GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL GLEANINGS FROM THE
FREEDMEN'S BUREAU RECORDS WEST TENNESSEE

Compiled by Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K.T. Smith, 2003

(Page 72)

EDUCATION

The educational activity of the Bureau in Tennessee was under the direction of the Assistant Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk, until the appointment of Lt. Col. Alexander M. York as Superintendent of Education on July 28, 1865. He was succeeded on Aug. 23, 1865, by John Ogden, who served until May 1866. His successor, Rev. David Burt, served until Apr. 1868, at which time Bvt. Lt. Col. James Thompson assumed the office. Thompson served concurrently as Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee until April 1869. In May 1869 Bvt. Lt. Col. Charles E. Compton, former Assistant Commissioner of North Carolina, became Superintendent of Education and served in that capacity until July 1870, when all Bureau educational activities in the State ceased. Information on educational matters during the tenures of York and Ogden may be found among the records of the Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee. There is very little documentation of educational efforts in the State prior to Mar. 1866 in the records of the Superintendent of Education.

BLACK STUDIES, "a select catalogue of National Archives Microfilm Publications," Washington, D.C., 1984, page 68.

 

            One of the far-reaching successes of the Freedmen's Bureau was the role it played in providing the means of a basic formal education for recently-freed black folk. Although poor whites could send their children to these schools, most would not so participate. The Bureau s leadership encouraged the establishment of schools, principally for youth (and older freedmen who wanted to learn how to read and write) by providing money to build schoolhouses and also pay for the transportation of teachers from places in the north to the locality of the school in which they would teach.

            There were numerous benevolent organizations in the north, including churches, that would pay the salaries of the teachers for freedmen's schools. Often-times, freedmen paid the tuition for their children to attend these schools. The federal government would not pay teachers' salaries or for instructional materials or for fuel in the colder months. (The teachers were paid modestly for their labors.)

          The day schools were in sessions for five days a week for at least six hours a day. There were also night schools in some instances, held for two-three hours, available for freedmen who had to work during the day. Schools under the auspices of churches sometimes offered sabbath schools where religious instruction and basic learning skills were taught. The purpose of the schools was basically to offer instruction in reading, writing and ciphering (fundamental arithmetic) although teachers could expand the subject content of their lessons if they were qualified to do so and circumstances would allow such "enrichment."

            It was a notorious fact that some of the teachers employed in these schools were themselves poorly educated. Several were educated in Oberlin, Ohio were anti-slavery sentiment had been exceptionally strong. Sometimes teachers were brow-beaten, intimidated by whites. The superintendents of the Bureau could request and receive military intervention to ensure the safety of the teachers and the continuance of school sessions where there was considerable opposition to them. Although there are no statistics available to indicate how extensive it was, there was also the indifference of many black folk to the schools. Parents wanted/needed their children to work. Some schools failed because of this indifference.

            Relatively few records of the Bureau's educational activities in Tennessee exist until well into 1866. Each county's sub-assistant commissioner, i.e. superintendent, lent guidance in the support of the schools and submitted monthly reports about the schools to the Bureau's Nashville school authorities.

 

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            Due to the paucity of records the origins of most local west Tennessee freedmen s schools are unknown. The city of Memphis is a notable exception. In the NATIONAL ARCHIVES MICROFILM T-142, ROLL 51 (Reports received from agents and district superintendents by the office of the superintendent of education, 1866-1870), is a newspaper article published in a recent Memphis newspaper, in the April monthly report sent to Nashville:

 

OUR COLORED SCHOOLS
WHAT THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED
REPORT OF PROF. J. H. BARNUM, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE COLORED SCHOOLS OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS

J. T,. Leith, Esq., President Board of Education Memphis City Schools:

      Sir; In compliance with your request made to me last Monday, I have the honor to submit the following report of the colored schools of this city. Inasmuch as this this is the first annual report of the colored schools which may be published in permanent form by this Board, I may be allowed to put upon record some facts pertaining to the establishment and progress of the schools, which may be of Interest in the history of the public schools of this city.
        The first free colored school taught in this city was opened in the early part of 1863, in a barrack building in South Memphis, by Miss Fannie Kiddoo [Kidder], a Lady of culture and high Christian character, from Illinois, sent here by the United Presbyterian Fredman's Aid Society. She continued to teach under different benevolent societies for four years, during which time she was nobly assisted by many brave and noble ladies, among whom should be mentioned Misses Mary Johnson, Mary Tyler, Eliza Mitchell, Rose Kinney, Nellie V. Kimbal and Belle Rose. These pioneers labored on amidst many privations, sacrifices and hardships, beside the insults, slanders and abuse, not only of the low and vulgar enemies of the colored people, but also of the press of the city. They deserve honorable mention for the great good done to the colored people, not merely by the instruction given, but by the influence exerted to remove the prejudice against and opposition to their education.
        In 1864 and 1865 ten or twelve teachers were employed by the benevolent societies of the North in teaching colored schools in this city. In the winter of 1865-66 there was a still larger corps of teachers, and over two thousand pupils wore enrolled in the schools.
        In the riots of May, 1866, all the building, used for colored schools were burned, and all teachers were sent by military order to Cairo to save them from the violence of the rioters. This was the culmination of the opposition and hostility to the establishment of colored schools in this city. On the 1st of January, 1867, Lincoln chapel, on Orleans street, was completed by the A.M. A., at a cost of $10,000. The Centenary chapel; built by the Freedmen's Aid Commission of the M. E. Church, and the Phenix building, by the Bureau, were also ready for occupation at this time. With three buildings and several roons rented, eighteen teachers were employed, and free schools were taught for five months.
      These teachers were ladies of cultivation and experience as teachers, and gave to the work their whole strength with warm and willing hearts, teaching as regularly in the Sunday schools as in the day school. The schools were graded and classified, and made rapid progress.
        The same work was continued with nineteen teachers and an enrollment of 2644 pupils for five mouths, commencing January 1, 1868, and tbe Board of School Visitors paid over to the agent of the societies furnishing the teachers the sum of $4248.10, which was the amount drawn from the State on account of the enumeration of the colored youth of the city for 1867, and the Board were thus able to report to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction that colored schools had been taught five mouths, in accordance with the State laws for as late as January, I868 the charter of the Board of 8chool Visitors provided only for schools for white youth. Hence, the Board considered it out of their power to pay anything for colored schools out of the city funds, and, as during the five years before, the benevolent societies of the North continued their noble and generous work of furnishing schools for this large class of our citizens, and again on the 1st of. January, 1869, the A. M. A. and W: F. A. C. hired and put into colored schools fifteen ladies and three gentlemen as principals, and the Superintendent.
        The Freedmen's Aid Commission of the M. E. Church hired three ladies, and the Advent Mission Aid Society hired one gentleman and two ladies. The rooms in which these schools wore taught were all owned or rented and furnished by the above named societies and the Freedmen's Bureau. These societies were responsible for the salary of the teacher, and all the incidental expenses.

 

(Page 74)

        After the passage of the present charter of the Board of Education, which required the Beard to open schools for colored youth, upon the same basis as for the white youth, the superintendent of colored schools, in behalf of all the societies above named, proposed at a meeting of the Board in February to continue all these schools for and under the direction of the Board for the sum of $1650 per month, which was to include all the expenses that should be incurred by the Board for these schools. This proposition was accepted by the Board, it being an average of $60 per month for female, and $75 per month for the male teachers, and $150 for the superintendent. This arrangement dated from January 1st, and ended June 1st, 1869. The teachers under this general arrangement were to look to the societies that employed then and sent them here for their pay, and the Board was to pay the amount agreed upon to the agent of their societies. By this arrangement the colored schools already organized and in full operation, with a good corps of teachers, passed quietly and without disturbance under the control, support and protection of this Board.
        The bargain has been promptly and faithfully fulfilled on the part of he Board, and the teachers have all been paid and returned to their homes.
        The following tables will show something of the work done:

 

TABLE I.

        Number owned by the Board, 1; rooms in same, 5; furniture, 0.

 

TABLE II.

        The following table shows the list of teachers, their residence and number of years' experience.

Mr. G. W. Silsby, Ohio, six years.
Mrs. G. W. Silsby, Ohio, five year.
Mrs. S. W. Maynard, Michigan, six years.
Mrs. A. M. Sperry, Memphis, four years.
Mrs. S. S. Barnum, Memphis, six years.
Mrs. G. A. Moody, Memphis, four years.
Miss Agnes Hill, Vermont, three years.
Miss C. H. Hulsart, Michigan, five years.
Miss Kaye Anderson, Michigan, five years.
Miss Henrietta Matson, Ohio, five years.
Miss Amanda Trask, Michigan, four years.
Miss Mary Eaman, Michigan, five years.
Mrs. L. W. Treat, Memphis, four years.
Mr. John Kincade, New York, six years.
Mr. E. P. Pierce, Ohio, six years.
Miss. C. B. Newton, Ohio, twenty years.
Miss Rebecca Lee, Ohio, one year.
Miss Anna Lee, Ohio, two years.
Miss Nellie V. Kimball, Illinois, five years.
Miss T. LaVeen, Illinois, two years.
Mrs. Violet Fulton, Memphis, three years.
Mr. L. F. Cole, New Hampshire, seven year.
Mrs. L. F. Cole, New Hmahire, three years.
Mrs. M. P. Valle, Massachusettts, eleven years.
Total Males, 4; females, 20.

 

TABLE III.

Whole number of colored youth enumerated in the city for 1889:  3460
Whole number enrolled in schools:  2, 193
Average number belonging:  1,611l
Average daily attendance:  1,262
Largest average attendance for one month:  1,408
Average number of pupils to a teacher of whole number enrolled:  91
Average number of pupils to a teacher of average umber belonging:  57
Average number of pupils to a teacher of average number in attendance:  52
Average Age:  9-3/4
Number of pupils furnished books at expense of Board:  15
Cost of same:  $11.05
Number of pupils beginning with alphabet:  645
Number beginning with first reader:   400
         "         second reader:  227
         "         third reader:  330
         "         fourth reader:  388
         "         fifth reader:  191
Number in writing:  896
         "         mental arithmetic:  896
         "         geography:  650
         "         written arithmetic:  679
         "         grammar: 64
Total coat of colored schools for the year:  $7,736 00
Cost for each pupil enrolled for five months:  $3.52
Cost of each pupil in average attendance: $4.80
TOTAL amount ever paid by city and State for colored schools to date $12,133.10

RESULTS

        Over four thousand pupils have been taught to read in the colored schools, and more than one half of this number have learned to write and obtained some knowledge of numbers. There are now teaching country schools in this and other States twenty who have been pupils in these schools.
        The difference in the appearance of the primary and more advanced pupils will make it evident to the most prejudiced observer that schools will at least greatly improve the appearance of the colored children. The teachers of these schools have been faithful, earnest workers, and, as a corps of teachers, posesses qualifications in literary attainments and experience in teaching equal to the average of public school teachers in other cities. Many of them are graduates of institutions of high standing in the North.

 

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RECOMMENDATIONS

        There are from seventy-five to one hundred pupils able to read and write pretty well, who also have some knowledge of geography and arithmetic, who would be greatly benefited by the establishment of a central school of a higher grade, whore they can all be brought together. This would not only furnish the advantages necessary for theme pupil, but the establishment of such a school would incite parents to keep their children in school till they could get to this school, which would be to them the high school. Such a school is also needed to prepare teachers to meet the growing demand for colored teachers.

QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS

        From the observation and experience thus far had in the instruction of colored youth, it is quite evident that colored children obtain a knowledge of the subjects taught in school, by means of the same faculties and instrumentalities as white children. The same tact, talent and knowledge at science and human nature, and last, but not least, the same hard work that are required of the teacher to instruct a white boy to read in the shortest possible time, are all just as necessary and available in teaching a black boy his A B C. It is rather an argument in favor than otherwise, of giving the colored youth the better teachers, that their parents are poor and ignorant. The instruction received from the teacher by the white boy is in most cases followed by similar instruction from the parents at home, while the lesson of the teacher in a the school room is the only lesson the colored boy ever receives. If error instead of truth is taught, where will the correction be made? I would therefore express the hope that since the law now requires the. Board to establish schools for white and colored children upon the same heels, care will be takes to furnish good rooms and teachers well qualified in head and heart. If this is done you can be assured of results satisfactory to all interested.

Respectfully submitted,
J. H. Barnum
Superintendent of Colored Schools.

 


C. C. BRANCH, a Memphis teacher, wrote to Captain T. A. WALKER, United States Army, in Memphis, Tennessee, June 2, 1864 (U.S. War Department, Freedmen's Bureau Records, MSS 107, Box 1, Special Collections, McWherter Library, University of Memphis)

 Sir,

        Agreeably to your request I have the honor to submit the following report. Our first school was opened January 6th in the basement of Union Chapel corner of Main & Beale Sts. The number of scholars enrolled the first day sixteen, second day eighteen & the third day twenty one. Number enrolled the first week, forty-seven. Second was eighty-seven: from that time to the present, the intent has continued to increase, until we have now enrolled nearly five hundred occupying three different buildings, one of which is situated near the central part of the city; the others in the northerly & sSoutherly portions.
        About two thirds of all enrolled are females. Ages from five to forty five. The oldest male is sixty two and a baptist minister. He can neither read nor write. The scholars have mostly commenced in the alphabet and easy words three or four letters. Very few in the second & 3rd readers. None in the fourth. We have now none but new scholars, in the alphabet & primer. While we have large classes in third & fourth readers, arithmetic, grammar & geography. . . . The schools are self supporting, each scholar paying one & 25 dolls. [dollars, i.e., $1.25] per m. [month]. The poorer class & orphans admitted free. . . . These schools are under the foster care of American Baptist Home Mission Soc. This Society has organized a Baptist church numbering between four hundred seventy five & five hundred members with all officers necessary to an efficient working church. In connection with the church are three Sabbath schools numbering nearly six hundred pupils meeting regularly in their respective school rooms. A deep religious feeling is manifested in the sabbath & day schools. Eighteen were baptized last Sabbath. . . .

Respectfully,
C. C. Branch, Tteacher

 

            This illustrates well that education was a priority of the Federal government, amongst freedmen, even before the formal act creating the Bureau had been passed early in 1865.

 

(Page 76)

            Also, from ROLL 51, noted previously, is the "Statistics of Colored Schools at Memphis, Tenn. for the Month of November 1866:

PHOENIX INSTITUTE, under auspices of Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, 126 pupils, taught by Misses S. A. HENLY and S. K. HENLY.

LINCOLN SCHOOL, under auspices of American Missionary Association, 156 pupils, taught by Misses MARY E. TYLER, FANNIE KIDDER, F. NEIL.

NEIL SELECT SCHOOl, under independent auspices, 115 pupils, taught by Mrs. ABBY S. NEIL and Miss L. NEIL.

SMITH STREET SELECT SCHOOL, under independent auspices, 32 pupils, taught by Mrs. K. B. HALSTEAD and Miss JOSEPHINE HALSTEAD.

C. M. E. SCHOOL, under auspices of the A. M. E. Church, 30 pupils, taught by Rev. C. HAWKINS.

RANKIN HIGH SCHOOL, under auspices of A. M. E. Church, 32 pupils, taught by H. N. RANKIN.

STEWART UNION INSTITUTE, under independent auspices, 71 pupils, taught by T. N. STEWART.

BEAL STREET HIGH SCHOOL, under auspices of Colored Baptist Church, 100 pupils, taught by Mrs. CELIA BURRIS.

MEMPHIS COLORED ORPHANS ASYLUM, under auspices of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 25 pupils, taught by Miss ADDIE BALLARD.

 

            Throughout the time that the Bureau maintained support of freedmen's schools records were kept that showed clearly how successfully these schools were in educating the black youth in Memphis, even if among a minority of the children of freedmen.

            One of these Memphis schools, PHOENIX INSTITUTE, was held in a frame building on land owned by G. P. T. BEAUREGARD, a Confederate officer; utilized for a school by the American Missionary Association-and the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission. The schoolhouse was built by Brig. Gen. W. P. [WILLIAM PASSMORE] CARLIN, former Assistant Commissioner. The material was taken from a powder magazine formerly belonging to the Confederacy. It was built upon piles and could be moved "at any time. "Also, "The land upon which it stands is in extent about six acres, part of which is used as a cemetery." (ROLL 51)

 

            In June 1870 the Memphis colored schools listed as operative were:

l. LINCOLN (57 x 47 building, valued at $3000), taught by G. W. SILSBY, Miss BILLINGS, Mrs. HILLSON, Mrs. RANKIN, Miss SWITZER, Miss LAURA NEWKIRK, Miss CLARA NEWKIRK and Miss McNALLEY.

2. COLLINS (46 x 60 building, valued at $5000), taught by Mrs. GRATIE A. MOODY and Miss JANE MATSON.

3. PHOENIX (100 x 40 building, valued at $3908.10), taught by E. P. PIERCE, Miss SUE MAYNARD, Miss ALLIE A. TRASK and Miss S. A. SHOFFORD.

4. HINES (45 x 60 building, valued at $5000), taught by Mrs. L. H. COLE, Miss M. P. VALLE.

5. BEAL STREET (30 x 30 building, valued at $100), taught by SAMUEL G. SULLIVAN, Mrs. CELIA C. BURRIS.

 

            Following are schools located elsewhere in the Memphis Sub-District, in west Tennessee; data taken from the various monthly reports.

 

(Page 77)

Benton County

There is nothing in the extant Bureau records to indicate that any freedmen's schools were established in this county of sparsely populated black folk.

 

Carroll County

A freedmen's school was taught by CALVIN SNEAD in McKenzie for several months in 1869.

 

Decatur County

It was reported in September 1867 that no freedmen's school had been organized in this county and the absence of any such from the montly reports would indicate that none ever existed in this county.

 

Dyer County

There was a freedmen s school, taught by a black teacher, in Dyersburg in 1868; suspended later that year. A small school was held at Chestnut Bluff but by March 1870 it was suspended ''for want of means'' to support a teacher.

 

Fayette County

By May 1867 a freedmen's school had been successfully established in Somerville, the county seat; the 50 female pupils and 18 male pupils were taught by two white teachers. Its last teacher, JOHN J. SCURLOCK, taught there into the summer of 1869.

In September 1867 the GUSTAVUS SCHOOL (named for the teacher's hometown) was opened in Somerville with 92 pupils, of whom 33 "were always present, "and five of whom were aged over 16 years; taught by a white teacher. The parents owned the school building in which classes were held and several of the pupils paid their own tuition. This school closed and its teacher, Miss Lorinda G. Winters sought travel expenses from the Bureau for her return home to Gustavus, Trumbull County, Ohio, in July 1867.

There were two schools in/near LaGrange by the spring of 1867; one with 13 pupils, taught by a black teacher and the other with 25 pupils was taught by a white teacher. By early '69 one school was still being taught by C. DURWARD OGDEN but it was suspended by September, that year.

In 1867-1870, a school was taught at Cedar Grove, lastly by REUBEN POLLARD who reported holding classes in a building owned by JOHN W. JONES in 1870. (He had 23 pupils.)

A school was held in Oakland in 1868 and 1869, probably intermittently; its last teacher was JAMES NETHERLAND who closed the school in the summer of 1869, hoping to re-open early the next year but it apparently did not.

 

Gibson County

By early 1868, a married couple, CHARLES and TULULA LEVLA KOHEN, held a 40 pupil school in Humboldt but many of the blacks were opposed to Mrs. KOHEN who actually taught the classes, having considered her incompetent. The school closed in the spring of this year.

The school in Humboldt, a 27 x 47 schoolhouse structure, valued at $800 held one of the most successful schools in the Memphis Sub-District. In the summer and fall of 1868 and for most of 1869 Miss JENNIE STARKEY was its teacher. The school may have closed after the break for the harvest of fall '69.

A school was held in Trenton, the county seat, for a while but in January 1868 it was reported to be closed as there was not money to pay a teacher's salary.

 

Hardeman County

Bolivar, the county seat, had a freedmen's school for much of 1867 and before the year was Out the Bureau had allocated $300 for construction of a building for this school. It continued intermittently taught early in 1869 by CHARLES MARTIN. Apparently it was one of the more successful schools in the district. It suspended by September 1869.

 

(Page 78)

A freedmen's school, Pleasant Grove, was taught intermittently at Saulsbury in 1868; in September of that year L. S. FROST taught 41 pupils in this school that seems not to have been held again after the harvest break late in the fall of that year.

A freedmen's school was taught at Pocahontas for a while in 1868. The white teacher there, W. S. HOLLY, was so intimidated he left and went to Bethel Station in McNairy County. The Ku Kluxers had harassed him. He wrote, "I was born and brought up in the South. Just because I was loyal to the [United States] government and fought in the Federal Army I must be run over by these scoundrels."

A freedmen's school was held briefly in Grand Junction in 1867.

 

Hardin County

The only freedmen's schools likely reported for this county was held, a 28 pupil situation, for some of 1867 and taught by MARY B. BARLEYSON, a white woman.

 

Haywood County

About April 1, 1867 a freedmen's school 18 miles north of Brownsville, near the Dyer County line, was burned "which broke up a very thrifty little school then taught by a colored man, the burning was supposed to be the work of an incendiary."

It was reported in the summer of 1867 that the freedmen had built a schoolhouse 15 miles from Brownsville and 6 miles from Bells Station and could support a three-month session, with the parents willing to pay tuition but no teacher was reported available.

By May 1867 there were two freedmen's schools reported in this heavily-populated county of black folk; one, in Brownsville, had 25 female pupils and 11 male pupils; the other, the Nunn School, had 23 female pupils and 11 male pupils; both schools were taught by white teachers.

In January 1868 a new school, in the same [school] house has been opened by a colored man, a graduate of Oberlin College, Ohio. Through that year E. H. FREEMAN taught this school.

The last of this county's freedmen's schools, Ebenezer, taught by JACOB NEILL, was reported still in existence in March 1870.

 

Henderson County

There is nothing in the extant Bureau records to indicate that any freedmen's schools were ever established in this county.

 

Lauderdale County

Records for this county are scanty but it was reported in January 1868 that "there are no colored schools in this county and a very strong prejudice existing against organizing [any]. "

 

McNairy County

FIELDING HURST, the superintendent of the Bureau in this county, gave consistent support for the freedmen's schools, particularly at Purdy, the land for which he donated. By the fall of 1867 this school, taught by blacks, HENRY CHAMBERS, SANUEL MEEKS and LEWIS HURST, reportedly consisted of 67 pupils. AUGUSTUS BELL taught there during 1868 but the school's last known teacher, EDWIN BARNETSON, taught there early in 1869 but the school suspended that fall. ISAIAH PEMBERTON taught the school in Purdy in 1869-70, under the auspices of the Methodist Church in an outreach program.

 

(Page 79)

Madison County

The freedmen's school in Jackson, Tennessee, the county seat, was well established under the auspices of the Methodist Church in this town, lead by the Reverend LORENZO LEA who had gotten a building for its classes built by the Bureau in 1867. There was one black teacher, with about 46 pupils, five of whom were aged over 16 years. Although CAROLINE STEWART taught there some in 1868, JORDAN MERRIWEATHER taught this school in 1868 and was there in 1869 when it suspended.

 

Obion County

A freedmen's school was established in Union City and a Mrs. LINDA WARFEL SLAUGHTER taught there in 1868; its last two teachers, in the spring before the school suspended a few months later were H. A. NAPIER and Miss MARY C. DAY.

 

Shelby County

There were several freedmen's schools outside of Memphis, including one at the then-county seat, Raleigh, taught by Mrs. H. B. SHEPARD in 1868.

Bartlett, called Union Depot until late in 1866, had one of the earliest schools where the freedmen had "a pretty good schoolhouse" and in the spring of 1867 reported 19 female pupils and 26 male pupils, taught by a black teacher. It closed for good, for lack of local freedmen support, after the fall harvest of 1867.

A small school was held briefly at Mt. Zion, an old Methodist seat, about 5 miles SE of Bartlett, in 1868.

A small school was held at White Station, briefly, in 1868; taught by J. B. HALL.

One of the longest-held schools was at Pleasant Ridge, near present-day Millington, taught by T. S. Stewart from Oberlin, Ohio. He faced considerable white opposition. Initially, a "night school, "about 2-3 hours long, was held there for a dozen freedmen who had to work during the day. It was suspended sometime in 1868.

 

Tipton County

Freedmen school teachers frequently "came and went" but one, a black teacher named RACHEL ALEXANDER taught her pupils in this county for several years, apparently a successful- teacher. In 1867 she had taught at Clopton's Campground but white opposition was so strong against schooling for freedmen she moved to Bradshaw in 1868. She withstood the hateful "Yankee nigger" insults cast at her. In 1868-69, she taught at Mason, then called Mason Station. She taught there into May 1870. This school suspended that year. One of her "vouchers" read:

 

(Page 80)

A freedmen's school was held in Covington, the county seat, in 1867-68; a small class taught by a local black teacher.

In the fall of 1869, a well-respected white planter, GEORGE S. TAYLOR, offered to donate land for a freedmen's school if funds could be raised to erect a building thereon. Nothing seems to have come of this offer. Also, in that year, HORACE HILLMAN had taught about 50 pupils in one of his houses in this county.

 

Weakley County

There is nothing in the extant Bureau records to indicate that any freedmen's schools were ever established in this county.

 

An Example of a Freedmen's School Teacher's Contract

 

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