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The Agricultural High School of Clarke County Mississippi

Article Submitted By:
Mr. Sam Kennedy

Photos Submitted By:
Doug Smith, Milton, Florida - Family of Nettie and William D. Maddox, Stonewall, Mississippi

If you can provide any additional information or have personal experience with this facility, please
e-mail me at the following address:

Thanks!
Bill Eddins

 

When I saw the write-up about Clarke County Ag. High School on your site I was immediately reminded of a particular photo in my mom's collection. It is a photo of the football team my mom's father played for back in 1929. One of the players is holding a football marked "CCAHS". Until we saw the article on your site we didn't know what those initials stood for or where the photo was taken. According to the article, a portion of the school remained and was converted to a house. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy having a copy of the photograph in question. Feel free to add it to your site's collection.
Note: my mother's father is the fella in the back row, third student from right, with the initials R.M. penned on his image. His name was Russell Maddox and he was 16 at the time.

Enjoy,
Doug Smith

When I saw the write-up about Clarke County Ag. High School on your site I was immediately reminded of a particular photo in my mom's collection. It is a photo of the football team my mom's father played for back in 1929. One of the players is holding a football marked "CCAHS". Until we saw the article on your site we didn't know what those initials stood for or where the photo was taken. According to the article, a portion of the school remained and was converted to a house. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy having a copy of the photograph in question. Feel free to add it to your site's collection.

Clarke County Agricultural High School of Clarke County Mississippi



Here is what my mother's grandmother wrote on the back:


I believe it says "Hunter West and Mr. Bush's boy at A.H.S."
I'm not 100% certain but I also think this fellow is in the photo above. He looks alot like the man who is seated on the ground in the very front of the group, wearing a white tank-top. I'm guessing he was one of the coaches for my grandfather's team. You are welcome to use these and the other photos on your site. I'd like them to be available for anyone who's doing their own research.

This is an old (and very fragile) newspaper clipping my great grandmother saved. The "Maddox" listed on the Aggies team is my grandfather, William Russel Maddox who is in the team photo from 1929 that I sent you yesterday. This clipping I believe is from 1926 (judging by the handwritten note at the top), which would make him  around 13 years of age.

Clarke County Aggies vs Quitman Panthers at Quitman , Mississippi
Doug Smith - Milton, Florida


 





Mr. Sam Kennedy's Article

Agricultural High School Clarke County Mississippi - Circa 1920-article and sketch submitted by: Sam Kennedy

 

The Agricultural High School of Clarke County Mississippi was located in the Harmony Community. This school was started as a result of the State Legislature enacting a program for providing high school educational opportunity to the population that did not otherwise have access to high school schools. Due to the nature of the location, the facility had to be self-sufficient. The school offered a four-year course to both male and females with boarding facilities. Non-boarding students were also admitted. The school had 100 acres of agricultural land. Both farming practices and home economics were taught. Students were provided summer employment opportunity to complete the crop cycle. The farm included fruit tree and pecan orchards. The products of the farm were used to furnish the schools dining facility.

 

 

The school had it's own 32 Volt DC Delco electric power generation system which consisted of a large single cylinder flywheel engine (probably about 10 H.P.) which probably used kerosene for fuel. This engine was used to periodically charge the storage batteries that furnished power around the clock. The batteries consisted of a bank of 15 glass cased lead acid storage cells. The school had a complete lighting system, but it is unknown if there were any electrical appliances. The electric generation system was located in a separate utility building located a 100 ft. or so behind the main building. The building also served as a coal storage facility for the steam heating system. The heating boiler was located at the east end on the ground floor of the main building. Each room had one or more cast iron radiators. The facility had running water and a flush sewage system. I assume that there was a deep well but whether a water tower/tank or pump is unknown. Since the toilet and shower facilities were on the third floor of the building, a tower would have been likely. Fire fighting hoses were installed on each floor.

 

The three story main building was arranged as follows:

Ground Floor: Dining Hall was located in the center section and the kitchen facilities in the west end. Home economics classrooms were located in the west end adjacent to the kitchen area. The heating boiler was located in the rear of the east wing. Possibly mechanical shop was located in the east wing along with classrooms.

Second Floor: The Study Hall/Auditorium occupied the center portion of this floor. This room had a stage and small side rooms on each side of the stage. The west wing had classrooms including a large chemistry laboratory. The east wing had home economics classrooms and possibly others.

Third Floor: The third floor was completely dedicated to living space for the boarding students. The girl's rooms and bathroom facilities were located in the east end of this floor. The boy's rooms and bathroom facilities were located in the west end of this floor. The two sections of this floor had a solid partition between the dorms. To get from one to the other, you had to go to the second floor and cross over and go back up to the third floor. There was a set of solidly built metal fire escapes. One set accessible from the boy's bathroom window and the other from the girl's bathroom windows. The fire escape was also accessible from the second floor windows.

The bathroom had concrete floors that included shower facilities and toilet facilities. All rooms were illuminated with a ceiling hung clear 32volt light bulb and controlled with a push button off-on switch.

 

There was a farm implement and animal stable building to the east of the main building. The farm implements and horses, mules and other animals were housed and cared for by the students. It is logical to assume that at least one full time maintenance man was on the staff for safely maintaining the utility system and the building. The building had a metal roof that was painted barn red all the time I observed it. There was a bell tower/portico at the center of the roof. Access to the roof was through a hatch located under the roof of the portico. The bell had been removed before my time. There was a flagpole and a cement fish pond in the front yard of the school. They did a good job of design and construction of the school.

 

The school had quality course material. Many of the student assignment reports and papers were left in place in the teacher's files. I reviewed many of the papers, especially the chemistry files) out of curiosity and was very impressed at the penmanship and thoroughness of the reports. It corresponded to college level work by today's standards. My father graduated from the school and my mother attended a while before marrying my father� at the age of 15. My grandfather Kennedy (James Robert Kennedy) was on the board of trustees and I believe taught there for a while. With the advent of better roads and transportation systems, the local school systems gradually supported high schools and made the A.H.S. boarding concept obsolete. I don't know what year the AHS was closed but it was around 1930. Some of the other AHS facilities were converted into junior colleges but for undetermined reasons this one was not. After closing, the east and west end of the ground floor was used as family dwellings. The families could use the facilities in exchange for serving as caretaker for the building and property. They were also allowed to use the farmland involved. I don't know what the business arrangement was in this regard but T. L. Hardee and family live there most of the time I was young. Eventually the building was torn down. The brick were cleaned and reused and the boiler, radiators, pipes and other metal were sold as scrap. They paid one or two cents per brick for anyone who wanted to clean brick. They furnished a special chipping hammer for the job. I cleaned several hundred brick before loosing interest. They really used a high quality mortar when the brick were laid. The person/company in charge of the teardown was Mr. Sheffield of Quitman. He was a machinist/blacksmith of renown in that area. Enough of the west wing was left in place to be converted into a family home. The land was sold off in pieces over the years.

By: Sam Kennedy



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