Mt. Vernon School 1927 -1968
The picture at the top of this page is of the
Vernon or Nundayali School. This was probably the second Mt. Vernon
School. The site of this school was located in front of where the Mt.
Vernon Baptist Church now stands. The land was granted or given by Mr.
Newton Sitzlar of Mt.Vernon. H. L. Callahan took this picture in November
1928. Callahan was the superintendent of schools in
County in 1919. With the exception of two terms from 1919 to 1929 he held
the office of superintendent. He gave the schools Indian -names during
his time in office. Mt. Vernon was Nu-ndayali, Shoal Creek was Estanalle,
Ebenezer was Hance, and Piney Grove was Connahance. These schools along
with McConkey School
were consolidated into
Superintendent Callahan made regular visits to the schools. He was
truly dedicated to his job of taking care of the schools. Family members
told me that Callahan never learned to drive so he left home very early in
the morning to do a job he loved and was committed to. He served Monroe
County well as Superintendent of Schools.
In 1910 Monroe County divided the 20 civil districts into 5
districts. There were 68 schools operating in these districts with
Vernon being located in the 4th.
district. In 1909 E.O. Luther and wife Mattie granted 2 acres for the
Mt. Vernon or Nundayali School. An additional 4.6 acres were acquired in
1927 from Mr. & Mrs. Luther to build the new school. The new Mt. Vernon
School was built on the site where part of it still stands and is occupied
by Douglas Cherokee Head Start.
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church would purchase the old school building to
establish a new church. A committee of 5 people bought the old school in
1929. They paid the sum of $150.00 for the property and building. Family
members told me that Mrs. Texine "Grandma" Teague gave one hundred dollars
on the church purchase. She was also one of the first six members of the
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church.
Sweetwater Baptist Association started this missionary project to
help establish a new church in this area. The association called upon
each of their member churches to give five dollars or more to help pay for
the new church. The pastors and deacons of those churches were asked to
meet at Mt. Vernon for the sole purpose of organizing and establishing a
Baptist church at this location. The church later built a new church and
has had several additions to their building to become the Mt. Vernon
Baptist Church of today. The teachers brought the students of Mt. Vernon
School to Bible School at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church during school hours.
Maybe some of you can remember those days.
As I was looking for the history of Mt. Vernon School, Codella
Daugherty loaned me a book on the history of Monroe County written by
Sarah Sands. In the book I found a picture of the post office with the
school in the background. I remember we used to stop at the post office
every evening after school. The post office played an important part in
the Mt. Vernon community. There was also a listing of the postmasters
starting with James Hair (Hain or Wain) and Joe Blair or Blain (the
spelling was hard to make out by Mrs. Sands) in 1823. From 1834-1872
postmasters included Hiram Turk, Newton Spillman, Joseph Young, James
Kelso, Frances Beals, William Lee and Grimes Spillman. The post office
was discontinued due to bad times after the Civil War on December 3,
1872. The post office was re-established on January 16, 1873. The
postmasters list continues with Robert Winn, William Lee, James Samples,
Jefferson McConkey, Newton Sitzlar, William Richeson, Eula Sitzlar,
Calloway Sloan, Effie Sitzlar, John Lee, Sam Gregory, Grady Moses and Lula
The post office had different locations. I learned one location was
just across the railroad tracks where I used to live. Another was where
Don Holcomb now lives. One in the John Lee building and another in the
back of the Mt. Vernon store building. The last location was in a garage
building owned by Ben Ellis. The postmasters for this location were
Eugene Snider and Ruth Holcomb. Eugene Snider retired with 27 year’s
service and Ruth Holcomb was the last postmaster when the post office was
discontinued on March 11, 1988. Ms. Holcomb was transferred to the
Tellico Plains Post Office where she is still employed.
Bud Lee had built a building hoping to house the post office but for
one reason or another the state decided to close it. In the horse and
buggy days, the horses could rest and early automobile owners could get
water to cool their engines at the post office. It was also a popular
stopping place located about halfway between Madisonville and Tellico
Plains. Located near the railroad tracks it was a regular stop for the
train to pick up the farmer's produce for market. This main part of Mt.
Vernon is gone and will only be remembered if we tell our children and
they tell their children.
The Mt. Vernon School closed in 1967-68 and the students were bused
to Tellico Plains. The building was still owned by the county and put to
good use as a community Center. It was used for many functions and
get-togethers. The building was also used for a manufacturing plant
operated by Mrs. Kenneth McConkey which employed several people in the
In 1979 the court requested the State Highway Department to resurface
the old highway 68 from Sweetwater to Madisonville. Mt. Vernon, the old
Liberality and part of the old Notchey Creek property were put on the
auction block. Mt. Vernon residents Sam and Bob Gregory bought the Mt.
Vernon School and property. The old part of the school was partly tom
away by Ben Sitzlar and finished later by Bob Gregory. The new part was
left to house the Douglas Cherokee Head Start, which has leased and
occupied the building for over 20 years.
As I was gathering this information I learned
Vernon had a restaurant around 1945 to 1946. This restaurant was operated
by H.K. and Mafie Gregory. This information was never mentioned during
the time my family lived in Mt. Vernon. We need to remember history fades
away if it's not recorded.
There is no telling how many students have passed through the doors
of Mt. Vernon School through the years. Some received their education
with simple instructions and some seasoned with the rod of correction
(HA! HA!). As I was assembling this article I couldn't help but think
how much things have changed. When we were in school we had some great
teachers most of whom were Christians. I'm thankful for those teachers.
They not only taught us reading, writing and arithmetic but also started
each day with the reading of the Bible, praying the Lord's Prayer, and
reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. They taught us good morals and how to
be good citizens. We can all look back with more appreciation for those
I want to thank each one that helped me assemble the information in
this article. And a special thanks to Codella Daugherty, Janie Underwood,
Fran Wallace, Doris Davis, Jackie and Shirley Holcomb, Travis Holcomb, Don
Holcomb, Hazel English, Vickie Lee and Francis Moses for all their help. I
hope that you will be able to look back to childhood days and good times
shared with friends at Mt.Vernon and Mt. Vernon School.
- By Glenda Harris Croft