The Huntsville Academy and Debating Society was established in 1851 with DENNIS TRAMMEL, JOHN L. SMITH, ABSALEM CROSS, JAMES REED and CULBERTH WEBB designated as Trustees for the Academy. Scott County was established one year earlier. The Academy was housed in a one-room log building from 1851 to 1858 on plot number 40, just west of the present Scott County Jail on the Town of Huntsville’s initial plan.
Faced with the need for a larger school that would accommodate students from all of Scott County who wanted a high school education, the trustees sold plot number 40 and purchased land on a knoll overlooking Huntsville as the site for the new academy which opened in 1885 as the Huntsville Presbyterian Academy. (The approximate site of this Academy was behind Ben Rector’s home in the vicinity of the field between the two cemeteries, due east of the courthouse and town square.) The new academy was a joint effort between the Presbyterian Board and the public school officials. The new trustees were JAMES M. KEENE, J. B. BRASSFIELD and DANIEL JEFFERS.
Tuition for the Primary Department was $1.00 per month; the English Department tuition was $1.25 per month; and the Academic Department tuition was $1.50 per month. Most students boarded by the month in local hotels and homes, many of them working in homes for their room and board.
The faculty in 1885 is reported to be Rev. D. A. CLEMENS, principal and teacher of the Academic Department; JOHN HENRY, who taught the Intermediate Department; and LOTTIE E. NEWMAN, who taught the Primary Department.
The first principal for the new academy, Rev. D. A. CLEMENS, moved here with his bride from Blount County and built a home approximately where Mrs. DAN WALKER now lives. Others who served as principal or teachers for the academy include: Rev. ARNO MOORE, MOLLIE CALDWELL (referred to by her students as Major Moll), ORLENA and EMMA CALDWELL (sisters to Mollie), Professor MACK RANKIN, and A. B. HENRY.
Among those educated at the Academy are W.H. BUTTRAM, Sr., WILLIAM YORK, Sr., MAUDE JEFFERS MADDEN, FAY BUTTRAM PHILLIPS, M. F. NEWPORT, M. E. THOMPSON, BARNEY McDONALD, TOM PHILLIPS, MITT ROBBINS, W.H. BUTTRAM, Jr., PITNEY PHILLIPS, H. K. PEMBERTON, ELLA YORK, CASSIE DUNCAN, LINA DOISEY, ESTHER SANDERSON, IDA SEXTON, WILLARD KEEN, JAMES BAKER, GEORGE CHAMBERS, JOHN BUTTRAM, SANDERS FOSTER and many others.
The Huntsville Presbyterian Academy closed its doors in 1909, one year after the Huntsville High School was erected.
Figure -1: THE FORERUNNER of a county operated four-year high school came in the form of the Huntsville Academy, which was housed in this building shortly after its establishment in 1851. The Academy looked more like a church than a school, but it was an institution that provided co-educational academic.. In addition to classroom space and hoarding apace for students, the Huntsville Academy was also used as a courthouse for a time, as well as the facility for holding the Normal School for teachers.
FNB Chronicle, Vol. 2, No. 4 – Summer 1991
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