The Liberty School

Nell Morisette
NewsTribune Special Columnist

Hi Ya'll, I took a six day vacation in Cherokee, Alabama to visit my sister-in-law and I bet I wasn't even missed. Hope this finds you Tribune readers feeling great and looking good.

The Liberty School was a one teacher school located about three miles north of Camden on old Highway 69 in the Fifth District. George Washington Lafayette Hudson donated land for a Methodist Church and School. A one room log building was constructed, which was later covered with unpainted weatherboard. A wood stove supplied heat, the water was from the church cistern, and later from Bud Bomar's well on the adjoining property.

When the original building became too rundown, citizens of the Liberty community met and made plans for a new frame building. Land adjacent to the original building was deeded to the Benton County Education Department by the Whitfield heirs in 1921 and the new building was located about one hundred yards north of the existing school. This building also had one room until the early 1940s when a partition was installed for a second room and another teacher. A well was dug on school ground.

Homemade desks or poplar wood were used. A church-like pew was used in front for classes. The school year began in July, then dismissed for six weeks in September and October for cotton picking.

Like other community schools in Benton County, Liberty School was consolidated with the Camden School in the early 1950s.

The education department sold the building and property at Liberty to Herschell Florence, who owned a grocery store adjacent to the property. He used the school building to construct a nearby dwelling.

The teacher, Charlie Pafford, in the picture, was this writer's grandfather.

The first teacher's annual property report I could find for Liberty School was date July 28, 1924 to February 6, 1925. It read:

Kind of building - Frame
Kind of heating - Woodstove
Ventilation - Windows and doors
Date of erection - 1922
Toilets - Two, unsanitary
Floor area - 900 square feet
Ratio glass area to floor - 1:12 - 1/2
Number of lighted sides - 2
Kind of blackboard - Paper
Distance, floor to blackboard - 32"
How many different sized seats - 4
Are seats fastened to floor - Yes
Number of seats - 55, single
Water - Well, not on ground
Area of grounds - 2 acre
Playground equipment - baskets
Value of playground equipment - $2.50
Number of books - none

This report was filled out by teacher B.W. Cowell.

Thought For The Week:

The love in your heart is not just there for stay, love is not love until you give it away.

Liberty School class of 1910

Liberty School class of 1910, front row (L to R): Clyde Watson, Hugh Watson, Lindell Hargis, Bufford Arnold, Lillian Bomar Chance, Ernie Pafford, Wilbur Presson, and Frank Madden. Second row: Irene Pafford Cowell, Albert Walker, Porter Hudson, Eulas Pafford, Lorene Walker Frensley, Duluth McKelvy Pafford, and Chloe Walker Johns. Third row: Mamie Walker McKelvy, Annie Vick Greer, Wilson Arnold, Zenus McKelvy, Chloe Presson Smith, and Belus McKelvy Wars. Fourth row: Lennie McKelvy, Zula Watson, Richard Arnold, Curtis Pafford, Ilie Presson, Grant Walker, and Gerald Walker. Fifth row: Zula Madden Brewer, Herman Presson, Ada Arnold Foster, Clifford Hudson, Avery Hudson, and Clarice Presson Capps. Back row: Ona Whitfield Florence, Pansy Bomar Brooks, Beri McKelvy, Ruth Vicky McKelvy, Charlie Pafford (teacher), and Moses Madden.


If you have suggestions and/ or additions for these pages, please feel free to write County Host

Brian Nichols

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