March 28, 2009
Information based on my memories of the school and operation
during the late 1930s and early 1940s
Harmony Grade school was located in the community of
Harmony at coordinates. 31 59 10 N/ 88 49 07 W.
Start date (unknown)
End date (unknown)
The school was eight months per year, which was typical of agricultural
areas at that time. All the children were needed to play
whatever part they could in the planting operation during the
spring and harvest in the fall. The daily schedule included a 15
minute recess in the mornings and another in the afternoon. A
lunch period of ? minutes was allowed for lunch.
Grades 1 through 8. (kindergarten and preschool were not even a
concept at that time)
The Building and Facilities:
The school was a two room building with the 1st
through 4th in east room (little room) and grades 5th
through 8th (big room) in the west room. Each room
had both a front door and a rear door. There was no closet or
storage space and the toilet facilities were two out-houses
located about 200 ft. behind the schoolhouse. The boy�s
out-house on the east and the girls on the west. On Fridays of
each week, students had to clean up the out-houses and then the
A wood heater was installed in each room. A pan of water was always place
on the heater to provide humidity. Firewood was purchased from
the lowest bidder and larger students brought the wood from the
woodpile into the wood box in the classroom. If student yawned
or otherwise were showing signs sleepiness, the teacher had them
do laps around the building. This was a very effective way to
deal with this problem.
The school was located on an estimated five-acre plot of land, which was
originally part of the old Clarke County Agricultural High
School farm (the south east corner). The back acre was a garden
plot for the lunchroom. The garden concept was established in
the 1930s as part of the Federal Government job creation
program. The gardener for several years was a truly master
gardener whose last name was Gullette.
After the school was closed, the land and buildings were sold to a
private individual. I think the owners in succession were
Francis Stevens, John Boney and then Bud Hunter. I don�t know
who now owns it.
A lunch room building referred to as the �Soup Kitchen� was built about
75 ft to the west of the schoolhouse during the 1930s and
a cook-manager and part time assistants were hired� as part of a
government job creation program. Miss Bertha Detwiler was the
manager and Miss Mattie? McCarty was one of the employees.
Government surplus commodities including apples, cheese,
potatoes and similar products were provided to the lunchroom.
This was part of a nation wide school lunch program. Families
could provide items such as milk, butter, corn meal, potatoes
and other farm products on a pre-approved basis, in exchange for
meal tickets for the students. The lunchroom workers were
employed during the summer months to can and preserve the garden
produce. Some students brought their own lunches from home and
milk was furnished free from the lunchroom for beverage. I lived
very close to school and could go home for lunch or eat in the
A deep drilled water well and hand pump were located next to the
schoolhouse for drinking water and for lunchroom use. A 50-foot
flagpole was located in front of the schoolhouse and the
American flag with the state flag were flown each day (weather
permitting) when school was in session.
A dirt surface two-hoop basketball court was located in back of the
schoolhouse and the school owned one leather basketball and a
football. A hand operated air pump for inflating the balls was
also available. Homemade seesaws were available for the small
kids. This was the total recreational sports equipment and
programs. Marbles, top spinning, keep-away, red rover, dodge
ball, jump rope and tag type softball were all games that were
popular. Students improvised and brought in homemade equipment
such as ball bats, balls, tops, marbles and such.
The equipment in the classroom was simple but effective. The school budget
was very limited and very few new items were added each year.
The equipment included the following:
Two chalk boards with erasers and a
supply of chalk that came in a wooden box with a slide top.
A pencil sharpener in each room.
A pull-down window shade type world map
A pull-down window shade type U.S. map
A pull-down window shade type Human
A window shade type diagramming teeth
A Hex Graph duplicator. Made purple
copies from gelatin master.
A picture of George Washington on the
wall in each room
A one volume encyclopedia (well
A world globe in each room.
A small wall shelf library of suitable
books were in each room.
A supply of report cards and a few
other forms used for reports.
The school was within walking distance of several students and the
remaining students were bussed in. The bus served both the grade
school students for the Harmony School and the Pachuta High
School students. After dropping off the Harmony School students,
the bus continued on to pick up both grade school and high
school students for the Pachuta schools. The bus service was
provided on a contract basis to private individuals. The driver
was by the contractor or a senior high school student with
proven driving experience and record. Before a certain date,
buses were long bed trucks with cabs removed and wooden bus
bodies built on. These buses had padded benches running
lengthwise of the bus. Fuel for the buses was provided by the
school system. Some of the bus route was on dirt roads and after
rains, were not accessible and the students had to walk to the
gravel roads to meet the bus or stay at home. Flooding
occasionally made it impractical for the bus to make the trip to
Pachuta. Pachuta creek would flood and the approach and bridge
would become impassible. Sometimes we would have to get off the
bus and walk across the bridge, then the bus with only the
driver on board would pass over. One alternate route,Old Stage
Coach Road was usually not passable after heavy rain. Since we
had no telephones in Harmony, we could not coordinate to have
another bus to meet us on the other side of the creek.
Two teachers staffed the school, one for the �little room� and the
other for the �big room�. Substitute teachers were available as
needed from retired teachers. During my stay (8 years) Mrs. Roy
Mosley was the �big room� teacher and principle and most of the
time, Miss Izzie Riley was the �little room� teacher. The
teachers were hired on a year-to-year basis. I believe Mrs.
Mosley spent her entire teaching career at this school. She was
a tough but fair teacher and many students were given a great
start in their careers and probably wrote hundreds of reference
letters over the years. Switching and paddling was the accepted
method of punishment for serious infractions. Other non-physical
methods of discipline were used as well. Well as I remember all
discipline was applied on a fair and uniform basis. A note to
the parents on infractions of course caused a secondary round of
discipline. Needless to say, there were no serious discipline
problems or disruption in classes.
After Eighth Grade:
Students attended Pachuta High School.