.   According to Padgett (1976), George Hayes of the

Tomotla section of Cherokee County was running for state

representative from Cherokee County.    He was encountering a

great deal of difficulty in generating enough support from the

constituents in his home territory.    He then moved his campaign

efforts to the southeastern end of Cherokee County and what was

to become Clay County.    Padgett further states that this gave
George Hayes an opportunity to listen to the concerns that these
                                             From Log Cabins        7

county residents had about being residents of Cherokee County.

He found out that the constituents on this end of the county had

a major concern with the county seat being located in Murphy.

Their concerns revolved around the principle that it took over a

day to journey to the county seat and back in order to transact

business.   It must be remembered that the only mode of

transportation during that time period was by foot, horseback,

or a horse-drawn vehicle.   Padgett explains that George Hayes

promised these citizens that if elected, he would introduce

legislation to create a new county.   This won him the election,

and the 1861 North Carolina General Assembly created Clay County

from the southeastern part of Cherokee County.   The county seat

was named Hayesville, in honor of George Hayes, and was located

just outside of the Fort Hembree area.   However it was not until

1864, that the first local county government was organized

(WebRoots.org Genealogy Foundation, n.d.).   This delay in

governmental action was primarily due to the unrest caused by

the United States Civil War (Padgett J.).
                                              From Log Cabins        8

                              Chapter Two

                     Education from 1850 until 1899

    Although Clay County originated in 1861, it can be found

that schools and the education of children existed years before

this action.   Although many people contributed to the efforts of

developing schools in the region, the history of education in

Clay County would not be complete without mentioning the efforts

of John O. Hicks (Padgett, 1976).   From all of the available

history on schools in Clay County, it can be said that John O.

Hicks was the father of education in the area.

    According to Padgett (1976), John Hicks arrived in the

Tusquittee section of Cherokee County, later to become Clay

County, in 1850, at the age of twenty-five.    Padgett goes on to

state that John Hicks was born in Burke County, North Carolina

and received his education in small, one-room schoolhouses until

the age of twelve. However, some of the other research disputes

the claim that Hicks was born in Burke County.    According to the

1860 Federal Census conducted in Cherokee County, John Hicks
birthplace was in McDowell County, North Carolina (Morrison, C.,

2002).   However, the census information is in agreement with the

other research on John Hicks’ age and occupation.     It reveals

that John Hicks would have been twenty-five in 1850 and that his

occupation was that of a schoolteacher.

    Padgett (1976) states that after his arrival in the

Tusquittee section of the county, John Hicks began opening one-

room, log cabin pay schools in the area.    The first of these
schools was opened on the farm of Alec Martin.    Later, John
                                              From Log Cabins           9

Hicks opened schools on A. G. Moore’s farm, the Bristol Cove,

and Shiloh respectively.   Pay schools required fees for tuition

from the students in addition to purchasing the required

textbooks from which they would study.    Padgett goes on to

explain that Hicks taught in all of these schools using

Webster’s Old Blue Back Speller, Smith’s Grammar, Davis and

Fowler’s arithmetic, and penmanship with the goose quill pen and

pokeberry ink.   The literature and research is unclear as to

whether or not these schools continued when John Hicks would

leave one school and establish and teach at more schools.       There

is no mention of Clay County public schools in the literature

researched during the period of the 1850s.

    As time moved on into the 1860s so did John Hicks.     He

eventually found his way toward the Fort Hembree area, which was

a hub of community action for the citizens of the southeastern

section of Cherokee County.    The fort had been built by the

federal government in 1839 to assist in the removal of the

Cherokees to the Oklahoma Territory but now served as the center
of community and business affairs.    He had also moved towards

the Lick Log Creek section where it is believed that he opened

another one-room pay school.   By 1868, Hicks had established a

good reputation in the area and had gained sufficient stature in

the newly formed county (Padgett, 1976).    It also appears that

Hicks’ prestige as an educator exceeded the boundaries of the

county and extended into other areas of western North Carolina.

Robert Lee Madison, founder and president of Western Carolina
Teachers College, writes that John O. Hicks was among the most
                                            From Log Cabins        10

prominent pioneer educators in the area and his accomplishments

and efforts greatly assisted in creating the educational system

that was in place today (Western Carolina Teachers College,

1939).   This stature had gained him enough support to be elected

as the first representative from Clay County to the North

Carolina General Assembly.   He served two terms in the

legislature from 1868-70 and 1874-75 (Clay County, 1981).

     During his first tenure in the North Carolina General

Assembly, John Hicks purchased land near the Fort Hembree area

to establish a school.   Unknown to John Hicks at the time, this

land purchase and school establishment would be Hicks’ long-

lasting contribution to the school system in Clay County.

According to Padgett (1976), on August 12th, 1870, John Hicks

purchased two tracts of land on which to build Hicksville

Academy that was later to become Hayesville High School.     The

land which John Hicks purchased to open Hicksville Academy would

have had a view similar to the one in the photo that follows

taken thirty some years later.
                                                     From Log Cabins               11




                          Picture was obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.




    Although this date of 1870 coincides with the founding date
of Hayesville High School, the school and property changed hands

numerous times and it was not until years later in the early

1900s that the name of the school was changed to Hayesville High

School.   It is also believed that during this time period

Hicksville Academy was another pay school that eventually

boarded students and was not to be considered a public school.

    However, it appears that other “public” schools coexisted
with the academy during this time.        As early as 1863, the North
                                             From Log Cabins        12

Carolina Government recognized the need for public schools in

each of its counties.   In 1863, the North Carolina General

Assembly proposed a bill for the establishment of public schools

in each county (North Carolina General Assembly, 1863).   As Clay

County moved through the beginnings of the reconstruction period

after the Civil War, it should be understood that all schools in

the state and nation were segregated by race and schools would

remain segregated in Clay County as well as North Carolina for

the next 100 years.

    In the late 1860s, the state superintendent pointed out in

his report to the governor that Clay County had 770 white and 60

“colored” school age children and that the county had been

apportioned by the state four hundred fifteen dollars for the

operation of its public schools.   The report also lists the

county examiner for Clay County as A. B. Alexander (Ashley, S.,

1869).   Although it appears that public schools existed in Clay

County in the late 1860s, no record other than that of the state

superintendent’s report can verify their existence and the
locations of the schools were not to be found in the existing

research.

    During the 1870s it appears that the Hicksville Academy

flourished and had gained a solid reputation in the education of

the students that attended.   John Hicks apparently not only

served in the state legislature during different periods of this

decade, but also managed to operate and teach at the Hicksville

Academy.    Written records of the curriculum at the academy have
not been found, however it is clear that the curriculum was more
                                             From Log Cabins      13

than just the basic curriculum of the day and surpassed the

curriculums at the various pay schools that Hicks had

established in the area previously.    According to Padgett J.

(1976), in 1872, John Hicks had sent to Kansas for a good music

teacher to be employed at the academy.    He later in 1874,

married this music teacher.   John Hicks superintended and taught

at Hicksville Academy for eight years before leaving the area.

It was not until 1878, that John Hicks sold Hicksville Academy

to R. B. Chambers (Padgett, 1976).    This real estate action

further verifies that Hicksville Academy was not a public school

and was under private ownership.

    R. B. Chambers only owned the school for one year before

selling it to N. A. Fessenden who served as the principal and

head master of the academy (Padgett J., 1976).    However it

appears that the academy’s reputation continued to flourish

under the new ownership.   According to WebRoots.org Genealogy

Foundation (n.d.), a fine high school at Hayesville existed with

Mr. N. A. Fessenden in charge after succeeding John O. Hicks.
Another source also verifies the quality of the school.    “The

same school that John O. Hicks organized and built up at

Hayesville is still in operation with an enrollment of over two

hundred.   The influence that has gone out from this school has

permeated the whole county until the public schools of the

county are unsurpassed” (Arthur, J., 1914, p. 15).    This also

verifies that public schools coexisted with the academy in the

county.
                                            From Log Cabins        14

    However, Fessenden did not superintend the school for a

long period of time.   In 1883, N. A. Fessenden deeded the school

and property to the Joint Stock Company of Hayesville High

School (Padgett J., 1976).   It appears that during this time

period in the early 1880s, the name of the school was changed

from Hicksville Academy to Hayesville Academy.    In the early

1880’s, Dr. James Hual “Tobe” Crawford attended and graduated

from Hicksville Academy before studying medicine at the

University of Chattanooga (Morgan, L., 1996).    However,

according to a biography on George Washington Truett, George

Truett graduated from Hayesville Academy in 1885 before moving

to Texas and becoming a well-known Baptist minister (Powhatan

J., 2002).   Crawford and Truett were not the only students that

lived distinguished lives after attending and graduating from

this school or academy in Hayesville.   According to WebRoots.org

Genealogy Foundation (n.d.), the Reverend Ferd. C. McConnell,

along with Reverend George Truett, both became well-known

Baptist ministers, and the Honorable George Bell of the Tenth
Georgia Congressional district all attended and graduated from

this academy during this time period.

    Clay County also had other public schools operating in the

1880s.   Although no written records have been obtained to name

and verify the locations of the public schools in existence

during this time, it can be concluded from the 1883-84 state

superintendent’s biennial report that public schools did exist

in Clay County in conjunction with the academy at Hayesville.
For the school term of 1883-84, Clay County operated nine white
                                            From Log Cabins        15

public schools and one “colored” public school serving 884 white

students and 36 “colored” students with the white teachers being

paid $23.50 per month and the “colored” teacher receiving $20.00

per month.   The school term lasted seventy days for both the

white and “colored” schools (Scarborough, J., 1885).

    During the late 1880s, the former Hicksville Academy was

operated by the Joint Stock Company of Hayesville High School

deeded the property to the Methodist-Episcopal Church, South

which in turn granted the management and organization of the

school and facilities over to Trinity College 1891 (Padgett J.,

1976).   At this time in 1891, the name of the academy was

changed to Hayesville Male and Female College and courses were

offered from the first grade through college courses with the

general superintendence of the college belonging to Dr. John F.

Crowell, President of Trinity College in Durham, North Carolina

(Trinity College, 1891).   Although the college in Hayesville

formed in 1891, the founding date listed on the catalogue was

1850, which corresponded with the founding date of Trinity
College of Durham, North Carolina (King, W., 2000). The courses

offered at Hayesville Male and Female College consisted of

primary courses, mathematics, algebra, Latin, English,

geography, Greek, and history with the Reverend W. H. Bailey, A.

M. serving as Head Master (Trinity College). Cottages were built

for boarding students and tuition was charged.   Tuition did not

cover the cost of books or materials, which had to be purchased

separately. Students boarded at the college and the enrollment
                                              From Log Cabins       16

for the 1891-92 school term was two hundred twenty-five students

coming from six different states (Trinity College).

    The relationship between Hayesville Male and Female College

and Trinity College of Durham existed for two years.    “In the

year 1893, The Board of Trustees of the said College sold and

conveyed all the buildings and property belonging to the

College, to the Public School Committee of the Hayesville School

District” (Hayesville College, 1898, p. 4).    Trinity College of

Durham no longer superintended the operation and management of

Hayesville Male and Female College, and later Trinity College

changed their name as well.   In 1924, Trinity College of Durham,

who had operated and managed the college in Hayesville, changed

their name and became Duke University (King W., 2000).

    Although the college in Hayesville was no longer operated

and managed by Trinity College, it still continued to maintain

the name Hayesville Male and Female College and offer courses

from the first grade through college level subjects (Hayesville

College).    The college catalogue illustrates that tuition, room
and board, and the cost of books still was assessed into the

1898-99 school term.   This is different from the public schools

of the time in the aspect of charging for tuition, room, and

board, but public school students like the students at the

Hayesville Male and Female College still had to purchase their

textbooks.   This practice of public schools students purchasing

their textbooks continued in Clay County as well as the rest of

the state into the 1930s (North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction, 1999).
                                              From Log Cabins     17

    As it can best be determined, the Hayesville Male and

Female College proceeded through the 1898-99 school year and

continued to charge tuition, room and board, and offer college

level courses along with conferring the degree of Baccalaurei

Artium (B. A.)(Hayesville College, 1898).   It has not been

determined through the available research as to the exact time

or date that the school ceased to offer college level courses

and degrees.   However, it can be verified that the elementary

education at this institution became free with no charge for

tuition and the name of the institution was changed from

Hayesville Male and Female College to Hayesville Male and Female

College and Graded School.   This was a result of a 1895

legislative action by the North Carolina General Assembly

enlarging the school district and empowering the local

government to levy a tax for the support of the graded school

that offered ten months of instruction (Hayesville College).

Ten months of instruction far exceeded the terms of instruction

offered at the other public schools in the county.    According to
Mebane, C. (1900), Clay County public schools taught fourteen

week terms in the public schools for whites and eight and one

half weeks term for the “colored” students.

    Although the Hayesville College transformed through the

1890’s, the reputation of the school still continued to grow.

According to Hayesville College (1898), the enrollment was 201

students representing six states.   Ms. Sue Haigler, whose father

was a trustee of the school, stated that the school had a good
reputation and offered a wide variety of courses for the day and
                                             From Log Cabins          18

had students attending from a variety of states (S. Haigler,

personal communication, June 19, 2003).

    During the 1898-99 school year, it can be concluded through

the existing research that public schools in addition to the

Hayesville Male and Female College and Graded School continued

to coexist and operate in Clay County.    It also appears that the

public schools were developing in the other communities in the

county.   According to Mebane, C. (1900), in the state

superintendent’s biennial report for the 1898-99 school year,

Clay County operated eighteen public school houses serving 736

white students and 15 “colored” students.   The exact names and

locations of these schools were not verified in the existing

research.   This was an increase in schools and school buildings

of 80% over the previous fifteen years.

    It was also during this time period that the first mention

of student discipline surfaced in the available research.      It

was found that students who exhibited inappropriate behavior

would be issued demerits that could lead to expulsion from the
Hayesville Male and Female College and Graded School (Hayesville

College, 1898).   However, as time progressed and the college

became Hayesville High School, student discipline was in the

form of corporal punishment, which appears through the research

to have been the discipline form of choice for many years.      Ms.

Sue Haigler, a 1919 graduate of Hayesville High, recalls

students being disciplined with a ruler slapping the palm of an

outstretched hand.   This method of corporal discipline continued
in many classrooms for at least the next half of century, as Ms.
                                             From Log Cabins          19

Haigler employed this type of discipline in her own classroom.

Ms. Haigler retired from teaching at Hayesville in 1967.    Ms.

Haigler also recollects that when the boys misbehaved, they

would be given the assignment of digging up stumps on the school

grounds or shoveling coal for the furnace (S. Haigler, personal

communication, June 19, 2003).

    Corporal punishment was not reserved for schools at

Hayesville but was employed in the other schools in the county

as well.    Garnett Johnson, who attended the Fires Creek School

from 1926 until 1934, recalled that the first task of the

teacher to begin the year was to cut and bundle switches.      This

bundle was placed in the corner of the schoolhouse and he

believed that it served as much as a deterrent for inappropriate

behavior as it did for the consequence for such behavior.      He

recalls that during the late 1920s, he and another student at

Fires Creek School would receive a switching on the back of the

legs on a regular basis for writing left handed.    This continued

for two years and was eliminated when the next teacher was hired
(G. Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).

    Although corporal punishment has continued through the

years and still remains permissible to date in Clay County

Schools, it no longer continues to be the discipline form of

choice.    Other forms of student discipline have evolved such as

written assignments, parent conferences, time out of activities,

in-school-suspension, and out-of-school suspension (Clay County

Schools, 1921-2003).
                                            From Log Cabins        20

    Another interesting aspect of public schools is the

transformation in the administration of public schools.   It

appears that the earlier superintendence of public schools fell

to the county commissioners.   In the 1869 state superintendents

report of public instruction, a letter was found from the state

superintendent that all schools are to be superintended by the

local governments’ county commissioners (Ashley, S., 1869).

However, this appears to have changed sometime prior to the

1898-99 state superintendent’s report.   According to Mebane, C.

(1900), the superintendent of Clay County Schools in 1898 was T.

H. Nancock (sic) and the board of education consisted of G. W.

Sanderson of Hayesville and I. H. Chambers of Warne.

    The inception of having a board of education developed

sometime after 1870, with the local board of education being

appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly, a practice,

which continued for nearly one hundred years, until the local

school boards were elected by the local population in a general

election (D. Penland, personal communication, June 5, 2003).     It
appears that soon after the state began appointing local boards

of education, the local boards of education not only appointed a

local superintendent, but appointed committeemen to oversee the

various schools in the county.   This practice was found to be

controversial from the beginning due to the created bureaucracy

and politics involved with the appointments and a move to

abolish this practice can be found as early as 1898.   According

to Mebane, C. (1900), the act of appointing committeemen should
be abolished as schools have too many officers that burdened
                                              From Log Cabins        21

them down and that the practice of committeemen’s selection of

teachers based on political and church affiliation has not

provided the best for public education.     Mebane goes on to list

qualifications of committeemen, if the practice was to continue,

and stated that all committeemen should be able to read and

write as well as be in favor of taxes for schools in order to be

successful as a school official serving in the capacity of a

committeeman.     It appears that Clay County Schools appointed and

utilized the principles of assigning committeemen for each of

their schools.     The use of committeemen has been documented in

Clay County from 1921 well into the 1960s (Clay County Schools,

1921- 2003).

    Further qualifications and duties of committeemen can be

found in other literature and research.     In the Republican State

Committee (1906), the handbook states that another

responsibility of a committeeman was to take a census of school

age children in their district or community.     In many cases,

committeemen were also responsible for seeing that wood was
supplied for the purposes of heating the school with the wood

stoves (S. Haigler, personal communication, June 19, 2003).

    Another development in the late Nineteenth Century was the

certification of teachers.     In many cases, the teachers merely

had to complete a grade as a student to be qualified to teach

the grade.     In many instances, the teachers were not much older

than or as old as some of the older students in the school (N.

Jarrett, personal communication, July, 2, 2003).     John O. Hicks
who began some of the early schools in Clay County only received
                                            From Log Cabins       22

formal schooling through the age of twelve in one-room

schoolhouses (Padgett J., 1976).   However, this was beginning to

change in the late 1800s.   The available research indicates that

Clay County had an examiner in 1869 for the purposes of

certifying teachers in the county.   H. B. Alexander was

appointed as county examiner (Ashley, S., 1869).   According to

the report submitted by Mebane, C. (1900), the examination for

teachers to obtain a life certificate that enabled them to teach

in public schools in any county in the state consisted of

questions concerning geography, history, arithmetic, history and

philosophy of education, physical geography, school law, botany,

grammar, literature, algebra, civil government, physiology and

hygiene, physics, and elementary psychology.   The report further

reveals that fifteen white teachers and one “colored” teacher in

Clay County were examined and approved in 1899.
                                              From Log Cabins       23

                              Chapter Three

                       Education from 1900 to 1929

    Little can be found on schools in Clay County from 1900

until 1906.    It is unclear if the Hayesville Male and Female

College and Graded School continued to operate under that name

and offer college courses, charge tuition, and board students

beyond 1899.    However, it appears that the high school at

Hayesville continued to board students through the 1909-10

school year and sometime prior to 1909, the name of the school

was changed to Hayesville High School.    An extract from a report

from D. M. Stallings, the principal of Hayesville High School,

to the state superintendent details the need for dormitories to

accommodate boarding students.    “With dormitory to accommodate

our boarding students and with more funds to increase our

teaching force, we could double our enrollment for next year”

(Aycock, C., 1910, p. 61).    This also indicates that what has

now become Hayesville High School continues to teach students

not from the Hayesville area much the same way that Hayesville
Male and Female College apparently did.

    The length of the school term or year in the early 1900s

was about four months unless it could be extended through

additional local funding.    The North Carolina Constitution

required local taxes to be levied to provide for a four-month

public school term (Republican State Committee, 1906).    However,

the four-month school term was to be mandated through the first

compulsory attendance law.    In 1913, the North Carolina General
Assembly passed the Compulsory Attendance Act that required all
                                            From Log Cabins       24

children between the ages of eight and twelve to attend school

at least four months a year (North Carolina Department of Public

Instruction, 1999).   This was to change within the next six

years by extending the required time in school to six months.

According to North Carolina Department of Public Instruction,

the North Carolina Constitution moved the mandated four months

compulsory attendance to six months in 1919 as well as

developing the State Board of Examiners to be responsible for

the certification of all teachers.

       However, even though most of the funding for the

operation of public schools was derived from local sources, the

required length of a four-month school term was almost always

accomplished in Clay County’s public schools for both the white

and African-American students.   This was quite an accomplishment

with the lack of employment opportunities in the county during

this time period.   In Table 1, the number of schools in the

county as well as the average length of the school term is

illustrated for the years 1906 through 1918.
                                                  From Log Cabins           25

Table 1.

       Number of Schools and Average Length of School

       Term in Days According to North Carolina

       Department of Public Instruction (1906-1919)

                                White                  Colored



       Year           Schools           Term    Schools     Term

       1906                18            70        0         N/A

       1907                17            80        1             80

       1908                16            80        0         N/A

       1909                17            80        0             N/A

       1910                18            80        1             80

       1911                14            84        1             70

       1912                15           100        1             80

       1913                15           119        1             80

       1914                15           152        1         102

       1915                15           118        1             80

       1916                13           110        1         100

       1917                14           114        1         100

       1918                14           112        1         100



    Clay County had as many as eighteen public schools

operating and instructing students in the early 1900s.                The

available research does not provide the names or locations of

these schools.   However, in 1912, of the sixteen public schools

operating in the county, thirteen of them were one-room
schoolhouses (Aycock, C.    1910).       It is assumed that many of
                                            From Log Cabins         26

these one-room schoolhouses were located in some of the more

remote locations in the county that served some of the more

isolated populations.   For instance, on the wagon road over the

mountain from Hayesville to Fires Creek, a one-room schoolhouse

existed in a location referred to as the schoolhouse patch.

This school employed Laura Lyons as a teacher and paid her $6.00

a month to teach at this school (N. Jarrett, personal

communication, July 2, 2003).   Other such schoolhouses existed

in many of the remote locations of the county.   Apparently

similar schoolhouses existed in the Bristol Camp and through the

Carver Gap sections of the county (G. Johnson, personal

communication, July 6, 2003).   Berts Bristol was taught for a

period of time by Star Bristol in a log cabin at the Bristol

Camp.   Star was paid a teacher’s salary for performing this duty

(B. Bristol, personal communication, July 16, 2003).    It can be

assumed that the operating of one-room schoolhouses occurred in

other remote areas of the county as well.   The following

photograph illustrates the students that attended Sweetwater
School in 1906.
                                                  From Log Cabins               27




                             Photo obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.

The next photograph was a photo taken during the early 1900sof
the students that attended Oak View School that was commonly

known as “Chigger Hill School”.
                                                   From Log Cabins               28




                              Photo obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.

    Although Clay County was able to operate their public

schools for the required four months during this time period,

the number of school age children between the ages of six and

twenty-one attending school always fell short of the school age

population.   This may be attributed to the method of

transportation that the students would have utilized to get to
school.   During the early 1900s, the mode of transportation was
                                                 From Log Cabins         29

still by foot, horseback, or a horse-drawn vehicle (Padgett J.,

1976).    Table 2 provides the attendance data for Clay County’s

public schools from 1906 until 1918.




Table 2.

    Student Population and Student Attendance

  According to the North Carolina Department of

           Public Instruction (1906-1919)

                    White                  Colored



   Year          Pop.       Att.        Pop.         Att.

   1906          1507       1189         55           37

   1907          1400       1220         65           53

   1908          1430       1043         68           35

   1909          1435       1093         65           55

   1910          1440       1104         61          80*

   1911          1200       874          53           39

   1912          1493       1089         53           30

   1913          1401       958          53           36

   1914          1326       957          52           44

   1915          1599       1228         58           45

   1916          1602       1156         52           37

   1917          1603       1156         52           37

   1918          1614       1192         50           30

                            * An error occurred in reporting these figures.
                                            From Log Cabins        30

   Other reasons were found for school age children not

attending the public schools.   These reasons consisted of work,

home schooling, and many of the public, one-room schools only

provided for instruction through the seventh grade.

   Many school age children belonged to families that farmed

for a living.   Once the children were old enough to work on the

farm, schooling became a second priority.   The older children

were needed on the farm to work and range the livestock (N.

Jarrett, personal communication, July 2, 2003).

   Other children were home-taught or schooled.     Frankie Murphy

recalled the “colored” school but did not attend as she was

taught to read at home by her father.   Her textbook was the Holy

Bible (F. Lloyd, personal communication, June 27, 2003).

   In many of the cases in Clay County, the smaller, one-room,

public schools located in the various communities only

instructed students through the seventh grade.    In order to

further their education, they would have to travel to Hayesville

to attend classes beyond the seventh grade (G. Johnson, personal
communication, July 6, 2003).

   Although a large number of schools in the county were one-

room schoolhouses, larger schools did exist such as Hayesville,

Elf, and Ogden and instructed students through at least a couple

of years in high school.   In May 1909, the local board of

education made application to the state board of education for

the establishment of a state high school at Hayesville.    This

was significant for the county students prepared to enter high
school as it made the tuition for high school classes free of
                                            From Log Cabins        31

charge (A State High School, 1909).   Apparently, the 1895

legislative act that created Hayesville Graded School did not

apply to high school instruction.   The newspaper article goes on

to state that if Hayesville becomes a state high school, then a

speedy restoration of the dormitories will be expected (A State

High School).

  High School instruction during the 1909-10 school year

consisted of high school classes that were taught at Hayesville

and Elf High Schools.   Students could receive four years of high

school instruction at Hayesville and three years of instruction

at Elf.   Hayesville High School had five full-time teachers and

Elf High School had one full-time and one part-time teachers

(Aycock, C., 1910).   The photo below illustrates the faculty at

Hayesville High School in 1915.
                                                      From Log Cabins               32




                           Picture was obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.




   The 1910 graduating class at Hayesville was twenty-five

students consisting of seventeen girls and eight boys (Aycock,

C., 1910).   Later between 1910 and 1919, high school classes

were also offered at the Ogden School but students could only

complete four years of study at Hayesville (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1906-1960).

   In 1909-10, Elf High School, located in the Elf Community,

had an enrollment of forty-one students, while Hayesville High

School had an enrollment of 108 students.            The high school at

Hayesville was a framed, two-story building, and it is assumed

that it was one of the original buildings that served Hayesville
Male and Female College.    The picture below was taken in the
                                                      From Log Cabins               33

early 1900s of Hayesville High School and this building was

dismantled in 1924.




                           Picture was obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.




   Another interesting historical note was found in the

training of teachers.    At various points and times, teachers in

Clay County would have to go to summer session or teacher

institutes held in the county to further their training and

possibly obtain or upgrade a teaching certificate (Clay County

Schools, 1921-2003).    It appears through the 1902 photo that
                                                     From Log Cabins               34

follows, such institutes or summer sessions occurred early in

the 1900’s and were conducted at the county courthouse.




                          Picture was obtained from the Clay County Historical Museum.




   Prior to the 1920’s, it can be concluded that five men

served at different times as superintendent of Clay County

Schools apparently beginning sometime in the 1890s.                T. H.

Nancock (sic) served as superintendent of Clay County Schools

during the 1898-99 school year (Mebane, C., 1900).                Nancock

(sic) would be the first superintendent from the available
records.   Four other men served as superintendent of schools
                                             From Log Cabins       35

prior to 1921.   The names of the men that succeeded Nancock

(sic) have been determined but their tenure date as

superintendent is uncertain.

   Although these dates are not recorded, the approximate order

in which these men served as superintendent can be speculated.

These superintendents were G. M. Fleming, G. H. Haigler, T. C.

Scroggs, and D. M. Stallings (Padgett, J., Penland, A., & Moore,

J., 1961).    G. M. Flemming (sic) and G. H. Haigler had served on

the 1898 Board of Trustees for the Hayesville Male and Female

College and Graded School apparently prior to serving as

superintendent of Clay County Schools (Hayesville College,

1898).    It could be speculated that these two men were to follow

T. H. Nancock (sic) as superintendent of schools sometime after

1899.    D. M. Stallings also served as principal of the

Hayesville School.    It can be determined that Stallings was

principal of the school during the 1909-10 school year (Aycock,

C., 1910).    His tenure as principal was not to extend, beyond

the 1913-14 school year, as Professor E. L. Adams served as the
Hayesville principal beginning in the 1913-14 school year

(Padgett J., 1976).    It could be that after his tenure as

principal, D. M. Stallings had been promoted to superintendent.

According to Padgett, T. C. Scroggs served as superintendent of

schools in Clay County up until 1921.

   By 1921, the tenure of the superintendents can be

determined.    Beginning in 1921, Allen J. Bell served as

superintendent of schools.    His tenure as superintendent would
last for thirty-five years until 1956 and the school board
                                             From Log Cabins      36

consisted of three members that were appointed by the North

Carolina General Assembly (Appendix A).

   Clay County Schools in the 1920s dealt with a variety of

issues affecting the operations of the schools in the county.

One of the issues the school system faced was the move to

consolidate some of the smaller schools that occurred during the

latter part of this decade.   According to Clay County Schools

(1921-2003), during the 1920s, it can be concluded that the

following schools were in existence at one time or another.

These schools consisted of Pisgah School, Buck Creek School,

Fires Creek School, Sweetwater School, Ogden School, Pinelog

School, Oak View School (also known as Chigger Hill), Upper

Tusquittee School, Shooting Creek School, Elf School, Curtis

School (also known as Lick Skillet), Lower Tusquittee School,

Hayesville High School, and Hayesville Colored School.   Downings

Creek School can also be added to this list as apparently it

operated during the 1920s (N. Jarrett, personal communication,

July 2, 2003).   These fifteen schools would also collaborate
with the statistics obtained from the state superintendent’s

biennial reports from the 1920s (Table 3).   The only exception

is that fifteen schools are identified from the Clay County

School Board Minutes and as many as sixteen schools are found in

the state superintendent’s biennial report in the early 1920s.
                                                   From Log Cabins        37

  Table 3.

       Number of Schools and Average Length of School

       Term in Days According to North Carolina

       Department of Public Instruction (1920-1929)

                               White                    Colored



       Year            Schools         Term      Schools     Term

       1920               15           120          1         120

       1921               15           150          1         120

       1922               15           148          1         120

       1923               15           130          1             85

       1924               15           134          1         120

       1925               15           135          1         120

       1926               14           142          1         120

       1927               11            -           1

       1928               11            -           1

       1929               11            -           1



   It is indicated by the data contained in Table 3 that after

1926 three schools were closed and consolidated into some of the

other area schools.    From Clay County Schools (1921-2003), it

can be determined that Pisgah and Buck Creek Schools were closed

in this time period.   It is assumed based on locations of the

schools that Pisgah School was consolidated with Ogden School

and Buck Creek was consolidated with Shooting Creek School.

According to Neal Jarrett, he said that he attended Downings
Creek School from 1915 until 1924.          He said that the school was
                                              From Log Cabins         38

closed one year after he stopped attending (N. Jarrett, personal

communication, July 2, 2003).

   Another significant event in the 1920s was the accreditation

of Hayesville High School.   According to North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction (1906-1960), Hayesville High

School received accreditation in 1924.   Padgett J. (1976) even

discusses the fact that some of the high school’s former

graduates returned to graduate from an accredited high school.

   From the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

(1906 -1960), it can also be determined that as many as eight of

these schools were one-room schoolhouses.   It is also apparent

that in these one-room schoolhouses, instruction only included

first through seventh grade with a curriculum consisting of

arithmetic, spelling, writing, reading, history, geography, and

grammar (N. Jarrett, personal communication, July 2, 2003).      As

it can best be determined, students would have to travel to

Hayesville or Elf to receive high school instruction.    Garnett

Johnson remembers only one student from Fires Creek School
District in the late 1920s and early 1930s graduating high

school and that was because the student was able to board

through the week with his older sister who lived in Hayesville

(G. Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).

   These smaller one-room schoolhouses dealt with other issues

besides a limited curriculum and instruction that were unique.

During the 1920s all of the schools in Clay County had outdoor

plumbing (Clay County Schools, 1921- 2003).    However, in the
smaller one-room schoolhouses, water would have to be carried
                                              From Log Cabins          39

from a local spring as far away as five hundred feet in some

instances.   Different students would also be assigned to going

into school early to build a fire in the wood stove that

supplied heat to the schoolroom.    In addition to these physical

differences that were characteristic of one-room schools was

that of instruction.     One teacher would teach all of the

different grades and subjects in a multi-aged classroom (G.

Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).

   It also appears that instructional organization was

structured differently in some of the larger county schools that

employed more than two teachers.    According to Ms. Haigler,

elementary instruction at Hayesville was self-contained

instruction throughout her career, which spanned from 1921 until

1967 (S. Haigler, personal communication, June 19, 2003).       Some

of the other larger elementary schools such as Ogden, Shooting

Creek, and Elf utilized combination grade classrooms that

assigned one teacher to teach two different grades at the same

time in the same room.    It is suggested that this organizational
structure of instruction continued until all of the multi-

teacher schools were finally consolidated approximately fifty

years later (D. Jones, personal communication, July 8, 2003).

   Transportation of students was another and novel issue

facing Clay County Schools in the 1920s.     Early forms of

transportation consisted of what was referred to as school

trucks and contracts were awarded by the board of education

through a bidding process.    Although school trucks would run
routes to transport children to school, these routes mainly
                                            From Log Cabins        40

consisted of transporting students to the larger schools of

Hayesville and Ogden only (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

Students who attended the smaller one-room schools would have to

walk to and from school (G. Johnson, personal communication,

July 6, 2003).   According to Ms. Sue Haigler, who taught school

at Hayesville from 1921 until 1967, as many as five school

trucks transported students to the various schools during the

1920s.   These trucks were an early style pickup truck with some

having a canvas cover tied over the bed of the truck to shelter

the students from the weather.   Bus duty or truck duty by the

teachers made for an extremely long day, as the transportation

was both slow and unreliable (S. Haigler, personal

communication, June 19,2003).

   Funding for the schools was another major issue that the

school system had to contend with.   Throughout the 1920s as in

years before, the majority of the funds for school were derived

from local taxes.   There were instances during the 1920s that

the school fund was in a deficit and the local board did not
have enough funds available to pay teachers and vouchers were

issued (Clay County Schools, 1921- 2003).   Sometimes it was

difficult for teachers to get the local merchants to sign off on

the vouchers in order for teachers to purchase goods (S.

Haigler, personal communication, June 19, 2003).

   Teacher qualifications and personnel was another issue that

Clay County Schools was faced with in the 1920s.   The school

board passed an action on December 5, 1921 that ordered no
second grade teachers be allowed to teach as long as the schools
                                            From Log Cabins       41

can be supplied with other teachers.   The board further stated

that all second grade teachers that are allowed to teach must

have completed high school (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

The board minutes further state, in 1928, the problem with the

scarcity of high school teachers with four years college

training.

   Another major issue that faced Clay County Schools in the

1920s was the increase in student enrollment and attendance at

the various schools in the county.   As indicated in Table 4, the

attendance significantly increased from the previous decade.
                                            From Log Cabins             42

Table 4.

    Student Population and Student Attendance

  According to the North Carolina Department of

           Public Instruction (1920-1929)

                   White              Colored



   Year         Pop.       Att.     Pop.        Att.

   1920         1440       1052      65          45

   1921         1484       1179      62          43

   1922         1518       1348      30          30

   1923         1554       1372      52          37

   1924         1549       1392      25          25

   1925         1543       1310      33          29

   1926         1673       1495      36          28

   1927         1685       1495      41          20

   1928         1770       1505      28          23

   1929         1647       1520      37          26



   The student attendance data from Table 4 indicated a growth

in the white student population but a decrease in the African-

American population by the close of the decade.        However, it is

interesting to note the number of students that would have

attended the one-room Hayesville Colored School ranged from

fifty-five students in 1909 (Table 2) to twenty students in 1927

(Table 4).   Although this appears to be a large number of

students in a one-room, one-teacher school, it apparently
happened in most of these small schools in the county.
                                            From Log Cabins       43

According to Johnson, in the late 1920s, the one-room, one-

teacher school at Fires Creek had student attendance ranging

from thirty to forty-five students.

   Clay County in the 1920s was predominately agricultural.    In

some instances school would close for various agricultural

responsibilities and work that the children of the home would be

expected to perform.   School would generally close for two weeks

at the beginning of September for foder and would also close for

the students to work in the fields and pick Clay Peas (G.

Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).   However, this

practice of closing school ceased by the 1930s.   The school

board voted to not close school for foder in a 1929 meeting

(Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).
                                             From Log Cabins        44

                             Chapter Four

                 Education from 1930 until 1959

   One of the most historically significant events that took

place for Clay County Schools during this time period was the

action initiated by the 1931 North Carolina General Assembly.

In 1931, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the “School

Machinery Act” that provided for a free and uniform education

for all children of North Carolina (North Carolina Department of

Public Instruction, 1999).    This legislation led to other state

initiatives that benefited Clay County Schools in a variety of

ways.

   First, schools no longer had to depend solely on local funds

to operate schools.   The state would financially contribute to

provide a uniform education throughout the state (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1999).    This greatly assisted

local school boards in the operation of schools.    One area was

that of teacher salaries.    Once the state assumed the

responsibility of teacher salaries, vouchers were never more
issued and teachers could count on receiving their pay (S.

Haigler, June 19, 2003).

   Next, provided students with textbooks of which they

previously had to purchase.    Up until the 1930s students would

have to purchase their textbooks.    The “School Machinery Act”

enabled students to rent their textbooks for 20% of the cost and

by 1937 all student textbooks were provided free of charge

(North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 1999).
                                            From Log Cabins       45

   Finally, state legislation provided for better

transportation of students to and from school.    “To ensure

standardization, in 1931 the legislature required that all buses

and bus bodies used in pupil transportation be ordered through

the State Division of Purchase and Contract.     In 1933 the

General Assembly created the State School Commission which took

over the administration of pupil transportation” (Thurman S.,

2000, p. 35).   This action began to improve Clay County Schools’

ability to transport students as it is noted in the board

minutes that the number of transportation routes increased from

five to eight routes by 1938 (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

The buses utilized were much like the school bus style used

today with the exception of size and interior design.    The buses

were much smaller and the seats consisted of four bench rows

running the length of the bus instead of across the bus as they

do today (E. Roach, personal communication, July 8, 2003).

   However, it appears that the increase in transportation

efficiency and availability may have led to further school
closings and consolidations.   According to Clay County Schools

(1921-2003), Pinelog, Lower Tusquittee, and Curtis Schools were

all consolidated in the 1930s.   Table 5 illustrates the number

of schools operating in Clay County in the 1930’s.
                                             From Log Cabins      46

Table 5.

       Number of Schools According to North Carolina

       Department of Public Instruction (1930-1939)

                        White              Colored



       Year             Schools            Schools

       1930               11                  1

       1931                9                  1

       1932                8                  1

       1933                8                  1

       1934                9                  1

       1935                9                  1

       1936                8                  1

       1937                8                  1

       1938                8                  1

       1939                8                  1



   Schools that were still in existence by the end of the
1930’s consisted of Ogden, Sweetwater, Fires Creek, Oak View,

Upper Tusquittee, Hayesville, Hayesville Colored, Elf, and

Shooting Creek (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).     It is believed

that the photo below is of Sweetwater School taken in the late

1920s or early 1930s.    The school was a two-teacher school at

the time (G. Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).
                                                        From Log Cabins               47




                Photo Obtained from David Anderson Collection of Gideon Laney Photographs




   Another interesting historical note is that in 1937, the Elf

School had burned down and the students finished out the school

year at various locations in the Elf Community.                  During the
following school year, the elementary students were assigned to

the Shooting Creek School and the high school students were

transported to Hayesville.       When the Elf School was rebuilt, it

only consisted of an elementary school as the high school

students remained at Hayesville (R. Nichols, personal

communication, July 8, 2003).        From 1937 on, Hayesville was the

only high school in the county.
                                            From Log Cabins         48

   The length of the school term was established by the state

at the point of when the state began funding public schools.

The school term in 1933 was established at eight months (North

Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 1999).    According to

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (1906-1960), by

1935, all schools in Clay County were open for eight months.

Previous to this 1933 legislation, the school term for many of

the schools in Clay County was only six months (N. Jarrett,

personal communication, July 2, 2003).

   The overall student attendance and population remained

relatively steady from the 1920’s.   However it should be noted

that the African-American population and attendance continued to

decline throughout the 1930’s.   Table 6 reflects the student

population and attendance during this time period.
                                              From Log Cabins      49

Table 6.

    Student Population and Student Attendance

  According to the North Carolina Department of

           Public Instruction (1930-1939)

                   White               Colored



   Year         Pop.       Att.      Pop.        Att.

   1930         1862       1354       40          24

   1931         1819       1326       25          20

   1932         2035       1416       22          16

   1933         1878       1228       21          20

   1934         1905       1359       23          18

   1935         1895       1313       24          21

   1936         1966       1358       27          18

   1937         1996       1308       19          16

   1938         2003       1430       23          16

   1939         2155       1436       24          17




   Another issue affecting Clay County Schools in the 1930’s

was qualification of teachers.    Superintendent Allen J. Bell

stated in a 1937 board meeting that Clay County’s teachers had

the lowest qualifications in the state.     Certificates at that

time were in the form of an A, B, or C classification. (Clay

County Schools, 1921-2003).   In order for teachers to upgrade

their classifications, they had to either attend summer school
at a site designated by the board of education within the county
                                              From Log Cabins         50

or had to advance their degree at a university or college.      Ms.

Sue Haigler remembered traveling to Cullowhee, North Carolina,

for three summers, to obtain her teaching degree from Western

Carolina Teachers College in 1939 (S. Haigler, personal

communication, June 19, 2003).

   The 1930s also produced the first vocational instruction in

the curriculum at Hayesville High School.   The first vocational

teacher was employed for the 1935-36 school year (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1906-1960).    According to Clay

County Schools, (1921-2003) the first vocational teacher taught

agricultural classes.

   It also appears that first mention of a school-sponsored

athletic policy surfaces in the 1930s.   This is not to suggest

that school athletics did not exist prior to this decade as it

was found that Hayesville fielded a football team in 1929

(Padgett J., 1976).   However, the first athletic policy for Clay

County Schools can be found in the school board minutes on April

4, 1932.   The policy contains seven rules of eligibility of
which the first rule was that the athlete must be a bona fide

student (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

   Consolidation of schools was the most prevalent in the

1940s.   Clay County had consolidated from eleven schools in 1940

to four schools by the close of the decade.    Table 7 indicates

the number of schools operating through the time period.
                                            From Log Cabins         51

   Table 7.

       Number of Schools According to North Carolina

       Department of Public Instruction (1940-1949)

                       White              Colored



       Year           Schools             Schools

       1940              10                  1

       1941              9                   1

       1942              7                   1

       1943              7                   1

       1944              7                   1

       1945              7                   0

       1946              6                   0

       1947              6                   0

       1948              4                   0

       1949              4                   0



   The first school to be closed in the 1940’s was the
Hayesville Colored School located on the old Mauldin Place (J.

Nicely, personal communication, June 18, 2003).     It was closed

after the 1944-45 school year (North Carolina Department of

Public Instruction (1906-1960).   Although the school was closed,

the students attending this school were not consolidated with

any other school in the county as schools were still racially

segregated.   The Clay County African-American students were

bussed daily to Murphy, North Carolina at first on a pickup
truck and then on a little school bus to attend an all-black
                                             From Log Cabins         52

school located in the Texana Community (Clay County Schools,

1921-2003).   Ms. Elma Dennis, who was originally from Texas, had

taught for a number of years at the Hayesville Colored School

before serving as the principal/teacher at the Texana School (J.

Nicely, personal communication, June 18, 2003).

   Students could not graduate from Texana School as

instruction was only provided from the first through the tenth

grades.   If an African-American student in Clay County wished to

attend and graduate from high school, they were assigned to

Asheville City Schools (Clay County Schools 1921-2003).

Students were boarded at the schools within the Asheville City

district and were allowed to come home on holidays and between

school terms (B. Dorsey, personal communication, June 18, 2003).

   Other schools to be closed and consolidated in the 1940’s

consisted of Upper Tusquittee in 1941, Oak View in 1946, Fires

Creek in 1948, along with Sweetwater in 1948 (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1906-1960).     Upper Tusquittee

was consolidated with Oak View that in turn was consolidated
with Hayesville five years later.    Fires Creek and Sweetwater

were consolidated with Hayesville.   This left only four schools

remaining consisting of Hayesville, Ogden, Elf, and Shooting

Creek (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).    Most of the

consolidations were welcomed as it provided the students in some

of the more remote areas an opportunity to attend high school.

However, this was not the case with the closing of Sweetwater

School.   Garnett Johnson remembers this closing being hotly
contested by the citizens of the Sweetwater Community as they
                                            From Log Cabins       53

did not wish for their children to attend the Hayesville School

(G. Johnson, personal communication, July 6, 2003).

   The increasing student population trends that developed in

the 1920s and 30s began to decline as time progressed through

the 1940s.   The student population is illustrated in Table 8 and

it should be noted that the criteria for school age population

moves from six to twenty-one prior to 1942 to six to twenty in

1942 (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 1906-

1960).
                                                  From Log Cabins    54

Table 8.

    Student Population and Student Attendance

  According to the North Carolina Department of

           Public Instruction (1940-1949)

                    White                    Colored



   Year         Pop.        Att.        Pop.           Att.

   1940         2016        1468         20             10

   1941         2023        1420         9              6

   1942         1902        1278         12             2

   1943         1927        1091         10             8

   1944         1784        1043         -              -

   1945         1855        1246         -              -

   1946         1843        1343         -              -

   1947         1680        1314         -              -

   1948         1609        1304         -              -

   1949         1701        1407         -              -



   From Table 8, it is also illustrated that at the point in

time when Hayesville Colored School was closed that the student

population at that school had decreased drastically from the

previous decades.   A couple of reasons have been suggested for

the decreasing student population that began in the 1940s and

continued through the 1960s.       The first reason was that the

family size of the average Clay County home was decreasing.

This was primarily due to the shift from agriculture as a major
source of income for families in the county.            Therefore,
                                             From Log Cabins        55

families did not have as many children to assist with labor on

the family farms (N. Jarrett, personal communication, July 2,

2003).   Another reason was the lack of viable employment

opportunities in the county and the pursuit of employment

opportunities elsewhere caused an out-migration pattern in Clay

County (D. Penland, personal communication, June 5, 2003).

   Although the school age population was decreasing, the

attendance was increasing in relation to the population.    This

could probably be attributed to the state changing the

compulsory attendance age from fourteen to sixteen during the

1940’s (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 1999).

   Another major issue that was addressed in Clay County

Schools during the 1940s was a teacher shortage.   In 1942, the

opening of school was delayed for one week due to a lack of

available teachers.   Later, in 1949, emergency teachers had to

be employed in order for school to be opened at the scheduled

time (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

   During the 1940s, the length of the school day was shortened
by thirty minutes.    Beginning with the 1940-41 school year, the

school day was from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. which was a decrease

from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).

   The 1950s brought a great deal of change to Clay County

Schools.   Clay County operated four schools during this decade

of which all four had elementary education and Hayesville

offered high school courses (North Carolina Department of Public

Instruction, 1906-1960).    According to Padgett, J., Penland, A.,
& Moore, J. (1961), all four schools’ facilities were the
                                              From Log Cabins        56

recipients of physical improvements as new schools were

constructed at Hayesville and Shooting Creek and renovations

occurred at Ogden and Elf Schools.

   Another change was found in teacher qualification and the

curriculum.    By the close of the decade, twenty-two percent of

all teachers and administrative staff in Clay County Schools

possessed a master’s degree (Padgett, J.     Penland, A., & Moore,

J., 1961).    This was a tremendous change from the teacher

qualification concerns expressed in the board meeting just

twenty years previously.    The curriculum expanded through the

1950s from twenty-seven high school courses to thirty-nine.        The

vocational department was also increased to four teachers

(Padgett et al., 1961).

   School transportation also improved drastically by the close

of the 1950s.    Padgett, J.   Penland, A., and Moore, J. (1961)

cite that in 1950 Clay County Schools operated ten buses and by

1960, twenty-one buses were in operation traveling 914 miles

daily and transporting 1253 students.
   However, during the 1950s, Clay County Schools continued to

experience a decline in school age population and enrollment.

According to Padgett, J.    Penland, A., and Moore, J. (1961), the

total school enrollment in 1950 was 1604 students and by the

close of the decade this enrollment had decreased to 1443.       This

constituted a decrease of approximately ten percent.

   The administration of Clay County Schools also changed in

the late 1950s.    Allen J. Bell, who served as superintendent
beginning in 1921, died while holding this position in 1956.
                                           From Log Cabins      57

Bell was replaced by Scott Beal, who was currently serving as

the principal of Hayesville High School (Clay County Schools,

1921-2003).
                                            From Log Cabins          58

                           Chapter Five

                 Education from 1960 until 1989

   During the next thirty years, Clay County Schools

experienced many changes and potentially controversial issues.

Although many improvements were made to the school system and

the education of students, some major obstacles had to be

overcome as the schools entered into the last half of the

Twentieth Century.

   One historically significant change occurred in 1965.      It

was in this year that Clay County Schools, as well as the other

North Carolina Public Schools, became racially integrated.

Although the United States Supreme Court in the 1954 Brown

verses Board of Education ruled that segregation was

unconstitutional, it was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that

finally integrated schools in North Carolina (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1999).   Up until this year,

African-American students were transported to Cherokee County or

boarded in Asheville, North Carolina to attend high school at
Asheville City Schools (Clay County Schools, 1921- 2003).

   In 1965, Jay Tee Nicely, Jr., first African-American

student, enrolled in Hayesville High School as a sophomore.        His

father, Jay Tee Nicely, Sr., remembers Guy Wheeler, the

principal of Hayesville High School, visiting his wife and him

that summer and telling him to “send that boy to school and not

to worry about a thing”.   The integration transition for the

student and the rest of the school was smooth and Mr. Nicely
remembers the experience being nothing but positive.   Jay Tee
                                            From Log Cabins         59

Nicely, Jr. went on to graduate from Hayesville High School two

years later (J. Nicely, personal communication, June 18, 2003).

   Another historical event that occurred during the time

period was that by the late 1970s, Elf (1967), Ogden (1975), and

Shooting Creek (1978) had been closed and consolidated into the

Hayesville Schools (Clay County Schools, 1921-2003).    This left

an unique situation in that the only elementary and high schools

in the county where located on the same campus.   The last

consolidation efforts were contested only slightly as most of

the county’s students were attending Hayesville Schools with

only about fifty students attending Shooting Creek at the time

of its closing (D. Penland, personal communication, June 5,

2003).

   Politics and the political practices involved with operating

a school system had been prevalent in Clay County since the

early beginnings of public school.   If a person did not belong

to the political party in power at the time, the prospect for

obtaining employment with the school system was extremely bleak.
Also, these employment opportunities with Clay County Schools

ranged from wood contracts and transportation contracts of the

early days of the Twentieth Century to janitorial, teaching, and

administrative positions (G. Johnson, July 6, 2003).    The power

wielded by politics in the hiring and firing process was awful

(S. Haigler, personal communication, June 19, 2003).

   The political practices involved in the hiring and firing

processes of Clay County schools escalated by 1970.    It was in
this time period that the state government had relinquished the
                                              From Log Cabins         60

authority to appoint local school board members and require

school board members to be elected in the general elections held

in each county.     From 1898 until the local school board

appointment power was relinquished by the state, the Democrat

Party held control of the state government as well as the local

boards of education (D. Penland, personal communication, June 5,

2003).

   This all began to change with the 1970 school board

elections, which brought on a continual changing of political

control in Clay County Schools for the next twelve years.       Not

only did the school board’s politics change, but also the number

of board members increased from three to five (Appendix A).      The

superintendency also changed hands several times from 1973 until

1980.    Scott Beal, Ed Phillips, Kyle Beal, and Scott Penland all

served at different times from 1973 until 1980 as Clay County

Schools Superintendents (Appendix A).     Apparently the political

hiring and firing practices did not only consist of

superintendents, but also affected teachers, custodians, bus
drivers, and other administrative positions as well (G. Johnson,

personal communication, July 6, 2003).

   In the mid 1970s, the tenure law protecting the firing of

schoolteachers provided some relief to the political hiring and

firing practices.    But it was not until the early 1980’s, that

the political practices in the hiring and firing process of

school personnel had subsided in Clay County.     The 1983 Federal

Lawsuit brought against the Clay County Board of Education was
settled out of court in favor of the plaintiffs.     This action
                                            From Log Cabins        61

appears to have put an end to the political hiring and firing

practices in Clay County Schools (D. Penland, personal

communication, June 5, 2003).

    Another historically significant event for Clay County

Schools was the creation of the middle school in 1989.   Up until

that time, only Hayesville Elementary (Kindergarten through 6th

grade) and Hayesville High School that was a combination of

junior and senior high (7th grade through 12th grade) existed on

the same campus.   In 1989, Hayesville Middle School was created

and the students were regrouped in the following manner.

Hayesville Elementary consisted of kindergarten through fourth

grade, Hayesville Middle had fifth grade through the eighth, and

Hayesville High consisted of ninth grade through twelfth; all

were housed on the same campus.   The results of the middle

school creation were two-fold; students were grouped more age

appropriately and test scores for all three schools improved

dramatically (D. Penland, personal communication, June 5, 2003).

With the addition of the middle school, a new facility on the
same campus was built to house the elementary school.

    The student population and enrollment in Clay County Schools

remained relatively consistent from the mid 1960’s throughout

the 1980s.   According to North Carolina Department of Public

Instruction (1965), Clay County Schools had an enrollment of

1180 students during the 1964-65 school year.   Table 9 indicates

the Clay County School enrollment through the 1980s and a slight

overall increase in population is noted from the enrollment in
1965.
                                          From Log Cabins   62

Table 9.

Clay County School Enrollment from 1982

  until 1989 According to Clay County

           Board of Education

                 Student Enrollment

   Year       Enrollment

   1982          1215

   1983          1232

   1984          1196

   1985          1227

   1986          1195

   1987          1185

   1988          1195

   1989          1195
                                             From Log Cabins         63

                            Chapter Six

                Education from 1990 until Present

   Clay County Schools has experienced new growth over the past

decade.   Some of this growth is evident in the new construction

and renovation of existing facilities.    The new middle school

created in the late 1980s moved in the early 1990s into the

renovated high school facility with the high school moving into

a new facility built on the east end of campus.     Other building

projects consisted of a new high school gymnasium, baseball

field, outdoor classroom, and a facility for the alternative

learning program and the middle school after-school program.

The elementary rock gymnasium has been renovated to contain

classrooms and a physical education facility for the elementary

school.

   The student population during the 1990s and early Twenty-

first Century has remained relatively constant with a slight

increase over the student enrollment of the late 1980s.    Table

10 indicates the student enrollment in Clay County Schools.
                                            From Log Cabins      64



Table 10.

Clay County School Enrollment from 1990

  until 2003 According to Clay County

            Board of Education

                  Student Enrollment

   Year        Enrollment

   1990           1195

   1991           1214

   1992           1190

   1993           1184

   1994           1177

   1995           1200

   1996           1211

   1997           1238

   1998           1259

   1999           1254

   2000           1262

   2001           1258

   2002           1228

   2003           1232



   Clay County Schools during the last thirteen years not only

offered instruction in elementary, middle school, and high

school courses, but other programs include pre-school, day care,

after-school programming, as well as a wide variety of extra-
curricular activities.   All three schools offer a wide-range of
                                              From Log Cabins        65

courses in their curriculums that includes a basic curriculum

supplemented by vocational education, computer technology,

music, chorus, art, and foreign languages.    Hayesville High

School offered three programs of study, which include college

preparatory, technical preparatory, or occupational study

(Thomas, L., 2003).

   Teachers’ qualifications have improved dramatically from the

impressive totals of the 1960s.    Clay County Schools exceed

state averages in graduate degrees held by faculty and staff.

According to Clay County Schools (1921-2003), 37.1% of the

faculty and staff hold a master’s degree, 2.9% have a sixth year

degree, and 2.9% a doctorate.     This exceeded the state averages

as indicated in Table 11.
                                            From Log Cabins       66



Table 11.

 Highest Degree Held by Instructional

   Personnel for 2000-01 School Year

   According to Clay County Board of

               Education



  Highest      Clay Co           NC

Degree Held

 Less than       3.8%           0.1%

   B.S.

Bachelor’s      53.3%          63.5%

 Master’s       37.1%          33.6%

Sixth Year       2.9%           2.1%

 Doctorate       2.9%           0.7%



   In 1996, the State Board of Education developed and mandated

accountability measures that have been assessed by standardized
tests throughout the state.   By 1997, all state public schools

were subjected to the accountability standards (North Carolina

Department of Public Instruction, 1999).   During the 1990s and

early part of the Twenty-first Century, Clay County Schools have

consistently ranked in the top of the state based on these state

accountability measures.   During the 2002-03 school year, Clay

County Schools ranked in the top 5% of all state schools

(Thomas, L., 2003).
                                              From Log Cabins      67

                          Chapter Seven

                           Conclusion

   In the examination of the history of Clay County Schools,

one would have to imagine if John O. Hicks realized what he

initiated over one hundred thirty years ago when he broke ground

to build Hicksville Academy.   There is little doubt that the

determination of John Hicks and others throughout history have

dramatically impacted education in Clay County over the years

and helped the schools to persevere through some difficult

times.

   As the Clay County School System enters the twenty-first

century, it has become obvious that the school system has

successfully progressed from a series of one-room schools to a

highly effective one campus school system that offers a high

quality education to all of its members.   There is little doubt

that the community has played a vital role in the

accomplishments of the school system and that the school system

has been blessed with a multitude of talented individuals
throughout its rich history.   Although Clay County Schools has

and will have other needs that must be met, it can be concluded

that the history of Clay County Schools has been one of

tremendous progress and significant change.    It should be with

that same spirit exhibited by the leaders, faculty, and

community of the past that Clay County Schools will address the

challenges brought on by the needs of the twenty-first century.
                                           From Log Cabins        68

                           References



A State High School for Hayesville. (1909, May 14). Clay County

    Courier, p. 1.

Arthur, J. P. (1914). County History. In History of Western

    North Carolina (8). Retrieved June 20, 03, from History of

    Western North Carolina Web Site:

    http://www.ls.net/~newriver/nc/wnc8.htm

Arthur, J. P. (1914). Schools and Colleges. In History of

    Western North Carolina (17). Retrieved July 8, 03, from NRN

    isnet   Web Site: http://www.ls.net/~newriver/nc/wnc17.htm

Ashley, S. (Ed.). (1869). Report of the Superintendent of Public

    Instruction of North Carolina for the Year 1869 (Vol.).

    Raleigh, NC: M. S. Littlefield. Retrieved July 14, 03, from

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries Web

    Site: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/report1869/title.html

Aycock, C. (Ed.). (1910). Biennial report of the superintendent

    of public instruction of North Carolina for the scholastic
    years 1909-10 (Vol. ). Raleigh, NC: State Publisher and

    Binder.

Clay County Schools (1921-2003). Clay County Board of Education

    Minutes.

Clay County. (1981). In North Carolina Government 1585-1979: A

    narrative and statistical history. Raleigh, NC: North

    Carolina Department of Secretary of State.

Hayesville College. (1898). Hayesville Male and Female College
    and Graded School [Brochure]. Franklin, NC: Author.
                                           From Log Cabins        69

King, W. (2000, October 26). Duke University's Relation to the

    Methodist Church. In Duke University Archives (). Retrieved

    June 26, 03, from Duke University Archives Web Site:

    http://www.duke.edu/web/Archives/history/dukeandmethodist.h

    tml

Mebane, C. (Ed.). (1900). Biennial Report of the Superintendent

    of Public Instruction of North Carolina for the scholastic

    years of 1898-99 and 1899-1900 (Vol. ). Raleigh, NC:

    Edwards, Broughton and Uzzell. Retrieved July 24, 03, from

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries Web

    Site:

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/ncinstruction1898/ncinstruction1

    898.html

Morgan, L. C. (1996). 1900 Census Listing. Golden Branches

    Genealogical Books (). Retrieved July 8, 03, from Western

    NC Genealogy Resource Center for Cherokee County Web Site:

    http://www.goldenbranches.com/nc-

    state/cherokee/crawford.html
Morrison, C. (2002). Cherokee County, NC 1860 Federal Census. In

    USGenWeb Archives (). Retrieved July 18, 03, from USGenWeb

    Archives Web Site:

    http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/cherokee/census/

    1860/1860cher.txt

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (Ed.). (1906-

    1960/1965). Biennial Reports of the Superintendent of

    Public Instruction (Vol. ). Raleigh, NC: State Printer and
    Binder.
                                           From Log Cabins       70

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (1999).

    Reconstruction through 1990. In History of education in

    North Carolina (). Retrieved June 27, 03, from North

    Carolina Department of Public Instruction Web Site:

    http://www.ncpublicschools.org/students/edhistory.html

North Carolina General Assembly (1863). A Bill to Provide for

    the Establishment of Graded Schools in North Carolina. 1863

    North Carolina General Assembly, Section 1-24. Retrieved

    July 22, 03, from University of North Carolina at Chapel

    Hill Libraries Web Site:

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/ncbill20/bill20.html

Padgett, J. G. (1976). A History of Clay County, North Carolina.

    Hayesville: Padgett.

Padgett, J. G., Penland, A. L., & Moore, J. W. (1961). 1861-1961

    centennial history Clay County North Carolina. Hayesville,

    NC: Padgett, J., Penland, A., & Moore, J.

Powhatan, J. (2002). Biographies. In Southern Baptist Historical

    Library & Archives (). Retrieved June 27, 03, from Southern
    Baptist Historical Library & Archives Web Site:

    http://www.sbhla.org/bio_gtruett.htm

Republican State Committee. (1906). Republican Hand-book North

    Carolina [Brochure]. Greensboro, NC: Author. Retrieved July

    9, 03, from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Libraries Web Site:

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/rep1906/rep1906.html
                                           From Log Cabins        71

Scarborough, J. (Ed.). (1885). Biennial report of the

    superintendent of public instruction of North Carolina, for

    the scholastic years of 1883-84 (Vol. ). Raleigh, NC:

    Edwards, Broughton, & Company.

Thomas, L. (2003). Schools rank in top 5% in State. Clay County

    Progress, p. 28.

Thurman, S. W. (2000). "A rolling town": The long school bus

    ride in a rural Southern Appalachian county (Doctoral

    dissertation, Western Carolina University, 2000).

    Dissertation Abstracts International, 62, 35.

Trinity College. (1891). First Annual Catalogue and Announcement

    of Hayesville Male and Female College (1st ed.) [Brochure].

    Hayesville, NC: Author.

WebRoots.org Genealogy Foundation. (n.d.). History of Western

    North Carolina. In WebRoots.org Genealogy Foundation (8-B).

    Retrieved June 26, 03, from WebRoots Library U.S. History

    Web Site:

    http://www.webroots.org/library/usahist/hownc005.html
Western Carolina Teachers College (1939). 1939 Catamount. NC: .
                                                    From Log Cabins             72

                                    Appendix A

       Clay County School’s Superintendents and Boards of

             Education from 1921 until Present

                                                                       Other

Date           Superintendent             Board of Education   Officials

                                                                       H.B.

1868-69                                                        Alexander

                                                                       County

                                                               Examiner




1897-98        T.H. Nancock (sic)         G.W. Sanderson

                                          I.H. Chambers

1900-1921      G.M. Flemming

               G.H. Haigler

               D.M. Stalling

               T.C. Scroggs



1921-23        Allen J. Bell              Sam E. Hogsed

                                          H.B. Varner

                                          M.L. Coleman



1923                                      Sam E. Hogsed

                                          H.B. Varner

                                          Abner Chastain



1923                                      Sam E. Hogsed
                       From Log Cabins   73

            Abner Chastain

            B. Neal Haigler



1924        Sam E. Hogsed

            Abner Chastain

            H.M. Crawford



1925-27     John O. Smith

            Ed L. Crawford

            J. Arthur Penland



1927-29     Mark Weaver

            Wm. T. Bumgarner

            H.B. Patton



1929-1932   H. B. Patton

            Mark Weaver

            Sam S. Hogsed



1932-33     R.W. Crawford

            Mark Weaver

            Sam S. Hogsed



1933-35     Mark Weaver

            John O. Smith

            Stanhope L. Ledford
                                        From Log Cabins   74




Date        Superintendent   Board of Education

1935-37     Allen J. Bell    Fred D. Pass

                             John H. Brendle

                             Frank C. Moore



1937-39                      Fred D. Pass

                             John H. Brendle

                             Frank C. Moore




1939                         Fred D. Pass

                             Fred Gribble

                             Frank Rogers



1939                         George C. Jarrett

                             Fred Gribble

                             Frank Rogers



1939-1944                    George C. Jarrett

                             Frank Rogers

                             Perry D. Tipton



1943-1947                    Perry D. Tipton
                                           From Log Cabins   75

                              Frank Rogers

                              Frank C. Moore



1947-49                       Frank Rogers

                              Frank C. Moore

                              E. Paul Caler



1949                          Frank Rogers

                              E. Paul Caler

                              Robert L. Long



1949-56                       R. L. McGlamery

                              E. Paul Caler

                              Robert L. Long

            Superintendent

1956-1961   Hugh Scott Beal   R. L. McGlamery

                              E. Paul Caler

                              Robert L. Long



1961-1963                     E. Paul Caler

                              Norman B. Davenport

                              R. L. McGlamery



1963-1967                     James T. Price

                              N.B. Davenport

                              Paul Caler
                                         From Log Cabins   76




Date      Superintendent    Board of Education

1967      Hugh Scott Beal   James T. Price

                            Paul Caler

                            Robert W. Alexander



1967-69                     James T. Price

                            Paul Caler

                            William T. Groves




1969-70                     James T. Price

                            William T. Groves

                            Onley Edward Rogers



1970-71                     James T. Price

                            William T. Groves

                            O.E. Rogers

                            Jerald Phillips

                            Edgar C. Moore



1971-73                     James T. Price

                            William T. Groves
                                           From Log Cabins   77

                               Jerald Phillips

                               Edgar C. Moore

                               Haig Davenport

            Superintendent

1973-1976   Ed Phillips        Jerald Phillips

                               Edgar C. Moore

                               Haig Davenport

                               Wilburn G. Mingus

                               Tommy Hooper

            Superintendent

1976-1980   Kyle Beal          Richard Scroggs

                               Jack Sellers

                               Neal Cabe

                               Jerald Phillips

                               Haig Davenport

            Superintendent

1980-82     D. Scott Penland   Robert Anderson

                               Hoby Garrett

                               Enoch Ledford

                               Clarence Swanson

                               Huston Nichols



1982-84                        Jimmy Nelson

                               Corky Martin

                               David Cheeks

                               Enoch Ledford
                                        From Log Cabins   78

                             Huston Nichols




Date      Superintendent     Board of Education

1984-86   D. Scott Penland   Jimmy Nelson

                             Corky Martin

                             David Cheeks

                             Enoch Ledford

                             Dennis Myers




1986-88                      Bill Bradley

                             Enoch Ledford

                             Johnny Stewart

                             Carl Patterson

                             Dennis Myers



1988-90                      Bill Bradley

                             Ed Ashe

                             Johnny Stewart

                             Carl Patterson

                             Dennis Myers
                     From Log Cabins   79




1990-92   Dennis Myers

          Ed Ashe

          Richard Kelley

          Larry Rumfelt

          Dwight Penland



1992-94   Dennis Myers

          Ed Ashe

          Richard Kelley

          Larry Rumfelt

          Dwight Penland



1994-96   Dennis Myers

          Ed Ashe

          Horace McClure

          Larry Rumfelt

          Dwight Penland



1996-98   Ed Ashe

          Jane Hindsman

          Dwight Penland

          Robert Hollifield
                                          From Log Cabins   80

                               Larry Rumfelt




Date        Superintendent     Board of Education

1998-2000   D. Scott Penland   Ed Ashe

                               Jane Hindsman

                               Robert Hollifield

                               Charles Penland

                               Larry Rumfelt



2000-02                        Ed Ashe

                               Jane Hindsman

                               Robert Hollifield

                               Charles Penland

                               Larry Rumfelt




2002-04                        Ed Ashe

                               Jane Hindsman

                               Robert Hollifield

                               Charles Penland

                               Michael Powell
From Log Cabins   81

				
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