Tip Top School

Contributed by Stephen Moody. Thanks, Stephen!

Tip Top School was located in District #9 along with Saint John, Tharpe, and Blue Spring of the same district. Located not far down the road was Fairview. Blue Springs, Saint John, and Fairview were built before 1900. St. John built a new school building in 1905. Blue Springs replaced her old log structure. Tharpe school was organized and built in January 1905 and Tip Top was built in 1906 or 1907. These were one room frame buildings.

From the minutes of the county board of education is a list of teachers from 1907 and covering most years. The following is a list of Tip Top teachers.

Willie Wilkinson 1907
Blanch Williams 1908
Charles H. Spiceland 1909
Willie Wilkinson 1910
Edith Watson 1911
Nellie Brigham 1912
Flora Rutland 1914
Lena Parker 1915
Lena Parker 1916
Willie Robertson 1917
Cara Cathey 1918
Cara Cathey 1919
Pearl Parker 1920
Earl Sexton 1925
Robby Riggins 1926
Robby Riggins 1926
S.F.Burgess 1927
Loyd Spiceland 1929
S.F. Burgess 1931
Robbie Sills Whitford  
Jack Sykes  
Emma D. Riggins 1938-1940

The Stewart County Board of Education was organized in 1907. This body governed the school system in the county. There were 52 white schools and 14 colored schools at this date. The white schools were to run six months a year and the colored schools to run five months.

Between 1930 and 1935 school buses began transporting pupils to and from school. These were privately owned and were usually a truck cab with a bed, shelter and seats built behind the cab.

Many changes occured in the early years of the forties. The averaged daily attendance had to be twenty pupils per school and the school would be discontinued if it fell below this number. In some cases, the school would be declared isolated and be allowed to continue for a while longer. Many of the community schools began dropping below the averaged daily attendance needed to maintain a school and were always threatened with closure or consolidation.

Many small schools closed due to low attendance and acquisition of land by the government. In 1940 Tip Top School burned and the students finished the year in the old mill house. The following year Mrs. Emma D. and her students joined the teachers and students at Fairview where Mrs. Emma became principal and remained at the school for many years.

In March of 1941 authority was given to build a new school building to accommodate the students at Fairview, Tip Top, Blue Spring, Fort Henry and Mint Spring. The building was to be located at Bear Creek Bridge. The building project was never started because Tip Top had moved to Fairview and the other three were doomed for extinction. In August of the same year, the school board signed the deed transferring to the U.S. Government (T.V.A.), Rushing Creek, Fort Henry, Mint Springs, and Gray Schools and in February of the following year, T.V.A. purchased the school property of Blue Springs, St. John, and Midway. Vinson School was discontinued previous to this.

Many people living along the Tennessee River were relocated and in some cases so were the schools, as Fort Henry, and St. John, which continued to operate for several years afterward. Other schools in the area during the 1950's were Tharp, Fairview, Hutchinson, Poplar Springs, and Model.

But the hands of time did not stop moving because eventually some of these schools cease to operate and fate struck a final blow when T.V.A. once again purchased the land in the region along the Cumberland River for the development of L.B.L. and the remaining schools closed doors closing the chapter of small community schools of that region.