Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was created 06 Sep 2008

A Century of Learning
Robbins School – 1906 - 2006

Originally Compiled by Ethel Hughett in 1971
Updated by Mary Etta Neely in 2006

Before 1906, the children of Robbins went to school in an unpainted one-roomed building on the lot where Lawrence Kline's house now stands. The school ran four or five months a year. Then the children attended a subscription school for a few months in the basement of the old Congregational Church building which was located near the brick home which is directly across the railroad tracks in Robbins.

In 1905 and 1906, some of the town's leading citizens, among whom were the Rev. Earnest Jones, the Congregational minister, Melton James Robbins, Sr., and Jasper Hughett, started a movement to secure a high school for the Second District of Scott County. In 1906, a white frame building, with three rooms and a hall, was built on the present school grounds. Jasper Hughett donated the property for the school. The school was called Robbins High School, but the highest grade at that time was the fifth grade, no students being ready for high school. All grades from the primer (kindergarten) through the fifth grade were taught in this one building by three teachers. The first principal, a Mr. Bailey, resigned at the end of four or five months. The boys were too tough for him.

The second principal was John Willis Davis from Hustonville, Kentucky. Mr. Davis, his wife, and Mr. Kirk Newport, and later Miss Rowena Walker, were the teachers for many years. The influence of these four great teachers has come down to our day's middle-aged people through their parents and grandparents and teachers who were pupils of these earlier teachers.

When the fourth teacher was added, a brick building with two rooms was built near the first building.

Mr. Davis, as principal until 1917, built the school, educationally, grade by grade, until he had a class ready to graduate from high school in 1915. Five students — Willard Walker, George Hughett, May Reed, Zora Goad and Alonzo Byrd — formed this class. To Mr. Davis belongs the credit for developing the school into a high school. However, he could not get the State Department of Education to recognize the school as a first class high school, because he himself did not have a college degree. He had studied medicine for two years and law two years. The classes that graduated in 1915, 1916 and 1917 received high school certificates.

The class that graduated in 1918 was the first one to receive diplomas. Mr. William E. Bohannon, with a Master of Arts degree, became the principal in 1917-1918. Then the State Department of Education recognized Robbins High School as a first-class high school. The class of 1918 had eighteen graduates. They were George Boles, Horace and Ethel Hughett, Ted, Ethel and Link Walker, John Lee and Rebecca West, James Babcock, Helen Ott, Roberta Adams, Etta and Hettie Ross, Ezra and Charley Griffith, John West, Loren Raines, and Nora Kline.

The principals, following Mr. Bonannon, were: Mr. Stevens, 1918-1919; Willard Walker, 1919-1921 (two years); and Mr. Fouchee, 1921-1922.

In the fall of 1922, Robert R. Vance, a lieutenant in World War I and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, became principal. At this time a new school building, a large two-story building, was under construction and was finished in time for the next school year. Both elementary and high school grades moved into the new brick building and the two old buildings were torn down. Mr. Vance left Robbins in 1927, after five years as principal, to become the state high school supervisor, apposition he held until retirement

Shortly after Mr. Vance came to Robbins, a frame gymnasium building was erected behind the brick building. This building was instrumental in developing a more adequate athletic program for the school. This building burned in 1942.

Mr. Wheeler was principal in 1927-1928, and Mr. Sheffey in 1928-1929, one year each. Mr. Olson Pemberton was principal for six years, 1929 to 1935. Mr. Edward Stanley was principal for two years, from 1935 to 1937.

Mr. Oswell S. Sexton was principal from 1938-1942 and from 1943 to 1946. Mr. John Jeffers was principal for one year, 1942-1943. Mr. A. V. Ellis was principal 1946-1948.

Mr. Malvin C. Sexton was principal at Robbins from 1948 to 1954, seven years. From 1955 to 1961, Mr. A. V. Ellis was principal of the school, with the exception of one year's leave of absence when Mr. Taskel W. Welch was principal, 1956-1957. Mr. Ellis was principal in 1961-1962, but left before the year was out to accept a position as Education Officer at Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia. Mr. Welch became principal at that time and held the position until 1971 when the school was consolidated with Huntsville High School and Norma High School and became the new Scott High School.

During the 1950s and 1960s there were four buildings on the school property which were used to educate the children: the two-story brick building was used for the elementary grades 1-7; the one-story brick building which was built in 1948 which housed grades 8-12; a one-story brick building which was used to hold mechanical drawing classes and shop classes for the boys; and a one-story frame home that had been owned by Claude and Ethel Justice that was used for Home Economics classes for the girls. During the early 1960s, a large cafeteria was built to serve the needs of a growing school,

The last graduating class from Robbins High School was the class of 1971. The school then became Robbins Elementary School. Mr. James Walker, a former high school teacher, became the first principal and served from 1971 until his retirement in 1986. Mr. Donald Branim served from 1986 until his retirement in 2003. Mrs. Connie Duncan served as principal for the school year of 2003-2004. Mrs. Marva Robbins became in the principal in 2004 and is currently serving in that capacity.

Second District School Board Members have played a part in the development and success of the Robbins School through the years. They have included Mrs. Pearl Hawn, Mr. C. L. Kline, Mr. Mike Robbins, Mr. Claude Storey, Mr. J. D. Chambers, Mr. Larry Overton, and presently, Mr. Sam Wright.

Front: Josie Phillips, Charlene Madden, F. G. Sneed, Ortha Phillips Robbins, Eculid Sneed, Audie Goad Boles. Second row: Oscar Ross, Ada Shoemaker Goad, Albert McCarthy, Ruth Lewallen, Clifford Ross. Back row: Morgan Strickland, Robert Newport

Robbins High School Faculty (1929) – Seated, from left:  Wilma Collier, Miss Human, Leola Robbins, Ethel Justice, and Ethel Walker.  Standing:  John Lee West, Maud Madden, Lena Smithers, Miss Carey, and Prof. Robert R. Vance.

RHS Class of 1933 – First row, from left:  Lee Smith, Erie Phillips, James Ellis, Mitchell Davidson, and A. V. Ellis.  Middle row:  Osie Goad, Fay Gibson, Leona Dixon, Geneva West, Flora Ellis, and Una Griffith.  Back row:  Reba Ross, Ovoca Chitwood, Ava Strickland, ____ Davis, (unknown), and Beulah Phillips.

Robbins High School Girls Basketball (1931) – In front are Leona Dixon, Reba Ross, and Pearl Griffith.  In middle are Mary Piercy and Duval Griffith.  In back are Edith Stanley, Dot Hutson, Osie Goad, Ora Shoemaker, and Coach Homer Shepherd.

RHS Class of 1936 – First row, from left:  R. C. Pemberton, Floyd Shoemaker, Maggie Storey Barger, John Henry West, Edmond Pemberton, Lonas Wright, Beulah Russell, Mary Helen Walker Moser, and Principal Edward Stanley.  Back row:  Willie Mae Parker, Ruth Chitwood, Lloyd Lewallen, Mattie Robbins Walker, Imogene Mitchell Brewster, Archie Willoughby, Zona Robbins Walker, and Juanita Davidson Ellis.

Morgan County News, Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Robbins Class of 1935

Old photo found at Chilton’s – by Jean Pollard – Some folks were cleaning out some “cubby holes” down at Gus Chilton’s Tractor place a few days ago and found an old photo that has caused some excitement!  Lisa Jordan, who is an employee of Chilton’s, and who is a niece of Marilyn Robbins, “shared” a copy of the picture with her Aunt Marilyn who then brought a copy of the picture to me to run in my column.

The picture was made 70 years ago and is of the graduating class of 1935 at Robbins High School.  Marilyn said she went to school at Robbins in grammar school and according to her, the old school is no longer standing.  Marilyn said, there will be many descendants of these students who will really be thrilled to see this old picture.

Those listed in the front row from left are:  Olson (or Olis) Pemberton, Violet Dawn, Ora Willoughby, Joel Piercy, Claude Walker, Naomi Clark, and Viola Ellis.  In the second row from left are:  Clarence Brown, Ellen Young, Marie Young, Robert Summers, Flonnie Webb, and H. J. Silcox.  There was one name, Mr. Sam A. Bertram, listed on the side who we would assume was the teacher.

Maxine Burton came by the office Monday morning and said she remembers several of the students.  She thinks the Pemberton boys name might be Otis.  She also remembered Sam A. Bertram who was the teacher in the picture.  Maxine also had Mary Etta Neely call me and she said the Robbins School was built in 1922 and was dismantled in 1982.  She said the school was actually built with Robbins brick.  Thanks for their information.

Maybe we will get more information on some of these students.  Thanks to Marilyn Robbins for bringing the photo by to “share”.

Robbins Girls Basketball (1946-1947) – First row, from left:  Mary Helen King, Iona Fuston, Janice Burchfield, Lucille Ellis, and Goldie Todd [missing a name].  Second row:  Delores Ellis, Glenna Ellis, Pauline McCartt, and Loretta Satterfield.  Back row:  Ada Grace Evans, Minnie Lou Smith, Jewel Ellis, and Principal/Coach A. V. Ellis.

Robbins Boys Basketball (1946-1947) – Kneeling in front is Forrest Harl McIntyre.  First row:  Bill Storey, Lloyd Jeffers, and Kenneth (Buddy) Phillips.  Second row:  Prentice Mullins, Edd Ellis, and J. E. Massey.  Third row:  James Neely, Edison Jeffers, Joe Duncan, and Paul McCartt.  Standing in back is Principal/Coach A. V. Ellis.

Robbins Girls Basketball (1940) – From left:  Miss Carson (coach), Cleda Wright, Lillian Pemberton, ____ Brown, ____ Todd, ____ Todd, Murl Jeffers, Sylvia Lewallen, Faye Thompson, Reba Robbins, Clara Ellis, Alice West, and Cornelia O’Connor.

Jr. High Students at Robbins –  The school year 1949-1950 was in progress when this photo was taken.  From left:  Floyd Clark, Ray Mullins, Norris Storey, Jimmy Ray Griffith, Ralph Wesley Pemberton, Kenneth Ellis, J. C. Boles, Forrest Clark, Brian Booth, “Sonny” Wright, and Gene Clifton Ellis.

Robbins Girls Basketball (1949-1950) – Kneeling, from left:  Reba Young, Lois Gail Todd, Edith Griffith, Kay McIntyre, Mary Maud McIntyre, and Sheila (Tootsy) Storey.  Standing:  Ethel Griffith, Georgie Griffith, Imogene Byrge, Eva Rhea Clouse, Mary Pauline Ross, and Joyce Ellis.

Robbins Faculty (1949-1950) – First row, from left:  Dan Human, Clark Lewallen, Malvin Sexton, ____ Wilson, and Clarence McIntyre.  Second row:  Nora West, Ethel Hood, Jane Lewallen, Flonnie Webb, Maud Madden, and Julie McIntyre.  Back row:  Ethel Justice, Gladys Hughett, Leetha Ellis, Pearl Storey, Reba Todd, Lyde Pemberton, and Opal Welch.

Some RHS Class of 1953 are pictured on a school sponsored field trip.  Kneeling in front is Mary Maud McIntyre.  Seated on the wall in back are, from left, Floyd Clark, Mary Pauline Ross, Kay McIntyre, Ralph Wesley Pemberton, and Brian Booth.

Robbins School Faculty (1948) – From left:  Kathleen Ellis, Ethel Justice, Opal Welch, Leona Griffith, Sylvia Storey, Lyde Pemberton, Leetha Ellis, Juanita McIntyre (substitute), Julia McIntyre, and Flonnie Webb.  Back row:  M. J. Ellis, Ellery Cross, Taskel Welch, Clarence McIntyre, and Malvin Sexton.  Teachers unavailable for photo were Maud Madden and Nora West.


Robbins High School

Mr. Bailey 1906
John Willis Davis 1906-1917
William E. Bohann 1917-1918
Mr. Stevens 1918-1919
Willard Walker 1919-1921
Mr. Fouchee 1921-1922
Robert R. Vance 1922-1927
Mr. Wheeler 1927-1928
Mr. Sheffey 1928-1929
Olson Pemberton 1929-1935
Edward Stanley 1937
Oswell Sexton 1938-1942
John Jeffers 1943-1946
A.V. Ellis 1946-1948
Malvin C. Sexton 1948-1955
A.V. Ellis 1955-1956
Taskel Welch 1956-1957
A.V. Ellis 1958-1961
Taskel Welch 1962-1971


Robbins Elementary School

James Walker 1971-1986
Donald Branim 1986-2003
Connnie Duncan 2003-2004
Marva Robbins 2004-Present


Scott County Judge Verda "Buddy" Cope, Jr. (Robbins High School Class of 1955), swears in J. D. Chambers as a member of the Scott County Board of Education representing the Second District. The ceremony was held in the Judge’s Office in the Scott County Courthouse in the late 1970’s. J. D. was the longest-serving school board member in the state as of 2004. His daughter, Diane Smith, says that he served 29 years.

Outside Robbins School Music Room (ca. 1906)


RHS Class of 1957 Trip – Robbins High School Class of 1957 members pose with Congressman Howard H. Baker, Sr. during their visit to Wash­ington, D.C. First row, from left: Patricia Newsport, Zelma Griffith, Christine Asher, Wilma Jean Jeffers, Betty Kay Ellis, Mary Jane Hughett, Joann Pryor, Barbara Jo Acres, Artensia Lowe, Charlene Hutson, and Wanda Moffett. Second row: Shirley Henderson, Jackie Phillips, Shelby Jean Newport, Mable Huckeby, Pernie Griffith, Roy Mack Stonecipher, and Imogene Asher. Back row: Bus driver, Norton Tate, James Ross, Macel Reagan, Taskel Welch, Con­gressman Baker, Opal Welch, Ethel Justice, Clarence Junior Ross, Willis Welch, and Casto Wright.

RHS Class of 1958 Trip – Robbins High School Class of 1958 members and members of the school's faculty pose with Congressman Howard H. Baker, Sr. on the lawn of the nation's Capitol during their visit to Washington, D.C. First row, from left: Alene Griffith, Judy Pearl Hawn, Eda Faye Lloyd, Donna Shoemaker, Anna Mae Todd, Emma Gib­son, Ruby Cross, Pauline Griffith, Glori Lee Webb, and Barbara Jean Young. Sec­ond row: Floyd Storey, Kenneth Fairchild, Katherine Fairchild, Joanna South, Eliza­beth Stingfield, Tommy Freels, Anna Rose Foster, Linda Sims, Commodore Todd, and John Bowling. Back row: Bus driver, Donald Norman, Jimmy Barger, Larry Hud­son, Leona Griffith, Congressman Baker, Macel Reagan, Doris Lovett (Congressman Baker's secretary from Oneida), Taskel Welch, James Walker, Donald Griffith, and George Kline.

RHS Class of 1959 Trip - Congressman Howard H. Baker, Sr. took time out from his duties to pose with the Robbins Class of 1959 on their senior trip to the nation's Capitol. First row, from left: Mary Jo Stanley, Beulah Smith, Priscilla Newport, Pauline Griffith, Judy Hughett, bus driver, Eugene Ellis and Le­tha Ellis (teachers), Congressman Baker, Joann Culver (chaperone), Eddie Culver (teacher), Beverly Byrge, Linda Acres, Lola Griffith, and Shirley Pemberton. Back row: Talmon Sexton, Barney Shoemaker, Willis Davis, Larry Conatser, Jimmy Byrd, Jimmy Goad, John Tate, Roger Wright, Oscar Taubert, Sam Wright, Siegal Young, John Storey, Clarence (Bo) King, Wayne Goad, Gordon Cecil, and Sonny Burton.

RHS Class of 1960 Trip – Members of Robbins High School's Class of 1960 pose with Congressman Howard H. Baker, Sr. o the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during their visit to Washington, D.C. Kneel­ing in front, from left: Denny Ellis, Junior Smithers, and Floyd Gluff. First row, Ruth Shoemaker, Martha Jean Hughett, Martha Ann Culver, Joel Dean Piercy, Marion Ann Barger, Rosie Boling, Polly Griffith, Leona Griffith, Congressman Baker, Pearl Lawhom, Pauline Smithers, Brenda K. Pemberton, Gerald Faye Thompson, Tilda Burton, Mable Louise Webb, Cinda Fairchild, Pearl Storey, Clorine Hughett, Brenda Sue Pemberton, and bus driver. Back row: James Walker, Taskel Welch, Junior Burchfield, Allen McCartt, Howard Griffith, Roger Freels, Houston Branim, Otis Pemberton, W.C. Thompson, William Duncan, Junior Bertram, Larry Brewster, Norris Silcox, Freddie Griffith, and T.C. Todd.

1962 Senior Class Picture – Members of Robbins High School's Class of 1962 pose on stage at the school just prior to graduation. First row, fom left: Louise Silcox, Mary Taylor, Patsy Burch, Wanda Vanderpool, Jeanie Wright, Mary Etta Ellis, Dean Byrd, Sandra Griffith, Carol Pryor, and Jimmy Moffett. Second row: Taskel Welch (teacher), Louise Mills, Earnestine Voiles, Rose McCartt, Myma Kay Robbins, Dana King, Sue Human, Darlene Blair, Mary Elizabeth Sexton, Dorothy Griffith, Lois Wright, Ruth Sil­cox, Fay Henderson, Francis Storey, and Jeanette Pemberton. Back row: Jimmy Shoemaker, Ray Henderson, Warren Lee Branim, Houston York, James Marlow, Donald Young, Frank Newport, Howard' York, Sam Storey, Harold Myers, Teddy Lindsay, Donald Newport, and Harold Stephens. Also graduating with this class but not pictured was Elizabeth Voiles.

1965 Senior Class Picture – First row: Opal Welch, Leona Griffith, Patsy Woodward, Emma Jean Boles, Judy Hughett, Sheila Staley, Carolyn Hatmaker, Ross Bowling, Nancy Miller, Wanda Sims, Carol Hughett, 011ie Rose, Patricia Frogg, Betty Keeton, Inda Gay Griffith, Mary Etta Gibson and Taskel Welch. Second row: Thelma Lewallen, Tommy Phillips, Eddie Sexton, Claude Branim, Jr., Paul Newport, James Newport, James Taylor, Charles D. Dishman, Ronald Nagy, Jim Miller, Marshall Mills, Glen Shepherd, Ray Welch, and Mar­shall Foster. Third row: Delphia Foster, James Mosier, Patsy Huckeby, Bernise Mills, Ruth Garett, Lora Mae Cross, Ronald Norman, Harold West, Linda Payne, Cecil Davis, Eddie Wilson, Wanda Newport, Larry Wright, Ken­neth Norris, and Rufus Phillips. Back row: Earl Myers, Kenneth Sims, Frank Thomas, Mark Bowling, Lonzie Griffith, Judy Piercy, Charlie Griffith, Richard Shoemaker, Emma Gaye Young, David Reagan, Connie Voiles, Dana Bowling, Patty Welch, Coy Huckeby, Carol Blair, and Billy Sanders. Not pictured: Gloria Webb.

ROBBINS HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1971 — Senior photo of the last class to graduate from Robbins High. Front row, from left: Kenny King, Janice Griffith, Charles Huckeby, Cora Hatmaker, Milford Mills, Harriette Brown, Jackie Norris, Nancy Walker, Billie Joyce Blevins, Opal Welch, and Joann Walker. Second row: Darrell Blevins, Brenda Hughett, Lewis Bowling, Connie Lewallen, Janet Hughett, Harold Clark, Sharon Overton, Ray Lewallen, Beverely Lewallen, and Belinda Webb. Third row: Marty Shoemaker, Roy York, Patricia Joann Lewallen, James Byrge, Sandra Cotton, Allen Jones, Carol Shannon, Jerry Frogge, and Joyce Brown. Back row: Terry Williams, Jerry Puckett, Paul Sexton, Jasper Robbins, Jr., Leslie Overton, Clyde Griffith, Richard Culver, Ronnie York, Frank Lewallen, and Gary Watts.

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 18, No. 2 – Winter 2007
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
(p1, 3-5, 8-12)

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