The first school
we have any record of was the little Hughes School near
Baxterville, which was built in 1722 by James Baxter and Charlie
Byrd. It was a crude hewed log room with split logs for seats
without backs, no glass windows, just shutters. There was a
spring nearby which furnished water and a gourd was used for a
dipper. The first teacher was named Hughes. The second teacher
was a Mr. Ricky who taught from an arithmetic made by hand; this
arithmetic is still in the Baxter family and is an antique worth
seeing. They were offered a large sum of money for this book but
refused to sell.
The Baxters and Byrds had a large family and they
comprised the school of 30 pupils. Each family having 15 children
each. These tow men paid the teacher a small salary and gave him
board. The children were taught reading, writing and arithmetic,
three months in the year.
Joe and Jim Baxter, Charles Strahan, George Dearman, Nath
Courtney, Charley and Jim Byrd, all prominent farmers in this
county received their early education in this school. As more
people settled in this community they felt the need of a larger
school. They made a large room of lumber and employed another
teacher. It continued to grow until the year 1910 when they
consolidated with the little village of Baxterville and built a
large wooden school house and employed five teachers. They
carried ten grades and taught seven months in the year.
The first school in Lumberton , Mississippi was a little
one room log house which was called the Old Elli Dearman
Homestead, which stood where our present Depot stands in a little
grove, the present home of Fleet Hathorne. The Dearmans, Landrums,
Burdetts, Tunnisons, Clarks are some of the earlier settlers who
went to this school. This was in 1884 or 1886. Mrs. Scoot, a
relative of J. J. White was the teacher in this school. Professor
Webb and Miss Lula Banks were the next teachers and they taught
in the Baptist Church.
Three years later the Camp and Hinton Lumber Company felt
the need of a larger and more commodious school for their
employees' children, to this same company built a two story frame
building at their expense on the site where our present school
building now stands. A dormitory was built and Professor Summers
of Columbia was elected as Superintendent of the school for three
years with a salary of $1,000 per year. A large percentage of the
patronage which had been his at Columbia followed him here.
Boarding students from almost every section of this vast
southern territory came here because of the educational advantage
this school furnished. The trustees soon placed Professor H. C.
Yawn as co-principal to Professor Summers.
Some of the first students of this school were W. F.
Bond, H. K. Rouse, J. E. and Ruben McNair, Joe Baxter, Webb and
Elec Ladner, Ellis and John Landrum, Nathaniel Baxter, Tax
Standford, W. W. Waltman, Bob Hinton, Lela Polk, Dayle Hinton,
Nolas Ladner, Maud Evers, Herbert Camp, and many others. This
school was destroyed by fire and to meet the demands of the
public it soon became necessary to erect a brick building at a
cost of $9,000, this was done in 1900. Many prominent business
and professional men who now live in South Mississippi claim this
school, Lumberton High School, as their Alma Mater and from this
school radiated an influence to prepare men and women for the
transition from pioneer days to our present form of civilization.
All along, during the history of this school the Trustees have
labored earnestly to secure the very best talent for teachers and
a consequence the popularity of the school has grown from year to
year and its glory has been maintained to the present time.
Talawah School was a little one teacher school just one
mile south of Talawah. It was organized by Gillum Bounds, Daniel
and Samuel Slade. The teacher was paid by these men; free board
was given him. The building was of rough hewn logs, one room. He
taught the three subjects; reading, writing and arithmetic. Uncle
Sam Slade states that he received his first education in this
There was also, just on the line of Lamar and Forest
County, a little school called the Dearman School. This school
was organized and maintained by the Dearmans. In the year 1913,
this school consolidated with that of Talawah. A new school
building was erected on the 16th section. The school was named
for ex-Senator H. C. Yawn as he was very active in establishing
Five teachers were employed, 11 grades taught. Many boys
and girls have grown up and gone from this school properly
equipped for their special duties, due to having attended Yawn
About the year 1894 or 1895 the Purvis High School and
Commercial College was started at Purvis. The school was
established by public subscription to furnish high school
opportunities to the community and to give the young men and
women business training. It was organized by a group of men. A
tuition of $3.00 per month was charged.
SMALL SCHOOLS BEFORE
Arnold Line School
SCHOOLS NOW STANDING AFTER
Rocky Branch School
Sandy Run School
Oak Grove School
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM
In 1904 Lamar County was created out of the Second
Judicial District of Marion County and a part of Pearl River
County. T. W. Davis was appointed the first County Superintendent
of Education of Lamar County by Governor James K. Vardaman. He
was elected to that position by the people of the county one
month later and re-elected in 1907 and served in that capacity
until January 1, 1912. His salary began at $25.00 per month and
later was raised to $65.00 per month. Many improvements were made
in the public schools of the county. They reached a higher
standard of efficiency, more and better buildings were erected, a
curriculum prepared and adopted, outlining work to be done in
each grade during each session. Mr. Davis has given deep thought
to educational problems of the county and responsible for the
creating of the County Agriculture High Schools in Mississippi.
He suggested the plan to superintendent J. N. Powers. The idea
was taken up by the leaders in the educational field and at the
1908 session of the Mississippi State Legislature a bill was
drawn embodying his idea of a County Agriculture High School and
its enactment by the Legislature marked an area in educational
progress in the State. Lamar County was one of the first in the
state to open Agriculture High School. The purpose of this system
was to give the best possible training to the children of the
people. The school buildings located at Purvis consists of an
administration building, auditorium, and gymnasium, boys and
girls dormitories. Home Science and Manual Training Buildings.
A. Q. Broadus was elected superintendent of education of
Lamar County in the year 1912 by vote to succeed T. W. Davis. Mr.
Broadus served in this capacity from the year of 1912 to 1920 at
a salary of $1600 per year. During his administration
consolidation of schools began in the county. Corinth School was
the first to consolidate, this was in 1914. A large wood building
was erected with good equipment and sanitary toilets. Five
teachers were employed the first year. In 1915 Victory
Consolidated School was established, a large wood building was
erected and substantial equipment installed.. In 1916 Yawn, Pine
Grove and Baxterville School were created; good sized buildings
of wood were erected with substantial equipment. In 1919 Oloh,
Rocky Branch, and Providence Schools were created, wood buildings
erected and good equipment installed.
During Mr. Broadus' administration the Purvis Training
School for Negroes was established, a good wood building
In the year of 1920 T. L. Williamson was elected to
succeed A. Q. Broadus as Superintendent of Education. He served
in this capacity from the year 1920 to 1932 at a salary of $200
per month. During his administration a better school program was
put on, and the beginning of a brick building in the county. In
1922 Okohola Consolidated School was created and this was the
first brick building in the Rural Districts of the county.
Originally the building cost $12,000. In this same year a brick
building was created at Baxterville, cost $15,000. Two brick
buildings were erected at Hickory Grove School at a cost of
$26,000. In 1922 Greenville School was consolidated and brick
building was erected at a cost of $7,000. In 1923 Sandy Run
Separate School District erected a brick building and teachers
home by bond issue at a cost of $12,000. In this same year a
brick building was erected at Baxterville, cost $15,000. Two
brick buildings were erected at Victory at a cost of $8,000. In
1924 Oak Grove School was consolidated and a brick building
erected there at a cost of $16,000. Teachers home were erected at
Yawn, Hickory Grove, Rocky Branch, and Hickory Grove. Two new
brick buildings were built at Sumrall. The new Gym building cost
$36,000. The total plant is now valued at $60,000.
During Mr. Williamsons administration new buildings were
erected for the following colored schools with the aid of the
Rosenwald Fund. Also good equipment was installed.
School, Lumberton, Miss.
Lamar Training School, Lumberton, Miss.
Mt. Vernon, beat 4
Sumrall Colored School, Sumrall
Watts School, Beat 5
In the year 1932 E. A. Foshee was elected Superintendent
of Education, serving until the year of 1936. He was then
re-elected for another four years term to serve until January 1,
1940, at a salary of $2,000 per year.
When Mr. Foshee first came into office the Depression was
being very much felt. There was very little money to operate the
schools in the county. One of his first steps was to consolidate
the majority of the rural high schools in the county into city
consolidated schools-- these being Lumberton, Purvis and Sumrall.
The following schools in the rural area had been transferring
their high school students to Purvis, to the Lamar County
Agriculture High School: Providence, Pine Grove, Yawn, Corinth,
Progress, Clear Branch, and Okohola. In the summer of 1932 Mr.
Foshee with the county school board consolidated all of these
schools into the Lamar County Agriculture High School and
designated the school as the Purvis Special Consolidated School
as it now stands. In 1933 a consolidated school for Negroes was
built on the Lamar and Marion County line, called the Lamarian
Lamar County Schools are financed by:
(1)A poll tax on all persons over 21 years of age. This fund is
retained in the county as a common school fund.
(2)A county wide ad-valorum tax by school district levy.
(3)16th Section Land.
(4)State Per Capita Fund.
(5)State Equalization Fund
(6)Smith Hughes Fund (from the federal government).
(7)Rosenwald Fund for the Negro schools.
There are nineteen rural elementary schools in Lamar
County. Three city consolidated schools located at Lumberton,
Purvis and Sumrall. Two Rural consolidated high schools. There is
one Seventh Day Adventist School located at Talowah, Lamar County
and one Catholic School located at Seneca, Lamar County.
There are seven colored schools in the county.
Adult Education through the continuation of old
"Moonlight" Schools -- none.
Through extension courses--The State Department of
Education and the Mississippi Education Association have
inaugurated a five year study course on the "Improvement of
Instruction", Lamar County teachers are giving a lot of their
time and effort to the study course, although they stand high in
training, they are anxious to take advantage of every opportunity
to improve themselves in every possible way.
Lamar County has six WPA teachers, paid by the Federal
Government. T. V. Anderson of the Oak Grove Community is County
Supervisor of Adult Education. The purpose of the WPA Schools is
to train the illiterate. In each school different subjects are
taught. Following is a list of Lamar County WPA teachers: Mr. J.
B. Foshee, Purvis, Miss.; Mr. Tolida Ladner, Lumberton; Mrs. B.
M. Myers, Sumrall; Mrs. Eula Collins, Oloh; T. V. Anderson, Oak
Grove and Arnold Line; Jerome Carlysle, Sumrall, Colored.
The following schools have a good live Parent Teachers
Association: Purvis, Sumrall, Oak Grove and Victory.
The special consolidated schools have faculty meetings
every two weeks, county faculty meetings every six weeks.
Cafeterias are beginning to open by WPA.
The teachers staff of Lamar County is composed of 107
white teachers and 14 colored teachers.
During the old "boarding around" era when the teacher
stayed a week in each home or boarded in the home of some of the
patrons and walked three or four miles to school twice a day. The
teachers could teach provided they could pass the teachers
examination and were paid a very small salary. They kept strictly
to the books. Now the school provides a teachers home for the
teachers and the children are taught by doing. Teachers are now
required to have two years college work unless they were in the
School System prior to the School Law passed in 1933.
LATER DEVELOPMENT OF LAMAR SCHOOLS
By transportation of all small rural schools into
consolidated schools there is a good consolidated school in every
community in the county, and with the network of good gravel
roads Lamar County's system of transportation has been developed
to such an extent that every child that is not in walking
distance of school is provided a good way of transportation. A
fleet of 47 trucks covering a distance of 554 miles each morning
and evening and carrying 2000 school children. The contractors
are good and capable men who are all the time on the lookout for
the safety of the children. They have flags on their trucks, have
stop signs, and have brakes tested every two weeks, stop at
railroad crossings. According to a survey that was recently made
figures show that the average cost of transportation per pupil
per month is $1.35 in Lamar County. During the depression the
school people of the county have made great sacrifices in order
to uphold the high standard of our school system.
Through Agriculture High School Movement. The
Agricultural system in high school is one of the finest and
greatest subjects taught. As Agriculture is the chief industry of
Lamar County the boys and girls must be prepared to cope with
this industry. They are taught how to manage a farm, how to
select good soils, how to plan and plant crops that will be an
income, how to select stock, poultry, etc. for the farm.
Through Home Economics Instruction. By teaching Home
Economics in Lamar County Schools the girls of today learn how to
manage a home, design and make clothing, to prepare wholesome
food, how to can and preserve fruits and vegetables for the
family, the selection and care of poultry and better gardening.
NAMES AND LOCATIONS OF SCHOOLS IN LAMAR COUNTY
BAXTERVILLE CONSOLIDATED: Located in Beat 3 at Baxterville on
Columbia Road. Brick building cost $15,000. Modern equipment, WPA
Library, children transported by standard buses.
CORINTH CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: Located in Beat 1 seven miles west
of Purvis on Baxterville Road. Large wood building, cost $2300,
modern equipment, no library, transportation standard buses.
CLEAR BRANCH SCHOOL: Four miles east of Purvis in Beat 1, small
frame building, cost $500, rough equipment, no library,
transportation standard buses.
GREENVILLE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located in Beat 3 on Baxterville
Road, brick building, cost $15,000. Modern equipment, WPA
library, transportation standard buses.
HICKORY GROVE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located in northern part of
Beat 5, brick building, modern equipment, no library, modern
buses for transporting children. Cost $26,000.
ILLEGIBLE: located in the town of Lumberton in beat 2, brick
building, modern equipment, good library, transportation standard
buses. Cost $65,000. Special courses taught music, illegible.
Extra curricular activities include Boy Scouts, Girl Reserves,
Basketball, Football, Baseball, Seesaw and Swing on school
grounds. Disciplinary control is left up to the principal.
MIDWAY SCHOOL: located on Highway 49 in beat 4, brick building
cost $8,000. Discontinued--consolidated with Oloh and Oak Grove.
OKOHOLA CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: Located in beat 5 in Oloh, 12 miles
west of Purvis on Columbia Road. Building of Brick, cost $12,000,
modern equipment, WPA library, children transported by standard
buses. Elementary grades are taught. Basketball.
PURVIS SPECIAL CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located in Beat 1 in the town
of Purvis, brick buildings, cost $82,000. All modern equipment,
good library, children are transported by standard buses. Senior
High. Home Economics, manual training, music, short-hand, typing
and bookkeeping, physical culture. Hi Yi, Girl Reserves,
Playground activities, Baseball, Football, Basketball.
PURVIS GRADED SCHOOL: located in the town of Purvis, brick
building now under construction, WPA project.
PINE GROVE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located six miles west of Purvis
in Beat 1. Brick Building, cost $1,950, modern equipment, no
library. Children are transported by standard buses. Elementary
grades are taught. Basketball.
PROGRESS CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located two miles west of Purvis in
beat 1, brick building, cost $7,000. Modern equipment, no
library, children are transported by standard buses. Elementary
School. Basket ball.
PROVIDENCE SCHOOL: located five miles north of Lumberton on West
Purvis and Lumberton Road, beat 2, wood building, modern
equipment, no library, children transported by standard buses.
Cost $3,000. Elementary School, basketball.
ROCKY BRANCH CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located 12 miles southwest of
Sumrall on Columbia Road in Beat 5. Brick Building. Cost $4,000.
Modern equipment, no library, children transported by standard
buses. Elementary school, basketball.
SUMRALL CONSOLIDATED CITY SCHOOL: located in Beat 5 in town of
Sumrall. Cost $60,000. Modern equipment, good library, children
transported by standard buses.
At this point at least one page is missing, and
possibly two. The next page begins with Oak Grove Consolidated
High School, and on that page information about schools already
listed is repeated. I left the repetitious part out of this
OAK GROVE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located in Beat 4 on Highway
49, brick building, cost $16,000. Modern equipment, WPA library,
children transported by standard buses.
OLOH CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located in Beat 5 at Oloh, 12 miles
west of Purvis on Columbia Road. Brick buildings cost $12,000,
modern equipment, WPA library, children transported on standard
buses. Elementary Grades taught.
SANDY RUN SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICT, located at Richburg, Beat 4,
brick building, cost $12,000. Modern Equipment, no library,
transportation by standard buses. Elementary School. Basketball.
LAMAR TRAINING SCHOOL: located in Beat 2, Lumberton Big Quarters.
Large wood building, modern equipment, no library, cost $12,000.
Junior High, Music, Basketball.
LAMARION CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL: located on the line of Lamar and
Marion Counties, brick building, modern equipment, no library.
Transportation modern buses. Junior High. Basketball.
MT. VERNON: located in Beat 4 on Highway 11, ten miles south of
Hattiesburg, wood building, good equipment, no library. Cost
$1200. Children in walking distance.
PURVIS TRAINING SCHOOL: located in Beat 1, Purvis quarters. Wood
building, good equipment, no library, cost $1600. Elementary
SUMRALL COLORED SCHOOL: located in Beat 5 Sumrall Quarters, wood
building, modern equipment, no library, Junior High.
WELLS TOWN SCHOOL: located in Wells Quarters, Beat 2, Lumberton.
Wood building, modern equipment, no library, cost $800.
Elementary School. Basketball.
TATUM'S CAMP: school built by the mill owner, moves with the
PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
MRS. MARION CALHOUN'S SCHOOL OF TAP DANCING: in her home in
Purvis, Miss. Gives lessons twice per week.