Reflections

Continuing A History Of Our Rural Schools

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  

Some of my friends reminded me that I had written about Camp Ground and Water Valley schools. I had attended both, but never said a word about Jeff Davis.  I had no first hand knowledge about that school, so I had to dig around for information so I could write about it.  

I had always wondered why it was called Jeff Davis instead of Jefferson Davis who was the first and only President of the Confederate States of America.  My research found the answer as to the name.  

A highway was envisioned from Chicago to the Gulf coast near Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis.  I also learned that the house belonged to a friend of Davis who let him live there rent free.  When Davis was released from prison he was broke and had no way to make a living until later when he went into several business ventures, most of them failed.  

Back to the highway, the hill towns wanted it to go through their area and they prevailed.  An area south of Water Valley was to be a rest stop for the travelers.  It was to be called Jefferson Davis Park.  

Since the highway never materialized, the area was designated for a consolidated school and the name shortened to Jeff Davis.   Before O‚Tuckalofa was channeled the creek would overflow and a levee was built west of what is now Highway Seven.  There was a race track about where Holley was located in recent years.  It was reputed to be the fastest track in North Mississippi.  

Mr. Monroe Williams had a store and residence across form where the Motel is now.  Mr. Will Frost had a store in later years at the corner of #7 and #32 and that area has always been known as Frostland.  The Hervey family had a gin about where Miss Dixie Hendricks lived for many years.  As usual I digressed, so back to the school.  Like Camp Ground a year or two later, Jeff Davis combined several of the one room schools of that day.  

It opened in September 1920 with Jack Treloar as principal, a position he held for fifteen years.  He also coached boys and girls basketball teams and the track teams.  He was coach the first year they went to State.  Mr. Herman White was on that team.  If any of you know who else was on that team, let me hear from you and I‚ll mention their names.  They said he had only one rule, WIN.  I got to know him my senior year at Water Valley when he was Study Hall teacher.  His son, „Bud‰ was a year or so behind me in school.  Another Son „Buster‰ was Sheriff in the late sixties.  Several years ago I received a letter from Dr. Ed Coleman, Dean of Math at the University of California and he spoke fondly of his days at Jeff Davis.  I knew some of the teachers at Jeff Davis.  Among them were Miss Minnie Lovejoy, Mrs. Mildred Tarver-Windham, Mrs. Anna Kate, Stacy, Herman and Lillian White, Mrs. Frances McVey, and Alton Reid.  Every time I visit with Wade Doolin he talks about his years at Jeff Davis.  WW11 interrupted his schooling and he finished after the war.  He says that Mrs. Lillian White was responsible for him finishing high school because she not only helped him with difficult subjects but encouraged him all year.  Genie Meggs who taught me guitar graduated from Jeff Davis as well as Jim and Spud Boydston.  I didn’t know him, but Frank Ragland got a baseball scholarship and later played in the Major leagues.  I know I’ve left out many names so let me hear from you.  My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcglobal.net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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