Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

It was a great day at Bear Creek Church school combination on a Friday afternoon the year of 1914 according to Mrs. Gussie Jones.

"It was always the custom that we have a spelling match or arithmetic match on Friday afternoon when I attended Bear Creek School," recalls Mrs. Jones who was formerly Gussie Ivey. On this special occasion it seemed that two visitors dropped in at the pioneer school. They were Mr. Bud Houston and Mr. Perry Brasher.

It was doubly important because Mr. Tom Gibson, local photographer of Parsons, arrived to make a picture of the whole school group. Picture making in the early days was a real treat as cameras were not so plentiful then. The students, as well as visitors, struck a pose along with their teacher, Mr. Hurst Jennings.

Bear Creek is listed as one of the early school in the county since the first known person in that area was "Uncle Jimmny" Harris as listed in Goodspeeds Tennessee History. It seemed that Mr. Harris arrived here among the cane break in the early 1840's and named the creeks, Cub Creek and Bear Creek for the immense number of bears and cubs in this vicinity.

Many Decatur Countians taught at Bear Creek school. The late K. K. Houston taught here at the age of fourteen. He played with the school pupils until they arrived at the school and then he was the school Master and they had to adhere to the tune of the hickory stick if they disobeyed.

 College degrees were not required in the early days to achieve a teaching certificate. They had to take the state examination and make a certain grade. Earlier if one could make a good grade in the 8th grade they were awarded a certificate to teach and some in the county taught over 40 yeas on this certificate according to information secured from those who have passed on.

One of the first school buildings to be erected in Decatur County was the Bear Creek school building according to information from the State of Tennessee.

Among students in the picture are 1st row, left to right, Mary Stevens Young, Jessie Houston Chumney, Alma Houston Chumney, Sallie Brasher, Maude Jowers, Cloice Houston Woods, and Royce Houston. Second row, left to right, Curtley Stevens, Jessie Houston, Adolph Ivey, Joe Brasher, Alton Ivey, Felbert Ivey, Olan Houston and Clyde Hopkins. Third row, left to right, Bud Houston, Pearlie Hopkins, Alta Houston Graves, Gussie Ivey, Todd Jones, Bob Houston, George Jowers, Albert Ivey, Perry Brasher and teacher, Hurst Jennings.

Return to Table of Contents