Liberty Hill School Remembered in 1969


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 1/23/1969.

Liberty Hill Had Its Own Little Red Schoolhouse
By Mrs. Rosa Minney

Note: Mrs. Minney, a long time subscriber to The Chronicle has enjoyed the many historical items about Calhoun County and its people and has provided this account of the Liberty Hill settlement.

My parents, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Price, lived at the head of Cabin Run.  I was born and lived there until I was married.

I don't think there are many people that would remember the red schoolhouse on Liberty Hill.  Before I tell you what I know about it, I will go back and tell you some things that were told to be about the hill.

My grandfather, William Price, moved from Barbour county to Calhoun county in the year of 1880 and settled on a farm near the head of Mushroom.  His farm extended upon a hill  to the Cabin Run road.  There are crossroads on this hill, one road going down Cabin Run, another down Letherbark, and other down Jesses Run, and the other down Mushroom toward Arnoldsburg.

Grandfather's farm didn't reach the crossroads.  There was a small strip of land between.  Some years later Grandfather gave a lot on this hill for a cemetery and an acre of ground for a schoolhouse and playground for the school children.  Between the school lot  and cemetery he gave a lot for a church, but no church was built on that lot.

At that time there was an old log house there.  I remember very little about the house, but I well remember the pile of stones on the playground from the chimney of the old house.  I think the house was torn down about the time they built the schoolhouse.

My father said he gave the hill its name.  He thought it resembled a hill in Barbour County by the name of Mt. Liberty.

After Grandfather died his farm was sold to Uncle Billy Davis and his sons Charley and John.

The School

There was a schoolhouse near the head of Letherbark on the K. L. Whytsell farm.  It was up the road a distance and on the opposite side of the road from the K. L. Whytsell home.  My half brother, Bernard Price, and my three half sisters, went there to school.  The school there was discontinued and a new schoolhouse built a mile or so on down Letherbark.  I think it was built a little before the one on the hill was built.

I remember Arthur Wilson taught a school in an old log house on the hill where the Cabin Run road starts down the hill.
Lonzo Wilson built home and lives on the site at the present time.

It was in the year of 1901 or 1902, when the first schoolhouse was built on Liberty Hill.  I think it was 1902.  It was 20 feet wide and 30 feet long and painted red inside and out.  Some called it the red schoolhouse on the hill.

If I remember right, Bernard Price taught the first school in that house.  Then the next year Arthur Wilson taught, and the next year after Arthur's school, Susie Ferrell from Roane county taught.  (A year later Susie married Bernard Price.) the next two years after Susie taught Arthur Wilson taught, then the next year, which was the fall of 1907, Vena Stump taught.  She was from Sycamore or Rush Run, or somewhere over there.  On the first day of her school, Arthur Wilson was buried in the cemetery there.  He died of typhoid fever.  The next year, Ralph Morford from Spencer taught there, and the next year after that Mattie Sharps from Sycamore taught.  If I remember right, it was six weeks before her school would close that the school house burnt down.

I was at school the day of fire.  When one of the boys told Miss. Sharps the schoolhouse was on fire she told us all to get our wraps, books and dinner pails, and go outside.  There were no houses on the hill at that time.  My parents' home was the nearest one.  Lelah Whytsell and I got permission from the teacher to run into my home and call for help.  When we got back the roof had fallen in and the whole inside was in flames.  Some people came but nothing could be done to save the house.  The bell on the roof fell down on the steps and broke.  I think everything inside was saved, even the seats, which were homemade and didn't fasten to the floor.

The next two winters some of the scholars went to the Jesse's Run school, some to Arnoldsburg, some to Beech, and some to Letherbark.  I went to Letherbark.

It was the year of 1912 when they build a new schoolhouse on Liberty Hill.  The other one burnt in 1910.  The new house was the same size as the other one.  It was built 30 feet farther away from the cemetery, and was painted white, inside and out.

George Hamilton from Grantsville taught the school that winter.  That year the schoolbooks were changed, so we had a new schoolhouse, new books, and I might say a new teacher.  The next winter, George's brother, Victor, taught part of the term, and C. J. Gainer of Arnoldsburg finished it.  The year after that the Fred McCoy taught, and after that Orpha Spencer from Roane county taught a year, and the next year Denon Minney from Russett taught.

I am afraid I can't give the names of the teachers that taught from Denon down until the school there was discontinued, but there were several of them.

The old schoolhouse is still standing but is now called the Liberty Hill Chapel.  It was taken over for a chapel, the church a lot was fenced in with the cemetery.  There are now three houses at the crossroads and another a short distance away.